50 CX Tips: eBook and Infographic

1310_50CXTips_COVERI recently completed a series of 50 customer experience (CX) tips. To make it easier for people to read and download all of the tips, I assembled them into a free eBook: 50 CX Tips: Simple Ideas, Powerful Results.

Each of the 50 CX Tips is aligned with one or more of Temkin Group’s four customer experience core competencies: Purposeful Leadership, Compelling Brand Values, Employee Engagement, and Customer Connectedness.

The CX Tips include examples from a wide variety of companies including Adobe, Amazon.com, Apple, BCBS of Michigan, Becker and Poliakoff, Big Lots, BMO Financial Group, Bombardier Aerospace, CDW, Charles Schwab, Citrix, Disney, EMC, Fidelity Investments, Hampton Inn, Hilton, IBM, Intersil, Intuit, JetBlue, Microsoft, Oklahoma City Thunder, Oracle, Safelite AutoGlass, Salesforce.com, SanDIsk, SimplexGrinnell, Southwest Airlines, Sovereign Assurance of NZ, Sprint, Starbucks, Stream Global Services, Sam’s Club, USAA, VMware, and ZocDoc.

While you may have a hard time applying all 50 CX TIps, you should be able to identify several that will work for your organization. I challenge you to select three or more of the CX Tips to implement. Here’s an idea: Have each of your team members pick the five CX Tips that they think would be the most powerful for your organization. Use a team meeting to discuss everyone’s selections and pick the ones you want to implement.

We also created an infographic with the 50 CX tips. Here’s a version with the top 10 CX tips (click on the graphic to get a .pdf of the full infographic).

Top10CXTips_TemkinGroupThe bottom line: A handful of CX Tips can propel your customer experience.

CX Insights From Marriott And JetBlue

I recently spoke at the Customer Experience Strategies Summit in Toronto. While I was there, I was able to catch a few of the other speakers. I really enjoyed hearing from the Marriott and JetBlue speakers. Both companies did very well in the 2011 Temkin Experience Ratings; Marriott was the top rated hotel chain and JetBlue was the second rated airline (behind Southwest). Here are some of the interesting details that they shared:

Scott Allison, VP of Canadian Operations, Marriott:

  • Allison shared this great comment: “culture trumps brand.” Marriott links its strategy as a company with its strategy as en employer. Bill Marriott still visits a lot of hotels and when he does, he first goes to employee areas like employee entrances and break rooms. Employees are also trained on what makes their brand special.
  • Hotel general managers need to hit targets for both customer experience and employee satisfaction to get their bonuses.
  • Something goes wrong, even if it’s a small thing, during about one-quarter of stays — so hotels need to be good at recovery. That’s why the Ritz Carlton empowers associates to spend up to $1,000 per day per guest to improve someone’s stay. The staff reviews guest situations at the beginning of every day, they call it “Stand Up” at Marriott and “Line Up” at the Ritz.

Vicky Stennes, VP of Inflight Experience, JetBlue:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one of the key measures that the company uses. It also uses J. D. Power which breaks measurements into “people-related” and “non people-related” categories.
  • A couple of years ago, the company noticed a slip in its “people-related” scores so it started a program called “Culture is Service” (CIS). [Note: CIS was discussed in the CEO’s letter to shareholders in JetBlue’s 2010 Annual Report]. As part of CIS, more than 1,000 “crew members” (across the organization) went through training focused on three areas: Inform: Educate everyone on JetBlue’s current state of service, the measurements that it tracks, and share insights on how crew member behaviors affect customer experience; Engage: Elicit an open dialogue with real-time cross-functional problem solving; and Inspire: Give them a sense of the concept of unexpected moments and recognize the great work of crew members over the company’s first 10 years of operations.
  • JetBlue sees success of the CIS program because of an improvement in employee NPS scores of training attendees.
  • Moving ahead, they are looking to add a few things to the CIS training: cross-functional design sessions and education on linking NPS to specific behaviors and to revenue.
  • Stennes shared data that showed correlation between pilot in-flight communications and NPS. They use this data to show pilots that the way they communicate with passengers plays an important role in passenger loyalty.
  • The company also tracks a “Net Helpfulness Score” along with NPS for each flight. They will start using these scores to define scores for crews across their different flights.
  • Stennes also shared some great data: Every 5 promoters leads to 2 new customers and every 16 detractors leads to the loss of 1 customer. A promoter is worth $33 extra dollars ($27 from referrals and $6 from loyalty) to JetBlue while a detractor is worth $104 less than average. One point change in JetBlue’s NPS is worth $5 to $8 million.

The bottom line: Great brands spend a lot of time focusing on their people

20 Companies Most Susceptible To Negative Comments Via Twitter

In my previous post, I listed companies that were susceptible to negative feedback via Facebook. Now it’s time to look at Twitter. In the report How Consumers Give Feedback, we analyzed what US consumers did after they had a very bad or a very good experience.

As a part of the analysis, we examined the difference in social media use across 141 companies. Our analysis looked at how often people that had interacted with those companies had also used social media to talk about a very bad experience in the previous 60 days. We then compared that data to the overall US average.

This chart shows the 20 companies that interact with consumers who are most likely to tweet about a very bad experience.

As you can see, Days Inn, Courtyard By Marriott, Hyatt, Continental Airlines, 21st Century, and Bright House are more than three times as susceptible to having a bad experience show up on Twitter.

The bottom line: These firms need to think a bit more about Twitter than the average company

 

20 Companies Most Susceptible To Negative Comments Via Facebook

In the recent Temkin Group Insight report, How Consumers Give Feedback, we analyzed what US consumers did after they had a very bad or a very good experience. One of the areas we examined was the use of social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.

As a part of the analysis, we examined the difference in social media use across 141 companies. Our analysis looked at how often people that had interacted with those companies had also used social media to talk about a very bad experience in the previous 60 days. We then compared that data to the overall US average.

This chart shows the 20 companies that interact with consumers who are most likely to post a very bad experience on Facebook.

As you can see, Days Inn, E*TRADE, and Apple are twice as susceptible to having a bad experience show up on Facebook.

The bottom line: These firms need to think a bit more about Facebook than the average company

 

I Am The Customer Experience… Not!

I’m in the Phoenix airport and noticed this American Airlines sign at one of the gates that says “I am the Customer Experience.”

Naturally, this sign caught my eye. If this is part of a broader effort around employee engagement, then it could be a sign that American Airlines is heading in the right direction. To test how embedded this message was in the hearts and minds of employees, I went up to the first American Airlines employee that I found and “innocently” asked him what the sign meant. His answer:

I don’t know; it’s just a promo they’re running.”

My take: First of all, I recognize that this is not a statistically significant sample size. So I can’t say that this one response is representative of the larger population of American Airlines employees (although I have a hunch that it is).

But if this is how many employees would respond, then it represents a common issue that I see where companies treat customer experience as a superficial marketing campaign. They think that they can somehow convince customers that they are customer-centric.This is a type of marketing approach that I call “empty promises.”

JetBlue’s “Happy Jetting” Is More Than Empty Promises

Compare this to JetBlue’s approach with its “Happy Jetting” campaign.

Marketing efforts, internal or eternal, are most successful if they ring true to their target audience. If American Airlines was actually working with its employees to engage them in a corporate-wide effort to improve customer experience, than a sign like this might be effective. But if it’s an isolated campaign to convince people that American Airlines is more customer-centric than it is, then it’s a truly bad idea. Employees and customers just see another empty promotional campaign.

Don’t forget the 6th law of customer experience: You can’t fake it.

The bottom line: Take customer experience seriously or don’t waste your time

The Who And What Of JetBlue

I recently spoke at Allegiance’s customer event in Deer Valley, UT. One of the other keynote speakers was Vicky Stennes, VP of In-Flight Experience at JetBlue. Stennes described how the following JetBlue values define “who” the company is:

  • Safety
  • Caring
  • Integrity
  • Fun
  • Passion

She also discussed how the JetBlue Experience is “what” the customers see. These experiences are driven by the atitude of its employees, what Stennes called “Jetitude.” She listed five behaviors that define “Jetitude:”

  • Be in Blue always
  • Be personal
  • Be the answer
  • Be engaging
  • Be thankful to every customer

One of Stenne’s anecdotes showed JetBlue’s well-developed understanding of customer experience.  When the company designed it’s new T5 terminal in JFK airport, the airline invested in cushioning the security area to make it more comfortable for TSA agents. Why? Happier agents are more likely to deliver a good experience to customers.

My take: JetBlue operates consistently with my 6 Laws of Customer Experience, especially the 5th law: “Unengaged employees don’t create engaged customers.” It’s impossible to deliver a consistently high level of customer experience if you don’t:

  • Recognize the importance of your employees
  • Define the behaviors that reflect your brand (who you are as a company)
  • Hire employees that are most likely to demonstrate those behaviors
  • Invest in training and tools that help employees demonstrate those behaviors
  • Measure, incent, and celebrate those behaviors

The bottom line: Most companies could use more Jetitude

JetBlue Shows How To Reinforce Value

I  just flew on JetBlue and paid the extra $50 to sit in the Exit aisle. I wanted to get some work done, so the extra space was worth the money. I was greeted by this message on the seat in front of me…

It says: “STRETCH! You’re in an EVEN MORE LEGROOM seat”

My take: All too often, companies “make a sale” and think they’re done with the process. As a result, customers  often wind up unhappy with their purchases. That may show up as more revenue, but it also leads to less loyalty. I’ll be talking more about the need for companies to revamp their overall “on-ramping processes” in an upcoming post, but I wanted to comment on JetBlue’s message.

JetBlue’s note on the back of the chair was a strategy that I call “reinforcing value.” After a customer has spent money on something (like upgrading a seat), why not make them feel good about their purchase. The JetBlue note also serves as a marketing message to the passengers in other rows.

You really need to design the post-purchase process to ensure that customers feel good about their decision to do business with you.

The bottom line: Making a sale is not the ultimate goal.

Southwest Airlines Soars Above Its Peers

I’m writing this post as I’m flying to Puerto Rico on America Airlines. Seems like an appropriate time to discuss my new report: Customer Experience Index (CxPi) 2008 Snapshot: Airlines. The research examined the results of the seven airlines in the 2008 CxPi: American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and US Airways.

The results are probably not surprising:

  • Airline experiences are mostly poor. The average CxPi score for the airlines was 65; on the cusp between an “okay” and “poor” rating. But six of the seven airlines received “poor” or “very poor” ratings.
  • Southwest stands out from the pack. The top scoring airline, Southwest received a CxPi score of 81%; a “good” rating. The next airline on the list, Continental, was a whopping 14 points behind.
  • US Airways dissapoints the most. Coming in at the bottom of the list is US Airways, with a “very poor” rating of 50%. That score earned the airline the 103rd spot out of the 113 firms in the CxPi. Northwest was the next to last airline with a 56% score.

It might have been a closer race if we had data for some other airlines like JetBlue and Virgin America. But there’s no doubt that Southwest does things differently than most airlines. The differences start at the top. I often refer to this quote from Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines:

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.

The bottom line: The airline industry could use more leaders like Kelleher

I’m Looking Forward To Virgin America

Virgin America just announced plans to fly from Boston’s Logan Airport, my local airport. The young carrier is known for it’s in-flight amenities like leather seats, neon mood lighting, power outlets, touch-screen entertainment systems, Internet access, and leather seats. The screens can also be used for “chatting” with other passengers and ordering food; keeping the aisles free from carts.

 Just like JetBlue (which I am a fan of), Virgin offers very competitive fares compared to larger carriers like American Airlines and United.

In Forrester’s customer experience rankings of over 100 firms, Southwest Airlines ended up with a “good” rating, but the other six airlines on the list wound up with either a “poor” or “very poor” rating (note: JetBlue was not on the list due to insufficient responses). So when it comes to customer experience, the industry has a lot of opportunity to improve.

That’s why I’m looking forward to hearing what David Cush, CEO of Virgin America, has to say at Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum in New York. He recently agreed to be a keynote speaker at the event. To get a sense of Cush’s outlook, here’s an excerpt of his comments from the Virgin America website:

As a new airline, trying lots of new things, our pledge is to keep doing what’s working, stop doing what isn’t, and continue to come up with new stuff to make you say: this is how to fly.

The bottom line: There’s no excuse (except for weather) for a bad flying experience.

A Look Back At My First Year Of Blogging

1st Year Aniversary For Customer Experience Matters

Today is a big day. It’s exactly one year after my first post “Lessons Learned From 1,001 Web Site Reviews.”

It’s hard for me to believe that I’ve been doing this for a whole year. Or as the song from Rent goes, for five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes. But my measurement is not in daylight, sunsets, midnights, or cups of coffee. It’s in blog posts, 184 of them!

While blogging takes a ton of time (I’m constantly looking for interesting topics and drafting posts), it’s been a great experience. Why? Because of you! Readership continues to grow and this blog now has more than 10,000 visitors per month. So I want to say thank you to everyone who has been reading, linking to, writing about, and passing along my blog.

In honor of the 12 months of blogging, I’ve picked out 12 of my favorite posts (in no particular order):

  • Experience-Based Differentiation. This is the core idea which drives my research; it also  won the best research award at Forrester. Experience-Based Differentiation, or EBD as I fondly call it, is based on three principles: Obsess about customer needs, reinforce the brand with every interaction, and treat customer experience as a competency. This remains a powerful blueprint for customer experience excellence. If you’re interested in customer experience (who isn’t?!?), then you may want to use the EBD self-test as a starting point. You can also find many other posts about EBD on this blog.
  • My Manifesto: Great Customer Experience Is Free. This post summarizes my perspective on customer experience; it’s a lot like the quality problems of the 1980s. While customer experience is not an easy situation to deal with, it can DEFINITELY be improved with a systematic effort; it just takes discipline (see EBD above). There was also a follow-on to this post called Great Customer Experience Is Free, Part II.
  • Don’t Let Profits Replace Purpose. Companies need to make profits, but here’s the dilemma: if they just focus on making profits, then they lose sight of what makes them special. Firms that lack a strong raison d’être have a hard time aligning the efforts of their employees. In a related post, I discussed how Firms Need Some Soul Searching.
  • The Holy Grail: A Link Between Customer Experience And Loyalty. I’ve been hoping to do this for a while: use data to provide the connection between customer experience and loyalty. And I finally did it. My analysis shows a high degree of correlation across the 9 industries that I examined, with the the strongest linkage for banks. That finding fits nicely with an earlier post which said that banks need to prepare for customer experience wars.
  • Trend Watch 2008 Wrap-Up. I really enjoyed writing a series of posts over the New Years break that examined trends published in The Economist, The McKinsey Quarterly, Advertising Age, Business Week, and Trendswatch.com. While I discussed 52 trends across all of the posts, this wrap-up looked at 14 that covered 4 areas: Consumer needs, online opportunities, required skills, and strategy & culture. 
  • Learning From The Good Fortune Advice Of Others. Fortune Magazine published advice from 25 famous people, and I commented on 8 of them that I really liked. There was great advice from big names like HP’s CEO Mark Hurd, Disney’s CEO Bob Iger, and Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally. But my favorite person on the list is Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsico (who I found out about in a Time Magazine article). Her advice: “Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent.”  
  • Discussing Zappos’ Culture With Tony Hsieh. As a researcher, I get to interview a lot of people. But my discussion with Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos was really memorable. It started a few minutes before our call when Tony twittered that he was waking up early (7:00 AM on Memorial Day) and needed a Red Bull before he spoke with me. Tony was great and I’ve become an even bigger fan of Zappos after the call. I also wrotr about another CEO that really understands customer experience, Wachovia’s Ken Thompson.
  • JetBlue’s “Happy Jetting” Is More Than Empty Promises. After a series of posts that looked at companies trying to change their customer experience through advertising efforts (JP Morgan Chase, Circuit City, and John Hancock) it was great to see that JetBlue was engaging its employees in its Happy Jetting efforts. I also wrote about how Ford is starting to view employees as potential brand ambassadors
  • Forrester’s 2007 Customer Experience Rankings. We used responses from nearly 5,000 consumers to rate the customer experience of 112 US firms. Our customer experience index (CxPi) examined three areas:meeting customer needs, being easy to work with, and being enjoyable. The three organizations with the highest CxPi were Costco, Borders, and Barnes & Nobles. The bottom three: Charter Communications, Medicaid, and Cablevision.  
  • Amex CEO Gains Insights From Napoleon. Kenneth Chenault, Amex CEO, used a quote from Napoleon that I really liked: “The role of the leader is to define reality and give hope.” This gave me an opportunity to discuss key leadership attributes: Deal with the reality of the world, engage your employees, provide a clear vision, and maintain a sense of purpose. While I’m discussing quotes, I really liked this one from Mackey McDonald, Chairman of VF Corp: “We realized we didn’t have to come up with brilliant ideas – we needed brilliant ways of executing good ideas.” 
  • Mashup: Halloween + Red Sox + CxP. This was a unique opportunity for me to combine three of my favorite things: my family, Red Sox, and customer experience. We had a great interaction with Jason Varitek on Halloween that ended up with my kids getting his autograph. You can see where he signed my son’s World Series ticket in this post. In another mashup of my interests, I my posted about how The Colorado Rockies Embraces Its Guests.
  • The Best Of CxP Matters: Volume #1Volume #2, and Volume #3. It’s amazing how quickly time (and many blog posts) just flies by. That’s why I’ve been writing “The Best Of Customer Experience Matters” to summarize every 50 posts; they also give me a reason to reflect on what I’ve written. So I decided to bundle all three of these as one of my favorites. 

In case you’re interested, here are the 10 posts that have been read the most:

  1. Experience-Based Differentiation
  2. My Manifesto: Great Customer Experience is free
  3. Forrester’s 2007 Customer Experience Rankings
  4. USAA: A Positive Example Of Customer Experience
  5. Trend Watch #5: Trendwatch.com “8 Important consumer trends for 2008”
  6. Webkinz: An example of a disruptive customer experience strategy
  7. Five Disruptive Customer Experience Strategies
  8. Are you listening to the voice of the customer?
  9. Apple’s Truly Genius Service
  10. Trend Watch #4: Business Week “Innovation Predictions 2008″

The bottom line: If you’d like to celebrate this anniversary, send a link to this blog to five of your friends.

JetBlue’s “Happy Jetting” Is More Than Empty Promises

I’ve written posts that have chided marketing campaigns from JP Morgan Chase, Circuit City, and John Hancock because they appear to be disconnected from the reality of how the firms treat their customers. Those myopic marketing efforts fail to meet a fundamental tenet of Experience-Based Differentiation: Reinforce the brand with every interaction, not just communications.

I even developed this diagram to show how these marketing campaigns can lead to empty promises:

Probability Of Success For Branding Efforts

Positioning And Scope Of Effort

Given my recent negativity towards marketing campaigns, I was thrilled to read about JetBlue’s “Happy Jetting” initiative. I call it an “initiative” because it’s more than just an external marketing campaign. Here’s some of what Andrea Spiegel, JetBlue’s VP-Marketing, had to say about “Happy Jetting” in an Advertising Age article:

This is much more than just an ad campaign, it’s a brand campaign because it speaks to what the core of JetBlue is. It’s executable across every touch point for crew members and customers. [It’s also] the most integrated internally and externally. We’ve brought to life this new world of jetting internally for crew members through training programs, screensavers and posters all over the company.

Now that’s what Experience-Based Differentiation is all about!

The bottom line: Don’t push ad campaigns, embrace brand initiatives.