As a consumer, I’m often disappointed when companies don’t get the little things in Customer Experience (CX) right. For example, I frequently stay at hotels, and I always ask for a room away from the elevators, but they never remember it, and I can’t note my preference.
CX professionals and Marketers can benefit by reaching the first level of being “Customer Friendly”, and doing this with consistency and meaning. Small things matter, such as knowing someone has children, what products they already own, and promoting what is relevant to them.
Sounds really simple? Yet to do that – if you aren’t a small business – you need coordinated mechanisms to record customer preferences, common history, a standard set of rules, and then a way to surface key information and recommended actions to all customer facing staff and systems. Functionally it’s not that intricate, still today many companies don’t do this well.
Why is that? I think it’s because they aren’t seeing the cumulative value, and as such can’t envision or measure the overall benefits derived by connecting these dots. Simple improvements to customer experience – applied one step at a time – build upon each other.
Everyone agrees that having institutional client memory (a 360 view) is valuable – and great entrepreneurs relish it, but large organizations struggle to build and provide it, for a variety of reasons. Constant acquisitions, distributed staff, legacy technologies, and silo systems – or worse, simply losing sight of customer centricity. As the excuses build up, competitors swoop in with new technology and agility, and fill the customer experience vacuum. Although these players may be disruptive, usually they aren’t employing earth shattering methods or technology.
As pressure builds, large entrenched players are forced to take stock. They reflect on expensive efforts that didn’t meet ROI promises, such as failed Data Warehouse and CRM efforts, and it taints them with an overly jaded mindset. If this describes your corporate culture, pull an alarm bell, ringing for an attitude adjustment. The message is clear-cut. We have to fix this – pronto, and it shouldn’t take millions and years. Find the CX “No-Brainers” and execute on them.
All the rage these days is about Personalization. And personally, I love it. And it’s so easy. Just make sure to remember all the little things about customers, particularly the things they share, and make them feel special. And that, my friends, in a nut shell, is Personalization.
Here are 5 examples of No-Brainers and likely outcomes. Literally hundreds more can spring from these:
- Getting little things like names right is really important. My name is Vince Jeffs – not Jeff Vincent (in fact, where I work at Pegasystems, there is a Jeff Vincent, and you can only imagine the fun that creates). If you call me Jeff repeatedly, my sense is you don’t know me and don’t really care. Record children and/or pet information also. If they tell you something about them (like their names), record that. Make sure you use it wisely, when it counts and with class. If you do, it matters in a massive way. For instance, if you sell Pet Supplies, you think this might be important?
- Document product interest and purchase activity, whether based on search, surfing behavior, or traditional conversations and transactions. Incorporate that knowledge into your near term marketing efforts. Customers will love when you send relevant offers.
- A customer shares when it’s their birthday or anniversary. You remember it, and on that special day, wish them well. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone complain about being wished a Happy Birthday.
- Demonstrate you remember their business, and show appreciation for it. Keep RFM statistics (How Long/Recent, How Frequent, How Much), and use it astutely. A staff member saying, “For 10 years we have had the pleasure of having you as a customer. Thanks so much!” Again, you think that might make a difference?
- Remember something really unique about each customer, use it judiciously, and make them smile. Don’t try to infer this, by appending 3rd party data. You aren’t clever trying to deduce I’m a cat lover because I subscribe to Modern Cat. However, if I mention I love Blues Guitar, and you cater to that later by recommending shows in the area, there is no way that won’t tickle me, even if the shows aren’t that interesting. At times, you will have no choice but to put prospective customers into segments, because you otherwise can’t reach that audience. Yet once I’m a proclaimed customer, ditch the mass segmenting and assumptions, and go instead with my stated preferences.
Your goal is to do this at scale, while executing like the corner bakery. There is no reason why you can’t put an initial Customer Decision Hub – An Always on Customer Brain into place in 90 to 180 days; regardless of the size of your firm. This is why I entitled this post “… (Almost) No-Brainers” because you need this brain, but what it initially thinks about isn’t that sophisticated.
True, it will take time to connect to more data sources and customer channels, but in less than 6 months, your foundation will be in place. In mega firms, there will be 100’s of people telling you it can’t be done. In spite of this, I’ve seen it done. Start with one or two channels, a single business purpose, and build decision strategies that are driven by a customer profile. Assemble a library of actions associated with the business purpose. Then rank these actions and execute on them.
And here is the really amazing thing. Implementing subsequent no-brainers entails very little incremental cost. I’m not a fan of fuzzy math, but this is a case where 1+1 does equal 3.
Note: These views are my own, and not that of my employer