Report: Tech Vendor NPS Benchmark, 2015 (B2B)

1509_IT_NPSBenchmark_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, Tech Vendor NPS Benchmark, 2015, The research examines Net Promoter Scores and the link to loyalty for 62 tech vendors based on feedback from IT decision makers in large North American organizations. We also compared overall results to our benchmarks from the previous three years. Here’s the executive summary:

To examine the link between Net Promoter Scores® (NPS®) and loyalty, we surveyed 800 IT decision-makers from large North American firms to learn about their relationships with their technology providers. Of the 62 tech vendors we evaluated, SAS Institute, HP outsourcing, and Intel earned the highest NPS, while Accenture, CA Technologies, and Hitachi received the lowest. Overall, the tech vendor industry’s average NPS jumped to 31.8 in 2015—an increase of more than eight points—after two straight years of declining scores. Our analysis shows that promoters are much more likely than detractors to spend more money with tech vendors, try new products and services when they are announced, and forgive their tech vendors after a bad experience. Our results also revealed that SAS Institute and Cognizant outsourcing were the top companies for purchase momentum, IBM SPSS and Intel have the highest Temkin Innovation Equity Quotient, and HP outsourcing and Intel scored the highest in the Temkin Forgiveness Ratings.

The report includes graphics with data for NPS, purchase intentions, likelihood to forgive, and likelihood to try a new offering. The excel spreadsheet includes this data (in more detail) for the 62 companies as well as for 25 other tech vendors with less than 40 pieces of feedback. It also includes the summary NPS scores from 2014.

Download report for $695
(includes Excel spreadsheet with data)
BuyDownload3

As you can see in the chart below, the NPS ranges from a high of 57 for SAS Institute down to  a low of 1 for Accenture consulting.

1509_TechNPS_Listing

After declining for the past two years, the industry average NPS increased to 31.8 this year, almost reaching the level from our initial study in 2012. The research also includes data for Purchase Momentum (how much customers are planning to buy), Temkin Forgiveness Ratings (likelihood of customers to forgive after a bad experience), and Temkin Innovation Equity Quotient (likelihood of customer to try a new offering). We not only list the results for each company, but we also show that NPS is highly correlated to each of these items (as you can see below for Purchase Momentum).

1509_TechNPS_TrendPurchase

Report details: When you purchase this research, you will receive a written report and an excel spreadsheet with more data. The report includes graphics with data for NPS, purchase momentum, Temkin Forgiveness Ratings, and Temkin Innovation Equity Quotient for the 62 tech vendors that had at least 40 pieces of feedback. The excel spreadsheet includes this data (in more detail) for the 62 companies as well as for 25 other tech vendors with less than 40 pieces of feedback. It also includes the summary NPS scores from 2014. If you want to know more about the data file, download this SAMPLE SPREADSHEET without the data (.xls).

Download report for $695
(includes Excel spreadsheet with data)
BuyDownload3

Note: See our 2014 NPS benchmark2013 NPS benchmark and 2012 NPS benchmark for tech vendors as well as our page full of NPS resources.

P.S. Net Promoter Score, Net Promoter, and NPS are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Satmetrix Systems, and Fred Reichheld.

Report: Lessons in CX Excellence, 2015

1501_LessonsInCXExcellence_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, Lessons in CX Excellence, 2015. The report provides insights from 8 finalists in the Temkin Group’s 2014 CX Excellence Awards. The report, which is 98 pages long, includes an appendix with the finalists’ nomination forms. This report has rich insights about both B2B and B2C customer experience.

Here’s the executive summary:

This year, we chose eight organizations as finalists for Temkin Group’s 2014 Customer Experience Excellence Award. Finalists are Activision Customer Care, Aetna, Crowe Horwath LLP, Dell Inc., EMC Corporation, Texas NICUSA, The Results Companies, and TouchPoint Support Services. This report provides specific examples of how these companies’ CX efforts have created value for both their customers and for their businesses. We also highlight their best practices across the four customer experience competencies—purposeful leadership, compelling brand values, employee engagement, and customer connectedness. At the end of this report, we have included all of the finalists’ detailed nomination forms to help you collect examples and ideas to apply to your own CX efforts.

Download report for $195
BuyDownload3

Watch Temkin Group webinar about this research.

Here are some highlights from the finalists:

  • Activision Customer Care. Activision demonstrates its commitment to creating great game player experiences in a multitude of ways, such as emphasizing the use of player feedback to identify improvement opportunities. Activision combines this dedication to listening to its players with a willingness to redesign significant interactions. For example, it revamped its “Contact Us” page to include ambassador chat and callback scheduling, which resulted in higher satisfaction and lower effort for customers.
  • Aetna. Despite being in an industry undergoing tremendous change, Aetna is focusing on its 2020 vision to make the company 100% customer-centric. It has implemented many changes to help achieve this goal, including providing service over the phone and investing in text and speech analytics to better identify customer pain points and improve the behaviors and skillsets of its call representatives. The latter effort has already resulted in reduced repeat calls, improved accuracy, and a higher Net Promoter Score (NPS).
  • Crowe Horwath. With a client engagement score towering 33 points above the accounting industry average, Crowe Horwath is seeing the pay-off of its efforts to deliver an exceptional client experience. These efforts include establishing a firm-wide governance model and measurement scorecard, implementing a closed-loop voice of the customer program, incorporating customer journey mapping to uncover moments of truth, and engaging employees through training, client-driven CX recognition programs, and an employee ambassador program.
  • Dell. Dell’s CX efforts start with an emphasis on listening to and engaging with customers and employees. Dell enlists different groups from across the company—including engineering, marketing, sales, support, and digital—to make improvements to the entire customer journey. As a result of this work, Dell has opened 16 solution centers—which gives customers a place to experience solutions—and has provided proactive support over a wide variety of social channels, simplified Dell.com for consumer and business users, and implemented more than 540 customer innovation ideas.
  • EMC Corporation. The Total Customer Experience (TCE) program at EMC works across the enterprise to enhance the company’s customer experience by listening to customer feedback, analyzing data, and taking directed action based on that feedback and data. The program also raises awareness of how every person at the company impacts customer experience. As its CX efforts have matured, the TCE team has evolved to take on more challenging tasks; its projects now include predictive CX analytics, measuring its partner experience quality, and optimizing the experience across many different customer segments and solutions.
  • The Results Companies. To support its work as a business process outsourcing provider, The Results Companies uses its own unique operating model called CX360, which allows for continuous business process refinements that improve the customer experience. Built on three pillars—people, knowledge, empowerment—CX360 has helped the company ensure that its 8,500 employees around the globe remain focused on CX. The operating model has also contributed to Results’ strong growth in new clients and year-over-year revenue.
  • Texas NICUSA/Texas.gov. Texas NICUSA provides support for Texas.gov and implements technology solutions for Texas governmental agencies. It serves over 50,000 monthly site visitors and 300 state and local governments. Its three-tiered multi-channel customer service approach includes a general customer service Help Desk (phone and online), a Service Desk to support governmental agency needs, and a group of Technology Subject Matter Experts who can provide escalated assistance to either citizens or agency employees.
  • TouchPoint Support Services. TouchPoint Support Services streamlines support services within healthcare facilities. The company’s business goals, known as Top of Mind Objectives, guide the work of its 6,800 associates, helping them to find inefficiencies and improve patient satisfaction, associate engagement, safety, unity, and budget compliance. Touchpoint uses many methods for aligning employees with these objectives, including special training for managers and frontline employees, coaching from dedicated customer experience managers (who visit sites regularly), and associate recognition programs.

Download report for $195
BuyDownload3

If you enjoyed this report, check out Lessons in CX Excellence, 2014 and Lessons in CX Excellence, 2013.

The bottom line: There’s a lot to learn from these CX Excellence Finalists.

CX in the C-Suite: Webinar With Mercedes-Benz CEO

1410_CXfromCSuiteMBUSAAs part of Customer Experience Day, I interviewed Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) CEO Steve Cannon on a CXPA.org webinar called Customer Experience from the C-Suite. Cannon was energetic and informative in describing how MBUSA has infused a strong sense of CX across its organization as well as across the company’s network of 375 dealership franchisees.

One of the highlights of the webinar was when Cannon said that “customer experience is the new marketing” and is critical for fulfilling MBUSA’s brand promise, The Best or Nothing.

Here are some other highlights and lessons from the webinar:

  • The CEO plays a critical role in CX. Cannon was clear on the role of the CEO in driving CX across the organization. “If the CEO doesn’t take CX personally, he’s not going to be able to convince people that it isn’t just the flavor of the month.” He called himself the “Chief conversation starter” and “Chief Evangelist.” Cannon mentioned that CX is a topic in every single town hall and when he visits a facility, he says, “Don’t give me a facility tour, give me a customer experience tour.” (Related: CX Mistake #1: Faking Executive Commitment).
  • Change takes focused leadership. Cannon pointed out that historically; CX resided in too many siloes (sales, marketing, presales, etc) across MBUSA. One of the first thing Steve did was reorganize around CX, carve CX out of different business units and put them together in one unit with a General Manager who reports directly to him. (Related: State of CX Management, 2014).
  • Alignment is well worth the investment of time. When CX became the MBUSA’s main objective, the executive team went offsite and spent two days debating and critically examining the organization’s CX—where they were coming from and where they were going. This meeting incorporated the voices of General Managers into MBUSA’s CX plans, making them what Cannon called “co-architects.” Afterwards, Cannon held similar meeting with the next two levels of leaders across the company. (Related: WL Gore Succeeds Without Employees).
  • It all starts with employee engagement. Cannon said that Employee Engagement is a precursor to CX. Cannon stated that “MBUSA is committed to investing in people because they are the only ones who can create great CX.” And Cannon is investing in this area. He discussed the company’s Immersion Program. Over the next few years, 26,000 employees will visit the MBUSA plant in Alabama and go through a learning journey that includes driving cars and visiting the company’s brand center. (Related: The Untapped Value of Employee Engagement (Infographic)).
  • CX is about culture, not a veneer. Cannon mentioned that great leaders create culture that creates great customer experience. That’s why Cannon is so proud of MBUSA leadership academy. He said that CX is in the DNA of the MBUSA, and is its higher calling. (Related: Driving Customer Experience Transformation, Made Simple).
  • Satisfaction isn’t enough.” Cannon stated that any company can satisfy customers just by operational excellence and performing a transaction right. Instead of satisfaction, MBUSA wants to delight its customers. To measure this objective, MBUSA is changing its metrics to include Net Promoter Score within a basket of other metrics. (Related: Customer Effort, Net Promoter, And Thoughts About CX Metrics).
  • Engage your channel partners. Cannon was clear that dealers have the ability to amplify, accentuate, or marginalize everything MBUSA does. He explained that 2.5 points out of the 5.5 points of performance bonus that dealers can earn are related to delivering great customer experience, which results in a $40 million customer experience payout across dealers. Cannon was proud of the “Drive a Start Home” program that provides dealer employees with a Mercedes-Benz to drive for two days. (Related: Our B2B content plus an upcoming report on B2B2C CX).

Check out last year’s webinar with Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint.

The bottom line: CX leaderships requires executive leaders like Steve Cannon.

Report: Raising Customer-Centricity Across the B2B Enterprise

1404_B2B CX Case Studies_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, Raising Customer-Centricity Across the B2B Enterprise. The research provides in-depth case studies of five B2B firms. Here’s the executive summary:

Temkin Group research shows that good customer experience (CX) drives loyalty with business customers. These same business customers, influenced by their personal experiences as consumers, have raised their expectations in their business-to-business (B2B) relationships. While most large B2B organizations have a low level of CX maturity, our research shows that 56% of them have the goal of delivering industry-leading customer experience within three years. To understand how B2B organizations are improving their customer-centricity, we compiled case studies of five organizations that are raising the bar in CX: Ciena, Crowe Horwath, Fiserv, Genworth Financial, and Oracle. To assess your organization’s CX maturity, use Temkin Group’s Customer Experience Competency Assessment, and compare the results to data from other large B2B firms.

Download report for $195
BuyDownload3

The report provides 40 pages, including rich details on B2B CX and benchmark data to evaluate your B2B CX against other large organizations. Some of the data points in the report include:

  • 12% of large B2B organizations are in the highest two levels of CX maturity (out of six levels).
  • 8% of large B2B organizations have very good ratings in Compelling Brand Values, the lowest rated CX competency.
  • 79% of large B2B organizations identify “other competing priorities” as a key obstacle to CX success, compared with 65% of non-B2B firms.
  • 56% of large B2B organizations have a goal to be CX leaders in their industries within three years.

The five case studies go deep into how some great practices for infusing good CX across B2B organizations:

  • Ciena: When Ciena began its customer experience journey 18 months ago, it set out to “engage, inform, and transform” the organization. It started its journey by using deep customer insights to hone in on what matters most to customers and now focuses on strengthening its culture and continuously improving.
  • Crowe Horwath: As a professional services firm, Crowe’s employees are its customer experience. Therefore, Crowe focuses its efforts on capturing and sharing all client feedback with its employees, and it uses a variety of tactics to involve them in shaping its CX efforts.
  • Fiserv: While technology underpins the customer experience tools, analyses, and reporting that drive Fiserv’s CX efforts, the company also integrates a human element into its efforts by using employee coaching, performance management, and rewards and recognition programs to engage employees in their work.
  • Genworth Financial: The CX team at Genworth uses a combination of approaches—from customer journey mapping to service dashboards to innovation ideation—to involve employees across the organization in its customer experience efforts.
  • Oracle: Oracle continues to raise customer-centricity across its global footprint by listening, responding, and collaborating with customers to identify and take action on customer experience improvement opportunities.

The case studies highlight practices affecting all four customer experience core competencies:

1406_B2B4CXCompetencies

Download report for $195
BuyDownload3

The bottom line: B2B firms need to improve customer experience.

Where’s All The B2B CX Data?

Readers of this blog see a lot of consumer data which we use to rate and benchmark companies. This data shows up in research such as Net Promoter Score Benchmarks, Temkin Experience Ratings, Temkin Forgiveness Ratings, Temkin Customer Service Ratings, and Temkin Trust Ratings.

B2BDataAlmost every time we publish one of these consumer-based studies, I receive some form of the questions: What about B2B (business-to-business)? When will you have that type of data for B2B? Since these questions always seem to come up, I figured it was worthwhile to write a post with my answer.

First of all, we do have B2B data. For the tech sector, we have an NPS benchmark, the Temkin Experience Ratings, and the satisfaction of products and relationships to name a few. This research is based on feedback from a key customer group:  IT decisions makers within large North American organizations. Our data about what companies are doing, such as The State of CX Management, includes a large sampling of B2B (along with B2C and many that have both B2B and B2C). We sometimes break out the B2B data in reports like Best Practices in B2B Customer Experience and posts such as B2B Versus B2C in VoC.

However, there is certainly a lot more data available for B2C than there is for B2B, especially with customer-driven feedback. This does not reflect the lack of CX effort in B2B companies; as a matter of fact, a large portion of Temkin Group’s client work is in B2B. So why is there such little data in this area? Because of some basic structural constraints of B2B CX:

  • B2B requires specific respondents. While you can ask a consumer about a bunch of things from hotels to retailers to fast food restaurants, you can’t do the same in B2B. It would make no sense to ask an accountant about the performance of an infrastructure tech vendor or to ask an IT professional about the quality of a bank’s treasury services. As a result, studies must be targeted at individual sectors, one at a time.
  • B2B data is more expensive. If you want to survey a B2B customer group (such as IT decision-makers), then you will likely have to purchase the sample from a vendor who manages B2B panels. Since Temkin Group does a lot of research, we are able to receive pretty competitive pricing for our studies. Yet, the cost of a single B2B respondent costs us about 10-times what it costs for a consumer respondent.
  • B2B serves a variety of roles. When selling to a large company, there are often many people involved in the relationship, fulfilling roles such as decision-makers, influencers, end users, and economic buyers. The results from any study can vary widely based on which of those customer audiences you survey. A complete B2B study often needs to cover multiple audiences within each client company.

The bottom line: The lack of B2B data does not mean a lack of B2B interest or activity

Why Net Promoter Score May Not Align With Business Results

I just received a great question: “Why do companies have a very healthy growth although their NPS is low and vice versa why can growth be decreasing although the NPS is very high?” I get asked versions of this question all the time, so I decided to capture my typical answers in this blog post (check out our Net Promoter Score (NPS) Resource Page).

My take: We’ve found a high correlation between NPS and customer loyalty across a large number of industries. But that does not mean that NPS will provide a clear understanding of a company’s business results. There are many reasons why a company’s business might perform differently than its NPS might suggest. Here are some of the common reasons that I’ve seen:

  • NPS is not the ultimate question. In many situations, the amounts of promoters and detractors are roughly correlated with customer loyalty and business success, but that’s not always the case. It’s not a universally good metric as it’s not correlated to business success in all situations. For example, NPS may not be at all indicative of business success if customers are trapped because of a high switching cost, limited competition or monopolistic power of the company, unique product or service offerings, etc.
  • Comparison NPS trumps absolute NPS. In general, health plans have low NPS scores yet many of them do well financially. Customers may not be likely to recommend their health plan, but if they don’t believe that there are any better options then it will not affect their loyalty.
  • B2B roles are under-appreciated. There are different dynamics in B2B situations. If we ask treasury assistants in large companies to provide an NPS for commercial banks, we might believe that it should represent the health of a bank’s business. But what happens if CFOs, who control the banking decisions, give banks  a completely different NPS?
  • Non-customers are often overlooked. A retailer may have a high NPS, but still lose share if its products and services start appealing to a narrower audience. This type of situation is often missed, because companies tend to get considerably more feedback from existing customers than from prospective non-customers.
  • Segmentation can alter the analysis. When an organization looks at its overall NPS, it might miss important trends in different customer groups. What happens if NPS is getting lower for high value customers and getting higher for low value customers? The overall NPS could stay the same or even improve while the company’s results decline.
  • Survey design affects results. Many companies have a mismatch between the way they deploy NPS surveys and the insights they attempt to glean from the data. Companies ask the NPS questions at different times and frequencies, which can affect the overall results. If we ask NPS after a customer service event, then the results will likely be different then if we ask it periodically to a random sampling of customers.

The bottom line: NPS can be an effective metric in many situations, but only if used correctly

Report: Lessons in CX Excellence, 2014

1401_LessonsCX Excellence_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, Lessons in CX Excellence, 2014. The report provides insights from 11 finalists in the Temkin Group’s 2013 CX Excellence Awards. The report, which is 144 pages long, includes an appendix with the finalists’ nomination forms. This report has rich insights about both B2B and B2C customer experience.

Here’s the executive summary:

The following 11 organizations are finalists in Temkin Group’s 2013 Customer Experience Excellence Awards: Adobe, AIG Asia Pacific, Cisco, Cox Communications, EMC, Findel Education Resources, Fiserv, Intuit ProTax Group, Oracle, Rackspace, and UMB Bank. This report highlights their customer experience efforts and describes their best practices across the four customer experience competencies: purposeful leadership, compelling brand values, employee engagement, and customer connectedness. Additionally, this report includes an appendix with the finalists’ detailed nomination forms to help you gather ideas and examples to improve your own CX efforts.

Download report for $195
BuyDownload3

Here are some highlights from the finalists:

  • When Adobe began its transition from a products-based company to a services company, it recognized the increased importance of providing excellent customer experience and established a central Customer Advocacy team in January 2013. One of this team’s main objectives is to make measurable improvements to top customer issues. Adobe identifies these top issues using numerous VoC listening channels and then, with full transparency, communicates these issues across the entire company. Every leader and employee can access root cause analysis, direct customer comments and feedback, action plans, and more.
  • AIG Asia Pacific uses its FEEL GOOD message to engage customers, employees, and leaders in the company’s service culture transformation efforts. AIG uses a comprehensive Voice of the Customer program—which includes a closed-loop NPS process—to keep the company focused on its customers and agents and implement meaningful changes based on their feedback. In each country, cross-functional teams concentrate on improving responsiveness to customer feedback. Teams create plans for their alert management processes and use a real-time online dashboard to quickly resolve customer issues.
  • Cisco has made Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) a corporate priority; it drives relevant and meaningful solutions that simplify complex issues for its customers. To support its EoDB focus, Cisco analyzes customer feedback and identifies trends in experience pain points, and then delivers tailored reports and suggestions to the appropriate business teams. Cisco reinforces the importance of EoDB by equipping leaders with regular program updates, factoring the success of EoDB targets into the bonus calculations of every employee, and prominently displaying an EoDB dashboard that provides real-time data feed from customer surveys.
  • In an industry notorious for poor customer service, Cox Communications stands out for its dedication to improving its customer experience. Its closed-loop feedback program has been particularly successful at repairing damaged relationships and reducing customer churn. Cox Communications established a centralized Closed-Loop Feedback (CLF) team, which is made up of agents from different functional areas who are tasked with taking ownership of customers’ issues from beginning to end.
  • The dedicated Total Customer Experience (TCE) team at EMC recently enhanced its TCE program by fine-tuning their data-driven approach to improving the company’s customer and partner experience. EMC obtains a complete view of its customers’ perceptions and behaviors by collecting data using customer journey maps and an extensive Voice of Experience (VoX) program. To augment these insights, EMC also evaluates the quality of its products and the TCE team assesses customer and partner infrastructures to ensure that EMC products suit their clients’ needs.
  • Findel Education Resources recently revamped its entire outlook on customer experience and placed the customer at the center of its business. The company started its journey towards customer-centricity by outlining the objectives it sought to achieve and the questions it wanted to ask to ensure that leaders and employees remained customer-focused. Findel instituted Employee Voice and Customer Voice programs to diagnose customer issues and benchmark the company’s progress.
  • Two years ago Fiserv established a new Customer Experience Department tasked with improving customer service and associate engagement. This department began by changing the company’s vision and mission to incorporate its new focus on customers, creating a multi-faceted customer experience roadmap, and outlining a hierarchy of needs. Since the department’s inception, CX has become the highest weighted metric on the balanced scorecards for leaders and employees, and the company has invested a great deal in internal assessment and coaching.
  • Intuit’s ProTax Group (PTG) uses customer feedback to drive changes in the business. Intuit PTG gathers customer feedback through a robust customer listening program, an extensive closed-loop program, and engaged social media communities. After collecting customer insights, the Customer Experience and Customer Market Insights team within Intuit PTG sends weekly, quarterly, and annual reports to the entire company, which broadens awareness of customer issues.
  • At Oracle, customer experience initiatives begin with a 360-degree view of customers. Oracle maintains a Customer Experience Database (CxD), which details the interactions and experiences of every customer based on their behavior on oracle.com and their interactions on social media. Oracle also utilizes its business intelligence product to add survey results to this customer profile, further expanding the company’s attitudinal and behavioral data on each customer.
  • At Rackspace, Fanatical Support forms the backbone of their customer experience efforts. Rackspace combines its customer data into a single listening and analysis hub, and undesirable scores and trends act as a catalyst for the company’s business decisions. For example, after examining this data, the company decided to merge the sales and support teams together to provide a constant customer experience.
  • UMB Bank recently established a Voice of the Customer Steering Team to support their customer-centric focus. This Steering Team uses VoC feedback to assign priority to CX issues and oversees improvements to the customer experience. The team is made up of leaders from all different business areas, such as product and sales, which ensures that all departments are fully engaged in the company’s efforts to improve customer experience.

Download report for $195
BuyDownload3

If you enjoyed this report, check out last year’s report, Lessons in CX Excellence.

The bottom line: There’s a lot to learn from these CX Excellence Finalists.

CX Tip #17: Discuss Feedback with B2B Clients

50CXTips6b_65

CX Tip #17: Discuss Feedback with B2B Clients
(Customer Connectedness)

A unique element to SanDisk’s VoC program is its external roadshow to meet with customers about their survey results. Following internal review and reporting, account managers work with the CX governance board to identify a subset of customers to meet with face to face. Approximately 70% of the information reviewed with the customer is drawn from their specific survey responses, and account managers also review trends and insights from across all customer feedback and the actions being taken by SanDisk to address them. Click for more info

See full list of CX Tips

50 CX Tips: Simple Ideas, Powerful Results

50CXTips6b_65

***See free eBook and infographic with the 50 CX Tips***

As part of Temkin Group’s celebration of Customer Experience Day on October 1st, I am publishing 50 CX Tips, starting 50 days before this exciting “CX holiday” that celebrates great customer experience and the professionals who make it happen. Here’s the (evolving) list of CX tips aligned with the four customer experience core competencies: Purposeful Leadership, Compelling Brand Values, Employee Engagement, and Customer Connectedness. CX Tip #1: Help Customers Achieve Their Goals (Customer Connectedness)

Don’t push your products and agendas on customers. Instead, find out what they want and create experiences that fit your company into their journey. Wayne Peacock, Executive Vice President of Member Experience at USAA has said:

“We want to create experiences around what members are trying to accomplish, not just our products. If a member is buying a car, then we would historically see that as a change in auto insurance. We are changing that to an auto event – to help the member find the right car, buy it at a discount, get a loan, insurance, etc. and do that in any channel and across channels. There’s enormous value for members and for USAA if we can facilitate that entire experience.” Click for more info

CX Tip #2: Make Employee Engagement a Key Metric (Employee Engagement)

Since 2007, Bombardier Aerospace’s annual employee engagement and enablement survey has given all employees a voice within the organization. In 2012, 93% of employees completed the survey. Managers are evaluated based on the engagement levels of their employees. To create an environment that ensures performance, every leader has an annual target for employee engagement. Click for more info

CX Tip #3: Regularly Refresh Your Brand Promises (Compelling Brand Values)

Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz once said “Customers must recognize that you stand for something.” While most organizations start with a clear brand promise, the focus on short term goals can easily push them away from delivering on it. Decisions across an organization may seem reasonable in their immediate context, but they can collectively push a company off its course.

Once the brand promise is lost, organizations will often spiral out of control without the brand as their True North guiding the way. That’s what happened to Starbucks in 2007. Shultz returned to the company in early 2008 to help restore the brand promise. His assessment of the situation: “We lost our way.” The company closed more than 7,000 stores on one day for a three-hour session to re-instill the brand promise with employees.

Rather than waiting for the painful recognition that your organization has lost its way, examine your brand promise at least every two years. Even if nothing changes, the process of reaffirming your brand can be powerful. Make sure that your brand promises are recognizable, believable, compelling, and well understood by both customers and employees.

CX Tip #4: Make Every Ending Count (Customer Connectedness)

People make decisions based on how they remember experiences, not on how they actually experience them. This distinction is important because people don’t remember experiences the way they actually occur. Memories are constructed as stories people create in their minds based on fragments of their actual experiences. Noble Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman’s research identified something called the “peak-end rule,” which states that people’s memories tend to be heavily influenced by the most severe (good/bad) parts of an experience and the way it ends. So improving the way you end experiences will have a disproportional effect on what customers remember. Keep this in mind when you’re developing an approach for how service reps end a call, designing the confirmation page after an online application, training technicians to close out a job in the field, or developing the discharge process for a hospital.

CX Tip #5: Lead with “Why” in Communications (Purposeful Leadership, Employee Engagement)

How does Herb Kelleher, Founder of Southwest Airlines, describe the company’s secret to success?

“If you create an environment where the people truly participate, you don’t need control. They know what needs to be done and they do it. And the more that people will devote themselves to your cause on a voluntary basis, a willing basis, the fewer hierarchies and control mechanisms you need.”

To elicit this type of connection with employees, leaders must focus their communications on answering a critical question, “why?” Most corporate communications focus on “what” and “how,” telling people what needs to be done and how they should accomplish it. This command and control pattern may elicit short-term compliance, but it’s efficacy decays quickly and it loses value completely when situations change and the “how” no longer applies. Leaders need to elicit buy-in from people by starting communications with “why,” explaining the reason that something is important to the company and to the people who are being asked to do something. To fully empower people, share “why” a goal is important and “what” success looks like and leave it up to the individuals to figure out “how” to make it happen. Click for more info

CX Tip #6: Measure the Value of Key CX Metrics (Customer Connectedness)

If you know the value of improving a CX metric, then it’s easier to make the case for investments. JetBlue has previously measured that every promoter is worth $33 extra dollars ($27 from referrals and $6 from loyalty) to while a detractor is worth $104 less than average. One point change in JetBlue’s NPS is worth $5 to $8 million. Temkin Group research shows that a modest increase in the Temkin Experience Ratings can result in a gain over three years of up to $382 million for US companies and up to £263 million for UK firms, depending on the industry. It’s important for companies to develop this type of analysis for their business. Click for more info

CX Tip #7: Motivate Employees with Intrinsic Rewards (Employee Engagement)

Companies often try and force employees into doing things by slapping on metrics and measurements. While these types of extrinsic rewards can change some behaviors, they can often cause conflicts and lead to unexpected consequences. When Staples put in place a goal for $200 of add-ons per computer sold, some store employees stopped selling computers to customers who didn’t want to purchase add-ons.  Compare this outcome to inspirational coaching at Sprint, which leads to an environment where employees consistently excel and measure their performance against their best effort and compete with themselves to be their best. It turns out that people tend to be more motivated by intrinsic rewards. To build commitment from employees, stop relying so heavily on extrinsic rewards and focus on providing them with the four key intrinsic rewards: sense of meaningfulness, choice, competence, and progress. These types of rewards build an emotional, instead of a transactional, commitment from employees.

CX Tip #8: Start Your Brand Marketing Internally (Compelling Brand Values)

Brands need to be understood and “owned” by the entire organization. That’s why it’s critical for companies to invest heavily in communicating the brand value to everyone in the company. Before BMO Financial Group’s new brand went live, it launched an internal campaign, Brilliant at the Basics, which identified eight actions that every employee could demonstrate, including “Our heads are up, not down;” “Everyone pitches in…titles don’t matter;” and “Help in choosing, not choices.” Employees were given a brand book which covered the brand principles, including a breakdown of what’s different “tomorrow from today.” The launch kit for leaders and branch managers included a DVD and materials covering key messages and talking points, along with anticipated questions and answers to prepare them to lead discussions with their teams. Click for more info

CX Tip #9: Bring Customers to Life With Design Personas (Customer Connectedness)

Big Lots CEO David Campisi mentioned “Jennifer” 25 times on a single earnings call. She’s not a real customer or even a real person. Jennifer is a design persona, an archetype that is representative of a key customer segment. Here’s why Campisi believes in using a design persona:

“I am confident in developing a new mentality to focus on her and all facets of our business will pay off and begin to drive positive comps over time.”

One of our 10 CX Mistakes to Avoid is Treating All Customers the Same. Organizations need to identify key customer segments and design experiences to meet their specific needs. Design personas help an organization have a common understanding of the needs of those segments.

Click for more info

CX Tip #10: Tap Into Customer Insights from Unstructured Data (Customer Connectedness)

As more companies thirst for customer feedback, the number of surveys has escalated. But there is a limit to customers’ willingness to complete surveys. As completion rates get more difficult to maintain, companies will become more efficient with the questions they ask, target questions at specific customers in specific situations, and stop relying as much on multiple-choice questions. Tidbit: When we asked large companies with VoC programs about the changing importance of eight listening posts, multiple choice survey questions were at the bottom of the list. Companies must learn to integrate their customer feedback with other customer data and tap into rich sources of customer insights in unstructured data such as open-ended comments, call center conversations, emails from customers, and social media. This new, deeper foundation of customer intelligence will require strengthening capabilities in text and predictive analytics. Click for more info

CX Tip #11: Predict and Preempt Obstacles to Customer Value (Customer Connectedness)

Thanks in part to sophisticated adoption measurement capabilities that allow Salesforce.com to monitor how customers are (or are not) using the product and individual features, account teams now have access to reporting and predictive analytics alerting them to which clients are on plan and which are struggling. The analysis provides a view into how the customer is doing relative to their individual deployment goals, industry peers, and ideal deployment paths based on Salesforce.com’s experience. Included with the analysis are suggested interventions for the account team to pursue with the client based on the current state. On a monthly basis, the company reviews at-risk customers to address anything that might contribute to attrition. Click for more info

CX Tip #12: Map Your Customer’s Journey (Customer Connectedness)

BMO Financial’s approach to customer journey mapping includes both the customer view and the internal view. This ensures not only that customers’ reactions are represented for each touchpoint, but that the impact of internal policies, training, and measures and targets for each interaction are also factored in. Internal stakeholder interviews and employee focus groups provide the view of “what we think happens” and external research identifies customers’ needs and wants as part of mapping the ideal experience. A gap analysis is used to gain agreement on the opportunities, which are then incorporated into customer experience action plans. Check out Temkin Group’s Seven Steps for Developing Customer Journey Maps

CX Tip #13: Cultivate Experience Design Skills (Customer Connectedness)

Through its Design Matters initiative, Citrix helps its employees rethink core business processes with a focus on customer needs. They learn to collaborate on ideas to meet those needs, prototype and test with customers, and integrate feedback to deliver solutions such as an online customer “onboarding” experience to help new customers get up and running with their flagship product. A network of employee Design Catalysts, who are specially trained to help colleagues use design thinking on a daily basis, supports this work. Click for more info

CX Tip #14: Continuously Test Your Value Proposition (Purposeful Leadership)

Samuel Palmisano revitalized IBM during his decade as CEO of the IT behemoth. He led the company using a framework based on four questions that he used to focus thinking and prod the company beyond its comfort zone:

  1. Why would someone spend their money with you — so what is unique about you?
  2. Why would somebody work for you?
  3. Why would society allow you to operate in their defined geography — their country?
  4. And why would somebody invest their money with you?

Click for more info

CX Tip #15: Close the Loop Immediately with Detractors (Customer Connectedness)

VMware has a dedicated Customer Advocacy Team, which is tasked to contact severe detractors within 48 hours of a survey response. This team pulls appropriate members of the account and support teams into the resolution process. The Customer Advocacy Team retains responsibility for ongoing customer communication, monitoring internal progress, and following up with the customer upon conclusion. Click for more info

CX Tip #16: Analyze Promoters and Detractors Separately (Customer Connectedness)

Companies often focus their efforts obsessing about why customers are unhappy. While this is great for eliminating detractors, it may not actually increase customer loyalty. Why? Because loyalty is not the opposite of dissatisfaction. In addition to analyzing unhappiness, you should also analyze what makes customers really happy and loyal, which is often more than just eliminating problems. A focus on loyalty will also create a more positive vibe inside of an organization, since it’s a good counter-balance with the overwhelming negative feelings that can be associated with discussions about problems.

CX Tip #17: Discuss Feedback with B2B Clients (Customer Connectedness)

A unique element to SanDisk’s VoC program is its external roadshow to meet with customers about their survey results. Following internal review and reporting, account managers work with the CX governance board to identify a subset of customers to meet with face to face. Approximately 70% of the information reviewed with the customer is drawn from their specific survey responses, and account managers also review trends and insights from across all customer feedback and the actions being taken by SanDisk to address them. Click for more info

CX Tip #18: Remove Jargon from Customer Communications (Purposeful Leadership)

Standing out from the BCBS of Michigan’s accomplishments is its Clear and Simple effort to help the business become easier to understand and do business with. BCBS of Michigan’s Customer Commitment guides the way the organization serves its members. It focuses the company on being easier to understand and do business with in everything from language to business practices. The related Clear and Simple effort generated over 50 requests from across the business to help different areas become more clear and simple, and involved 375 employees in those improvement projects. Click for more info

CX Tip #19: Use Ambassadors to Build Links Across Organization (Employee Engagement)

Fidelity’s Voice of the Customer Ambassadors program is the cornerstone of Fidelity’s efforts to engage customer-facing associates across the organization around their customer experience vision. Ambassadors are associates from across Fidelity’s functions who apply to become part of a network of customer experience evangelists who (1) identify opportunities for improvement by amplifying the voice of the customer/associate; (2) inform new product and service development; and (3) inspire their peers with local dialogue and other activities. Ambassadors are supported by extensive executive sponsorship across multiple levels of management and are asked to dedicate 10% of their time influencing Fidelity’s shared customer experience vision. Click for more info

CX Tip #20: Use Founders to Instill Values with New Employees (Purposeful Leadership, Employee Engagement)

The first day at work for new ZocDoc employees includes lunch with the company founders. During the course of the meal, employees hear about the early days of the company, what the executives are focused on now, and what they love about the organization. Employees hear about the 7 Core Values and see them in action. In particular, this lunch reinforces the “Speak Up” core value which is about leadership accessibility and that everyone in the company has a voice – that their questions and opinions matter.

CX Tip #21: Set Service Targets Based on Customer Expectations (Customer Connectedness)

Recognizing that it needed to establish targets for execution based on customer expectations, and not just on its operational ability to execute, EMC added customer experience focus questions around the customer’s expectations during a service event. For example, a question was added that asks the customer what timeframe between updates they would find acceptable. EMC uses a Van Westendorp Methodology to analyze the customer’s responses that helped determine the optimum timeframe for progress updates as it relates to the customers expectation. Knowing what the customer expected allowed EMC to add or improve processes and set customer quality targets within the support organization to better meet or beat the customer’s expectation. Click for more info

CX Tip #22: Actively Solicit Insights from Employees (Employee Engagement, Customer Connectedness)

Adobe’s Intranet includes an online suggestion tool called “Tell Adobe.” Through this simple mechanism, employees can submit suggestions for improving the company, covering everything from current products and services to the processes used to engage and help customers. All submissions are reviewed by a member of the People Resources team, who then brings in internal subject matter experts or functional teams to evaluate the submitter’s suggestions, work with him or her to understand the idea better, and then decide if and how to proceed or pursue further. The process closes the loop with the employee so that he or she has visibility to the outcomes resulting from the initial submission. Click for more info

CX Tip #23: Share Customer Verbatims Internally (Customer Connectedness)

Troy Stevenson, Vice President, Client Loyalty & Consumer Insight at Charles Schwab stressed the value of listening to client verbatims, saying that “There’s no substitute for employees reading through unadulterated client comments. They explain what needs to change and how they need to change.” Stevenson’s team analyzes cross-organization topics (like affluent consumers), but a critical goal is to put the information in the hands of the people that understand different parts of the business. Stevenson’s team organizes verbatims by themes and topics and then puts them in the hands of the appropriate people across the company. He estimates that thousands of people read the verbatims including every branch and call center team. Click for more info

CX Tip #24: Define Competencies for Living the Brand (Compelling Brand Values)

Microsoft defined six values to support its corporate mission: To enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential Of the values created towards this mission, a Passion for Customers, Partners, and Technology. To foster its values, Microsoft has developed a set of key competencies (core, leadership & profession specific) that every employee is measured against in terms of their proficiency in demonstrated behaviors. The competencies help to plan careers, build necessary capabilities for success in a role, and inform performance reviews. “Customer Focus” is core competency for all employees, measured on a 5 point proficiency scale. Click for more info

CX Tip #25: Use Online Advisory Boards of B2B Clients (Customer Connectedness)

Technology solutions provider CDW has engaged clients through a private online community for over seven years. Using open-ended questions or short surveys, the company can gather a significant amount of feedback on a variety of topics including new product offerings, marketing messages, and customer technology usage—in less than a week. Members also have the ability to pose questions to each other. For example, a member recently received numerous responses to his inquiry on other members’ Bring Your Own Device policies. Click for more info

CX Tip #26: Train Employees for Key Moments (Customer Connectedness, Employee Engagement)

This is from a New York Times article about Apple:

Training commences with what is known as a “warm welcome.” As new employees enter the room, Apple managers and trainers give them a standing ovation. The clapping often bewilders the trainees, at least at first, but when the applause goes on for several lengthy minutes they eventually join in. There is more role-playing at Core training, as it’s known, this time with pointers on the elaborate etiquette of interacting with customers. One rule: ask for permission before touching anyone’s iPhone. “And we told trainees that the first thing they needed to do was acknowledge the problem, though don’t promise you can fix the problem,” said Shane Garcia, the one-time Chicago manager. “If you can, let them know that you have felt some of the emotions they are feeling. But you have to be careful because you don’t want to lie about that.” 

CX Tip #27: Continuously Re-Recruit Your Team (Purposeful Leadership)

Linda Heasley, CEO of Lane Bryant and former president and CEO of The Limited has said:

I believe that my associates can work anywhere they want, and my job is to re-recruit them every day and give them a reason to choose to work for us and for me as opposed to anybody else.”

Click for more info

CX Tip #28: Share Comparative CX Metrics Across Locations (Customer Connectedness, Employee engagement)

Each of Sam’s Club’s 600+ stores gets a monthly score they call the “Member Experience Track” (MET) which covers three areas: In-club operations, Merchandising, and Membership. Underneath those three areas are more than 150 individual attributes that the company tracks. Each store has an overall rating of red (bad), yellow (“okay”), or green (“good”) based on surveys completed by members. At monthly meetings, the executive team reviews a dashboard that highlights the number of stores in each category (red, yellow, green), looks at key issues driving problems across stores, and also looks at the top 20 and bottom 20 stores. This is a powerful tool for motivating store managers, as Bala Subramanian, VP of Global Customer Insights points out: “You don’t want to be called out on the bottom as a member of the ‘Red Club.’” Click for more info

CX Tip #29: Innovate Around Customer Lifecycle Events (Customer Connectedness)

Sovereign Assurance NZ’s research showed that many new parents don’t have the time to review their life insurance, but after having a new baby, it’s more important than ever to have some life insurance. The company developed a program “Choose Precious” that offers new parents $10,000 free life insurance up until their baby’s first birthday. New parents just need to register at chooseprecious.co.nz before their baby is six‐months old. The company also rolled out its ‘Breathing Space’ offering. Recognizing that buying a home is a big deal and it’s difficult to get the attention of home buyers, can be difficult to attract, the company offered home buyers $25,000 free life cover for 90 days to provide interim protection until they have the time to consider their longer term protection needs. Click for more info

CX Tip #30: Encourage Employees to Thank Customers (Employee Engagement, Customer Connectedness)

Sprint’s Thank You Thursdays helps keep customers top of mind. Employees at offices, call centers, and retail stores enjoy getting together monthly to collectively write personal thank you notes to customers. Supplies and sample notes are provided, but employees are free to express thanks in their own words. Even the CEO participates in this activity. Sprint sent more than 700,000 thank you notes in 2012. Click for more info

CX Tip #31: Develop Simple Service Standards (Customer Connectedness, Employee Engagement)

NBA’s Oklahoma Thunder has identified five CLICK!™ With Your Guests non-negotiable service principles:

  • C – COMMUNICATE COURTEOUSLY (practice the golden rule)
  • L – LISTEN TO LEARN (rather than listen to respond)
  • I – INITIATE IMMEDIATELY (being proactive)
  • C – CREATE CONNECTIONS (everyone is a VIP)
  • K – KNOW YOUR STUFF (knowledge is power)

All front‐line team members, from parking to concessions, participate in the required CLICK! With Your Guests on-boarding program, which provides training and tools to create memorable experiences. Click for more info

CX Tip #32: Create a Mission that Inspires Employees (Purposeful Leadership, Employee Engagement)

Temkin Group research shows that employees who are inspired by their employer’s mission are significantly more committed and productive. Here are some examples of inspiring missions:

“To inspire hope and contribute to health and well-being by providing the best care to every patient through integrated clinical practice, education and research.” (Mayo Clinic) “In times of war or uncertainty there is a special breed of warrior ready to answer our Nation’s call. A common man with uncommon desire to succeed. Forged by adversity, he stands alongside America’s finest special operations forces to serve his country, the American people, and protect their way of life. I am that man.” (U.S. Navy SEALS) “The Ritz-Carlton Hotel is a place where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission. We pledge to provide the finest personal service and facilities for our guests who will always enjoy a warm, relaxed, yet refined ambience. The Ritz-Carlton experience enlivens the senses, instills well-being, and fulfills even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests.” (Ritz-Carlton’s Credo)

Here are five questions to examine your organization’s mission: Is it written? Is it real? Is it simple? Does it connect with employees? Will it create value?  Click for more info

CX Tip #33: Adopt Coach K’s Five Fundamentals of Team Building (Purposeful Leadership, Employee Engagement)

Michael William “Mike” Krzyzewski known as “Coach K” owns the record for the most wins by an NCAA division 1 basketball coach. Coach K’s style is to empower, challenge, and inspire his players. He recognizes that wins are the byproduct of a team performing at its best. To understand his leadership style, here’s an overview of his philosophy on teams:

There are five fundamental qualities that make every team great: communication, trust, collective responsibility, caring and pride. I like to think of each as a separate finger on the fist. Any one individually is important. But all of them together are unbeatable.”

Click for more info

CX Tip #34: Create Paths for Grassroots Communications (Purposeful Leadership, Compelling Brand Values, Employee Engagement)

Started in the early 1990s, PRIDE Teams—made up of a network of 700+ employees—are one of USAA’s ongoing listening efforts. Each of the 70+ teams is led by a director or executive director who facilitates grass roots communications across the organization. PRIDE Team members have their day jobs, but spend up to ten percent of their time on two-way communications between the team and their workplace colleagues. They reinforce key messages from senior leadership and connect with their peers, bringing key insights from their colleagues to USAA leaders. Click for more info

CX Tip #35: Make Your Brand Values Explicit (Compelling Brand Values)

Based on customer research, Safelite AutoGlass has identified five brand values—Trustworthy, Reliable, Safe, Innovative, Helpful/approachable. These have been translated into how customers are treated in a variety of ways, including how phones are answered by contact center associates to the “5 Ts” that their field technicians use to highlight their helpfulness and approachability:  1) Time: Call customers in advance to notify them of arrival time. 2) Touch: Shake hands, make eye contact and engage the customer. 3) Technical excellence: Doing it right the first time, every time. 4) Talk: Tell the customer what we’re going to do and do it. 5) Thanks: Show appreciation for choosing Safelite. Click for more info

CX Tip #36: Maintain List of Top 10 Customer Issues (Customer Connectedness)

Oracle drives consistent customer experience activities across all regions and lines of business through a structured framework and standardized approach to monitoring the customer experience: Listen, Respond, Collaborate for Customer Success. The portfolio of feedback tools includes transactional and product surveys, relationship surveys, customer advisory boards, user experience labs, and independent user groups. Feedback from across these sources is integrated and analyzed to identify the 10 customer feedback themes that have the greatest impact on customer experience and business results, and programs are established to improve each. Click for more info

CX Tip #37: Test for Cultural Fit Before You Hire (Employee Engagement)

To test how well prospective employees will fit with its company culture, Disney Store’s interview is actually a “casting call” and includes role playing in-store scenarios to demonstrate potential guest interactions and reading a portion of a Disney story, which is part of the job description.

CX Tip #38: Discuss CX Metrics and Initiatives at Company Meetings (Purposeful Leadership)

To keep employees aligned, leaders discuss customer experience in every quarterly employee meeting. Citrix executives share initiatives and progress against goals for key customer metrics. Through reporting and dashboards, customer metrics such as NPS and customer retention are shared broadly throughout the business. In addition, the company shares deep-dive analysis of drivers and opportunities for improvement.

CX Tip #39: Use Workshops to Review Customer Feedback and Develop Local Action Plans (Customer Connectedness, Employee Engagement)

SimplexGrinnell (a Tyco Company) has what it calls NICE workshops, interactive sessions where local offices review customer verbatims and develop action plans.  These are highly focused 5-hour interactive on-site session for key district personnel (managers, admin, and front-line) to develop an action plan for improving their customer experience with district service delivery. In small teams, workshop attendees are exposed to their district CSAT metrics and customer verbatim comments drawn from 80 to 100 of their customers that were surveyed over the past 12 months. Using that customer feedback, they identify and agree upon their most prevalent service delivery challenges. They brainstorm new and best service practices to implement within the next 30 days that will begin to make an impact on customer satisfaction within the next 90 days. Click for more info

CX Tip #40: Measure Yourself Against Your Brand Promises (Compelling Brand Values)

Intersil, a semiconductor manufacturer, regularly surveys customers to measure its performance in meeting the company’s brand promise to be “Simply Smarter.” The organization has a formal process for reviewing the results and taking action if it finds that the company is not living up to its brand promise. In one survey, Intersil foiund that cusotmers were having a hard time finding information on its website. The company identified this as a breaking of the promise to be “Simply Smarter” so it invested in updating the usability of its online experience. Click for more info

CX Tip #41: Create Peer-to-Peer Executive Relationships with B2B Clients (Purposeful Leadership, Customer Connectedness)

Stream Global Service’s Executive Sponsorship Program charges Stream’s senior leaders with establishing peer-to-peer relationships with senior executives from one to three of its largest clients. The goals of this program are to extend the relationship beyond the sales team, to better understand the customer’s business direction and goals, and to ensure the customer is receiving the value it expects from Stream. On a quarterly basis, the two leaders meet with each other and discuss the customer’s big initiatives, functional area goals, and how Stream can support their efforts. Feedback from these meetings is integrated with other VoC captured from that customer relationship. Click for more info

CX Tip #42: Make it Easy for Employees to Be Brand Advocates (Customer Connectedness, Employee Engagement)

Microsoft’s Quick Assistance program is used when employees encounter consumers in social situations (e.g., meeting someone on a flight). The program positions employees as ambassadors and allows them to provide no-charge technical support incident vouchers to customers. Employees are able to request and deliver vouchers directly from their mobile phone.

CX Tip #43: Randomly Call Out to B2B Clients (Customer Connectedness)

The law firm Becker and Poliakoff staffs a dedicated client care department and uses those same specially trained employees to proactively contact 2,500 randomly selected clients each year. This continuous feedback process gathers input on the attorney and other service providers involved with the account, along with an open dialogue on how the firm’s professionals are serving them and what the firm could be doing better. Surveys are timed to occur in advance of annual client renewal periods and feedback is provided to both the client relationship manager and practice group leader. These outbound calls have also resulted in the client care team more proactively addressing both minor and major issues. Click for more info

CX Tip #44: Create a Help Line for Employees (Employee Engagement)

All Hilton Garden Inn employees – from management to the front line – have access to a dedicated Advice Line. This provide employees a toll-free number or monitored email address through which they can get an answer to any question that’s taken them more than five minutes to find the answer to. It’s intended to make it easy for employees to get the knowledge or help they need quickly.

CX Tip #45: Use Blog to Connect CEO with Employees (Purposeful Leadership)

Safelite AutoGlass’s CEO, Tom Feeney, maintains his “Ask Tom” blog where any employee can ask any question with no fear of retribution. Mr. Feeney researches the answers and provides a personal response.

CX Tip #46: Translate Your Brand Into Employee Behaviors (Compelling Brand Values)

Companies need to make their brands more concrete and get the organization to interpret it into specific requirements. JetBlue, translated its “Jetitude” marketing campaign into five specific behaviors for its front line employees: 1) Be in Blue always, 2) Be personal, 3) Be the answer, 4) Be engaging, 5) Be thankful to every customer. Click more info

CX Tip #47: Use Job Shadowing to Improve Cross-Channel Cooperation (Employee Engagement)

Sprint uses a cross-channel program to create more engagement between call center and retail store employees. Each group visits the others’ locations for job shadowing in order to gain a greater appreciation of the customer experience and operations in each other’s settings and identify lessons to bring back to their own workplace. Click for more info

CX Tip #48: Empower Employees to Create Memorable Moments (Employee Engagement)

Hampton has trained its team members on a set of Moment Makers rather than checklists and scripts to handle a variety of situations. Moment Makers are designed so that team members can choose approaches based on their personality, comfort level, and individual style to match the cues from guests. These approaches include being anticipatory, using empathy, using humor, providing unexpected delight, and giving a compliment. Moment Makers are taught from a team member’s first days on the job when he or she learns the brand story and continue to be reinforced on an ongoing basis through learning maps and e-learning modules. Click for more info

CX Tip #49: Obsess About Customers, Not Competitors (Purposeful Leadership)

Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos has said: “Our energy at Amazon comes from the desire to impress customers rather than the zeal to best competitors… One advantage – perhaps a somewhat subtle one – of a customer-driven focus is that it aids a certain type of proactivity. When we’re at our best, we don’t wait for external pressures. We are internally driven to improve our services, adding benefits and features, before we have to.”

CX Tip #50: Don’t Overlook Low-Tech Opportunities for Customer Research (Customer Connectedness)

When using Intuit’s IVR (the menu of options customers hear when they call), customers were getting incorrectly routed 40% of the time. Since it took 10 days to reprogram the IVR, they couldn’t try a lot of things in the normal way. So one engineer said let’s do this the old fashioned way; and they did. People answered the phone and spoke the menus. By trial and error, they found a menu structure that worked before reprograming the IVR. Click for more info

Stay tuned for additional CX Tips…

Seven Steps for Developing Customer Journey Maps

In Temkin Group’s previous report on B2B CX best practices, we provide examples of companies using a customer journey map (CJM), which is a critical CX tool. We included this graphic which is valuable for any company, B2B or B2C, that is thinking about using CJMs.

1304_CJMLet’s circle back with the basics, what is a CJM? It’s a representation of the steps and emotional states that a customer goes through during a period of time that may include some interactions with your organization. CJMs are valuable because they help identify how a customer views an organization by putting the interactions with a company in the context of the customer’s broader activities, goals and objectives. The output often includes an easy to understand graphic such as this example I’ve used from Lego for many years:

Here’s an example of a CJM we created to showcase the power of CJMs. Note how the journey represents the customer’s point of view and not just the company touchpoints.

1304_ExampleOfCJM

Often times, companies mistake a CJM for a touchpoint map, which is looking at individual interactions or “touches” with customers. The problem with this approach is that it often loses the broader context of how that touchpoint fits within the overall goal and objectives of the customer. As a matter of fact, mapping internal touchpoints is one of my 10 CX Mistakes to Avoid.

Given the importance of CJMs, I put together answers to some FAQs:

  • Do we need to do customer research? No, but I highly recommend it and the results will be much better if you do. If you assemble the right front-line employees who have day-to-day interactions with customers, then your CJM may be somewhat accurate. But very likely it will be missing some steps and perceptions of customers, especially in areas of the journey where the customer doesn’t think about the company. And if you just pull together a bunch of people in headquarters, then your CJM will often represent an oversimplified, fantasy about what customers go through. The best CJMs start with internal information to frame the effort, but spend the time to validate and update the CJM through strong customer research.
  • What type of customer research do we need to do? This is all about qualitative research. You won’t find how customers feel about the journey in your quantitative datasets. You will need to go out and speak to customers within your different segments to understand how they view the overall journey. This can include ethnographic techniques like journaling and contextual inquiry. After you have the journey defined, you can use some quantitative methods to identify how often some activities occur.
  • Do we need to hire an outside firm to do a CJM? You don’t need to, but there are some good firms with a lot of experience in this area. If your internal research organization has strong ethnography skills, then you can probably follow our seven steps above and complete it on your own. As with any activity, the vendors that have done a lot of these are going to be more skilled at the process and in making sure that the output is actionable. If you can’t afford to hire an outside firn, then it’s still worthwhile to go ahead and do the project internally as best as you can.
  • Is there a CJM that we can copy? There are a lot of examples of the physical maps, but that’s not what’s important about the process. You are doing CJMs to uncover specific insights that you will use for fixing problems, wowing customers in the future, or establishing measurement tracking systems. If you focus too much on copying someone else’s CJM, then you will often miss the nuances that are key for your customers and your company. And, more importantly, you lose the institutional learnings that come from going through the process.
  • Do we need to do a CJM for every customer segment? Yes, at least every important one. It may be that some of your customer segments follow the same journey, in which case you can combine them but you don’t want to have CJMs that are an amalgamation of multiple segments. You’ll end up with a bunch of generalities and less useful insights. It’s okay to have the output show one journey with different variations after you’ve examined each segment individually.
  • Are CJMs for the entire lifecycle of a customer or for a specific stage? Yes and yes. CJMs can be used at different levels of the customers’ journey. They can examine how customers go through a multi-year journey like the car ownership experience to a more specific journey like going on a family vacation.
  • Are CJMs good for finding mistakes to fix or for designing future state experiences? Yes and yes. CJMs can be used to identify gaps in the current state of experiences as well as helping to identify the opportunities for better future state experiences. Depending on your goal, you will likely want to adjust your customer research approach.
  • How much detail do we need? It depends on what you are trying to accomplish. The maps shown above are at a level that would help point a company into specific areas for improvement. If you wanted to redesign an area such as rebooking a flight, then you would really want to get much more granular information about the customer journey in that area.

The bottom line: Good things happen when you focus on your customers’ journey

Report: Best Practices in B2B Customer Experience

1304_B2BCXBest Practices_v2We just published a Temkin Group report, Best Practices in B2B Customer Experience. Here’s the executive summary:

Customer experience is gaining more attention within business-to-business (B2B) organizations. Rightfully so—customer experience drives loyalty with business customers. At the same time, clients and prospects, who increasingly compare business interactions with their personal consumer experiences, are raising the expectations of B2B relationships. While our research has shown that most B2Bs are still mastering the basics, our interviews with 28 companies uncovered best practices for building a more client-oriented mindset through closed-loop voice of the customer programs, customer journey maps, and virtual client advisory boards. Using the customer insights they collect, forward-thinking B2B organizations are becoming more client-centric in how they develop new business, create account plans, and proactively provide support (or intervene when service breakdowns occur). To sustain superior customer experience, B2B firms must master four competencies: Purposeful Leadership, Compelling Brand Values, Employee Engagement, and Customer Connectedness.

Download report for $195

The report identifies many best practices across two areas:

  • Building a client-oriented mindset. Organizations have a natural tendency to operate from an internal perspective, focusing on the needs of their functional silos more than on their clients. To offset this tendency, B2B firms need to build repeatable and systematic processes for gathering, analyzing, and taking action on customer insights. The report identifies best practices in the following areas:
    • Develop Closed-Loop Voice of the Client (VoC) Programs. Having a reliable flow of customer insights across the organization is critical to driving customer-centric actions.
    • Use Journey Maps to Better Understand Clients’ Needs. To better understand how clients see their experiences, B2B organizations can use a tool known as customer journey mapping.
    • Tap Into Virtual Client Advisory Boards. Client advisory boards (CAB) and councils provide the opportunity to acquire more insight into customer needs and expectations.
  • Building client-centric relationship management. Today, account management functions tend to be oriented around sales generation and firefighting. To build stronger, longer-term ties with clients, Temkin Group expects that B2B firms will head towards a more client-centric model of account management that uses client insights throughout the relationship management continuum. The report identifies best practices in the following areas:
    • Account-Level Experience Reporting. To acquire, retain, and grow B2B relationships, account managers need to understand what’s working and not working for each of their clients.
    • Insightful Business Development. B2B organizations that gather and use the right customer insights during this early stage will create a differentiated experience from the start of the relationship
    • Collaborative Account Planning. By taking a structured and collaborative approach to developing in-depth account plans, companies can tap into their enterprise knowledge.
    • Proactive Intervention and Support. B2B organizations need to use customer insights and feedback from account managers to intervene in service experiences gone wrong as quickly as possible with well-defined, robust recovery procedures.

The report provides a plethora of specific practices in these areas from companies such as Becker and Poliakoff, CDW, Cisco, Citrix, DellEnterasys, EquinixGenworth Financial, Lithium, Lynden, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, OracleSalesforce.com, SanDiskStream Global, Verint, and VMware.

B2BCXBestPractices

Download report for $195

The bottom line: B2B companies need more customer-centric enterprise relationships

 

B2B Versus B2C in VoC

In the research for the Temkin Group report Prepare for Next Generation Voice of the Customer Programs, more than 200 large organizations completed our VoC program competency and maturity assessment. This tool uses 30 questions to gauge the effectiveness of these efforts across the 6 Ds of a VoC programDetect, Disseminate, Diagnose, Discuss, Design, and Deploy. The tool also identifies the level of maturity of these programs.

I took a closer look at the results from the 75 B2B companies and 62 B2C companies that completed our VoC assessment.

B2BvB2C VoC MaturityThe data shows that:

  • B2B firms have more mature VoC programs. Over half of the B2B programs with formal VoC programs are at least Analyzers, the third stage of VoC maturity. B2C firms are slightly less at 47%.
  • All competencies need work. Across all six Ds, only a small portion of B2C and B2B firms—ranging from 10% to to 26%—are rated as good or very good.
  • B2C is best at Discuss. B2C firms perform the best at communicating feedback in a cross-functional setting. This is also the place where they most outperform B2B firms.
  • B2B is best at Discuss and DisseminateB2B firms get the highest score, 21%, for these two phases.
  • Design is weak for both B2B and B2C. Very few B2B or B2C companies are good at using user-centered approaches for making improvements based on voC insights.

The bottom line: B2B and B2C Need to Improve VoC

Report: Lessons in CX Excellence

We just published a Temkin Group report, Lessons in CX Excellence. This 127 page report provides a rich set of best practices and a glimpse into the customer experience efforts of 11 companies that were finalists in Temkin Group’s 2012 Customer Experience Excellence Awards.This report has rich insights about both B2B and B2C customer experience.

Here’s the executive summary:

The following 11 organizations are finalists in Temkin Group’s 2012 Customer Experience Excellence Awards: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Bombardier Aerospace, Citrix, EMC, Fidelity Investments, JetBlue Airways, Microsoft, Oklahoma City Thunder, Oracle, Safelite AutoGlass, and Sovereign Assurance NZ. This document provides highlights of their customer experience efforts and best practices across the four customer experience competencies: Purposeful leadership, compelling brand values, employee engagement,  and customer connectedness. The report also includes the finalists’ detailed nomination forms.

Download report for $195

Here are excerpts of our description from each of the finalists:

  • In just 17 months, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan assembled its customer experience team and leveraged a variety of insights and data to devise a comprehensive strategy to “Find and Fix” near-term opportunities and “Transform” the organization to be customer-centric at its core.
  • Bombardier Aerospace drives continuous improvement through its multi-faceted Amazing Customer Experience (ACE) initiative. Customer feedback is essential to ACE and is gathered through a variety of channels including surveys, customer forums, and Bombardier’s Executive Listening Program.
  • Citrix places an emphasis on giving customers a voice in its product roadmap and building a user-centered culture in order to continuously improve its products, services, and experiences. Through the Design Matters initiative, Citrix helps its employees rethink core business processes with a focus on customer needs.
  • EMC has a Total Customer Experience (TCE) program with a mission to enable business growth through improvements based on a customer-focused, data-driven strategy. The program provides ways for customers, partners, and EMC field personnel to provide feedback on their experiences, and measures customer quality in every interaction.
  • Founded on the core value “The Customer Is Always First,” Fidelity Investments has a well-established, well-rounded program that delivers enterprise-wide results. The program is comprised of four integrated elements: Voice of Customer & Associate, End-to-End Process Improvement, Culture & Communications, and Measurement & Rewards.
  • The Customer Insight (CI) team at JetBlue Airways provides the business with a multi-faceted view of its customers through feedback from surveys, text analytics, social media monitoring, and third party benchmarking. The CI team also has a program in place to address all unsolicited customer feedback that is received regardless of source through its Customer Retention Program.
  • Microsoft believes that the better it is at building a culture of accountability, listening and responding to customers, simplifying offerings, and innovating based on customer feedback, the stronger its Customer and Partner Experience (CPE) will be.
  • “Create Repeat Guests Profitably” is the mission of the Guest Relations team of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The team uses various fan feedback platforms to gather feedback including email, text message, telephone, written submissions, and social media, all of which are promoted on the team’s website and during in-game announcements.
  • Oracle drives consistent customer experience activities across all regions and lines of business through a structured framework and standardized approach to monitoring the customer experience: Listen, Respond, Collaborate for Customer Success. The portfolio of feedback tools includes transactional and product surveys, relationship surveys, customer advisory boards, user experience labs, and independent user groups.
  • On the company’s path back from bankruptcy, Safelite AutoGlass CEO Tom Feeney set a goal in 2008 to double business in four years by 1) putting Safelite’s people first by focusing on talent development and employee engagement and 2) going above and beyond to delight every customer.
  • Sovereign Assurance of New Zealand’s strategy is to create customer engagement and advocacy through effortless experiences, with a program of initiatives around four key levers: customers front and center, stickier relationships, maximize touch points, and focus on value.

Download report for $195

The bottom line: There’s a lot to learn from these excellent CX efforts

B2B Firms Lag B2C Firms in Customer Experience

As I’ve said in the past, many of the underlying tools and techniques for CX work across B2B and B2C settings. But how effective are the CX efforts for these types of firms?

I examined results from Temkin Group’s CX Competency and Maturity Assessment from The State of CX Management, 2012 for B2B and B2C firms. The assessment rates companies across our four CX competencies: Purposeful Leadership, Compelling Brand Values, Employee Engagement, and Customer Connectedness. As you can see in the chart below:

  • Less than half of both types of firms are “good” at any of the four competencies
  • B2C firms are much stronger with Compelling Brand Values (+17 points) and Purposeful Leadership (+8 points)
  • B2B firms are slightly better at Employee Engagement (+3 points)
  • B2B firms struggle the most with Compelling Brand Values (24%) while B2C firms struggle the most with Employee Engagement (30%)
  • When I examined the overall results, 68% of B2B firms and 63% of B2C firms are in the two earliest stages of CX maturity

B2B2C_12CXCompetenciesThe bottom line: B2B and B2C firms have a lot of CX work to do

13 Customer Experience Trends to Watch in 2013

2012 was a very active year for customer experience management. I expect 2013 to be an even more robust year as we move deeper into the Era of CX Professionalism.

Here are 13 CX trends to keep an eye on this year as these efforts gain maturity:

  1. Decline of surveys. As more companies thirst for customer feedback, the number of surveys has escalated. But there is a limit to customers’ willingness to complete surveys. As completion rates get more difficult to maintain, companies will become more efficient with the questions they ask, target questions at specific customers in specific situations, and stop relying as much on multiple-choice questions. Tidbit: When we asked large companies with VoC programs about the changing importance of eight listening posts, multiple choice survey questions were at the bottom of the list
  2. 13 customer experience trends for 2013Rise of text analytics.Companies are learning that some of the richest insights from customers come from unstructured content like comments on surveys, calls into the contact center, social media conversations, and chat sessions with agents. Companies will shift more of their focus towards collecting and analyzing these types of feedback. Tidbit: Nearly three-quarters of large companies with VoC programs are using or considering text analytics.
  3. “Big data” predictive insights. It’s hard to talk about trends without discussing big data (in order to be fully buzz-word compliant). But what will this term mean for customer experience in 2013? Companies will blend together customer feedback data with troves of other data they have in CRM and other systems about customer transactions and value. Using this large dataset, they will predict customer satisfaction levels and Net Promoter Scores across their customer base. Since analytics requires more than just technology, we’ll see a surge of demand for data scientists. Tidbit: More than half of large companies with a VoC program are using or considering predictive analytics, but only one-third of large companies feel that they are effective at integrating CRM data in their VoC efforts.
  4. Anticipatory service. As companies gain a deeper understanding of customers through research and analytics, they will use that information to develop more individualized customer experiences. Look for companies to route callers to phone agents most likely to help them based on anticipating why they are calling, train front line employees with different scripts based on anticipating a customers’ needs/interests/emotional styles, and proactively recover from service issues before customers even complain about them based on detecting potential changes to a customers’ loyalty. Tidbit: When companies responded very poorly after a bad experience, 47% of consumers stopped spending completely with the company. When they had a very good response, only 6% stopped spending and 37% increased their spending.
  5. Experience-infused product development. We’ll see more companies create products with customer experience embedded throughout the entire development process. What will this look like? Product teams will define usability requirements, set minimum experience thresholds for product launch, and design the entire service lifecycle. Fidelity Investments evaluates all new product and experience efforts via a CX scorecard to determine the level of customer experience risk involved in a proposed project. Its “Customer Lens” process incorporates standards and checkpoints into business case and new product development methodologies to deliver more customer-centric experiences.
  6. Design-based process improvement. As customer experience efforts highlight the need to redesign more operational processes, companies will combine customer experience efforts with other process improvement efforts such as lean sigma and design thinking. These combinations, such as GM’s bringing together of customer experience and product quality, will merge process-centric tools with the power of deep customer empathy. We’ll also see more companies follow firms such as Intuit that are embedding design thinking across their organizations (check out the Stanford d.school). Tidbit: 74% of CX professionals think that customer experience design is important for their company, but only 34% think that their firm is good at it.
  7. Loyalty-focused contact centers. As companies more fully understand the link between customer experience and loyalty, especially with customer service, they will increasingly view contact centers as value-creators and not just cost centers. Some of the effects in 2013: less focus on average-handle-time and other productivity metrics, more focus on customer feedback and quality metrics, more on-shoring of previously off-shored interactions, and more investment in agent training and coaching. Tidbit: Consumers that are satisfied with customer service interactions are more than 4 times as likely to repurchase than those who are dissatisfied.
  8. Appreciation of employee assets. Companies are beginning to see the deep connection between employee engagement and customer experience. So many firms will focus on their employees in 2013. We’ll see more CX programs develop internal ambassador programs and an initial wave of HR organizations leading employee engagement efforts across what we call Five I’s of Employee Engagement: Inform, Inspire, Instruct, Involve, and Incent. Tidbit: Highly engaged employees are 5.8 times more committed to helping their companies succeed and 3.5 times more likely to do something good for their employers that is not expected of them.
  9. Mobile, mobile, mobile. Consumers will have more smart phones, more mobile apps, more tablets for them to do even more things wherever they go. Companies will increasingly integrate mobile into their product offerings and service experiences while integrating mobile with other channels, especially when it comes to combining desktop applications with mobile apps being used in physical stores. Tidbit: 31% of U.S. consumers use apps on their mobile phones on a daily basis.
  10. Software as an Experience. The initial rise of cloud-based software (a.k.a. SaaS, or software-as-a-service) focused on renting access to software instead of the historical approach of selling licenses. As cloud-based software expands, we’ll see these offerings cater more explicitly to the needs of customers. How? More simple, highly-focused, specialized applications (like smartphone apps), more focus on quick initial usability, more sharing of best practices (usage, not technical), and customization based on behavioral analysis of users. Tidbit: Net Promoter Scores for tech vendors are more correlated to customer experience than product performance.
  11. Resurgence of values. As more companies push forward on their CX journeys, they’ll find that there’s nothing holding their efforts together. The desire to improve customer experience will fall victim to other priorities if the effort is not tied to the core values of the company. But many organizations are so heavily focused on their operations that they’ve lost sight of their raisons d’être. I expect more companies to articulate and recommit to a core set of values like those of Zappos and Whole Foods, customer promises like that of TNT Express, and mission statements like that of the Dallas Cowboys.
  12. Rethinking risk-experience trade-offs. Customer experience is often constrained by rigid requirements imposed by legal, compliance and risk management teams. As a result, companies are forced to collect additional information from customers, add additional steps in processes, and eliminate valuable self-service options. In 2013, given the increased emphasis on customer experience, we’ll see companies push back on and successfully eliminate many of the most egregious experience roadblocks.
  13. Continuing CX education. Some customer experience practices are becoming standardized enough to create educational curriculum. In 2013, we’ll see more corporate training departments rolling out CX training, MBA programs incorporating more CX content into service and marketing courses, and the creation of standalone CX academic courses. Tidbit: The percentage of CX professionals that see training as an important professionals development goal increased from 52% in 2011 to 57% in 2012.

The bottom line: 2013 will be a busy year for CX professionals!