Five Great Customer Experiences

Five Great Customer Experiences
As marketing, customer experience, and customer relationship professionals, we are failing our customers - and we’re doing so on a massive scale.

I’m a big fan of brevity. As part of my job, I spend hours and hours doing research, and if an author takes more than 30 seconds to get to the point… like most consumers, I’m gone. Every second wasted is one I’ll never get back.

In that spirit, I’ll come right out with it:

As marketing, customer experience, and customer relationship professionals, we are failing our customers - and we’re doing so on a massive scale.

How? It’s simple: 90 percent of companies treat customers the same way they did back in 2007, or even 1997, despite the world being a fundamentally different place:

  • We make our customers jump through hoops because our processes are outdated.
  • We message around what we want to sell, not what they really need.
  • We ignore their context, and by that I mean what they tell us with their words and their actions.
  • We pretend we’re in control as if what happens in one channel, stays in that channel.
  • We ignore their problems until they get angry enough to complain, or leave.

And maybe most importantly, we consistently sacrifice customer relationships by focusing only on the next day, the next week, or the next quarter, and we do so at the expense of building sustainable, long-term connections with each individual.

We’ve effectively become the victims of our own success. The larger an organization becomes, the harder we find staying connected to our customer base's actual needs. We're driven by growth, but our success can make us more bloated and rigid, less adaptive, and more disconnected from the people we’re supposed to serve. Generally, the more processes, channels, systems, and resources we add, the harder making actual changes to anything becomes.

As a result, traditional frameworks are becoming much less effective over time. We have to cast our nets wider and wider, hoping to capture the customer’s attention, something becoming ever-more difficult because they're increasingly tuning us out.

Now for the good news: organizations across industries are realizing this, and many are taking steps to overhaul the way they think about and interact with customers. They’re increasingly invested in “knowing” them - and in treating every interaction like what really it is - an opportunity to provide value and build a longer-term relationship.

Take a look at a few great examples of where organizations are re-building their experiences, and who are seeing tremendous, sustainable gains as a result:

  • The Royal Bank of Scotland integrated their customer data into an always-on customer brain (video). They're using it to optimize journeys across all their customer channels, and they're seeing a 6X increase in response, as a result.
  • Sprint Wireless overhauled their customer care program, providing their call-center agents with real-time recommendations to improve retention. As a result, they've reduced their customer churn rate by more than 50 percent since 2014.
  • The team at British Gas integrated all their inbound and outbound customer programs, including their call-center, email, web, and other channels. They're now orchestrating connected customer conversations (video) that adapt to customer needs, rather than simply pushing products they’d like to sell.
  • Cisco Systems uses customer and process data to execute intelligent routing in their customer service channels, dynamically matching each customer to the agents best suited to resolve their issues. They've removed over 4 million hours of customer wait time and cut service costs by more than 80 percent.
  • PNC Financial centralized their customer decision-making within a single customer interaction management platform, enabling customers to start a conversation in one channel and continue it later in another, earning a #1 ranking in customer experience, in the process.

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