Category Archives: Experience Management

I will take two CX programs, please!

Automation

Almost every week I see people who work in the Experience Management industry talking about Customer Experience (CX) Programs as if it was a standardised, mass-produced, product that you can just go and buy off a shelf.

I believe this is due to the fact that human beings have a natural incline to being lazy – i.e. if there is a way to accomplish something with a small amount of work or less effort, then that is the preferred option. Unfortunately that doesn’t apply to CX programs.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all CX program! In order to design, build, deploy and manage one, you have to put some work and effort into it. And with this, I don’t mean it is hard or that it takes a long time. Just that it is something you must create (make new).

And you cannot do it on your own! Or even think that someone with a job title of CX Consultant will do it for you. You have to work collaboratively and involve all areas of the company (customer-facing and otherwise), and drive, co-ordinate, orchestrate (or hire a CX Consultant to do that).

What made sense for a particular company may not suit yours. Even if you are in the same sector, industry, or country. Even if you have the same size, revenue or organisational structure. It is extremely likely that you will need a CX program that is specific to you.

More often than not, those who look for an out-of-the-box CX program are the ones who focus only on numbers, and forget that in the foundations of a CX program is the need to listen to customers, and then act on that Voice-of-Customer (VoC).

Don’t measure CX for the sake of it! You must be able to focus on what is really important – the voice of your customers and their feedback – and be able to derive insights and actions that will inform your product or service enhancements, as well as experience improvements.

Don’t obsess with the numbers! It’s so typical to find companies that are fixated in increasing their NPS or CSAT scores, as if that was the ultimate goal. They forget the purpose of a CX program, and the meaning of “C” in the acronym “CX” – it stands for Customer, not Company!

When it comes to CX, each and every company will be at a different level of maturity (if at any level at all), and the first thing you should do is assess that, and understand the readiness of your company to start a CX program.

Each and every company will also have its own business strategy – vision, mission, execution plan, etc. – and you should align the CX strategy with that, so that the board of directors and stakeholders understand how a CX program will improve financial performance.

And so on… and so on… everything in a CX program should be considered, thought trough, in context. And not copied from some other company or program.

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3 elements of trust. 6 elements of powerful tech

In a very recent and interesting Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, Jack (CEO) and Joseph (President) from Zenger Folkman (a leadership development specialist company) talk about how trust is crucial for leadership, and describes the 3 elements of trust.

  1. Relationships
  2. Judgement
  3. Consistency

I really do encourage you to read the full article here.

But what also caught my attention were a few statements that tell us a bit about their research and study, and how they were able to derive such insight.

  • by looking at data from the 360 assessments of 87,000 leaders
  • able to identify three key clusters of items
  • “we looked for correlations between the trust rating and all other items
  • after selecting the 15 highest correlations
  • performed a factor analysis that revealed these three elements
  • By understanding the behaviors that underlie trust

It caught my attention because these are the challenges that most organisations and companies face today, when it comes to measuring and assessing customers and employees experience…

  • How can I easily reach out to my audience – all my employees or customers?
  • How can I easily correlate variables to understand what is impacting the bottom line?
  • How can I easily carry out the necessary analysis to reveal relevant findings?
  • How can I easily identify trends and drivers that can lead to actions?
  • How can I easily understand the behavior of my audience – employees or customers?

Well the answer is… you can do it if you have an established strategy, well defined processes, and very specialist resources. But you can only do it easily if you have an outstanding and powerful technology platform, that enables you to…

  1. Reach out to massive audiences and collect large volumes of data
  2. Combine operational (O-Data) and experience (X-Data) data
  3. Perform statistical analysis on the data collected
  4. Carry out text and sentiment analysis, on free text/comments
  5. Find trends, drivers, and solutions to prioritise
  6. Generate relevant insights and drive actions

In recent years, I have been focusing a lot in helping companies and organisations implement and use technology for such purposes. And within the portfolio of available technology platforms, there are a few that stand out. The one which I believe is best positioned and most powerful is Qualtrics which was recently acquired by SAP. I encourage you to have a look, and try it out, if you haven’t already.

Does changing NPS scale make sense?

Recently, a few clients were asking my opinion on NPS and the way it is calculated, scored, as well as its scale. And one of them pointed me to this article: Why there needs to be a European variant of the Net Promoter Score

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By Alexander Dobronte in http://www.checkmarket.com

It is an interesting article, and you can see that the author put some thought on the topic, and tried to build a logic around it, and for that alone it is worth reading. However, I must confess it is the first time I see such a thing, even though I would not be surprised if someone told me others have already suggested changing the way to calculate NPS.

I completely understand where the author is coming from, and what he says may even make sense in certain scenarios. But, it would fall short if we look at it from various other perspectives. For example, in my home country, Portugal, the school grades are given on a scale of 0 to 20. Also, I think that a person with low expectations would easily give a NPS score of 10 for the same service or experience that a person with high expectations would class as a 8 or 9.

No system is foolproof, and applies to every scenario in the same way, or is interpreted by every person the same way. I think the way people react and respond will always depend a little bit on one’s idiosyncrasy. As well as one’s cultural, educational, sociological and economical backgrounds. Sometimes even one’s momentarily mood!

And it is probably recognising exactly that, that the NPS creators and the majority of CX practitioners and specialists, choose to respect NPS score/scale. There’s no point in trying to create multiple variations of the way you calculate NPS, otherwise every company would end up with a different way of calculating NPS, defeating the whole purpose of a standard and consistent way of measuring.

As we all know, NPS was created (and is a trade mark) by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company, and Satmetrix. And the way it is calculated and measures is well explained in the official site – with Detractors (0-6), Passives (7-8) and Promoters (9-10).

What are your thoughts? Are you using the official NPS scale or diverting from it?

3 principles to improve survey experience

On my blog post Break the fourth wall to improve survey experience I touched on the importance of Personalisation when it comes to design and build customer feedback surveys. But there are other things you should pay attention to, if you are truly interested in gathering your customers’ opinion.

KISS – Keep it simple

It is extremely important to follow the KISS principle and keep surveys simple. Often, we receive long and wordy surveys, which immediately put us off. We don’t have time, nor patience, to reply to lengthy questionnaires – Forrester recommends relational surveys to have no more than 15 questions, and transactional ones to have up to 10 questions.

Not long ago I received a survey invitation from Ryanair, in which they said it would take “no more than 5 minutes” of my time. But as soon as I got into the survey, I was advised it was not going to take “more than 10 minutes”. If I was already put off by the initial expectation, I surely was angry with the fact that it as misleading.

(Note: that was not the only reason I ended up not responding to the survey. The truth is that I don’t trust Ryanair’s intentions when it comes to VoC and CX, and I don’t believe they listen or care about customer’s opinions).

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KITTP – Keep it to the point

It is important to follow the KITTP principle (just made it up!) and keep surveys to the point. If it is transactional, ask for satisfaction, touch-point, effort or resolution. If it is relational, add questions around brand, product or competition. But make sure you avoid cluttering the survey with further questions, and don’t try to do market research in customer feedback surveys.

Surveys should be engaging and enticing. And that only happens if they’re objective and to the point. Ideally, surveys are effortless and fun to complete. You can use tactics like telling a story or using emojis. But don’t go off in tangents and stick to the questions that really matter and will surface valuable insight.

Same applies to the email invitations. It is not unusual to see survey invitations that not only lack the company’s branding, but also contain too much text. Bin, is their immediate destiny. Don’t try and shoot two birds with one stone putting marketing messages or up/cross-selling , in a customer feedback survey invitation.

KIC – Keep it consistent

Lastly, it is crucial to follow the KIC principle (there I go, making up even more acronyms!) and keep it consistent. Avoid at all cost having silos in your organisation (departments, teams, etc.) sending surveys using different platforms, branding or, even worse, different or wrong scales.

(Note: For heaven’s sake, if it is not in a 0 to 10 scale, it is not NPS!)

Make sure you have a joint approach to customer experience, and consistent customer feedback initiatives. Use a platform that allows you to enable and deploy different voice-of-the-customer initiatives, in various channels, but at the same time ensures consistency across those initiatives and data gathered.

CX Chat – Closing the loop with the customer

Every Wednesday a group of Customer and Employee Experience enthusiasts joins #CXChat, a twitter chat hosted by @annettefranz and @sueduris. This chat is for CX and EX professionals to connect, learn and share best practices. And every week it has a new topic.

Two weeks ago the topic was Closing the loop with the customer on feedback and other items. A very interesting topic around which Sue and Annette launched a series of questions for discussion. Very interesting discussions and opinions were shared, which you can see here.

This topic is dear to me, so I participated and shared my points of view. Some of which you can see below (apologies for some misspelling, but I was using my smartphone).

Q1. What does closing the loop with the customer mean?

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Q2. What is the importance of/are benefits to closing the loop with the customer? How does it help the customer experience?

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Q3. What are examples of companies failing to close the loop with customers?

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Q4. Can you measure whether you’re doing a good job with closing the loop with the customer? How can you tell?

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Q5. What are examples of companies effectively closing the loop with customers?

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Q6. If your CEO asked you to define a good closed loop process and provide best practices on how to manage it, what would you tell him/her?

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Q7. Closing the loop on customer feedback isn’t just about following up with customers. How does your company close the loop with employees?

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Q8. What are best practices for closing the loop with employees?

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My X4 Experience

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Qualtrics is definitely at the forefront in the Experience Management (XM) space, and the CEO (Ryan Smith) wants the Qualtrics XM platform to become the “system of record for Experience Management teams, practitioners and specialists“.

It was, therefore, no surprise that X4 Summit (Qualtrics annual conference, which took place two weeks ago in Salt Lake City, Utah) was absolutely fantastic. I had an outstanding experience, at all levels.

The venue was very good, located in downtown Salt Lake City, walking distance from hotels, restaurants, shops and pubs. The layout of the conference was well planned, making it easier to get around and find all you needed.

All staff (in particular the Dream Team) were incredible. The Qualtrics employees welcoming clients and partners, facilitating sessions and delivering hands-on workshops were excellent.

But above all, the speakers were absolutely outstanding. They delivered sterling sessions, sharing knowledge and invaluable insights, presenting what they have done in their organisations, enabled by Qualtrics.

Among these, were the keynote speakers, who delivered some astonishing and inspirational stories. Arianna Huffington, Alex Honnold, Tony Hawk or Magic Johnson, were some of my favourites. Ryan Smith, and his brother Jared, were also fantastic.

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I had the chance to attend, on behalf of Capventis, and was delighted to see it, among a strict list of 10 partners (worldwide), named by the CEO in his keynote speech, as a pioneer partner, in the Qualtrics Partner Network.

Qualtrics considers partners “expert with deep industry knowledge, experience, and insights” and states they were “carefully selected by for their unique domain expertise and XM offering” trusting them to give Qualtrics clients “world-class support”.

This was music to my ears, and a recognition of the work that our team has been doing in the last 2 years, helping organisations implement change and deliver better experiences, leveraging the power of the Qualtrics XM platform, and using it as an enabler.

Among those organisations are some that presented at X4 Summit, like Michelin or Allianz, who had some inspiring stories, innovative initiatives and simply great experiences to share with the audience that filled the breakout session rooms.

Seeing some of my fellow CXPA members and CCXP professionals, was also a highlight. As was taking the opportunity to do a couple of exams – in the Experience Basecamp – and attain two certifications (RC Core Expert and CX Expert).

For those who really love the XM platform, the highlight of the week was definitely when Ryan and Jared presented the new suite of IQ Products (by the way, it was the best technology demo I have seen in any software vendor conference).

The latest version of Qualtrics iQ brings the iQ Directory and Predict iQ to complement the already known Text iQ, Stats iQ and Driver iQ, creating “a set of advanced intelligent features built directly into the Qualtrics XM Platform. Powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence” and making “predictive intelligence and statistical analysis accessible for the rest of us”.

To supplement all of this great activity, Qualtrics put on an astonishing show in the evenings, for all the 7,000 attendees to network, socialise and have some fun. A Casino night, a skating performance by Tony Hawk (9 time gold medallist in X-Games), Andy McDonald (8 time gold medallist in X-Games) and a few others, a Maroon 5 concert in the final night, and a Ski Day in the final day of the conference.

Digital Experience Disillusion

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There is an illusion, in the world of business, that makes companies believe that they’re innovating or ahead of the curve, in terms of delivering digital experiences, just because they’re investing in new digital platforms or channels – be it websites, kiosks, or mobile apps. I come across this almost on a daily basis. The truth is that those things alone won’t put your company at the forefront, or perform the so-called “digital transformation” in isolation.

If you want to deliver outstanding digital experiences, you need to understand that to engage customers digitally, you must do it in a way that is meaningful and personalised. And for that, it is absolutely crucial that you understand the human being on the other side of the screen. The values, principles, aspirations, preferences, and behaviours of the person that is interacting with your company.

Furthermore, you must do it in a way that is contextual, from two perspectives. Not only from a device or site perspective – because there is significant differences when it comes to deliver experiences on a website or a mobile app; on a laptop or a smartphone – but also from a cultural perspective – because people around the world have very distinct lifestyles, habits, customs and beliefs.

No company was able to get it right first time. Nor able to get it right at some point, and keep it unchangeable. And neither will you. It just doesn’t work that way. The world and the societies we live in, are mutable, constantly changing and developing. So it is extremely important that you put in place a program that allows you to continuously gather, research, monitor and improve your knowledge of your customers and their expectations.

That is precisely why it is key that you collect Experience Data (e.g. Voice-of-Customer, Voice-of-Employee). And then blend it with Operational Data (e.g. Orders, Transactions, Tickets). Analyse, make sense of the data, find trends/drivers, and deliver actionable insights. Which will allow you to design new and improved experiences, that you can then enable with digital platforms, and deliver via digital channels.