Customer Results 6 Simple Stages Of Goto Market Planning


ZAGREB, CROATIA - APRIL 26, 2015: Unidentified bikers racing on streets of Zagreb during final 5th race in Tour of Croatia. It is international cycling race run along the Adriatic coast, Istria and the Croatian inland.

Business success is actually simple; a good enough / great  product or service that addresses a need plus a heck of a lot of hard work, a lot of smarts and a little luck.

Much of my past month or so has been spent talking to companies looking to introduce products and services to the general market and how the Customer Results Advocacy Network can help them.

Much of that time has been spent working through the description of the 6 simple goto market activities, who is doing them now, who is going to do them, how will they are prepared, staffed, funded etc.

So to make it easy to share I dusted off an old document / blog post and include these 6 basic goto market steps with some short descriptions.

  1. Market Specification – who is your target, large business, small businesses, government, consumers, community orgs / non profits, USA, North America, South America, Europe, APAC, which industries, which buyers in which industries etc?
  1. Solution & Package – What problem do you solve, what is your proposition and how is it packaged. What market trends are you tapping into, are you creating a market trend yourselves (very expensive!). What materials do you have / need to successfully present your solution via social media, email, voice to voice, face to face, digital ads. How is it framed in terms of return on investment, business case. What is the pricing. How does it compare to competitors. What partnerships are required to be effective. What trends and messages are relevant and important?
  1. Promote & Lead Gen – Activities to be conducted to generate leads through social media, telephone campaigning, face to face, warm networks?
  1. Sales & Close – The actual selling process from lead generation to signing the contract. There are some products that can be sold virtually and globally but many that require local presence? Typically, the higher the benefit to the buyer and the complexity of the delivery and result and higher the transaction value (aka price) the more likely this requires local, highly knowledgable and culturally aligned skilled sales capability.
  1. Delivery – How will the product or service be delivered. What resources are required. What must be local, national, global. What technical skills, customization, integration etc. Who is going to manage this. What is the cultural and organizational change and how will it be managed etc.
  1. Post Delivery Service – So the launch party has been held, the prizes awarded, the worried brows mopped. Now what? Who will provide help, how, self-service, who will take calls, what about problems and what about upgrades including upgrades of other platforms and products that are impacted or integrated with the solution.

So there we go. Simple and straightforward. 6 steps. Make sure you have answered or at least thought about all 6. Just because your answer to any one of the 6 is “huh .. don’t know . no idea .. !” doesn’t mean you cannot be successful. My recommendation is you don’t know get help, the more experience the better. The Customer Results team can help.

Competitive Weapons To Drive Digital ROI & Enhanced Results From Your Platform & Operations Investments – NextGen AdTech Data (R)Evolutions


data graphic

So you are a digital leader, but your CEO wants more and more ROI on your digital investment .. what next?

Where can you find proven 30% reduction in cost per customer acquisition in 90 days. Exceeding client engagement campaign objectives by 149%. 30-60 days to positive ROI. Take a hard look at your internal and external data strategies. Read on.

You have implemented your digital marketing platform (DMP) comprising a high impact, personalized, Multichannel Digital Experience Management engine covering web, mobile and social channels, a Campaign Management tool to target email, mobile messaging (direct and in-app) and social posting, all wrapped with analytics everywhere so you can monitor your engagement levels near real-time and adjust your strategies accordingly, you have even recently integrated a chat tool so your customers can contact you more easily.

You are performing this against a series of defined customer segments with customer journey maps produced from a 6 month design thinking program. You are solving your content management governance issue so that you increasingly present the right content to the right person at the right moment. You have an ongoing data integration and management project underway to improve data quality and identify golden customer records.

You are using Google ads to drive direct customer digital, have moved some of your budget to Facebook ads because you can feel that movement happening plus using Linkedin to target business partners and agent recruitment. You have even embarked on an exploratory project with Whatsapp because you know that global movement is gathering pace even in the USA.

You have integrated this wonderful “machine” with your CRM system, with your legacy transaction systems, with your external suppliers for near just-in-time provisioning and have even completed your first two API enablement projects to plug your capabilities into a couple of goto market business partners.

You have an agile, continuous improvement customer experience team in place working every hour of every day to continue elevate your results even using external benchmarks and consumer research to drive this and they have just launched a series of results and customer segment engagement analytic visualization dashboards which even your COO has posted on the display outside her office.

“Better Data Input = Better Results & Outcomes” is the new, positive spin on “Garbage In Garbage Out”.

One key competitive weapon to take a hard look at your data inputs. A new wave of adtech data and solutions providers are emerging, including Customer Results partner Clickagy (www.clickagy.com), providing significantly greater data accuracy and customer insight to drive your digital strategies, the results are outstanding and because it is at the source of your actions it ripples directly through to your Digital ROI.

 

Demystify Digital Transformation For Dummies – 7 Simple Steps To Targeted What’s and Digital How’s


 

demystify 7 steps paint

Consultants love to make digital transformation seems complex. However it doesn’t have to be ..

Answer these 7 simple questions and results will flow

 

 

  1. Your Target?  Who is it you are focused on? This may be a customer segment, an employee group, a business partner community or multiple of these together. What is the nature of your relationship with them? In what context? Is it a group of different targets that need to be linked together? Lots of techniques exist to help with this including persona modelling and behavioral and stimulus / response modelling?
  2. Their Activities? What is your target’s “activity model”, before, during and after they need you, from awareness to exploration to interaction to post-interaction?
    Journey maps are a great technique to explore and document this?
  3. Targeted What’s? What are their needs, practical and emotional? What can you do to help your target’s journey? In the ‘journey mapping’ world these are often referred to as “actionable events” or “moments of truth” or “pain points”. Unmet needs may actually be met needs but which can be met better with new technologies and techniques or even a new provider with old or better technology. Increasingly in the digital world the unmet needs may actually involve groups of events or moments across a journey or linking together various groups of targets.
    This is a great opportunity for some focus groups and Design Thinking sessions.
  4. Who Are You? Specifically in the context at hand. Why would they pay attention to you versus competitive demands on their attention and offers to help? How are you making them aware of that? Even if you have the right solution there is no likelihood they will pay attention to you if they don’t see you as helpful.
    Welcome to the world of brand identity and awareness elevation.
  5. Digital How’s? How can digital technologies help you to help your target audience? think of 5 areas:
    a) Digital Experiences across web, mobile, social, IOT and wearables, personalization and new augmented reality and virtual reality capabilities.
    b) Digital Analytics to help you identify targets and target needs, understand them, reach them and deliver better actions to help and deliver better outcomes for you
    c) Digital Integration – how can better integration of your digital capabilities into legacy technologies help, how can the exciting new world of digital ecosystems enabled by API’s help
    d) Digital Infrastructure – how does your infrastructure support your vision, how does cloud apply, what are the performance and security implications.
    e) New Digital Operating Models (DOM’s) in your industry and other industries that you can use or emulate, think Blockchain, Cognitive Technologies and Roboadvisors, for example.
  6. Action? What are you going to do about it, your action priorities, budgets, ROI models, resources and schedules. What prototypes can be built to explore your ideas? Is fail fast appropriate for this? Agile is better than slow and perfect.
  7. Measure, Repeat, Refine? What analytics and capabilities do you have to measure your assumptions, beliefs and outcomes? How are they changing? How are you going to revisit this regularly?
    To (mis)quote Mark Twain “it aint what you know that will kill you , it aint what you don’t know, it’s what you know that aint so !”

More time sticking post-its on walls in groups and less time creating perfect PowerPoints will lead to better results.Design thinking, facilitated workshops and digital collaboration sessions are all great ways to do this.

 

 

Memories we are still working on — jan 2015 forecast for 2018 – IVAs and intelligent digital experiences will replace professionals and advisors and create competitive advantage.


So here we are in Jan 2015. After nearly 10 years this is prime time for intelligent digital experiences, integrating artificial intelligence and digital platforms to deliver transformational results..

Personalized digital experiences add a huge amount of value. But as digital and especially mobile are being targeted at more and more complex interactions customers are demanding more help. Enter artificial intelligence driven intelligent experiences.

Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA’s) are being applied to automating chat, email and social media interactions. Increasingly customers will not be able to tell whether they are “talking” to a computer  or a person.

The next wave is intelligent digital experiences. Embedding these virtual agents in digital interactions to coach customers based on their historic customer information, what else they have typed into fields and even what others of similar profiles are doing.

The artificial intelligence platforms are improving every day.  People feel more and more comfortable interacting with computers by text or even voice (thank you Siri and Cortana). The work being done by leading movie animation studios and the online and console gaming companies makes it increasingly hard to tell whether a person on a screen is real or computer generated.

Industry thought leaders are already piloting these “robo-advisor” technologies. It takes a year to figure out how it works for you. So while 2015 will be the “year of proof” the following two years will see widespread adoption and the competitive disadvantage of companies who have not yet started down this journey.

Customers will be able to personalize gender, language, cultural origin, personality type and many other attributes that will cause customer experience expectations to soar.

My forecast is that 3 years from now we will see these intelligent experiences attacking high- value white collar professionals like medical advisors, insurance advisors, investment advisors and even provide real world like personal shoppers online.

The business case is clear. How many $100,000 professionals do you need to eliminate to pay this bill.  The best of the best will be safe but 80% of people are performing at near average (ok math whizzes I know that doesn’t compute but you get the point).

The innovators are working now, if you aren’t don’t worry, you still have time in 2016 to recover. Then pack up shop because they will be coming for you,

Is Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) driven by Care more than Sales or Marketing


While the CMO rightly increasingly “owns the customer” in many companies, what all the research shows really defines the customer’s perception of Lifetime Customer Value is the ongoing Care Experience.

That’s right the Customer’s Perception of your Lifetime Value to them (CCLV I call it) DRIVES the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) value to you. Lots of companies measure CLV to the company, how many use the voice of the customer to measure the outside in view from the customer

If you do it quickly becomes obvious that while marketing awareness and engagement and sales generation activities are critical and the experience at the moment of sale is crucial ONE BAD CARE INTERACTION can ruin it all.

So make sure your Digital Customer strategy focuses on Care as much as Marketing and Sales

IVA Guided Experiences

Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA) Guided Customer Experiences Humanize The Digital At Reduced Cost


The business transforming applications for Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA’s) continue to evolve.

The major focus of IVA’s in the past 5 years has been the automation of service interactions, especially text based chat, email and social interactions and a few speech interactions.chatbots

However the next generation of applications of IVA technology is emerging rapidly, that is embedding IVA’s in websites and mobile apps to provide guided, cocierge digital experiences.

Digital experiences are becoming infinitely more complex as digital solutions are applied to more complex problems in financial services, media, healthcare and other industries.

Exploding customer data volumes provide more information on which to base decisions and customers demand more assistance in product selection, configuration, usage and management across all industries.

angrymanThis digital complexity is overwhelming customers on web and mobile devices and overwhelming corporate digital developers as they struggle to build more targeted personal experiences within current budget constraints..

There has to be a better way.. The answer is IVA driven personalized concierge experiences at digital cost.

The best description i have heard in the past few months of this trend is providing “Turbotax for  web and mobile experiences..

For those readers who do not experience the wonderfully complex USA income tax system we have meeting asiato complete an annual income tax  return. While the majority of tax payers easily complete an easy 2-3 page document anyone with a relatively successful financial life completes a much more complex process, my personal return averages 60 pages.

A vast army of tax filing professionals and accountants help with this process. however companies like Intuit (producer of TurboTax and personal financial management software Quicken) provide software to automate the tax preparation process. Turbotax,has evolved into a truly guided experience, making suggestions as you go along, providing videos to show what to do and discussing different options to  manage your taxes including things you haven’t thought about.

If you use personal finanncial managemnt system (like Intuit’s Quicken) then you dont even have to type in your data to the tax software, just import, answer some  carefully guided questions, press a button to electronically file and wait for your tax refund to appear in your bank account.

Many accountants are already offering discounts for taxpayers who provide their data within a leading personal financial management application and the most forward thinking are offering steep discounts for those who do their own tax return and provide the results. These accountants then use their experience to get a better result and gainshare the upside (for example keeping 30% of whatever she gets as a refund that exceeds my return)..

shopping 1We will see the same experiences and preferential financial models applied to complex experiences like insurance product selection and claims, financial planning, investment product selection and trading, healthcare scenarios and even retail and travel experiences. Data bout us will guide the experiences, combined with interpreting our answers to questions today and in the past and the journeys that other consumers like us have taken, including our immediate social media community.

Happier customers, higher operating margins and higher sales will be the result.

This doesn’t just affect the 114m USA based 18-44 year olds (from US Census Data) who are leading the digital revolution but also the 83m USA 55+ olds (us old folks) who are adopting digital solutions rapidly as their disposable income increases with kids leaving home. These two categories number over 1b people when globalized.

The financial, healthcare, travel and retail professionals who support us will increasingly become “digital team captain” or “digital quarterback” with their customers using these new guided experiences and then coming to the professional for additional advice and input. And If they aren’t top performers providing clear value they will get replaced.

CAN YOU HEAR ME?can you hear me

Your customers are asking the following questions and so should you:

  • Do I really get worse results picking my own investments rather than my advisor?
  • We just had our first child, how should our home, life, health and disability insurance change?
  • I get 10 minutes with my doctor when i can get an appointment, wouldn’t it be better if i did a detailed question and answer session at home before talking to the doctor?
  • How do i find the program I will really like on my 500 tv channels and 100,000 internet content locations?
  • How do i get my phone to do what I want?
  • How do I configure all these gadgets in my car?
  • How do i find the right professional to help me?
  • What shoes match my favourite business suit?

And “the internet of things” is going to take our digital lives and make it more complex than we have ever seen before. As consumers we need help .. guidance . .assistance .. IVA’s to the rescue.

 

IVA to IBA

Using Intelligent Virtual Advisors (IVA’s) as an onramp to the Intelligent Business Associates (IBA) revolution


simone

In 2002 a movie “Simone” starred Rachel Roberts as a computer generate actress filling in for a real actress (Winona Rider) who was unable to complete a movie. Simone became a star and the movie is about her agent (Al Pacino’s) difficulties in avoiding revealing she didn’t exist. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxVvWtIV6io

her

In 2013 a movie named “Her” is about a man who falls in love with his computer due to an intelligent computer operating systems with a female personality (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzV6mXIOVl4)

While these may be Hollywood fantasies (not to mention a little scary) the premise behind them is real based upon three technology trends that will impact all elements of business in the next 10 years:

  • Artificial intelligence capabilities are rapidly emerging to be able to engage in real time interactions with people.
  • Data platforms provide massive amounts of information to ensure the interactions are contextually real
  • Video animation technology led by the gaming industry is rapidly emerging to make visual interactions real

When combined with other transformational trends such as Facebooks purchase recently of Occulus Rift virtual reality systems (https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10101319050523971) and there is a foundational shift underway in many elements of business that will soon reach a critical tipping point.

All these trends together will accelerate the rise of Intelligent Business Associate (IBA) of the future.

An IBA is a highly personalized “bot” that will talk to you fluidly in text format (chat, email, social) or in voice to voice conversations or on video. Will know you well, “speak” to you in your language in  a style you prefer, will know his/her subject better than anyone, will know everything you have ever done with the company,  your preferences, what your friends on social media are up to and will never leave you.

The journey learning how to use these technologies, building the knowledge bases, data analytics teams to continuously optimize them and delivering engagement personalities which truly reflect your brand and even different personalities for different customer communities will be long, probably 3-5 years. That will coincide with the maturation of the technology.

Companies that are looking to own this IBA driven business model of the future are engaged today in learning about these capabilities especially in places where there is a fundamental difference possible today. iva

An early but powerful example of this which provides an easy and compelling option for businesses  is in Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA’s) as a key component of their customer service and contact center operations.

IVA Technology is proven in airline and retail industries today (http://www.united.com/alex/Agent.aspx , (http://www.airasia.com/ask/), (Ask Anna http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_GB/customer_service/splash.html) and now coming to other industries like banking (https://www.rbcadvicecentre.com/) and even media with the recent Canal Digital announcement (http://www.artificial-solutions.com/2009/canal-digital-norway-signs-a-three-years-cso-contract/).

IVA’s provide an excellent business case in service cost reduction, upsell and cross sell improvements and customer satisfaction uplift. An eve greater business case is to have a way to enter this new revolutionary trend in a self funding way. That doesn’t happen often.

Let the revolution begin

Mark Twain And Three Urban Myths about Multichannel Customer Interactions


I have been working on a series of presentations to newly appointed Customer Experience leaders and have come to the conclusion that my chosen industry of Multichannel Customer Experience is suffering from a number of myths held as given truths that are worth calling out. To quote:

marktwain“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so” Mark Twain.

I looked around for somewhere where these were collected and couldn’t find them so decided to publish my own list so others can add on to it. So here goes

Myth #1 – The total number of interactions (per person, per hundred people or whatever) is a constant and the division among channels presents a basis for investment decisions by companies

mobile bankUntrue .. Technology especially mobile has changed the game. If you add the transaction statistics together for online, mobile, email, IM, social, contact center and store interactions the interaction counts are exploding. I can’t find a cumulative statistic anywhere but the following may make a useful example.

I have a client who, way back in year 2000,  used to check his bank balance and credit balances monthly when he got his statement, update his checkbook balance weekly, keep a weekly record of his credit card balances on a post it note and call his banks IVR or call center for a balance check about once a month (this is only 2000 we are talking about) and visit his branch about twice a month. About 14 interactions a month.

He recently told me he now, in 2013, gets his balances daily for each of five accounts on his mobile app, by text or email, gets notifications of every deposit or about 10 a month and every transaction over $100 or 20 per month, goes online to each of his 5 accounts at least twice a month, calls the call center or IVR about 5 times a month in response to the balance messages he gets and visits his branch every other month.

That is a move from 14 to 197 interactions a month or 19% CAGR per year 2000 to 2013. And I have a suspicion 50% of that rise is since he switched to an iPhone in 2010.

ccagent3Myth #2 – The rise in digital transactions is reducing the volume of call centre interactions

Untrue. Mobile especially is increasing interaction counts.  However a recent Bancography (June 2013) survey indicated that US retail banking contact center interaction volumes in banking had declined less than 1% a year “forecast to drop 4% over 5 years from 2011 to 2015, 6.4 billion to 6.1 billion”. 

From the America Express 2011 Global Customer Service Barometer “US consumers prefer to resolve their customers service issues using the telephone (90%), face to face (75%), company website or email (67%), online chat (47%), text message (22%), social networking site (22%).”

 This is changing slowly but even Gen Yérs are just people who still ultimately like to talk to people, especially when they are in trouble. The conversations will get much complex as customers resolve the simple things online or in intelligent agent experiences

onlinebank2Myth #3  – Optimizing User Experiences Is The Same as Optimizing Customer Experiences 

Untrue – User experience is focused on the capability and ease of use of a particular transaction on a particular device or maybe multi device to achieve a specific objective. Customer Experience relates to multiple transactions across multiple devices over time (and in fact the concept of a Customer Relationship Experience is emerging for a lifetime of unrelated Customer and User Experiences). These are very different disciplines with very different thought processes.

For example a text message that indicates a fraud alert on my credit card which I click on and auto dials an agent who pushes a picture of a credit card receipt with a signature on it to verify it is me may be a multichannel user experience. However include the message 2 weeks later to indicate that the issues has been resolved in my favor and I will not be charged and it is definitely a customer experience and include a reference to the incident on my end of quarter customer summary and that is very much a customer experience. Do that over 10 years and we are talking about a true Customer Relationship Experience.

 

 

mybank

“One Bank” Is So 2010, Customers Want The “My Bank” Experience – Ten Key “My Bank” Requirements


chase myaccountsFor the past ten years banks and financial services have been working to provide a one bankexperience. At its basic level this means providing all the offered products and services in one place. That could be a “portal”, or a single 1-800 number or a branch representative who is trained to and permitted to discuss basic banking, credit card, auto, student, mortgage, business, wealth and investment and other products. The best providers offer a portal where all of an individual consumers products are displayed in one place.

mybankHowever banks and financial services companies exist in a world of customer experience expectations driven by a technology revolution (mobile devices, social media, wearables, touch, interactive voice etc), new market players (Square, Kickstarter etc), decreasing consumer time and capacity to research and develop understanding and, as importantly multiple influencing experiences provided by others outside the industry (Amazon, Expedia, Facebook etc).

Looked at from the bank perspective with all the infrastructure and line of business challenges “One Bank” is a massive achievement. Looked at from the consumers perspective, however, it is “table stakes” today. What today’s consumer wants is “My Bank”. A bank we can love.

15 years To Build Our “One Bank” Customer Experience

I have over 40 active “financial relationships” covering small business and personal, credit cards, checking and savings accounts, store cards, auto loans, home loans, working capital loans, investment accounts and insurance relationships  on and on. And these cover 11 different financial institutions.

I pay a nice healthy amount of service fees and interest across all these accounts. I may say so myself but I am a pretty good catch for a bank. You would think each of my providers would want to maximize their income from me while minimizing their expense by having fewer but more valuable customer relationships.

fidelity positionsMy “big four” relationships are with JP Morgan Chase, Bank Of America, Wells Fargo and Fidelity Investments. They have all done a great job of building “One Bank” or “One Broker” online access (and mobile apps) to provide most of what I need in one place. It gets better every day as they all add more products, more visibility, better mobile features, investment advisors to branches, preferred contact numbers and even waive a fee or two when I make a mistake and get myself into trouble.

Industry leaders like Bruce Temkin (http://www.temkingroup.com) and Forrester Research’s Megan Burns (Twitter @mbcxp) tell us that the experience that banks and financial services firms deliver have been improving over the past few years and I agree with that

The next 5 Years Will Be About The “My Bank” Experience

However I want more. My expectations are, like so many people, evolving faster than the banks execution. What I want is not One Bank (although that is better than the bunch of separate product centric relationships that I have now). What I want is “My Bank”.

For those looking to capture the opportunity this presents here are a few helpful hints about what My Bank might mean from various client discussions this year.

  1. Let me customize and personalize my interface to display all the things I am interested in but just the things I am interested in. This includes =my consumer, credit card, business, banking, investment and other relationship, “My Bank” portal.
  2. Let me add products from other financial institutions into my interface. That’s right, your competitors products right there, like Amazon does or Progressive insurance quotes.
  3. Use the data you have about me to make be trust you and depend on you. Provide me analytics that show how I am doing and compare and offer me products or services that could help me do better. Tell me when you predict I should be doing something differently, ahead of time.
  4. Make it worthwhile for me to stay with you for a long time so you can learn a lot about me. I don’t like using different financial providers but you force me to by not competing aggressively. Tell me what the benefits are of longevity and what I need to do to move up the loyalty levels to get more benefits. It may annoy me at first and you will lose some customers but we will appreciate you more in the long term.
  5. Make it worthwhile for me to get more and more products from you to simplify and help my life, raise your income and reward me for being loyal. Make it really worthwhile.  I want simplicity. If I have 5 credit cards, 2 mortgage loans, 7 personal and small business accounts, a merchant payment account, two retirement investment accounts, a general investment account and have been with you for 20 years you why can’t I
    1. Get a reduced interest rate on my mortgage.
    2. Fast-track a working capital line of credit faster from you than from a random internet banker.
    3. Get a higher savings rate than a “regular customer off the street
    4. Enroll in a loyalty points program (like the one that American Express offers) so I can get rewarded for concentrating more and more business with you.
  6. Act in my best interests. Make it clear that it is in my best interests. For example if you can notify me that I am about to incur a service charge and can avoid it then let me know. And maybe only if I have a certain level of relationship with you. Tell me what that level is and let me choose to get there.
  7. Make recommendations that make sense for me. Finances are complex. I have other things to focus on.  You have lots of data about me including what I spend my money with my debit and credit cards, my cashflow and my business finances. Data driven analytics do a better job of driving recommendations than people do.
  8. Offer me communities of interest I can trust. I remember this from my childhood. The local banker or insurance agent was always a good source of referrals and advice. You can be that again with social media. I am busy, busy, busy so help me.
  9. Partnerships that benefit consumers – There are many alliances out there that you can use to deliver value for me as a customer, that’s as a regular customer. From increased data about me to complementary offers. Of course you have to be careful about how you handle to minimize conflicts it but Delta is with Amex, MSG is with Chase. How about a monthly drawing for two tickets to the Red Sox in the HSBC box. And more, maybe more local relationships.
  10. Surprise me. Do something wild and innovative. OK you are  a bank so I don’t expect that wild and innovative BUT you have lots of information about me so why not, what do you have to lose.
atm user 2

“Experience Critical Interactions” Transform Customer Relationships & Loyalty


There is a lot of talk, a lot of work and a lot of success amongst the customer experience professionals of the world about optimizing interactions. More and more interactions continue to move to online and more of those to mobile. Social is finally starting to make real inroads into business operations.

Yesterday in three back to back client conversations I was forcibly reminded that as we map our customer journeys it is worthwhile noting that not all interaction events are equal. And there are some things that just can’t be handled digitally, well shouldn’t be, they can be but I wouldn’t rely on it.

journeyThese are events that absolutely transform the customer relationship and it is dramatic how often these “Experience Critical Interactions” can only be completed face to face or at least voice to voice. Mess these up and your relationship is dead.

Rather than pontificate about these theoretically I will spell out the three specific examples that we discussed and you can make your own judgements.

I have experienced all but one of these. I will leave you to guess which one I haven’t.

atm user 2Automated Banking And Credit Card Owner Error – “oh no – I just transferred $2000 to my credit card company instead of $200. My account is going to overdraw. My partner will kill me. There is no undo button. What do I do? “ The only thing to do is call that’s what. When the agent undoes the transaction because of your customer status you are a customer for life”

angrymanOnline Dinner Reservations – SMS Text “Because of a computer malfunction your dinner reservation at the word famous Hopolopo Madagascan Restaurant this evening was confirmed in error”. Your biggest client just flew into town with her husband to eat here with a 6 month reservations waiting list that you trumpeted that you had gotten into “Just because she is important !”. Now would be a good time for a Hopolopo phone call or even a “click to dial” in the text message taking you to a telephone concierge service.

shocked woman2Digital Wellness – Posting your health and fitness achievements to Facebook sometimes needs to be subject to some personal message screening and control “Debbie Johnson completed her quarterly check-up at the local pharmacy wellness center. Key Achievements – HDL dropped 8%, weight reduction 8lbs, BMI reduction 4%, now pregnant”. Just because she said she wanted to share her health and fitness achievements with her closest friends still doesn’t mean everything should go there.

Seven key questions for you?

  1. In each Customer Journey and especially Customer Relationship Journey (consisting of multiple experiences) have you highlighted your experience critical interactions that could transform your entire relationship and what do you do about them?
  2. Have you defined interaction channel constraints, some things that can only be handled through a particular channel, for example voice to voice?
  3. Do you differ these interaction constraints by customer segment and customer value? Some people really are more valuable than others.
  4. What is the cost of getting this wrong?
  5. Is this an opportunity to differentiate your store based and person to person capabilities from your new digital competitors in your marketing materials? How do you do that in a positive way?
  6. When you rescue your customer how do you politely remind them that you did so and that you did it because you treasure and care about his relationship with you?
  7. How can you improve these critical relationship interactions? Analytics driven smart agents? Click to chat? Click to talk ? Referrals to other partners who can help? Referrals to social communities with similar experiences?