A lot of New Year’s resolutions have to do with making improvements and starting something new. But before we can do that, we have to address the bad habits that may hold us back. In the business world, these bad habits often involve failing to adapt. The phrase “that's the way we've always done it," said this week’s authors, should be banned from your office if it hasn’t already been. As customer service professionals, we need to constantly adapt and pivot if something isn’t working. And that is a hard-won battle.
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4 Habits to Break in the New Year [1to1media.com]
The author of this article, Mila D’Antonio, describes four bad habits that sabotage otherwise good companies. The first of these is protecting old ideas instead of inventing new ones. She suggests banning the phrase "that's the way we've always done it" from your office. Antonio describes how Google has instituted a 20 percent policy where Google developers get to spend 20 percent of their working hours every day on side projects. It was an attempt to give employees the time and space to think innovatively. The policy works well, with some of Google's most successful products originating from the program.
A second bad habit is failing to adjust to changing customer demands. D’Antonio cites Nokia as an example of a business that failed to recognize consumer changes going on in its market and missed the smartphone revolution as a result. A third bad habit is failing to change on the basis of customer feedback.
She cites the voice of the customer program at JetBlue, for example, which involves 50,000 monthly surveys as well as unsolicited email, social, postal mail, etc. Read the article for the full list of bad habits good companies need to break.
Big Idea 2015: As the Economy Gets Better, Customer Service Gets Worse [linkedin.com]
The author of this article, customer experience expert Colin Shaw, makes several predictions for the year 2015. Making predictions is a risky venture, because reality so often proves us wrong, so we commend him for going out on a limb.
One of Shaw’s predictions is that as the economy improves, customer experience will take a back seat. Shaw argues that during the Great Recession, companies realized that keeping customers is critical. But as soon as good times return, they will forget this hard-won lesson. What do you think? Do you believe the economy is on the mend and, if so, does that necessarily mean consumer spending will increase? And what impact will that have on customer experience?
Another of Shaw’s predictions is that as mobile devices become more prominent, companies with a very well-thought out, clever mobile strategy will win out. It’s not enough to design an app that takes up storage space — it must actually be useful to customers on a day-to-day basis. Even in an age where there app to solve seemingly every problem, it doesn’t mean customers will download it.
Are Your Mental Models Getting In The Way of Improving Your Customer Experience? [forbes.com]
The author, Adrian Swinscoe, describes a very interesting customer experience case study that he read about in the Economist. The article tells the story of a U.S.-based financial institution, Self-Help Credit Union, which attracted more customers when it opened in a strip mall and looked like a check-cashing outlet, than when it had a traditional bank-branch design, with plush carpets and leather chairs.
Swinscoe says that a financial institution with plants, carpets and sofas can fit an organization’s “mental model,” not the customer’s. When a company finally realizes that customers have a different model in their heads and tries to adapt itself to it, it will achieve a breakthrough in attracting customers.
5 Gifts For Your Customers [communicatebetterblog.com]
In the spirit of the holidays, your customers deserve gifts too, customer experience gifts, that is. Author Jenny Dempsey suggests the following: First, the gift of empathy — actually putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. Second, the gift of positivity — making lemonade out of the lemons of a bad situation. Third, the gift of connection. Connection is a step beyond empathy. It means doing something that has an impact on a person’s life, even if it is something as simple as fixing their cable connection, phone service or directing them to the manilla envelopes in the store.
Fourth is the gift of ownership, in terms of owning a customer’s issues and doing your best to resolve them. Read the rest of the article for more on this topic.
3 Inspired Ways to Increase Customer Value [360connext.com]
Most companies create loyalty programs, elite experiences, and special perks to maintain the top 1% of customers.
But customer experience expert Jeannie Walters asks how organizations can use these programs in a way that keeps this top tier happy and loyal without alienating or confusing the 99% of customers who might become part of this elite group in the future. Word of mouth can have a huge impact on a brand’s image, thanks to social media, so disappointing one customer from the 99% can create quite a stir. The author cites this tweet from a British Airways customer who was so angry he paid to promote it.
Walters goes on to enumerate ways to welcome the 99 percent into your loyalty program. For instance, as soon as someone signs up to your loyalty program, give him or her special treatment, even before they’ve earned points. Address your customers by name, or even follow the practice of tech fashion retailer HEX, and send hand-written thank you notes to customers. Helping customers get to the top by creating incentives to get there, and showing them they matter along each step of the journey, can help you turn that 1% into 2, or even 5%.
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