A theory is great. It gets you thinking, designing and planning. However, unless you take all the theory and the work you built around it and implement it, it is entirely useless. Today, I present six critical questions you need to ask when implementing Customer Experience theory in your Customer Experience reality.
The concept of implementing the plans you make from theory is significant to me. It began back in my executive position at British Telecom. In that role, I had many bright consultants come in to share fabulous theories. I found theories tiresome after a while, and I began saying, “That’s all very interesting. Now, how do I implement that in my day-to-day operations?” The clever consultants did not have a satisfactory response!
When I left British Telecom to start my global Customer Experience consultancy, I remembered my dissatisfaction with the all-theory-no-practicality approach to business. So, I named my company Beyond Philosophy. Right then and there I made my commitment never to espouse theories that sound pretty but do pretty much nothing to improve business.
We do, though discuss dozens of theories on our weekly podcast and we even wrote a bookabout some of them! However, many of you have asked me how we get practical with these theories and implement them into your CX. Here’s how:
Six Questions to Help You Implement Your Customer Experience Theories
What I have learned in the past 15 years as a global Customer Experience consultant is there are fundamental questions you need to ask. As I list them, I want you, dear reader, to think about your answers to them.
- What is the Customer Experience you want to deliver for your organization?
- What drives value ($$$$) for the organization?
- What is the organization willing to do to support the improved Customer Experience?
- What should you do when you create this improved Customer Experience?
- How will you measure your progress toward your goal?
- What training do you need to make this happen?
Let’s take a look at why each of these questions is important:
What is the Customer Experience you want to deliver for your organization?
Most organizations don’t have a clear answer to this one. They have not yet hashed out the details of what they are trying to accomplish by way of their Customer Experience. However, when you don’t have a clear articulation of what you are trying to deliver, everyone does what he or she thinks is the right thing for Customer Experience, which can have a broad scope of outcomes. Marketing does what they believe is the right thing for Customer Experience; customer service does what they think is the right thing for Customer Experience; sales does their version of the right thing for Customer Experience. However, none of these ‘right things’ is the same. The result is a misaligned Customer Experience with problem areas for the customers.
You have to know where you are heading if you want to get there. My advice is that all companies need to define the Customer Experience as an organization, so everyone is delivering the same ‘right thing’ for Customer Experience.
What drives value for the organization?
Any Customer Experience you deliver should result in more profits, loyalty, customer retention or Net Promoter Score® or something of value for the organization. Otherwise, why bother? You are in business to make money, after all.
Also, if you don’t know what drives value, do some research. (Here is a hint: whatever it is that drives value, it will be an emotion).
What is the organization willing to do to support the improved Customer Experience?
Once you know what it is going to take to get the Customer Experience you want, you need to know what your company is willing to do. There is no use deciding you need a Customer Experience that is daring and edgy if your company is conservative and traditional. Don’t go for fun if you don’t have a fun team of people with which to work. Work with your strengths to get the job done. Anything else will flummox and frustrate you.
What can you do when you create this Customer Experience?
When you begin designing the improved experience, you need to understand all the moments of your present experience. We often recommend taking an outside-in approach to your experience, meaning you pretend you are a customer. So, if you are an insurance company, file a claim. If you are a shoe store, buy some shoes. If you run a singing telegram company, order one for yourself. You need to experience each moment as a customer does to understand how it makes you feel. Then, you can tweak these moments to create the improved experience for your company.
How will you measure your progress toward your goal?
Think ahead to when you have your new program up and running. How will you measure your success? It is crucial that you check in to see if what you are doing is working. Moreover, it should be a metric that has a direct connection to the changes you made. The Net Promoter Score® (NPS®) measures how likely a person is to recommend you to others. The higher the NPS® score, the more likely they are to recommend you. Many organizations want their customer to trust them. An excellent way to measure whether your customer trusts you is to know whether they would endorse you to their family and friends. Many companies choose the NPS® to measure their progress for Customer Experience as a result.
What training do you need to make this happen?
When I greet my wife after being out for some time, I can tell by her one-word response how she is feeling. We have been together for many years; I know her backwards and forwards. I also know what to do to change her mood. If she is happy, I know how to keep it rolling. If she is cross, I know what behavior to avoid!
Your front-line team needs to do the same with customers. They need to read people and understand how they are feeling. Then, your team needs to know the right things to do to help customers feel the way you want. Training people on these soft-skills is a vital contributor to your Customer Experience improvement efforts.
When the consultants couldn’t tell me how to put their theories into practice, I was not surprised. People talk a lot about ideas. The issue is taking an abstract concept and applying it to reality.
Theory is fantastic, but unless you use it to do something, it is only pretty words. When it comes to Customer Experience, you first have to have a philosophy, but then you have to implement what you think to make it useful. Anything else doesn’t take it Beyond Philosophy and renders your theory beyond useless!
Listen to the rest of the conversation for “Critical Steps for a Successful CX Implementation,” on The Intuitive Customer Podcast. These informative podcasts are designed to expand on the psychological ideas behind understanding customer behavior.
To listen in, please click here.
Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX