Setting CX expectations….the smart way.

I recently contacted my ISP to renegotiate my account plan (I’m sure it happens anywhere that new customer offers are way less expensive than your current plan, which, to a loyal customer, always looks kind of a fraud) and the agent over the phone stopped our conversation almost mid-sentence to clearly state that, if contacted by a third party for a CX survey, and if I was happy with the service, then the right score should be 9-10 out of 10 because (as he then pointed out) scoring a mere 8 would not give them their bonus.

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My first reaction to this, while smiling and thinking of how my mother used to tell me at school that only excellence would be rewarded (the 9-10 out of 10 score), was to assure the guy that I would put the highest number available, and that I would tell my kids that the same method would be applied to them, from now on [sadistic evil mother’s face ON].

Then I started thinking of my school background, and how often a very good score did not get me gifts and rewards because it was considered as my duty, while excellence on the other hand was perceived as “going beyond duty” and therefore much more chased, sought and finally appreciated. This set the right expectations for the professional and personal life beyond as an adult.

So did this guy really gave me an exceptional CX? Did he go beyond his duty during our call? He basically called me to offer a discount that would bring my plan to an average compared to the competition, said that this was the only thing he was allowed to do, which besides I gladly accepted, as am not keen on swapping provider every other month.

But an exceptional CX? A 9-10 out of 10 score? What would be my expectation for such a score? What if he had told me that the discount he was offering was beyond his duty and he was probably not even allowed but wanted to help anyway? Even while offering the same discount, I would have probably rated this CX as exceptional, but the way he presented the offer made it seem like normal operation, so nothing really _beyond his duty.

Do you see the problem here? It’s not the rating, it’s the question to the customer.

If we set the score on another perspective, things might change. What if instead of an exceptional CX we start measuring the customer effort score, i.e. how much effort did the customer have to put in solving the problem? I basically scheduled a callback on the website and the discount I wanted came right at my door. So if the question was “in a scale of 1 to 10, how easy it was getting what you wanted?” I would have definitely rated this a 10.

Sometimes we need to make sure our expectations are set right for our CX, otherwise we risk rating with wrong mindset and encourage a culture of highly rated mediocrity while on the other hand we strive to reach perfection when it’s already in front of our eyes.

Oh, and by the way, I gave the guy a 9. 🙂

anticipating customer needs, in the digital era

I know I promised to post only about remarkable CX but somehow it’s not happening and meanwhile other things (namely, life) are going on here.tesla

So this week it’s _the week_ of the much dreaded 10 years anniversary with the hubby, and I was browsing the internet looking for a gift in utter desperation, when suddenly I remembered reading an article months ago about a new app: Magic, aka the promise of a completely different, disruptive, mind-blowing customer experience. Desperation prompted me to sneak around their website and I was suddenly catapulted into a magic world, where a small minimal interaction such as a text, could trigger tons of events leading to a brand new tesla car delivered to your door. (for the hubby: no, I did not buy you a tesla car)

Is this what customers want? Or sometimes even having everything at the tip of your fingers is simply not enough?

Behavioural analysis models are tracking all our activity on the web and are able to predict our needs and wants with scaring accuracy, but sometimes a simple task as one that will just make your wishes come true, suddenly becomes a killer application, probably because it requires very minimal effort from the user.

So in the end I did not write to Magic (also because it’s a US-only service) but this helped me focus on the real meaning of customer care: to be able to serve and anticipate the needs and wants of the other so that they feel cared for and loved. Who wouldn’t want that?

The unbearable lightness of a good customer experience (Einmal ist keinmal)

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One occurrence is not significant. This really sums up our feelings towards customer experience. If we happen to find the unicorn of CX, where everything runs smoothly and is fabulous and neat, we will still rant about the other 99% of occasions which left us sour-mouthed.

And why is that? I mean why can’t we brag about one nice experience and make it up for the other fails? I guess the answer is bordering philosophy and the fact that there is an intrinsic lightness to our experiences with companies and providers.

Or is it just that companies and providers are not making the effort and don’t deserve our feelings nor to be considered meaningful?

For now on, my resolve will be to spot any good CX and post it here, so it is no longer non-significant, at least for a few bytes. 🙂

Diaries of the voice portal (part 3)

She prepared her “data center blanket”: usually an upgrade night meant spending several hours in the near freezing temperatures that IT managers chose for their beloved servers.

She stashed it into her laptop bag, along with a cereal bar and her notes.

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This was basically all she needed for the night: while her friends were texting from pubs and clubs, she entered the freezing vault hearing the comforting buzz of the dozens of servers all neatly displayed on racks, and happily prepared the necessary stuff (blanket on the shoulders, kind of like an elderly weird protuberance from the KVM thing driving the whole rack).

Upgrading a large telephony environment was typically a job for at least 2 people and she was always with someone from the PBX department. She didn’t mind: there was plenty of time for the upgrade, and for some spare moments of small talk and the occasional horrible coffee at the vending machine.

This time there was a weird vibe, though. She could feel it in the plastic air of the data center, that the digital creatures were not going to behave, not tonight.

And in fact, right in the middle of the process, the much dreaded -failed upgrade- message. This time, without the revert option. So basically she was stuck: no going back, as some files were overwritten by the upgrade files, and no moving forward, as the upgrade failed. Bummer! This is going to last all night, she thought.

She frantically searched through her notes for some workaround or anything that could fix the upgrade process, while muttering that it was something she felt right at the beginning, some error she made when launching the upgrade..

After a while the PBX guy showed up in her corner (in a t-shirt, with a 19°C temperature!) all smiles and laughs saying with a relaxed tone that he brought the whole thing down just to make sure the upgrade was smooth on her side. WTF!!!

At least now she knew what went wrong. And as soon as the pbx came up again, the upgrade happily resumed and went on smoothly, until the success message put a large smile on her face. Thank goodness this was done, all cool (literally), at least until the next upgrade…