Friday, February 28, 2014

Are you addressing WHAT or WHY of WHAT?

If every entrepreneur and professional is asked to avail services from his own firm he will realize how poorly (or good) he is performing. 

Financial Statements will give you results at the end of the year but own journey mapping can quickly tell you what is wrong and what needs to be done. Problem is , mostly entrepreneurs try to analyse balance sheet and P &  L Account to know what is wrong and think about corrective measures. 

What best they need to do more often is to become their own customer. Use more and more touch points , use more and more services to learn more and more about their own business.

Focusing on financial statements for improvements is like focusing on results rather than on symptoms. WHY of WHAT needs to addressed. Financial Statements tells you WHAT, what is happening in the market with your customers tells you WHY of WHAT.  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Do you remove your theatrical HAT daily ? (Off Topic)

" Every business a stage and work is a theater." Pine & Gilmore in their famous book 'The Experience Economy'.

Yes in a sense therefore every enterprise must know HOW to perform on stage to create scintillating experience for their customers. 

But other-side of the quote is equally relevant & powerful. Once you are off stage you must stop performing and start living. Usually that is a difficult proposition. 

A military men will behave like military men even in his house with his family and in his social circles. Same applies to Police men and for many other professions. An auditor will always tries to find faults with everything he encounters even when he is not actually auditing. A lawyer will always have legal angle in his personal and social life situations. A boss will mostly act bossy in his house and social circles.

Removing theatrical hat is very important as well as difficult. We become the role we play on stage. It is only the real on stage actors know how to remove such hat and live normal and natural life unlike the on stage roles they play. 

Amitabh Bachchan and the likes will not act police or goon at home , they will be natural human being different form their on stage characters. Position of power & preference is only during on stage professional and business performances. When we try to mix up our on stage roles with our personal and social roles, difficulty starts.

Family relations for all are common  - husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter etc and friends for everyone  be it lawyer or beggar. They expect us to behave normally without our theatrical hat. 

Are you removing your theatrical HAT while with them ? Next time be conscious about the on stage hat you are wearing and removing the same when you are off stage. Life will be a different experience.

Monday, February 10, 2014

How little creativity can enable better Customer Experience (CX) ?

My family doctor is familiar with many other families too. Therefore there is a problem every-time I visit him. 

- Long waiting time
- Nothing to engage me during this waiting time

Same was the scenario at one of the prominent hospitals in Mumbai. Many people standing in queues on many counters waiting for their turn to come.  

I think in most places in healthcare sector this is the scenario. 

Why I like to address issues of customer experience(CX) in healthcare the most is because this is the sector where customer i.e. patient and their relatives are in maximum pain while they are waiting to be served.

Many a times it does not require rocket science to improve customer experience. It just need a mind of the people at the top and eye on companies in other sectors to learn from.

Couple of leading private sector banks have solved these issues, even Balaji temple in Tirupati & Cream Center at Chowatty has addressed these issues.  

Long Queues / Waiting Time:

Issue token number on arrival and token number attended on display. Based on the experience of the enterprise , even enterprise can display tentative time of waiting based on numbers in queue. 

Small dispensaries atleast can have token system (issue and display) which make patients in waiting to know number of persons before them and uncertainties of waiting time will end. People don't mind waiting if they are informed time of waiting , even they can do their work and come back. It is the uncertainties that makes them restless & spoils the entire experience. 

Engaging during waiting:

If waiting cant be avoided then make it interesting. Cream Center at Chowpatty has a system to give a sheet of puzzle/games to everyone after occupying the chair. People get engaged after ordering in solving  puzzle and in the process forget waiting time even if its little longer. Our saloons also used to keep old filmy magazines. In many a places they have TV to get engaged while waiting. 

However they miss on which channel on TV they put on display. Better customer experience will come from the channel they put up on display. Cartoon Network (CN) kind of channels and not news channel or movies which further adds to the stress level. CN kind of channel will not only make them engrossed but also will make them feel happy. 

Both the above small issues and many such issues of poor CX can be easily tackled and can be converted in to better customer experience by little thinking and application of customer centric thinking.

List down all the customer issues your organisation faces and solve it with little creativity , results will be phenomenal increase in CX.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Brutal Focus on Customer Experience (CX)

Apple is known for their sharp focus on  CX. 

Perhaps they are the leaders. 

They take care of even 'box opening' experience of the customer. 

Recently I read their sharp customer focus as defined as Brutal Focus on CX. The word BRUTAL which otherwise used in negative connotation was used to define extreme positive connotation. 

There is a new book in the market titled Stuffocation. Author James Wallman explains us that in the new economy where everything is produced in plenty & costumes have variety of choices, how do marketeer / sellers differentiate in this crowded market?

In this new economy people are now fed up with stuff they have in their cupboards and homes.  New age customers want experiences. These customers are defined as eXperientialist customers. They need experiences. Experiences to immersed with, experiences to recollect, experiences to feel differently.  Even manufacturers , mall , retailers & service providers can create experiences - which are pleasantly memorable & worth sharing. Customers do not need to go on holiday or theme parks to get experiences.

There are examples of accounting firms, dentists , computer service businesses that are creating superior customer eXperiences.

Here lies a challenge and an opportunity for every enterprises. In the Stuffocation world
it is the experience economy that rules. 

Brutal Focus on CX - Apple  (Manufacturing & retailing)
Extreme Customer Orientation - Gjensidige Insurance Company (Service Provider)
There is a Book on The company's CX way of doing business - Starbucks (Retailing)
Customer Experience Co-Creation - Fidelity Mutual Funds (Service Provider)
Entertainment Business at 25000 feet above the sea level - Virgin Airlines (Travel)
__________________ - Your Company? 

Filling this blank will give direction to your enterprise and working on it will give competitive edge

Indian customers are eagerly waiting for a brand that can be matched with best in the world in CX creation.

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.