The most common mistake of a Customer Experience change and how to overcome it


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I was once called into see a new client who had a problem they wanted to discuss: “We undertook research about 18 months ago on how we could improve our Customer Experience. Our Customers told us we needed to improve our billing. We have just spent $ X million on a new billing system and it has taken months to implement. It’s now been running for some time and yet our Customer satisfaction scores haven’t moved at all. What is the problem and can you help?” My reply was simple. “The mistake you made was believing your Customers! They have deceived you. There is a big difference between what a Customer says they want and what actually drives ‘value’ i.e. a return for an organization, improved Customer retention, Customer Loyalty, Net Promoter Score etc.”.

In our experience this is very common and one of the key reasons businesses are not successful with their Customer Experience programs. They don’t focus on what drives value, just on what Customers say they want. For example, Disney know that when they ask their customers what they would like to eat at a Disney theme park people say they would like to have an option of a salad. Disney also knows people don’t eat salads at theme parks; they eat hot dogs and hamburgers. There is a big difference between what Customers say and do. How many people say they are worried about the environment but when they are offered eco-friendly products that are slightly more expensive that the normal products they don’t buy them? What people say and do are different and it is critical to the success of a change in Customer Experience that you understand what drives value.

In our last book Customer Experience: Future Trends & insights, we launched this model. It shows what customers desire, i.e. what they say they want, which can be very different to what drives ‘value’. You can place the different attributes of your Customer Experience over these four boxes.

We have been doing this type of analysis since 2007 using our Emotional Signature® a scientific methodology that is not just based on correlation research. We now have the largest database of Customer emotions in the world with a database of over 30,000 data points. What it reveals is many aspects of a customer experience are in the ‘deception’ area. The most common mistake in implementing Customer Experience programs is believing your Customers. It is critical that you do not just take what they say as being the correct answer. Using scientific methodologies to really get under the skin of a Customer requirement will pay dividends in ensuring you are focussed on the right thing.

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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