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.
I would really appreciate your feedback!. After years of speaking about the customer journey and the metrics to measure it, I am writing the book that will make the entire methodology available to entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Creating a truly remarkable customer experience has long been known as the competitive advantage that can transform your business results. But how does a business consistently provide this high-quality experience? What are the steps? How is a customer experience initiative measured? How does it improve the bottom line?
It has been just over three months since my son was dropped off for his first day of daycare. I handed him off to the child educator, kissed him and turned and walked out the door back to work, trying to ignore his wails and outstretched arms. His sister did the same thing for her first week, so I expected this reaction, but it is still a tough moment. It was tougher than it was with Harper because it had been just him and I for months, and I never had that time with her.
I suspect a lot of my takeaways from my time at home with the kids are similar to a lot of dads’ experiences that stay home: I connected with my kids more, became a more engaged dad (and remain a more engaged dad), really learned about managing the household, I became a better cook and I became a more supportive spouse (a fact I checked with my wife prior to publishing). Some days were long, some days were fast, I lost my composure a few times, and then the months flew by and the magical time was over.
Most of the time a communications crisis starts like this: a phone call, email, SMS or IM out of the blue “Hey, are you aware of this _____?”
If you are a leader and your organization is struck by a communication crisis what do you do? Often you did not expect it and you have not prepared for it.As the executive leader responsible for Marketing and Communications, when a communications crisis hits, it becomes my crisis. In today’s world one could substitute communication crisis with simply social media crisis (which can blow up into a full media communication crisis). The best way to handle a social media crisis is to know when it is coming, which means social media monitoring. If you are not monitoring social you really are blind to the mood of the market place. Get some tools (socialmention.com is free) and start listening. Beyond not being completely surprised by a when crisis hits, I follow some simple rules: the first one is to remember that every situation is an opportunity to create a positive brand impression as opposed to just damage control.
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.
As of September 5th I have been on parental leave. The responses I have received to this decision have been encouraging to the point in which I felt I needed to share. I have received hundreds of supportive messages from co-workers, vendors, friends and family regarding this decision. Mostly from males, and many stating they wished they had taken some time with their kids or they are proud of me for doing this. As text, IM, or email poured in with the continuing theme, I came to understand the response is a derivative of something deeper. Why were so many men wishing they had taken time, and why was I being congratulated for deciding to support my wife, become a better dad and live up to my ideals of equality in our society?
So I decided to do a little research and I was surprised and alarmed by what I discovered:
A little while ago I had to get a reference check for a non-profit board I serve on. I audibly groaned at the thought, but it needed to be done.
My perception versus the reality of what occurred was night and day, in fact I could say I was delighted by the experience with the Edmonton Police Service. Who says that?
Well I do, at least for this experience. In keeping with my desire to review a business every month (I missed August) against the four stages of the Customer Journey, I thought why not review a public service? To kick-start the critique, this is my Net Promoter Score for the EPS background check:
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?
In 2017, retail brands are scrambling to differentiate themselves. There is still some product exclusivity left but for the most part, product X can be replaced by product Y. This then just leaves price and the customer experience as ways for companies to stand out from their competitors. Customer experience is the key to making your customers loyal, and giving them a reason to pick your organization over the one down the road. In fact, if you are good enough, the customer will talk you up and tell their friends that if they need product X, go see Retailer ABC. If you are really good, the customer will become a promoter, a brand ambassador and is excited about doing business with you and receiving messages from you. The customer might even be delighted by any interaction with your retail brand. You may be thinking there isn't a company in the world that creates experiences that would invoke this kind of customer reaction; there is and that company is Disney.