I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of customer experience research for nearly a quarter-century. In that time I’ve been a part of some very memorable customer experience programs. Most of these involved a ‘first-time’ with a tool or perhaps an industry-specific project that pushed the limits of my operational background. Keep in mind that not all memories are good, some of these were very challenging, but also pushed me and my colleagues to learn something new.
Four Memorable Approaches to CX
Unfortunately, I cannot disclose names on these due to confidentiality (even though some of these are now more than a decade lapsed), but I did my best to show four of my favorite examples in detail:
1. Large Format Specialty Retailer
This is memorable for two reasons. First, it was my first “customer experience” project when I entered this industry that I made into a career. There was so much more to this project though. At a time when reports were still printed and distributed, over the course of three months, we migrated from printed distribution to email to online distribution.
This was very early on in the world of the public internet, and accomplished in HTML 1.0 – it wasn’t fancy like today’s customer experience software platforms, but it gave results as soon as they were available from call centers. This program had many features that evolved into place over the years, including financial linkage analysis that showed multiple value points in the journey, my first use of customer feedback loop, incorporated employee experience and we even demonstrated a linkage between CX, EX, and revenue in this research study.
The perfect first project for an operations-focused person like myself, and fun makes such evolutions in the mid-90s. Not a bad way to start a new career.
2. International Shipping Company
Pretty much a household name, this company based its business around on-time delivery. It went so much deeper than that, getting to spend time around the company operations and even more detailed time surrounding the customer contact center really can open your eyes to the complexity of a seemingly simple business. It begins with a customer journey template to build out the entire Voice-of-the-Customer feedback system needed. In this case, the customer journey was a complex web of customer experience touchpoints.
The opportunity to hear directly from the customer about their unique problems with a delayed or missing shipment really brought together the operational and emotional aspects of the customer relationship. If you ever have the chance, spend an hour listening to customer phone conversations – it will give you a new perspective on their views of problems and an appreciation for those on the front line that handle those calls.
This project also incorporated my first social media analysis (unique in 2006) and seeing links between the transaction, the call center interaction, the survey, and the online comments among linked customers provided invaluable insights.
3. Financial Professional Services Provider
A first for me as it was the first time I worked on true all-in-one CX Enterprise Software and in CX for financial services that were not branch banking – instead more B2B focused. At the time, most of the programs we had done for our clients were on custom-developed platforms, this was a chance to spend more time on building the customer experience strategy rather than building the platform.
There were certainly pain points: moving from multiple providers to a single provider, fitting the survey modes into the available approaches (goodbye postal mail), adapting a sentiment analysis tool for working within a unique industry, and working with the constraints of the system (every system has them). Despite all challenges (and the original software provider being acquired twice since then), it is a program that has been running smoothly for over a decade.
4. Sports League
So many of these on my list were unique or exciting because they were representing the fast-evolving nature of the customer experience practice as technology was evolving quickly. This last example is exciting because we took the use of technology and leveraged it ways to both understand the customer experience while increasing engagement between the league and its fans. In this case, I can even identify the client, because we are up for a CX USA Award.
The National Independent Soccer Association was very unique because we did not have a way to reach out to fans initially – the teams owned their fan lists and the league needed to find a way to let fans provide that information. We ended up using an engagement approach with their nationally broadcasted matches that invited participation by fans during the match which captured email addresses. While the initial plan was to conduct one engagement activity per week, we almost immediately added a second.
At the conclusion of the season, we hosted a unique experience survey for the fans of the league that included an understanding of league loyalty, team loyalty, and sponsor affinity. Adding the QuestionPro exclusive NPS+, we were able to validate the root causes of any discontent. Even more telling, our unique voting mechanism on the open-end question brought out key issues that fans were looking for – including an increase in the engagement activities that we use to capture fan information. Always a great story when the fans being engaged in the survey suggest they could use more – make this as unique as anything I’ve ever done.
I have several other fun projects among the hundreds I’ve worked on over the years, both old and new. I fondly recall my first automotive project that migrated delivering printed reports to a custom reporting tool on CD, a project for a software company that had us delivering over 1,800 unique PowerPoint reports to all the stakeholders globally within four weeks. Even working with a reseller partner to build out a single feedback system that captured visitor needs and experiences across hundreds of varied attractions, museums, and venues trying to successfully emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Customer Experience has come a long way, and I look forward to bringing more features to advance the learnings we can gain from our customers, stay tuned for more on that.
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