Next up: 2014, Customer Experience Buyback


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Ho ho ho, it’s that time of year again. Ho! Wait Christmas is gone and 2014 is upon us…… I decided this year to take time to reflect on 2013 and provide some customer experience New Year resolutions.

As I look back, I can’t help but think it’s been more of the same in 2013. We seem to go around in circles and cover the same themes every year. Listen to customers (VOC), make sure you can calculate ROI, how to get senior executive buy in and customer journey mapping etc. I have no doubt that customer experience professionals will be doing more of the same in 2014. These are the key competencies and the very foundation of any customer experience programme! Should it be any different? Will it be enough? I asked my fellow customer experience professionals and CXPA UK Board Ambassadors to provide some words of wisdom. In no particular order:

Karen Wenborn, CXPA UK Board Ambassador

If you make only one resolution for 2014, make it to map the customer journey from pre-sale onwards BEFORE you design your Customer Experience Strategy.

When talking customer contact (or experience) don’t ‘think outside the box’ instead imagine that there isn’t any box at all. The year when (most) companies (finally) realised that in an Omni-channel world our customers truly were in the driving seat. That we would need to develop the skills and technology to deliver seamless service across every platform.

That FCR was essential but that we also need to focus on customer effort and take steps to minimise that effort. That our customers demand right first time interactions. And that if we don’t deliver they will move on – but not before letting the world know about the experience. That social service was expected, whatever the brand and sector.

We would need to map the customer journey, gather feedback from customers and colleagues and push the boundaries of our skills and technology to deliver to customer expectations. That CRM was a small part of CEM and CEM was not a (solely) marketing function. And (crucially) that delivering world class customer service was the responsibility of everyone in the organisation. Welcome 2014, the year when we will see Single Customer View systems enabling speed, efficiency, FCR and personalisation across every channel for every customer.

Sean Risebrow, CXPA UK Board Ambassador

Last week Virgin Media’s Chief Customer, Technology & Networks Officer Paul Buttery posted a lead article on their internal Intranet site under the heading “Recognising our best ever operational consumer NPS score!”. What a year for Virgin Media. It was year six of a journey that overall saw employee engagement rise +19% to top quartile for top UK performing businesses, the customers view of the experience (as measured by relationship NPS) move from bottom in the sector to top, and where the share price rose from $5 to $53 (when it was purchased by Liberty Global). Proof that “Great people are connected to delighted customers are connected to great business results”. But what is truly remarkable – in year six of the journey – is that in 2013 Virgin Media saw its best ever single year improvement in its Net promoter score. And the reason? Virgin Media began to focus on customer delight. On trying to bring alive for its customers what it does best – its superior Broadband, its people and its brand, and underlying the simple fact that you cannot fix your way to being great.

Ian Golding, CXPA UK Board Ambassador

One of the easiest things for me to predict every year is that I am bound to be asked what the big customer experience trends will be the following year. I often struggle to find an easy answer!! The immediate thought that always coms to mind is ‘more of the same’ – and this is a good starting point for my review of 2013.

There is no doubt that the customer experience is continuing to get focus and attention around the globe. I personally have spoken and taught at events in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and the Far East this year, and am have consistently referred to the ‘globalisation of customer experience’ being a genuine reality. HOWEVER – there is always one of those – I am still also clear that 2013 has been another year of too many organisations TALKING about customer experience, without actually DOING enough to demonstrate that they really are transforming themselves for the benefit of their customers.

In the UK, 2013 has seen big businesses take a pummelling in the media – companies in the financial services and utility industries especially. In all cases, it appears as though poor management, ineffective and poorly designed processes and a lack of customer focus have led to British consumers feeling worse than ever about organisations they interact with. Many of these organisations have large ‘customer experience functions’ with lots of people purportedly doing things to address the problems and improve the experience. We are not seeing much of a result at the moment!

As we come to the end of 2013, we need more organisations to start DOING more in 2014. I conducted some independent research this year on ‘what customers want’ – if businesses around the world focussed on doing more of the things we want, and less of the things that irritate us, 2014 will be a year that consumers may start to get some confidence back!!

Maria McCann, CXPA UK Board Ambassador

I seek inspiration from observing how consumers behave and interact with organisations in other industries. In 2008, I launched social media as a service channel at ASOS, because of what I saw emerging in other industries. That seemingly simple act of democratising customer contact enabled us to become one of the first retailers to go social with the customer experience.

Now we are at the end of 2013, the social space is maturing quickly thanks to enterprise technology being safely ahead of the curve again. Organisations are now turning their attention to solving the problem of the multi and omni-channel customer experiences. Primarily through mapping customer journeys in the hope of pushing a customer down a path that gives them what they need, and makes them loyal, trusting, advocates.

I would urge any CXP’s to consider this: Customers don’t want to go on journeys. They want to achieve goals. In a hassle-free and if possible, enjoyable way. Companies need to think about how they can use journey mapping to enable their customers to achieve their goals.

So in 2014, I look to the mashup of game theory and algorithms for inspiration. Sites such as ‘If this, then that’ are presenting choices for consumers in a simple and fun way, enabling them to achieve goals across many facets of their lives. ‘Gamification’ is already big business. However, it is still a blunt tool with some exceptions, notably: ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ from Melbourne Metro Trains (promoting safety awareness) and ‘How much are you hated by the Daily Mail?’, powered by the Mirror Group to increase Social news feeds.

My hope is that in 2014, we will see the emergence of customer goal enablement. Companies using algorithms and gamified progress paths to provide the means for customers to make more and better choices in order to achieve their goals. Customers in return building trust and loyalty with the team who is helping them get what they need. #TeamCustomer

Marcio Rodrigues, CXPA UK Board Ambassador

Lastly, something from me

My passion for customer experience and innovation and – some would say insane – curiosity takes me to many different places. In my free time, I aim to learn something new every day by trawling through the World Wide Web and following very intelligent people and their blogs across many different topics. I definitely learn more from unrelated worlds than just following industry specific stuff.

However, the part that I enjoy the most is meeting and helping people. This year I had the pleasure of meeting several of my “social friends” in the real world. This for me is the power of social networks in order to build reciprocal and meaningful relationships with people, not enterprises. Once you understand this, the value of LinkedIn, Twitter and the like, increases exponentially.

It’s very difficult to separate the noise from real signals and even more difficult to connect signals that result in meaningful and actionable ideas. Change is accelerating at warp speed. We will see more change in the next 18 months than in the last three/five years. Two key statistics really resonated with me recently:

* The majority of people worldwide wouldn’t care if 73% of brands disappeared tomorrow; (Via Havas Media)
* 52% of the fortune 500 firms since 2000 have disappeared. (Via Ray Wang)

Is your business relevant to customers?

The reality is that people are busy with their day jobs and mostly don’t have the time to look at what’s out there. So, my two suggestions for 2014 are:

1. Employ Technology/business Scouts: like in football, the good ones will find you rough diamonds or strike real gold. As a consequence you will end up paying top dollar for good ones that everyone knows about.

– Make sure they know your business well; your vision; your pains; your culture etc.;

– Especially, look well beyond the large established players. The real opportunity lies in the small guy/start-up and their crazy ideas;

– Make sure you have a structured way of feeding the Scout(s) ideas/findings into the enterprise and it does not get stuck between silos or corporate paralysis. You need Executive backing and time.

2. Embrace customer-centric change and do it quickly.

– Optimising the existing customer experiences may not be enough. Off-the-shelf Customer Experience solutions will only get you so far. Is it time to move beyond optimising what you have and focusing on reinventing the customer experience?

Join me and two special guests for Customer Experience; Beyond Optimisation, Towards Reinvention? (29th Jan 2014)

In this roundtable discussion our aim is to provoke and challenge established practices and thinking, provide practical examples and tips on how to stay ahead of the curve and deliver the next generation of customer experiences.

Not yet a member of the Make that your 3rd new year’s resolution …. We have an exciting agenda for 2014 that includes more and bigger events plus the new Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) program.

Hope the above list has been of help and from all of us we wish you a fabulous New Year, make it a great one. Speak soon.

Marcio Rodrigues
Marcio Rodrigues is Customer Propositions Director at . Passionate about customer experience and innovation with over 10 years' experience in designing, managing and analysing winning customer experience programmes in the UK, EU, US, South African and Indian markets. CXPA UK Board Ambassador. @marcioontw


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