Connecting the dots between customer satisfaction and employee engagement.

e see businesses all around us putting a lot of effort in becoming customer centric. Investing in loyalty programs, building user-friendly customer interfaces, working on unique (in-store) experiences… However, in all these transformation programs, one major key to customer success is often forgotten: your employees.

 

Businesses do not innovate or service, people do! Your employees are the ones servicing your customers. From sales to logistics, everyone is responsible for their own little part in the overall customer journey. How your employees perform on a daily basis, directly affects your customer experience. The more engaged employees are, the more happy they will be to deliver a good experience to customers.

 

Happy employees make happy customers!

  • People thrive on positive feedback;
  • Various studies show there is a positive correlation between customer satisfaction and employee engagement (one example is the US study below);
  • Research shows the large majority of customer feedback (e.g. NPS data) is people-related;
  • A recent study of Harvard Business Review indicates moving forward brand value will continue to decline and customer relationships will grow in importance;

Engagement can never be bought, it must be earned.

Our experience in various sectors shows that extrinsic drivers such as wage and engagement initiatives (e.g. newsletters, Townhall sessions, employee events, …) have a mere marginal effect on employee engagement and advocacy. Long-term effects on engagement comes from intrinsic drivers. ‘What’s binding us within this company?’  ‘Why do we get up every morning?’ As Simon Sinek (a famous and respected British/American author, motivational speaker and marketing consultant) states  you cannot engage employees without a clear and inspiring purpose. Everything starts with WHY.

Make your purpose stick

Every engagement program should focus on bringing people together around a common and clear purpose. Once you purpose is clearly defined, you must communicate and repeat it consistently at any company level. Make the story stick.

 

Walk the talk

But that’s not all, in order to truly bring your purpose to life, you will have to act upon on. That’s when leadership, culture and respect come in. Research shows a very strong correlation between these three aspects and the overall employee engagement within a company. A company’s employee engagement is statistically higher when:

  • Employees share a positive view on the company’s culture,
  • Employees have respect for the leadership team,
  • Employees feel respected and believe employee engagement truly matters to executives (not only short term financial results),

 

Companies with leaders who make the above aspects a priority will thrive in the long run, benefitting from engaged employees who advocate their brand to customers and their personal network. But that’s not all. More engaged employees also positively impact productivity and service delivery, which upon turn has a positive impact on the company’s profit and growth.

 

Forbes investigated 30 different studies which show employee engagement correlates to decreases in absenteeism, accidents and defects, while it also correlates to increases in customer service, productivity, sales and profits.

I am sure, by now, you are convinced engaging your employees is the key to long term success. But setting up the right engagement program is not easy. Find out more on the subject in our next blogpost on the “employee engagement gap”.

 

Dorothée Laire

Customer experience architect

M: +32 473 31 60 50

Service Excellence all the way: from front to back!

Customers’ expectations continue to evolve, placing severe pressure on organisations to keep pace.

Many organisations have been investing a lot in customer experience during the past years: mapping customer journeys, creating persona’s, reinventing products and services to better serve today’s and tomorrow’s customers. Taking your customers as a starting point is surely the right way to go. For all of you who do so, BRAVO! However, this front-end approach is not enough.

 

Customer-centricity should be embedded in your organisation as a whole, from front to back. You need to look at all operations from a customer’s perspective (end-to-end). You cannot setup a digital customer-centric service when your front office is supported by silo thinking, paper-driven back-office processes. CXSolutions.com estimated that 60 percent of customer dissatisfaction can be traced to back office inefficiencies!

 

“Too many companies digitally transform their customer facing channels, but keep working traditionally internally from a process and organization perspective”.

Möbius group CEO, professor Hendrik Vanmaele

We strongly believe focusing on customer-centric business process management can help to align and improve back office operations. Advantages include:

  • Higher consistency: which is key for customer satisfaction. Consistency in delivering quality across your organization and consistency across all channels (whether physical, by phone or online).
  • Higher efficiency: Mapping & analyzing processes enables us to identify waste, leading to cost reduction and higher profitability.
  • Employee & customer satisfaction. Nobody gets enthusiastic from redundant activities, tedious manual & repetitive work. Optimising your processes allows employees to focus 100% on their added value, customer impact.
  • Compliance & audit. Whether you need to comply to legislation or perform audits to achieve a quality certification, business process flows and work instructions help facilitate the process.
  • Increased transparency. A lot of companies still work in silo’s with marketing, sales and production operating separately. Managing the end to end process creates transparency across departments. Process flows facilitate communication to current staff members and new hires.

 

Convinced? Well than let’s start! Our recommended recipe for success includes:

  • Management buy-in and customer feedback: Lacking management buy-in is the number one reason why these kind of projects fail. Raise management awareness and involve them from the start. Making sure they believe in the cause will reflect in overall adoptability. We also recommend to involve your customers when aligning your back and front office operations.
  • A robust framework: Define your process landscape covering all your end to end processes, starting & ending with your customers. Since 83% of organisations admit to still be working in silo’s (AMAnet.org), we need to break the silo thinking and focus on the full sequence of activities. Additionally, you should define a clear roadmap for process modeling, improvement and alignment based on business and customer priorities.
  • Dedicated expert team: Call it OPEX team, BPMO or CXMO, you need a team to track progress, ensure you remain on the correct path and motivate employees.
  • Empower your employees: Customer centricity and quality should be the focus of each employee. They are your best source to identify improvement opportunities. Make sure they have the means, authority and enthusiasm to do this.

 

Jonathan Aelterman

M +32 499 33 65 59

jonathan.aelterman@mobius.eu

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathanaelterman/

 

NPS-score: a simple metric … but what’s next?

NPS or Net Promoter Score is a powerful metric that is used to gauge the loyalty of your clients to your organization. The Net Promotor Score is based on the idea that an organization can divide their clients into three categories: promotors, passives and detractors. To measure NPS, one simple question is

sufficient: “To what extent, on a scale from 0 to 10, would you recommend [service x] to your friends & family?” This question is ideally followed by an open-ended question “Why did you provide [score y]?” which gives your client the possibility to motivate his or her score and offer suggestions for improvement. Each NPS is related to a specific touchpoint within the customer journey.

NPS has become an important tool to evaluate and optimize your customer service. However, knowing the score is only the first step in increasing customer satisfaction. Driving improvements within your customer service is the ultimate goal.

A key achievement is to turn passives into promoters, and to avoid detractors as much as possible. A high NPS means that your organization has a lot of promoters: people who rate your services with a 9 or 10.  They are enthusiastic and love doing business with you. Yet, a research by Wharton School of Business shows that 83% of satisfied customers are willing to refer products and services, but only 29% of them actually do. If you are able to get your customers more engaged, by converting them into ambassadors, this will lead to more revenue and growth. Hence the rising trends towards more customer advocacy and ambassadorship programs.

Möbius is partnering with a Belgian start-up that provides a very user-friendly NPS tracking software.  With this innovative tracking software you can track the NPS of multiple touchpoints and customer journeys within your company. The software is multi-device, meaning you can gather NPS data via mail, SMS, iPad … Nice features are the simple, user-friendly and insightful dashboards and the possibility to set alerts, enabling your organization to detect negative feedback and immediately react upon it.

 

 

 

With the existing tooling, gathering your NPS becomes easy. But that’s only the starting point…

Keeping track of the scores is one thing, to apply them in a way that benefits your organization, is another. With NPS, you can improve products, enhance customer experience and drive growth, but how? Knowing the score clearly isn’t enough. By not interpreting the score, you miss out on the following: increased sales and revenue, insight in customer turnover, turning passive customers into promoters, and discovering which services can be further improved. Promoters and detractors need individual attention because they can offer valuable insights into your customer experience. You can get feedback from detractors and find out what they dislike about your organization or service. Promoters, on the other hand, can specify why they feel connected to your organization, and suggest desirable improvements.

Once all those NPS data come in, the following questions typically arise:

  • How do you convert passives into promotors?
  • How do you convert promotors into real ambassadors?
  • How do you respond to detractors (convert them to promotors)?
  • How do you link your data sets to become smarter (CRM data, NPS data, cash registry …)?
  • How do you implement a customer centric culture (NPS philosophy) amongst all employees?
  • How do you ensure the representativeness of your NPS data, making sure you keep measuring the right touchpoints, moments of truth?

Möbius supports you in answering these questions. We offer a project-based approach to create a flawless customer service and facilitate a customer-focused culture, which will ultimately lead to higher revenue and growth.

 

Multichannel vs. omnichannel. A story of consistency and customer centricity.

The term omnichannel is all around us. It is often seen as the only way to survive for retailers, as is seconded by Gino Van Ossel, Marketing Professor at Vlerick Business School in his book ‘Omnichannel in Retail’.[1] Möbius is a partner of Vlerick Business School and in this blog, we’d like to elaborate on his book and discuss the importance of omnichannel.

In many news articles and blogs, the terms ‘multichannel’ and ‘omnichannel’ are used interchangeably. However, they differ greatly. Often, when an author makes the distinction, omnichannel is termed as ‘multichannel 2.0’ and while one can understand the reasoning behind this terminology, it wrongly suggests that both omnichannel and multichannel are fundamentally based on the same principles. However the two are fundamentally different both with regards to the organization (internally) and to the customer (externally). The difference explains the main reason why omnichannel is necessary to survive, according to Gino Van Ossel.

 

Now, what is the difference?

Over the last couple of years and decades, the different steps that a consumer takes before the actual purchase of a product changed dramatically. In the old days, consumers went to a shop, received information from the shop assistant, chose a product and took it home. Now, consumers can shop using many different channels (physical shop, app, website, etc.) and they receive information via all sorts of ways such as recommendations from their friends on social media, ‘independent’ customer reviews, newsletters, in-app advertisements, etc. The customer journey nowadays puts spider webs to the blush.

How the different channels, available to the customer, relate to each other explains the difference between omnichannel and multichannel. Multichannel refers to the availability of multiple channels, hence multichannel. These channels, for example physical stores and a web shop, are installed by the company and are at the disposal of the consumer. However, in multichannel, these different channels operate separately from each other (often engraved in the company by separate reporting structures and revenue goals). In a sense, a multichannel offering is passive since one channel exist freely and independently next to another.

The term omnichannel, on the other hand, indicates that all different channels are completely consistent with each other and form, so to say, one ‘omni-channel’. As such, the different channels are aligned in an active way. In omnichannel, the different channels that are available to the customer function much more as simply different ways of addressing the company, without being different content-wise.

Although the difference seems small, the impact for both the customer (external) and the company (internal) is important.

Consistency – the external omnichannel

Let us illustrate the external difference between omnichannel and multichannel by an example.[2] A customer in the USA wanted to buy a treadmill online at Target. However, the price of the treadmill in the eBay store of Target was much lower than the price of the treadmill in the Target web shop. The customer bought the treadmill via eBay, but at the moment of delivery, the trucker could not unload the package since he did not know the package was heavy. When the customer ordered a new delivery date, his treadmill seemed to have moved to a warehouse of Target. After some calls with the contact center of both the shipment company and Target, no one could tell exactly what went wrong. Frustrated, the customer sent out a tweet and to his surprise he got a quick and helpful response. He was asked to send some documentation but after doing so, he received an answer from Target that they could not help him since he bought the treadmill in the Target store on eBay and not in the Target web shop.

There’s no doubt that the customer experience could have been better in this example. But most importantly, each time the customer contacted Target via a different channel (normal web shop, eBay store, shipment company, Twitter, customer contact center…) he felt like he was interacting with a different company. The most striking example, but which is seen quite often, is a difference in price between different channels. Offering an optimal customer experience would require having a consistent approach towards the customer via each channel. This is exactly what omnichannel aims to achieve.

Customer centricity – the internal omnichannel

Defining omnichannel and explaining the added value of consistency is easy, but implementing it is another task. The inconsistent multichannel offering is the consequence of the internal organization of the company. Traditionally, companies tend to maximize the performance of each channel separately. The company is likely to be organized in ‘swim lanes’, according to Stacy Schwartz, a digital marketing expert, consultant, and adjunct professor at Rutgers Business School.[3] In a sense, this internal structure is pushed out to and reflected in the customer experience (this is sometimes termed ‘inside-out’). This results in the consumer interacting with different departments of the company when using a different channel.

According to Gino Van Ossel, having such silos for each new channels is not a problem per se, but it is an intermediate stage towards an omnichannel offering1: “Typically, a small team starts selling via a new channel and only the project leader is focusing on the new channel fulltime. When the channel is gaining importance, it becomes a separate silo, parallel to other silos in the organization. This prevents the initiative from being overruled by the interests of the existing business.”1

As a result, implementing an omnichannel offering is fundamentally different from a multichannel offering. Being a truly omnichannel company might well be the perfect example of customer centricity since this involves putting the customer first and building the company around his or her specific needs or journey, not the other way around. As Rik Vera, CEO of nexxworks, puts it: “As a company, you used to be the flower and you needed to attract as much bees as possible. What we see now is the customer saying “I’m not a bee, I’m the flower, I’m in the center”. As a consequence, companies can no longer define or map a customer journey. At best, they can monitor it.”[4]

Transforming the company in a customer-centric way is often termed ‘breaking down the silos’. Indeed, companies remain to be organized in silos that ‘throw data over the wall’ from one silo to another. Breaking down these walls (both technical and organizational) is far from easy and will take a significant amount of time. It is, however, the only way to go. In the end, how could a customer experience a truly seamless experience if the involved teams in the company cannot work together seamlessly?

Holacracy – customer centricity as an organizational structure

Implementing an omnichannel offering will require companies to invest in technology, infrastructure, marketing and almost all other aspects of their business. In recent years, a new management and organizational system was invented to make a company truly customer-centric: Holacracy. In literature, the online clothing store Zappos is often given as an example. To continue the metaphor of Rik Vera, CEO of nexxworks: “Zappos tries to be a swarm of bees and to see each of their clients as a flower. ‘Try’ is very important since they do a couple of things, learn from it and adjust constantly.” They realized that if you want to put the customer centrally, you cannot force them into customer processes. Therefore, the employees of Zappos are not forced into specific processes either. Zappos provided some key values and gave a lot of empowerment to their employees. This new organization system decentralized decision power and distributed power in the company in such a way that employees can perform their jobs the way they want as long as they put the customer centrally and keep focused on the company values.

 

At Möbius, we believe Holacracy has many benefits and is a great tool to organize a company in such a way that it can react very agile to a changing environment. One year ago, a part of our company started to adopt the Holacracy. The benefits of this organization structure became clear, which is why some of our employees became certified trainers to implement Holacracy. Currently, we started to organize our entire company via the principles of Holacracy. Therefore, we defined clear company values and our organizational structure is changing in such a way that all of our employees are empowered in their jobs. In this way, we are much more customer-centric and we believe that we can assist companies better in making a similar transformation as a part of their road to an omnichannel offering

[1] https://www.vlerick.com/nl/about-vlerick/news/omnichannel-betekent-overleven

[2] http://marketingland.com/opposite-omni-channel-targets-last-mile-e-commerce-customer-service-failure-112164

[3] http://www.econtentmag.com/Articles/Editorial/Feature/Multichannel-vs-Omnichannel-Marketing-Is-There-a-Difference-and-What-Does-It-Mean-to-You-102361.htm

[4] http://www.bloovi.be/nieuws/detail/als-je-je-klanten-centraal-stelt-moet-je-je-medewerkers-ook-centraal-stellen

Top 10 Global consumer trends for 2017

Consumers are now more demanding of products, services and brands than ever before and are using digital tools to articulate and fulfil their needs. Euromonitor sees the following trends, emerging worldwide.

 

Ageing

In 2017, 25% of the world population will be over the age of 50, a record number.

These consumers aged over 50 are transforming what it means to be older in terms of lifestyle and are more demanding in their consumption needs. New business ideas for the baby boomer market include chefs, online dating sites and yoga instructors for those with health issues. “Midorexia” is a label for the middle-aged and older consumers who acts younger than their years. This label highlights the shifting status and needs of a consumer groups living and working for longer.  Some big and prestigious companies such as Goldman Sachs and PWC now organize re-entry internships programs for ‘older people’. Fashion campaigns continue pushing older role models. Technology is becoming an obvious opportunity for the soon booming “Longevity economy” with robotic and AI derived technologies that will help older consumers take better care of themselves in their own homes.

 

 

Consumers in training

Younger “consumers in training” have a voice that goes beyond “pester power” (the ability of children to pressure their parents into buying them things). This gives them a more active role in what is purchased, often turning them into functioning in-house shopping consultants. Children are navigating the digital world including e-commerce with ease.

 

Extraordinary consumers who fall into atypical consumer categories in terms of height, weight, dietary needs, physical ability … are pushing to see their needs better met. This is for example leading to fashion sizing for “real people” (global plus-size market is growing in line with the increasing obese population).  The “Healthwear” is an apparel niche that offers solution-based fashion design for ill and disabled consumers.

 

Faster shopping: in 2017 consumers are impatient, “IWWIWWIWI” – “I want what I want when I want it”. Consumers want to shop faster and secure their convenience. As an answer to rapid convenience Amazon is working on ‘an under 30 minute home delivery service’ using drones. “Proximity-aware tech” is growing in popularity and getting more sophisticated. It enables retailers to send relevant and personalized messaged to passers-buy, by sending alerts from in-store beacons directly to their mobiles phones. Many consumers find these targeted and more relevant promotions less irritating than regular ads as they are being contacted within a specific context where they can act upon.

 

Get real: the allure of authenticity

Authenticity is a standout consumer value in 2017, heralded by everyone from change makers and celebrities to supermarkets and chefs. Visual culture in an age of digital communications is at the forefront of discussions about authenticity. Social media and selfie culture have affected insecurity about appearance, exacerbating body dysmorphia in some. The Japanese concept wabi-sabi is advocating the beauty to be found in imperfection and the authentic. Different industries are adapting their offering around this “get real trend”: ranging from authentic holiday experiences, outdoor sport experiences, ‘natural’ fashion items to food experiences.

 

Identity in flux

The 2017 consumer is harder to characterize as the nature of identity itself is in flux. The existing tensions between global versus local have been highlighted by the migrant crisis, which questions national identity. Additionally, individuals are showing a more elastic understanding of ethnicity and sexual identity. Brands are forced to rethink who their audiences really are within different countries. The “We before me trend” arises among younger consumers, confirming an aspiration towards altruism and a smaller ego.

 

Personalise it

2017 consumers expect elements of personalisation in mass produced as well as upscale items. The so-called “Experential luxury” is the shift from purchasing luxury goods to enjoying services. A shift from “having to being”. With the new infinite capacity to gather client information, customers expect brands to fulfill and even predict their needs. Personalisation is also about adding a personal face to a brand. Popular clothing etailer ASOS (as seen on screen) has an #AsSeenOnMe feature in which shoppers can “Get inspired by how other customers have styled this item” and add their own look to the gallery.

 

Post-purchase

In 2017, shoppers pay more attention to their post-purchase experience. Post-purchase contact with the company’s representatives, the medium and the tone of the response become critical parts of the customer journey, shaping their view of the business.

With online reviews, customers influence the post-purchase experience. This online sharing of buying experiences is considered as a new source of consumer power.

 

Privacy & security

The 2017 consumer wants safety in a perceived volatile world, particularly for its nearest and dearest, and is looking to tech tools as aids in this quest.

 

Wellness as status symbol

The desire to be fit and healthier seems to be almost universal. Healthy living is becoming a status symbol, as more consumers opt to flaunt their passion for wellness through paying for boutique fitness sessions, “athleisure” clothing, food with health-giving properties and upscale health and wellness holidays.

 

Dorothée Laire

Customer experience architect

M: +32 473 31 60 50

Balancing bricks & clicks

Omnichannel best practices succeed in offering one seamless experience for customers. In many cases, both digital and physical channels are in place to offer the customers what they need, when they need it. Still, the question remains how the physical and digital channels should be balanced. To answer this question, once again, we should focus on the customer.

 

The first question we should ask is whether a physical store is still relevant. Studies have shown that about 80% of consumers use digital channels such as computer, smartphone, tablet or in-store technology in shopping. More importantly, however, 73% of consumers also use physical stores next to these digital channels in their shopping journey.[1] In addition, other studies point towards customer experience as being the key brand differentiator.[2]

 

Customer experience is subjective and personal, but the concept can still be used to balance physical channels against digital channels (or bricks vs. clicks). Although a digital-only company can use all kinds of high-tech tricks to make their website look and feel as cool as possible, a truly amazing customer experience is rarely created via digital-only channels. A physical store has much more capabilities in terms of appealing to a customer’s subjective appreciation of the shopping experience. A cosy shop, some products to test and feel, helpful advice in person, accessible drop-off or pick-up point… can all boost the customer appreciation level higher than a digital-only shop ever will.[3]

 

Offering physical stores next to digital channels offers so much more possibilities for a company to meet the customer’s demand and trigger a true ‘wow’ experience. A few years ago, shops tend to complain about customers that came to physical stores to determine what to buy, but they bought the product online (often via cheaper online retailers). In recent years, however, ‘reverse showrooming’ is booming: customers analyze and compare online, but buy the product in a physical store.

 

Customer experience, however, is more than creating the ‘wow’ experience in a physical store. Customer service also influences a large part of the customer experience. A proper service should be a major focus of organizations since it can affect customer satisfaction in both ways. A lack of customer service will make your customers turn their backs on you, while most customers are willing to pay more for decent customer service. In that sense, physical store should focus on serving the customers instead of selling products.

 

To meet the customer’s demands in the best way possible, exploiting both physical and digital channels is appropriate. Online channels offer clear advantages for ordering products or comparing prices. Physical stores can be organized in some specific ways to offer a customer experience that digital channels cannot[4]:

 

  • Flagship store: Nicely designed shop where a significant amount of products (with a focus on the new ones) can be tested and experienced. In this shop, the customer should be amazed in each possible way.
  • Specialty store: Clearly dedicated store where a customer can get all the information, advice and special products he or she desires.
  • Service store: Only a few products can be bought in the service store, since the main focus is on personal advice, pick-ups, reparations and returns.
  • Outlet store: Special store to sell old collections at cheaper prices. This avoids large discounts on a website, which might reduce the brand image.
  • Pop-up store: A pop-up store offers an ideal way of testing the options of a physical store and meeting your customers in person. The pop-up store can create quite a buzz, which is favorable for the familiarity of the brand

 

At Möbius, we strongly believe in this win-win situation that can be created between online and offline channels. Together with our clients, we spend a lot of time understanding the customers and mapping the shopping journey they follow. Digital transformations, in our, opinion all start from ‘walk the customer talk’.  As we showed in this article, the physical and digital channels each have their own key benefits. It is absolutely crucial to know what your customers want, what they like about your current offering and what they would improve. Only then can a company determine which specific benefits a physical store can have over a digital channel and vice versa to determine the right balance between bricks & clicks.

Together with our clients, we at Möbius engage in this journey to discover the customer needs and we guide our clients in including all required aspects to be able to offer a true omnichannel experience.

 

Simon Wostyn
Consultant
+32 479 51 32 12

[1] https://hbr.org/2017/01/a-study-of-46000-shoppers-shows-that-omnichannel-retailing-works

[2] http://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2015/05/18/customer-experience-and-the-with-pleasure-principle/#3223555b240a

[3] http://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2014/10/06/44-facts-defining-the-future-of-customer-engagement/#20b2cda3fa26

[4] https://www.frankwatching.com/archive/2015/03/25/van-clicks-naar-bricks-hoe-bouw-je-jouw-webshop-uit-met-fysieke-winkels/

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) vs Customer Effort Score (CES)

It’s been 14 years since the Net Promotor Score appeared in a scientific article as “The One Number You Need to Grow”. Today, there isn’t a boardroom meeting imaginable without the Net Promotor score (NPS) as important KPI. Nevertheless, the Customer Effort Score (CES) is increasingly gaining ground. The CES is quite a new metric that also addresses the relationship between customer satisfaction and loyalty. Both metrics have their pros and cons. When do we need to use which metric? And is it really necessary to choose?

The Net Promoter Score – NPS

The Net Promotor Score is based on the idea that an organization can divide their customers into three categories: promotors, passives and detractors. The customers can be categorized by asking one simple question: “How likely is it that you would recommend [organization X] to a friend or colleague?”.

  • Promoters: the customers who answered the question with a 9 or 10.
  • Passives: the customers who answered the question with a 7 or 8.
  • Detractors: the customers who answered the question with a 6 or lower.

The Net Promoter Score is the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors. Note that the NPS can also be negative.

 

The main critique on the NPS is that it does not measure the actual customer behavior: customers make a prediction about their future behavior when answering the NPS question. However, scientific research has shown that customers find it easier to assess a recent and real experience. In addition, critics argue that it is not only important to measure the likeliness of recommendation to others, but mainly the customer’s eagerness to continue to do business himself or to even enlarge his commitment. Unfortunately, the NPS does not offer this perspective.

So why does one use this metric so much? The great strength of this metric lies in its simplicity. With just one simple question, two key points are measured: customer loyalty and future financial growth. Promotors will after all remain the customers of your organization, while there is also accretion of new clients. Also, each employee within your organization will understand the NPS after a brief explanation. Hence, the popularity of the model makes it easier for marketers to use the metric and benchmark results.

 

 

The Customer Effort Score – CES

The Customer Effort Score is based on the finding that customers ‘punish’ an organization easier than reward them. News about a bad service-experience usually reaches twice as many people than a good service-experience.[1] For this reason, reducing customer dissatisfaction yields sometimes more than increasing the customer satisfaction.

The Customer Effort Score charts how much effort a customer needs to put in during his or her customer journey. Elements such as time, money and risk are understood as effort. When measuring the CES, the focus is on a specific process of service, and the customer is asked to review this process by the criterion of difficulty/ease. It is necessary that the customer has been in contact with the specific point in the process that is being measured. The amount of effort experienced by the customer is measured by prompting the question: “How much effort did you personally have to put forth to handle your request?”.

The customer can answer this question on a five-point scale, with the lowest score standing for very little effort and the highest score for a lot of trouble. A low score implies that the process took the customer little effort. The chance that this customer will turn to the competitor is therefore low – why change when the service runs smoothly?

Organizations can create loyal customers by solving problems quick and easy. The swift handling of complaints can provide a strong sense of loyalty by the customer. This way, one bends a negative experience into a positive experience

CES correlates well with customer behavior because of the complexity and multitude of products and services. In addition, the fact that a customer sometimes even gets different answers from the customer service depending on whom one speaks, causes frustration. Fix the basics first.

But ease is not everything. Compared to a fancy restaurant, it is easier to make a choice from the menu of a fastfood chain and to place an order, it is easier to eat (you do not even need cutlery) and the whole process takes just a minimum of time. Yet there are people who prefer to eat at the fancy restaurant instead of the fastfood place, even for a multiple of the price. Ease is only one dimension of the complex interaction between a customer and an organization.

 

 

Practical example NPS and CES[2]

Imagine you are an energy supplier. Your main task is to make sure that your customers can purchase energy from you without problems. If this goes well, your customers will not shout it from the rooftops. Nowadays we find it quite normal that the light is on. Your service only stands out as soon as the light is off. At that moment, you can make a difference by solving the problem as quickly as possible, so the light is back on without too much difficulty for the customer. How well you handle this situation, is measured with the Customer Effort Score. Therefore, it is important that your customer actually had to deal with a power outage and with your service at that time.

But what if you are an accountant? First and foremost, customers come to you to check their figures or to put their administration into your hands. If your organization performs well on these tasks, your customers will be satisfied but it will not be striking. If you think as an accountant along with your customer and for example alert him on saving possibilities, you deliver an additional value without request of your customer. This added value and the exceeding of expectations leads to more satisfied customers who are delighted to share their good experiences. This recommendation intention can be measured by the Net Promoter Score. However, it is never certain whether customers will convert this intention into actual behavior.

Which metric is best?

Both metrics have their pros and cons. NPS measures the entire relationship between the customer and the organization and makes a prediction of the customer’s future behavior. A customer can recommend an organization but it is never guaranteed that the customer remains a customer. The NPS score is affected by the customer service but also by quality, price and brand. If an organization solely focuses on NPS, one will not be able to determine which customer service improvements will have the greatest impact on loyalty. From that point of view, the CES may be of interest. This metric only focuses on the ease of handling customer problems. So in this case, it is essential that the customer has been in contact with the questioned process. CES provides more useful insights to address the obstacles that appear during the service experience. NPS and CES provide answers to various questions but are strongly interrelated.

On which question an organization will focalize, depends on the specific aim of the organization. To that end, earlier practices can be an inspiration.

 

[1] White House Office of Consumer Affairs

[2] Customeyes

Physical retail stores need a reboot. Here’s why.

In a recent study, the Digital Transformation Institute at Capgemini investigated the value of physical retail stores for consumers by means of a global survey spanning 6,000 consumers and 500 retail executives.[1] Results from this study highlight several factors that point to a mismatch between changing customer expectations and the current physical retail stores. Here, we summarize some of their key insights.

Shopping behavior of 21st century consumers has changed dramatically and the physical store is losing ground compared to e-commerce. One third of consumers prefers washing dishes over visiting a retail store and 40% sees shopping in physical stores as just another chore that has to be done. Needless to say, the physical store has lost its charm.

 

Consumers in a digital age

In recent years, consumers have discovered several benefits of e-commerce such as home delivery or easy price comparisons. Current physical stores often function merely as a space to buy products, which is why consumers feel no urge to visit them.

Installing physical stores that regain interest from the digital customer will require adding some functionalities to current stores. Checking product availability before a store visit or same-day delivery of in-store purchased products are some of the most important consumer expectations of physical stores. However, this will only match the functionalities of the store with those of the digital channels and will not lure customers to physical stores. Therefore, to regain interest from consumers, the store should leverage some benefits it has over digital channels such as the ability to touch and feel products or the possibility to engage all five senses of consumers in a full customer experience.

 

Mismatch between customer and store

On average, 81% of retail executives believe a physical store to be important, while only 45% of consumers agree. Researching the Net Promoter Scores (NPS) for several brands, revealed that retailers underestimate customer dissatisfaction to a large extent. The mismatch between what consumers want, as was explained in the first paragraph, and what stores offer is expressed in several frustrations during the shopping experience. Long queues, difficult comparisons between products or not being able to locate products are some of the reasons why consumers avoid going to physical stores. This is confirmed by the result that 71% of consumers would be happy to bypass retailers and buy directly from manufacturers through small, local retail stores to handle the last-mile logistics.

 

Retailers are lagging behind

The survey showed that 54% of retail executives think the digitization of physical stores is happening too slow. Three reasons are mentioned as to why this digitization is not gaining speed: ROI of digital initiatives is difficult to assess, store managers/associates are not promoting digital initiatives enough and digital requirements such as Wi-Fi or data integration are still being rolled out.

Next to these digitization obstacles, another mismatch between retailers and consumers is observed in the sense that not all digital in-store initiatives are useful. Those that do implement the right initiatives are termed the ‘digital sprinters’. Some key characteristics of these retailers are that they have a clear vision and strategy, they prioritize digital transformation and have strong governance practices. They also use data to the best of their knowledge and motivate people to relentlessly focus on customer experience.

 

The new physical retail store

As was stated above, matching digital channels on proximity, selection and price is a must, but will not lure consumers to physical retail stores. Physical stores are obliged to go the extra mile and prioritize customer experience. In general, appealing to consumers of the 21st century will require injecting technology into the physical stores. However, this does not mean adding some fancy high-techy stuff to the store, but applying technology as enabler to address consumer requirements.

Several initiatives (usually powered by niche startups) showed benefits of some interesting technology applications. The benefits are mostly found in boosted sales, although cost reductions can be achieved as well. Some examples of customer-facing initiatives are personalized messaging, in-store navigation, facilitating social experiences or in-store convenience (e.g. cell phone chargers). Technology can also affect operations by supporting store associates, installing robotics for inventory management or using in-store analytics.

 

The road ahead for retailers

Next steps for retailers depend on their current situation. ‘Early gainers’ have realized some benefits of digitization, but should scale their efforts. Usually they should focus on using consumer data better to boost customer experience. ‘Strugglers’ have invested heavily in wide digitization initiatives, but have failed to realize the expected benefits. According to the survey, these retailers should rethink their vision and governance for the digital future. ‘Laggards’, at last, are failing at each aspect of a digital transformation. To boost their efforts, prioritizing digitization at the C-level is a crucial initial step for them.

 

 Möbius to the rescue

As the survey showed, unlocking benefits of digitization is not easy and involves tackling many different aspects. Möbius can offer the required expertise and experience to assist companies to succeed in the digital transformation from vision to implementation. At Möbius, our approach to digital transformation consists of addressing these different aspects through several steps:

Walk the customer talk: get to know the specific needs of your targeted consumers

Reinvent your core: rethink daily operations to support the desired outcome

Inject technology: use technology as an enabler in the customer experience

Stabilize your culture: install a culture of digital leadership and an innovative mindset

 Read More about how we can help you 

 

Simon Wostyn
Consultant
+32 479 51 32 12

[1] Available at: https://www.capgemini-consulting.com/resource-file-access/resource/pdf/retail-store-research_dti.pdf

What defines a good omni-channel customer experience

An exceptional customer experience is more than the sum of its parts: You need to orchestrate and architect every interaction, across all channels, to create an experience that flows and that keeps customers satisfied and coming back for more.

Through our experience in projects aiming to achieve just that, we have identified 5 key factors to a winning omni-channel customer experience

 

1. CONVENIENCE

Today’s consumers are time-strapped, and this means that convenience is not just a benefit—it is a central principle of a strong customer experience. Customers are lazy. Think how you can save their time , lower their effort to buy from you and make life easier for your customers. As we are all creatures of habit, improving convenience will result in customers coming back for more.

When you think of Amazon, you might think of low prices and big selection. I can name dozens of other companies, both online and brick-and-mortar that do the same thing. Amazon knows it competes with all retailers. So, they broke out of the low price and big selection game with convenience. They want to save time and make life easier for their customers. They created the Amazon Prime program that gets merchandise shipped to you, without shipping charges, in two days or less. They created the Dash button that allows you to purchase merchandise with the simple push of a button. They want to eliminate as many steps as possible from the time a customer is thinking about purchasing a product until that product is delivered. Speed and simplicity is what they are about.

Zalando now picks up returns at your doorstep, no need for the hassle of going to the postal office to send back your returns, enhancing the convenience of buying and building competitive advantage over other online retailers.

 

Today customers expect convenience. They expect to view the same pricing online and offline, they expect to be able to buy online with a few clicks and pick up in-store or buy in-store and get goods delivered to their door. Etc.

 

We see companies investing heavily in convenience however, only a third of companies have operationalized even the basics such as store pickup, cross-channel inventory visibility, and store based fulfillment, return handling etc.

 

2.CONSISTENCY

Remember: you are only as good as your last interaction!

Consistency is vital when building a true omni-channel business,it may not seem sexy, but consistency is the secret ingredient to making customers happy. It is also indispensable to create experiences based on a unified brand presence that consumers can trust. However, it’s difficult to get right and requires top-leadership attention.

 

Customers want to have confidence that you will deliver on your promises every time, not just when it’s convenient. You need to consistently deliver good products and services across your organization, you need to mean what you say and do what you say.

Customers expect a product and service offering to be the same across multiple channels, they expected support to be consistent across online, offline, and social touchpoints.

 

Companies largely still operate in silos, which by design introduces friction into the customer journey. Each department often acts as on its own, designing and managing their respective touch-points differently and adhering to deferring standards and metrics thereby causing challenges in ownership, responsibilities, etc.

Customer-facing departments don’t talk to one another. Marketing doesn’t talk to product development. The digital or web support teams talks to customers via a ticketing system. And everyone seems to be bypassing the value of IT.

The traditional customer funnel mindset contributes to the problem. Customer journeys are no longer linear. The steps that are supposed to guide customers through each stage of engagement are distributed across different departments and the people that support them.

 

Building consistency throughout the complete non-linear customer journey means focusing heavily on end-to-end processes, policies, guidelines and re-structuring all teams to be able to collaborate together to provide a consistent experience from sales towards support and IT.

 

3. RELEVANCE

The new consumer expects interactions to be real-time, highly personalized, and tailored to buying preferences, transaction history, and user behaviors. Consumers would share personal details and are comfortable with brands collecting personal data  in the name of creating a personalized customer experience. Data analytics can realy boost the personalized experience. You can use data mining to autonomously tell you which offers to make to which customers with a full explanation as to why . By using predictive analytics, you are able to deliver custom-tailor messages to specifically meet individual needs of your customers.

You can create behavior-based segmentation to find trends and make custom recommendations. Use all data insights to further increase your segmentation. This builds more relevant content based on what the customer wants to receive.

Using data to enhance your relevance is not only imperative internally to gain a clear, value-based understanding of your customer base but also to your customers to ensure a highly personalized customer experience.

Data allows you to show your customers how much you care on an individual level and ensure loyalty for years to come.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Theodore Roosevelt.

 

4. EMPOWERMENT

Did you know that revenue for most companies comes from 20% of their loyal customers? That cross-sell and upselling to a prospect is 5%-20%, whereas the probability with an existing customer is  60% – 70%?

Most organizations understand the basic truth that even the best customer experience strategies can be derailed if customer-facing employees don’t do their part. Your workforce is the lifeblood of the company and your primary point of contact with customers. Employees can make the company, the service and the customer experience look fantastic—or not. When service suffers, the challenge isn’t in deciding how valuable your employees are, it’s determining why your employees aren’t executing the customer service strategy you’ve laid out.

All too often, bad customer service is written off as apathy, laziness or an unwillingness to comply with company expectations. That may or may not be accurate but the reality is that these problems are usually symptoms of a different issue entirely—a lack of employee empowerment. If the people you hire to interface directly with customers don’t have the authority or the resources to ensure a positive customer experience, it’s virtually certain they won’t be able to deliver superior service. Conversely, if an employee is put in a position to succeed and meet the customer’s needs at every touch point, your chances of maintaining a contented customer base increases exponentially.

All of this begs the question: How does one empower their employees to the point that they are positioned to deliver excellent customer experience across the complete customer journey? It’s an imprecise science that varies depending on your company, product, industry and a host of other factors.

Employee empowerment is a win-win proposition. Your customers enjoy the benefit of great service hence staying and becoming loyal customers. Your employees get better job satisfaction, engagement and experience

 

5. AGILITY

Companies designed in the 20th century have very little capacity to evolve and adapt. They are rarely adaptive organisms, at least on more than a superficial level.

Technological acceleration now means that capturing connected customers depends on the companies ability to take an agile approach. Businesses must adopt to market changes and shifts in buyer behavior, as well as organize themselves for autonomous and agile teams, scalable and fluid processes and systems that enable fast action when opportunities present themselves.

“The key to doing better,” argues Oxford economist Eric Beinhocker,“is to ‘bring evolution inside’ and get the wheels of differentiation, selection, and amplification spinning within a company’s four walls.”

An approach we use ourselves @ Möbius is called Holacracy. It offers the possibility of doing just that: embedding an enhanced capacity to dynamically and continually evolve, within an organisation’s core DNA. It helps create organisations that are fast, agile and succeed by pursuing their purpose, free from the tyranny of top-down planning or the time-consuming pursuit of consensus. It’s not a silver bullet – it takes hard work and practice to make the shift into such a dramatically different way of organising, but those who see and experience it in action are excited about its results.

In the words of David Allen, author of “Getting Things Done” and a business leader with years of Holacracy experience in his own company,

“Holacracy is not a panacea – it won’t resolve all of an organisation’s tensions and dilemmas. But, in my experience, it does provide the most stable ground from which to recognise, frame, and address them.”

Still powerful customer experiences are not just about maintaining consistency, relevance, empowerment, convenience and agility at any cost.

It is about creating equally seamless customer dialogue across every stage of the customer journey, from pre-purchase research to post-sales touches.

 

Vincent Defour

Digital transformation expert

M +32 495 45 75 71

https://www.linkedin.com/in/vincentdefour

Omni-Channel To Omni-Fail: 3 typical omni-channel fails during a Christmas purchase

 

It’s 21 December. The time I started thinking about Christmas gifts. Every year, the same story : too busy at work, thinking you have all the time in the world until it’s almost too late.

Not to worry… these days online retailers deliver the same day or the next day.. so I started my discovery on the web and came across a side table I knew would WOW my mother. I wanted to purchase it online through a local home decoration retailer because the delivery range was 2 days. Nice service, right on time for me!

But finishing up the purchase, to my surprise, they added a 10€ delivery fee to the purchase.

 

Fail 1:  the table costs 120€, it would be delivered within a 20Km radius from the central warehouse and even then, the retailer forwarded the delivery costs to me, their potential customer. I’m what you would call a global shopper, the internet is my shopping street. I purchase items in US, China, etc. through online shops and market places sometimes products as low as a couple of euros. In 9/10 of the cases these providers never charge me delivery costs, it’s all free delivery these days, isn’t it. So for me paying 10€ extra was not what I expect from a customer-centric experience point of view, especially when I knew the warehouse was that close to my home.

The benefit for me: as it’s a retailer with physical stores not far from where I live, I decided to go the store and buy that same table over there, easy and fast. So I jumped in my car, taking my wife and daughter with me, and we went on a 15Km trip to the store. My wife had the bright idea to go with me to see if the table was in a perfect state especially because we didn’t want to give a costly damaged gift to my mother.

Once arrived we immediately searched for the same table and wanted to purchase it..

 

Fail  2: When asking the nice lady in the store if we could buy and see a table on stock and take it with us, that wasn’t possible. They only had 1 showroom model which wasn’t available for purchase. We could order it in the shop itself, but we had to wait for 1 week for the table to be delivered to the shop, it wasn’t even possible to send it to my home and within 2 day time range that they provide online. The only option that I had left was order it online through the website and pay the 10€ delivery fee.. That really blew my mind.

Ok, I’m a digital transformation consultant, I advise my clients to provide top notch digital customer-centric services and processes. That’s what I do every day,  so maybe my level of experience expectations are a bit too high compared to “normal” consumers. I then turned to my wife, asking : “do you think this is a good service?” but also she was dazzled with this strange fact. She wanted to leave immediately. Which we did.

But as Christmas was knocking on the door and I really needed a present, I decided to order it online and pay for the extra 10€. In the back of my head : thinking it was the last time I bought something from that company ever again.

 

Fail 3: it’s Christmas day, time to unpack the presents.. everybody is excited. My mother opened up her gift, seeing the smile on her face, gave me a good feeling about the purchase. Even with the bad experiences described above. So far so good. But then I saw my mother looking at the table, to my surprise it was damaged.. grrrr.

Time to act.. I’ve learned an important and surprising fact: When a customer shouts the hardest, he is helped faster and better than a well-behaved and obedient customer. For some reason that always helps: complaining, escalating, threatening, writing complaint mails etc. (recognize this? )

You could call it: “the journey of the biggest bully”.

When that happens, a ( mostly informal ) process is triggered within that company and the complaint gets escalated to a certain power level who demands a fast solution for that customer who isn’t happy, because no manager wants detractors (from an Net promoter score point of view) on their monthly KPI’s. Cost, current workload, internal guidelines and operational processes are then of inferior importance, just get that complaining customer of our backs!

So that’s what I did, I went for the bully approach. I’m not proud of it.. and I would have appreciated a consistent and qualitative customer experience much more, but necessity is the mother of invention.

I first wrote a customer complaint email through their support channels, I waited a day and then I called customer service, demanding power level access for more effect and started my complaint, I threatened to use social media to tell my story to the world etc., it wasn’t pretty, I can tell you. But as I suspected, my story got answered, fast.  … And how .. It seemed that they could not deliver a replacement as it was out of stock due to high purchases in the holiday season. But they offered me a more expensive model, would pick up the damaged table and deliver the new table within 1 day at my mother’s doorstep at no cost.

No isn’t that a superior bully service..

 

If you think about the outcome for that company:

Wouldn’t it have been easier, better on the long term and less expensive, just to think about their omnichannel experience more than 2 seconds. Creating a seamless off- and online experience, putting experience before marginal costs along the complete customer journey and trying to create a WOW effect that would turn me into an ambassador advocating their brand online to other potential buyers, and also purchasing most of my furniture from them..

All they got now : the cost for them had tripled : a damaged table that they could not sell, a new more expensive table for free and extra delivery costs, an unhappy customer spreading negative comments and a forever lost customer.

 

Vincent Defour

Digital transformation expert

M +32 495 45 75 71

https://www.linkedin.com/in/vincentdefour

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