Sometimes when I write about customer experience, I focus on a specific story. Other times, I address topics like customer experience strategy and how things like a customer journey template can let you make the most of your customer experience software platform.
Today, I want to speak to a few small stories from this past week that are often overlooked. Though they may not show up in your customer feedback loop, they might be a part of your standard process for the customer experience touchpoints and will still impact the overall experience.
As we have noticed many times through financial linkage analytics, even those things that detract from a delighted experience even just a little can impact spending decisions significantly – but that is for another day.
Three personal stories about bad customer experience
Here are three personal stories of small process failures that make a big difference:
1. Just. Let. Me. Listen.
It happened several times during this past week. Like many people today, I have a music streaming service. I pay for the “premium” service so I can have access to the music commercial free. It isn’t because I spend a lot of time listening to music, in fact it is the contrary. In my day-to-day life, I spend very little time listening to music as I don’t have a daily commute and my time in the car (particularly on an island) generally doesn’t exceed more than 10 minutes most of the time.
The last thing I want when I have a few minutes to listen to music is to get a steady stream of commercials. Perhaps it is when I get to travel, but if I turn on the radio, I end up with my entire drive being commercials, with the slight chance that a song I may (or may not) like comes on as I pull into a parking lot.
In my line of work, I understand the importance of commercials – to the broadcaster and the advertiser – but they generally do not line up with my needs – both in content and timing.
I set up my cx mobile app and my car so the music just starts when I turn on the key. At least, that is the idea. A few times a week, I hop in the car, start driving and…sit in silence. Why? As soon as Bluetooth activates the music application, it tries to feed a commercial that has to be dismissed before the music starts. Annoying and unsafe. I shouldn’t need to look down at my phone, unlock it, enter the app and then dismiss the promotion before I can listen to my music.
Instead, it tends to happen at the first traffic light, halfway through my typical daily trip. If I get the green light, the trip ends without the music I like – the same as if I was listening to the radio. Even worse, these commercials are for things like podcasts (something I wouldn’t listen to on this app), the “video option” for this brand (which I already have) or (the worst) a promotion for the same audio app that I’m already using.
Will this annoyance show up in my Voice-of-the-Customer feedback? Depends on the day. I do not walk around letting an annoyance ruin my day. I probably could have written about this a year ago, I just kept forgetting. Instead, this annoyance popped up the same day I got my renewal notice. Enough for me to cancel? Not yet, but there will always be options out there that I’ll continue to explore so I don’t have to put up with that annoyance that takes away from my enjoyment.
I searched and did not find a mention of the same annoyance in a social media analysis. Why not? Probably because of my unique usage. However, if you don’t have a way to track even these little annoyances, it will result in customer churn. The brand should run a survey about it, just don’t position the survey as an advertisement that interrupts my car from playing my music.
2. Is it really a discount code?
This one was a unique case. I was asked if I wanted to test out some online software on a trial basis. If I did, they provided a Discount Code (30DAY) so I could try out the software. It appealed to me because I sit on the board of a non-profit organization and we are exploring such a software to help manage our membership.
I was excited to see how easy it would be to use for 30 days because I could then make a recommendation based on that trial. Since I can learn most software, I wanted to see if it was something others could learn or if the transition to the next board would be too complicated.
A few days after receiving the code when I had a little time to experiment, I entered the required information, even completed a short questionnaire about my use case, entered the code that had been emailed to me.
Then comes the following page – a scheduling page that required me to speak to a sales representative before activating my trial account.
Honestly, all I could think was “WTH?”. I had the time then to explore at that point, the next appointment available to me was two weeks out – coincidentally the same week as our 2022 XDay event, so I would not have any time even then. This is quite the hiccup in the customer journey. Since then, I have received at least a half dozen phone calls reminding me to schedule my briefing so they can activate my trial along with 3 or 4 emails a day.
Apparently, my offer code expires today, so it isn’t quite what I was signing up for. It is the reason we offer unrestricted free trial access to our QuestionPro CX Enterprise Software. We are happy to walk you through the platform and will offer it on the first day, it will help you make the most of our software, but it will not be required.
3. Help me be a better patient
Patient privacy is a tricky subject. I completely recognize the need to keep patient records on a very strict “need to know” basis. However, at the same time, it can make transitions very difficult. Recently, our family doctor left the practice for another state. As a result, when we selected a new doctor from the same practice, we had to sign some authorizations for our records to be shared with this new doctor.
This happened almost two months ago. When my teenage son showed up for his appointment with his new doctor, he was asked several questions about various vaccinations. He then messaged me asking those questions. “Did I get this vaccine?” “When was my last flu shot?”
I eventually called him because I did not have that information available and wondered why the doctor did not have that information.
He put me on speakerphone so I could then speak directly to the doctor. I told him I did not have those records on-hand and don’t recall precisely. I then asked why he didn’t have that information.
The response surprised me.
While I signed an authorization for the records from the current doctor, I had not signed an authorization for the practice data with the new doctor, which apparently contained information about vaccinations – even though they are within the same practice. While I understand the need for that form, there was no internal communication stating that I had to sign both forms.
My options were to schedule another appointment (which would require an out-of-pocket cost) or stop what I was doing to go down and sign that authorization. This kind of disconnect is the exact reason why customer journey maps are so important.
All of these are pretty unique cases, but they impact customers nonetheless. Will these be picked up by a customer survey a few months after they happen? Perhaps not. However, this is where tools like our QuestionPro exclusive NPS+ question type with root cause analysis and tools like sentiment analysis can help.
Even more important, would be to have a tool such as Outer Loop to help build action plans and a standard process to improve these customer annoyances. Otherwise these customers may remove themselves from the annoyance and find an alternative.
Would we see you on QuestionPro XDay 22?
Join us for a great lineup of speakers and panelists in the AT&T Conference Hotel in Austin, TX, on October 27th. I’ll be moderating the live discussion: Linear, Lucky or Lies: the stories we tell with data, with our guest speakers from MGM Resorts, Google, and Research Narrative. Learn all about it here. This is also a great time to speak with our CX and EX consultants and understand the ways you can bring empathy to your customers on a consistent basis.