When we start working with a client to improve their Customer Experience I am often asked ‘How long will it be before we see a result’. On the face of it whilst this sounds an easy question to answer it is fraught with difficulty… for example….

I have recently started to use Alamo Rental cars. I used to avoid them like the plague because they always used the hard sale tactics about upgrades, insurance etc. Their service has recently vastly improved to the point where I tend to use them more than other rental car providers. The interesting question is when did they make these changes and how long has it taken me to notice them and thus change my behaviour.

In my recent post of ‘Trust and the CE’ I noted that new research suggests it takes three events to prove to someone they can trust you. Therefore, this implies a Customer needs to experience ‘your experience’ three times before they will change their mind about you. The challenge is how long is left between contacts with a company? A water client of ours showed us there was an average of 7 years between contacts! Thus it would take them 21 years before a Customer would recognise a change!

I also read with interest a blog in Science Daily which shows that we rehearse experiences in our mind, and by doing so we relive the experience and this reinforces the experience and thus becomes a firm memory. This is great if the experience you are delivering is positive but not so good if the experience was negative! How many times have you replayed a telephone conversation with a call center or a store visit when someone has been rude to you and thought ‘I should have said XYZ’? The deeper the emotion felt, the deeper the memory, the harder it is to change.

Clearly we would suggest that you focus on areas that don’t have 7 years contact between them, otherwise the timescales can be somewhat protracted. In addition, you can use various techniques to make your experience more memorable and thus overcome this time lag.
Thus answering the question ‘when will we see results’ is sometimes not as easy as it first sounds…!

n our experience you can see results of you CE program within a very short space of time. We changed one clients experience [https://beyondphilosophy.com/thought-leadership/case-studies/aviva Watch Clip Three] from saying your documents should be with you to your documents will be with you and their repeat call volumes dropped from 75% to 6% in three weeks! So it can be as short as that.

Colin Shaw, When will I see the results of my Customer Experience program?

Colin Shaw is founder & CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four best-selling books. Beyond Philosophy provide consulting, specialised research & training from offices in Atlanta, Georgia and London, England.

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