Discovery

Problem Definition

The most common mistakes I see businesses make when adding a customer experience element are:

  • Lack of executive desire and support
  • Lack of a clearly defined vision and desire to create a customer-centric culture which puts customers’ needs in the driver seat for business decisions and actions
  • Lack of a clearly defined problem to solve and the desired outcomes
  • Lack of a commitment from all levels of the organization to leverage righteous change management practices
  • Analysis paralysis causes businesses to procrastinate on where to focus efforts 
  • Overly complex measures of success, or too many measures and metrics:  keep it simple
  • Placing more importance on internal processes than on customer needs
  • Assuming that additional resources, process or technology by themselves will improve CX.  In fact, many times CX improvements require a behavior change or a change in company culture
  • Lack of regularly updating customers and employees on how the business is taking action on their feedback

Each of these common mistakes goes right back to not clearly identifying the CX problem to solve.

Without a clear problem to solve, it’s easy to try to “boil the ocean” and try to solve every problem.  While every problem may be important and may need to be solved, “boiling the ocean” will slow and even halt progress. Without a quick win or short-term goal, the lack of progress will cause managers and employees to become discouraged and give up on the effort. They quickly revert back to old behaviors and processes. Selecting 1-3 problems to solve helps the business rally around them and see them to completion. Look for those quick wins that bring value to the customers and engages the employees. This approach ensures success of the current initiative and the next one that follow.

Identify the Critical Problems to Solve

Collect Pain Points

  • Customer and employee surveys and interviews
  • Data from service tickets, escalations and defect/enhancement requests
  • Sales issues
  • Advisory Boards
  • Journey Maps

Categorize the Pain Points

  • Service issues, product issues, process issues, delivery errors, etc.
  • Use sub-categories to further define and quantify the pain points – which product area, which process step, etc.

Analyze the Impact from Pain Points and Potential Solutions

  • Service ticket costs (to the customer and the business)
  • Start/delivery delays/errors (confidence costs and $$)
  • Re-work
  • Employee morale
  • Sales credits, etc.
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Prioritize Using Impact-Cost Matrix

  • High impact in a short amount of time (low cost)
  • High impact over a longer period of time (high cost)
  • Low impact in the short-term
  • Low impact the long-term

Invite your customers and employees to help prioritize. Not only will it help you understand where the focus should be, it will engage your customers and employees. These interactions build trusted relationships.

Be Strategic, Keep It Simple

Finalize the top, quick win problem(s) to solve and define the measures of success. Keep them to a few, simple measures and metrics. Check out the video resource on “How to Gather Voice of the Employee for your CX Initiative” in the Links section.

To illustrate this approach, I offer this example:  ACME Accolades is a large Fortune 500 company that’s losing customers and wants to improve customer retention and re-purchase revenue. New start-up competitors have started to take a larger chunk of the market, so ACME Accolades needs to take significant action within the year to secure their base. They performed an exhaustive analysis of all the pain points their customers and employees mentioned in surveys, interviews, escalations and service tickets and created the follow list of problems to solve:

  • Customers’ expectations on product functionality incorrectly set by sales team
  • Multiple product defects to address
  • Multiple product enhancements needed to address customers’ needs
  • Installation errors create re-work, delays, confidence and morale issues
  • Installation team slow to respond and follow through when re-work and delays occur
  • Lack of proactive communication from installation and service teams to customer
  • Customer Service follow-up and responsiveness creates extra work for the customer decreases their confidence
  • Customer Service knowledge cause lack of confidence and resolution delays
  • Customer Service Tiers cause delays in resolution

After they analyzed the impacts and costs (time) of these items they quickly realized the product improvements would create more work for their customer base in the short term and may even create more service issues. They also recognized that the technical re-training of their large, diverse installation and service teams would cause decreases in service quality in the short term. In the final analysis, ACME Accolades decided to focus on the behaviors of the installation and service teams specifically around proactive communication, follow-up, follow-through and responsiveness. If ACME Accolades could overcompensate for product issues and knowledge deficiencies by being highly responsive and accountable, their customers would be happier with their experience and have more confidence that the bigger issues would be solved. Once this initiative was launched, a service tier and product strategy and plan were developed to continuously deliver in the longer term.

After they analyzed the impacts and costs (time) of these items they quickly realized the product improvements would create more work for their customer base in the short term and may even create more service issues. They also recognized that the technical re-training of their large, diverse installation and service teams would cause decreases in service quality in the short term. In the final analysis, ACME Accolades decided to focus on the behaviors of the installation and service teams specifically around proactive communication, follow-up, follow-through and responsiveness. If ACME Accolades could overcompensate for product issues and knowledge deficiencies by being highly responsive and accountable, their customers would be happier with their experience and have more confidence that the bigger issues would be solved. Once this initiative was launched, a service tier and product strategy and plan were developed to continuously deliver in the longer term.

What are some possible measures of success for these behavior focused initiatives? To keep the organization rallied around solving the problem of proactive communication, follow-up, follow-through and responsiveness. A first measure of success could be a 50% decrease in the number of complaints in the various customer experience surveys. The second measure could be an 80% decrease in the number of complaints in the customer exit interviews. The third could be a 50% increase in the number of quality follow-ups entered in the CRM every 48 hours. Measurements drive behaviors and these metrics helped to do just that. After achieving these measures of success, the organization could continue to build upon them and drive more satisfaction with interaction while the product and service tier strategies were executed upon.

Not all CX problems to solve are as complex as the example above, but categorizing the pain points, breaking them down into smaller chunks, and assessing the impact and cost helps leaders to focus on what is most important and achievable in the short term. These quick wins will help to ensure engagement from the business and employees while bringing meaningful improvements to the customer base.

The design of the solutions you implement will differentiate the experience your business delivers. Put considerable thought into them so that there is purpose and intent; you want to create that positive emotional connection, so build it into the design. Your customers and employees should achieve the desired outcomes so receive value and meaning. Remember: Great customer experiences don’t just happen… they are designed!

Not all CX problems to solve are as complex as the example above, but categorizing the pain points, breaking them down into smaller chunks, and assessing the impact and cost helps leaders to focus on what is most important and achievable in the short term. These quick wins will help to ensure engagement from the business and employees while bringing meaningful improvements to the customer base.

The design of the solutions you implement will differentiate the experience your business delivers. Put considerable thought into them so that there is purpose and intent; you want to create that positive emotional connection, so build it into the design. Your customers and employees should achieve the desired outcomes so receive value and meaning. Remember: Great customer experiences don’t just happen… they are designed! 

Get in Touch

I am eager to share knowledge and learn from other CX professionals. Feel free to connect with me through email, the social media links below, commenting on my blogs or by phone.

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