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5 Reasons Why Live Agents Love, Not Hate, Chatbots

This was originally written during my tenure at Yellow Messenger, a cutting-edge conversational AI platform.

In any organization, whenever the front-line customer support staff hear that leadership is considering chatbot technology, there’s one fear that spreads like wildfire: “our jobs are at risk!”

It’s completely understandable, humans fear the unknown and, on the face of it, it’s a perfectly rational fear. After all, if part of my job is being automated, am I still able to justify the expense I represent to the business?

Interestingly enough, our experience shows that in the overwhelming majority of cases, this fear is entirely unfounded and, on the contrary, the advent of chatbots in an organization means a spike in employee engagement and a transition towards more challenging and fulfilling tasks. In other words: chatbots mean good news for businesses, their staff, and their customers. There are no losers.

How People Leaders Reconcile Chatbot & their teams

Over the years, we talked to several customer support and operations executives, and it is always quite refreshing to notice that they aren’t following the caricature out there that it’s all about the money and people don’t matter.

Quite on the contrary, we lost count of the number of leaders that said something to the effect of

“I understand chatbots can reduce the workload for my team and that it could mean, in principle, that my team would be too big for their workload, but I see this as a great opportunity instead. “

“I will be reducing the size of my team, but I have decided that no one will be made redundant through it. Employee turnover, particularly in front-line type roles is on the higher side, so I can simply let things run their natural course and not replace people who decide to move onto their next challenge: my team will gradually reduce in headcount over time but it will always be because individuals have decided they wanted something else, never because they were shown the door, and that’s really important to me that we keep our great colleagues as long as they want to stay.”

“The second point that I keep in mind is that instead of having a scarce mindset and think about keeping service standard to the same level, I see this as an opportunity to give more value to my customers and deliver even better experiences, now that my team is more relaxed and has more time to dedicate to those customers who genuinely need the support of my team, leaving plenty of space to delight them without the threat of AHT hanging over their heads.”

5 reasons live agents do love chatbots

When live agents understand the perspective shared above, they immediately relax and focus on getting the most from the opportunity, as they realize it brings a lot of value to them as well. Indeed, here are 5 reasons why live agents can truly thrive with the help of this technology

  1. They don’t need to handle the more frequent and most basic queries. 

Truth is, those repetitive queries aren’t agents’ favorite: they do not challenge them, do not require any effort, and essentially leave them numb as they can answer on auto-pilot. When those queries are filtered out by the first level of resolution that is the chatbot, they know that chances are, every time a customer comes to them, it won’t be as straightforward to solve, it will prove a challenge, it will be a problem that genuinely deserves and requires the problem solving and emotional intelligence combo, which is where live agent thrive. With a chatbot, agents have more of these and less of the ‘boring’ questions to answer, win-win.

  1. There’s less pressure on SLA

As the chatbot is handling these predictable and repeated contacts, the standard of services ceases to rely solely on live agents as the load is now shared with the chatbot. This means, in effect, that there often is less pressure on human agents to adhere to extremely harsh SLAs that were only as demanding because the budget available to the function did not keep up with the demand for the said function. The chatbot solving this equation means the team can be more relaxed and perform with less pressure from daunting KPIs, allowing them to go above and beyond for customers who need them to.

  1. Less vulnerable to surges

While this is a generalization, the other aspect that we frequently see is that a 40% increase in inbound queries no longer represents a surge in tickets for an individual agent to respond as 80%+ of that additional volume is likely absorbed by the first filter. No more running around like a headless chicken while the house is on fire because the house simply won’t get under fire – and if it does, it won’t last long as the chatbot will catch-up swiftly.

  1. Teamwork and collaboration

Here’s where it gets really interesting: humans and robots can form an alliance and work for hand in hand. With the help of the virtual colleague, the live agent no longer needs to know every single thing about the organization, it just needs to know a portion of it and know how to ask the chatbot for the other fraction. Why learn a super complex and precise set of rules by heart (or look for 5 minutes on the systems) when all that is needed is knowing how to ask the bot about it? Farewell putting the customer on hold or looking for a supervisor, the chatbot has the agent’s back at all times, making the agent more efficient even when the bot can’t handle the issues on its own.

  1. Pride & brand ambassadorship

When a business invests in cutting-edge technology like chatbots, it sends a very powerful message to its employees: we care about delivering great service, we care about being consistently great and we want you to be fulfilled at work.

Sounds like a stretch? It shouldn’t! After all, the business has invested money to better cater to customers and in the process, took away from live agents the parts of the jobs that they least enjoyed. Not only that, freeing their times up enables the live agents to upskill, to specialise, to troubleshoot with more time and more resources. Counterintuitively, investing in chatbots is a powerful way to invest in the front-line, their know-how, and their expertise. And the cherry on top of the cake, who wouldn’t be proud to work for a brand that is at the cutting edge and adopting disruptive technologies like cognitive AI chatbots that better the lives of everyone involved?

Everyone’s a winner

This is the real power of implementing technology like ours in a business as there are literally no losers in this situation.

Customers get faster and more consistent service, 24/7 across their channel of choice. And if their needs are more complex, live agents are genuine expert problem solvers to save them.

Live agents are freed up from mundane tasks and are enabled to become genuine experts and upskill themselves. They are more engaged and take more pride in their work, as their time is now a premium: it is restricted only to those who genuinely want or need to talk to a human.

The head of the department is able to deliver better results at a lower cost and therefore helps the business to succeed and can push the roadmap forward.

And the business as a whole unlocks the ability to operate with a lower cost base, making it less vulnerable to downturns whilst increasing their capacity to invest in furthering the business and growing even further, thus creating additional shareholder value, sales, and jobs.

Literally, the only ones who lose out with this are the competitors… and those who wait too long to implement such technologies.

Cognitive AI Chatbots are enabling communication (and e-commerce) to revert back to its roots: Conversations

This was originally written during my tenure at Yellow Messenger, a cutting-edge conversational AI platform.

In its 5 million years of existence on Earth, humankind has radically transformed, at an ever-increasing pace. It is generally acknowledged that we have transformed our lives more in the last 100 years than we have over all those millions of years ago.

One of the hallmarks of this transformation is communication, from disorganised grunts and cave paintings all the way to today’s latest social media applications and augmented or virtual reality events and media.

Communication being the foundation of the social species that we are, it naturally became the foundation of trade, as trade can’t happen without an agreement that an exchange is mutually beneficial. Trade itself transformed radically from exchanging objects and services, where one person would only exchange with another if they had exactly what they were ‘on the market’ to have an intermediary system, called money, that propelled commerce to the next level by erasing the reciprocity requirement. At that time, the conversation at the stand then became a question of negotiating how much of that currency would one part with for the desired product, in other words: haggling.

Fast forward a few hundred years further, and things started taking the shape they have now, where the increased economic movement and population coupled with ever-growing companies led to standardisation. One does not haggle with a big corporate and thus; the conversation was relegated to pleasantry and potentially awkward exchanges, as conversations lost the power to influence how much money they had to part with.

The way commerce works today is fundamentally against human nature

Then came what we could label the fourth shift in commerce, where the conversation essentially disappeared with the introduction of new intermediaries such as catalogs, shopping channels, and eCommerce portals. In this fourth stage of commerce, the conversation was relegated to exceptions, only coming into the picture if something was not right (delays, returns, or complaints). The conversation became labeled with negative outcomes.

We argue that while conversations have been relegated in many industries to exceptions for the sake of scale, consistency, and efficiency, this is essentially trying to shoe-horn fundamentally social creatures away from the social aspect.

 “It was so enjoyable filling this form to say my shoes were the wrong size. So many drops-down boxes and radio buttons, I had such a blast” said no one ever. 

Consumers still can have a conversation if they so wish, but it usually involves a rather lengthy set of on-hold music while agents are serving other customers (a scenario made far worse by the pandemic the world is experiencing), and not every organization will embrace their phone lines as a sales channel as it typically represents the most expensive channel in their support strategy.

In other words, conversations have lost the prestige they once had, the influence and power they had, and business became far more transactional in nature, especially if compared side by side with the first two iterations of commerce, where negotiating and finding a mutual ground was at the pinnacle of it all.

Thankfully, there is a better way & consumers want to experience it! 
We firmly believe that it is time to go full circle and go as close to the original roots as feasible without having businesses compromise on their top or bottom line. We know that going back to the roots and adapting to how we function as human beings are not only more engaging and deliver better experiences; it has genuine ROI as it reduces costs and improves business performance.

Conversation Automation

The way this can be done is through a conversational interface, either in a chat window, on your favourite messaging application, or through the phone.

We call this conversational commerce and we hail this as the future of e-commerce, where a business is powered by conversations rather than forms and checkout processes across several pages.

Xiaomi Conversational Ad

In a nutshell,

  1. A user lands on any of your websites, your mobile app, your WhatsApp, your Facebook Messenger, or your web app.
  2. They write, in their own words, what they are looking for
  3. The Cognitive AI assistant absorbs the information, extract the requirements from the user and revert back with either a selection that matches the criteria or follow-up questions to qualify what the person is looking for
  4. The user and the AI assistant continue the conversation until the user lands on what they want with the help of the assistant who answers queries they have and helps them refine the search
  5. With the choice made, the assistant offers products that normally go well together or people tend to buy in tandem, offer some type of promotion, or maybe even some upsell to convert a higher average shopping basket.
  6. The shopping assistant takes on the required details (shipping address, shipping method, preferred payment method)
  7. The assistant takes on the payment & confirms the transaction
  8. The user, delighted, purchased exactly what they were looking for and potentially a little more.

From a technical perspective, what happened is that we layered that agent on top of the existing infrastructure, very much like a live chat agent would do. They have access to all the same information to aid the customer.

Evidently, this is where the comparison stops as the virtual assistant has a virtually unlimited bandwidth for concurrent conversations, is much faster at reviewing the inventory and items specifications against client requirements, and before long, would sit atop millions of similar conversations to inform its judgment and decision making in the interaction.

Yes, it is a machine and no it cannot capture and correctly react to every single thing that the people can throw at them, so unless your conversational designer trained it to have a defined preferred music genre or a favourite movie, it won’t go in that small talk avenue, unlike a human.

It does not mean the conversation cannot be humanised, on the contrary. The virtual agent can still assume a persona and be faithful to a brand’s tone of voice and add as much personality as the brand ought to have.

One easy way to sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of humanising a conversation with an AI chatbot?

The Swear Test. We find that users like to test the patience of bots and try to trick them and one of their favourites, and we must acknowledge, probably the most enjoyable way of doing so is by swearing at it. Very few humans would be on the receiving end of abuse and not at least acknowledge this as part of the context of the conversation.

Which means that, if it doesn’t understand the user, thinks it is the user’s name, or continues as if that was a valid answer/input, you know you are dealing with a technology that lacks the sophistication and maturity to genuinely deliver humanised conversational commerce.

The chatbot or virtual assistant should be able to answer threats and abuse however you’d like your brand seen reacting to such behaviour. For example, it could answer with just a single image and leave it at that (worth noting that none of our clients has gone for this yet), like the below.

chabot meme

The 5th shift in communication brings the biggest benefits to date :
As we move towards a conversational economy, businesses will see dramatic results. Indeed, there are several reasons to rejoice at this new approach for both the customer and organisations.
Starting with the customer who can finally go back to a more unstructured approach, as they can say, in their own words, in their favorite channel, what they are looking for, and let the seller do the work of interpreting, refining, and short-listing suitable products. It will also benefit from the rich insight gathered through technology and data, as they are offered the most suitable complement to that purchase or enticing promotions and upgrades. The entire customer experience will just become far more natural, seamless, and all-around enjoyable.

And from the perspective of the business, the cost to serve that individual customer will decrease further again, the conversion rate will shoot up. Exception handling, when required, will be focused solely on the more challenging and intellectually stimulating scenarios rather than routine ‘wrong size’ type of queries, amping up the engagement of employees and further boosting customer experience through heroic service recovery.

To illustrate this point, one of our clients has not only saved millions in operating costs (which was the reason to engage in the program all along), they successfully generated on top of this several millions of dollars in added revenue that can be traced back directly to the chatbot – needless to say, the ROI figures for this specific client are nothing short of awe-inducing.

Are you ready to experience the power of omnichannel conversational commerce and reap the benefits it brings to innovative organisations? Wait no more, get in touch with our team… before your competition does!

Everyone Deserves an AI-enabled Personal Shopping Assistant

This article was written during my tenure at Yellow Messenger, a cutting-edge conversational AI platform.

Retail brands of all sizes have been working hard to make their customers feel like queens and kings. Some go the extra mile of delivering an exclusive, dedicated, and tailored experience that makes the shopper, feel like they are the center of the brand’s universe.

Nothing beats having a retail brand dedicating resources to support customers in a very personal way in helping them find the perfect products, the products that make customers feel like a million bucks. It makes customers feel important like they matter more than others, and this kind of social proof can be intoxicating to many many more buyers.

And this kind of intoxication pays off. In a big way. As a matter of fact, I am sure that this setting probably increased the price tag of wedding dresses by at least 30%.

So why shouldn’t every organization attempt to do so and reap the rewards of a higher spend by their customers?

If you notice, while personalization is something that all stores offer, a personal shopper is more elite. Why? Because a personal shopper has to understand each persona, their needs, and their taste, before really making a suggestion to the buyer.

Far from us to state the obvious, but it’s expensive. And to add to it, it is far from being scalable as a model: it requires a lot of training and product knowledge and, in a space where staff turnover is on the higher side, it just never breaks even. That proposition simply isn’t viable for the overwhelming majority of retailers.

We are obviously talking about traditional brick-and-mortar retail in these scenarios but eCommerce can land itself to it just as much. If anything, we see eCommerce as a significant enabler to change the status quo as it has the infrastructure to host thousands of people at the same time, looking at the same catalog in the comfort of their own home. But while it can physically cater to thousands of people at the same time, it still doesn’t solve the equation of a personal shopper being dedicated to, well, one shopper.

This is where artificial intelligence and natural language processing come into play. This is where AI technology starts to challenge the status quo and, we argue, empowers savvy organizations to bring personal shopping to the masses.

Meet the Virtual Personal Shopping Assistant

Chatbots have been around for a little while now and most people are fairly familiar with the concept. The chatbot is a piece of technology that helps users with their queries, more often than not, in a customer support environment.

But personal shopping isn’t customer support, it’s literally at the other end of the customer journey. Fortunately, chatbots are no longer confined to customer support and have been seen driving outstanding results across a variety of scenarios. eCommerce personal shopping is just one of these situations!

The virtual personal shopping chatbot is an AI-powered chatbot that enables organizations to offer a tailored one-on-one consultation to their clients at a scale never seen before.

By marrying up natural language understanding (in other words, understanding what people mean to say, what they are asking rather than looking at the words they use) to an extensive catalog of SKUs and well-structured feature sorting capabilities available in all major e-commerce software providers, chatbots are able to evolve and transform themselves into genuine advisors to consumers.

Instead of putting your customers through never-ending scrolling, you can help your customers land on exactly what they want to see by curating content through a conversation with them, showing only a few relevant items they are looking for, rather than having them search for them like a needle in a haystack.

yellow messenger personal shopping assistant
Yellow Messenger Personal Shopping Assistant

Putting ourselves in the shoes of our customers, which scenario would you prefer? The exchange illustrated above or going through 72 pages of 30 items to find that perfect item?

The capabilities of today’s AI chatbots go a lot further than just listing features out and can even read and make sense of images as part of the personal shopping experience, helping people understand the right style for them, personally.

Is there a business case for this?

Typically, when I share this vision, there is a clear pattern in how they react to it.

  • Step 1: Wrapping their head around the concept, incredule this is even a thing
  • Step 2: Amazed at the possibilities that technology brings to them and their business
  • Step 3: Concerned of how prohibitively expensive must be, ask about the financials

Let me start with the bad news: very few organizations have today the technology to pull this off. It requires a lot of computing power, very smart engineers, and cutting edge AI and machine learning know-how to get remotely close to delivering on this promise.

The good news, however, is that this isn’t as prohibitive as you may think. And the truth is, it does end up paying for itself through an increase in revenue and overall lower operating costs.

If we go back to its core, a chatbot takes over operations that are currently/were once handled by a human customer support agent and delivers on them at a faster rate, at greater scale, and at a lower cost.

Savvy organizations who want to invest in a virtual personal shopper ai chatbot understand that this is just one way of getting ROI and growing revenue and that customers’ needs are a lot more varied than just helping them buy the right product. They need help with order status, returns, customer support, frequent questions, and so on.

While it wouldn’t be viable to invest in a bot for just this one thing for most organizations, an all-rounded ai chatbot can handle all the above cases as well as the virtual personal shopper at such a scale that even though we are talking about delivering a rapid, premium and tailored service to customers, it often turns out to be a no-brainer investment, where the savings generated far outweigh the investment allocated to the technology.

The true ROI of AI technology is found in volume and its application across several processes or, as the industry would have it, use cases.

The reality of the matter is, it’s not because the technology is going to enable a revenue-enhancing premium service to your customers that the price, will too, have to come with a massive and prohibitive premium.

After all, we are Yellow Messenger, not a famous British luxury retailer, and we are on a mission to help forward-thinking organizations 10x their results, not their costs.

The personal shopper has gone virtual and eCommerce will perform much better for it.

CX Speaker talks on 3rd party engagement

Engagement lessons from Orlando, the world’s entertainment capital

Besides from being a CX Speaker, I also publish articles such as this one on the CX Network, a leading platform for senior CX and Marketing leaders.

Back in 2016, I wrote an article sharing that the biggest misconception around customer experience back then was that marketing would fully own the customer journey design.

This is quite simply couldn’t be further from the truth for most businesses. Remember how that crying baby spoilt your last flight? Remember these insane people on boxing day sales?

Your experience likely suffered tremendously because of factors externals to whoever orchestrated your experience – it’s unavoidable. Businesses need to take the environment into account when designing experiences.

Most recently, I witnessed a masterclass in engaging those who aren’t on the payroll and having them buy into being a part of delivering great experiences – something I was fascinated by as a CX Speaker.

Let’s take a trip to Orlando, Florida.

Enter the Tourism industry

Tourism falls victim like no other to this inability of owning one’s customer experience: the local population is part and parcel to a tourist’s experience.

As a city, region or country, you rely on the locals (thousands or even millions of them!) to make a good impression and you rely on the local businesses to deliver amazing experiences, so travellers return and tell their friends.

Tourism associations such as Visit Orlando have to ask themselves a question: how do they ensure local residents recognise the part they had to play in this tourism experience and committed, as a community, to deliver the best experience they could?

After all, places gain reputations because of their people and these are incredibly hard to lose.

Take Paris, as an example.

The capital of love for many is also the rudest place on earth for tourists and fellow French citizens rank Parisians as the biggest moaners in the country.

Such a reputation does not play in their favour when people decide where to spend their honeymoon or their next family holiday, all that because of the locals: that’s how important a role they play in the success and prosperity of cities as touristic destinations.

Back to Orlando.

Numerous families travel to Orlando because of the theme parks in the surroundings: Disney and Universal being the big two to come to mind.

I do empathise with the residents. Imagine how trying it must be for the locals to see hordes of small children in princess dresses or superhero outfits taking over their city over the peak months when the weather is at it’s best. If anything, it’s particularly challenging in Orlando because the theme parks never really stop, so the crowd may shrink but it remains a big crowd in absolute numbers.

It is therefore critical to ensure the locals support tourism and play their critical part, in keeping the magic alive throughout the year and save their town from becoming ‘The Paris of the Americas’ (take it as a dramatisation of your trusty CX Speaker there!)

Now, I’ll confess, I wasn’t able to locate any clip online, so I am trying to recall what I saw when I went there myself earlier in 2018. Other useful disclaimer: I’m sharing first-hand experience without any evidence of a broader strategy even being in existing – this may be nothing more than my own musing.

 

Getting the local on your side: What’s in it for them?

Imagine a popular hangout for locals who swear by the Orlando Magic and the Orlando Solar Bears (basketball and ice hockey respectively) and your trusty CX Speaker! This is their home turf, this is where they go every weekend or so.  What a better place to have an intimate heart-to-heart communication with the area’s residents, right? Very few tourists and many people priding themselves on their great city – the perfect brand ambassadors.

As we waited for the hockey game to start at such a hangout (which the Polar Bear won in the extra time, GO BEARS!), a Visit Orlando video was played. In this video, they were talking tourism: how Orlando is the most visited city in the United States, how colossal the number of visitors is and how magical the theme park experience is for these tourists.

Up to that point, one could think it was an ad geared at tourists, which could warrant others taking the mickey (see what I did there?) out of them for promoting Orlando as a tourist destination to both locals and tourists who already ‘bought’. Not great targeting…

However, what came next was the real stroke of genius: it transitioned to a What’s In It For Us narrative, showing how much tourism actually brought (and still brings) to the city, from financing their state-of-the-art sports venue, to the jobs it creates locally as well as the infrastructure it helped financing such as highways (or motorways, depending on which side of the pond you’re on).

It became a showreel of how beneficial tourism was for the local population (all thanks to tourism taxes) and why great tourist experiences represent a win-win situation for everyone – something I’ll certainly recycle next time I’m called upon to work with another organisation as a CX Speaker.

This is true excellence in facing the truth that a tourism board or a city cannot control the residents who have a starring role in the experience tourists have in Orlando. It not only shows how important tourists are for the local economy, but it also demonstrates in very practical terms what the residents get in exchange for sharing their home county with tourists.

Offering resident-only perks

And if this wasn’t enough, a few days later, with my attention turned to finding out other clues of this Resident Experience Strategy I came across another facet of the Visit Orlando strategy.

While listening to the radio, I picked up that many advertisements were geared towards locals specifically with very attractive offers. When I say geared to them, I’m talking discounted yearly pass for theme parks or cheaper services or discounts for those who could produce proof of residency in Florida. This preferential treatment is just another way of getting the local population on their side and engage them in this mission of providing a magical experience to tourists.

This gesture could be compared (albeit loosely) to employee benefits: ‘because you live here, you are part and parcel of delivering an experience to our tourists, and we want to thank you for it, with these discounted venues’.

Orlando demonstrates it understands one of the key tenets in customer experience: you can’t fully own your end-to-end customer journey design, so you might as well create partnerships that will enhance this experience so that everyone, from the city to the locals to the customer (i.e. tourist) benefit.

This strategy is so powerful, I, as a CX Speaker, can comfortably claim that Orlando is very unlikely to become The Paris of the Americas – mission accomplished!

Time for reflection: how will you deal with those people who influence your experience but aren’t on your payroll? Expanding your employee engagement to those not working for you may well be the differentiator you’re needing.

 

Is Having a Horde of Promoters REALLY the Key to Your Customer Experience Strategy?

This article was originally published on the Worthix blog, a cutting-edge AI-based voice of the customer software.

If there is one thing that truly scares me when I talk with senior leaders at conferences, it’s the lack of forethought many have in choosing a metric for their business.

These same executives spend weeks upon weeks reviewing the right Management Information tool, reviewing the right training partner, Workforce Management provider, or staffing agency for their contact center. So, why not give CX the same importance?

 

“Why is [fill in the blank with your metric of choice] your KPI?” I ask them.

 

Silence.

At this point, they realize that no one ever told them why this or that metric was the right one. Or worse, they were following orders without ever understanding the reasoning behind this decision.

Don’t feel bad if you recognize yourself in this scenario. It’s more common than we’d like to believe. There are very few people that can really tell me why their business uses a specific metric, or whether they even took the nature of their business/industries into account when deciding which measure to use.

 

The pitfalls of poor metric planning

Strategize

Here are a couple examples of tragically poor metric planning:

  • An online retailer asking about NPS before the customer even receives their purchase.
  • A hospital asking if you’re satisfied with your medical treatment (I mean, if it was successful, yes?)
  • An amusement park asking about customer effort.
  • NPS as the key measure of a government agency, such as the IRS, DMV, or Social Security Administration.

But stop and think about it. Who in their right mind would recommend the taxman? And how reliable can the analytics be on a survey answered before the product in question has even been used?

I argue that many customer experience programs fail because they are not chasing the right number. And they’re not chasing it because they never tried to understand which is the best way of driving their business forward.

Could it be satisfied customers? Or a horde of promoters saying it’s as easy as 1-2-3 to deal with them? Whichever answer it is, you need to understand which behaviors best relate to business performance and therefore growth.

Failing to plan is planning to fail, especially in consumer research.

Are the established metrics a fit for your purpose?

Puzzle

Sadly, many companies have defaulted to traditional metrics, such as NPS because “executive boards like it” or “everyone uses it, so it must be good”.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against NPS–as long as it is used properly in the correct settings. Customer Satisfaction, Effort, and Net Promoter are all very valid metrics and I have used them in the past with a number of businesses, on their own or combined. They all do a great job when chosen for the right reason.

What else is out there?

Look Ahead

I want to challenge you to think beyond the beaten tracks.

I want to share with you other, less established, measures that may be more appropriate for your business reality. I don’t claim any of these measures to be superior to the established ones, just keen to bring another perspective.

The following measures are the result of conversations I’ve had with peers in the industry, senior leaders outside of CX and, I’ll admit, some of my own musing.

1-Buyer’s Remorse

Buyer's Remorse

This is a great measure for products and services that are either impulse purchases, have a price tag above the competition (with limited functionaldifferentiation) or that are purely hedonic in nature (i.e. just for fun and enjoyment).

If your product is 25% more expensive than the next best competitor for little reason other than the brand, or the appeal of it is much greater than the actual use (something people call ‘gadgets’), then it’s one you want to watch closely. At least buyers have the choice to use something like an amazon promo code or similar discount in order to bring down the price of expensive goods wherever they are accepted. People want value and what’s better than getting a bargain? They certainly don’t want to feel like they’re getting ripped off.

A few days after the purchase, you do want to know whether the person regrets buying from you. You do want to understand how to prevent potential returns, and how you may need to adapt your delivery or communication to reduce this risk.

2-Is it ‘Worth it’?

Worth it

This is the question that my friends at Worthix swear by, and it makes a lot of sense. One could argue it’s a better way of asking about remorse, but it’s so much broader than that!

It really encompasses the entirety of decision making process and value perception by starting with just one question: “Is it worth it?”.

It helps you capture whether the value was truly there (worth what you traded in) in the eyes of your customer, and how to increase the perceived value from their interaction with you (through follow-up questions).

If you are wondering which companies are using this approach… you’re on the right website – just look at Worthix’s client list!

3-Would I gift this to a loved one?

Gifts

This one is something I haven’t seen yet, but I mused around years ago at the beginning of my career when I started to see the limitations of NPS.

As a young and foolish graduate, I set myself on a task of thinking of alternative metrics to NPS and CSAT. Fortunately, this journey didn’t consume me for long as I rapidly understood that the problem wasn’t the metric but how it was used. I eventually parked it… until I was invited to write on the Worthix blog!

Here’s the rationale: people praise the power of NPS due to the social element involved (would you put your reputation on the line for this business), and through that word of mouth, the impact it may have on building up a brand and their business. So far so good.

But then it got me thinking… why stop at recommending? Although it will cover far fewer situations that NPS could legitimately claim, why not go one step further from recommending?

What is that step further? Actually gifting it to someone you care about!

Can you imagine a stronger endorsement than actually spending your own money to buy someone a gift? For instance:

  • Would you recommend this restaurant? Yep! I just got my co-worker a gift card to eat there!
  • Would you recommend this cruise? You bet! I just bought my parents a trip for their 50th anniversary!
  • Would you recommend this phone? Absolutely – I got it for my kid for his birthday!

See where I am getting with this? If someone is willing to buy the service or product and use it as a gift to someone, it means they truly believe it is of exceptional quality and will make its recipient happy.

You can hardly hope for a stronger statement of loyalty and delight than that…except maybe tattooing a brand logo on your body, or calling your kid “Chanel“– both true stories).

Yes, your Gift score might be lower than your Recommend, but a shift upwards would certainly have a much bigger impact on your bottom line, as it is associated with an actual purchase decision.

Finally, onto the real question…

How likely are you to share this article with your friends or colleagues?

Because it’s free, there really is no reason for you not to go ahead and score up by sharing this article on LinkedIn or commenting below!