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

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

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

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

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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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
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