Customer Experience Design

Plan A Customer Journey That Is Channel Agnostic

Micheal E. Gerber asked 50+ experts, “What’s your best tip for growing/scaling your business?” You can read Bryan Eisenberg’s contribution below:

You can read Bryan Eisenberg’s contribution below:

Plan A Customer Journey That Is Channel Agnostic

Charlatans are endemic to all forms of marketing but they are especially attracted to digital. I’d like them to go away but there is always somebody willing to buy what they are selling.

ALL business is becoming digital!

Connected customers engage in many ways (foreseen and unforeseen) with brands in and out of stores, offices, call centers, social media, catalogs and websites.

Those customers don’t care what channel they interact with or what department gets the credit. Customers think of every interaction with a brand as THE brand experience.

Then they happily share the best and worst of those experiences. Wonder why customer experience isn’t what most CEOs focus on for differentiation?

Customer satisfaction and customer experience appear not to have budged at all.

According to Bain & Company, 80% of surveyed companies claimed to be delivering a superior customer experience, but only 8% of those companies had customers that agreed with them. What a dangerous blind spot!

That leaves an awful lot of companies actively disappointing customers while smugly congratulating themselves on their “superior customer experience.” Couldn’t be you, right?

Most companies don’t have a map. They haven’t mapped out the customer journey, either in terms of what it is now, or what it ideally ought to be. And without that map, they can’t plot the data to determine what’s actually happening — or what they ought to do about it.

Jeff Bezos said it best “If you’re customer-focused, you’re always waking up wondering, how can we make that customer say, wow?

We want to impress our customers — we want them to say, wow. That kind of divine discontent comes from observing customers and noticing that things can always be better.”

Why do so few companies bother to plan and then validate the buyer journey with accountable metrics?

Is it inertia?

“We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work” – Thomas A. Edison

Or perhaps it is…

“Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.”  – Andy Grove

There is some hard work on your business involved. There is the careful navigation of people’s territories, channels, and silos, There is the inherent career risk that comes with greater accountability.

There is also a great opportunity. Plan a great experience, deliver a great experience and then improve on it. That is a challenge all businesses face. Some will live up to that challenge and most won’t.

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You can read more about planning customer journies in Be Like Amazon: Even A Lemonade Stand Can Do It

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Amazon Is Selling The Stories In The Books With Stories About The Books

This used rocking chair is available for $55,000 + shipping

I sent my friend, Tom Grimes, Amazon’s New Bricks-and-Mortar Bookstore Nails What the Web Couldn’t. In reply he wrote me:

My son Zack went to Tennessee to carve a rocking chair.

He’s into that sort of thing.

When all is said and done he is going to have hours and hours and a couple of thousand dollars invested in his chair.

You can buy a rocking chair at most Cracker Barrels for less than $200.

The man teaching the class made the observation that if they actually were interested in selling their chairs … they couldn’t sell a chair.
They were selling ART.
And when people buy ART … they are buying the STORY that is wrapped around it.
What does this have to do with AMAZON?
When I went through the article I thought … Amazon is selling the stories in the books with stories about the books.
They are providing a satisfying way to find a book that fits amidst the almost limitless number of books you can get.
That Bezos’ guy is a clever guy.

Tom Grimes is a clever guy too. He recognized why Amazon will succeed in retail. Amazon’s is showing that curation and presentation remain the primary reasons for retail to exist. They’re just showing the world what happens when bookstores go through a digital transformation of the customer experience.

What retail categories do you think are ripe for digital transformation?

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Optimizing The Wrong Paths To Customer Centricity #CX #CRO

Customer-centricity is like “excellent customer service” — everyone thinks they’re doing it, few actually are.

And one reason for that is that there are right and wrong paths to pursuing customer-centricity. Her’s a quick chart of the three most prominent wrong paths vs. their right path counterparts:

The first “wrong path” towards customer-centricity is taking customers’ (or worse, unqualified prospects’) spoken wishes at face value.

In other words, relying solely on surveys of potential customers as insight into “what the customer wants” is a bad idea. You might expend company resources creating exactly the offer people say they want, only to watch all the actual, paying customers actively choose someone else when it’s time to buy.

Businesses that achieve epic success through customer centricity take great pains to “see their customer real.” We’ll get into depth on techniques for this in my next post, but it involves tracking actual data on customer actions and understanding the context of buying decisions.

The second “wrong path” is to focus on the Peripherals at the expense of the “Hard Stuff.”

Imagine a dentist who focuses on being customer-centric by improving his waiting room with more comfortable furniture, a cappuccino machine, fast & free wi-fi, and plenty of power charging stations. That’s a focus on peripherals.

A focus on the hard stuff would be finding a way to reduce wait time to (nearly) zero.

The difference between peripherals and “hard” items is that

  1. Peripherals change with the times, hard stuff does not, and
  2. Hard stuff has the power to make peripherals irrelevant

The factors that make a better waiting room change with the times; for example, better magazines have given way to wi-fi. Whereas reduced wait time is always desirable, and a significantly shorter wait time makes the quality of the waiting room irrelevant.

The third “wrong path” is to over-focus on optimizing existing processes at the expense of re-engineering and innovation.

It’s a good thing to optimize the customer interactions you have in place now. But if you’re not looking at what customers really want — at an ideal interaction, unconstrained by current technology or operations requirements, — you won’t be able to innovate and invent on the customer’s behalf.

You could find ways to optimize the cash register or check-out experience for your store. by speeding up the check-out, keeping more registers open, automatically opening new registers when wait times exceed a certain number of minutes, etc.

Or, you could take advantage of new technology to re-engineer the shopping experience to render the cash register obsolete. Amazon Go‘s new offline store’s payment is handled via tracking and recording what you put in your cart and your card is automatically charged when you walk out the door with your stuff.

So what paths are you taking towards customer-centricity?

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Are Your KPI’s False Idols? #CX #CRO #Measure

This is a post about false accountability and the worship of quantitative idols. Companies looking to be innovative face a dilemma. Policies and procedures that make them efficient at execution also stifle innovation.

On day one a startup is flexible until it discovers its business model and establishes a goal.  On day two a mature company organizes around that goal and measures the efforts to reach the goal. Then they strive to find the most efficient ways to reach that goal. They create processes to make execution repeatable and scalable by employees.

These KPIs and processes, which make companies efficient, also impede agility.

In Jeff Bezos’ 2016 Letter To Shareholders he explains why he worries about day two.

“Jeff, what does Day 2 look like?”

That’s a question I just got at our most recent all-hands meeting. I’ve been reminding people that it’s Day 1 for a couple of decades. I work in an Amazon building named Day 1, and when I moved buildings, I took the name with me. I spend time thinking about this topic.

“Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”

To be sure, this kind of decline would happen in extreme slow motion. An established company might harvest Day 2 for decades, but the final result would still come.

I’m interested in the question, how do you fend off Day 2? What are the techniques and tactics? How do you keep the vitality of Day 1, even inside a large organization?

Such a question can’t have a simple answer. There will be many elements, multiple paths, and many traps. I don’t know the whole answer, but I may know bits of it. Here’s a starter pack of essentials for Day 1 defense: customer obsession, a skeptical view of proxies, the eager adoption of external trends, and high-velocity decision making.

Jeff Bezos is once again describing the Four Pillars of Amazon’s Success:

  1. Customer Centricity.
  2. Continuous Optimization.
  3. Culture of Innovation.
  4. Corporate Agility.

Every business (B2C, B2B and others) can make Amazon’s Four Pillars work for them. Leaders can use Amazon’s Four Pillars to refocus on what never changes. Amazon’s Four Pillars help you look beyond data about your company’s performance. They help you see the data that reveals your customer’s reality.

Examine whether what you measure is what you most value

In chapter one of Be Like Amazon: Even a Lemonade Stand Can Do It, we discuss the four unifying principles of Kodak’s George Eastman.  

George Eastman organized the Eastman Dry Plate Company in 1881 under four unifying principles:

  1. Keep the price of the product low so the customer will and more uses for it.
  2. Always sell by demonstration.
  3. Be the first to embrace new technologies.
  4. Listen to what the customer tells you.

In 1976, Eastman Kodak sold 90% of all the camera film and 85% of all the cameras in America. By 1988 they had more than 145,000 employees worldwide, and in 1996 they had 16 billion dollars in annual revenue and a valuation of $31 billion. In 1975 Kodak’s Steve Sasson invented the digital camera, they patented it. In 2012 Kodak went broke because they decided they were in the camera film business.  That was the result of abandoning their unifying principles in favor of the false accountability of their KPI’s.

What if Kodak had pioneered digital photography? What about they listened to their customers? What if they decided that instead of how many units of film they sold their measure of success would be how many magical moments customers captured?

I certainly hope you are measuring and optimizing the right things.

 

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Valuing time for well-being

Is there a right and wrong way to be customer-centric?

Valuing time for well-beingI really like how Lynn Hunsaker of ClearAction explains this with her concept of “well -being”.

Some managers view customer-centricity as bending to every customer’s’ whim. Customers are not so irrational. They want you to succeed so you can continue to help them. The transactional customers that don’t, likely shouldn’t be your customers.

Customer-centricity means that your actions are centered on customers’ well-being as it promotes your well-being.

“Well-being” is a balance of generosity and discipline. The well-being of a child requires a balance of recreation, learning, and structure. When customers’ well-being is great they make fewer demands on your company and they are eager to engage in mutual value creation.

Recently at Whole Foods they ran out of nutritional yeast in their bulk products section. I was delighted that they gave me a complimentary packaged nutritional yeast instead. It sounds expensive, but I didn’t need to visit another store. They considered my well-being, valued my time and understood that I was a relational long-term customer.

Customer well-being requires a balance between the benefits they receive from your company and the collective costs they incur: money, time, effort and stress.

If you are looking for more examples of being customer-centric, make sure to get your preview copy of our new book Be Like Amazon: Even a Lemonade Stand Can Do It.

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Why Retail CEOs Still Don’t Care About Digital

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Customers are more connected than ever. Software continues to reduce customer friction everywhere, from customer service to fulfillment. Logistics and payment systems continue to expand what’s possible for customers. Customers expect more and better.

Retail customers aren’t delighted with retailers. They feel differently about Amazon and in both cases it’s the CEO’s fault.

All the above is true. It’s why CEOs green light new and growing investments in technology and marketing. So how can I say that retail CEOs don’t care about digital?

Digital is not just a series of new shiny objects, cost cutting tools or new media ads. Digital should be the glue that connects every part of the organization with customers. Digital should allow every part of the organization to analyze data, learn from it, and act on it. The competitive advantage is putting that customer at the center of their universe.

… You can read the rest of this post as it appears on IBM’s THINK Marketing blog – Why retail CEOs still don’t care enough about digital 

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Legendary Links: worthwhile reading 9/18/16

Important List On Blackboard

 

What’s up with Legendary Links? From time-to-time, we’ll post some of the interesting articles that we found interesting and that you may have missed. Please let us know if you find them interesting or if you’d like to share other links that we may have missed.

Which Type of Voice Actor Should You Use for Your Explainer Video? [Original Research]

In this ConversionXL Institute study, we tested four different voices, which differed by gender and whether they were professional voice actors or not. Question is, did it make a different in how people perceived our video content? Yes, and the results were somewhat surprising.

21 ways Amazon changed the face of retail

“Amazon is a case study in ceaseless innovation and interminable disruption,” says Artemis Berry, vice president of digital retail for Shop.org and the National Retail Federation. To toast Amazon’s 21st birthday, STORES uncovered 21 times it changed the dynamics of selling, came up with fundamental new ways of doing business and altered how customer satisfaction is measured.

What will the iPhone 8 be made of? [Quora]

Apple will create an iPhone primarily from ZrO2 – Zirconian Ceramics. The journey Apple has taken to adopt Zirconia Ceramic as their fundamental design material translates like an epic movie plot. We will begin at the end.

How Optimizely Shrunk Google’s Market Share by 92%

Then in 2010, Optimizely launched. By thinking deeply about who needed to do this job rather than just what needed to be done, then designing a tool specifically for that market, Optimizely revolutionized A/B testing on the web. And all they had to do was take out steps.

The Five Disciplines of Customer Experience Leaders

Bain & Company analysis shows that companies that excel in the customer experience grow revenues 4%–8% above their market. That’s because a superior experience helps to earn stronger loyalty among customers, turning them into promoters who tend to buy more, stay longer and make recommendations to their friends. As a result, promoters have a lifetime value that can reach 6 to 14 times that of detractors, depending on the industry.

When your boss is an algorithm

In the gig economy, companies such as Uber and Deliveroo manage workers via their phones. But is this liberating or exploitative?

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Amazon Prime Day: Magician’s Trick #CX #UX #CRO

 

Bradley 

“When a magician waves his hand and says, “This is where the magic is happening.” The real trick is happening somewhere else. Misdirection.” – Thaddeus Bradley in Now You See Me

What was everyone’s focus on Amazon’s Prime Day? This is from their press release:

The second annual Prime Day was the biggest day ever for Amazon. Amazon today announced customer orders surpassed Prime Day 2015 by more than 60% worldwide and more than 50% in the U.S. It was also the biggest day ever for Amazon devices globally and record Prime Day for each Amazon device category including Fire TV, Fire tablets, Kindle e-readers and Alexa-enabled devices. Prime Day was a great savings day too – members globally saved more than double on deals over Prime Day 2015.

Prime Day was a success. It also revealed where the future of commerce (not just eCommerce) is headed.

Voice is the big reveal

Amazon, as always, is focused on improving customer experience. Prime Day is valuable to Amazon but focusing there is simply misdirection. Pay careful attention to Amazon’s magic, they’re focusing on voice as the primary UI (user interface) and IoT (Internet of Things).

 

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How Amazon creates sales momentum 

Voice and IoT improve the customer experience. This is from Amazon’s press release – Prime Day 2016 highlights from the U.S.:

  • Amazon devices were up over 3x compared to Prime Day last year.
  • Biggest day ever for Amazon Echo – up over 2.5x compared to previous record day.
  • The most popular Amazon Dash Button brands purchased on Prime Day were Cascade, Charmin, and Tide.

Amazon’s flywheel, they call it a virtuous cycle, always puts the customer front and center. This is the way they draw it:

Amazon_Virtuous_Cycle

Conversion rate (an output) is a result of the many inputs that make up the customer experience. Amazon understands that the experience they provide has the chance to annoy, satisfy or delight their customers. They continuously optimize their inputs. Their superior experience is rewarded with higher conversion rates. It’s this laser focus on the input of customer experience that is responsible for Amazon’s 74% conversion rate from Prime Members.


More than half of all Amazon customers in the US are now also Amazon Prime subscribers. 

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Where have eCommerce executives been focused? 

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There is a slight shift of focus in 2016. “The big rise of explicit mentions of the word “customer” was very noticeable in the results of this year’s survey,” said Mark Raskino, Vice President and Gartner Fellow. “CEOs seem to be concerned about improving customer service, relationship, and satisfaction levels.”

Amazon has changed the game. While those CEO’s get around to improving customer service, relationship,and satisfaction levels Amazon is eating their lunch.

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Amazon is consistently trying to stay ahead of their customers’ behavior instead of their competitors.

Focus On Your Customers!

Please remember that for you to achieve your goals, visitors must first achieve theirs.

 

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After our workshops, we work with only a few select clients. Your business must be committed to the Four Pillars (as described in Be Like Amazon) on a long-term basis .