Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Customer Delight in a Digital World


Published on

Delight means exceeding customer expectations, which is crucial to building genuine customer loyalty. Loyal customers not only stick around to buy more, but are so happy with the value they receive that they become advocates for your business.
In other words, delighted customers become a kind of volunteer marketing force for your brand. The online retailer Zappos has made “delivering happiness” its mantra, and become one of the world’s most popular retailers in just a few short years.
But as the world shifts to more and more digital interactions—from commonplace e-commerce and web self- service to newer social and mobile interactions—business leaders must solve one key problem. Namely, how to deliver delight when most digital interactions are designed to meet, but not exceed, customer expectations.
True, there’s value in easy, consistent processes. But when was the last time you applauded your bank for a successful ATM transaction? Or thanked your hotel when you could check out via your room’s TV? Or tweeted about how amazing it was to get an electronic ticket for a flight?
Technology innovations move from novelty to routine at warp speed. Result: the opportunity to delight is quickly erased. Loyalty leaders must move beyond basic automation and look for new creative ways to create delight. In some cases technology can work behind the scenes to improve human interactions. In other cases, innovative uses of digital tools can directly deliver a delightful experience.

Published in: Business
  • Login to see the comments

Customer Delight in a Digital World

  1. 1. Customer Delight in a Digital World Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp.
  2. 2. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas Foreword By Bob Thompson, CustomerThink Founder/CEO Delight means exceeding customer expectations, which is crucial to building genuine customer loyalty. Loyal customers not only stick around to buy more, but are so happy with the value they receive that they become advocates for your business. In other words, delighted customers become a kind of volunteer marketing force for your brand. The online retailer Zappos has made “delivering happiness” its mantra, and become one of the world’s most popular retailers in just a few short years. But as the world shifts to more and more digital interactions—from commonplace e-commerce and web selfservice to newer social and mobile interactions—business leaders must solve one key problem. Namely, how to deliver delight when most digital interactions are designed to meet, but not exceed, customer expectations. True, there’s value in easy, consistent processes. But when was the last time you applauded your bank for a successful ATM transaction? Or thanked your hotel when you could check out via your room’s TV? Or tweeted about how amazing it was to get an electronic ticket for a flight? Technology innovations move from novelty to routine at warp speed. Result: the opportunity to delight is quickly erased. Loyalty leaders must move beyond basic automation and look for new creative ways to create delight. In some cases technology can work behind the scenes to improve human interactions. In other cases, innovative uses of digital tools can directly deliver a delightful experience. I’ve handpicked this collection of articles to help you build a strategy to delight your customers as they shift to digital channels. Good luck! © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 1
  3. 3. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas Table of Contents Solving the Digital Experience Conundrum: Three Roles for Technology in Customer Delight ................................................ 3 How Smart Are Your Touchpoints? ....................................................................................................................................... 6 How to Optimize the Online Customer Experience................................................................................................................ 8 Ten Ways to Pare, Plant and Prune Your Digital Garden ...................................................................................................... 11 How Social Technologies Contribute to a Better Customer Experience ................................................................................ 14 Omnichannel Retailing: Let Consumers Design Their Own Experience ................................................................................. 16 Five B2B Brands That “Get” Storytelling .............................................................................................................................. 18 Gen-Y Shoppers Need Next-Gen Service ............................................................................................................................. 20 Mobile Dilemmas: Letting the Consumer Lead in the Dance for Data .................................................................................. 23 Customer Care 2.0: Helping Mobile Consumers Help Themselves ....................................................................................... 25 Copyright Notice This e-book is the copyright property of CustomerThink Corp., available free to CustomerThink newsletter subscribers. Individual articles are the copyright property of the authors. © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 2
  4. 4. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas Solving the Digital Experience Conundrum: Three Roles for Technology in Customer Delight By Bob Thompson Like it or not, the world is going digital. Web sites were just the beginning. Now we have social media, mobile, and ever more exotic forms of automation like Marie, a digital avatar that helps travelers in New York’s La Guardia Airport. Since we haven’t figured out how to create more hours in the day, the only conclusion I can reach is that more of our lives will be spent interacting with technology of one kind or another. And less time interacting with human beings. Is that a bad thing? No, but as you’ll learn, being “not bad” is not the same as being delightful. The Digital Experience Conundrum As a long-time Wells Fargo customer, I find the bank’s ATMs well-designed and efficient. But when I use other ATMs I find the experience quite similar. One recent innovation is the ability to deposit checks without using envelopes. While I appreciate that new feature, I’m not likely to mention it when someone asked me about my banking experiences. Instead, I’d tell them about a recent visit to a branch office, when a banker gave great personal service to my mother. In a customer experience study a few years ago, I found that 70% of “memorable” experiences involved people. People remembered when an automated process (website, IVR, etc.) didn’t work, but rarely when it did the job as expected. Since then, I’ve repeated this exercise numerous times with groups of 20 to 200 people, and the results have been amazingly consistent. Each time, 70-80% of the time people recall and talk about interactions with their fellow human beings. Why is that? Well, humans are more likely to be involved in complex customer situations, especially emotioncharged service incidents. In CustomerThink’s research, we find that friendly, well-trained and knowledgeable employees are key factors in customer experience excellence. Only humans can express empathy and solve problems creatively, so it’s not surprising that interactions with people are more memorable. Of course, people are also more inconsistent, as Larry Freed of ForeSee points out. You’ll get more delightful experiences, but also more frustrating ones. Technology is less memorable, in part, because it doesn’t have such variability, Freed contends. The conundrum is that digitizing more interactions may actually hurt company efforts to differentiate based on customer experience. Why? Because most companies use technology to make customer interactions more efficient, consistent and less memorable. Sometimes technology can delight, but as Jon Picoult of Watermark Consulting notes: “When technology helps fuel a delightful customer experience, it usually doesn’t take much for other firms to copy that technology. Then it becomes commonplace and ceases to be as distinctive as it initially was.” The solution to this conundrum is to understand the three important roles that technology can play in delightful customer experiences. Let’s use the analogy of a great movie, where the audience experience is delivered by the star, supporting actors and a “key grip” to manage lighting and camera movements. Obviously only the actors are seen on screen, but without great support behind the camera, a film won’t be delightful to watch. © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 3
  5. 5. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas Role One: Technology as the Star of the Show In some cases technology clearly is the lead actor. Take, for example, which conducts its business exclusively online (good luck finding a phone number if you need help). The web site doesn’t try to wow customers on every visit. By stressing ease of use, personalized recommendations and flawless delivery it has earned stratospheric loyalty scores of 86 by the ACSI in 2011 and 76% in 2012 NPS® benchmarks. Not surprisingly, Apple is another loyalty leader that excels in technology-based interactions (although its retail store experience shines, too). Bruce Temkin of Temkin Group says that voice-activated experiences, such as pioneered by Apple’s Siri, will help create delight “if for no other reason than people aren’t expecting them.” Asking Siri to find the nearest Chinese restaurant is amusing, but businesses also have a great opportunity to create voice-activated smartphone applications using Lexee from Angel or Nina from Nuance. USAA is piloting Nina and plans to launch a Nina-powered app next year, a move consistent with the digital direction that Neff Hudson, Assistant VP, Emerging Channels revealed at a recent CXPA conference. He and other speakers acknowledged that one key challenge is maintaining empathetic and caring customer relationships in a world that is rapidly moving to digital interactions. New technology is not necessarily required to “wow” customers. Design matters, too. For example, when booking flights, hotels or car rentals, most travel sites function about the same. But Hipmunk innovates by providing flight options sorted by “agony”—a combination of price, duration and number of stops. You also get a more intuitive visualization of the flight options, including layover times. There’s plenty of room for differentiation with creative use of current technology. And, for those who want to live on the bleeding edge, Bruce Kasanoff of Now Possible suggests looking at emerging technologies like Senseg which turns touch screens into “feel” screens, or Kinect-style gestural interfaces from Prime Sense. Role Two: Technology as Supporting Actor Of course, not everyone can be the star. Technology can also play a key supporting role “in front of the camera,” adding value to the customer experience. Starbucks, for instance, has made its store experience a central part of its value proposition. Why else would someone pay four bucks for a Frappuccino? Little conveniences can help a brand stand out in a “sea of sameness.” Jeannie Walters of 360Connext believes that the mobile payment system Square helps create a “memorable experience where before there was nothing special, memorable or intimate about it.” Starbucks has announced a partnership with Square that will eventually enable customers to be recognized when they enter a store and pay by simply saying their names. Customers may have to engage more with brands to enable technology to do its thing. As Annette Franz Gleneicki of CX Journey notes, “in order for technology to come close to delighting, you have to train it or teach it what will delight you.” For customers willing to convey their preferences, banks can send an email when a credit limit has been reached, airlines can rebook automatically or call centers can call back instead of making customers wait on hold. Role Three: Technology as “Key Grip” In movies, a “key grip” is the person who manages lighting and camera movement. You don’t see the key grip or the workers (grips), but if they didn’t do their job well your movie experience would suffer. Jeanne Bliss of CustomerBLISS says that “high-tech should enable high touch.” From her prior experience at Lands End, Bliss © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 4
  6. 6. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas says technology enabled the retailer to automatically inserts custom messages and “freebies” in shipping boxes when customers placed their first order, bought a certain category, etc. Indeed, personalized and relevant recommendations is one crucial role in digital shopping sites like I actually enjoy getting emails from promoting new books and other products, because they are relevant—based on my purchasing history. Sampson Lee of G-CEM agrees: Using customer databases to tailor customized offers for VIP customers is a good example of technology-assisted delight. But it’s the humans that will get credit for the delight, even when technology was required behind the scenes. Technology can also be used to figure out why customer experiences are going bad. One common frustration is a customer failing in a web interaction, then calling for help, only to find that the agent has no record of that web experience. This “touchpoint amnesia” is a common problem, but it’s tough to find the root cause without help from specialized analytics software vendors. Fixing multichannel problems may require solutions from major contact center software vendors, web experience specialists or niche providers. Your Action Plan for Digital Delight This article provides a sampling of ideas and technologies to illustrate key roles for technology in customer delight. To maximize your success, here are recommended action steps:  Understand what drives delight vs. dissatisfaction. Technology can help minimize “dissatisfiers,” drive “delighters,” or both. It’s critical to understand the difference. For example, GfK Loyalty’s 2011 retail banking study found that “helps you be smart about your money” was a new loyalty driver. Banks that can deliver against this driver can create delight. Technology could help via a fully automated selfservice web or mobile app, or by assisting bank personnel to consult more effectively with clients.  Decide what role technology should play. Not every company can or should make technology the “star” in customer experiences. Visit the Zappos web site and you’ll find it nicely designed with snappy performance. However, you’ll more likely be impressed by the 365-day return policy, free shipping and amazing customer service if you need help with an order.  Keep innovating! However you decide to use technology, it changes fast. As many experts noted, the “half-life” on digital innovations is short. Citibank was the first mover in mobile check deposits, but Wells Fargo just launched a similar service. Within the next year, all four of the largest US banks will enable customers to deposit checks by scanning with smartphones. With good research and innovative thinking, you can use technology to directly or indirectly make a difference in customer experiences. But I expect that humans will continue to play a larger role in memorable experiences for a long time to come. BOB THOMPSON Bob Thompson is CEO of CustomerThink Corp., an independent research and publishing firm focused on customer-centric business management, and Founder/Editor-in-Chief of, the world’s largest community dedicated to customer-centric business. Thompson is a popular keynote speaker, blogger and author of numerous reports, articles and papers, including CrowdService: Harnessing the Wisdom of Crowds in Customer Service and Support. Connect: © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 5
  7. 7. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas How Smart Are Your Touchpoints? By Michael Hinshaw Touchpoints are increasingly interactive (and smarter). As with the many disruptive technological innovations that came before, the mobile Web and ever-connected “smart customers“ who access it are driving a dramatic shift in the roles, types, and functionality of touchpoints. As customers and companies use technology to share what they and their customers and employees do, buy, think, and watch, the importance of touchpoints getting smarter, faster, and more relevant increases daily.  Yesterday: Just a few years ago, most touchpoints were static. Print ads, direct mail, point-of-purchase displays, etc., were the primary method of reaching customers. Even as the Web gained significance, it was hard for companies to make the shift to digital interactions.  Today: New smart touchpoints driven by social media, mobile apps, and easy access to data are helping the type and number of interactions between customers and companies multiply dramatically, and the lines defining traditional communications and distribution models have become increasingly hazy.  Tomorrow: Touchpoints will continue to get smarter and to expand exponentially. Companies will have the ability to leverage “sense and respond” touchpoints to better manage relationships, supply chains, and distribution. Smarter, faster, and more effective touchpoints will become both more feasible and provide critical competitive advantages. We’re already seeing smart touchpoints everywhere. For example, irrigation controls are changing the way landscaping is managed by adjusting the amount of water released through sprinkler systems based on nearreal-time inputs, including soil and atmospheric moisture content, historical weather patterns, and national weather service forecasts. Wireless-device-based shopping apps let customers instantly compare and, in many instances, purchase alternative products (or the same products at lower costs) in a retail environment. “Smart tags” allow companies (and people) to append any amount or type of data they wish to almost any physical object or place. Most Companies Still Have Too Many Static And ‘Dumb’ Touchpoints Dumb touchpoints are those that can’t understand a customer’s needs or gather data about their actions. While they have a place, dumb touchpoints tend to deliver too little value to customers and cost too much to companies. Consider the cost of planning, developing, printing, and distributing a simple letter to thousands of customers on an ongoing basis, versus the cost of a targeted email. Or a printed annual report versus an interactive one that allows investors to dig in (and allows companies to learn what customers are interested in digging into). Stupid touchpoints are dumb touchpoints that are also unimportant to customers and/or ineffective at achieving their desired goals. Unfortunately, most companies have no idea whether their touchpoints are just dumb, or dumb and stupid. It’s not a difficult task to find out, and the companies that do so nearly always learn things that surprise them and generate significant value. © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 6
  8. 8. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas By building smart touchpoints right into products and services, companies can create direct connections between themselves and their customers, actively controlling or influencing the customer experience. Opportunities abound to design smart and interconnected products and services, providing the kind of information companies need to actively understand, measure, and improve customer experience across all their touchpoints. This means eliminating as many dumb touchpoints as possible (and getting rid of all stupid touchpoints), making static touchpoints smarter, human touchpoints interactive, and interactive touchpoints intelligent. MICHAEL HINSHAW Currently managing director of customer experience innovation firm MCorp Consulting, Michael Hinshaw radically improves how companies connect with, serve and profit from their customers - by transforming customer experience, and the interactions and processes that support it. He is also co-author of the bestselling book "Smart Customers, Stupid Companies: Why Only Intelligent Companies Will Thrive, and How to Be One of Them." Connect: © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 7
  9. 9. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas How to Optimize the Online Customer Experience. By Flavio Martins We live in an age of great technological advancement, what are you doing to optimize the online customer experience? Too often we think of customer experience as personal conversation with customers or a pleasant looking store or polite employees. We, too often, place too little concern on popular, preferred medium of business of today, the Internet, which leads to a poor digital online experience. Is your Web site contributing to your customers’ experience? One of the common problems with online marketing and advertising is that businesses can spend vast amounts of money on online advertising, search engine optimization, and marketing campaigns to attract customers, but these online marketing campaigns do little to contribute to the actual customer experience. My Zappos Great Digital Customer Experience: I recently had my first shopping experience with Zappos. I’ve studied Zappos for several years now, but just recently shopped with them. The entire experience was a breath of fresh air. Zappos clearly has clean, useful, purposeful customer-focused Web site that creates a positive online customer experience. The Web site is cleanly laid out, looks professional, is intuitive, and is laid out in a helpful way for customers to purchase online. Notice how easy it is to quickly find the type of items you would potentially be looking for with Zappos. Say you’re searching for kids clothing, specifically for a boy or a girl. How easy is it to find what items Zappos has available? How about Zappos’s policies on shipping or returns? No doubt about that, everything is clearly listed on every page. A Digital Customer Experience with Some Work to Do: I’ll be honest, I’ve never dealt with this Web site. I can’t speak for their service, product, or the company. All I can say is what I see when I visit their brand online. I notice that they clearly are a legitimate business, I see a picture of their trucks they use for their business. But if I were looking to shop for car parts from them, what would my experience be? How do I know that they have what I’m looking for? Say I were looking for mufflers, or brakes, or some other car part? How easily could I find what they have? Can I contact them? What is their shipping policy? How about returns or exchanges? It’s difficult to tell because the Web site needs to be optimized for the online customer experience. When I say that a Web site is part of the customer experience, I’m not talking about adding movies, intro videos, flashing lights, sounds or things that pop out of the screen. Those are distractions, gimmicks from the early days of the Web. I’m not looking to watch a movie online (I have Netflix for that), I just want to buy something or contact your company, so don’t make me sit through your intro video and don’t make me dig through your site to contact you. I’ve previously discussed that customers really only want 3 things when working with a business online: • Fast • Cheap (fair price/value) • Nice atmosphere with help, if needed © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 8
  10. 10. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas But when the customer is taken to a Web site that is not optimized for the online customer experience, it defeats the purpose of all of the advertising you’ve done, all of the work to build your brand into something memorable, and you miss the opportunity to make a positive, lasting connection with your customer. If the advertising or marketing campaign out shines the image of your website then you’ve already lost the battle in getting customers and creating future, loyal customers. After all, they are left feeling disappointed with the final result and may feel mislead. In reality, it’s not even a matter of making customer experience spending equal to marketing spending, I don’t think that’s realistic, or necessary. But, an optimized experience has to be part of the plan. There has to be real consideration to the online process and how you will create a seamless delivery from the pre-sales, to the salesprocess, through post-sales and product or service support. Customers need to feel it’s all part of one unified business plan. With that, I want to focus on four tips to optimize this process for digital experience of products and services. 1. Your customer experience doesn’t have to be like Apple, just beat your competitors. Hopefully your competition isn’t Apple, that would destroy my point here. But when focusing on the overall customer experience, one easy way to figure out where you are and where you need to improve first is to look at what your competitors are doing and work on becoming better. Learn what customers in your industry are looking for, why do they choose them over you? What you can learn from the way your competitors do business and how can you make a difference to give you the advantage? You’ll be amazed at what you can actually learn from a competitor when you change your focus from reactive thinking to pro-active thinking. 2. Make your site an interactive customer experience. A key point to an exceptional service experience is the feeling that the service is catered to the needs of the customer. The more interaction added to your Web site, blog, social media, etc., the more customers will feel that your organization is looking to meet their needs and craft the service around customer needs. Inviting customers to a ‘generic website’ when customers want a catered experience, makes your brand ineffective and forgettable. 3. Customer experience is a feeling. Stimulate feelings, not the senses. The use of videos, music, sounds and images in motion is becoming a far more common feature of websites, but don’t get sucked into that. The trap is to stimulate the senses and offer a completely different experience of a website than simply filling a website with endless amounts of text. But it’s not the senses we want to engage, it’s the feelings customer get when working with your brand. Focus on making making it professional, useful, functional, straight forward, useful, clean-looking, functional, and useful (did I mention that already?). The easier, faster, more useful your Web site becomes for customers, the better the feelings you’ll develop within customers that will be associated with the product or service and your brand. © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 9
  11. 11. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas 4. Customer experience is for the customer, not the staff. You wouldn’t believe the number of times I’ve been involved in projects where management and developers cater more to their own personal preferences and what they think would be best, even when it’s directly opposed to what customers want. Unless employees are the primary users of your site, with all due respect, their opinion doesn’t count. It shouldn’t matter that the boss likes it on the left or that developers want it blue. If customers prefer it on the right and red, it’s done. As the number of customers increases, we typically have a decrease in the level of care for customer opinion. It’s like we become desensitized to the fact that at the end of the day we depend on the customer. Sweat the small stuff I think that we are too careless with the customer experience. We don’t realize how important the little things really are to the overall experience. We’ve all heard the saying “don’t sweat the small stuff.” It’s true for many things, but not for the customer experience. We go out of our way to carefully craft marketing language, create welcoming places of business, we train our people to be polite, professional, and helpful. We typically go out of our way to please our customers. Sometimes, though, we get lost in our processes and forget some of the small things that can quickly add up to frustrate our customers. Take a minute and look over your Web site, ask a complete stranger to give you feedback, honest feedback. Take the time to optimize your Web site or system to maximize positive potential for an exceptional customer experience. FLAVIO MARTINS Flavio is the Vice President of Customer Support at an award-winning, customer driven technology start-up. He’s a featured blogger and customer experience management presenter, customer service speaker, customer loyalty fanatic. Flavio blogs about the Customer Service industry, managing Customer Service Teams, and developing Customer Experience Culture at Connect: © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 10
  12. 12. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas Ten Ways to Pare, Plant and Prune Your Digital Garden By Leigh Durst This is a virtual “Ode to Spring” which builds on my last post. Check it out if you want to see what inspired me, or for a picture of my dog, whichever interests you most. Here are more thoughts on managing digital growth: 1. Your Digital Presence is like a Garden. Left to itself over time, site messages, pages, conversations and “user paths” (set of pages/interactions which drive people to a desired end) can become overgrown, unwieldy and compromised. This isn’t just a result of the natural growth and “the elements” at work (people posting content and making modifications) over time. The overgrowth and confusion, which produces areas that fail to thrive can also be a result of pestilence (ignorant people doing stupid things) or even neglect. Like our green gardens, digital gardens require regular care, watering, daily attention and oversight. 2. This Makes You a Digital Gardener. Green content thumb or not, if you build or maintain a digital presence for yourself or your company, your job is to lay out paths, construct order, present your own array of natural offerings for all to see, cultivate content and community in a manner that best engages visitors and attractively displays your unique beauty. Your job is to take people on a journey that is a sensory delight, which leaves them with a unique sense of who you are, what you stand for and what you have to offer. All of us could use some work in this area, and to improve, we must embrace our role, and our own competencies and put them to work to our advantage. This also means that where we are deficient (e.g. design, development), we need to find skilled support to help us. 3. Plan with Clear Intent. Designing with intent means we always start with an understanding and keen knowledge of people you wish to reach, as well as where they congregate. It's essential to comprehend what your audience needs and values, so that you can help them accomplish their goals. You begin with understanding, and build with a clear vision of how you will serve them by designing the journey you will take them on. How will they understand and experience your brand, products and services or other offerings? How will you captivate them with relevant, useful and usable experiences that are lively, unique, memorable and pleasing? By asking these questions and developing the answers, you become an "experience architect" in your own right. The experience you develop should align to your brand in a way that is memorable and personable. Define the personality you want your experience to have, and make sure you build in the mechanisms that accommodate the varied needs (e.g. Navigational, informational, support) of the people you serve. Whatever you are building, it’s important to make sure that what you create meshes well with the landscape, looks as good from afar as it does close-up, is well engineered for the types of users who may visit (e.g. needs, ethnography, awareness, different-abilities), and what they want to accomplish. It should also align to your brand in a way that is memorable, and personable. So—define the kind of personality you want your garden to have, and to make sure you build in mechanisms to accommodate the varied needs (e.g. rest, refreshment, interaction, help) of the people you are serving. 4. Create Access and Flow. In a day and age where most people are using more than three digital “outposts” to manage life, work and communication, and multiple devices, it’s important that we accommodate user flow across different digital (and offfline) properties, devices and platforms. Creating connectivity or flow between the experiences offered across properties, apps, devices and channels requires familiarity - but not sameness. We must make easy for people to find us, and maintain communications across a variety of systems or devices wherever they are and whatever they’re using to find your brand. Further, from the entry points to the remote corners of the garden, it’s essential to make sure all areas of your Digital Garden (mobile site, website, social © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 11
  13. 13. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas site, application, etc.) are not only well tended and highly functional, they must be updated enough to properly serve the needs of the people who visit. That means they must always be able to find what they need, especially an outlet for satisfaction - such as a real person who can offer assistance as appropriate. 5. Diversity Creates a Vibrant Ecosystem. The best gardens have have plant and terrain diversity. That balance of life not only creates a more healthy ecosystem, it attracts more interesting wildlife—creating a more vibrant and stimulating environment for visitors. The zones and pathways in your own Digital Garden should carry the same diversity. Regurgitating the same press release or post in every channel is tantamount to planting the same bush in every bed, and will not yield a compelling experience. Instead, staggering and varying your offerings (content and functionality) to stimulate the audience found in each “zone” (e.g. Linked In vs. Facebook vs. Mobile) will yield a much more compelling result. Tailor your design, functionality, messaging and content to build your own thriving digital ecosystem. 6. Prune, Water & Fertilize for Success. Be methodical about pruning away clutter and trim down content to expose messages that are crisp and clear and compelling. Reduce, reuse and recycle ... updating old content, cleaning out "dead" material and sweeping for on and offsite comments and mentions that may benefit from your attention. Sprinkle your digital presence with fresh with new messages and content regularly. Reduce information clutter and clear away visual clutter to make sure your properties “draw the eye” to key paths effectively. Keep your presence fresh, relevant, accurate and compelling. Finally, encourage growth and interaction by having friendly, knowledgeable people respond to visitors in a way that best demonstrates your values. 7. Be Prepared for the Dirty Work! Make sure you are prepared for sore knees and heavy lifting, as the ugly tasks (Digging, fertilization, hauling dirt and sticks, garbage duty, paving, building or breaking down fences, fixing stuff that breaks, plumbing for irrigation) require hard work. In truth - it’s rarely a one-person job, even if you are super talented. Share the load to ensure the proper care and management of your garden. Ensure that ALL hired resources work together to ensure all the branding messaging, content, promotions, campaigns your garden are cohesive, fresh and lovely in season. Work hard to cultivate great content and present it in formats that grab attention and inspire action. Apply oversight to carefully coordinate multiple development projects at once (e.g. Mobile site / web site / apps) to make sure they complement each other and function properly. Make sure that site refreshes are done with a strong eye toward maintaining a cohesive master information architecture. Finally, invest in objective user testing to gain the feedback that will help you validate and improve task flows and customer service, in an iterative manner. This will also help with Task 8. 8. Manage Overgrowth and Other Pitfalls. The Digital Gardener must fight overgrowth and keep the path exceptionally clear for the visitor—removing stumbling blocks (e.g. technical, usability), creating new paths in response to user needs (new functionality, navigational paths), eradicating roadblocks and dead-ends (customer service flow, etc.). If we ourselves haven’t visited the paths enough (shopping, buying, finding information) we may find that we have blind spots about the journeys we have created or the impressions they leave with people. Taking walk around in the shoes of the people you serve is the best way to identify problem areas and improve things. You can do this yourself by conducting your own user testing or audience research. You can also hire an objective third party (experience engineer—information architect—usability tester—ethnographic researcher) to conduct analysis on your digital presence (or individual properties) to provide some healthy insight that will help you take things to the next level and drive better outcomes. This can be a great way to adopt fresh perspective and identify opportunities for improvement. © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 12
  14. 14. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas 9. Get the Gloves On! Simply put, it’s very hard to lose by diligently managing and cultivating your digital presence. I know mine needs attention this year... and I also know I’m not alone. The work can be exhausting because the job is never done - but when spring comes and everything blossoms around me, I’m reminded that it’s usually worth it. Remember that it really doesn’t take a revolutionary action—like a complete site redesign to drive significant gains in your digital presence right now. Often, highly focused tweaks and edits will do the trick. For example, right now I’m helping a client refresh some highly trafficked web landing pages to optimize user experience and way finding. We’re also carving out a few new paths for users based on feedback we’re getting on the site. What we are “planting” now should produce a nice yield in the spring and drive some delightful gains for our users. All you need is a little user empathy, determination and vision to improve things today. So, put on those gloves, walk a mile in your customer’s shoes and examine the paths you’ve created! The opportunities you find for improvement may find may surprise you! 10. Imperfection is Its Own Kind of Beauty. Finally, it's important to remember that, rather than shooting for perfection (it's elusive), it's best to shoot for creating…." and replace "(yes! That's me.) with (I resemble this remark). Every garden has seasons of growth and death. In like manner, your Digital Garden will naturally be more prolific in some business seasons than others. Creativity is messy and involved. You’ll deal with branches, leaves, weeds and clutter... plants that go dormant and even ones that die. In the end, you won’t always “plant a winner.” and you won’t always write something that people respond to positively. Further—life happens. You won’t always have time to update things as much as you may like (yes! that’s me!). Tolerate and acknowledge the imperfections. Recognize your limitations. Pare back as necessary (me again). Focus on what’s important. Celebrate your successes and correct mistakes or shortcomings as you can. Don’t seek a magic bullet - just get better with your aim. And finally.... please remember... when the chore of managing your digital garden outweighs the yield of it... rethink your approach entirely. In the end, a garden’s purpose is to serve the needs of the owner as much as it does the welcomed guests. Happy pruning! LEIGH DURST Leigh (Duncan) Durst is the principal of Live Path. She is a 19 year veteran in business, operations and customer strategy, ecommerce, digital and social media. As an active consultant, writer, speaker and teacher, she is an advocate for creating remarkable customer experiences that harness digital media and improving business outcomes. Connect: © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 13
  15. 15. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas How Social Technologies Contribute to a Better Customer Experience By Brian Vellmure During each interaction with a brand, organization, or institution, the person on the other end of the interaction has a perception of how things went. Over time, the accumulation of these touch points deepen the customer’s perception of the organization. These perceptions influence actions (to engage, to buy, to defect, to complain, to share the experience with others…). These actions and interactions establish the long term relational value between organizations and their customers. For these reasons, a growing focus amongst companies of all sizes is being placed on enhancing customer experience. The argument is that in a world where the journey towards products and services commoditization is brief, one of the last remaining competitive advantages is the customer experience. It is the one thing that is nearly impossible to duplicate. Customers have confirmed its importance in multiple surveys. A recent study by RightNow concluded that 86% of consumers would pay more for a better customer experience, and 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. Each year, Forrester Research compiles their Customer Experience Index, where consumers are asked about their preferences and experiences with brands. Companies are then ranked and categorized. Over the past several years, Customer Experience consulting firm, Watermark Consulting has been comparing the financial performance of the Leaders and Laggards from the Customer Experience Index. The results make a strong case that a better customer experience leads to better performance and profitability of organizations. Customer Experience Leaders outperform by 22.5% while laggards underperform by 46.3%. However, it’s important to remember that correlation is not always causation. It’s a data point, and a potentially valuable one. Other research suggests that growing numbers of senior executives and boards are placing customer experience as a top strategic priority. According to surveys done by customer experience firm Beyond Philosophy:  95% of senior business leaders say that the Customer Experience is the next competitive battle ground.  85% of senior business leaders say that differentiating on traditional dimensions is no longer a sustainable competitive strategy. Gartner, in its latest CIO survey, found that CIOs ranked customer relationship management (CRM) as their No. 8 technology priority for 2012, according to a global survey of CIOs by Gartner, Inc.’s Executive Programs. CRM moved up from the No. 18-ranked technology in 2011. Additionally, Gartner’s 2012 CEO Survey found that CEOs cited CRM as their most important area of investment to improve their business over the next five years. © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 14
  16. 16. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas Customer Experience vendors are benefiting from the increased mandate to improve the customer experience. In a recent survey by the Temkin group, more than eight out of 10 vendors expect their 2012 revenues to outpace 2011 by at least 25% and one-fifth of the vendors expect an increase of more than 75%. An Explosion of Channels, Interactions, and Touchpoints Complicating matters of orchestrating improved customer experiences is the proliferation of channels and digital interactions. Not only do customers now interact with organizations on many more channels than they did a decade ago, they also interact with peers, industry analysts, mainstream media, and citizen journalists on multiple channels as well. Each of these interactions contributes to the perception of the company or brand in the mind of the customer. Customers are increasingly expecting organizations to respond quickly on their preferred channel in alignment with their increasing expectations. At each stage of their journey, there is a certain set of expectations. Depending on the stage in the customer’s journey, expectations might include more information, a resolved customer service issue, a technical problem solved, a purchase transaction, and then everything that happens while the product or service is put to use. A study by Bain & Co. found that customers who engage with companies over social media spend 20% to 40% more money with those companies than other customers. However, there’s more to social than just gathering likes and follows. As the interactions between organizations and their customers become more fragmented and dynamic, Social and Collaborative technologies can play a key role in helping organizations differentiate. 1. Listen across a wide spectrum of digital channels –> Deeper Customer Insights—Enhanced Voice Of The Customer (VoC) Feedback 2. Offer a wide array of preferred channels for customers to choose from, including real time unified communications –> Customer Preference Wins 3. Creating and cultivating customer communities to foster interaction, and engagement through depth of resources –> Customer Self Service, Value Co-Creation, Open Innovation 4. Cultivating internal collaboration facilitates more nimble and accurate customer responses. –> Speedy Access To People And Information Who Can Serve Customer Needs Best 5. Analytics across digital channels provides clues for customer journeys and expectations at each stage –> Deeper Customer Understanding Paves The Way For Better Product And Service Design, Better Marketing Messaging And Segmentation, And The Crafting Of A Better Customer Experience. How are you using or planning to use social and collaborative technology to enhance your customers’ experience? BRIAN VELLMURE For more than a decade, Brian Vellmure has impacted hundreds of companies on their journey towards increased profitability through strategic customer focused initiatives. For more insightful thoughts and resources, please visit Brian’s blog at Connect: © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 15
  17. 17. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas Omnichannel Retailing: Let Consumers Design Their Own Experience By Kalina Janevska Technology is rapidly changing the face of customer experience. Almost every retailer operates an e-commerce division of their business and while online purchasing for many is not the primary source of profit today (shopping in United States accounts for 9% of total retail sales, 10% in the United Kingdom), the online experience is undoubtedly a primary source of change in consumer behaviour which will eventually take its toll. The architecture of digital retailing allows e-commerce based companies to achieve greater return on investment: Amazon’s five-year average return on investment, for example, is 17%, whereas traditional discount and department stores average 6.5%. And do so while also reducing prices, forcing brick-and-mortar retailers to re-evaluate their entire way of being. They have been almost forced to either compete on price, which is almost impossible, or provide additional value to compensate for the price difference. Either way the business makes a sacrifice. More importantly, digital retailing and technology have changed customer’s behaviour, expectations and attitudes. Today online retailing occurs for items no one would even dear suggest would happen without the value added by physical interaction. Zappos and ASOS however, selling shoes and apparel, have been growing and making profits for more than a decade now. Information is so accessible that customers are able to check prices and availability of products using their tablets or smartphones on the spot, while in store. And waiting lines are substituted with clicks altering expectations across moments of interaction. With all that, the key mind boggling question becomes: What is the store’s role and value at a time when digital retailing is fast growing? Best Buy’s decision to close 11 stores and withdraw from opening 200 stores in the UK is just an example of what many retailers in western economies think about and fear. Omnichannel Retailing An emerging and growing response to the issue is “omnichannel” retailing. This essentially means integrating physical and online channels in order to provide a seamless experience and implies that the company behaves in a consistent and deliberate manner towards the customer regardless of the door they walk in so to speak. The main assumption here is that the retailer would be able to collect and connect all data they have of the customer (such as preferences for example) through interacting with different channels and use them to decide how to behave towards them at key moments of contact. But rather than trying to predict customer preferences and tailor the experience to them, perhaps businesses should focus on creating settings that allow the customer take over control and design their own experience. This idea was initially proposed by Doc Searls but Don Peppers from Papers & Rogers Group in a recent article summarizes it well: “For years now, Internet guru Doc Searls has been suggesting that the future of commerce will be defined not in terms of how commercial enterprises manage their selling and marketing processes, but by how consumers manage their spending and buying processes… our thinking was that sooner or later technology would be so © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 16
  18. 18. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas inexpensive that consumers would be able to use it themselves to retain control of their own personal information and preferences, rather than having them “managed” by the companies they dealt with…“ What this would mean for the store experience is that, rather than being a point of purchase or key source of information (which it gradually ceases to be) it would actually become, like other moments of contact, merely a space for customer decision making. The Future is Already Here In “The future of Shopping,” Darrell Rigby describes a scenario where a customer walks in the shop to look for an item and on the spot, via her smart phone, used customer reviews, checks prices and even video calls friends for an advice. Imagine a store where customers walk in to and go straight to a terminal that aggregates others’ reviews, scans your bag and suggests the perfect shoe to match and allows you to dial or MMS your best friend for a quick consultation. In the end customers “order the item” in store or not but walking away feeling that space is familiar and safe. The store essentially becomes a familiar space and essentially “time-out” for customers to make up their mind. This is “neither as futuristic nor as fanciful as you might think” as Darrell notes and under these circumstances it will become important for retailers to stay ahead of the curve by designing all that purposefully in the experience. This is a big jump in mindset for retailers and requires e a visionary approach. For example, consider instead of focusing on sales, having stores focus (and measure) number of decisions made or customers’ attitudes changed. Or instead of training staff in knowledge, train them in psychological techniques of confidence boosting. Retailers are forced to start seeing things from a customer perspective (which is not new to them really), but more than ever they need to be courageous and visionary. KALINA JANEVSKA Kalina Janevska is a Consultant at Beyond Philosophy one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Kalina has a deep applied knowledge of Customer Experience in developing economies. Beyond Philosophy provide consulting, specialised research & training from offices in Atlanta, Georgia and London, England. Connect: © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 17
  19. 19. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas Five B2B Brands That “Get” Storytelling By Jesse Noyes Corporate storytelling is nothing new. Presentations and books on telling a great story—opposed to shilling product—are abundant. But examples of brands doing it well are harder to find. That seems to be changing, though. As content marketing and brand journalism takes hold, better corporate storytelling examples have emerged, especially in B2B marketing where sales cycles are long and the need to engage an audience is pivotal. Seeing is learning. With that in mind, we wanted to point out some examples of B2B brands that truly get corporate storytelling. 1. Cisco Cisco has transformed its former News@Cisco site into “The Network”, a dynamic, constantly changing newsroom for topics like social media, collaboration, video and data. They’ve tapped journalists from top-notch media brands. And they provide lots of entertaining technology stories. The result is a full-fledged media platform that gives readers a reason to come back. 2. HSBC A big part of HSBC’s model is focused on global companies. It makes sense then that the bank’s Business without Borders platform is all about providing knowledge to companies who have or intend to expand internationally. The company licenses content from The Wall Street Journal and offers guides on specific topics. With that kind of partnership in place, they ensure great storytelling will live on their site. © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 18
  20. 20. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas 3. Intel A big part of the brand journalism story is curation. Intel is going full force into content curation with it’s recently launched iQ project. Besides the original articles Intel produces, the iQ platform uses an algorithm to identify the content employees are consuming by analyzing actions “likes” and retweets while taking into account recency and shares. The result is a media arm that curates based on Intel’s own staff. 4. GE General Electric is a massive company and a household name. Locked in its impressive history are a ton of stories. GE Reports breaks these out in the form of videos and articles. Some of these are downright fascinating histories, the kind you’d find in a business book. They also position the GE brand as an innovator. 5. Boeing Visit the Boeing site and you’ll find plenty of stories. The brand reveals how it tests and builds its products, not as a pitch but like a news story. And it works. Just check out the views on its YouTube video of testing a rejected takeoff. It’s the kind of storytelling that grips and engages. JESSE NOYES Jesse came to Eloqua from the newsroom trenches. As Managing Editor, it’s his job to find the hot topics and compelling stories throughout the marketing world. He started his career at the Boston Herald and the Boston Business Journal before moving west of his native New England. When he’s not sifting through data or conducting interviews, you can find him cycling around sunny Austin, TX. Connect: © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 19
  21. 21. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas Gen-Y Shoppers Need Next-Gen Service By Fred Brown Step aside Baby Boomers—those born in the ‘80s and ‘90s, otherwise known as Gen-Y (totaling upwards of 80 million people), now represent the largest and most influential group of purchasers today. Many grew up with an internet connection and PC; today they carry smartphones and can access their social network within seconds. Companies trying to grab the attention of this demographic are realizing that engagement begins with their love of technology—equipping mobile and online channels with next generation support technology is the surest path to interacting positively with Gen-Y. Courting Customers with Technology Understanding how to leverage this love of technology to work for a company, rather than against a company is a balancing act. A recent Forrester report states that consumer confidence in technology actually correlates with lower brand loyalty. The path to customer faithfulness may seem like an uphill battle to companies when a device in hand and an internet connection equals instant access to alternative products, peer reviews, and price comparisons. This creates higher availability of options, and can erode brand loyalty—but this isn’t the case when companies start playing offense with proper use of customer experience technologies. Forrester advises businesses to not balk at fickle tech-savvy consumers, but rather embrace their love of technology, listen to what they truly want, and then deliver an experience that uses technology to build a connection between consumers and the brand. Forging this type of connection with customers begins by building holistic experiences around products—from pre-purchase discovery and marketing all the way through to post-purchase support; and it can be achieved through digital technologies and devices. Creating a fast and helpful customer support experience online, and across mobile devices, is critical to the success of eBusiness interactions with Gen-Y. Just as a store hires more sales reps with every physical expansion—customer service channels must evolve to keep pace with companies as they innovate (and thereby complicate) online shopping with next-gen selling technologies. It’s no new concept that technology (when used correctly) can improve the shopping experience. And now, businesses are adopting all kinds of cutting edge strategies to grab the attention of Gen-Y and transform the purchasing process. Virtual supermarkets and changing rooms, endless-aisles, and connected stores are some of the innovations that are leading us into tomorrow. For today, creating a digital, interactive experience boosts brand awareness and engages customers on their own time. Innovations will continue to separate the leaders from the laggards, but how are companies working to control the customer experience, and ensure that service channels can keep up with demand and innovation? An increased emphasis on omni-channel retailing has called attention to the importance of a uniform customer experience across all channels—online, over the phone and in-person. Providing connected support across these channels gives customers seamless service as interactions escalate to live representatives. Impatience is a trait held by all generations, but 60% of Gen-Y agrees that valuing the customer’s time is the most important thing a company can do to provide a consumer with good online customer service. Oftentimes current customer service and online purchasing models place the burden for a successful transaction on the buyer, making them work to complete a purchase and therefore demanding more of the consumer’s time. In an ideal scenario, customers should be able to see a transaction through from start to finish, and access customer service if required, using one channel. © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 20
  22. 22. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas Companies are starting to recognize this customer experience necessity. Equipping their websites and mobile channels with scalable next-generation support technology, such as intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs), companies are able to deliver a unified online shopping experience; and approach customer interactions as an opportunity to not only assist customers, but to also gather information and promote their brand. Generation to generation, IVA adoption rates are already on the rise; Forrester reports that 36 percent of Gen Z (18-22) and 34 percent of Gen-Y (23-31) are embracing the technology. The Digital Divide eCommerce is far from perfect—shopping cart abandonment rates sit at an all-time high of 72%, and are expected to rise. How will this stat be affected as companies continue to enhance the online shopping experience? This battle against poor service begins with engaging customers. It’s not enough to simply make helpful information available, companies need to direct their customers to it. And by offering interactive support to do this, an experience is made personal and a brand comes to life. Suddenly online support isn’t just FAQs or slow chat—it is engaging and instant. Companies across diverse industries—such as Alaska Airlines, Aetna, Shaw Communications, BECU, and the U.S. Army—are using human emulation technology to provide this interactive online experience. With the click of a mouse, users have access to the brand’s virtual ambassador—an expert on the organization and the content that lives online. These IVAs converse with online users using natural language understanding to answer questions and collect information through a dialogue, so users can complete the tasks they arrived at the site to do. For an organization such as the U.S. Army (which heavily targets Gen-Y)—online channels are imperative to reaching their market. Extensive focus group research showed that a vast majority of recruits go online to research what the Army has to offer before walking into a physical recruiting station. Sgt Star (the Army’s IVA) has become the go-to resource for this initial information gathering. He is specifically programmed to interact with Gen-Y, to understand texting shorthand and other neologisms that may be used in conversation with a prospective recruit. With the right technology in place, a company can use every customer interaction as a way to both assist customers and gain insight on their desires. Service is no longer just a drain on resources—revenue and cost can be directly tied to customer experience, and Gen-Y expects that experience to be available online. Gartner explains this in basic terms: create a superior, simple, engaging and powerful experience and revenue will grow. Online shopping technology is evolving and customer experience is more important than ever. Some customers will flock to brands as a result of high-tech offerings—others won’t have the savvy to keep up. Now is the time to incorporate technology that will assist the customer and inform the business—serving as the link between cost and growth. Next-Gen Shoppers Need Next -Gen Service According to Gartner, addressing customer experience is in the top 10 technology priorities for CIOs in 2012. Digital channels and devices have created an empowered customer—and it’s through this technology that businesses start to build an experience and instill customer loyalty. © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 21
  23. 23. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas So what should a company look for in a next-gen service offering? Recognize three important factors: • Scalable assistance. Technology needs to assists customers and help them accomplish tasks efficiently, 40% of Gen-Y will abandon an online purchase if their questions are not answered quickly. Implement a service that can drive simultaneous engagement with a limitless number of users around the most common customer inquiries. This is essential to delivering high-quality customer experiences across touchpoints, while still keeping service efficient and cost-effective. The purpose of the technology is to enable all customers to complete tasks without taxing live service representatives. • Gather information. When a user arrives at a website, click-throughs and navigation behavior show just that—behavior, not desire. Navigation and resources are organized online according to how the company expects users to interact—but is that what the customer really wants? The best way to learn—ask them. Gen-Y is more connected than any other generation, and they are ready to share their opinions. Customer experience technology exists to serve both the customer and the business—be sure to implement one that enables the organization to learn. • Promote the brand. Build an experience; for the U.S. Army this meant creating a digital extension of its brand. The result (as touched upon above): Sgt. Star, a U.S. Army expert modeled after the average soldier and available to every visitor of By offering a digital service representative that users can identify with and trust, the Army created an experience that helps bond its audience of potential recruits with the organization it represents. The bottom line? Better customer experience yields millions in revenue benefits and by 2017, Gen-Y will have more spending power than any other generation. Equipping online shopping channels with technology that compliments nextgen selling strategies means Gen-Y customers will have a better overall experience and build a bond not only with a company’s product and service, but with its technology. FRED BROWN Fred Brown is the Founder and CEO of Next IT Corporation. With Next IT, Fred continues to revolutionize technology’s impact on business with his newest vision—personalizing and humanizing user interactions with technology. Fred is also actively involved in organizations which serve the northwest educational and scientific communities, including serving on the Board of Trustees at Gonzaga University as well as founding WIN Partners LLC, a private investment fund for aspiring technology entrepreneurs in Spokane, Washington. Connect: © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 22
  24. 24. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas Mobile Dilemmas: Letting the Consumer Lead in the Dance for Data By Bryan Pearson One of the most difficult dances to master in the loyalty industry is that which pairs data collection with relevant rewards. It’s a tricky balance, trying to capture the information you need to better serve consumers without crossing the “creepy line.” A great, and timely, case in point is geolocation. Mobile phones and similar GPS systems provide marketers and merchants a wealth of opportunities to better serve consumers with well-timed offers. But they have to actually deliver something of value; otherwise the consumer just feels like he or she is being stalked, not wooed. So it’s no surprise that a recent survey by UC Berkeley Law shows most consumers are against mobile tracking and surveillance. In fact, 96 percent of the survey respondents said they didn’t think their phones should share browsing information with stores, and 79 percent said they would definitely not allow this kind of tracking. I’m not surprised consumers responded in this way. Too often, when it comes to tracking consumer behavior via mobile devices, there is no perceived value exchange. Consumers just feel that someone is watching over their shoulder, not in partnership with them. Of course, consumers deserve not only to be warned about being monitored, they should see value in how their information is being used. Marketers are obligated to show them this value, up front. In other words, let the customer lead. Consider the mistake made by a couple of shopping centers last Christmas season, which wanted to track shoppers’ physical locations via their mobile phones. The consumer blowback was so severe that the malls quickly deep-sixed the plan, but not before losing some customers. Where was the message of value in this plan? Due to such missteps, there is actually an expanding market out there for managing data abuse. The company PrivacyChoice recently introduced a tool that grades Facebook apps based on how they treat and protect users’ data. Our own research of 2,000 U.S. and Canadian consumers reveals similar sentiments about the lack of value in sharing data.  81 percent of those surveyed said they think companies commonly exchange personal information without their permission  74 percent do not feel they are receiving a benefit for sharing personal information  88 percent believe companies use their personal information primarily for the company’s own benefit. Which leads us back to the question: What would it take for consumers to consider sharing the kind of personal information mobile tracking affords? Perhaps the answer is in this response, also from our survey: 66 percent respondents said it would be OK if a retailer sent them a discount off their purchase that day if the shopper had first “checked in” to that retailer through a social network on their mobile device. © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 23
  25. 25. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas See the difference in that last data point? The merchant is first giving consumers some control in the transaction, by giving them the choice to check in. Then, it is offering them a relevant offer right there— delivering immediate value. Learning how to deliver value through data is an ongoing process, especially as technologies and consumer expectation advance. Ultimately, there’s a real opportunity, but both parties—consumers and companies—will need to figure out how to fill out their dance card in a way that benefits both. BRYAN PEARSON With more than two decades experience developing meaningful customer relationships for some of the world’s leading companies, Bryan Pearson is an internationally recognized authority on enterprise loyalty and coalition marketing. Bryan is author of the bestselling book The Loyalty Leap: Turning Customer Information into Customer Intimacy and President of LoyaltyOne, where he heads six global enterprises, leveraging the knowledge of 120 million customer relationships to create relevant communications and enhanced shopper experiences. Connect: © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 24
  26. 26. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas Customer Care 2.0: Helping Mobile Consumers Help Themselves By Andrew Coward For anyone buying a smartphone today, the burden for supporting that device typically falls with the network operator, who is responsible for making sure that the phone works well. In the days of feature phones, this meant dealing primarily with call quality and battery issues. Today, technical support means resolving sluggish performance, application problems, battery drain, configuration issues and bill shock due to unexpected data usage. As smartphone sales have grown, the impact to customer care has been dramatic. The length of time to resolve each technical support call has, on average, risen by ten minutes and the number of escalations from Tier 1 to Tier 2 call agents has doubled. This has had a direct impact on support costs and profit margins—a fact highlighted in numerous quarterly earnings reports by major operators. Source: Carrier IQ customer survey, July 2011 What can be done? At the center of the cost growth lies one essential problem—the amount of time, effort and expertise required to understand each consumer’s problem and then resolve. Much like a doctor, the care agent has to gather a complex list of symptoms from the patient (the consumer). Unlike a doctor, the care agent has very few diagnostic tools to verify the symptoms and to make a diagnosis. What is missing is the expert information necessary to allow the care agent to assist the consumer quickly. Not surprisingly, the best place to gather details on device performance and consumer experience is directly from the mobile device. Gathering performance metrics from the mobile device and then analyzing this information provides expert knowledge to care agents, which can be used to identify and help resolve the consumer’s technical problem. Loading diagnostic agent software on mobile devices prior to shipment, usually at the request of the network operator, allows for this insight. Once in the hands of a consumer, the device works as normal and, with user consent, periodically submits metrics on the performance of the device. Areas covered include call quality, data throughput, device stability, battery life, configuration, and application performance. Once gathered, the data is analyzed to understand what, if any issues are being experienced and to provide details of this experience to care agents. When a consumer calls in for technical support, the care agent is able to use this diagnostic information to identify the consumer’s problem quickly, then resolve or escalate the problem based on the information provided. © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 25
  27. 27. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas Call Triage When a call first reaches the Tier 1 Technical Assistance Center, the first task is call triage - understanding what type of problems the customer is experiencing and identifying if the call can be solved at Tier 1 or if Tier 2 escalation is required and to which group or department. An experience summary can allow the care agent to identify which areas of device performance appear to be causing issues and assist the consumer quickly and appropriately. Understanding normal vs. abnormal performance In every network and with every device, there is an accepted (if not acceptable) performance and behavior of networks and devices. For example, how often do calls drop in your town or how long does the battery in an Android phone last? Understanding “normal” is important in the context of support calls because the care agent needs to understand the consumer’s experience relative to other users. Insight gathered directly from devices helps aggregate the performance of the network by defined area (block, city, region, country) and devices type (make, model, firmware version). This average is then matched against the caller’s details which can then be used to determine the caller’s experience and define what is or is not a “bad” experience. Making the knowledge actionable This information, coupled with machine inferencing of the data allows triage to move forward by categorizing the customer’s experience into network performance, battery life, application issues, system crashes and so on. This allows the Tier 1 agent to address the issue directly—”It appears you have 70 applications loaded on the phone and 10 of them are running and draining your battery”—or pass the call on to tier 2 or tier 3—”I am sorry I can see you are having issues making calls from your office, let me have one of our network engineers call you back.” © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 26
  28. 28. Customer Delight in a Digital World: 10 BIG Ideas When the call does need to be escalated, having the knowledge and insight to track what happened and indeed why it happened requires providing the data behind the machine inferencing to allow human inferencing to take over. Contacting application providers, analyzing crash logs, and examining layer 3 messages between the mobile device and tower all from a set of data delivered from the device and never previously available to answer questions. This data goes a long way to help improve the performance of the network and devices and therefore impact customer satisfaction and churn rates. Unlike other solutions, which allow care agents to “log-in” to a mobile device to view settings and try to understand an issue in real-time, accessing information from the previous ten days activity enables a complete picture of the user experience to be understood. In this way, problems that occur infrequently or can’t be repeated during a support call can be captured and understood. Savings By providing immediate knowledge of a consumer’s issue and insight on the likely cause to Tier 1 agents, call times are radically shortened and the number of calls escalated to Tier 2 or Tier 3 is reduced. If calls are escalated, the details of the consumer’s problem and further data—such as the signaling between the radio tower and the device are captured for further analysis. ANDREW COWARD Andrew Coward is a network industry veteran with global executive leadership and innovation experience in technical development, sales, and marketing. Andrew has consulted with a variety of service providers, enterprises, and governments; he designed and planned some of the largest Asia Pacific networks and one of the first government backbone IP networks in the United Kingdom. Connect: © Copyright 2012 CustomerThink Corp. 27