The financial crisis continues to accelerate according to my Yahoo! Finance homepage. Every kind of company is failing, or at least feeling the pinch in a big way. And worst of all, the word ‘bailout’ has become the mother of all clichés in the business world. Everyone is asking for a government bailout from GM down to Larry Flynt. But ask not what your Country can do for you, right? So, I have a better idea. Why not ask your customers for a bailout using Obama as a role model?
It has been widely written that Obama has united a nation, and given new hope to all. His customers are the citizens of the United States; his success, I would argue, is strongly based on his ability to deliver an exceptional customer experience. His customers have created an emotional bond with his persona. Other politicians had great ideas, plans and skills, but it was the experience of being part of the Obama revolution that put him over the top. I don’t remember a single word of the first Obama speech I watched, or even recall the topic, but I remember feeling excited. I may have been consuming the product, but I was buying the experience!
You too can use the Obamaxperience model to improve your company instead of asking the government for a public money handout. You too can create emotional connections with clients so they will proactively promote you via word of mouth. How? First, you need to build a touch point map. Every time you touch a customer, you are impacting the experience they have with your company, product or brand. When I saw Obama give a speech on television, it was a touch point with the Obamaxperience.
Step #1: Determine all the touch points your company has with its customers. These are many usually, and include advertising, customer service, your retail (if applicable) and web presence, your sales reps, your delivery people, and so on. To determine all your touch points, customer interviews are key. By interviewing customers in depth, you can be sure to capture all the touch points.
Step #2: Ask customers, both current and potential, to rate their experience at each touch point on a quantitative scale from -10 to 10. Then, ask your customers to rate the priority/importance of each touch point from first to last. You can then assign a multiplier of 1 to the lowest priority touch point, 1.1 to the next lowest, 1.2 to the next lowest and so forth. Then multiply the multiplier with the touch point score given by the customer. This will allow you to truly understand how well or poorly you are doing in the eyes of the customer. A high score (+7) combined with a low multiplier (1.1) means you are exceeding expectations on something customers don’t really care about (7 * 1.1 = +7.7). A low score (like -8) with a high multiplier (i.e. 1.9), however, will show that you are really getting killed at a different touch point (-8 * 1.9 = -15.2). You’ll be able to quickly identify the ‘hot point’ touch points – those with the most negative scores.
Step #3: Ask your employees to perform Step #2 from their point of view. Once you have a multiplier and rating from employees, you can overlay their results with the customer results. Where the biggest difference exists is where employees don’t even realize they are falling down on delivering the experience. Without this knowledge, it is hard if not impossible to direct your people to fix a problem!
Step #4: Next, you can either target the lowest absolute touch point scores from customers, or the biggest variance between customers and employee scores, or both.
Now that you’ve found your hot points, you are ready to act. Remember, it is the totality of your touch points that creates the full customer experience. A powerful customer experience, driven by individual touch points, is what creates a truly emotional experience. The Obamaxperience.
This CE process can be summed up as “Map. Measure. Maximize.” So far, we have covered Map and Measure. In my next post, I’ll talk about ways to determine how to fix these hot points (Maximize), which will in turn give your product or brand an immediate boost. This boost will generate word of mouth quickly for you (since you have targeted your biggest customer experience levers), and voila, you have created your own bailout without bothering the government for public money. Obama would be proud.