CX Institute eLearning Module Teasers

We recently introduced the CX Institute, which provides online training that creates a customer-centric mindset in employees across an organization. The CX Institute currently offers two eLearning modules, which can be deployed across a company or purchased individually: Customer Experience Foundations and Creating A Customer-Centric Culture.

We just created these teaser videos to provide a sense of what’s in each course…

eLearning Module: Customer Experience Foundations

This interactive online course is meant for just about everyone in your organization, from front-line supervisors to senior executives. It helps people understand what customer experience is, why it’s important, and recognize their personal role in delivering great customer experience.

eLearning Module: Creating A Customer-Centric Culture

This interactive online course is meant for leaders across organizations who are collectively needed to drive change in your culture. The training demystifies culture and provides a framework for creating and sustaining a more customer-centric organization.

The bottom line: Create a customer-centric mindset with CX Institute training!

2017 Temkin Online Ratings (U.S.): USAA, Advantage Rent-A-Car, and Amazon.com On Top

Temkin Group published the 2017 Temkin Online Ratings. Based on a study of 10,000 U.S consumers, the ratings benchmarks the online experience delivered by 282 companies across 20 industries.

USAA took the top two spots for its banking and insurance businesses, and its credit card business tied for 4th. Advantage Rent-A-Car took third place and Amazon.com tied for 4th. Four TV/Internet service providers earned the lowest scores: Comcast, Cox Communications, Spectrum, and Time Warner Cable. Here’s a list of all of the companies.

You can see all of the high-level results on the Temkin Ratings website, or purchase a full dataset.

Purchase dataset for $295+
(see sample spreadsheet)

Purchase dataset for $295+
(see sample spreadsheet)

The Power of Customer Journey Thinking (Infographic)

I hate to break this news to you, but your customers most often interact with your organization because they have to, not because they want to. And when they do connect with you, it’s part of a larger journey that they’re on to achieve something more important than the interaction with you.

That’s why it’s critical for organizations to understand and to design experiences for their customers’ journeys.

A few year ago, we introduced the concept of Customer Journey Thinking (TM). It’s a simple tool for employees across an organization to continuously focus on customers’ journeys. As you can see in the infographic below, it’s all about asking and answering five simple questions.

You can download the infographic in several forms:

Five Ways That Organizations Crush Customer Empathy (Video)

Human beings are naturally empathetic, yet that tendency can get crushed when they go to work. Watch and read below…

Did you know that human beings are genetically wired for empathy? Our brains have something called mirror neurons that allow us to virtually feel what someone else is feeling. If you see your friend bump her head, then you are likely to react almost as if it had happened to you.

If people are naturally empathetic, then why aren’t most organizations, which are just collections of people, super empathetic towards their customers?

It turns out that organizations inhibit natural empathy in many ways. Here are five of those empathy inhibitors:

  • Inhibitor 1: Individual Context. People view the world through their own perspectives, so your natural empathy may not match the reaction of a customer who is quite different than you. For instance, a wealthy middle-aged marketing executive in New York City has a very different lens on the world than does an 18-year old from a poor, rural community. Also, employees know a lot more about their company’s products, processes, terminology, and organizational structure. So experiences that make sense to employees can often seem very complicated to customers.
  • Inhibitor 2: Human Bias. Companies often design experiences as if their customers were perfectly rational robots, but human beings aren’t like that. While people sometimes use rational thinking, which relies on logic and reason to make decisions, we more frequently use intuitive thinking, which relies on mental shortcuts and cognitive bias to make decisions. Rather than supporting customers’ unconscious decision rules like preferring to maintain the status quo, companies create experiences that slow down customers’ progress, or even derail them completely.
  • Inhibitor 3: Group Think. It turns out that people who are in close quarters, like a work team, tend to conform to a consistent point of view. Since companies often use different metrics for different groups, employees are encouraged to develop a very myopic view of their team’s responsibilities. As a result, the needs of employees’ teams take up so much head space that they drown out any thoughts about the needs of customers.
  • Inhibitor 4: Corporate Culture. Employees tend to conform to their surroundings. When leaders set expectations for a certain type of behavior, employees will try to meet those expectations – even if doing so hurts customers. When the Wells Fargo CEO set an unsustainable goal for the number of products sold to customers, employees across the organization tried to make it happen – even if it they knew it may not be good for customers.
  • Inhibitor 5: Emotional Illiteracy. Leaders in companies rarely discuss customer emotions. It’s not their fault; most people are uncomfortable discussing emotions in any setting. Within companies, emotions are often viewed as being too “soft” or “squishy” to focus on. This lack of dialogue about emotion keeps organizations from fully understanding and addressing the needs, wants, and desires of their customers.

While these inhibitors can drain the customer empathy out of an organization, they don’t need to. Now that you know what they are you can look for them and suppress their impact.

The bottom line: You need to actively unleash employees’ natural empathy.

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Temkin Emotion Ratings, U.S. & UK

In this post, I examine the 2017 Temkin Emotion Ratings for the U.S. and UK, which is one of the components of the overall Temkin Experience Ratings, the openly available standard for CX metrics.

In January 2017, we surveyed 10,000 U.S. consumers and 5,000 UK consumers about their experiences with companies. We used that feedback to calculate the Temkin Effort Ratings for 329 companies in the U.S. (see U.S. companies) and 157 in the UK (see UK companies). You can access the full datasets in the 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings, US and in the 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings, UK.

As you can see in the charts below:

  • Three supermarkets—Amazon Fresh, Publix, and H-E-B—are on the top in the U.S. Temkin Emotion Ratings, while three TV/Internet service providers—Comcast, Time Warner, and Cox Communications—are on the bottom.
  • Domino’s, Costa Coffee, and M&S Food are on the top in the UK Temkin Emotion Ratings, while Audi, BMW, and Flybe are on the bottom.
  • Supermarkets and fast food earn the highest industry averages in the Temkin Emotion Ratings in both the U.S. and UK. TV/Internet service provides and health plans are the lowest in the U.S., while airlines and rental cars are the lowest in the UK.

Access the full Temkin Emotion Ratings datasets as part of the 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings, US and in the 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings, UK.

Customer Centricity Requires All Four CX Core Competencies

As most readers of this blog will likely know, customer-centric organizations must master Four CX Core Competencies:  Purposeful Leadership, Compelling Brand Values, Employee Engagement, and Customer Connectedness. It turns out that you’re only as good as your weakest link. Here’s what it looks like when you fall short in one of these areas:

  • Without Purposeful Leadership the company is Stagnant. Lacking alignment, very little progress is made.
  • Without Compelling Brand Values, the company is Adrift. Lacking identify, there’s no focus clear priorities.
  • Without Employee Engagement, the company is Turbulent. Lacking commitment, stress grows between leaders and employees.
  • Without Customer Connectedness, the company is Disappointing. Lacking insights, offerings continually miss their mark.

The bottom line: Master all Four CX Core Competencies.

 

My Take: 2017 World Congress on Positive Psychology

I recently attended the fifth annual World Congress on Positive Psychology (WCPP) in Montreal with Aimee and Karen. It was four amazing four days of inspiration and reflection. I’m already looking forward to the next WCPP in Melbourne in 2019 (it’s a bi-annual event).

As I did after the the last congress, I’m sharing my thoughts and observations from the four day event. There were many concurrent sessions, so my notes only reflect a small slice of the event.

What is Positive Psychology?

In case you’re wondering what Positive Psychology is all about, here’s a definition from the Positive Psychology Center:

Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.

The field is still pretty fragmented, without many standardized definitions. Many of the thought leaders have created their own models (and related books), which push the field into many different (and mostly interesting) directions. Amongst all of that diversity, here’s my takeaway on what positive psychology is all about (and why it’s so important to what we do at Temkin Group):

  • People have the intrinsic ability to be happy and to flourish.
  • Changes in mindset can improve physical and mental well-being.
  • It makes good business sense to help customers and employees flourish.
  • The world will be a better place if more of its inhabitants can flourish.

Highlights from the 2017 WCPP

The 2017 WCPP provided a wide array of content over four days of keynote speeches and breakout sessions. The keynote content was heavily focused on research that covered the connection between positive psychology and education, physical well-being, and organizational effectiveness. Here’s a very, very small portion of highlights from some of the sessions:

  • Martin Seligman shares 5 career highlights. Seligman, who many consider the godfather of the positive psychology movement, shared his thoughts about the five big ideas that he’s been involved with over his career, and where he thought they might be headed in the future. What an inspirational kick off to the event! Here’s a brief glimpse into the five areas:
    • Learned Helplessness: Helplessness is a learned behavior — usually caused after experiencing an adverse situation. Clinical depression and related mental illnesses are often the result  from a perceived absence of control. The research in neuroscience may be able to “unlearn” helplessness and eliminate depression.
    • Preparedeness: Human beings are prepared to learn some things and not others based on how coherent the information is to evidence already in our minds. But why are some things we learn sticky? We tend to listen/observe for 60 seconds and then a default circuit kicks in about every 60 seconds so that we can compare what we’re learning against our existing ideas.
    • Learned Optimism: Optimistic people believe that the cause of problems are temporary and causal, and this thinking can be taught through resilience training. Since pessimistic thinking is a key risk factor for cardiovascular disease, this training can be very helpful for people who have heart disease and depression.
    • Homo Prospectus: We used to think that people think and behave based on what’s happened to them in the past, when in fact people are future oriented. So treating problems with anxiety and depression must deal with how people view their future, not their past.
    • Positive Psychology: The PERMA model has defined what well-being means, and he is seeing it being brought into class rooms, families, organizations, and even nations. He believes that this movement can bring unprecedented prosperity in the world, and it can create a level of human flourishing that only comes along every 500 years.
  • David Cooperrider is improving the world. Cooperrider is one of the most unassuming and amazing people that I have ever met. He’s the creator of appreciative inquiry, which he’s successfully applied to industries, religions, and the United Nations. He’s planning a world summit that is focused on radically improving early childhood education. The approach he will use (which he’s been very successful with in the past) is to bring together representatives from every aspect of the entire system (educators, administrators, politicians, parents, etc) and run appreciative inquiry sessions. This is like a large-scale, co-creation form of design thinking that he calls “Design Democracy.” He expects that this summit will be the start of a decade long effort.
  • Kim Cameron shows the power of positive energy. Cameron shared some of the work being done at the Center for Positive Organizations. He discussed how positive energy is a more important element to understanding the health of an organization than is a mapping of hierarchies or influence levels. The bottom line is that people in organizations who add positive energy (Energizers) are much more more valuable to the performance of an organization than are those who subtract energy (De-Energizers).

  • Steve Cole discusses well-being and genomics. His research was fascinating, as it examined the actual connection between mind and body. He found that eudaimonic happiness (the pursuit of personal fulfillment)  improves a person’s genomes, while hedonic happiness (the pursuit of pleasure) does not.
  • Alejandro Adler improves education. Adler is a postdoctoral fellow at UPenn who won an award for his amazing work on the field of education. He’s shown that infusing well-being into educational curriculum can have a dramatic impact on the success of the children. He discussed extraordinary results with large-scale interventions in Bhutan, Mexico, and Peru.
  • Johannes Eichstaedt measures well-being via social media. Eichstaedt used text analytics to study the correlation between well-being and the language that thousands of people write on Facebook and Twitter. He showed many fascinating connections, including the topics that are predictors of heart disease (see below). He then examined differences by locations and political affiliations.

  • Elissa Epel discussed the biology of aging. Epel showed that our pace of aging is not pre-determined, and that our perception of stress impacts our genomes. Her research shows that chronic stress shortens telomeres, which leads to increased inflammation and disease. In other words, we can lengthen our lives by better coping with stress.
  • Laura King inspires us to appreciate what we have. I need to say this… King was awesome. Her speech was passionate and impactful. She explained that people constantly seek and find meaningful associations in the world… like pavlov dogs. She made the case that we should not strive to “find meaningfulness,” but instead we need to recognize that our meaning in life is deeply rooted in our everyday experiences. We just need to open our eyes and notice the meaning in our lives.

Hopefully some of the connections between positive psychology and customer experience are pretty obvious. In a later post, I’ll more explicitly discuss the linkages between what we heard at the WCPP and CX.  For now, I’ll end with a slide from Kim Cameron’s presentation and urge that you inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more.

The bottom line: You can make a positive difference in your life, and in the lives of others.

Happiness Affects How Consumers View Companies

After an inspiring weekend at the 2017 World Congress of Positive Psychology in Montreal, I decided to take a look at some of our data that connects positive psychology with customer experience. I started by examining the question:

Does the innate happiness of a consumer influence how she perceives her experiences with companies?

The answer is yes!

I analyzed the happiness of consumers (based on the degree to which they agree with the statement “I am typically happy“) and the Temkin Emotion Ratings ( a subset of the Temkin Experience Ratings) that they gave to companies with which they’ve recently interacted. The data represented more than 106,000 interactions across 20 different industries.

As you can see in the graphic below, consumers who are happier are more likely to rate their interactions as being positive emotional experiences and less likely to rate them as being negative emotional experiences.

The bottom line: Happy people make more emotionally connected customers.

2017 Temkin Effort Ratings, U.S. & UK

In this post, I examine the 2017 Temkin Effort Ratings for the U.S. and UK, which is one of the components of the overall Temkin Experience Ratings, the openly available standard for CX metrics.

In January 2017, we surveyed 10,000 U.S. consumers and 5,000 UK consumers about their experiences with companies. We used that feedback to calculate the Temkin Effort Ratings for 329 companies in the U.S. (see U.S. companies) and 157 in the UK (see UK companies). You can access the full datasets in the 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings, US and in the 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings, UK.

As you can see in the charts below:

  • Supermarkets earned the highest average scores in both the U.S. and UK.
  • In the U.S., TV/Internet service providers and health plans earn the lowest ratings (58%), but they are still much higher than the lowest UK industry, rental cars & transport (35%).
  • Publix (91%), QVC (90%), and Hardees (90%) are on the top of the U.S. ratings. HealthNet (41%), Medicaid (44%), and Blue Shield of CA (49%) are on the bottom.
  • Co-op (89%), Waitross (89%), Lidl (87%), and Marks & Spencer (87%) are on the top of the UK ratings. Audi (-5%), BMW (11%), and Flybe (13%) are on the bottom.

Read More …

Positive Attitudes Differ By Gender And Age

As part of our ongoing consumer studies, we measure a number of different attitudes. Given our belief in the importance of Positive Psychology, we recently started tracking a few new ones:

  • I feel loved and appreciated
  • I am optimistic about my future
  • I lead a purposeful and meaningful life

Since I’m in Montreal at the World Congress of Positive Psychology, I decided to examine these attitudes in our most recent benchmark study of 10,000 U.S. consumers. I analyzed the data by gender and age (“genderations”) and found that:

  • Older people feel the most loved and appreciated, along with 25- to 44-year-old males. Females older than 45 feel more loved and appreciated than males, whereas younger males tend to feel more loved and appreciated than females.
  • 25- to 34-year-olds are the most optimistic about their futures. The largest gender gaps are with 45- to 54-year-olds, where females are more optimistic, and with the oldest group, where males are the most optimistic.
  • Older females and 25- to 44-year-old males most frequently agree that they lead a purposeful and meaningful life. Females older than 45 are more likely than males to believe they are leading a purposeful and meaningful life. The opposite is true with younger consumers.
  • Across all three attitudes, 45- to 54-year-olds fall to the bottom.

The bottom line: We all can (and should) find ways to flourish!

The Human Conversational Model (Infographic)

In the report, Humanizing Digital Interactions, we decoded successful person-to-person interactions as a step in developing the Human Conversational Model. It’s the foundation for building compelling interactions with customers. This infographic provides an overview of the model and shows how to apply it to your digital efforts.

You can download the infographic in several forms:

La Quinta “Gaming” Highlights Flaws in NPS

I’m in Las Vegas to watch some NBA Summer League games (Go Celtics!), and am staying overnight at a La Quinta near the airport. I found this note on the table next to the bed.

While there’s no problem with a nice thank you note, one section caught my eye…

*********
You may be receiving a guest satisfaction survey from La Quinta in the near future and we hope you feel confident that you may answer the question “Would you recommend us to your family and friends” with a 10.

If you should be surveyed, La Quinta uses a 1-10 scale (10 being the best). Although the scale ranking is from 1 to 10, scores of 8 or below results in a negative impact on the overall rating for this hotel.
*********

First of all, this is what I would call “gaming” the system. Anytime you ask for a specific score or range of scores, it’s gaming. Instead of getting a true response from the customer about his/her experience, the customer is forced to balance her honest feedback with a request for a specific score. Some customers are likely to be intimidated, since they may think that the hotel has visibility into their specific response. This would lower response rates and alter true feedback.

The second problem this highlights is the Net Promoter Score (NPS) calculation (since this is clearly an NPS question). As you probably know, NPS segments responses into three categories: Detractors (6 or less), Passives, (7 or 8) and Promoters (9 or 10). Is there really that much difference between an “8” or “9” on this scale? I think people giving either of these ratings would think that they are saying that the experience was good, but not the best that they’ve ever had. The choice of an “8” or “9” may be more driven by an internal rating gauge (that is different in each person), then it is being caused by a distinctive difference in the actual experience.

[Side note: La Quinta’s NPS is 9 points below the hotel industry average in Temkin Group’s latest NPS benchmark study]

The final, more substantial problem is how the metric is being used. My guess is that La Quinta is using NPS to substantially impact the compensation of some hotel employees. This pushes people to focus on “the number” as opposed to what’s really important, the ability to continuously improve.

To be honest, the issues I discuss above are not NPS-specific. I’ve seen them with a variety of metrics, and we work with many companies that are successfully using NPS. So let me share some advice for improving your use of CX metrics….

I wrote a post a few years ago that listed these five rules to stop employees from gaming your feedback system:

  1. Don’t mention or refer to a score
  2. Don’t mention specific survey questions
  3. Don’t mention any consequences
  4. Don’t say or imply that you will see their responses
  5. Don’t intimidate customers in any way

Check out my most about nine recommendations for NPS programs:

  1. The choice of metric is not as important as people think
  2. Driving improvements is what’s critical
  3. Promoters & detractors need their individual attention
  4. Sampling patterns really, really matter
  5. NPS is for relationships, not transactions
  6. NPS is for teams, not individuals
  7. Compensation can be a real problem
  8. Target ranges make more sense than single numbers
  9. There are four loops to close

The bottom line: CX metrics need to focus on improvements, not numbers

Embrace Your Unalienable Right to Be Happy

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Happy July 4th!

While not everyone who reads my blog is celebrating a holiday today, I hope that everyone can embrace the sentiment described in the famous line above from the U.S. Declaration of Independence. If we look through the mindset of the time and replace “men” with “all people,” then this sentence is a powerful blueprint for our collective well-being.

It’s interesting that one of the three unalienable Rights that the founders of the country chose to highlight is the “pursuit of happiness.” As it turns out, happiness is also one of the three items that we’ve included in the Temkin Well-Being Index (along with healthiness and financial security).

As shown in the blog post The Human Side of Employee Engagement, happiness is a key ingredient to engaged employees. So how do you take advantage of this information?

Here are three simple steps:

  1. Be Happy. If you’re not happy, then you won’t have much capacity to think about other people, employees or customers. So how do I recommend being happy? By being grateful. A growing body of research shows that the act of being grateful actually makes people happy. So take some time every day to focus on the things that you are grateful for.
  2. Hire Happy People. Your organization probably screens employee candidates for professional experience, skills, and maybe even cultural fit. But those only tell a portion of the story about successful employees. If you want to build organizational empathy, screen candidates to make sure they are typically happy. Another way to say this is: Don’t hire unhappy people.
  3. Keep Employees Happy. HR processes focus a lot on hiring, firing, reviewing, and adjusting employees’ titles and compensation. But these are not the key drivers of employee happiness. What does motivate employees? Four intrinsic rewards: The sense of meaningfulness, choice, competence, and progress. Make sure that you focus on providing those things to your employees.

The bottom line: Have a very, very happy July 4th!

The Human Side of Employee Engagement

As you probably know, Temkin Group spends a lot of time researching and writing about employee engagement. It’s one of our Four CX Core Competencies and a critical component of a customer-centric culture.

While our research typically focuses on the work environment that drives employee engagement, that’s only one part of the picture. To fully understand employee engagement, it’s important to look deeper at the people who are our employees. Why? Because employee engagement is driven by two things: Human Attitudes & Work Environment.

What do I mean by “Human Attitudes?” Your employees are people who have a set of feelings and beliefs that they bring with them to work. These underlying attributes may have absolutely nothing to do with their work. Here’s some data that looks at the level of employee engagement based on two sets of attitudes, the degree to which people feel happy, and the degree to which they feel loved and appreciated. (Note: we used the Temkin Employee Engagement Index to assess the level of engagement).

As you can see, people who are typically happy and those who feel loved and appreciated are significantly more engaged employees than other people. While their work may contribute to these feelings, it’s more likely that they feel this way because of their underlying perspectives and as a result of what’s going on in the rest of their lives.

The first implication of this insight is that you need to do a better job of recruiting and screening for people who are more likely to be engaged. This data shows that more positive people tend to be more engaged employees. So look for those people when you are hiring.

Another implication is that organizations need to deal with the underlying attitudes of their employees. In addition to applying traditional employee engagement strategies, you need to help employees develop more positive attitudes. There’s a lot of good resources to tap into from the Positive Psychology movement.

I’m joining other members of our team at the bi-annual World Congress of Positive Psychology in Montreal in July where we explore this focus on employee engagement in more detail. After the previous congress, we published this table connecting positive psychology to customer experience (including employee engagement):The bottom line: Employee engagement requires human engagement.