New Zealand Marketing - - Motion Sickness -

We’re think­ing about cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence all wrong.

We often think of cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence as a se­ries of touch­points: a visit to a store or a call to a helpdesk and so on.

But a new study by busi­ness con­sul­tants Mck­in­sey found a re­mark­able anom­aly. In a sur­vey across four in­dus­tries, Mck­in­sey dis­cov­ered that even if each touch­point recorded high cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, the en­tire cus­tomer jour­ney could score a poor rat­ing.

For ex­am­ple, they stud­ied an in­ter­net provider who would “on­board” a cus­tomer over three months. “The jour­ney in­volved an av­er­age of nine phone calls, a home visit from a tech­ni­cian, and nu­mer­ous web and mail in­ter­ac­tions. At each touch­point, the in­ter­ac­tion had at least a 90 per­cent chance of go­ing well. But av­er­age cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion fell al­most 40 per­cent over the course of the en­tire jour­ney. The touch­points weren’t bro­ken— but the on­board­ing process as a whole was.”

The Mck­in­sey study re­minds me of a talk by Si­mon Sinek, the “What, How, Why” guy from TED Talks. He says we’re talk­ing about busi­ness all wrong. We com­pare it to sport with words like win­ning and com­pet­ing. Now, sport is fi­nite: it has agreed rules, a set num­ber of play­ers and a win­ner. But busi­ness is in­fi­nite – there’s no set rules or moves and it never ends. There is no win or lose, just an on­go­ing chal­lenge for more, bet­ter, faster.

In Mck­in­sey’s study we see that cus­tomer touch­points are fi­nite. But cus­tomer jour­neys are in­fi­nite.

This is trans­for­ma­tive. When we re-imag­ine cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence as a never-end­ing jour­ney we give our­selves per­mis­sion to think holis­ti­cally and break the rules (be­cause there were none to be­gin with). We em­power our teams to es­cape the con­fines (and ex­cuses) of si­los. And we free our­selves to aim for the long haul.

Cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, like the guru says, is a jour­ney not a des­ti­na­tion. Vin­cent Heeringa is ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at An­them, an in­te­grated communications agency

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