SIX CRITICAL CAPABILITIES TO BUILD A CUSTOMER-CENTRIC ORGANISATION

Six Critical Customer Experience Capabilities

A question we are often asked is "how do we improve our internal customer experience and capabilities?"

Building a customer-centric organisation seems like a simple task. You prioritise your customers, collect their feedback on your services, build them into your business from the ground up and reap the rewards of greater customer satisfaction and retention.

However, with more than 50 billion connected devices expected to be active globally by 2020, the amount of data can be overwhelming. Turning that immense amount of multi-channel data into actionable business insights requires a company to build a specific set of customer capabilities.

In this month's newsletter we look at the six critical customer capabilities, what common questions they answer and which companies have already benefited from implementing them.

 

Capability 1. Voc, Customer Insight and Understanding

One of the common questions asked about customer centricity is how do I collect customer data? and it’s also one of the most common mistakes. The key to generating customer insights is collecting the right data and having the capability to convert it into genuine customer insights.


Voc Essentials

- Design and implement voice of customer programs, including unsolicited experience feedback from customers. 

- Identify and map significant customer touch-points in the customer experience.

- Gather input from employees about customer experiences and opportunities for improvement.

- Analyse VOC feedback drawn from sources to identify customer pain points and opportunities to improve and differentiate.


LEGO is an excellent example of the benefits of correctly implemented VOC. Their Mission to Space campaign provided the customer with the ability to create user-generated content based on their interests.

By allowing the customer to be part of their content ecosystem, LEGO ensured that they were meeting customer expectations and were able to translate customer interests into actionable design ideas.
 

 

Capability 2. Experience Design and Improvement

Generating and analysing the right feedback is just the start of the process; a recent survey found that 75 percent of companies are only collecting or analysing data without deriving actionable results.

Vital to building a customer-centric organisation is integrating customer insights with an agile experience design process, able to adapt to the changing needs for your customer base.
 

Experience Design Essentials

- Establish and follow a well-defined design process each time an experience is created or changed.

- Use customer insights to define and prioritise experience requirements and opportunities for improvement, while using journey mapping to improve most relevant moments of truth.

- Assess, document, track, and report resolution of experience gaps across touch points.

- Use iterative ideation and prototyping to engage customers and employees in the co-creation of enhanced or innovative experiences.


Our own experience with Optus corroborates this. During the design of their ‘Future State Customer Strategy’ we produced:

- 25 customer pathways -  to provide detailed ideas and implementation

- 17 mindset shifts -  to help Optus think differently

- 12 customer expectations -  to ensure new products add value

- 8 personas  - to help staff empathise with their different customers

- 8 design principles - to guide product and service development

- An end to end lifecycle  - that showed the Ideal Journey

- A design manual  - to help with future decision making

- A portfolio - to help communicate the outcomes

Using our flexible design to plan future customer experiences allowed Optus to accelerate their ability to become Australia’s most loved and recommended service brand.

To download the comprehensive list of capabilities click here 


 

Capability 3. Customer Experience Strategy (CES)

Essential to the development of an effective Customer Experience Strategy is the concept of granularity. Each customer journey is made up of multiple customer interactions, and each of those interactions requires a specific strategy.

Another critical factor is the human contact aspect. Despite the huge numbers of digital contact channels available, customers still value the human touch. 

Integrating consistent human interaction into your Customer Strategy ensures customers feel as if they are being treated as an individual, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
 

Customer Experience Strategy Essentials

- Define a customer experience strategy that describes the intended customer experience, its linkage to overall corporate objectives, and its alignment with the organisation's brand values and attributes.

- Develop experience principles and specific employee behaviours and interactions that reflect brand values and organisational mission.

- Articulate the operating plan, investments, and tactics for programmatic components of the CEX (Customer Experience Management) strategy.

- Communicate and engage employees at all levels of the organisation in the elements of the CEX strategy.


When designing Virgin Mobile's Customer Strategy, we were able to identify that, while each customer wanted to be treated as an individual, they also wanted consistency in their interactions. Our 30 actionable initiatives formed the basis of their new customer engagement model.


 

Capability 4. Customer-Centric Culture

Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than those without a customer-focused culture. So it’s no surprise that it has become a buzzword.

What is surprising is the number of organisations that still make fundamental mistakes when trying to implement customer-centricity.

One of the most common is assuming that customer experience is only relevant to customer-facing roles. To build a genuinely customer-centric culture, there needs to be an emphasis on educating all employees on how they play a vital role in the customer experience.
 

Customer-Centric Essentials

- Drive employee engagement and involvement — from the front lines to the executive suite.

- Develop and deliver ongoing CEX interaction training to employees.

- Develop communication strategies and tactics to share the importance of CEX with
employees, customers, and the company.

- Collect and share stories of CEX excellence at your company.


By developing a deep understanding of the typical end-to-end journey of Gumtree users, we were able to create an extensive package of customer-centric tools and reference materials. These tools allowed Gumtree staff, at all levels, to help build and deliver the ideal customer journey. 

To download the comprehensive list of capabilities click here
 


Capability 5. Organisational Adoption and Accountability

Having taken steps to put in place the framework of a customer-centric culture, it is vital to fuel ongoing confidence at all levels of the business.

Having clear first steps in the customer experience process allows team members to integrate new customer-centric initiatives with their other responsibilities.

Customer experience champions can evangelise customer-centricity while sharing compelling opportunities to ensure ongoing commitment.

By intrinsically linking staff to specific customer experiences, organisations can encourage emotional investment in CEX, leading to quicker adoption.


Adoption and Accountability Essentials

- Align business goals with customer-focused culture

- Maintain a dedicated list of top customer experience improvements, including which senior executive is accountable for resolution

- Embed customer experience impact as a criterion for all business and investment decisions and Regularly review CEX metrics and feedback at all levels of the organisation.

- Introduce new processes and tools to improve customer experience


To effect a strategic overview of Sydney Water's residential customer experience, Proto Partners produced a roadmap of prioritised initiatives. This clarified the steps required to implement a more customer-centric culture, making adoption of the initiatives quicker and easier. 

 

 

Capability 6. Metrics, Measurements and ROI (Return On Investment) 

An essential step to maintaining momentum in customer-centric initiatives is the accurate capture and measurement of CEX data. 

Linking the effects of a customer-centric culture with business outcomes emphasises the benefits of CEX, leading to continued confidence in the initiatives.

Through the identification and analysis of CEX metrics, businesses can gain ongoing insights into customer needs and translate those into positive adjustments to the customer's journey. 
 

Metrics, Measurement and ROI Essentials

- Develop infrastructure and mechanisms to capture CEX data and identify key CEX metrics for tracking experience quality, satisfaction, and loyalty.

- Develop framework and linkage of improved experiences to business outcomes.

- Analyse and interpret results to derive customer insights and performance trends.

- Report results, insights, and recommended actions to improve.


Proto Partners led a recent NSW Government client through their first series of human-centred design workshops for their transformation program. The outcome of the prototyping has been exceptional:

Customer Impact (CX) 94% of all service requests are communicated within 5 days (previously 25%) 

Process Impact – time to decision 95% of Low Risk service requests are now communicated same day – 82% improvement (from 52% to 95%)

Policy impact (DMF) Applying the DMF enabled 81% of service requests to be classified as Low – this is an improvement from 56% 

DDC Customer Liaison Tracking to significant reductions in approval times (down from 62 days to 21 days for 38%)


Their Program Director goes on to say:

"The icing on the cake for me was that Proto Partners captured all of the insights from the customer workshops into an organisational asset that we now use as an integral part of our toolkit for training and briefing new team members."

This demonstrates the importance of building internal frameworks and an engaged workforce. A service we are seeing increased appetite for. As such we have developed a new product that helps internal teams build their CX skills and capabilities through a structured 6/12 month program that:

1. Conducts a CX capability audit
2. Delivers monthly in person training/capability workshops
3. Provides online access to over 70 different research /ideation/ prioritisation CX tools
4. Provides Visual Design resource to bring your internal CX programs to life. 

If you are interested in building a customer-centric organisation through this approach would like to benchmark your organisation against these six capabilities, drop us an email by clicking the button below or call us on 02 8001 6119 to find out how we can help your organisation deliver outstanding customer experience. 

In our next newsletter, we will share with you a case study of a CX Maturity Assessment we undertook for one of our clients and the benefits it deliver for organisations who invest in undertaking a CX Assessment.

Posted on November 13, 2017 .

Customer Journey Map 101: Part 3 - WHAT PROBLEMS DOES CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAPPING SOLVE?

PART THREE

In this three-part series, we deep dive into Customer Journey Maps - a super useful tool for understanding your customers' biggest problems and how to solve them. In today's article, you will learn the basics of what a Customer Journey Map is and how you can use it.

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series on Customer Journey Mapping, we established the importance of Customer Journey Mapping to your business and the anatomy of high-performance Customer Journey Maps. Now, In Part 3, we will be highlighting the positive impact an integrated Customer Journey Mapping program can have on companies just like yours.

Never underestimate the power of good Customer Experience (CX) design. It's been transformational for many of our clients. These clients were precisely where you are now: looking up at the mountain of challenges and goals, and wondering how on earth they would overcome them.

With our help, they committed themselves to the outcome they wanted, and now they're reaping the benefits.

Here are some examples of Customer Experience problems we helped to solve by implementing the principles of Customer Journey Mapping.
 

Eliminating Frustrating Call Center Interactions

The Problem

  • Dealing with over 500,000 interactions per year, the call centres of a large telecommunications company were experiencing high customer churn and universally negative feedback.
     
  • The company itself wanted to move beyond a price-based strategy to attract and retain a growing share of customers. As part of this, they wanted to increase customer advocacy by eliminating the frustrating elements of their call centre experience.   

The Solution

  • By mapping the Customer Journey, we were able to identify the critical components of a great customer interaction and the characteristics and behaviours of an excellent customer service representative. 
     
  • Using customer research tools to focus on both staff and operational processes, we were able to identify that the 41 point phone call checklist was too restrictive and was removing the sense of warm human engagement from customer interactions. 
     
  • We developed a 6-month training program with their call centre in Manila, which included the teaching of ideal call flows, customer experience scorecards, grading standards and explanatory videos.

The Benefits

  • By simplifying and personalising the customer experience, we helped the customer achieve their customer churn reduction targets and exceed customer satisfaction targets to +25 NPS. Providing a dynamic and personalised experience throughout the customer journey is key to maintaining a positive customer experience. By implementing Customer Journey Mapping, we were able to remove the factors that were preventing that kind of experience, all while stripping out more than 20% of our service costs in under 12 months.

Improving Customer Engagement

The Problem

  • A sizeable Australian superannuation company wanted to improve their customer engagement. Companies that lack consistent customer engagement lose the opportunity to generate loyalty, sales and insights from customer feedback.

The Solution

  • Through the Customer Journey Mapping process, we were able to step into the shoes of the customer across a number of touchpoints and channels. This allowed us to empathise with how they experienced the company and what measures we could take to enhance that experience.
  • Once the interactions were mapped, we were able to identify key factors that prevented the delivery of a ‘Wow the Customer' experience. We highlighted insights, emotions and areas of opportunity which would allow the client to improve their customer's journey significantly.

The Benefits

  • As a result of integrating our insights into their customer strategy, our client was able to provide, inspiration and guidance to their employees to improve their customer engagement. This ultimately led to them delivering on their customer's idea of a ‘Wow' experience. 

Upgrading The Onboarding Process

The Problem

  • One of Australia's four largest banks was looking to create an onboarding process which would encourage new customers to sign on for additional services.
     
  • With almost 1200 branches, many different service offerings, wide-ranging distribution channels and multiple communication and feedback channels, the customer journey had become overly complicated. This prevented the bank from offering a personalised and straightforward onboarding process that highlighted its range of additional services.

The Solution   

  • We conducted an in-depth customer survey of 1555 responses, listened to 300 customer phone calls and spoke to over 40 internal and external customers. This allowed us to thoroughly map the Customer Journey and identify significant insights that became the basis of a new customer engagement framework.

The Benefits

  • As a result of improving the Customer Journey Mapping process, three key focus areas were identified which would vastly improve the likelihood that a new customer would switch to a more expansive and valuable transactional banking relationship. This ultimately led to the creation of a new all-inclusive credit card to better meet both the client's and their customers' needs.

Empowering Staff Engagement

The Problem

  • A large Australian cinema operator wanted to create customer loyalty by empowering their staff to consistently deliver an outstanding customer experience that was meaningful and relevant. 
     
  • This plan required a clearer understanding of the current reality for their customers and team, increasing the customer experience capability of the frontline team and gaining alignment across the organisation.

The Solution

  • Through the Customer Journey Mapping process we discovered four significant themes which now form the basis of the client's new customer strategy. By studying their customer's needs, they were able to differentiate themselves from their competitors by providing an excellent customer experience.
     
  • The key driver in this strategy was to empower their 3,000 staff, which allowed them to deliver the ideal cinema experience to their customers in 75,000 seats across 600 locations.

The Benefits

  • By understanding what matters to their customers and communicating it to their staff, our client was able to move from a purely transactional model to an experiential one. Ensuring that an ‘outstanding customer experience' is an essential part of any business leads to increased customer loyalty.

If you can relate to these situations within your own business, get in touch to get started before you lose more time.

Do you distinguish your customers, their needs and how you can best deliver them? Do you value relevant insights? Are they part of your CX strategy? 

That all sounds pretty simple right? 

Now think about how many different types of customers you have and how many touch-points they use to connect with you. Perhaps it’s not so simple after all.

Companies who excel as customer-centric organisations show 6 distinct characteristics. These characteristics provide a clear framework for you to base your actions on, and their implementation has clear benefits which we will reveal in our next blog.

In the mean time if you have any questions about Customer Journey Mapping or would like to find out how you can get one for your organisation, email damian.kernahan@protopartners.com.au to receive more detailed information and pricing.

Posted on November 6, 2017 .

Customer Journey Map 101: Part 2 - THE ANATOMY OF A HIGH PERFORMING CJM

 

This is the second article in our series on Customer Journey Maps. In Part 1, we looked at why every business needs Customer Journey Maps and how they can be used to help businesses see through the eyes of their customers, develop empathy and take an outside-in approach.

Now we look at how to build a Customer Journey Map that's designed to inform the business on how to address customer needs.

Customer Journey Maps (CJM) are a powerful tool for understanding customers. They use design and graphics to tell the entire story of your customer's interactions with your organisation. They visualise the actions, thoughts and feelings of a customer through this journey. They invoke viewer empathy and help the organisation understand what it's like to walk in the customer's shoes.

The customer's story, told from their perspective, is a powerful tool for engaging business departments within an organisation who may be disengaged or disinterested in change programs. They can be used to create alignment and encourage collaboration across the whole organisation as it works towards a plan of attack for customer experience improvement.

The goals of a Customer Journey Map

When creating a Customer Journey Map, it's important to articulate the goals it needs to fulfil.

Many organisations have accumulated a great deal of research, particularly statistics based, (quantitative) research, which identifies customer problems. The task our clients struggle with is prioritising these problems. Which part of the journey should the organisation concentrate on solving first?

Seven ways Customer Journey Mapping helps address these questions:

•       Makes sense of quantitative data (statistics, math based research) –Quantitative data can only tell part of the story. It might tell you your customers are unhappy with their call centre experience. Digging deeper with qualitative research (surveys, interviews, mystery shoppers) will help you find out why.

•       Identifies main pain points and moments of truth ­– The addition of qualitative research will help understand the emotional drivers of customers unhappiness and pinpoint the key moments on the journey which cause the most pain.

•       Identifies areas of greatest opportunity for change and improvement The areas of most pain for customers and their moments of truth are clearly the areas in need of most improvement and where the greatest opportunities lie.

•       Gives clarity on why customers behave the way they do – Customer behaviour is not always rational. Sometimes it's motivated by deep emotional drivers that even the customers themselves aren't fully aware of. A Customer Journey Map can help identify these.

•       Is well designed for maximum impact and understanding – A Customer Journey Map is a map, and maps can be beautiful. Use this opportunity to illustrate with maximum impact exactly what your customers experience when they deal with you.

•       Prioritises opportunity areas – the Customer Journey Map matches key pain points/moments of truth along the customer journey with opportunities for improvement. Priorities are clarified and the plan for change becomes far more obvious. This prioritisation helps organisations focus on activities that will have the most positive impact on customers and result in the greatest return on investment.

•       Is flexible – a Customer Journey Map can focus on the entire customer journey, or do a deep dive into just one area. It can be designed to highlight a particular problem or to illustrate more general issues. It could describe an existing journey or a future, ideal journey. Your organisational needs will dictate its design.

A well-designed Customer Journey Map provides guidance for the creation of a roadmap for change. This roadmap is the key to helping organisations reap the financial benefits of providing customers with amazing customer experiences. This could be seen as increased customer satisfaction via positive Net Promotor Score (NPS) results, increases in sales, reduced churn, reduced costs of servicing customers and happier, more fulfilled staff. 

The Elements of a Customer Journey Map
 

Customer Journey Maps have three main elements: a perspective, an experience and findings and insights.

1.     The Perspective - The perspective of the journey map is the person for whom this journey is designed for (persona/actor) and the goal they're trying to achieve. For example, it could be a bank customer being on-boarded for their new credit card.

In our experience, we've found taking the journey of a typical customer and mapping this process allows coverage of 70-80% of issues across a number of personas.

Alternatively, a Customer Journey Map can be broken down by persona. This will help you understand the similarities and differences across different persona journeys. You can use these findings to prioritise high value personas.

2.    The Experience - The specific experience being mapped. This is the core of the journey and catalogues every customer action, thought and emotional experience. To make it feel real and increase customer empathy, it should contain verbatims (direct comments from customers), videos and images gathered from the research.

3.     The Findings and Insights - This is the part of the Customer Journey Map used to transform insight into profits. What key learnings and insights has your research uncovered? Based on these, what are the opportunities to move ahead with? What significant pain points were discovered? Which insights can now be put to practical use so internal teams can begin to meet customer needs?

The requirements for a Customer Journey Map

1.     Qualitative research – adding deep qualitative research like surveys, interviews and observations to your existing research will fill in the gaps existing (quantitative) research won't cover. It may also validate areas where the results of quantitative research are not clear. Different types of research work together to increase the quality of insights

2.     Storytelling – the power of customer stories gathered in building the Customer Journey Map cut through organisational noise and clarify which actions are needed. When the voice of the customer is expressed loudly (and actively listened to), the path to change becomes far clearer.

3.    Collaboration ­– Collaborating with stakeholders within the organisation will help develop a direction for customer experience. It will also establish engagement across the business for the key task: improving the customer journey.

4.    The right design – Customer Journey Maps should be designed to communicate with their intended audience. They should be simple and functional, not overly complex or full of tricks.

5.     Prioritisation – Understanding the key moments of truth and areas of opportunity that appear along the journey makes it simpler to prioritise exactly what customers value. Attention and resources can be focused in the direction of priorities, maximising return on investment.

6.    Assessment of responsibility – Use the Customer Journey Map to assign ownership of customer experience to everyone within your organisation. Use it to illustrate, illuminate and educate your people so they can work towards creating an amazing experience for your customers.

Customer Journey Maps are a wonderful tool and an enlightening project for any business interested in making their customer experience less OK or good and more delightful and amazing.

To learn more about how this powerful tool and how it can help, click the button below! 
 


Next week we will cover the problems that Customer Journey Mapping help solve

In the mean time if you have any questions about Customer Journey Mapping or would like to find out how you can get one for your organisation, email damian.kernahan@protopartners.com.au to receive more detailed information and pricing.

Posted on October 31, 2017 and filed under Customer Journey Mapping.

Customer Journey Map 101: Part 1 - WHAT IS CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAPPING AND WHY DO I NEED IT?

In this three part series, we deep dive into Customer Journey Maps (CJM) - a super useful tool for understanding your customers' biggest problems and how to solve them.
In today's article, you will learn the basics of what a CJM is and how you can use it.

The key to creating business value is to develop a compelling customer value proposition that delivers real value. Truly understanding the needs and preferences of customers, as well as their behaviour along the customer journey, is essential to you achieving a successful business strategy.

The term ‘customer experience’ is commonly associated with how customers interact with a business and its services on a transactional level, at each interaction or touch point. In response, many organisations structure each department’s responsibilities towards specific interactions with customers, and accountability falls to them for any issues that arise. It seems a sensible approach, and a growing number of companies are working hard to keep customers happy in this way, with each department striving to provide a quality product alongside excellent sales and post sale customer service. 

The challenge with this method is that it’s disjointed. The customer’s experience, when divided up across departments and individual touch-points, misses the bigger, overall picture: the customer’s end-to-end journey and experience as a whole with your organisation.

By taking their customer’s viewpoint and walking with them through their journey, businesses can begin to understand and empathise with what their customers truly value and learn how to best unlock this value (and improve their service) in future. 


What is a Customer Journey Map?

Have you ever tried to list the range of services your organisation offers? Do you ever struggle to articulate exactly what it offers? Does your organisation talk a lot about ‘putting customers first’, or ‘keeping them at the heart of your service delivery’ but you’re not sure what this means? 

What do these ‘throw away’ phrases mean to a real customer interacting with your organisation across multiple touch-points?

Say hello to your new pal, Customer Journey Maps! Or CJM's for short…

Optus CJM.jpg

Simply put, a Customer Journey Map tells the story of your customer’s experience from their first interaction with the organisation through to the end. 

Kerry Bodine, author of 'Outside-In' says that “Journey maps are diagrams that visualise the actions, thoughts, and feelings of a person or group over time.”
The secret ingredient to creating outstanding experiences for your customers is to understand their perspective. Only then do you have the information to design an improved experience they will truly value.

A customer journey map helps identify areas of friction, creates empathy, and really does keep customers at the heart of every interaction during their journey with you. 

What makes a customer journey map highly valuable is its process. Creating one requires you to perform detailed customer research that leads to compelling customer-centric stories that can be visualised along the journey.

What is the value of a Customer Journey Map and why should I have one?

These days the voice of the customer should be the loudest one in any business. The impression you make on each and every customer is of enormous importance.

The true value of customer journey maps lies in their ability to invoke empathy. They bring real human experiences to light, those that organisations often overlook, whether the experiences of internal staff or external customers. They are also a great tool to provide a clear view of the organisation’s overarching customer strategy.   

Customer journeys can be long, stretching across multiple channels and touch-points, and span over days, weeks, even months. Interactions could include your customer on-boarding process, problem resolution in the contact centre, how customer enquiries are handled and how quickly calls are answered. 

In our nine years of experience, we have found the main pitfall for organisations is their failure to understand the full context of their customers’ experience. The flow-on effects of a disjointed end-to-end experience can be dramatic: the reality could be hundreds of calls to the contact centre, increased customer churn, loss of sales, falling staff morale and employee Net Promotor Score (NPS). 

At the other end of the spectrum, we have found companies who have nailed the art of customer understanding and prioritising the things they value. These organisations reap the benefits of increased customer satisfaction via positive NPS, increasing sales, reductions in attrition and reduced service costs. They also have happier staff, who feel they are having an impact, changing customer’s lives for the better instead of just being a cog in the wheel. 

CJM's have the power to:

Shift company perspective - CJM’s help you understand your organisation’s internal happenings and its external impact. You’ll refocus from inside-out to outside-in. 

Break down silos - CJMs make collaboration and communication within internal business units inevitable. This leads to better alignment of customer goals and helps create a united plan of attack to work towards them. 

Assign ownership - A lack of accountability along touch-points creates inconsistencies in service, ultimately diminishing the customer’s experience. CJMs assign tasks to the right staff and keep everyone in the organisation working towards the same target (happier customers!). 

Target customers - A CJM is essentially a heat-map of where customers are receiving good quality attention. Once you understand how and why, you can use this information to discover newer ways to appeal to a wider audience or customer base.

Help understand the numbers - CJMs help to uncover the why (qualitative) behind the what (quantitative data) for specific metrics. For example: What has caused the drop in mobile app downloads? 

Next week we will cover the anatomy of a Customer Journey Map and it's importance.

In the mean time if you have any questions about Customer Journey Mapping or would like to find out how you can get one for your organisation, email damian.kernahan@protopartners.com.au to receive more detailed information and pricing.

Posted on October 31, 2017 and filed under Customer Journey Mapping.

How to Interview Customers

What do you enjoy more?

1. Talking to a complete stranger

2. Trying to talk to someone who is sure busy and doesn't really want to talk to you

3. Talking to a complete stranger that has the potential to impact your bonus and hitting your KPI’s

I’m guessing No. 3 will pop up as the least favourite option for nearly everyone. What is it about making customer calls? Why would most people rather have an annual HR review after missing their sales target than pick up the phone and listen to what their customers have to say and listen to some suggestions of how they might go about solving them?

It’s most likely because they don't have a structured way of conducting the interview and/or, they haven’t had the training to really know how to sit back and listen. And I mean really listen to customers, not just to what they are saying to you, but what they are trying to signal to you, but maybe don't know how to say.

The tendency when “talking to customers” is to make a beeline for the solution. What did you like about our product, what didn't you like, was it to expensive? Less experienced interviewers ask a lot of “what” questions of customers and as aresult they get a lot of factual, logical reasons why customers say that they do what they do.

As it turns out, those aren’t the most important questions at all…they’re the most misleading. Recently while with one of our clients, their CEO asked their senior managers to start making calls to customers to find out why customers were leaving them. The Senior Managers were asked to make 15 calls each and report back to the CEO what they found. No training, no real interview guides, just a firm belief that talking to customers will solve the problem. 

And he is partially correct, at least his intent is. Getting out of the building or making calls to customers can be a powerful tool to more deeply understand why customers are doing what they are doing. And what you can do to improve their experience.

How can you make Customer Interviews a powerful tool rather than a superficial one?

The key is that it is not about your product or service at all, its actually all about the customer and the good news is that we don't have to defend our product or why we did what we did. We just have to listen. And we have to listen deeply. Our goal when interviewing is to learn and learn as much as we can. When it comes to improving the Service Experience and Service Innovation, the answers lie in solving our customers biggest problems. When we do that and we help them understand how our product or service will deliver relief to that problem, sales naturally grow, customers stay longer and complain less.

 

Getting Started

Before picking up the phone, brief yourself on the customer and what you want to find out. It helps to write out what you are going to ask including. Be prepared for a long interview, customers love to talk/rant and you are there to listen! Let them tell their stories and do not worry about the time because we want to get the most value out of the call as possible. There will be customers who are not interested and that’s ok.

Here are some tips for Customer Interviews via phone call:

• Ask open questions rather than closed questions: ie Instead of asking “Was it frustrating to use the website?” (yes/no answer), ask “What was it like using the website?” (long ended question)

• Sit back (this helps you to relax a bit and talk calmly)

• Smile! It will come through your voice.

• Talk to them like a friend, don’t sound like a robot!

• Really listen to them, follow up on bits in their story to find out more and show that you’re interested.

• Do not interrupt a story

• Use their language and relate to them:

ie. If they are older, speak up and slowly (but do not patronise them!

• Ask WHY?! HOW?!?

• Be neutral! You are not there on this phone call to represent the product so you do not need to be apologetic, but be sympathetic. Tell the customer that you will assure that their voice is heard, that they matter and that you are there for that very reason.

• Don’t make assumptions.

• Take note of when you call someone and how many times (eg. missed calls)

• Leave a message if you need the call urgently (optional)

• If you are going to be calling them back, make sure you have the right time and day to call and the correct/preferred number.

• If you can get their permission to record it, thats even better. It gives you the opportunity to have a real conversation and type up your notes later, rather than writing and missing what they have to say.

If you would like to use our guide on How to Interview Customers, click here to access it.

 

One more thing

Is your organisation looking to build internal capability in Customer Experience and designing new and better services? We have developed a new offer to help you achieve this faster.  Our offer is to come and work full time as part of your team for an 8 to 12 week period, map your customer journeys, start implementing improvements and help you build a customer centric capability and culture.

What do you get?

A Customer Experience Maturity Assessment using a simplified version of Forresters Six Disciplines Framework and an Action Plan to increase your CX Score.

Completed Future State Customer Journey Maps for your prioritised Journeys

A 12-18 month roadmap of prioritised customer initiatives that will drive significantly higher NPS and customer Advocacy.

Access to over 50 Service Design and CX tools and guides and examples of how to use them

A structured platform and implementation plan to deliver the Six Disciplines of Customer Experience

Your own full time coach and trainer who will actively build the capability of your entire team in how to understand, design and build product and services that will solve your customers biggest problems

All of this is supported by 10 years of experience in designing and delivering Customer Centric outcomes for major Australian organisations such as Optus, AMP, Westpac, News Limited and Virgin Mobile.

If you would like to find out more,  email damian.kernahan@protopartners.com.au to receive more detailed information and pricing.

Posted on November 24, 2016 .

Masterclass Slides for "Building a Competitive Customer Journey"

This week I want to share with you not only the value of mapping your customers journey, but even more importantly, share with you over 100 workshop slides for “Building a Competitive Customer Journey”. It’s a step by step guide on how to build a Customer Journey and enable you to run your own Customer Journey Workshops for your teams. Over 100 slides ready to go and be used to help build your own internal teams capability.

 

Read on if you find yourself facing these problems:

1. No visibility into how your customers feel and behave when they are interacting with your product/service 

2. Inability to identify what customers care about most when experiencing your product/service 

3. No visibility to how your customers are interacting with your product/service offering across different channels and contexts 

4. Multiple channels and functions of the organisation makes it incredibly difficult to provide a consistent and great customer experience each and every time 

5. When everything seems like a priority, it is a challenging task to filter out which customer experience initiatives are nice-to-haves and which ones are packed with customer and business impact

 

FOUR KILLER REASONS TO BUILD A COMPETITIVE CUSTOMER JOURNEY

It gives you the customer point of view

Customers go through more stages than just buying and using a product/service. The customer journey maps allow you to visualise the different complexities and nuances of their experience and demonstrates what the customer is thinking, wanting and doing as they engage with your product/service. With key interactions mapped across time, you will gain real insight into the journeys your customers take with you.

It reveals the truth

The customer journey map is based on the evidence of real research and raw customer opinion providing you with the freedom to explore new “truths” about your customers. To be able to provide a great customer experience, you cannot shy away from what is REALLY happening in your customers’ journey with you, the customer journey map helps you do just that.

It identifies obstacles, which are opportunities

The customer journey map reveals key customer pain points and negative moments of truth where process, system and service failures are revealed. This allows for the identification of the broken parts of the customer journey that requires urgent attention, also allowing you to visualise how large of an impact this will have on your customers’ journey if this problem was fixed.

It allows you to empathise with your customers

Customer feelings, motivations, wants and needs sits at the heart of all customer journey maps. By visualising the emotive side of your customers’ journey, the customer journey map encourages people across the organisation to consider and empathise with the customers’ feelings, questions and needs.

 

WHAT DETAILED OUTCOMES WILL I RECEIVE FROM BUILDING A COMPETITIVE CUSTOMER JOURNEY?

You understand what your customers truly want when they engage and interact with you 

Demonstrate how your customers feel and behave when interacting with your product/service 

Identify the “job” which your customers “hire” your product/service for - giving you insight into why exactly they need your product/service 

Determine problem and opportunity areas to improve the customer experience in the short and long run 

Prioritise ideas and initiatives to develop a roadmap to customer experience success 

Quantify how important these initiatives are and how much they can contribute to increased customer satisfaction scores across the customer journey 

Identify the positive business outcomes in investing into customer experience

 

Good luck with building your Competiitve Customer Journey, Click the image or the link below to access the Masterclass Workshop Slides.

 

Click here if you would like to access to our “Building a Competitive Customer Journey” Masterclass slides.

Posted on November 10, 2016 .