As sure as the sun rises you will have a day when your organization did not provide an excellent customer experience. Customer experiences are delivered by people executing on processes supported by technology. Those three factors all fail at some point. People make mistakes, processes can not cover every scenario and technology…well as seamless as it continues to strive to be, there is still down time. Acceptance of these facts means you need to have a recovery system in place for when the failures happen.
What makes for a good recovery system?
A good system starts with the acknowledgment that organizations are made of people, and that people are not perfect. Therefore, mistakes will happen. How an organization deals with a mistake is often more important than the mistake itself.
Today as I look at the overall retail and service landscape, I see organizations failing to meet customer expectations. The list of storied brands shutting down locations is enormous. In 2017 alone, over 5,000 stores of major retailers were closed: Sears and Kmart closed 358 stores, JC Penney 138 stores, Macy’s 68 stores, Payless Shoes emerged from it’s Chapter 11 restructuring with almost 1,000 fewer stores, and the list goes on and on.
Recently, I experienced a very effective marketing experience that was seamlessly connected to the start of the sales process. I have to admit I was impressed; until I went to the physical location and was immersed in their in-store experience.
So what happened?
I was triggered by a radio ad for an item I am considering purchasing.
Sherry has dedicated her professional life to helping other succeed. She does this through her organization Invest in You in partnership with the Disney Institute.
Her Mission: Empowering people through inspirational learning experiences
With the support of Alberta Chambers of Commerce, Sherry Kennett-Shmyr founded Invest In You Today in 2015 with a mission to make the Walt Disney’s world class excellence training available and affordable in Western Canada to help empower people through inspirational learning experiences.
Many will say a great customer journey is accomplished with great customer service at every touch point of that journey. Many experts say that creating a great customer experience is simple, you just need to genuinely care about your customer. If it’s so simple, why are so many brands falling down? Perhaps it is because they are not gathering the objective facts measuring their customer journey. Case in point: 80% of companies believe they deliver superior customer service but only 8% of people believe these same companies deliver superior customer service (source: Lee resources). This is a massive disconnect which I believe is occurring because the customer journey is not being measured and looked at as a whole.
In an effort to further study the Customer Journey, I have taken observations beyond the myopic environment of the brands I serve to the broader marketplace. I am proposing a monthly review of a business where I will describe how the customer journey was for me and critique the four stages of the customer journey. If you need a reminder of the four stages of the customer journey, it is outlined in this blog.
This week I am starting with a B2C service brand. To kick start the critique, this is my Net Promoter Score for the brand in question:
On a scale of 1- 10; 1 being the least likely and 10 being the most likely, how likely are you to recommend this brand to friends, family and colleagues?
Unless you have been living under a rock, all organizations know that focusing on customer experience is the single initiative that brands can do to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and create value. This need is not just for service or retail organization but all organizations, including fabrication, manufacturing even the non profit sector. An entire industry has developed around teaching customer service to organizations. The challenge for a lot of organizations has been measuring the entire customer experience with metrics that can be referred to and improved upon. The entire customer journey can now be measured, in fact as you will see in this talk it has been codified.
As I look at the retail and service landscape, I see organizations failing to meet customer expectations. The reasons are many: the customer can now educate themselves better than what most in-store representatives can provide. A retail store is limited by the brands they offer versus the brand that a customer may want. The store itself is inconvenient; you have to travel to a location on your own time, often off route. Layer on top of this average customer service at best and it is easy to understand why customers are trying to go direct to brand or heading to e-commerce in ever increasing numbers. E-commerce as a channel for service is creating an issue in and of itself for brands. While booking services online is a convenience for the customer, fierce cost comparisons are driving prices down and customer service training and staffing tend to get cut to remain price competitive.
There is more focus on customer experience now than ever before. Interestingly enough, when you read why brands are focusing on the customer experience the reasons given are more excuses or accusations. What we're not seeing are brands aspiring to have a great customer experience because that's what best for their business. Typical reasons given include the following: