Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Why Customer eXperiance Fails?

Why CX Fails:

I had an interaction with call rep of call center of one of the prominent DTH TV companies. 

They asked me to punch:

a) Language Option
b) Existing or New Customer Option
c) If existing customer than punch - customer ID or Mobile Number (Which is 10 digit)
d) It will check number by repeating 
e) Correction Option 
f) Ad message of the company
g) Select Services option

After so many punches I have reached the call center representative. 

When a customer calls a call center he wants to do some transaction/inquiry or solve the problem. Mainly when a company has circulated a call center number for a specific request, most calls would be of that services.

My worries & concerns were  :

- Call drop in between and again I need to start from step 1
- Why I have to do so many punches to reach to call center representative?
- Is it necessary to market the services in between when I ave approached the company for specific services?
- Their SMS was about asking the subscribers to upgrade or else certain channel wont be available. There was no mention that it is free. So I was a bit concerned too , as how can they do so in between the contract?

How they could have improved the customer experience?

1) Their SMS should state that its is a free upgrade (Most of the discomfort would have been avoided before I called).

2) Call options rearranged /deleted

a) Language Option
b) New Customer - press 1 or Existing customer press mobile or customer ID 
c)  If existing customer than punch - customer ID or Mobile Number (Which is 10 digit) (With the b reworded, this step can be avoided)
d) It will check number by repeating (No need to correct here , it is not a banking transaction, it can be confirmed by call center executive while welcoming the caller)
e) Correction Option (No need with changes in the previous step)
f) Ad message of the company (Absolutely unwanted and creating negative experience) 
g) Select Services option

Customer Experience can be redesigned with following revised steps:
(In addition to adding the word FREE in the SMS)

a) Language Option
b) New Customer - press 1 or Existing customer press mobile or customer ID 
c) Select Services option

This kind of customer focus can not only shorten the time but improves customer experience substantially. Unfortunately most companies are process, IT and internal focused and hence create negative customer experience & reasons for customer frustration. 

When was the last have you mapped the processes keeping customers in mind?  

Monday, January 20, 2014

Why Election Manifesto Should Start With Citizen Experience Statement ?

Like Companies , countries also create experience for its citizen & guests - investors & tourists. Concept of customer experience equally applies at national level. 

It is the fundamental role of every Government to create better experience for its citizen - through better governance, better infrastructure - hard & soft, better policies, better law & order , better & sensitive Government employees. 

Every Government will make or break their chances of winning back based on their performance counted on the above parameters of creating better citizen experience. 

If we analyse Government retaining the power and Government going out of power, deciding factor is track record or people perception of ability to deliver better citizen experience. Therefore election manifesto should start with Citizen Experience Statement ( like Customer Experience Statement for business enterprise ).

In the experience economy we all are living in creating better customer /citizen experience is the KEY , KPI whether its a company or Government or for that matter any enterprise - for or not for profit. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Vacancy for Kejriwal in Corporate World (Off Topic)

There is a book called Creative Destruction. There is a person called Arvind kejriwal. I think there is a similarity. What Indian politics & politicians used to practice since 65 years needed creative destruction. AAP has provided the same to us. AAP has started deciding behaviors and action of other 100 to 40 to 4 year old political parties. 

VIP culture and huge people disconnect is the cause of such a silent revolution.  I am not writing here about politics but what has happened on political landscape is also necessary on business landscape at each enterprise level. 

All our CXOs are behaving like VIPs.  They think their branded education , coupled with arrogance , system, processes,  only ROI focus & silo-ed way of working is the best way for Indian enterprise to thrive. They need some jolt & shock like creative destruction. During last month I have met some employees of private as well as public sector companies. Apart from many dis-similarities , one common similarity across everyone is heavy work stress & long hours of working. 

I fail to understand for whom are we sacrificing our work force ? Why the hell working 12-15 hours like a slave is a necessity? What as a society we are out to achieve? Is happiness of people working for the enterprise is of any relevance? Is it only shareholders and financial bottom-line matter?  On one hand customers are suffering due to overwork of employees by way of huge unwanted choices & mis-sale to achieve the misplaced targets and on the other employees are at the receiving end - in struggling to achieve misplaced targets. 

I think there is a need to break this mindless run & rush for ROI , IRR. 

Development YES but at what cost? Huge wealth creation by a few at the cost of stress, frustration , multiple disease , unhappy families (I am not counting yet on antisocial & unethical behaviors & environment impact to achieve the same) ? I think there is a need for one more Kejriwal at corporate level to break the way businesses are being managed or rather mismanaged  (best of ROCE generating company is mismanaged if employees are stressed & unhappy).

Time has come to put HAPPINESS at the center of all our economic activities. Gross happiness of all the stake holders. Happiness of the present generation. We don't want sermon that we have to sacrifice for the future generation. Everyone is sacrificing for present generation shareholders' un-satiated appetite. 

Creative Destruction in corporate world is badly needed. Anyone dare to step into the shoes of Kejriwal? 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

2014 Year of Customer Journey Mapping

Most businesses do not measure customer journey maps. Recently I was talking with senior operation team member of one of the large Mutual Funds. He was explaining to me how they have pioneered in SMS based investing. 

I just asked ;

Whether investors need this kind of service? - (R) Dont know. 
How many investors use mobile as a investment making instrument?  (R) 1%
By doing this new innovation how much more investors would use mobile? (R)  1 to 2% more

After some dialogue I asked whether do you map customer journeys? He looked at me like as if he is asking me what is that ? and responded NO. 

This is the biggest problem with every organisation. They are investing so much in technology where it is going to impact 2% of the customer base but have no clue about what really customer needs , what customer are thinking and feeling while dealing with the company? No one has clue of end to end customer journeys , no one is in charge of end to end customer experience. 

Companies spend millions of dollars for BPR & IT  projects but have no clue of customer service designs & customer experience they are creating

I think it is a high time to REALLY focus on customers. Customer Focus must come out from mission statement & mere vocabulary to life. 

Let this year be declared as a year of Customer Journey Mapping. It will end with huge customer insights & many eye openers. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Defective Products Vs Defective Services

Defective Products Vs Defective Services

  1. Defective Products are designed and manufacturing not as per design is called defective products
  2. Defects in Defective Products are visible to sellers
  3. Defective Products are sold as seconds goods
  4. Defective Products are rejected by customers

  1. Services are not designed & therefore defective services are not easy to identify
  2. Defective Services are being seen & experienced by customers
  3. Apparently Defective Services are not seen & experienced by sellers
  4. Even defective services are also rejected by customers , however since it is not visible to the sellers , seller wont know the reason for customer defections & complaints
  5. Unlike Products , services are dynamic & made available every time customers want it. Therefore probability defective services for un-designed services is far more than defective products which are manufactured en-mass & stored for delivery. 
Therefore it is most critical for service providers to design the service & map customer journey to know the defects in service design. Its difficult & challenging but critical.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Today's Organisations - Weapons of Mass Irritation

Outbound calls , frequent SMSs to market the products, untrained callers all these are making recipient of calls irritable.

On the other hand when we call inbound call centers to solve our problems ; punching of innumerable buttons, repeating the problems to every agents, line disconnect, again repeating the process - huge irritation. 

When customers wish to approach any of the following issues, none can be handled without irritation ; 
  1. Complaint Resolution
  2. Goods Return
  3. After Sales Service
  4. Mis-Sell
  5. Over-Sell
  6. Over- Bill
  7. Long Procedures 
  8. Complicated Forms & Bills
  9. Complex Features
  10. Multiple & Unwanted Choices
Most of the activities rolled out by an organisation creates irritation. The main cause if lack of or no customer focus specially no end to end customer focus. No effort to step into the shoes of customer to design customer experience. No effort or mind for service design. No one in charge of end to end customer experience. 

Map the customer journey, design the service, take rigorous customer feedback , read social media reviews, put someone senior enough in charge of end to end customer experience. 

Convert your Customer Irritation quotient into Customer Happiness and you have won the customer for long, his repeat purchase, his higher pocket share, his referral contacts. 

If you are not making your customers HAPPY , you are IRRITATING them. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Service Design - Most critical but Mostly Ignored

" Design is not HOW it looks but how it works." Steve Jobs.  

Product & service design is an integral part of over all customer experience. However it is easier to find out bad product design from its usage but equally difficult to know bad service design. 

There is a saying that if there is a physical queue / waiting for anything  , it is a bad design. If user is finding it difficult to fill a form it is bad design. 

In every product & service there is an element of design. 

You go to buy a railway ticket or buy a insurance policy, apply for insurance claim, opening a bank account or availing bank loan, buying a house from a real estate company , availing medical treatment at hospitals, buying a movie ticket and watching movie in a theater, roaming in a mall, roads & traffic flow ,  hotel booking, check in/out process everything is a design.  

Now if these intangible services are not deliberately designed keeping customer/users ease , convenience & comfort in  mind, it will happen without deliberate design and is likely to spoil customer experience. 

No part of business or enterprise activities happen automatically. It is not either it is deliberately designed or deliberately not designed but most of the time it is not designed as entrepreneur or service provider is not aware that it has to be deliberately designed. 

All physical aspects are designed by various design experts, however its final flow to the customer i.e. sales process, after sales process, actual service av-ailment process skip the design aspects. It is these gaps in service design creates bad and frustrating customer experience (CX). Hardware & tangible are designed but soft & intangible parts remain un-designed. 

Otherwise how expensive airlines , finest of hotels & hospitals , sophisticated banks & insurance companies and great home builder - real estate companies fails in customer experience miserably? 

In every aspects of intangible service design , CX designers' intervention  can improve customer experience and help solving many problems in Govt services. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Are your products - Neighbors’ ENVY, Owners’ PRIDE ?

Ratan Tata recently acknowledged that positioning Nano as a cheap car was a mistake. It was international branding Guru Jack Trout , who 2 weeks back opined that positioning Nano as a cheap car was a mistake. 

Mr. Tata accepting this is a welcome step. Most entrepreneurs won’t accept their mistake and would try to justify their decision any how.  

Larger points are ;

- Even if price is your competitive advantage, competitive on price won’t work always and in some cases like this will spoil the brand. 

- Why to focus on price when product feature & experience can out weight price considerations

-  Irrespective of category of product or services, owners, users should feel proud of enraging with brands. In the case of NANO it was missing. 

Even in the case of low cost airlines, differentiation should happen on services, punctuality & feeling of getting associated with brands.  

Mostly companies forget this FEELING part. Owing NANO car means owner can’t afford costly car & using cheap car. This is a negative feeling for owners and will deter many others because of these negative feelings. 

Like the brand ONIDA has taught us years ago, neighbors’ ENVY, owners’ PRIDE should be the positioning for every brand. NANO is missing on both these counts. 

Focus and position on customer experience & how you make them feel & people will find out pricing of their own. 

When companies miss out on experience part or have no clue about it , they focus on price.

What is your view on positioning of affordable housing projects? 

Additional readings;  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

WHY & HOW of Clients Experience at Professional Firms

CX = Customer Experience = Citizen Experience = Clients Experience 

Yes principles of Customer Experience equally apply to all the entities whether for profit, not for profit, Govt entities, professional firms, B2B & B2C. It is not just B2C phenomena.  

Every product or service recipient expects better experience. There is always expectation gaps and scope for improvements which varies in degree.

In case if some enterprise is in the monopoly business orGovt entities like municipal corporation or railways, it is all the more important as bad experience will have social repercussions. Longer queues, longer time for approvals or attending application , indifferent staff attitudes everything adds up to personal  & social stress & frustrations. 

Professional firms (doctors/lawyers/accountants & the likes) mostly enjoy relationship of trust and confidentiality with their clients. There is an approach of one-up man ship by these professionals with their clients. In no other case service recipient is so vulnerable. Here again like the one in monopoly business better clients experience counts. It not only is necessary for better social impact but also counts as new and better service providers are around. 

In the absence of advertising  professional consulting is the area where most business comes through clients’ referrals & word of mouth. Creating a culture of offering delightful clients' experience is the prerequisite for these firms to grow. One may take a clue from Extreme Customer Orientation by Norwegian Insurance Company Gjensidige. Those who are keen about ROI of CX Initiatives may read this ; What CEOs should know before they ask for ROI of CX Initiatives ?

Now the most prominent question is HOW? Here is a ten step process. 

- Map the entire clients’ journey 
- Identify at all touch points
- Identify critical & good to have experience
- Check/Measure what is kind of experience is doled out at each of the touch points
- Internally discuss scope of improvements
- If require brainstorm entire new service design
- Train & retrain front facing and support staff
- Prototype the new or redefined service
- Fine tune with initial clients’ feedback
- Roll out the service 

Make clients feedback an integral part of services like billing. 

Remember HAPPY customers will refer others and unhappy will look for every opportunity to get out. Both will use social media subsequently to share their experience. 

To sum up in the words of management guru of our times Peter Drucker “The purpose of the business (incl profession) is to create customers (incl clients).  ” If this is the purpose ; HOW any forms of entity can ignore CX what will retain customers , create more customers & offers more pocket share of customers?  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Customer Feedback ? What , Why , Never !!

I am a customer of two of the largest private sector banks, one PSU bank, largest credit card company , some insurance companies, public utility companies , telecom companies and one thing is common in them ;  

NO Companies have asked me for any feedback ever or for last many years.  

I visited one recently open but popular restaurant and along-with the bill there was small crisp feedback form. Now everything happened precedent to the feedback form was almost perfect. Ambiance, food quality, customer service, attentive staff, clean & perfumed washrooms, food on display , presentation, menu card , light music & including valet parking etc.  Barring a few elements which could have made the experience delightful , everything was perfect. 

After a near perfect show when they are asking for feedback they are aware that they have done their best however still wish to know where they misused and open to improvements. They are aware they are living in times of Zomato. 

Companies those who know power of social media have stared improving their customer experience. However likes of some (no, many many) companies mentioned on top of the blog still think that they are doing good without even seeking customer feedback. 

Customer feedback is not only the MOST powerful tool but is the business critical tool. It tells you whether you are meeting the expectations for whom you are in existence. Jeff Bezos , customer experience champion CEO of, says " don't just listen customers, understand them." How would you do that without asking them? 

Customer feedback gives great insight, it makes customer feel you care, and acting on the feedback certainly adds value to the business. 

When the enterprise is concerned about feedback they will perform well in the first place and even if they have failed somewhere they will know from the feedback. Customers' anger will also dilute after filling the feedback form.  

When was the last time your enterprise has taken customer feedback? No excuse for B2B companies.