As the Economy Gets Better, Customer Service Gets Worse


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This time of year always has me thinking about the next one. It could be because I am already scheduling into January, February and so on, making next year feel even closer than it already is. Thinking about the coming year, I see trends underway that predict interesting changes in Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Experience (CX), and mobile digital experience for 2015, and they might surprise you.

Prediction #1: Net Promoter Score (NPS) Will Continue to Falter

What I and others like about NPS is the simplicity. It is human nature that people want a simple solution. Many companies that have been sold on NPS programs, however, are implementing it in too much of a simplistic way. “Implement these measures, and the world will be a great deal better,” is the cry accompanying these pitches. I am exaggerating, of course, but I worry this is what people hear about NPS.

Far too many companies have implemented NPS and expect the world to change. They get a bump in improvements in the first few months and think they are onto a winner. After a year or 18 months, however, all the simple improvements have been made and the results plateau, leaving the companies that use it wondering if it’s all it was cracked up to be. We are getting more and more companies approach us and say, “Our NPS has plateaued, and we are not sure why. Can you help us?”

When we get started, we typically discover they are focusing on the wrong things. Now this next bit might sound counterintuitive, but they are concentrating their efforts on the things that Customers say they want. However, there is a big difference between what customers say they want and what they actually want. Knowing the difference can make a huge impact on how effective your changes are to improving the experience for your Customers, the NPS score, and your efforts to make the world a better place.

Prediction #2: The Return of a Strong Economy Threatens a Customer Experience (CX) Focus

The world is getting back on its feet after the Great Recession. During this recession, the biggest trend was a resurgence of activity in the CX arena. The great recession has made Companies realize keeping Customers is critical, especially when the bad times hit. We saw many more organizations contact us to help them emotionally engage with Customers, particularly after struggling with their budgets. Those companies with an excellent Customer Experience weathered the great recession storm and emerged on the other side stronger. For the other companies though, the question now is will the memory fade, and people revert to type as the good times return? I predict improvement to the economy will result in a reduction in focus on Customer Experience for organizations lacking conviction on its effect for the bottom line. Until the next recession, of course.

Prediction #3: Mobile Experience is the Key But Customers Need More Than Apps

Mobility. The world is going mobile and many companies are scrambling to catch up. Too many are trying to create their apps, and they aren’t always practical. For example, I watched an ad the other day for an auto insurance app that allows you to take a photo of the accident and then send it to the company automatically.

My issue is, how many times will I use this app? According to, we average an accident every 17.9 years. Now I have an app on my phone, taking up storage, and I will likely never use it (for the life of that phone anyway). If or when I do have an accident, I have to work out how to use it. Sending an email to the company with attachments is far simpler.

The question is not, “What App can we create for our Customers?” Companies need to ask, “What’s the best experience we can provide Customers?” The answer is not always, “Let’s produce an app!”

Apps and their creation process remind me of what happens to websites. The large multinational companies allow all their subsidiaries to develop their pages for their individual part of the business. Then, they link the websites before realizing they have different types of websites with different operations and user experiences. They can spend years untangling the knot created by this kind of development strategy.

Is NPS faltering? Will the focus leave CX? Is the auto insurance app a waste of memory on my phone? I’d be interested to hear your opinion on my predictions in the comments below.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Colin Shaw
Colin is an original pioneer of Customer Experience. LinkedIn has recognized Colin as one of the ‘World's Top 150 Business Influencers’ Colin is an official LinkedIn "Top Voice", with over 280,000 followers & 80,000 subscribed to his newsletter 'Why Customers Buy'. Colin's consulting company Beyond Philosophy, was recognized by the Financial Times as ‘one of the leading consultancies’. Colin is the co-host of the highly successful Intuitive Customer podcast, which is rated in the top 2% of podcasts.



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