IVRs continue to be a pain ; customers want to talk to a human...

Bet, you too have experienced the frustration of navigating through the IVR on your phone ; and these days they have often introduced a verification OTP step also…which is one more frustrating step although sometimes if I have pen and paper handy it can be easier to navigate the multiple screens on cell phone.

whats an IVR - its what makes our begenning of a call to an organisation usually difficult…unless you enjoy going through…press 1 for language…press “y” for ….etc, etc… the full form is Interactive Voice response(IVR), a device installed in most call centres

yes Digital & online is desired by customers - for the very basic stuff…but for anything a bit tricky - they do want to talk to a human being .

Research seems to corroborate this ….and yet its such a pain to reach a phone rep in most organisations. cost cutting is important - but so is CSAT - right ? How do we optimise this balance is I guess the key and doing customer journey mapping (CJM) to identify which tough and pain points need human engagement is perhaps going to be key in this AI and increasingly automated world .

What do you think ?

This piece is deliberately short to seek your inputs ….

Please, please…kindly do let us know what you think of your IVR experience ..

write in the comments box below or write in at contact@hexagonconsulting.co

Retail Customer experience ?  

Its probably a mixed bag…with some stores being better than the others..

 Today we are not talking of the retail e commerce experience - but that of the brick & mortar stores where also some of us continue to go for our grocery & allied shopping - usually over the weekends…although sometimes on weekdays too.

 So the objective in this short piece, is to share some of our personal & consulting customer experiences in the brick & mortal retail sector and seek inputs from the reader on their experiences and views too.

 This weekend I went as on most weekends to one of India’s biggest brand stores, in the retail sector at Gurgaon - housed in one of the big shopping malls - on what is known as the malls MG Road @ Gurgaon.

 l The store looked very different - the inner layout of the shelves and placement of goods was completely transformed & felt very confusing; and given the massiveness of the change seemed disorienting

l Everything seemed different !

l Fruits & vegetables were in a different part of the store; so were almost all grocery sub groups and brand placements ? too much change done too fast - leading to disorientation of the customer

l Even the placement of the trolley was changed so before we reached a trolly - a 100 meter walk was already done.

l Even the “may I help you” staff in their bright T shirts - seemed lost and disoriented and while they were trying to help - they themselves had to walk around to loacte the right shelves - when we asked them.

l When asked why so much change had happenned from lat week - they would smile & say it was a management decision.

 Whew ! after much walking around and re-walking in the store’s alleys and between the shelves we managed to wrap up our shipping and did the customer - not so smooth check out(billing & exit) still wondering whay all that change was done ?

 Incidently, for one of our retail clients in Mumbai - we had done a customer journey mapping (CJM) project to identify satisfaction & dissatisfaction levels in each stage of the customer journey with the brick & mortar ( and e commerce) retail chain. During that exercise we had found that the analysts in their head quarters used to be continuously doing data crunching & analytics to optimise the store layout & placement of goods - for growing revenues and optimising costs and brand partnership margins for themselves. During that CJM exercise we had found that while there were a number of oppertunity areas which the retail chain could benefit from the biggest pain area that customers spoke about & which got highlighted in the exercise was “ease of parking “ and not in the top need the ease of placement  & access to goods inside the store, etc.

 

So while there are multiple opportunity areas for improving customer experience in the relatively traditional brick & mortar  retail sector too - we highly recommend the Customer journey mapping(CJM) exercise to any company so they can optimise & improve customer experience(CX) and grow faster !

 The retail sector benchmark index for US is around 78% currently (last reported by the ACSI in 2018)  , behind some of the other sectors where customers are being served better. Chances are the same is true for India as well.

 What are your thoughts about the retail sector customer experience ? love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or do write in to us at contact@hexagonconsulting.co 

 

CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAPPING (CJM) - GREAT METHODOLOGY TO DIAGNOSE LATENT NEEDS OF YOUR CUSTOMERS & DRIVE GROWTH IMPROVEMENT !

if we look closely, most-if not all  start ups, are trying to fill an unfulfilled customer need or experience gap of customers.

 

Established organizations which are better organized, therefore have a great opportunity to more easily  identify the latent unfulfilled needs of their customers - and thereby grow faster !

 

Its so obvious, and yet so often rare that mature organizations that have teams, operating structures and systems, sometime don’t take out time to ask some basic questions or listen carefully to customer’s point of view-understand customer’s needs properly and continue to just push their products in the marketplace in a form & structure that maybe selling, but truly does not optimally meeting their customer’s needs fully.

 

don’t we experience this often in many b2c or b2b settings - where we often have felt that “wish the product/service was a bit different “ but the vendor’s product is the same that they’ve been selling for ages or they don’t seem to be sensitive to our full needs ?

 

 

So if we look at (I) how scanning emerged(and overtook photocopying), (ii) convenience that Digital cameras provided to customers over the rickety film camera’s earlier, (iii) the emergence of the “all in one” so very convenient handheld device - the mobile phone, (iv) the online convenience of e-comerce, (v) the growing importance of pick up & drop at home products & services, (vi) the convenience of online taxi services like Uber & Ola (vii) the convenience listening to online music, seeing video’s, entertainment & news - disrupting traditional full length fixed time movies & Cinema halls, (viii) convenience of booking low cost & fairly comfortable room nights at portals like AirBnb, Oyo rooms, (ix) the convenience of Coffee chains like Starbucks, CCD, etc where they provide free wifi and space to sit & work (with the right comfortable  ambience + with no pressure to order or leave), (x) swiggy & similar home delivery of food overtaking restaurant sales - it all simply boils down to only “ Customer convenience” and “ customer experience” 

 

 

And so not providing a great customer experience(CX) is the biggest threat to any business!

 

So instead of such customer experience(CX) gap leading to a new startup, why can’t mature organizations leverage their obvious strengths of people processes & technology - and use the  very same approach that often start ups take for identifying customer experience (CX) gaps – and leveraging these strategic & operational insights to develop new innovative products/services, or upgrade their products/services?

 

 Unfortunately, many organizations talk about CX, but don’t adequately focus on the end customer experience - and just continue to push the established product on the market- even though the world & the customer needs are changing fast 

Now while this is important, how do we go about identifying these latent “needs” ?

Customer journey mapping (CJM) is a design thinking led methodology, which is very popular globally– and as Customer experience experts-our view is that this is a fast & great way to get going on this journey to identify some opportunity areas rapidly – i.e. CX improvement areas for your product or delivery.

 In other words by leveraging the right tools & best practices it is possible to  deliver not just good but a great & consistent customer experience on an end to end basis across all customer touch points- not when he just calls or reaches “sales” or  “customer service”

In the Future:

· Customer needs led customisation  of products & services will increase- across sectors.

· Organizational structures & processes will further evolve.

· While the Digital app will become even more common - other technology interventions will also evolve in areas such as automation, robotics, etc - to further improve the end customer experience!  

So every organisation needs to consider doing customer journey mapping - periodically !

Give us a shout, if you want CJM done ….

Meanwhile while you reflect on this do share what do you think of this ?we are eager to hear about your views of your customer’s experience and your point of view on this matter ….so do write in below or just drop us a note at contact@hexagonconsulting.co

DIGITAL OR END-TO-END CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE !

DIGITAL OR END-TO-END CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE !

Yes Digital is in & very important! but is good Digital customer experience enough ?

  Online Apps & websites are critical today for online marketing, posting reviews, convenience of purchase, service support and engagement, for any organization…but is digital experience enough ?

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE - DRIVING THE START UP REVOLUTION!

Every start up today is trying to fill a customer experience gap in a product or its delvery!

 

 

Came across these points of major disruptions which have transformed sectors/companies.

 

·       Scanning did not kill photocopying….inconvenience of sending copies did

·       Digital cameras did not kill Kodak ….unwieldy & long “click to photo prints” cycle did

·       Uber & Ola did not kill the taxi business…limited access and fare control did

·       Apple did not kill the music industry…being forced to buy full length albums did

·       Amazon & the e-commerce sector did not kill retailers…poor customer service & customer experience did

·       AirBnb and travel convenience clones isn’t killing the hotel industry….limited availability and pricing options are.

·       Netfix, Prime online are not killing Movie theatre’s and movies – the inconvenience of seeing movies at movie theatres at fixed times and in one ( in a fixed 2 or 3 hour format) is impacting the sector.

·       Starbucks and coffee chains are not providing better coffee – but they are offering a unique customer experience (coffee + ambience + no pressure to order or leave + free wifi now)

 

 

TECHNOLOGY BY ITSELF IS NOT THE BIGGEST DISRUPTOR – NOT BEING CUSTOMER CENTRIC IS THE BIGGEST THREAT TO ANY BUSINESS!

 

So instead of such customer experience(CX) gap leading to a new startup, why can’t mature organizations leverage the very same approach of identifying customer experience (CX) gaps – and leveraging the insights to develop new innovative products/services, or upgrade their products/services?

 

Organizational strengths of an existing mid sized or  large organization, should logically help them   execute on the identified CX gap faster, leading to improved business results!

 

 Unfortunately, many organisations talk about it, but don’t adequately focus on it; just don’t do enough or despite having good intentions simply don’t know “how” to go about improving or delivering a good product experience or service i.e. don’t really know operationally how to consistently deliver a superior customer experience?” 

And so as consumers, we are often at receiving end of sub-optimal product experience!

So how do we identify these “ customer experience improvement ” or  “start up” ideas?

Hearing Customers: capturing customer feedback using the right approach, as well as mining service quality data/ analytics: are important tools for identifying these CX gaps & for enabling product improvements & CX enhancements, new product design and development, etc

Customer journey mapping (CJM) is a design thinking led methodology, which is rage globally & in our own view – as Customer experience experts- a great way to get going on this journey to identify some low hanging & quick to implement opportunity areas – i.e. “start up” like improvement areas.

Once some of this is implemented and quick results realised– then to go to the next level of evolution & sophistication we can leverage our 5Ps TICSI customer experience improvement - 1000 point framework https://www.ticsi.org/-  to further diagnose opportunity areas in the customer experience(CX) across the organization’s - product, distribution and delivery, product features, people practices, operational processes, measures & KPIs, etc.

 In other words by leveraging the right tools & best practices it is possible to  deliver not just good but a great & consistent customer experience on an end to end basis across all customer touch points- not when he just calls or reaches “sales” or  “customer service”

Many organizations shy away from digging  into customer complaints – where there are hidden, diamonds of diagnostic opportunity to improve products & processes… A structured “customer” focused institutionalized service quality or customer experience improvement framework is necessary for every organization and not just on the traditional product quality programs which are often focused on manufacturing end of the business.

And, buttoning down last mile connectivity and cross connecting siloes is as important. In many organizations’, each silo often does a great job, but owing to misses at the last mile or gaps at the inter- departmental “hand offs” or sometimes some departments don’t have a good appreciation of what is really very important for their customer – the end  customer gets needlessly mishandled or gets a sub-optimal customer experience.

In the Future:

·       Customisation & Customer centric options will increase – and organisations will reconfigure themselves to deliver customized solutions to their customers – both B2B & B2C…as the era of the standard product is likely to get over….even for traditional sectors like automobilies, which are metamorphosing to a adapt to a more demanding customer.

·       Organisational manaufacturing, distribution & retailing models will evolve/metamorphise completely.

·       Digital – the app will become the most ubiquitous channel of engagement between the organisation & its customers – while all channels will exist – the digital channel will be the King !  

 Food for thought? Interesting?  Questions ? want to share your views on the subject or just your unique experience in your start up or your organisation that you’d like to share with us …go ahead  - we are eager to hear from you and would love to hear your perspective…

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE GAP = START UP or PRODUCT IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITY

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE GAP = START UP or PRODUCT IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITY

If we evaluate ongoing startup revolution – most startups usually address a specific gap in the market or an unfulfilled customer need – in other short, a customer experience gap !

 

Question therefore worth reflecting on, is that instead of this gap leading to a new startup, why can’t mature organizations leverage the very same approach of identifying customer experience (CX) gaps – and leveraging these strategic & operational insights to develop new innovative products/services, or upgrade their products/services? Customer journey mapping (CJM) is one such technique to get going ….. learn how you can transform your growth & leverage this awesome oppertunity to tap & improve end customer experience ….and your growth…

TRANSFORM YOUR PRODUCT, ORGANISATION STRATEGY & CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE – CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAPPING (CJM)

TRANSFORM YOUR PRODUCT, ORGANISATION STRATEGY & CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE – CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAPPING (CJM)

iN TODAY’S FAST CHANGING TIMES - HOW SHOULD ORGANISATION’S TRANSFORM PRODUCT, ORGANISATION STRATEGY & CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE – BY CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAPPING (CJM)…..

THE POWER OF CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAPPING

THE POWER OF CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAPPING

Everything is changing - there’s lots that is on and it seems that nothing is the same anymore.

The customer is in control today - expressive, demanding & clears about his/her choices, preferences, expectations, is very specific about the products and services he/she wants. The era of customer experience & customer engagement is here -and organisations that our realising this and integrating this into their strategy & operations are benefitting, while organisations still operating in the traditional model of “let’s make a good product/service” and sell are beginning to lag behind others.

customer journey mapping is a powerful, fast & easy to identify opportunities methodology.  

The question is - which view is more important, the company’s view of the lens through which the customer is seeing - which customer journey mapping reveals? read more to understand this some more...

LIVING UPTO THE SALES PROMISE - THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE (CX) MANAGEMENT PARADIGM

LIVING UPTO THE SALES PROMISE - THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE (CX) MANAGEMENT PARADIGM

organisations living up to the brand-sales promise are rare.

organisations in the forefront lead on delivering consistently on the sales & brand promise, and thereby enjoy many important benefits. They become preferred suppliers and boost customer loyalty/retention. They drive one-call/contact resolution in their contact centres and streamlining their prospect-supply- service chains. They are seeing early warning signs of issues, so they can improve products & change operational strategies and quicker redressals, often on the fly. But most of all, they are seeing how customers may have received an inconsistent experience in the past and understanding how changes in operations, process, empowerment, metrics, culture, and technology can rapidly turn red flags into revenue and profitability gains.

read to learn the "how" and related aspects of this important subject...

CREATE AN EFFORTLESS EXPERIENCE FOR THE CUSTOMERS

CREATE AN EFFORTLESS EXPERIENCE FOR THE CUSTOMERS

Providing an effortless experience for customers might seem easier than ever—after all, customers enjoy a wealth of service channels that previous generations could only dream of. Self-service, email, live chat, social media—with so many options for assistance, customers simply need to choose how they want to get help, right? Well, not exactly. Here are a few keep-in-minds for you.

MORE TURBULENCE IN RETAIL - A CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE (CX) OPPORTUNITY

MORE TURBULENCE IN RETAIL - A CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE (CX) OPPORTUNITY

is brick and mortar RETAIL on decline? Is online RETAIL booming?? or is RETAIL changing again ? is there an opportunity in this sector(like most others to improve customer experience)?

We’re often amazed to see how few organisations actually do customer journey mapping and/or objectively measure & map customer satisfaction? The number of organisations whose websites carry wrong phone numbers /email addresses for customers to call - also seems be ubiquitous. And while they do bench mark themselves (with peers), on traditional metrics like revenues, sales & market share, profitability, shouldn’t they first map the customer journeys’ & measure, benchmark customer / user experience(CX) delivered - and on an end to end basis, as seen from the customer’s eyes?

END-TO-END OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT- SMOOTH CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE (CX)

END-TO-END OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT- SMOOTH CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE (CX)

managing customer experience is not easy - requires an end to end, from the eyes of  customer approach & operating discipline, to consistently deliver a smooth CX, with interventions often needed across operating structure, processes, measures & KPIs, etc - and leveraging design thinking, customer journey mapping, mystery shopping &  feedback as  a strategic tool to drive continuous improvement in CX. 

Customer journey mapping – why?

Customer journey mapping – why?

Customer journey mapping has taken businesses by storm.

Given the onset of the 4th industrial revolution, with rapid change & evolving business and operating models, customer journey mapping is one of the latest management practices and an effective, agile tool for customer experience management & improvement - for organisations of any size(start ups to the largest)- as it helps to uncover oppertunity areas from the persoective of the customer/user.

Customer Satisfaction through Customer Feedback – B2B Surveys

Customer Satisfaction through Customer Feedback – B2B Surveys

 

Worldwide, most valuable organizations working in different B2B sectors want to enhance customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention – the ticket to sustenance & growth. Since this is easier said than done, question is how can we measure & manage this systemically.

For starters, it’s intuitive to surmise that customer experience across all customer touch points needs to be managed and that clients may want to give feedback, which needs to be heard, captured accurately and when necessary addressed.  

Regular measurement of satisfaction levels by B2B surveys is a specialized activity and  should be done by experts &  independently (as research indicates thatB2B clients often open up and give more candid feedback, if the surveys are administered independent of the organisation, albeit on behalf of the organisation).