Customer Experience: 5 Game Changing lessons by Alex Mead
Customer experience of today has evolved into an omnichannel world and with that comes great challenges. Because of this, there is a growing need for retailers to understand and relate to their consumers.
Here is Alex Mead, a CX enthusiast, dedicated to trying to deliver the very best customer service at all times. Having worked in Customer Experience improvement his entire career, Alex is passionate about reducing customer pain-points and increasing satisfaction.
Find out what he believes is important for CX to grow:
What are the key things you would like to share when it comes to implementing successful transformation strategies in CX from your experiences?
First, understand, appreciate and capture all existing customer ‘pain-points’.
Anything that is not ‘Easy’ for a customer is a pain-point.
This can be as simple as having to wait for long periods in call centre queues, not being able to self/serve, through to having to repeat information more than once. Look through your reports, evaluate reasons for contact, feedback, complaints data etc.
However, most customers do not complain, they simply leave.
Therefore it’s so important to ‘walk in the shoes’ of your customers, and try interacting with your company across multiple channels, using multiple journey scenarios. It never ceases to surprise me the number of companies that are unaware of the seriously poor customer service experiences they put many of their customers through every day.
How do you begin a transformation journey and what are the major steps they should take?
- Setting the CX vision
Once you are crystal clear on how you currently treat your customers, and what their pain-points are, it’s time to set a clear vision of what sort of future state customer experiences you want your CX Transformation to deliver. These should not be generic ‘poster on the wall’ visions, but clear direction on how you want your customers to interact with you, and how you want them to feel about their interactions with you, in the future.
It is very important that these future state journeys are considered at real-world holistic customer experience levels, not in a silo’d channel by channel basis.
- “Stepping into your consumers shoes”
Customers will frequently interact across multiple channels and expect & demand seamless levels of personalisation and convergence. Customers will frequently cut across channels so you must make all of your future CX visions real world omnichannel examples of what customers probably go through daily, and how you want that to look in the future.
Be bold, be brave, be visionary.
It’s easier to dial your future CX direction down if necessary, rather than try and dial it up later on.
- Future investments
Then, and only then, should you look at what’s needed to get there, typically in terms of Technology and Resource investment, but often aligned with significant culture change.
Do not just look at shiny new Technology platforms without first being clear on your CX vision.
- Giving your employees a voice
Finally, involve the staff that actually interact with your customers on a daily basis, take in their input, run your ideas by them, their buy-in is vital.
Give them a voice in defining the changes and they will buy-in to the transformation so much more.
How do you successfully build a strong team culture that increases customer retention?
I find the trick is:
not to measure teams or individuals on the end results like sales figures
These are often based on luck or demonstrating non-Team player or long-term customer value behaviours.
Instead I prefer to measure commercial performance on;
the drivers of sales figures.
For example, what percentage of customers were spoken to in a positive and timely manner? What percentage of customers went on to try a product or service, or receive a quotation? What percentage of customers went on to make a purchase?
So, in summary, only measure, reward and recognise teams on metrics that are within their own control to achieve, and ensure they achieve sales through
the right long-term customer experience and team player approaches.
I believe employees when interacting with customers, should be supported by 4 things; T.I.M.E.
- Time to be able to focus fully on their customers.
- Information to show them this customers history, requirements, sentiment, solutions and services.
- Motivation to demonstrate true empathy and care to the customers.
- Empowerment, to be able to do what it takes to put things right, if things have gone wrong.
It is the job of a strong CX Leader to provide each of these 4 factors to their staff. That requires effort, focus and resolve. It’s not easy, but these elements are all fundamental to give staff the environments they need.
You have achieved a lot in Customer Experience Transformation, what is your next step and is there anything you are still yet to achieve?
I have been doing Interim & Consultancy Transformation for a couple of years now, and I very much feel it’s time to get back into a
long term senior customer experience Leadership challenge.
I want to be working in a role with a mandate to deliver for my company customer service experiences that are seen as the best in their sector, and actually across all sectors, class leading,
I always like to innovate and transform to be the best, whenever possible.
I want to be proud to work for a company that wants to be known for its great levels of customer service, almost as much as it’s known for the products it sells. So yes, still a lot to achieve!
What motivates you to work in the customer experience space and how strongly do you feel about customer service?
I came up with a mantra a few years ago, that customers need E.P.I.C. experiences.
This means their interactions need to be:
Easy, Personalised, Intuitive & Contextual.
At the moment very few of our service interactions meet all 4 of these requirements. I’m always hugely motivated to try and get there. It’s a great challenge setting out on the EPIC CX Transformation journey.
E – If it’s Easy, then the customer should be able to choose whether they want to help themselves or get in touch. They should be able to choose whichever channel is right for them at that time.
P – If it’s Personalised, then they should not have to explain things the company should already know about their products, services, interaction history, and this should be clearly demonstrated across all ongoing conversations.
I – If it’s Intuitive, then companies should have a good idea of why the customer is ‘likely’ to be getting in touch, so should then be able to adapt their journey appropriately, and quickly offer the best resources to answer the most probable question with minimal customer effort.
C – Finally, to be Contextual, companies should be demonstrating their awareness of the timeliness of the customer situation, and resource their contacts with the urgency needed, deploying journeys and outcomes that consider what is needed at that time.
It’s highly important to consider the ‘big-picture’ and what it takes to rebuild trust if they’ve previously been let down. These are golden opportunities to really engage with your customers,
Go all in.
Alex has consistent achievements in leading world class contact centre, customer service, sales & operations teams; highly successful at digital transformation & customer operations improvement.
Alex knows what it takes to transform Customer Experience. he has a deep practical understanding of customer service & contact centre best practice, digital contact transformation & CRM implementation.