Why Customer Experience Has The Power To Affect Change

I thought this was worth bringing back out as we do tend to live in a volume related world and there is a big temptation to keep churning ‘stuff’ out. But every so often it feels good to go back and kick the coals over and share.

The notion of what Customer Experience ‘is’ was something I reflected on over a year ago when we set up Custerian. I came to the conclusion that it should be viewed as a bit of a mongrel. Which, as the dog lovers amongst us know, actually means taking the best bits from two different breeds, and creating something that is better than the sum of it’s parts.

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CX – Result Of Interbreeding Marketing & Customer Service… Really?

I’m a data led brand marketeer by background. One of those brought up in the dark arts world of Direct Marketing who, as well as littering our doorsteps with mail, expoused approaches such as Lifetime Value, Dialogue Marketing and Customer Relationship Marketing.

But throughout all of this, one thought was always “we spend a lot (time & ££’s) pushing customers to a business, but virtually nothing managing the most important contact of all – the customer/business touchpoint” which of course has an emotional impact of a significant multiple compared to a mail piece or even a TV advert.

We’re a Service Economy – But We Don’t Care About Service

Not really, or at least not until recently. I still fundamentally believe (quite a lot of) the senior leadership think ‘Service’ is a cost to be managed out of a business. We call this the Whack A Mole effect – please feel free to ask!

Only the truly enlightened realise that, whilst in many instances it is a window into business failures that should be removed (thus reducing Customer Effort etc), it is also rapidly becoming the Single Point Of Brand Truth at which a company can deliver, enhance or destroy the empathy a Customer feels for its products and services.

By truly believe, I mean do something about it Vs just talk about it as a good idea. As an aside there is a growing chorus of evidence showing embracing service as moment of brand truth (customer centric behaviour etc) drives ROI, but that’s for another Blog, but you could start your journey here : UKCSI.

Empathy Is The Goal – Experience Is A Stepping Stone

It is heartening to read the various blogs and articles about how the goal for Experience is to create Empathy. This is important (to me) for two reasons:

  1. Experience is a feeling you derive from engaging with something – it can be good… it can be bad.. and its fleeting and context dependant – i.e. your experience can be good or bad if a single variable changes.
  2. Empathy is an emotional connection based on an increased level of engagement, mutual benefit and exchange, that’s enduring and leads to preference in dealing with you over time.

And this is where the idea of convergence came from (it may not be original, most of the best ideas aren’t).

What Does Convergence Actually Mean – Branding Inside Out

My thought in developing this was simple:

  • Marketing are tasked with creating Brand Empathy – Buy more of our stuff, more often for longer.
  • Customer Service manage the most emotionally impactful brand experiences

So if you want to really leverage Brand Empathy directly, you need to combine Marketing & Customer Services skill sets and responsibilities to literally enable you to Brand your company from the Inside Out! In other words market your brand to your Colleagues. Engage them in it, so they feel empathy with it, then let them do the same with your customers.

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