What’s the CX buzz this week? (3rd Nov, 2014)

In today’s world, there are two components to every customer experience: the human and the machine. Both are essential, but customers demand very different things from each. When interacting with a human, customers want to feel as if the person likes them and genuinely cares about their issue; and they don’t want to sense that a customer service agent is robotically reading from a script. As for machines, whether we are talking about a mobile app or contact center software, customers value ease, quick resolution, and the ability to contact a company through multiple channels. This week’s CX Buzz tackles both facets of exceptional customer experience -- human and software systems -- and suggests ways for CX professionals to seamlessly integrate the two.

Let us know your thoughts by commenting below, or reach out to us on Twitter: @NICE_Enterprise

How to Make or Break Your Customer Experience [beyondphilosophy.com]

Many companies are aware by now that customer experience involves every small step in a customer’s interaction with a company. But what they may not realize is that even their software platforms play a role in the quality of customer experience. The author, Colin Shaw, argues that not all software systems are created equal. 

For instance, he says, let’s say an IT system requires asking a customer to input their email address to access what they need. The customer might naturally think, "Why do they need this information? How are they going to use it? Will I get lots of spam mails? Can I trust them with this?”

Another example is an automated call response system that greets incoming calls. Most customers prefer to talk to people, not recordings. Especially when you consider how they might be feeling right before they make a call. When you are frustrated, stressed, and upset, how do you feel about entering your account number followed by the pound sign? Well, so do your customers!

The author urges marketers to carefully consider what systems they are purchasing and how the customer will be affected by them. When purchasing a system, they should consider everything from the website backend, to call routing, to mobile apps.

How Customer Experience Champions Transform Culture [1to1media.com]

The author, Sam Stern, introduces a new job role that he calls the “customer experience champion.” Even if a company already has a customer experience team, the customer experience champion is like a supercharged, more extroverted version of the former.

For instance, CX champions act as role models, modeling customer obsession for all employees of a company. They also act as intermediaries who facilitate communication between the CX team and the rest of the organization. In addition, they test and iterate new customer experience initiatives.

Companies need to recruit a very kind of person for this role, says Stern. They should establish a nomination process that identifies candidates known for their customer focus or who meet a certain threshold of positive client feedback. In some ways, the role resembles that of a party catalyst that is paid to attend parties and urge others to dance and participate. The CX champion is a cheerleader and catalyst for the customer experience within a company.

The 4 Things Your Customers Really Want [entrepreneur.com]

If you think back to your last superb customer experience, chances are you felt the person helping you genuinely liked you. They went beyond the call of duty, smiling and seeming to enjoy interacting with you.

Author Tom Borg says that there are four things a customer wants from the individuals who are serving them. First, she or he wants to feel genuinely liked, second she wants to feel like they really care, third, they want to feel like they can trust the person, and fourth, they want to know that the person is knowledgeable and competent.

Borg writes that he discovered these four principles doing research for Delta Airlines, and they sound about right. Last time you had a customer experience that left you with a bounce in your step, how many of these criteria did it meet?

Customer Service: A Market Differentiator For Small Business [huffingtonpost.com]

Author Brandon Knight offers friendly advice to small businesses deploying contact centers. He points out that small businesses have one major differentiator over their larger counterparts: customers perceive them as delivering better customer service. Almost half (49 percent) of consumers surveyed said that small, independent businesses provide the best customer service; only 11 percent picked large companies.

But when it comes to deploying a call center, the principles are the same, whether your business is big or small, writes Knight.

Customers want you to reduce hold times (32 percent will hang up after waiting on hold for more than five minutes). They want knowledgeable staff. They want customer service calls that do not feel scripted and robotic. They want quick resolution, regular business hours and multiple delivery channels (while 55 percent still prefer to get help by phone, 39 percent indicated they will also use web chat, email and social media).

The author goes on to offer advice for how to achieve these laudable goals. Some of these are obvious, like “hire the right people.” But others are more technical, like making sure you purchase the right software for your particular brand of customer, and making sure that software is scalable. There’s a lot of useful information here - it’s worth reading the article in its entirety.

Quantum Theory & Voice of the Customer, or are your Customers Quarks? [mycustomer.com]

If you’re a physics buff, you’ll love this article, where author Mike McMaster likens Voice of the Customer programs to quantum mechanics. The observer theory in quantum mechanics stipulates that subatomic particles will behave differently depending on whether or not they’re being observed. Well it turns out the same is true for employees delivering customer experience!

McMaster describes an experience his mother had on a train out of London. The air conditioner was broken and she was so uncomfortable that she texted the train company’s Voice of the Customer number to report the broken ventilation.

Within a few minutes, she got a text back from the company apologizing for the problems. A few minutes later, the train conductor even apologized over the intercom. Even though they didn’t fix the problem, his mother described it as a wonderful train trip.

So what's the key takeaway? If customers feel they are being observed, acknowledged and listened to, they can change from grumpy into satisfied customers. What’s true for quarks, says McMaster is true for human beings as well.

We hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of CX Buzz. Please don’t forget to share the buzz with other CX professionals.

Are there any other topics of CX that interest you? Tweet us, or comment below to let us know!

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