Why most organizations fail at delivering great customer experiences

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. Talmud

Think back to the different organizations you interacted with today. Directly or indirectly.

Drinking your morning coffee. Commuting to work. Shopping for groceries. Using your computer. Watching a show on cable. Having a beer. Watching your favorite sports team. Attending a yoga class. Writing a report. Doing your banking.

As you think back to them, think about the store you visited, the manufacturer who made the product, or the provider of the service.

Odds are, they think they did a pretty good job of delivering a superior experience.

What about you, how do you think they did?

Here lies the experience gap

Bain & Company. Closing the delivery gap.

Most organizations think they deliver a superior experience.

Only 8% of their customers agree.

Because experience is in the eyes of the beholder (your customer), most organizations receive a failing grade when it comes to customer experience.

Why the experience gap?

Odds are the different organizations you interacted with today, either directly or indirectly, are taking a purely rational approach to their customer experience efforts. Segmenting. Quantifying. Analyzing. Planning. Taking an inside-out approach.

But loyalty isn’t rational.

Loyalty is emotional.

 … the most important aspects of e-loyalty is trust and personality. It’s not low prices, usability or a coupon. No, it’s a brands that they can count on, that helps them feel secure and informed. That goes out of its way to offer extra service. And it’s a brand with an identifiable and unique personality one can relate to. Helge Tenno

Branding in 2009, Part 2 Loyalty. Helge Tenno.

 

Most organizations shy away from purpose and emotion

Organizations fail at customer experience because they shy away from purpose and emotion.

Think of purpose as the why.

Why are you in business? Why should customers care? Why do customers do business with you?

Think of emotions in term of feelings.

What feelings are evoked by your customers’ interactions (direct and indirect) with your organization?  Why are those feelings evoked?

Most organizations shy away from both purpose and emotion. They’re too touchy feely. They’re hard to talk about. They aren’t easily quantified. They’re not taught at business schools. They don’t fit the image of the hard driving business executive. We can’t six sigma them into existence. We can’t scope them neatly into narrowly defined projects.

Numbers are much easier to talk about than feelings. And yet feelings drive decisions and action, not numbers.

As a result, you need extend beyond who, what, where, when, and how questions managed by traditional CRM to ask:

  • Do our customers feel valued?
  • Do our customers feel respected?
  • Do our customers feel safe?
  • Do our customers feel informed?
  • Do our customers feel loved?

Rockefeller Foundation. Taking a customer from like to love: the UX of long term relationships.

Notice that all of these questions use the word feel. Understanding and designing for feeling is the soft stuff that business and IT traditionally shrug off as unimportant or too hard.

Customers don’t want to hear that they’re important. They want to actually feel important. They want to feel valued. They want their needs taken care of in a way that makes them feel respected.

Emotion drives engagement. Emotion drives loyalty. Without emotion, there’s no experience. Nothing memorable. No stories to spread. Simply a transaction quickly forgotten.

This brings to mind the show don’t tell mantra embraced by great writers and screenwriters.

Delivering great customer experiences is about showing customers through your actions that you value, love, and respect them.

What do your customers feel about your organization?

What do your customers feel about your organization?

Find out by asking them this simple question:

What do you think of <organization name>? Why? Can you share a recent example of why you feel that way?

Analyze the stories this question evokes.

What do they reveal about what your customers are feeling?

Is there a gap between how your customers actually perceive your organization versus how you thought they perceived it?

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