Introducing the Employee Effort Score ( EES )

A while ago during a round table with Belgian leading customer experience experts, a colleague of mine dropped the following line: “Treat employees better than customers and focus on employee centricity”

I looked around the table and all I could see where faces expressing “What?!?”

Isn’t that sacrilegious in a customer-centric era? There’s a huge debate in life: what came first, the chicken or the egg? In business, the debate is: who comes first, the customer or the employee?

 

Customer advocacy is a hot topic these days in the boardroom , focusing a lot on the topic in our projects and installing customer advocacy frameworks to improve on the results from NPS etc got us thinking about the effect between employees and customers. What about employee centricity? What about employee engagement?

Designing customer experiences requires you to understand the challenges that must be overcome to meet both your customers’ needs, as well as overcoming the challenges of your employees to deliver the experience.

After all: businesses do not innovate or service, your people do! From sales to operations and support, everyone is responsible for their own little part in the overall customer journey. How your employees perform daily, directly affects your customer experience. The more engaged employees are, the happier they will be to deliver a good experience to customers.

 

Given the importance of employee engagement and its long-term effects, can we measure it, like we do with customer engagement using metrics like CSAT, NPS and CES and keep track of your engagement initiatives?

Most importantly: should we measure it? Our opinion: Measure employee engagement just like customer engagement and link the metrics.

There are tons of material out there to explain customer metrics we already did a blog about eNPS and the link with NPS .. http://digital.mobius.one/2017/06/27/connecting-dots-customer-satisfaction-employee-engagement/

now let’s see if we can apply the same thinking to CES (customer effort score)  vs employee effort score or what you could call EES

 

The employee Effort Score ( EES )

You know CES? The metric called customer effort score, next to NPS and CSAT, this is a metric gaining a lot of interest in organizations. It measures how much effort a customer is required to put forth in order to complete some task with an organization, whether it’s to buy a product, to get an issue resolved, or to do something else.

If you’re not familiar with CES, it’s a metric created by CEB (now Gartner ), based on the following questions, using a 7-point verbal scale :very difficult (1) to very easy (7):

  • The company made it easy for me to handle my issue.
  • It took less time than I expected to handle this issue.

Through their research, CEB discovered that service interactions are four times more likely to create disloyal customers than loyal customers. From our experiences we can surely relate to this. Customer retention is directly linked to the service or lack of service the organization can provide.

Creating an employee experience is the first step towards delivering a customer experience that is both profitable and sustainable. 1 of the main pillars defining employee experience is the effort they need to put in.

Im not talking about the effort that the employee puts into his or her work every day. I’m referring to the effort it takes for the employee to do his job, i.e., are there processes or tools that hinder their ability to do their jobs in an efficient manner?

In my customer experience projects, I’m usually also asking these type of questions:

  • How can we make it easier for employees to do what we ask them to do?
  • What’s keeping employees from delivering the great experience that your customers deserve?
  • How can we simplify workflows and processes?
  • How can we become easier to do business with – internally?
  • What complexities, organization structures, complications, and bureaucracy do we need to optimize or even remove?
  • How do we reduce effort for employees and then, ultimately, for customers?

When we make it difficult for employees to do their jobs, it translates to the experience they deliver for their customers. Even if the task the employee is trying to do is not directly related to a customer and his experience, the frustration that effort evokes will manifest itself in the employee-customer experience somehow.

Why aren’t we measuring and understanding the employee effort like we do with CES? We should ask employees a variation of the CES questions:

To what extent do you agree with the following statement:

  • The company made it easy for me deliver the desired customer experience
  • The company made it easy to perform my daily tasks.
  • the company made it easy for me to help my customers

We should leave some sort of comment field on top and perform text mining and sentiment analysis on it to get insights in comments.

So this is what we would call the Employee Effort Score ( eES).

It’s a metric used to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of employees executing their job.

While typical employee engagement surveys measure a general level of satisfaction, there’s no further definition of “satisfaction”.

And while Employee net promoter score (eNPS) clearly focuses on building a group of positively tuned promoters (promoting the company as a great company to work for, or promoting its products and services)within the organization. Neither of these two metrics provides accurate insight into a service or process shortcomings.

EES instantly incorporates employees’ feedback into the process of continuous improvement. Any EES feedback directly refers to a specific process or customer interaction which, for whatever reason, may or may not match individual employee’ expectations.

It measures how easy it is for an employee to do their work accordingly, efficiently and autonomously.

The underlying principle is that employees will be more engaged, when they can do their job more efficient and productive, focusing on real customer added value taks.

Off course employee engagement is not exclusively linked to employee effort.

We believe a combination of eES, eNPS system makes the HUMAN-side of your business more transparent.  Make it a part of an ongoing operating system. Only in this way you have a comprehensive actionable set of insights to drive continuous improvement programs.

 

Vincent Defour

Digital transformation expert

M +32 495 45 75 71

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

10 Inspiring Zappos Human-centric customer support stories

When support is amazing, it has a value to the organization that is hard to quantify. Think of those companies that are consistently rated as service excellence powerhouses.  What are their lines of business?  Zappos is such a powerhouse, acknowledged by experts worldwide for the service they deliver. It just sold shoes online when it started.

Today it is the epitome of service excellence. Their reputation is their selling point.  There are plenty of online e-tailers that compete in their space.  But their service – oh wow – their **service** is what really sets them apart.

As a result, they don’t focus on competing on price, because they don’t have to. They are selling shoes, yes.  But what are they really selling?

Service. That’s right, the best darned service out there. Crazy good.   We’ve found 10 Zappos story that inspired us and we think you will love them too.

5 big things that make all the difference in a human- centric service organisation

Human-centric services means that the company is committed to providing you tailor-made services and solving your issue through understanding your business and what you need.

This type of service approach is focused on building a relationship with you and your business. It dramatically differs from the more traditional productcentric service that focuses on pushing your products or solving the issue and moving on. Generally, human-centric support means that you will experience a warmer and more “real”  conversation about the services and issues that you are having, allowing for a positive relationship between you and your service provider.

Many of our clients are moving in the direction of human-centric services as it allows for a better understanding of their customers hence providing an near personal experience that adds value to their customers problems. Skipping old fashioned segment approach, but value you for your needs and expectations and that specific point in your “customer life-cycle”. It’s an area in which I had the privilege of assisting my clients to think human-centric, not only from a customer point of view, but also think employee-centric. As they are the key to delivering real human experiences, off course assisted by the technological innovations that are available today.

If a company wishes to improve their services, why can’t they do it? Super service is a tough thing to measure.

Usually i start this type of projects by asking my clients the following question :  “What makes a great customer experience?” it is typical to get numbers and statistics back. There are off course Net promoter scores ( NPS ) ,  service level agreements (SLAs), or key performance indicators (KPIs). In contact center support “95% first contact resolution (FCR)” is typical. “Average speed to answer (ASA) of less than 30 seconds” is another favorite goal.  In customer service support “One hour time to resolution (TTR)”, and target referrals rates. I’ve even heard a mind-numbing “Our objective is to keep more than 90% of all types of calls to under five minutes.” Sometimes I’ll hear algorithms that crunch combinations of these stats i. It sounds simple, you can measure it with software, math, and automation. Perfect.

But if we are trying to care for customers, why are we only measuring performance using such hard measures when communication and service is a soft skill? 

Teams are made up of real people, with hearts and minds. Successful employees will deliver results against whatever thresholds that management sets.  What’s going on in those places where their service is delivered with a heart?  How is it that those teams really love what they do, care for each other, and genuinely feel for their customers?  What’s special there? Can we also measure this and what is the main pillar here?

It has been my experience that a leader in the heart of service teams can increase the quality of customer experience more than the manager who is adept at only using statistics. In this age of big data and metrics available from omni-channel in our service organisations, could it be that stats are better suited for understanding the operational aspect , rather than being the basis for rating customer experience in it’s totality ?

May I suggest : look for different standards of excellence, those with a more human-centric viewpoint. I further challenge us to look at how we lead through inspiring our people to really care about the way they interact with customers and how we can measure culturally aligned

 

So what does a company have to do in order to empower and enable their employees to be a dominating force in a competitive space ?

Besides dedication and commitment, it takes specific structure and focus on certain things.

I’ve identified 5 big things that make all the difference, and all 5 must be present.

Here’s how a company supports and builds a highly functional service organisation that can consistently deliver a world-class customer experience:

 

Education

The service employees must be well-trained and totally comfortable with the parameters of their job and beyond! They must be aware, adept, and curious of things outside their immediate job description. This means a complex matrix of curated documentation, knowledge transfer programs, peer coaching, ongoing education, attending customer sessions, and more.

 

Simplicity

Simplicity comes from sleek, stable, mature services. Robust self service options and agent-centric tools are paramount. 360 degree customer views are a necessity today, as is clean accurate customer data. [note: If yours is an omnichannel organisation, this is a tricky one, from its sheer inherent complexity.]

The company should make sure the support teams have bug-free tools, and be willing to implement tools that employees expresses interest in getting. Employees will think of things that the company never thought of, for their own processes as well as customer-facing processes and even service features. Listen to them. This is gold. Engage in bottom-up continuous improvement programs. Think lean culture!

 

Satisfaction

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 and satisfied employees are, the more happy they will be to deliver a good experience to customers.

 

Altruism

It is a systemic structure that continually offers new knowledge or understanding to the customer in a passive way. In other words, the customer who calls in for support gets something more than just the removal of an irritation. They get something in return; maybe it’s an offer, or a tip or shortcut. But it’s something. And the company needs to make sure the employees can have these things ready to go for customers. Employees should not feel like they have to ‘ditch it’ when a customer calls, or when there is a new service launch.

 

Empowerment

Cultivate employees’ ability to fix stuff and make people happy, or even decline a problem customer’s unreasonable demand. Take on abusive customers yourself, away from your employees. Your employees usually are in support roles because they like to help people. Service & Support is where loyalty happens. This is where relationships are built. It’s also what feeds your employees’ souls and makes their days memorable. Empower them to have control over their choices, then reward the great ones they make. Celebrate great saves.
Management Summary

When the service teams are constrained through micromanagement of process, policy, and budget, it is opportunity missed and money wasted.

Blind adherence in a randomly selected metric will usually cause unintended consequences. Constraining resources, and discounting service teams’ potential value will yield apathetic employees; the good ones will leave because they are doing the majority of the work for no payback from the organisation, even if they love their colleagues. Without continued efforts to free teams from mundane tasks, the creative ones will exit, making retention of high performers impossible.

If these unfortunate things happen, you will see it. Symptoms of missed opportunity may include high turnover, increased staff absenteeism, missed SLOs/SLAs, declining morale, and declining reputation.

If you see this, fear not. The good news is that it is also entirely reversible, because support personnel genuinely want to see things get better, and they are full of ideas on how to make that happen.

When an organisation empowers that service teams to function like a cherished, valued asset, that company’s service is poised to be a powerhouse of excellence, generating positive reputation and customer loyalty.

 

Vincent Defour

Digital transformation expert

M +32 495 45 75 71

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

 

 

Winning experiences in the post digital age

Today’s customer experience is characterized by the following:

Expectations are rising at an exponential rate:

  • Customers are adopting new technologies and tools faster than ever, expecting a certain level of convenience and user friendliness across all channels and industries;

 

  • At the same time they crave for authentic, relevant and emotional experiences that make them feel special and personally addressed.

Customers are not thinking in terms of channels, it’s no longer about what’s digital and what’s not. It’s all about their intrinsic need, emotions and experience.

 

Your challenge as a business is not only to create relevant customer experiences at the right time and place. It’s also about maintaining consistency of those winning experiences across all channels.

 

Global and local businesses around us, are slowly adapting to the above customer trends.

  • On one side of the spectrum, we see physical point of sales investing in technology and digital touchpoints within their traditional shopping journey. Think about the use of smartphones while shopping (for example searching product information by scanning QR codes or paying for your groceries with Android Pay or Payconiq), virtual fitting rooms and fully automated self-checkout systems.

At the same time, these originally ‘brick-and-mortar’ players try to emphasize their “physical” strengths by maximizing the emotional customer experience within the shop/agency. This leads to new concept stores (concept store Mediamarkt Wilrijk, CRU, …) where it’s all about sensing, feeling, experiencing…

 

  • On the other side of the spectrum, we see pure online players like Amazon and Cool Blue opening their own physical shops, because they also believe human interactions matter.

 

 

In order to face the above challenges and create winning experiences across all channels, we identified 4 best practice transformation tracks:

 

Walk the customer talk

Everything starts with truly understanding customer needs. According to Brian Solis, Customer Experience expert, you should architect the ideal customer journey for your target persona’s. Develop your touchpoints around micro experiences that stick.  Use storytelling to emphasize your company’s purpose (authenticity) and make it fast, easy, fun and simple (customer effort score). Think about online retailers who insert a personally relevant handwritten message into your ordered package.

 

Reinvent your core

It’s one thing to have an amazing marketing department which excels in designing winning experiences but putting these into practice is a business wide undertaking. That’s often the hardest part. As process experts, we still see most of our clients struggling with ensuring continuous customer value across all touchpoints. Common pitfalls are:

  • Troubles aligning business and IT to the ideal customer journey; causing friction and bottlenecks between the client facing roles and the back office;
  • Difficulties to create ‘channel less’ experiences;
  • Mismatch between modern front-end interfaces and tools and obsolete back-office applications; causing waste along the journey and affecting overall user experience;

 

Get your data sorted out

In addition to aligning and optimizing your processes, you should get your data sorted out. You never had so much data. Think of your social media data, transactional data, process data and all other digital touchpoints… a gold mine of information. The challenge there is to find the right patterns between all data streams in order to turn data into actionable insights for your marketing and sales departments. Personification, which is often seen as the way to raise customer loyalty, can only be achieved with the right algorithms. This requires digital skills and customer understanding across all business departments. Because getting this wrong, mistakes in your attempts for personal messages and services, does more harm than good.

 

Reinvent the human part

Digital excellence supports convenience and user friendly transactions but brand loyalty requires emotional experiences which you can only achieve via human interactions.  That’s why we believe your employees become key in today’s (post)-digital era. Your employees can help your brand and business on so many levels:

  • Service delivery (correct product/process knowledge and customer centric attitude);
  • Winning experiences (truly engaged and happy employees go the extra mile in delivery, showing passion, empathy and creativity);
  • Free marketing or brand advocates (truly engaged and happy employees will create a positive buzz);

Your challenge is to engage them!

Dorothée Laire

Customer experience architect

M: +32 473 31 60 50

Human interactions are key in our (post)-digital age

The digital era afflicts all sectors and still leads to a lot of insecurity and questions in today’s boardrooms. It’s our human nature to show resistance in a changing world. Every sector, every business can either fear or embrace digitalization.

 

Today, we notice a positive evolution. More and more sectors, ranging from retail to banking and other B2B services, saw opportunities and have started their digital transformation. Businesses are widely investing in digitizing their processes, building new digital interfaces and offering new digital services to customers.

 

Along the way companies notice “technology is not the holy grail”.

Technological advancements will be widely available. The tools and interfaces we use as customers and consumers will always evolve… but in the end what’s really changing? We remain human beings, driven by emotions and aspirations. Human emotions are at the heart of every move we make, driving our attitudes and behaviour, not technology. We still have the same basic and social needs, even in the (post)-digital age.

 

Once all your competitors offer an omnichannel experience and win efficiency through digitization, your competitive advantage deviates to humanity. Building human connections with your customers becomes your critical challenge. Especially in our (post)-digital era where human interactions with brands and businesses become rare and therefore more valuable (law of scarcity). Given the convenience of digital channels, customers who are putting effort into visiting your point of sale or offices, expect a splendid welcome and service!

 

We see a lot of clients, in various industries, struggling with finding and implementing the right balance between their digital and physical customer interactions. Common challenges are:

  • Ensuring consistency across all channels;
  • Assuring end-to-end convenience or user experience;
  • Crafting and offering emotional experiences;
  • Using data to offer a personalized service;
  • Difficulties to install a customer-centricity across all departments from front to back;
  • Difficulties with engaging employees;

 

The winners will be the ones who made their digital transformation a human transformation. Sure, you need to excel in your digital capabilities and channels to compete within your industry (operational excellence via automatization/ robotization and offer user-friendly digital services) but in the end you will make the difference with your people. We believe your employees and their evolving role remain key!

 

Dorothée Laire

Customer experience architect

M: +32 473 31 60 50

Great employee experiences, just like customer experiences, don’t just happen by chance!

Today’s customers are changing but so are your employees.  According to professor Nick Kemsley, co-director of the Henley Business School Centre for HR Excellence,  we should view today’s employees as consumers. Here’s why:

  1. A rise in portfolio thinking. Employees think long-term and build a portfolio for future positions. Very few employees are joining companies for life.
  2. Low barriers to switching.LinkedIn’s advent of socially recruiting the passive candidate has made it easier for employees and employers to find each other.
  3. War for talent. Employers are getting more aggressive at poaching your employees.
  4. Personal brand equity. People wear brand name clothing and drive cars as a status symbol. The employee résumé or current logo beside their profile is important for their personal brands, and landing that next gig.
  5. Changing attitudes to work and needs. For some consumers, the product they associate themselves with is more than the product, it’s an aligned purpose or belief of the brand. Employees want more than a job, they want a calling that aligns with organizational purpose.

In light of these changes, and the emergence of a new type of employee, the question arises: “Are we really engaging with the needs of the new employee?” Let’s not forget, employee engagement is as critical to business performance as customer engagement.

In order to better understand your employees and identify the best way to engage them, we suggest using Employee Experience Journey Mapping. Employee Experience Journey Mapping is a methodology based upon the very successful Customer Experience Journey Mapping methodology (Service Design Thinking).  Employee Experience Journey Mapping can be used to better understand specific employee journeys and craft better employee experiences.

According to experts employee journey mapping is every bit as important as customer journey mapping, and needs to be focused on before organizations can get the customer journey right.

By understanding and mapping the experiences employees have with the organisation, people, processes and technology, you can better understand their behaviour and the eventual business outcomes.

 

Get to know your employees better.

Just as all customers are unique, employees are all different. Their needs vary based on their role, department and work style. Particularly in larger companies, it can be difficult to know each and every process a group uses and how different teams interact with one another. An employee journey map can help expose the areas in which different teams are having success, where they may be wasting time and resources, and where they’re experiencing unnecessary gaps or bottlenecks.

Discover what motivates your workers and what’s standing in their way.

Companies that are experiencing disengaged employees, low productivity, or poor customer service can likely attribute some of that to a mismatch between demands and expectations put on employees and the resources they are provided with. It’s not that companies don’t care about their employees (at least, we hope not); it’s that many organizations lack insight into the daily experiences of their workers, a problem that an employee journey map can help solve.

Personas can also be a helpful tool when mapping the employee journey. Equally to buyer personas on the customer side, employee personas involve researching the characteristics and personalities of real people and identifying their key behaviors, aspirations and goals. The use of persona’s into the journey map process makes it easier to spot:

  • opportunities and gaps in personnel,
  • barriers within the processes and applications employees use that may be keeping them from doing their jobs effectively.

Dorothée Laire

Customer experience architect

M: +32 473 31 60 50

The link between NPS and eNPS

Engaged employees direct their energy toward the right tasks and outcomes, driving customer advocacy.

As described in our pervious post on employee engagement, compensation and benefits matter to employees, of course. But when it comes to engagement, other aspects matter even more:

  • a strong sense of purpose,
  • autonomy,
  • opportunity for growth,
  • and a sense of belonging, being part of a bigger group.

 

Given the importance of employee engagement and its long term effects, you surely want to measure it and keep track of your engagement initiatives.

Measure employee engagement just like customer engagement and link both metrics

Just as NPS provides strong descriptive and predictive power with customers, it works just as well among employees. eNPS is a simple metric that can be used for front-end, back-end and managerial employees alike. Experience demonstrates a strong correlation between NPS and eNPS.  The reasons that customers become advocates or detractors highly relate to the level of employee engagement.

 

Put employees at the center of customer feedback loops

To make progress with the NPS system, you must incorporate customer feedback into your daily operations and close the loop with your employees. This means measuring NPS after important customer interactions (moments of truth) and quickly sharing the customer feedback with the employees most responsible for the experience. Be selective with your feedback loops to keep it manageable.  The focus should be on a few “moments of truth” that shape the customer’s attitude toward yours company.

The feedback loop is as much about reinforcing what your employees should do and are doing right as it is about correcting what they did wrong. Share both negative (to quickly act upon) and positive feedback. Hearing a customer’s descriptions of how an employee’s actions had a positive effect can be a powerful reinforcement of desired behaviors and reminder of the employee’s purpose.

 

Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) explained:

“How likely are you to recommend your employer to friends and family?”

eNPS is calculated as the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors.

 

  • Promoters (score of 9 or 10): Employees feeling their lives are enriched by their relationships with their organization or leaders. They are loyal, typically stay longer and talk positively about the organization to friends and colleagues. Promoters go the extra mile to help customers and colleagues.

 

  • Passives (score of 7 or 8): Employees who are fairly satisfied, but not loyal. They rarely talk up their company. If a better offer comes along, they are likely to leave.

 

  • Detractors (score of 0 to 6): Employees who feel their lives have been diminished by their associations with their organization or leaders. They are dissatisfied by how they are treated. They frequently speak negatively about their organization and are likely to leave as soon as they find something better.

 

Note that most companies using the eNPS, use the following question “On a scale of zero to ten, how are you to recommend your employer to friends and family?” However, eNPS is an emerging science. In some cases, a second question “How likely would you be to recommend this company’s products or services to friends and family?” can yield an even more accurate measure for engagement.

 

 

A few tips:

  • Employee surveys must be kept confidential to encourage honest feedback.
  • Because eNPS is meant to be part of an ongoing operating system that can support coaching, action and continuous improvement, you should strive to collect eNPS data on a frequent base. Some companies survey all their employees every few months. Others survey a subset of employees on a staggered or rotating basis; for example by sending an eNPS survey linked to the onboarding process (to each employee x days after hiring, and again on every anniversary of the hiring date).
  • Speed of action. In an eNPS system, the surveys are short, and emphasis is placed on sharing feedback as quickly and as fully as possible at individual and team level.

 

We believe an eNPS system makes the HUMAN-side of your business more transparent. It helps you identify best practices and see which team leaders are doing great and which need more coaching. It shows you which elements of the employee experience drives customer advocacy and provides insight on how to improve employee experiences.

 

Dorothée Laire

Customer experience architect

M: +32 473 31 60 50

Common mistakes in culture & HR

We enjoyed reading Brian Solis’ research on common mistakes in culture & HR. We believe these are spot on and like to share them with you.

 

  1. The employee playbook was written before the internet was born. Many company cultures are risk averse, built around strict processes, procedures and rules. But the world has changed. Companies must create safe and empowered environments where employees can learn, contribute and take risks.

 

  1. Employee engagement is too often a monologue instead of a dialogue. Leaders must truly listen to employees (hear employees’ challenges, ideas and ambitions). A lot of managers talk about employee-centricity but very few work on ‘real centricity’ by focusing on building employee experiences and relationships…not just stakeholder and shareholder value.

 

  1. Email communication and meetings are stifling creativity and collaboration. A culture that fears taking risks is one filled with meetings. Meetings make people feel important, make people feel safe and reduce accountability in real decision-making. Holacracy, if well installed and implemented, is a great remedy (http://www.holacracy.org/). Holacracy empowers people to make meaningful decisions in pursuit of a company’s purpose. Curious about holacracy, we are happy to connect you with our holacracy experts.

 

  1. IT isn’t created for the people using it. Companies put process and technology first, building their organisation around applications and tools they are familiar with rather than looking at how their employees connect, communicate and learn in their real lives. It’s time to make work human-centered. This requires empathy to see and do things differently.

 

  1. There is no employee experience, only employer experience. Managers need to embrace reverse mentoring to introduce empathy into traditional (rigid and risk-averse) cultures. Companies investing in human understanding and design will win. Start with employee journey mapping to better understand the day-to-day reality of your employees and craft winning moments of truth within their journey.

 

  1. Extrinsic rewards only have a marginal effect on employee engagement. HR policies and reward mechanism are dated and often irrelevant.

 

  1. Leaders haven’t connected the dots between customer satisfaction and employee happiness. Companies 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 your customers.

 

  1. Millennials! Too many (HR) managers state their biggest challenge are millennials. This means an entire generation is currently viewed as problematic simply because they were raised differently and the whole “command and control” workplace feels alien to them? Every generation is different and complains about the one before and after. This gets us nowhere. Let’s focus on change by enabling employee and customer aspirations.

 

  1. Companies try to create a ‘hip’ culture by investing in open space, cool desks, lockers and food programs. That’s great but remember those external motivators have a temporary effect on employee engagement. Playing darts at work does not get you out of bed. Companies cannot hipster their way to engagement.

 

  1. Truth be told, there is very little leadership these days. As a result day-to-day work remains dictated, not inspired. Employee engagement and satisfaction are assumed and not cultivated.

In summary, looking at the above mistakes and our experience in various sectors, too many companies try to raise engagement by launching disconnected initiatives (employee events, newsletters, wellness programs, …) . Such initiatives improve employee morale but have a mere temporary effect. They lack the specific mechanisms that lift employee engagement the most and link directly to purpose and customer advocacy.

 

 

Dorothée Laire

Customer experience architect

M: +32 473 31 60 50

The employee engagement gap

We would like to start this blogpost with defining employee engagement. According to professor W. Kahn (Pr. Organizational behaviour at Boston University) and his research, employees are far more emotionally and physically engaged with their job when they experience:

  • Psychological meaningfulness: a sense that their work is worthwhile and makes a difference,
  • Psychological safety: a feeling they are valued, accepted and respected,
  • Availability: routinely feeling secure and self-confident in a positive work environment,

 

We can relate psychological meaningfulness to company purpose and psychological safety to culture, leadership and respect. All aspects which very strongly correlate with employee engagement, as discussed in my previous blogpost.

 

We see employee engagement is winning interest from top executives in most companies. However research from Brian Solis (award-winning author, prominent blogger/writer and keynote speaker), shows employees and executives think differently about engagement and engagement initiatives.

First of all, do engagement programs work? Well, the answer is YES. Though overall engagement level in most companies remains very moderate, research shows engagement programs do have a statistically relevant impact with a 25% boost in overall engagement.

 

Looking deeper at the most commonly used engagement initiatives (see below),  research shows that overall small group interventions, job rotation and positive feedback or employee recognition are most impactful for employee engagement.

However the main driver for engagement remains the intrinsic psychological meaningfulness of the job, work itself. Without purpose, there is no foundation for engagement. And this works both ways:

  • Substantially higher engagement when employees believe their work matters to the company, society.
  • Substantially lower engagement when employees do not believe their work matters to the company, society.

 

Solis’ research shows that companies where employees can not relate their work to a clear purpose, have toxic engagement levels, with employees talking negatively about their company and putting strain on overall productivity.

Knowing daily experiences on the job and meaningfulness of the work are the main drivers for employee engagement, one could ask who’s responsible for employee engagement. The answer is every leader, manager within the business and not just the HR department as often thought.

A study, executed by Bain & Company, clearly shows better engagement results with a business led-approach.

Companies which lead in employee engagement are characterized by:

 

  • Line managers, not HR lead the charge;
  • Managers are well prepared (coached by HR) to hold candid dialogues with their teams on how to improve employee experience, ideally based on anonymous employee feedback (e.g. eNPS);
  • Teams rally around the customer, adding meaningfulness and purpose;
  • Engagement initiatives are tailored for different employee segments (employee persona’s), as within marketing ‘the’ customer does not exist, we all have different emotions and attitudes;
  • It’s all about the dialogue, not the metrics.
We hope the above insights help you on your path to employee and customer centricity

Dorothée Laire

Customer experience architect

M: +32 473 31 60 50

 

 

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

Designing the right experience …fortunately not a walk in the park!

See the four step cycle above you should remember to shape, deliver and enhance customer experiences!

 

As explained by Denise Lee Yohn in her bestseller “What Great Brands Do”, your business should be brand led and customer informed. This means you should lead your business according to your brand value and vision (what does your brand/business stand for?). Great brands are first grown inside-out and built around a strong culture. This is important in a time where customers value authenticity and integrity. At the same time, you should be obsessed by your customers. Define your target group and know what really matters to them. Do not try to win everyone’s attention as you will not build sustainable brand equity by trying to address everyone. You want to focus on those customers that add value to your business.

Once you have defined and understand your target group, you should gain insights on which value matters to them in order to create experiences that stick. And remember, experience refers to the sum of all interactions between a customer and a brand/company. It is not limited to delivering outstanding products and services.

Use storytelling and experential marketing techniques to communicate about your meaningful experiences.

 

Great brands stimulate business success. If a brand equals experience, it should not be limited to the responsibility of marketing and sales. Your entire organisation is responsible for creating amazing and consistent customer experiences. A great product with splendid marketing will not lead to sustainable customer loyalty if the customer support sucks. So say farewell to those silos! It is time to mobilize your organisation as a whole to deliver experiences that matter. You will need to combine your precious data (technology) with human forces (empathy and creativity) to make the magic happen!

All your business processes should be aligned, end-to-end, around creating the right experiences. This requires a customer centric mindset amongst your employees.

 

And last but not least, keep monitoring your customer efforts. Capture all possible data and use it well. Stay customer obsessed. Never stop listening to keep yourself informed about changing needs and preferences. Evaluate your offered experiences and dare to adapt, improve. Be agile, but most of all, stay empathic and creative!

 

I wish you lots of success!

 

Dorothée Laire

Customer experence architect

M +32 473 31 63 50

It’s the EXPERIENCE, stupid!

A brand is the sum of all interactions a customers has with it. Instead of looking at your product or services separately, you should consider your whole business as a brand. When you do this, you are dealing with customer experience. Or X as Brian Solis, the customer experience guru calls it. A great experience is relevant, valuable, mutual and respectful. Shaping such great experiences does not happen overnight. Best-in class brands invest in creating experiences around their products and services. The best experiences become memories. And when that happens, customer loyalty increases.

Think about it. What makes Apple and Disney so great? Their product are of outstanding quality, of course, but there is more to it. Both Apple and Disney are recognized for the experiences they shape in line with the way of life of their target groups. Think about the simplicity and user-friendliness of Apple and the mesmerizing world of Disney. Their offered experiences are well designed and thought true. These brands draw story-boards that explain what their experiences will look like. Apple is so methodical in its customer design that it even draws story boards on how its boxes will be opened.

Creating great experiences around your existing products and services is referred to as experiential marketing. Experiential marketing tries to immerse customers within the product by engaging as many other human senses as possible. Brands utilize a variety of marketing strategies in order to achieve this emotional connection with their consumers.

Adidas, for example, organized the “D Rose Jump Store” in London to promote Derrick Rose’s signature Adidas sneakers. Although the concept was simple (use Derrick Rose’s presence to create buzz among fans), Adidas took it to another level by adding depth to their activation. In addition to meeting the famous Chicago Bulls point guard, fans had the opportunity to win a free pair of the signature sneaker if they could jump 3 meters to reach them. By having participants jump the same distance needed to reach a regulation basketball hoop, it gave each consumer perspective into the basketball player’s life. Whether participants walked away empty handed or with a new set of shoes, they all had an experience that they will always remember and associate with Adidas.  https://vimeo.com/71410227

A more charming example and one that illustrates a campaign that stands on its own, is one activated by Milka. The chocolate brand made the effort to manufacture 10 million bars that were missing one piece. Puzzled chocolate eaters then learned that the one piece had been set aside for them to choose whether they would want it mailed back to them or mailed, with a personalized message, to a friend or loved one. This campaign helps Milka not only form an emotional connection with its consumers, but also to whomever the consumers decides to send the single piece of chocolate to. Briljant! No? Positive buzz guaranteed, if you ask me.

How about your business? Which amazing experiences do you want your customers to remember?

 

Dorothée Laire

Customer experience architect

M: +32 473 31 60 50

Your customers are truly changing

Over the past years, customers became more connected, hence more and better informed. The more they are socially connected and informed, the lower their brand trust. Today customers, both in B-to-B and B-to-C markets, are surveying before making their decisions. They learn with interest about interactions their peers have recently experienced and form their own opinions. Word-of-mouth has become more important. This also explains the increased popularity of YouTube videos within their purchase decision process.

This affects the way business should interact with customers. In the past, businesses invested in creativity and product development and emphasized their marketing efforts on explaining their added value. Today, customers decide for themselves what value means to them. They own their experiences!

 

The trick is to better understand what they want, desire, dream of. In order to increase loyalty you will have to work on personal relevance. This means it is no longer enough to merely understand customer behaviour. You will need to know WHO your customers are, what they DREAM of, what they VALUE and PREFER. That really is a challenge. You will need to listen with more empathy than ever before!

This means you will need new models, systems and tools. The currently used marketing and customer research tools have become obsolete. Today, you need to see and experience for yourself how your target group lives your brand/company/business interactions. Only then, you will be able to close the gap between what you believe matters and what really matters.

 

Dorothé Laire

Customer experience architect

M + 473 31 63 50

Trends artikel CEO MÖBIUS Group: “Nog teveel bedrijven kiezen voor technologische veranderingen, terwijl ze intern traditioneel blijven werken”

Om hun overlevingskansen te vergroten, moeten bedrijven zich bewust zijn van de steeds evoluerende digitalisering van onze wereld. Een gesprek met Hendrik Vanmaele, CEO van de internationale groep van business- en technologie consultants Möbius.

GUIDING YOUR INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE EFFORTS: 4 IMPORTANT ASPECTS

When speaking of Information Architecture, you hear a lot of different opinions. Some think it’s the structure of the information the organisation has, others think it’s the application architecture that is supporting the Information Management efforts, and others see it as the structure of information when presenting it for use.

All of the above is true. Information Architecture is about enabling the use of Information in the organisation as an asset, supporting it’s lifecycle from capture over exploitation to archival.

 

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HAVE YOU FOUND ALL THE ANSWERS TO THE GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATION (GDPR) CHALLENGE?

Although most organisations acknowledge the value of a strict GDPR legislation, a lot of them are still facing some unanswered questions in order to be prepared such as:

  • The lack of a clear view on what type of information is processed (personal data and other assets)
  • Information is not classified properly, making it difficult to apply the right policies
  • New analytical applications are developed on personal data, with no controls in place
  • Quality issues are viewed in a narrow technical sense, not from the negative impact on business

Does your organisation already have a plan in place and will your company be compliant by 2018?

Download slidedoc here

Holacracy: power to the employees

Have you – while working in your current or former company – ever noticed an opportunity to improve the way work is organised? Or perhaps you have had some ideas on a better way to organise the strategy, processes or company structure? Or maybe you have seen ways to solve the daily challenges that hinder the company? It is hard to believe that this has never happened to you or your colleagues. Yet what can the average employee do to develop such ideas, ideas that could help the company to progress? The answer is usually “very little”. Unless you are at the top of the company you often have little say in the company’s structure, strategy, processes, or management.

 

But what a missed opportunity this is … We people have an amazing ability to spot opportunities and come up with ideas for improvement, but generally we do not have a forum in our own company that we can rely on to transform these ideas into something useful. This means that companies lose out on one of their biggest potential strengths for progress. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if every employee had easy access to a forum to transform all kinds of ideas on improvement into specific action?

 

Have you every sat in a long and painful meeting, whose sole purpose was to create buy-in for someone’s idea or to convince you of a colleague’s idea? It is hard to believe you haven’t. After all, a study carried out by Bain & Company revealed that an average of 15% of all working hours in an organisation were spent in a meeting. For managers this even reaches as much as 50% of their working hours. Wouldn’t it then be fantastic to give employees the (structured) autonomy to make their own decisions, without first having to reach a consensus during a long meeting? Wouldn’t it also be fantastic for the remaining meetings to be run according to a tight and streamlined process to reduce the meeting time even more?

 

When was your job description last updated? When was the last time you reached for your job description to know what to focus on in a particular week? It is hard to imagine that you did this recently. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to use a dynamic system, in which the goals and expectations of every role within the organisation were updated frequently to suit the rapidly changing environment, and that these were truly consulted?

 

Do you recognise some of these situations? Well you are not alone: we also face these kinds of issues at Möbius. We went looking for a manageable way of organising our internal process.  During our search we became incredibly inspired by Holacracy: a new model for structuring an organisation, invented by Brian Robertson. In fact we became so inspired that we decided to apply the Holacracy principle within our own organisation.

With Holacracy comes speed, clarity and autonomy, thanks to the fact that certain “game rules” are established. By following Holacracy’s game rules employees gain a better understanding of their goals and what is expected of them, as their job description is checked regularly and updated dynamically. Any modifications and additions to job descriptions are driven by improvement opportunities identified by the employees themselves.

There is a forum to manage obstacles preventing us from achieving our objectives. Meetings are no longer required to reach a consensus, because employees decide for themselves how best to achieve their job objectives. Indeed, every job has its own “property” or domain, within which it is possible to take autonomous decisions. And the best thing about Holacracy? That has to be the fact that the organisational structure evolves: week after week we continue improving our organisational process to suit our environment, which changes ever faster, together with the new challenges that keep emerging.

 

Want to know about our experience with Holacracy and other innovative organisational models and principles?

Then feel free to get in touch: the person explicitly expected to fulfil this particular role of helping you will be delighted to tell you more!

Now, take a break and watch the Holacracy Guru Brian Robertson

Does Big Data have a big future?

Asking someone if they’ve heard of Big Data in 2016 is like asking someone whether they have a smartphone. The difference is that only a handful really know what the Big Data fuzz is about. Everybody however fully agrees that there are big opportunities to capture in the future. And that future is not far ahead, it is rather now. As Master students in Business Engineering and Civil Engineering, we are part of this future. We were given the opportunity by Möbius to explore Big Data and its technologies hands-on with a challenging internship, which opened our eyes when it comes to Big Data and Analytics. This post shares our experience and gut feelings on Big Data.

 

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Are you digital : looking back at an inspiring event, tx to www.ab.be

12 jaar. Dit is vandaag de gemiddelde levensduur van een bedrijf. Amper 12 maanden geleden was dat nog 15 jaar en 50 jaar geleden leefden bedrijven zelfs gemiddeld 60 jaar! Ja het gaat snel. Steeds sneller. Hoe ga je daar als bedrijf mee om? Het antwoord: jezelf continu transformeren en telkens opnieuw vervellen. Zoals een kameleon. Of anders gezegd: forever young (yup, zet die bekende Alphaville song maar loeihard).

Dàt is wat organisaties vandaag moeten zijn. Dit is maar 1 van de inzichten tijden het ‘Are you digital’ event van Möbius op vrijdag 29 september. Vanaf het begin is het duidelijk: collega Lien en ik zullen ons hier geen moment vervelen.

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About case management: Design your ultimate cola vending machine

Sadly the TV advert has disappeared from our screens once again: the short Coca Cola film in which a cola vending machine comes to life. As soon as the customer inserts some money the puppets inside get to work. Each one with its own job, all perfectly in tune with each other, and all enjoying their work. The end result: the consumer receives the right output. This film hits upon the very heart of focused working. But how should you, as a local authority, go about designing your own perfect cola vending machine…? 

 

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How to transform in Industry 4.0 ?

During the closing seminar of the Tech Startup Day 2016 Alexander De Croo, our current minister responsible for Belgium’s digital agenda, emphasised that we need to invest to become a forerunner in Europe once more in the fourth industrial revolution, namely industry 4.0. But what is industry 4.0? What were the previous three revolutions and what was Belgium’s role in these? How can present-day companies in Belgium best deal with this transformation?

 

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A customer centric digital travel journey

A customer centric digital travel journey

Now that the holidays have ended, everyone is back in their usual place again, albeit looking tanned and well rested. But do you remember the days, about ten years ago, when planning a holiday was a huge undertaking and you would make your choice based on very little information? You would get all your inspiration from the travel agent’s two streets over. You would pop in, the agents would greet you in a friendly manner, you would be asked to take a seat at one of the desks, and you would be literally bombarded with questions. Do you want to travel by car or by plane? Do you want a sporty vacation or do you prefer to relax? Nature and mountains or sun and the beach? A hotel or a campsite? And so on… At the end of this lengthy process, you would go home with a stack of brochures to finalize your choice.

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Digital customers and the connected world

Digital transformation is not a technology issue

We live in exciting times! As a lot of things are changing and changing dramatically! We live in a digital context which we as a consumer, company and society can no longer avoid. New technologies such as mobile, social cloud computing, sensors, virtual reality and 3D-printing are being introduced at an ever increasing rate and are unleashing a real revolution in our way of living and working. This digital context puts traditional organisations under pressure, results in new organisational forms (e.g. the Uber-type models such as AirBnB, Netflix, Spotify, Alibaba, etc.) and in this way forms a new society.

In this new society or connected world customers increasingly expect consistent personalised experiences through every service and communication channel. Organisations cannot afford to be left behind and must become mathematical champions that by the use of analytics (or to use a buzz word, big data) build clever algorithms to provide better or completely new customer experiences. This transition is not only vital to remain successful in the digital era, but also necessary to fulfil the expectations of the youngest generation (younger than 17 years of age), the customers of tomorrow. The customers of tomorrow or “network natives” live mainly in a virtual and global world. They are masters in the use of social media, spend a lot of time on their tablet or pc and make maximum use of all the online channels available to them. They are growing up with concepts such as crowdfunding and crowdsharing. In short, they consume differently.

Digital transformation is not a technology issue, but is primarily about reshaping your organisation in line with all your customers who seek both digital and human interaction

Organisations that answer the digital challenges by (purely) purchasing more technology without taking a good look at their organisational model will gradually get left far behind. They run the risk of being disrupted by new organisational forms. Just take the example here of the Uber-type models that use clever algorithms to connect customers, partners, employees and even products. Their organisational model is based on simply dealing in information without dealing in assets.

Uber: the world’s biggest taxi company does not have any cars; Facebook: the world’s most popular media company does not create any content itself; Alibaba: the world’s largest retailer has no stock, and AirBnB has no property. These companies make clever use of technology, but are above all highly connective, communicative and creative in their relationships. They make very sophisticated apps to connect in time and place with their customers. Via online communication, online diaries, social listening, public datasets, APIs, etc., they create added value for any interested party.

And above all the success of these companies is based on their flat organisational structure with short decision lines and high degree of autonomy (or self-control). They cultivate a climate of entrepreneurship and innovation and attach a great deal of value to the person behind every employee. Digital transformation is not a technology issue! Technology is only a means to reformulate and strengthen your organisational model to give your customers what they want. Digital technology enables you to act as a network rather than a hierarchy, to process masses of data continuously, to use organisational resources cheaply and on a global scale, to deal with uncertainties more effectively (by improved forecasting), to respond more quickly and more flexibly, etc.

It is high time to take a look at your organisational model too! How do you put your customers central? How do you connect with your network on a continuous basis? How do you use clever algorithms to improve customer experience end-to-end and/or overhaul it thoroughly? What actions are you taking today that will make you more resilient? How do you stimulate and reward innovation and entrepreneurship?

Becoming a digital company equals becoming a connected company, a customer company. It’s a journey: you need to start as early as possible, and there is no finish line. After all, when it comes to technology, the only constant is change.

Karl-Heinz Streibich, The Digital Enterprise

The digital patient is social, virtual and self-reliant

These are exciting times!

For the first time in human history, we are being simultaneously inundated with various disruptive technologies. Real game changers such as 3D printing, robots, virtual reality, big data and the Internet of Things are all on the edge of the breakthrough to the general public, while others such as mobile and social media are already established. You read everywhere that the impact on the healthcare sector is enormous, but in practice how tangible is it today? I will just zoom in briefly on a few of these trends.

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Data analytics, the future!

3, 2, 1 Start!

In November, together with four other Young Graduates, the new Möbius generation, I was given the opportunity to follow a three-day course on R. We were guided through this deep plunge into a new programming language and software environment by Möbius’s tooling & analytics expert, Jeroen Colin. This course is just one of the many initiatives launched by Möbius in its pursuit of excellence in data analytics.

As I was relatively inexperienced in programming, I was expecting this to be quite an adventure. And I was right. On day one, we went over the basics of programming, which was more familiar to some people (i.e. Mr Gielkens) than others, before getting to grips with R. The next morning, a bit groggy from the information overload and a night spent dreaming about R, I was ready for day two, and eager to immerse myself in R. Precise, thorough explanations from Jeroen were interspersed with exercises. I was beginning to get the hang of this programming business.

On the third and final day of the course, it was high time to put all this theory into practice. Jeroen suggested several projects, giving us space to take our own initiatives. Everyone was in doubt as there were so many educational and fun options to choose from. We wanted to do them all! We deliberated: should we each take on a different project or work together on the same project with all four of us? Under the motto ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ we decided to pick one project and do it as a team. We decided to immerse ourselves in the data published on the city of Ghent’s website on parking in the city.

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PARKING SPACE IN A SMART CITY

Or how a citizen data scientist can use open data

People living here know that mobility is one of the major challenges. For example finding a parking space in the city center is not an easy task. The city of Ghent knows this and has already taken some steps towards improving this. There is the so called ‘guidance system’ that tries to guide drivers towards the nearest parking with billboards advertising the nearest public parkings and their free spaces.

The data that this systems uses is also available as Open Data. There is one catch: only the realtime data is open, not the historical data. In other words, I can ask how much free space there is now, but I cannot see if the parking is filling up or not.

So that’s when the stalking began.

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Smart data usage en Employee engagement as key elements in Service Excellence

n recent years there has been more focus on market research and consumer panels. Companies are investing heavily in tools and systems to get customers involved, including development, new services and evaluating the experience. Is this enough however, to give customers the feeling of excellent service? The answer is clearly: no! These days you need more than that to make customers loyal to your company or brand.

Recently Möbius carried out a so-called mirror assessment around Service Excellence. This included an online survey among 40 organisations from the service industry, healthcare, manufacturing and distribution to identify the factors used most in the context of Service Excellence. In addition a representative sample of 1,000 Belgians (online consumer panel) across the country were asked to rank these same factors.

The consumer survey demonstrated that ‘Smart Data Usage’ (in first place) and ‘Employee Engagement’ (in second place) are more important in Service Excellence than involving customers in development and feedback or evaluation of the service.

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The only thing of real importance that leaders do is to create and manage culture. If you do not manage culture, it manages you, and you may not even be aware of the extent to which this is happening.

Professor Edgar Schein of the MIT Sloan School of Management,