Not With Perfection But With Gratitude – Tuesday CX Thoughts

Celebration Time

Due to some unique positioning of the calendar, the past four days could have been a 4-day weekend for most of North America (I’d like to gather a petition that Mexico also enact a holiday somewhere between 30 June and 5 July to make it inclusive).  There were fireworks, parades, barbecues, concerts and picnics to be had in abundance for two great countries who were celebrating their birthdays (history aside that they weren’t formally declared countries during these days, but really the start of the process).

I know some might already be thinking about arguing with me on my last statement, but nowhere did I say they were two perfect countries and I’m not one to get political in my writing.  I think just about all countries are great for one reason or another (there are exceptions).  Like many things in life, you have to take the good with the bad in everything.  Do you have a perfect friend that has never failed you in the slightest way?  Ever heard of a perfect marriage where they have never argued or disagreed?  Has there ever been a car that didn’t break down or needs some maintenance? Have you ever had a perfect slice of pizza?  Ok, I can at least answer yes to that last question (if you want to know where, message me).  

Perfection Not Required

This works its way into thinking about customer experience and our customers’ journeys.  Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to observe and engage with many organizations in building out their customer experience strategy across various customer experience touchpoints. I’ve seen the many ways in which the voice-of-the-customer approaches have both succeeded and failed.   I have witnessed an over-reliance on the closed-loop feedback process or the outputs from sentiment analysis because that is what was offered by their customer experience software platform provider.  Far too often I see firms ignore the employee experience while focusing solely on the customer experience, or vice versa.  

Don’t get me wrong, like anything in life there is a lot to be said about the effort in trying.  We do the same thing in business, in our personal lives and in CX.  Having a dependence on the customer experience process that is only about looking at individual responses or aggregating sentiment data (which is imperfect anyhow) can cause you to overlook key areas like a true financial linkage analysis.  I’m not talking about one that every provider has on their website as a “calculator” as such to tell you that your improvement of an NPS score will result in gains of inflated revenue amounts.  Rather, an analysis that looks at individual components of the customer journey to determine the impact – cost, revenue and experience – of making specific changes.  

There is some customer experience software out there whose approach is a failed census for getting customer feedback, then driving every action from individual engagement for customer alerts.  I will say, there are firms that need this approach to start, a continued process that focuses solely on the negative scores (even if balanced based on something like revenue weighting) does not improve processes.  Therefore you’ll need tools like Outer Loop that examine the root causes across all those CX tickets and find ways to reduce the number of customers that experience that pain point.  This can even be enhanced with the use of tools like our exclusive QuestionPro NPS+ question type that includes the root cause and a basic financial analysis using churn risk modeling.  

In all of these cases, perfection is not present.  For any customer experience program, there will be places where the provider will let down the company, the practitioner in the company will let down the executives, and – most importantly – the company will let down the customers.  It will happen.

Why Should We Try?

If it seems that we are destined to fail now and fail later, why should we try to improve the customer experience?  Just look at that example of the countries.  In the US Constitution, the first words are “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union”.  Those last eight words are what should drive each of us every day.  Build a more perfect union with our friends and family.  Build a more perfect union with our co-workers.  Build a more perfect union with our customers.  

It will never be perfect but trying still counts for a lot.  We will fail our customers over and over again.  Some big, some small – but all of them will recognize the effort.  Just consider the last time a company failed you – did they try to improve things?  If yes, then you probably still feel ok about them (unless it was a catastrophic failure).  If not, you probably feel slighted by them.  

This past week, I had a 30-hour journey (ironically all on the same date) that had dozens of touchpoints.  The critical touchpoints turned out to be fine – I made it home in one piece.  However, there were several smaller touchpoints that did not go perfectly (I’ll just say boarding the plane in Amsterdam felt like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange) – goes hand-in-hand with much of the messaging we are hearing about travel woes recently.

However, I know there was effort to make it work, I know the companies were trying their best. Perfection?  To borrow a line from The Shawshank Redemption:  “It’s just a made-up word”.   Ultimately, I made it home and got to enjoy the weekend festivities – even if my burger wasn’t cooked to perfection.  

At QuestionPro we always seek to support companies with the best tools to maintain constant awareness of their customer’s opinions and expectations. Having the correct channels will allow you to be there for them when things don’t go quite right.

If you are interested in learning more about our Customer Experience Management Platform, you can visit our page or start your free 10-day trial today.