Having a great Customer Experience is no accident. Companies that excel in providing a great Customer Experience engaged in lots of deliberate designs to make their experience what it is today. Most importantly, those that are most successful have a special focus on the hidden experience, the emotional and subconscious parts of the experience that affect the behavior of their Customers. To that end, here are three things all great CX companies do that you need to emulate in your Customer Experience.
# 1: Top CX Companies Predict Customer Behavior
Predicting how your Customers will behave is an important key in designing an exceptional Customer Experience. You might have heard the story about Target predicting when women became pregnant by analyzing their purchases. They were good at it; they eventually knew a 15-year-old girl was pregnant before her father did. How did they get so good at this? Predictive analytics.
Predictive analytics describes how a company looks at data sets to identify patterns of behavior in Customer groups. Then, based on these patterns, they hypothesize outcomes for future behavior. Predictions, in this case, are only as good as your data.
Target used predictive analytics to determine the Customer’s behavior when she learns she is pregnant. They chose to identify this particular group because they saw the value in hooking this group early. New parents buy lots of merchandise! They saw that women Customers who later had children began buying more of certain vitamins (zinc, calcium, and magnesium), unscented lotions and soaps, and extra-big bags of cotton balls (closer to their delivery date). All in all, they found 25 different products whose purchase indicated a woman might be expecting. By combing through their data banks, they could identify these future parents, estimate their due date, and “target” them to be loyal Customers.
For a more detailed account of how Target achieved this exercise, read the full story here.
#2: They Identify the Hidden CX and Design for it.
In many ways Customer Experience is like an iceberg. You think you have a good idea of what makes it up, but the majority of it is hiding under the water. The rational experience is sticking out at the top, it’s the part you can see because it isn’t hidden. However, as anyone can tell you who has worked on improving Customer Experience, it’s the hidden part of it, the emotional and subconscious parts of the experience, what we often refer to as the irrational experience that needs a specific focus.
The emotion your Experience evokes drives the behavior of your Customers and affects how they remember your experience. These emotions are both conscious and subconscious. However, because so much of these emotions are “under the surface” in the subconscious, Customers might not even know they are there themselves.
Because so much of the emotional Experience is subconscious, you need to recognize the moments in your experience that create these reactions. To do this, you must go through your experience as if you are a Customer. Many of my clients who have undertaken this exercise are surprised by the subconscious signals they learn about in their current experience. However, once you know where they are, you can design them to be more deliberate, evoking an emotional response subconsciously that drives Customers to make decisions that you want. Companies like Satmetrix also have software solutions that can help you with map the customer journey so you can get a better sense of the areas of pain, delight and opportunity that exist along your customers’ journey.
Disney uses this tactic a lot in their experience at the theme parks. Knowing that the majority of people are right-handed so they will naturally look the right first, they put all important information and services on the right side of the street as you enter. They also know that people want coffee in the morning. They pipe in the smell of coffee in the early morning operating hours to inform their guests it’s available (and to entice them to buy a cup!).
For a fascinating description of how Walt Disney designed Main Street USA, read this article from Insightful Travel & Tours.
#3: The Best Companies Link Employee Engagement and CX.
Employee Engagement is a critical part of having a great Customer Experience. After all, the best design in the world is useless if the people doing it don’t believe in it.
Employees in many ways are just like Customers. The essential concept that the best companies in CX know is that just like you should build rational and emotional bonds with your Customers, you should do the same bonding with your employees. When employees feel appreciated, empowered, and respected, they are far more likely to commit to the company’s vision for Customer Experience and the value proposition inherent there.
As part of a larger global project with Caterpillar, we recently awarded one of their largest dealers, Carter Machinery, the “Excellence in Customer Experience for 2014.” Caterpillar wants to unite their expanding business and Customer base with a unified approach to Customer Experience. To do this, they recognize the importance of getting their employees on board. Many members of their team have been part of the organization for 30 to 40 years. While implementing changes to the “business as usual” processes at Carter they learned the importance of making the changes manageable, communicating often and clearly with the team, and being patient with the pain of change for everyone. By using this approach, they have transformed the way their call center works in a way that make Customers feel valued and appreciated more than in the past.
The important thing to remember when you look at the top Customer Experience companies is that they didn’t get there by accident. They didn’t leave the details of their hidden experience, which is dwelling below the waterline, up to chance. They studied it. They mapped out the experience moment by moment. Using processes like ours or the software that Satmetrix produces to identify these touchpoints, they looked for the root causes of delight for their best Customers and what drives others away. Then, they looked at ways they could help create a better emotional outcome by sending the proper subconscious signals at these moments. And they certainly didn’t leave the employees out of the loop.
The long and short of it is that every company known for a consistently exceptional Experience has one because they designed and implemented a deliberate one.
Is your Customer Experience deliberate?
Don’t miss the Satmetirx webinar May 21st! Colin Shaw will explain what the leading edge CX companies are currently doing to improve their customer experience. Based on his new book ‘Unlocking the Hidden Customer Experience‘ Colin will give examples of how organizations are moving CX to the next level. Click HERE to enroll today.
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Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.
Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX