Tuesday Morning CX Thoughts – The Problem With Hawaii

So Much To See, So Little Time

The past few weeks have been interesting here where I live. Instead of the tropical sunshine that visitors flock to during their winter breaks, it has been a complete wash – raining nearly every day between Christmas and New Year. Many days included flash flood warnings, not a great time for those hoping to warm up a little bit.

Fortunately for the many visitors, the last three days before the traditional end of winter breaks brought some amazing weather that we’d expect here in Hawaii.  Sunshine and blue sky along with a holiday weekend brought traffic.  And a lot of it.  Everyone is trying to squeeze in a few activities or pictures to make up for all the time missed.

On one of those days, I rounded a corner near the water and saw something majestic and amazing. Against the backdrop of the beautiful volcanic oceanside cliffs, a small pod of whales in the ocean included a baby whale that was breaching the surface and blowing out the water. 

I quickly pulled into a scenic lookout into the last available parking space hoping to get a quick picture or video.  While they were still engaged in the activity, they were a little too far away from me to get a good picture.  

As I lamented to the stranger next to me that I wasn’t able to get a picture before they moved away from the shoreline, he commented something along the lines of “there are no whales in Hawaii”.

In fact, as I looked around, no one had noticed the whales. Many were busy taking group pictures against the backdrop of the oceanside cliffs and a few were busy hopping from rock to rock. Within my view, there was not one person tracking this unique sight because they were all busy focused on something else.  

Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

I had heard the expression “Can’t see the forest for the trees” so many times growing up – probably pretty popular where I lived since we had forests and wilderness areas surrounding us. It was one of those expressions I had heard a lot but didn’t use.  To me, it conveyed a certain lack of vision in the person it applied to. However, as I watched this scene unfold in front of me, it was all that came to mind. They were so busy trying to see everything, that they missed something great. Their mind was on a singular goal.

Too often we do that in customer experience management programs as well.  I’ve seen programs so focused on improving the customer experience scores, that the customer experience does not improve. Especially if the score gets tied to some sort of incentive (I could write a book on the good and bad examples of this practice I’ve seen over my career).  It becomes all about convincing a customer that they need to give the top score, perhaps without actually understanding their expectations for earning that score or making them feel guilty about a lower score.  

The CX Forest Conundrum

Another way we can also be guilty of spending so much time in our Customer Experience Management Platform is that we forget to improve the experience for our customers.  Too often there can be such a focus on closing tickets in the customer feedback loop that the emphasis is on speed to close and counting closed (or open) cases.  To me, it is almost like the call center metric of “Average Handle Time”, well-intentioned but can result in even more negative experiences – especially if the problem really wasn’t handled correctly.  

One of the key facets of NPS+ is that anyone can be a churn risk – even passives.  Understanding the churn risk is a key element of clearing away some of the clutter to demonstrate why that score is so important.  The other key element in NPS+ is root cause reporting.  One can start to look at recurring problems without having to self-diagnose by reviewing all the open-ended comments and spending even more time in the CX enterprise software platform and not with customers.  

If your customer experience strategy is truly focused on improving the experience of your customers, you’ll need to occasionally remove some of the distractions that block the view of improving their experience. 

Take time to talk to the customer and find ways to make the experience better. Only then, will you realize that you might see a pod of whales instead of just a scenic backdrop for your group photos.

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