“Why good is not good enough”

This week NICE will be taking part as a sponsor and speaker at the Forrester Forum for Customer Experience Professionals East. The main theme from Forrester’s perspective (and something which they will speak more about in their main sessions) is “Why good is not good enough.”

This has been an interesting focus of discussion within the Voice of the Customer (VoC) arena for a number of years now and underpins the decision by many organizations today to focus on measuring customer effort instead of the more traditional NPS. To add a little context, the Harvard Business Review (HBR) released a now famous report back in 2010 which stated that organizations would gain little value in trying to delight customers, and instead should focus efforts on simply getting the basics right.

This shift in the industry saw a rise in the use of customer effort metrics as organizations aimed to reduce effort instead of deliver a brand-defining level of customer service. Since the publishing of the HBR report, there has been much said in between, but Forrester at least believes that the focus must be on delivering that exceptional experience (even if the two aren’t mutually exclusive).

But can the idea of creating a perfect level of customer experience for your customers be as simple as being exceptional or is it based on just getting the basics right? After all, measuring customer effort doesn’t seem to be disappearing. (If anything, more and more organizations are investing in it).

As with most things, I believe the right approach lies somewhere in the middle and is heavily dependent on what the customer is trying to achieve and in which industry. Let me illustrate.

Scenario 1: Purchasing a new high-end smartphone. Much research suggests that actually customers expect to invest effort during the purchase; they want to feel that they have made a weighty decision and that they have received a lot of attention. Apple, known for both their excellent customer service and product quality is at the exceptional end of the scale, and getting the basics right is not enough.

Scenario 2: Changing the address for my bank account. As a customer I would want this to be a simple process, possible through whichever channel I deem appropriate. Wouldn’t it be great if my bank actually recognised I was moving house and proactively contacted me just to confirm my new address?

These two examples demonstrate the complexity of creating a customer experience that customers expect. And I think that is the key point here. As customers’ expectations rise, most organizations do need to deliver exceptional experiences to place their brand above the competition, but it is still important to understand the needs and wants of customers and to also focus on getting the basics right for the simpler interactions. The experience, and the level of effort required, should match or indeed exceed what the customer expects, and that is why today “good is not good enough.”

If you are attending the Forrester event tomorrow, we invite you to pop by our booth (no. 209) to hear how we’re helping our clients leverage the Voice of the Customer to understand and exceed that customer expectation across the enterprise.

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