Rockin' Review

What

What is the ideal review you would like to see appear on Yelp! or Facebook or Google?  Take a shot at writing it yourself.  No you aren't going to post it!  But think about what an ideal service experience would be.  What knocked your socks off?  Be specific!  This becomes a great training document for you and your team! 

Extra Credit 

Ask each of your team members to write the review that they would like to see written about them personally.  Facilitate a discussion about how this can become reality.  

Why

Discussion about how to make these experiences the norm will reveal what people need to get thew job done and maybe more importantly, what obstacles are in their way!  Often times delivering a great customer experience is more about subtraction than addition!   

Collage

What

Invite your customer (through a tool like Pinterest or in person in a small group) to build a collage of images that represent your customer experience.  Ask them to explain the significance of the images they chose.  

Extra Credit

Invite a group of Detractors to do this in-person.  This could reveal some of the raw emotions around certain parts of the customer experience and make them more tangible for your team.  

Why

This exercise can help your customers capture the emotions behind the surface experience.  Images are a powerful way to bring complex or nuanced issues and feelings to light.  

Best Practice: Humor

What:

When and where appropriate, injecting humor into your customer experience can surprise customers and/or lighten situations. Being funny without being offensive is a delicate balance, but if your brand and your people can pull it off, create the opportunity for humor.

Why:

Southwest Airlines flight attendants are famous for their entertaining in-flight announcements. CD Baby sends hysterical auto emails after every CD purchase. Check out the dozens of great examples of humor in practice, and you'll find the right degree for your brand.

Made to Be Broken

What:

What are the implicit (or explicit) rules that govern the way your employees interact with your customers? Write down as many as you can think of. Then talk about how you could successfully break each rule.

Why:

Sometimes we unconsciously handcuff our employees' ability to provide great service. Many rules go unwritten and are just adopted as norms. Being honest about the perceived rules will help you rewrite the rulebook altogether.

Long Exposure

What:

Have you ever seen a long-exposure photo of car headlights on a dark road? Create a similar effect. Sit in one of your locations and draw the path of every customer coming through as a line on the same map. Superimpose the lines on top of one another.

Why:

Look for patterns... the places where the carpet is worn (figuratively or literally). When you know the most traveled paths, you can think about how to use the adjacent spaces to upsell and cross-sell. Or make small adjustments to streamline the flow of customers.

Five Levels of Why

What:

Take one aspect of your customer experience and ask why it is the way it is. Capture the answer. Then ask why again and again until you have gone five "whys" deep. 

Or take a piece of customer feedback and ask yourself why the customer feels that way. Capture the answer. Then ask why again and again until you have gone five "whys" deep.

Why:

Sometimes we accept aspects of our customer experience as they are, when we should be challenging our assumptions. Asking five "whys" consecutively forces us to understand the real drivers.

Frontline

What:

What is it like to work on your frontline? To take frustrated customer calls all day long? To work the front desk? To clean the bathrooms? Set aside one day each month to work a frontline job yourself.

What:

The way you communicate with the frontline will change. The training programs you design will change. And your messages and requests will have far more credibility when they are grounded in personal experience.

C-Suite

What:

Your executives have a lot of priorities - why should they focus on customer experience improvements? Build a plan to make your C-Suite your biggest advocates. Connect customer experience to the metrics they care about most. Equip them with the anecdotes they need to articulate impact.

Why:

Most people are reactive, building one-off presentations when requested. But if you are always ready, always seeding program impact and anecdotes, your influence is more profound. Put your C-Suite engagement plan into action.

Best Practice: Educate

What:

Maybe you could upsell and cross-sell more products and services if your customers understood why they were important. If you are in a complex space, take the time to educate your customers and help them make better decisions.

Why:

State Farm just opened a coffee shop in Chicago where it sells not insurance. It uses the space to run insurance product workshops that educate customers on policies. Home Depot runs multiple DIY classes every week at each location. These classes foster knowledge, interest, and consumption.

Best Practice: Something Extra

What:

Customers want what they pay for. But then you supply a little something extra... an unexpected bonus. How can you offer the equivalent of an amuse-bouche at a fine restaurant? That one bite can have a huge impact on the customer experience and perception of value.

Why:

Mink is a coffee shop in downtown Vancouver. You order your espresso or cappuccino, and when the barista hands you your drink, he or she also hands you a small, beautifully wrapped square of dark chocolate. Made in-house, it's a sweet reward that makes the customer feel special, and it builds loyalty in a competitive market.

Personification

What:

Based on what you know about your customers, personify each segment. Create characters and give them names (Kevin, Annie, Sv en, etc.). Assign them known demographics, interests, and behaviors. Make them real.

Why:

Spreadsheets of customer data or more abstract segments can produce impersonal decisions. When customer segments come to life, it helps you better consider their wants and needs. It's more natural to optimize for "Kevin" than for "males aged 18-34."

Non-Customer

What:

Many of the world's most customer-centric companies are very open about the kinds of customers they do NOT serve. For example, Southwest does not serve business-class flyers. In your business, some customer segments are simply not desirable. How do you build your customer experience to discourage these individuals from engaging your products and people?

Why:

Don't water down your customer experience so as not to offend less desirable or profitable customers. You might be missing the opportunity to more closely engage your best customers. Be clear about which customers you want and which you don't want.

Celebrity Experiences

What:

List 10 celebrities. These can be movie stars, athletes, businesspeople, musicians, or others. Now think about how each individual would experience. How would Clint Eastwood react to the experience at your club? What would Elton John say about your on-hold music?

Why:

An exercise like this is mostly about having fun. It'll get you thinking about some extreme personalities rather than your typical customer set. And while you may not want to cater to Clint and Elton, seeing things through their eyes may inspire more far-reaching ideas.

Follow Up

What:

It's frustrating when you make an online purchase and the next thing you know, you've been subscribed to a dozen email newsletters. When customers trust you with their contact information, how do you follow up? Consider ways you can focus on the customer's specific interests rather than offering generic messages. This can be done by using the filters in MXM to create unique customer profiles. Consider filtering based on Fitness Results, Personal Training, Group Exercise, Business Practices.

Why:

Your customers have given you permission to market to them. Use it wisely. Rather than trying to prevent customers from unsubscribing, think about how your follow-up communications can encourage customers to engage even more deeply. 

Best Practice - Create Community

What:

Do your customers know each other? You are a common bond. Can you facilitate opportunities for them to interact? The concept of the "mesh" of crowd-sharing is alive and well.

Example:

NeighborGoods.net makes it easy for real-life neighbors to meet and share ladders, lawnmowers, and helping hands. Airbnb.com helps people find space (a house, a room, a sleeping bag) in other people's homes. Once upon a time, Saturn held annual reunions and factory tours for new car buyers.

Satisfaction Shift (ROI)

What:

Segment your customers into three groups: Detractors, Passives and Promoters. Identify the percentage of your customers that each group represents. Define the value of each group to your company based on how much they spend per visit, per month, per year, or over a lifetime. Now answer the question: What is the business impact of transforming 10% of Detractors to Promoters?

Why:

The answer to this question defines the world of opportunity created by greater customer satisfaction. Pin one big, aspirational number on satisfaction

Just For You

What:

Identify one element of your experience that you can personalize for your customer. Consider the barista who knows and readies your favorite drink, or the car service that tunes your stereo to your favorite radio station. How can you demonstrate to your customers that you really know their tastes?

Why:

Prove that you listen and that you care about the customer's comfort. That builds loyalty. Once you capture that first element, it becomes the foundation for a closer customer relationship.

Benchmark

What:

Choose one interaction in your customer experience. Now benchmark the company that is the best at this interaction. Not in your industry, but on the planet. Look for all companies that are excellent at that single interaction.

Why:

Too many companies benchmark customer experience leaders only in their industry. Thought leaders benchmark outside their industry and leapfrog their peers.

Tip:

Take a look at your MXM Score Card. Scroll to the bottom of the page and see the average NPS scores for Hospitality and Retail. 

Blink

What:

In his book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell explains the power of first impressions. What first impression are you offering your customers? When they walk into your location, what's the first thing customers see? When they call, what's the first thing they hear? Now work backward. Define the ideal first impression and determine what you need to do to deliver time and time again.

Why:

Sometimes we design experiences, and the first impression is the outcome. However, you can flip that approach; start with the first impression and then reinforce it.

Aces Wild

What:

Who are your best customer service representatives - based on customer satisfaction scores, staff friendliness scores and other criteria? If you don't have the data, ask around. When you find those top representatives, ask them what they do and how they do it. Then shadow them and watch them do it.

Why:

Your representatives are closest to the customers, and many understand how to drive customer satisfaction. They have the secret sauce; you just need to capture the recipe. Plus, should you embed their best practices in training, the fact that the idea originated at the frontline adds instant credibility.