Saturday, December 30, 2017

Words mean things

“Words mean things”
- Rush Limbaugh
I’m not normally one to be quoting a ‘shock jock’, but I keep coming back to this quote in my head as I deal with companies as a customer, trying to give them input to improve their Customer Experience (and, as a result, their bottom line).

A recent example would be when we went to the USA on holiday, flying with British Airways.

Due to their widely publicised botched IT upgrade, my ESTA was not on record (despite being valid for another year and filed with them less than 12 months ago), and they would not let me enter the details online.  I tried at least 8 times, each one of which would have been logged on BA’s servers.

As a result we were unable to check-in until we got to the airport, didn’t get allocated seats together and had escalate multiple times.  When a senior manager eventually arrived his attitude was ‘not my problem mate’, only actually ‘finding’ us 2 seats together as I was e-mailing the company’s Chief Executive right in front of him.

None of this of course is rocket science, and I ensured we gave structured, detailed and actionable feedback at every stage of this process.  Words mean things.

The secret of great Customer Experience is to mask the complexity of your business from customers.  Design your business process with their needs front and centre.

I always ask myself: “Would it be good enough for me if I were the customer?”

If the answer is no, then something needs to be changed. Try again until it IS good enough.

The failed attempts to check-in online were logged, should have been tracked as an error condition, with root cause identified and resolved.  The symptoms affecting me should have resulted in an outbound phone call to resolve the issue.

This is common sense and best practice. Customer Journeys have clearly not been mapped and optimised.

All staff (from those in the terminal to those responsible for CX) need empowerment to own and resolve customer issues, not obsess about explaining why it has gone wrong.

A colleague of mine speaks of “Techsplaining”, would this phenomenon hence be “CXsplaining”?
It’s something that many businesses are wedded to – feeling the need to make excuses and explain why experiences are bad for their customers rather than ensure they’re not bad in the first place.

This is not what a customer wants to hear.  When I give your business feedback it’s so you can identify what’s gone wrong and to put it right.  It’s not for you to explain to me why you have bad customer experiences.

This is all doable, and as I say not rocket science.

One of the best examples I have seen of this is when I used to stay frequently at the Radisson Blu hotel in Manchester Airport, complaining about their staff continuously badgering me on each stay with the question of whether I wanted a hot drink at breakfast (due to poor business processes not being able to identify that I had declined the offer).

The hotel listened to the feedback, developed a very simple business process to ensure that customers weren’t repeatedly annoyed and executed it.  Flawlessly.

This was a great illustration of what Customer Experience is really about - talking to customers, listening to what they’re telling you and actioning their feedback.

It’s something that British Airways could learn a lot from Radisson Blu about.

Words mean things.

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