Category Archive Next Practice

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.

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!

2018: The year of a more leveled CX playing field

This article was originally published on the CX Network, a leading platform for senior CX and Marketing leaders.

This isn’t the year of futuristic innovations and a complete industry overhaul, 2018 is about customer experience maturity across the board.

Year after year, we see people talking about the next 12 months as announcing a fantastic revolution, with innovation transforming life as we know it and redefining the standard in customer experience.

There is no denying that computing power has been increasing at an insane pace and that the gap between great innovations has been reduced time and time again, but computing power is not the only ingredient to enhanced customer experience.

Call me cynical, but after years of exploring the latest innovation in customer experience (tech-enabled or otherwise), my personal prognostic is that we won’t see a massive leap in customer experience in 2018 – beyond extremely niche offerings or PR stunts.

Over the past few years, we’ve been promised a completely changed playing field through augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR, chatbots/artificial intelligence (AI) and smartwatches. Very few situations have been able to become more than simple gimmicks; good for PR or for die-hard fans.

Maybe 2018 is the year it happens, but I doubt it.

On the contrary, I believe that the excitement this year should be around a more leveled playing field. It’s about those businesses who are newer to the CX-mindset. They are the businesses that have been getting their house in order, dealing with legacy systems and inside-out strategies to truly focus on their most important stakeholder: the customer.

I believe 2018 will be the year where more and more businesses become mature enough to demonstrate their own take on customer experience and how they use technology to enable their unique proposition to shine through and scale.

We won’t see a massive leap in customer experience in 2018 – beyond extremely niche offerings or PR stunts.

I’m genuinely excited to see how two, three or four businesses will be competing with each other using strong customer experience as a major vector.

Gartner predicted it a few years ago, and all points towards it are finally materialising itself: 2018 will be the year of diversity. So open your eyes and witness how the same technology and capabilities can offer vastly different solutions to customers based on an organisations’ DNA.

This is just the biggest trend I see happening.

However, I’ll still be looking out for (and reporting back on) the cutting-edge examples. Fear not, Customer Experience Next Practice is definitively part of the agenda for 2018.

This prediction is an excerpt from CX Network’s Customer Experience Predictions for 2018 report. 

 

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