What happens when you take the people out of an experience that was traditionally a human-based interaction? Does it make it better or worse? And what does this mean to the future of Customer Experience? Amazon and Uber might soon have answers for us on these questions.
Amazon and Uber have been making headlines by eliminating the humans from areas of the Customer Experience where a person is usually involved. Amazon is promoting its Amazon Go stores that don’t require checking out with a person. Uber is fighting with the DMV in California about the legality of testing its driverless taxis in San Francisco.
However, the move toward automation for traditional human interactions doesn’t stop here. There is talk about computers replacing lawyers in the day-to-day legal work and systems that can predict treatment plans for cancer patients almost as accurately as a doctor can.
Michael Lowenstein, Ph.D., CMC Thought Leadership Principal, Beyond Philosophy
In the consumer world, satisfaction has only incidental proven connection to customer experience and behavior, and engagement has similar challenges for employees (and customers). Many companies are still measuring customer sat in hopes that learning about its drivers will help build customer loyalty, but satisfaction isn’t contemporary regarding decision-making or reflective of what is going on in the customer’s real, emotional world. The same can be said of engagement, which is simply too limited as applied to both customer and employee behavior.
‘Employee engagement’ has many meanings and interpretations, but relatively little of it has to do, by conceptual definition, specifically with impact on customer behavior and impact on the employee experience. Typically, there is little or no mention/inclusion of ‘customer’ or ‘customer focus’ elements in measurement or analysis, or in application such as training, of employee engagement. Though customer experience, and resultant behavior, is certainly impacted by engagement, it is more tangential and inferential than purposeful in nature.
On Black Friday, American retailers kicked off the holiday shopping season by opening their doors in the middle of the night, offering steep discounts, and giving away 100 percent of the money they took in.
Wait – what was that last one?
This year, outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia announced that it would give 100 percent of its Black Friday retail and online sales to grassroots environmental organizations. In a subsequent blog post, company CEO Rose Marcario reported that Patagonia had expected Black Friday sales to reach $2 million. Instead, the total was $10 million. That’s a lot of fleece pullovers and down jackets.
Marcario’s post talked about Patagonia’s grants to environmental groups and then said, “Along with many loyal customers, the initiative attracted thousands who have never purchased from Patagonia before. We’re encouraged to see the great interest from so many in making buying decisions that align with strong environmental values – and taking steps to get more directly involved as well.”
Having been with the Customer Experience movement since the beginning, I have seen companies embrace the idea of putting Customers at the center of everything they do and reap the rewards in increasing Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and revenues. Now, some of these companies are experiencing a plateau in their NPS score. They no longer see it climb the way it once did. They call me and ask, what’s wrong?
However, the question shouldn’t be what’s wrong. The question needs to be what’s next?
It’s Time for New Ideas and a Fresh Perspective
The easy things in Customer Experience have been done. It’s a bit like weight loss. When you have a lot to lose, and you start a helpful diet, the weight comes off quickly in the beginning. But the closer you get to your target weight, the slower the weight comes off. It might even stop altogether—if you don’t change your method.
There are three critical elements every online holiday shopper expects this year. If you don’t meet them, they likely won’t buy with you, not now in the holiday season, or in the new year either.
Chances are if you are shopping for the holidays, you are buying at least in part online. Per USA Today, this year’s Cyber Monday booked $3.45 billion in sales, representing 12% growth for Cyber Monday sales in 2015. Capturing this business becomes a crucial point to remain competitive moving forward, whether you sell rootie-toot-toots or rummy tum tums.
A survey by CFI group, global leaders for providing customer feedback, conducted a holiday retail report sponsored by Radial, an Omni channel commerce technology and operations provider. The report found three features online shoppers deemed most critical to earning their business:
Your employees have the power to make or break your Customer Experience this holiday season with the customer service they provide. However, when employees aren’t happy, customer service often suffers. It’s clear that keeping a positive work environment is crucial this holiday season—and all year long.
Here are three proven ways you can stay off your employee’s Naughty list when it comes to their employee experience.
Remember the Nordstrom Way
Nordstrom department stores, renowned for their devotion to customer service, provide an exemplary Customer Experience. However, they also provide an excellent Employee Experience. Career Bliss, an online career community, recently released a report that said the happiest retail employees work at Nordstrom. (Other retailers in the top ten for happy employees included: Best Buy, J.C. Penney, Home Depot, Walgreens, AutoZone, Lowe’s, Toys R Us, The Gap and Ross Stores.) Career Bliss determined the three factors that contribute to this employee happiness: