What Bothers Customers?
One Instant Answers poll that came across my desk last week was directly related to CX. [Note: If you don’t know about QuestionPro Instant Answers, you should reach out to Tim Cornelius]. There are quite a few takeaways from the results, certainly I think we all get frustrated with long wait times – in a line, on the phone or waiting for our delivery. Time is something we never get back, so it doesn’t surprise me that it leads in such a poll. It is also a pain point that can often be fixed operationally – either through an improved process or appropriate staffing levels.
I also found it interesting that nearly one in five feel there is too much automation and not enough human interaction in business transactions. Especially coming off a year in which our interactions were limited during the pandemic.
It didn’t come in first place, but what caught my attention most was that one in four tagged rude or angry employees.
Why Are Employees Rude?
I have enjoyed many fascinating conversations about this. If I take Long Wait Time and Automation, there is a cost component to each of those. Increased staffing costs money, automation saves money long term – and they can still be controlled with process. Rude and angry employees, on the other hand, are costing you in multiple ways. Disgruntled employees can drive away customers ($$$), they can drive away other employees ($$), they can be behind decreases in efficiency ($$) and will likely eventually leave with the need for a replacement ($).
However, there are processes that can even improve the annoyance of rude or angry employees. Beyond the basics of implementing a full scale employee experience program, a company that invests in those other two areas can actually help eliminate that problem. There is always a balance – two manys rules and processes intended to “improve the experience” can actually have the opposite effect. Not enough, and there are no protocols in place to best serve the customer. When I look at my formal training in operations management, it is all about optimization.
When I hear the phrase “CX Optimization”, I know most practitioners and consultants think it is about improving CX scores to perfection. I would sternly disagree with that idea, we don’t want every customer to be completely satisfied. Facetiously, I could state that even if every customer rated a company with a “perfect 10”, that standard for the company could change. At the same time, even if you could delight every customer, would it be profitable? Ultimately, that is what companies are aiming to do. Sometimes customers are not profitable. Sometimes customers create problems for a company. Sometimes customers don’t deserve our best. If we treat every customer as if the same, it will impact the culture.
What comes to mind is the fad of Instagram Influencers – where a “customer” may demand free products and/or services in return for positive mention to their “followers”. It also sometimes comes with a threat of a negative review if the business does not capitulate. Each business can decide if the trade-off is worthwhile. While the idea had some momentum, it certainly seems as if it is losing some steam.
No matter your opinion on the idea, the current view is that these ‘customers’ are increasingly not seen as beneficial for the business – and therefore expendable, particularly during this pandemic. In this case it is about optimizing the customer mix – even if the “experience” might be less than ideal for these customers.
There are many places beyond surveys where CX can be optimized. It was fundamental behind our development of NPS+, going beyond measurement and looking at root cause, relating that root cause back to Churn Risk and building ideas through customer co-creation that can solve these problems – not one-off but vetted.
If a firm fails to optimize CX, then they’ll likely continue to suffer from all those problems above – no matter how high their CX scores are.
Join the next ConneXt Live! that features Jill Heineck about an industry that is thriving despite the pandemic. Learn for 20 minutes and meet eight to ten new people that have similar interests in CX as you. If you enjoyed CX Talks, this new format will prove to be even more engaging, interactive and informative. You can register here.