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  • Are you wasting money on Customer Experience? April 26 2017

    With 90% of CEO’s prioritising Customer Experience as a leading business practice(1), financial scrutiny on performance will only increase to retain board confidence and commitment. However, 90% of programmes are failing to deliver (2) their potential.

    How can you be sure Customer Experience investment is correctly prioritised?

    Most manuals and professional CX speakers would advise practioners to fix what’s upsetting customers and move on to making a point of distinction on what they rave about. Which should push up satisfaction and recommendation scores.

    However, both these customer experience strategies require investment to succeed. What if there is no budget? Can you ‘hedge’ the required investment against incremental sales/profit this focus will deliver? It’s probably not that safe to do so. Evidence shows that only 1% of share of category can be reliably attributed back to these conventional measures (email me if you want more on why this is).

    A more linear approach is to show the reduction in ‘bad demand’ operational costs associated with managing activities creating negative feedback on specific touchpoints. This would show an accountable reduction in costs. Albeit costs created by a bad customer experience in the first place. So should they be classed as a win, or an own goal? Either way, it’s a start.

    This gives you the two more common strategies for CX growth pursued:

    1. Improve that which the business is poor at but customer’s value (also known as the ‘Fix’ phase)
    2. Leverage that which the business is good at and customer’s value (also known as ‘Build’ phase)

    The shortfall here is that the hit list for these strategies rely on customer’s feeding back about what’s great and what’s not. But what if customers don’t vex about an issue? And why wouldn’t they –  because it’s not on their radar? What if there’s nothing wrong or right about an experience but because it’s not important to customers it never gets raised? With most VoC set ups if you don’t hear about it often it gets considered not worth looking at.

    A conventional approach focuses on capturing feedback on customer’s sentiment and intention. But as proved on most voting days, intention and behaviour are often distant relatives. Whereas, understanding actual behaviour caused by Customer Experience is evidence of what customer’s do.

    So rather than only asking how satisfied a customer is with an activity or experience, or which activities they are satisfied with or otherwise, understanding how important an activity is to a customer’s share of category commitment brings behavioural based measurement in to CX. Actual behaviour is a significantly more reliable indicator of decision making than intention.

    This moves the focus from knowing some of what’s going on, to knowing everything

    With fix and build programmes linked to CSAT and NPS inferred scores, there is a read on, ‘what we are good at and what we are not so good at’. By complimenting this with behavioural change insights we are now answering, ‘what customer experiences matters most to a customer’s decision to commit share of category’. This adds the missing commercial dimension to CX performance management and with it reveals two further CX strategies for practioners to pursue. As well as sharpen the purpose of the ‘Improve’ and ‘Leverage’ strategies too:

    1. Monitor and refine/remove CX which the business is poor at and does not impact customer’s decision to commit to us
    2. Improve CX which the business is poor at but impacts customer’s decision to commit to us
    3. Leverage CX which the business is good at impacts customer’s decision to commit to us
    4. Explore the potential in CX Opportunities which the business is good at but does not impact customer’s decision to commit to us

    These are shown in Lexden’s MILO matrix below, which enables prioritisation of CX investment.

    Lexden’s CX MILO Matrix

    The ‘Monitor’ strategy identifies investment which is under-performing and not needed (or as the headline state where a company is ‘wasting money on CX’).

    With conventional feedback this insight isn’t unearthed because it’s the customer experience that doesn’t matter to customers, so it rarely gets asked for or feedback provided – whether it’s good or bad. But if this collated less meaningful activity can be refined, reduced or removed and rationalised costs redeployed to the ‘Improve’ and ‘Leverage’ strategies.

    Which leaves the ‘Opportunity’ strategy, which provides untapped potential for new areas to consider. These could provide future advantage in a maturing CX-led organisation if reshaped and made important to the customer’s decision making or outcomes fulfilment.

    You may be questioning this only works if you know what activities matter in the first place, and their relative degree of importance. If you were starting from scratch that would take longer and cost more to work out than would be of use.

    Fortunately, the missing golden insight is already available

    Leading CX academic Dr Professor Phil Klaus developed a quality of experience measure which identifies which customer experiences impact customer’s behavioural decisions. In conjunction with Prof Klaus, we work with this leading edge CX insight measure, which means we can now add ‘behavioural change’ insight to existing NPS and CSAT measures to create the missing commercial rigour CX deserves.

    With ten years and over 1,000 case studies complete, this award-winning insight informs companies on ‘what matters most’ and ‘what doesn’t matter at all’ when it comes to customer experiences impacting share of category decision making. By identifying the most important 25 customer attributes and experiences (refined from a total of 300), the ‘Experience Quality Measure’ accounts for up to 88% of a customer’s decision making. Making it the most reliable CX measurement available.

    Each individual study completed highlights the specific set of activities and their relative importance for that company. No two outcomes are the same making it the unique CX DNA of a company. The principal advantages of this approach are as follows:

    • It doesn’t matter which CX measure you have in place already, or which VoC platform you use, we run a one-off separate study alongside what’s already in place.
    • The volume of customer contacts engaged to arrive at the experience measure is around 125, so it’s a much smaller study all round, than a VoC programme commitment
    • We are now into our third year working with the approach and translating the academic science into a more workable and accessible insight source for clients to prove profitability from CX
    • The measurement won’t shift overnight, because it’s based on actual behaviour change, not just opinion. So, we recommend capturing and tracking progress annually
    • Competitor data is also captured which means we also know 1) who else has your customer’s share of category and 2) what customer experiences attract your customers to them
    • This insight can be identified and the MILO matrix complete within 8 weeks

    So, there you have it. The ability to identify what drives share of category rather than just favourable commentary.  The confidence to pull out from your plan those activities which matters least. The insight to keep ahead of your competition in CX. Which means CX leaders can demonstrate to budget holders that CX investment isn’t being wasted. In fact, with all four of the MILO strategies pursed it’s driving profitable growth.

    If you’d be interested to see how it works with a case study or how easy it is to add this essential CX insight to the CX governance, please contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com 

    If you’d like to receive more of these, and other articles on driving more profitable Customer Experience, please sign up to our newsletter.

    Lexden helps deliver effective customer experience insight, strategy and solutions for clients seeking sustainable profit from customer experience. If you’ve got a CX challenge, see if we can help.

    (1) Bain (2) Dr Professor Phil Klaus


  • 5 of the best: Top Customer Experience ideas and inspiration direct from CX hot seats April 12 2017

    We’ve been running a series of interviews with CX Directors charged with shaping and driving their company’s Customer Experience. With several now complete, we thought we’d pause and share the articles as a collection.

    At Lexden, we are committed to customer experience as an effective business model. And whilst we enjoy applying our expertise to help clients leverage the effectiveness of their programmes, we believe much of what needs to be done can be done by taking inputs from others in the same role. Which means you need external support less, but when it is needed, it’s valued more.

    With utilities, retail, entertainment and finance covered we hope there are tips and advice in here for everyone.

    How intu Are Revolutionising the Destination Shopping Experience for Consumers

    Read the full interview with Roger Binks, Director of Customer Experience. Click here.

    At British Gas a Customer Strategy Is Useless, Unless People Believe in It

    Read the full interview with Richard Shenton, (former) Customer Experience and Continuous Improvement Lead. Click here.

    FSForum CX Award winners, OneSavingsBank say, “Take Everyone on the Journey with You”

    Read the full interview with Kent Reliance’s Head of Customer Strategy & Insight, Stephen Plimmer. Click here.

    When You Are in Your Customers’ Homes, You Have to Make It Right according to Carpet Right

    Read the full interview with Carpet Right’s Head of Customer Experience, Toni Adams. Click here.

    npower explain how customers are taking centre stage

    Read the full interview with npower’s Head of Customer Experience, Kelly Iles. Click here.

    With aviation, insurance, and hospitality lined up for 2017, we look forward to bringing further inspiration later this year. All our interviews are sent to our Customer Experience Update subscribers.

    If you’d like to receive more of these, and other articles on driving more profitable Customer Experience, please sign up to our newsletter.

    Lexden helps deliver effective customer experience insight, strategy and solutions for clients seeking sustainable profit from customer experience. If you’ve got a CX challenge, see if we can help.

     

     

     



  • Customer Lifetime Value – can you solve the formula? March 24 2017

    Can you solve the formula
    to the right?
    If you paid as much attention to algebra as me in maths lessons at school, probably not.

    That said, I can almost guarantee that you do understand the formula (or at the very least will by the end of this blog!).

    In my time working on a very progressive service initiative in the commercial insurance area, the organisation I was with were responsible for a huge upturn in their new business, rate and retention results by understanding that just because a customer doesn’t choose you this time, doesn’t mean they will make the same decision the next time round.

    What will dictate their next decision will be the feelings and associations they have of you and your brand as a result of the experience you gave them.

    I listened in to a call once where a city Broker spoke with our Trader to say he was placing a £900k risk with a rival insurer after three months of effort on our Traders part. I’ll never forget the startled reaction of the Broker as our trader told him:

    “not a problem, well done, you’ve done a great job to get that price. We’d love to speak with you about it again next year, I’ll put something in our diaries as a reminder”.

    Not only did we win back the risk the next year, but we got a lot more incremental business in the following 12 months from the Broker.

    Moving on to an example of a slightly smaller value, my mortgage company with whom I also have a credit card and a debit card (let’s call it a 321 debit card) recently failed to apply the new rate I had chosen following my initial two year rate coming to its end. They said they hadn’t received the letter, I knew I had sent it – it was their word against mine and as a result of the mistake, I had been overpaying for three months.

    As the conversation unfolded, it became clear that the experience I had expected; application of the new rate going forwards, and no reimbursement for me, wasn’t going to happen. In fact, the excellent, empathetic, and well trained advisor applied and backdated the rate, taking the corresponding amount of money off my next mortgage payment.

    Am I likely to move my mortgage or any of my cards now? Not a chance.

    We at Lexden take the same view. We feel that when deciding whether to set out on a CX journey or not, the last thing any organisation should do is call in the consultants to decide for them.

    It sounds counter-intuitive coming from a CX consultant, but it’s something that we beleive must be owned and driven from within rather than outsourced. It can lead to a complete lack of ownership of CX within the business.

    Whereas we find the most fruitful engagements are those with clients who have a clear desire to deliver excellent experiences. We do of course help them understand what matters most to their customers and how to amplify their authentic difference through customer experience, but throughout we are ensuring ownership, drive and knowledge rests with our clients.

    Our experience of this approach has led to client’s inviting us back in and welcoming us rather than judging the value of CX support provided, time after time. This is my understanding of customer lifetime value (even if I still can’t quite decode the equation!)

    Posted by James Edmonds, Senior Consultant, Lexden

    Lexden helps deliver effective customer experience strategy and solutions for clients seeking sustainable profit from customer experience.

    If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to Lexden’s ‘Customer Experience’ Update for monthly ideas, inspiration and insights to improve your customer strategy endeavours. 



  • At last! A complete listing of all Customer Experience Conference Events March 15 2017

    Earlier this week, we hosted an impromptu gathering of CX leaders for an afternoon tea and a chance to share best practice and trade battles scar stories. One of the areas discussed was the growing number of Customer Experience events and conferences now running.

    Some said they went often, some not at all. But all agreed there are so many now it’s difficult to keep on top of what’s happening and which events you will get the most value from.

    We worked out that if you attend all events you would need a budget of more than £200,000 and over 100 days on the road each year. Increase the budget and you could be travelling from Dallas to Dublin to Dubai to furnish your CX knowledge banks!

    With Customer Experience being such a popular and potentially profitable business model, the signs are that the conference circuit will only be getting busier!

    Which is why we have decided to compile a complete list of all Customer Experience events provided by event promoters and vendors in one place. That way anyone thinking of attending can compare and plan where to go more easily.

    Initially, it will be a listing with some basic criteria highlighted (e.g. sectors, top speakers, location, dates of events, prices, formats, link to websites etc.). But over time we intend to extend the criteria and gather ratings and opinions from those who attend. All of which should allow anyone looking to attend an event a more informed decision.

    If of interest to you, sign up and we will send you the listing.

    [contact-form]

    We will be producing a free quarterly listing of what CX events are coming up. We may eventually set this up on our website with filters so you can search based on sectors, dates, prices etc. Our first listing will be released later this month.

    Why attend CX events at all? We support attending the right events. Having spoken and attended before, I know if you pick the right event it will be jam-packed with insight, ideas and inspiration. You can meet some wonderful people in CX there who are generous with the benefit of their experience and will walk away with learning relevant to your business challenges. All of which adds up to a day well spent.

    But pick the wrong event and you could be listening to other people’s worlds failing to connect them to yours, feel passively sold to by vendors, find yourself edging into a corner to lunch away from the over-networking crowd and eventually decide that the ‘not quite so urgent’ email needs immediate attention and leave early.

    So why are we doing this? We are independent Customer Experience Consultants and not associated with any group or vendor running these events. Those who know us know we like to help those in CX improve their skills, what they do and what positive change they deliver. So, whenever we see the opportunity to do this we endeavour to help.

     

     

     

    Lexden delivers effective customer experience solutions for clients serious about sustainable customer relationships.

    If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to Lexden’s ‘Customer Experience’ Update for monthly ideas, inspiration and insights to improve your customer strategy endeavours.



  • Achieve World Class Customer Experience in 3 Steps February 27 2017

    Most organisations have invested in a customer experience programme. Some are making a real success of theirs. We’ve had the pleasure of supporting some of these with their endeavours, interviewed CX leaders about their progress, judged winning CX award entries and experienced award success with our own clients.

    However, we’ve also seen the evidence of programmes which fail to make the grade. There are a number of reasons for this. Sadly, it often boils down to investment in technology choices, neglecting to bring key stakeholders on the journey and chasing the wrong KPI’s.

    But, any company can be transformed into delivering an award winning, world class customer experience which they are recognised for and their customers choose them over other choices for, in three steps. Furthermore, all three steps can be complete with 4 months.

    3-steps-pic

    Step 1 CX Programmes Profitability Alignment

    Make sure the CX Programme activities are aligned to those which are known to drive success

    Only 10% of CX programmes achieve their profit potential. It’s not surprising, research conducted in this area has identified there are 47 critical activities, which managed effectively, increase programme profitability by 600%. Now available as an evaluation tool (CXPPA) developed from CX Typology research(1), any organisation can benchmark how they are set up and managing CX against the world’s most successful performing programmes.

    This evaluation not only benchmarks, but identifies how programmes compare to the best CX performers, as well as recommends what needs to be improved in which order to increase profitability. This step is achievable in 3 to 4 weeks.

    Step 2 Prioritising What Matters Most 

    Know what experiences matters most to customer’s decisions to choose one brand over others

    Attention should always identify ‘what matters most to customers’ early.

    By which we don’t mean, how to ‘make it easy’ or how to ‘personalise the experience’, we mean understanding what drives customer’s behavioural change. This is the most reliable indicator of customer’s decision to choose one organisation over another. In addition, it is a very effective way to understand how to improve both Customer Satisfaction and Net Promoter Scores.

    Research conducted(2) into what drivers customer experience behaviour has identified that 25 customer drivers account for over 80% of everything any CX leader needs to know about what customers want fulfilled.

    However, many of these 25 drivers have little to no influence on customer decision-making so are surplus to requirements. Which means if you reduce investment in them, performance scores stay the same, but costs can be taken out. Meaning the company is more profitable overall.

    In addition, those drivers which are the most influential, are highlighted. This is where a company should focus CX investment to increase NPS, CSAT, profitability and success.

    These drivers are known as Experience Quality Measures (EXQ) and are the work of Dr Professor Phil Klaus, world-renowned Customer Experience Academic.

    Through Lexden, all companies can now identify their own EXQ set and with it know what to prioritise to improve their NPS and CSAT performance. This step is achievable in 4-6 weeks.

    Step 3 Competitor Advantage with Customer Experience

    Make sure the brand difference is amplified through the experiences 

    The third step, enables a company to achieve competitive advantage through customer experience. Why is this worth noting? Much customer experience efforts are operationally or technologically efficient improvements. These are typically delivered with little consideration of how to build brand distinction. This means competitors can copy the ides and therefore neutralise any brand advantage which could have been achieved. In fairness, brand doesn’t help as the brand architecture is not seen as accessible working tool to apply

    However, by designing a Brand Experience Platform, this is overcome and the brand becomes an asset to the customer experience. It is made up of two principal elements:

    • Brand Experience Idea – which acts as a rallying cry for all colleagues to connect the advantage of the brand to the importance of customer experience, in a way which all can understand.
    • Branded Customer Standards – these are the set of drivers (as mentioned in step 2) which matters most to customers, translated into standards the company must deliver to in a way only they can. This is most powerful when standards relate to profitability. These ‘standards’ can then be used universally by the company to design internal practices and ways of working and external delivery and experiences. All employees can then confidently work to deliver consistent experiences, which will further reinforce brand distinction.

    Step 3 is about putting a framework in place to ensure consistency and making the most of the brand. Achievable in 6-8 weeks.

    So there you have it. Three steps to take any programme from where it is to world-class.

    All three programmes are available from Lexden should assistance getting there be needed. We’d be happy to share more with you and see if we can add real value to your endeavours. However, ownership of what you do and why, must stay within the organisation, not leave with the consultancy or customer feedback platform provider (the fourth reason for failure!).

    cb2

     

     

     

    Lexden delivers effective customer experience solutions for clients serious about sustainable customer relationships.

    If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to Lexden’s ‘Customer Experience’ Update for monthly ideas, inspiration and insights to improve your customer strategy endeavours.

    (1) CX Typology is the copyright of Prof Dr Phil Klaus.

    (2) Experience Quality Measurement (EXQ) focuses on the behavioural change achieved by a brand through customer experience. EXQ is the copyright of Prof Dr Phil Klaus.


  • Lexden’s top 3 Customer Experience moments of 2016 January 19 2017

    As you would expect from a Customer Experience Consultancy, we collect examples of good and bad practice in customer experience as sales execs collect air-miles. So the office conversation often turns to something we’ve seen or experienced and what impact we feel it has on customer’s future commitment to that brand.

    We took this ‘I wonder’ a little further and created two twitter characters to collect stories from people too. Grumpy persona @vexvox collects and distributes stories from others on the woes of customer experience, whilst his upbeat cousin @fondfox shares applauds stories of positive customer experience.

    If you want to here what people have been saying about your brand, let us know

    Keeping the mood on customer experience light, we’ve collated our favourite three experiences from last year. We hope you find these examples inspirational and can see how the ‘themes’ involved can be taken back and embedded in to your own programmes.

    #1 Adidas (Christopher, MD, Lexden)

    July 2016 and walking down the Champs-Elysee my son spots an Adidas store. Despite his heart being set on a pair of Nike ‘sock’ football boots for his birthday the following month, we go in.

    adiddas-2

    In the store, we were approached. When we mentioned the sock boot the assistant said the only way to know if the Adidas boot might be better is to play football in them. At which point he got a pair out which my son tried. The Adidas assistant also got out a ball and turned the shop into a training ground; passing, lobbing over clothes rails and shooting at walls. My son stated it was one of the highlights of his time in Paris. The next month he switched his allegiance and requested a pair of Adidas sock boots for his birthday. Link to full article.

    #2 Wordery (Leanne, Office Manager, Lexden)

    wordery2One of the gifts Leanne ordered up as a Christmas present for a nephew was an Aladdin, popup book which also played music. Although on opening it her nephew found it didn’t play anything. Fretting about how to get it returned as it had been free delivery, Leanne contacted the online retailer, Wordery. Their returns policy couldn’t have been better. They apologised, didn’t question the legitimacy of the dispute, explained even though it doesn’t happen often a replacement was in the post already. Not bad.

    But what about returning the faulty book? Returns are proving to be a killer pain point in customer experience for online companies. Not with Wordery, they said no return of the book was needed, just a copy of the ISBN page details. What really impressed us was they asked if Leanne could drop the book off at a children’s home or hospital to enjoy.

    #3 Mercedes-Benz (James, Senior Customer Experience Consultant)

    You may be aware but Mercedes-Benz are one of the best performing customer experience brands in the world. Their CX drives contentment, commitment and contribution from their customers. This example highlights why.

    mercedes

    https://mercedes.citnow.com/vxxHgsLNh9S link to service video.

    James’ took his car in for a service. Most of us worry about what the costs will be and part of the anxiety is created by the ‘behind closed doors’ set-ups of garages. The layout is no different at Mercedes-Benz, but recognising this anxiety and wanting to reaffirm their transparent approach to servicing, they sent a video of the service being conducted through. It’s not a new idea, Pizza Express brought the kitchen experience into the restaurant a few years ago. But it’s still a powerful one which creates confidence in the quality of the service and therefore overall brand trust.

    We hope you enjoy these varied examples from our 2016 vaults.

    If it floats your boat, our monthly Customer Experience Update contains similar content as well as the latest developments in Customer Experience, successful case studies and interviews with leaders. You can the vanguards in customer experience, and subscribe for free here.

    cb2

     

     

     

    Lexden delivers effective customer experience solutions for clients serious about sustainable customer relationships.

     


  • Can you really coach Customer Experience? January 18 2017

    Because I’m totally sure you can.

    A recent visit to Bluewater involved buying some new shoes for my wife. On inspecting two different colourways of the said shoes, we inadvertently swapped their designated positions on the wall display. Having worked as Floor Manager between College and University (a good few years ago) in the Nike store in Brighton, I understand that visual merchandising does have a purpose, but what happened next led me to ask the above question.

    As we stepped back to review the range again, an employee of the shop then walked over (without asking us if we needed any help may I add) to stand in front of the shoes, and moved the two shoes back to their original positions, while being so far in to our personal space that we had to take a couple of steps back.

    No big deal really, but I can think of at least six very simple things that were wrong from a CX perspective within this ten second (non) interaction.

    How did it impact our behaviour? We went and got the shoes at a direct competitor.

    The thing is though, if I had gone through this with the assistant, I really don’t think he would have for one second understood why any of those six points were a poor experience, and I think his response would have been something like ‘well the shoes have to be in that order…’.

    Saving the conversation about customers’ having poor experiences because internal rules and processes for another time, can you really coach Customer Experience to someone this oblivious to what’s best for the customer at any given time?

    Satisfied at having a new customer experience to talk about, I began to think back to my time in the Nike sto
    re – did my customers have poor experiences under my watch when I was young and single-minded? Well, yes, they did.

    I can remember two instances. Firstly, obsessed with my sales figures vs. the 1st floor of the shop, I would routinely send customers upstairs for refunds so my figures weren’t affected. Secondly, I remember closing the changing room to customers once, just so I could get in and out to access mannequins/shelves/fittings etc. to work on merchandising. The area Manager turned up that day, and at the time I scoffed at his disgust that I was making people go upstairs to try on their clothes – of course now practising customer experience I acknowledge how right he was!

    So, here I am now able to recognise and improve poor customer journeys – what happened? Was I coached, or did I just learn through osmosis, working in organisations who care about the customer? A mixture, is the answer. Formal coaching has had a place, customer focussed programmes and developing a Customer Experience Centres of Excellence have too, as have particular managers, whom I had great respect for.

    The true answer though, if there is one, lies for me in recruitment (and the resulting culture). While my conclusion means that I slipped through the net as someone who didn’t really understand the value of every interaction with the customer at the time.

    If your recruitment programme has genuine focus on recruiting staff (consistently and at all levels) who understand that everything they do has a positive or negative emotional impact on the customer at each touchpoint, the organisation itself will begin to take the shape of one that customers want to join, stay with, and talk about positively.

    If you run or are involved in a customer experience programme consider how central are Recruitment to that? do they look for people with suitable customer experience tags, or individuals who can talk about emotive and commercial impact in the same sentence? I’d argue the former gives you shoes laid out in the right order, the later a deep understanding of why customer experience matters.

    With 89% of companies prioritising customer experience in 2017, attention to all impacting areas on CX success come in to play if you want to drive success. If you’d like to know how to recruit the right customer experience types, contact us and we will let you in on the secret.

    Posted by James Edmonds, Senior Consultant, Lexden.

    Lexden helps deliver effective customer experience strategy and solutions for clients seeking sustainable profit from customer experience.

    If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to Lexden’s ‘Customer Experience’ Update for monthly ideas, inspiration and insights to improve your customer strategy endeavours.  


  • What Are The 3 Essentials For Successful Customer Experience? December 13 2016

    I should start by qualifying our definition of ‘successful’ customer experience. At Lexden we always focus on success being about customer contentment, commitment and category contribution. The outcome of which leads to an increase in contribution attributable to Customer Experience investment.

    So, what drives success in CX (Customer Experience)? According to Professor Dr Phil Klaus’ published studies only 10% of companies optimise the potential returns from their customer experience efforts. The globally renowned customer experience author’s studies also show there are three qualities common to the leaders in CX.

    • #1 Measure What Matters 
    • #2 Customer Culture Conviction
    • #3 Touch-point Management

    Here we share our interpretation of these key qualities and the value of prioritising them in your business. If you would like a white paper on any of these areas of effective Customer Experience, please contact us:

    #1 Measure What Matters

    Too often in customer experience, customer sentiment or intention is mistaken for a measurement of customer commitment. The board sees an NPS (Net Promoter Score) or CSAT  (Customer Satisfaction) score and assumes if the number is going up, the business is performing better.

    However, it has been proven there is a very low correlation between these customer scores and the share of the customer category the company has. In fact, less than 1% according to Measuring Customer Performance (Author: Prof Dr P Klaus). The method used; EXQ (Experience Quality Measure) has been refined to assess the impact of customer experience on customer behaviour.

    We’ve been involved in several client commissions using EXQ, which like the hundreds of other studies conducted, has highlighted the customer experiences which really matter most to customers and the actual share of category that converts into (which is what the board often think they are getting with the conventional CX measures).

    exq-explanation

    It’s powerful stuff. A recent commission we conducted highlighted EXQ was 50 times more predictive than NPS in identifying the attributes which matter most to customers. Which provides a much more robust basis for CX budget discussions!

    The CX leaders are tracking indicators which align customer performance to profitability AND tell you where to prioritise investment – that’s measuring what matters.

    #2 Customer Culture Conviction

    ‘Putting customers at the heart of business decisions’ is a sentiment we’ve stuck by and one we believe helps embed prioritising customer outcomes in the very fabric of an organisation.

    However, we find the interpretation of ‘customer’ and how to incorporate customer experience in the organisation varies wildly. Most have a commitment to customer, but few have worked out what a customer really want as an outcome, and less than being able to fuse that with the differentiation their brand positioning can fulfil.

    We also find that customer experience is often pushed to front line staff, those engaging with customers. However, for a culture of customer commitment to become a natural state, every colleague in the organisation needs to incorporate delivering customer outcomes in their day-to-day activities. It’s as much the responsibility of the Head of Finance or Audit as it is the Contact Centre Manager or Store Manager.

    It should also not be driven by brand, but must incorporate the brand. Brand agencies grab CX budget for extraordinary demonstrations of branded customer experience, but it’s the day-to-day experiences which will be remembered and influence decision-making. Ads should demonstrate the valued CX, but not try to be the CX.

    To create a culture of customer commitment in the organisation you need:

    • Common place behaviours
    • Consistent delivery
    • Customer outcome driven thinking
    • Customisation to affirm brand advantage

    brand-platformTo achieve this, we employ our Brand Experience Platform and Branded Customer Standards to ensure customer experience is delivered by all, consistently to fulfil customer outcomes in a way that emphasis the advantage of the brand.

    With the platform established, training and socialising customer experience principles is straightforward. Which means translation and adoption happens.

    #3 (Outsourced) Touch-point management

    We have plenty of experience in customer journey mapping for clients. The value of these working documents is that they unearth excellence and shortfalls in CX. If equipped with the right tools (such as Customer Standards or EXQ Customer Attributes) the business can set about improvements.

    That said, mapping is a very useful activity to identify what is and isn’t managed ‘on us’. What about those activities which are with third parties to complete?  This recent example highlights the point well. A client noticed despite a high satisfaction rating on their VoC (Voice of the Customer) touch-points, client attrition was high so engaged Lexden to investigate.

    We conducted a couple of days’ of exploratory journey mapping across several country regions. By doing so we identified the most important touch-points and then realised some had been outsourced to a third-party administer some time ago. It wasn’t clear why it had been set up this way, but it hadn’t been recognised as valuable to the overall customer experience before.

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    It was now managed through a procurement relationship where the annual emphasis was on reducing supplier costs by 10%. The squeeze was put on the supplier who had no relationship with the client (so used Google to better understand their company) and the impaired experience was leading to defection. But because there was no VoC set up against this outsourced touch-point it didn’t show on the feedback reports.

    When you assess how much of a brand’s total ‘experience’ is outsourced, it can add up to an alarming amount. In the airline sector for some carriers more than 50% of customer interactions are outsourced; from website booking, ticketing, check-in, baggage handling and customer service. But whilst the customer perceives it’s the airline’s responsibility they will blame them when these touch-points fail.

    Outsourcing can lead to irrecoverable customer dissatisfaction. Use Customer Journey Techniques to evaluate the efficiency v effectiveness of outsourcing.

    We hope you can take these priorities back to your own programmes and review their effectiveness. If you’d be interested to head more or need either quick-fix or strategic support, we can help.

    At Lexden, we’ve developed programmes to manage the most impacting drivers of customer experience success. Overviews on EXQ, Brand Experience Platform and Effective Touch-point Management are available on request; christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com.

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    Lexden delivers effective customer experience solutions for clients serious about sustainable customer relationships.

    If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to Lexden’s ‘Customer Experience’ Update for monthly ideas, inspiration and insights to improve your customer strategy endeavours. 


  • Outsourcing – the grass is always greener…isn’t it!? December 9 2016

    Most of us, at one time or another in our corporate lives, will have been involved in a meeting or project where outsourcing to an external provider works its way to the fore, and becomes the desired option for the business, and for all the right reasons (you convince yourself).

    Such a seductive idea – ‘we can rationalise FTE’, ‘we can make efficiency gains’, ‘we can reduce bad demand’ – after all, ‘they’re the experts at this stuff!’. The most tempting of the potential upsides though, will always remain cost.

    Don’t get me wrong, in the right circumstances, for the right reasons, and executed in the right way, outsourcing is a hugely effective option, and can deliver great benefits.

    1. The first benefit is flexibility; the insurer who can lean on an outsourcer through a weather event to increase their capacity is an insurer who will save money, and be able to offer assistance to customers in their hour of need.
    2. The second is speed; the bank who wants to move in to a new international market can do it a lot quicker by situating themselves in the interim with an outsourcer with local market access and erudition, already set up with access to and knowledge of how to use their systems.
    3. The third (and most alluring) is cost; the aforementioned bank and insurer are able to start up their new operations with very little cost compared to a totally new call centre based in the UK or abroad – a positive nod from the board would surely ensue.

    Adding flexibility and speed to a business while reducing cost makes for a fantastic set of KPI’s, but this won’t happen if a focus on quality is lost – this is where Lexden come in as CX consultants. We ensure the customer experience isn’t impacted. We cover a broad church in CX, but cost rationalisation can kick-start freeing budget to fuel the CX programme. Our studies show over 50% of CX investment has little to no impact on customer commitment.

    In May 2013, O2 extended its existing contract and outsourced all of its customer facing operation to Capita (yes, all), with the aim of saving a billion (yes, a billion) pounds over the next ten (yes, ten) years. This was a huge strategic move from O2 – they had lost direct contact with their customers, had committed to the board and shareholders to save £1bn, and were committed to one partner for ten long years in an environment of constant, accelerating change alongside ever expanding customer expectations.

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    Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn’t it?

    Well, three years on it hasn’t gone too badly. In 2015, the partnership won three major industry awards dished out by the National Outsourcing Association: the Telecommunications, Utilities and High-Tech Outsourcing Project of the Year, BPO Contract of the Year and the CCA Excellence Award for Best Outsourcing Partnership. While not quite running at the £1bn run-rate, efficiency savings are being made, along with improved incident resolution speeds for O2 customers.

    The positives aside, I can’t help but think about the lost opportunity cost of not having O2 culturally ingratiated staff, living and breathing the brand, cross selling and upselling to deliver the best results for the company they are a part of is unknown – we will save that for another day though.

    We at Lexden interacted with two major outsourcers when researching a new UK call centre for one of our clients, who wanted to rationalise their customer service offering, to realise synergies in both sites and roles. An interim move to a call centre elsewhere in the UK, while they found their feet and set themselves up in the area for the long term was a very appealing option to them.

    Having Programme Managed similar projects in the past, it sounded to me like the kind of project that any outsourcer would bite our hands off for, but the difference in appetite was simply stunning. I’ll get to the punch line later, but a very helpful member of staff from one organisation acted quickly upon my email inquiry.

    Within a few hours, I was on a conference call with her, and two of her colleagues, so they could understand my requirements (an understanding of their bespoke offering, some case studies, and an analysis of the best place to establish a call centre in the UK). Both were delivered in the next few days, and we were able to confidently go back to our clients and present them tangible tactical and strategic options.

    As a result, whether it’s on this project or the next, we now have a healthy relationship with them, and would have no hesitation to recommend their services to our clients going forwards.

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    The next outsourcer however beggared belief. An off day maybe, but I emailed them, and didn’t hear back. I then rang them three times, on the number on their website, at 9.06, 9.23 and 9.45, and on all three occasions they failed to answer the phone, and didn’t get back to me when I left a message on their answerphone.

    The one thing I would have expected them to be able to do would be respond to a customer over the phone or on email!

    To be able to value something you need to experience it first. On this encounter, it’s fallen short. While my experience may not consistent with the standards they set, it has left an impression. These human interactions along with the business capability score-card is what we will use to assess suitability at this stage.

    As independents, at the outset we have no allegiance to any vendor. But the experience delivered through engagements which lead to appointment are critical contributors leading to preference.

    Posted by James Edmonds, Senior Consultant, Lexden

    Lexden helps deliver effective customer experience strategy and solutions for clients seeking sustainable profit from customer experience.

    If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to Lexden’s ‘Customer Experience’ Update for monthly ideas, inspiration and insights to improve your customer strategy endeavours. 


  • What will the 2017 Voice of the Customer priorities be? December 5 2016

    Voice of the Customer (VoC) has emerged as one of the most invaluable tools for companies to prioritise investment, remove inefficiency and create a differentiating experience for their customers.

    Commissions from clients, have meant we at Lexden have had the opportunity to review the most worthy customer feedback platforms and support set-ups available. We often find from the dozens available on a few truly meet the clients spec, and then when you add in key ‘soft’ criteria such as working style and sector understanding one or emerge.

    It has helped us advise clients on which platform will give them the results they need to drive CX forward in the business. A poor VoC set up can suffocate CX potential in an organisation

    It has also led us to creating Client Only VoC discussion groups, where VoC and CX managers meet and discuss their challenges, their vendors and drive out solutions amongst themselves. The non-compete, free gathering has proven useful to those with established programmes to understand the value of new techniques and technology as well as to those starting out to understanding how to avoid the pitfalls.

    We have are not aligned to any tech vendor, so can objectively facilitate the group to ensure all benefit. One of the discussion areas is the future of VoC, so we have pulled together a questionnaire to get a view on what VoC practitioners believe 2017 priorities will be.

    If you manage or play an active role in customer feedback in your organisation (clients only), please can you contribute your opinions to the 4 question survey below.

    Results will be published as an anonymous representation of VoC practitioners in an article The Customer Experience Magazine in January 2017. Once you’ve completed the survey, if you would like results sooner, please email on christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com.

    Posted by Christopher Brooks, Customer Experience Consultant, Lexden

    Lexden helps deliver effective customer experience strategy and solutions for clients seeking sustainable profit from customer experience.

    If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to Lexden’s ‘Customer Experience’ Update for monthly ideas, inspiration and insights to improve your customer strategy endeavours. 


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