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The Key to Cultivating Loyalty Part 2: Designing Great Experiences
By: Mary Dubrule September 10, 2019
Last month we shared a guest post by customer experience strategist, Jim Bass. In the first part of this two-part blog series, Jim emphasized why acting on customer feedback is so critical to cultivating brand loyalty.
In the following post, Jim shares a proven process for identifying and remedying issues by taking action on feedback.
Guest post by Jim Bass, Designing the Difference
As you prepare to take action, be sure the problem to solve is well-defined. Outside of a weak or non-existent change management plan or strategy, the top reason that CX initiatives fail is the lack of a clearly defined problem to solve. Without it, you and your team may find yourself “boiling the ocean” as you try to solve every problem. While every problem may be important and may need to be solved, “boiling the ocean” will slow and even halt progress. Quick wins and short-term goals help prevent managers and employees from being discouraged and giving up on the effort.
Selecting 1-3 problems to solve helps the business rally around them and see them to completion. Look for those quick wins that bring value to the customers and engages the employees. This approach ensures success of the current initiative and the next ones that follow.
Identify the Critical Problem(s) to Solve
Collect pain points
- Customer and employee surveys and interviews
- Data from service tickets, escalations and defect/enhancement requests
- Sales issues
- Advisory Boards
- Journey Maps
Categorize the pain points
- Service issues, product issues, process issues, delivery errors, etc.
- Use sub-categories to further define and quantify the pain points – which segment, product area, process step, etc.
Analyze the impact the pain points and potential solutions have on:
- Service ticket costs (to the customer and the business)
- Start/delivery delays/errors (confidence costs and $$)
- Employee morale
- Sales credits, etc.
Prioritize using an impact-cost matrix to determine which solutions deliver:
- High impact in a short amount of time (low cost)
- High impact over a longer period of time (high cost)
- Low impact in the short-term
- Low impact the long-term
Finalize the top, “quick win” problems to solve and define the measures of success. Keep the measures to a few, simple measures and metrics.
TIP: Improve the probability of success through buy-in and support from leaders, employees and customers. Engage them in these trust-building and relationship-building activities:
- Let them help define and prioritize the improvements
- Let them help shape the measures of success
- Let them name the project or initiative
- Regularly communicate progress to customers and employees
Change Management is critical to success
To achieve sustainable results, keep in mind that customer experience improvements are nothing more than change management initiatives on steroids. They require a meticulous, thorough change management plan and rigor. Implementing improvements requires a sincere desire and commitment to change from all levels of the organization. Diligent focus on “making change stick” is critical to the success of all CX improvement initiatives.
As you plan out your improvement initiative, thoroughly evaluate for potential change impacts to people, processes, products and technology. Create a robust change management plan that not only gets everyone on board and in agreement on the change(s), but also frequently monitors, measures and reports the change over a 12-18-month period. Plan to be agile and adjust the execution plan as needed.
When it comes down to taking action, be sure to think like a human… think like your customers and employees. Consider all the types of customers that are interacting with you. Their diversity spans not only nationality, ethnic and religious diversity, but also generational preferences, education, and economic influencers.
As you design the improvements, find out:
- What do your customers feel in the current state?
- What do you want them to feel or experience in the future? Why
- How will you know that you’ve succeeded?
Taking action on customer feedback is critical to improving customer experience. As you consider some of the concepts and activities I’ve described, don’t underestimate the value and critical importance of communication. Provide regular progress updates to your customers and employees. Let them continue shaping your vision and execution as you and they learn more.
My philosophy is great customer experiences don’t just happen… they are designed! The design of the solutions you implement will differentiate the experience your business delivers. Put considerable thought into them so that there is purpose and intent. Use a human-first design. Create positive emotional connections by building them it into the improvement design.
Design each touchpoint specifically with intent and purpose so the desired response, emotion or feeling is experienced. Don’t take any short cuts. Leverage all the tools and resources you have. Do everything you can to create an easy, effortless experience for your customers and employees. It won’t be easy, but your customers and employees will thank you for it in loyalty, re-purchase and word of mouth to their friends, family and colleagues.
Jim Bass is a Customer Experience Blogger at Designing the Difference
Jim Bass is a Customer Engagement Strategist in Alpharetta, GA with over 15 years’ experience designing customer experience at key moments of truth and critical touchpoints along the customer journey map. The bulk of his experience comes from 14 years at McKesson Corporation where he led customer support and advocacy, and 3 years at ADP where he currently manages survey operations and insight analysis for National Accounts.
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