Customer experience - round-up

November 25, 2016

Welcome to the RattleBerry RoundUp. This is a weekly series where we select a topic of interest to our clients and panel members working in experience design, product management, marketing technology and digital transformation. We hope you enjoy it and we look forward to reading your feedback and comments! Let us know either way on LinkedIn.

“What do, Canada Post, and Ace Hardware have in common? They all have a great focus on customer experience, which has played a large role in their overall success and they did so without a customer experience team”. This is the starting phrase of the article that I recently came across No, You Don’t Need A Customer Experience Team, posted at Forbes. What, however, does the term Customer Experience (CX) mean? A hot and very “now” topic that is relevant to our audience of clients and panel members. So we wanted to write a round up that will help you understand the topic in an in-depth way from some long read articles from the best in the business.

What Is Customer Experience?

First of all, it is essential to understand what CX is. In this blog post published at the Huffington Post and written by Don Dodds, the Forrester Research definition of term is provided: “How customers perceive their interactions with your company”. Particularly interesting is that in this post an evolutionary timeline of the customer experience timeline is provided. Moreover, advice on how to improve CX is provided. The key aspects that need to be taken under consideration are: value, creation of positive emotion, appropriate physical dynamics of the transaction, promptness, transparency, communication, post-sale customer service and encouragement and direct customer loyalty.

Understanding Customer Experience

In this educative and thorough article published at Harvard Business Review and written by Christopher Meyer and Andre Schwager, CX is defined as “the internal and subjective response customers have to any direct or indirect contact with a company”. Meyer and Schwager aimed to described how to achieve good CX through customer monitoring. He states: “Such attention to customers requires a closed-loop process in which every function worries about delivering a good experience, and senior management ensures that the offering keeps all those parochial conceptions in balance and thus linked to the bottom line. This article will describe how to create such a process, composed of three kinds of customer monitoring: past patterns, present patterns, and potential patterns. (These patterns can also be referred to by the frequency with which they are measured: persistent, periodic, and pulsed.) By understanding the different purposes and different owners of these three techniques—and how they work together (not contentiously)—a company can turn pipe dreams of customer focus into a real business system”. It should be mentioned however that this article was written in 2007, therefore, apart from what is mentioned in this article more recent perspectives should also be taken into account such as those expressed in the following articles: Customer Experience Success Relies On More Than Marketing, Great Customer Experience Is Bigger Than Just Solving Customer Problems, Making sense of customer feedback, How to analyze customer feedback and make it actionable.

Lessons from the Leading Edge of Customer Experience Management

This report by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and sponsored by SAS starts with the following quote: “Customer Experience Management—the collection of processes an organization uses to manage customer interactions across the enterprise—is more important than ever. The days of the single customer touch point are long gone. Today’s companies must optimize the customer experience across multiple channels and product lines while still meeting demands for real-time, increasingly customized execution. Yet too few companies are creating effective customer experience practices. Less than half of companies view customer experience management as a strategic priority. Most are struggling to develop clear and consistent customer experience strategies, support, processes, and metrics across their organizations. Leading-edge companies, however, are making the changes necessary for effective customer experience management throughout the enterprise and gaining a clear competitive advantage as a result of their efforts. These are among the findings of a new Harvard Business Review Analytic Services study of more than 400 executives around customer experience management—research that features in-depth interviews with several best-practice company leaders”.

Moreover, apart from the findings , one can summarise six digestible lessons:

  • Lesson one: create a customer-centric culture

  • Lesson two: think like the customer

  • Lesson three: give the business control of customer experience

  • Lesson four: tame channels and data

  • Lesson five: embrace analytics

  • Lesson six: expand the definition of customer experience success

Useful report to read.

Technology and CX

Technology affects many aspects of modern life and the way business is done. Consequently, it affects CX as well. Digitisation of products and service brings this reality into sharper focus. So here are some of the leading minds addressing how the intersection of experience and technology is evolving and what we can expect to see:

In this post by Mike Szilagyi five technology trends are outlined, that affect for the better, “the interactions a customer has post-purchase, typically with the customer service or contact center”. These are: multimodal communications, internet of things, virtual reality, chatbots and microservices. In the post it id concluded that “any one of these technologies on its own can dramatically impact a business’ ability to deliver superior service. Combined, they offer a solid foundation for truly transformative customer engagement and a significant competitive edge”.

Machine learning and cloud technology can be used to build better CX as presented in this post by Blake Morgan and analysed in this Modern Customer Podcast. “Machine learning is a powerful way to access information about your customers in order to personalize the experience to meet their needs. James Staten, chief strategy officer for Microsoft Cloud, works with customers around the world and knows the importance of having a complete picture of how and when customers interact (or don’t interact) with a brand. Instead of simply sorting customers into basic groups, machine learning can access huge data sets through the cloud, including data your company might not collect itself, such as social media analytics and information from retailers. The cloud allows users to aggregate huge amounts of data to give instant insights and predictive analysis”. Technologies to keep an eye out.

4 Reasons Why Brands Did Not Achieve their Expected Customer Experience (CX) Impact in 2016

We can always learn from others mistakes. Often the best way to understand an opportunity is to see how someone else failed. In this post by Sarah Deane common CX mistakes are identified and Deane asks thought provoking questions that are essential for a great CX: “If you are planning for your 2017 CX agenda, here are a couple of things to think about:

  • Do you have the leadership and skills in place to achieve the desired experience?

  • Do you actually have an understanding of your customers – do you understand what they see, hear, feel, think, and genuinely need – be that stated or unstated?

  • Are you utilizing the right data at the right time to make better decisions? Do you know what to listen for and collect?

  • Are you focused on genuinely improving the lives of your customers?

  • Do you actually understand what is measurably the successful experience customers need and what outcomes will drive a positive brand association?”

As always, the purpose of this weekly roundup is to offer some fresh perspective on our topic and keep you current. It was made evident from the above mentioned resources that a great CX contributes in the creation of successful companies. We hope you find something valuable from these articles, and maybe even share it with your colleagues.

Let us know what you thought by sending as a message on LinkedIn.

At RattleBerry, we recruit user experience, digital transformation and marketing professionals for both senior leadership positions and contracts. Programmes and project manager panel members are currently in demand for projects in Ireland, in the technology, retail, media, travel, financial and utility sectors. For information on joining our panel, click here, and for information about working with us on a digital transformation role or project, click here.

In category: CX