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Time travel and customer experience

What if you could travel in time? Would you go back in time to change something to make your present better, or go to the future to see what you should change? This is relevant because this weekend, my newsfeed was populated with the prospects that time travel is theoretically possible. I’m sure the idea that it is theoretically possible doesn’t mean much since we don’t have a way to accomplish it. However, most intriguing to me is the discussion of the time-space paradox. If you changed something in the past, how would it impact the present? The core of this discussion is that even if you changed the past, you could not (scientifically) change something that would create a paradox; the future would still turn out the way it was planned for the most part. 

This brought me back to Customer Experience. If you could go back in time, you might be able to fix a small mistake. Almost like we do with Closed Loop Feedback, we get the opportunity to fix a problem for one customer. However, just like the time travel paradox, we’re not fixing the Root Cause, which requires a bigger change. For me, that is what is exciting about our NPS+ feature, fixing the root cause. Not as exciting as time travel, but it does allow us to fix a paradox in our business, how can we focus on the customer experience if we don’t understand the root cause. Sometimes, they’ll work together, like in this case, where United Airlines delayed a flight for three hours based on a customer request but ultimately made things better for the entire route. 

Turbulent times calls for innovation

I encourage you to read that story and see where a customer comment can make a good change for the organization. However, if you want the short version, the change in the airline schedule was in Tel Aviv as a result of Yom Kippur, ultimately impacting more than just one customer. 

In the year that is 2020, I would expect many innovations in businesses. One that is very interesting to me, as a baseball fan, is how Major League Baseball adopted the entire season to account for the pandemic. To make it equal for all fans, none can attend. Perhaps a downside, but really in the best interest of the fans (and certainly not the teams that lose that attendance revenue). However, even the shifts in the offer are innovative. For a double-header, only seven innings are played (unless you go to extra innings), starting off extra innings with a man on second base (to shorten the extra-inning games) and even eliminating the designated hitter in the National League (a move that some might feel is too extreme, but maybe here for the long term). A baseball purist will criticize these changes, but “we’ve always done it this way” is not a good reason to keep doing something the same way – in fact, it is a reason to change what you are doing. This year was going to be very different anyhow, so it made sense to try out a few things. Now, the playoffs are here, and there is another change, a neutral site postseason with many more teams than ever before. Many of these ideas will go away next year, some will stick around, and others will be put on the shelf for a later date. All of these are innovative for the game, though not everyone will like them.

Understanding good innovation

However, innovative solutions can come from your customers if you listen closely to them. It can be difficult for an enterprise to listen to every customer’s comment and then decide what works best for both the organization and the customer. In addition, you certainly aren’t able to act on every customer comment. However, through the NPS+ customer innovation and co-creation tools, you can find which ideas resonate with your customers the most through the voting feature, then decide if it can apply to your business, your CX strategy, and can be profitable for your business in the long term.

Perhaps the best way to do that would be to travel into the future, but we may have to wait a little longer until that innovation comes around.