There was a piece of research from e-consulting that showed CX was perceived to be the most fun area of business to be involved in. Whether you are putting a smile on the customer’s face every day or helping the CEO understand the correlation between fulfilling experiences that matter and profitability, you can see how the argument stacks up. Positive outcomes create contentment all round.
I’ve been involved across all areas of Customer Experience for most of my working life. From helping improve clients CX endeavours when others have left things a little unravelled or working up from the blank page to create CX strategies which reposition a company’s focus from product to customer right through to
DESIGNING AND BUILDING EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT CX BOARD GAMES!
Yes, you read that correctly. I didn’t expect it would be something I would need to do as a CX strategist, but now I’ve done it and clients have played it, it is possibly my favourite part of customer experience. It has also helped me fully understand the significant difference between a CX Consultant and a Management Consultant.
Why a CX board game?
Some years ago, I was working with Carlson Rezidor (Radisson Red, Blu and Park Inn) as CX Consultant. Each of their three hundred plus hotels received a continuous slice of Medallia customer feedback. But it wasn’t always easy to engage employees at each hotel to review and act on what they received. Especially when they had a list of other ‘asset’ issues to sort out.
So we devised a format to ensure the hotels received a more ‘digestible’ format of the insight. But they needed more to act upon it. The option was to visit each hotel to workshop the value of VoC and how to employ it to achieve better customer outcomes, I realised if I committed I might be on the road forever and never see my family again!
Let the CX games commence!
It was then that it came to me. I needed a format for engagement that didn’t rely upon an individual leading, but kept players together. I spoke to contacts in the gaming world and I soon realised a remote digital solution was a death knell when it came to interactive game play like this.
So, I sat down and devised a board game which was focused on providing customers solutions using clients’ customer feedback data, so the insight would become a key part of the play. The idea being that colleagues from across the hotel could come together (breaks or team meet times), review the big issues and use the game mechanic to arrive at better outcomes. For the hotel the concept was ‘checking guests in, being served with a problem and then devising solutions based on proven ideation techniques we provided’.
The solutions would then be approved by other players (representing the guests) and put into practice at the hotel. The results would be shared with other hotels across EMEA using a micro-site we’d built. If those receiving hotels had the same issue, they got a prompt and could choose to save time and employ the idea too. This became the ‘customer facing’ version. This way it could be packaged up and sent to each hotel to run with instructions, but without me.
The ‘MAKING A CX DIFFERENCE’ BOARD GAME, IS BRANDED TO WHICHEVER COMPANY IS USING IT AND THE CONTENT AND DESIGN PLAY TWEAKED TO SUIT THEIR PURPOSE. SO IT’S A UNIQUE CONCEPT FORMAT FOR EACH COMPANY.
We have since developed and successfully delivered a version for employees who are not connected to the customer. They bring their business challenges instead of customer challenges to the meeting and we use a similar set of techniques to create solutions which customers would approve of. Whilst it’s a great way of introducing colleagues from across the business to customer experience, it’s also a great ‘problem solving’ format for any team away day.
Game play has become known as the ‘SPARK sessions’ following one participant’s comment that it had at last ignited the connection between their back office role and its impact on the end customer for the first time. We also run ‘trainer’ sessions with ‘Pass it on’ packs for those attending to cascade the knowledge to their colleagues.
CX-DNA, our magic ingredient to success
The gaming session intentionally only lasts 45 minutes, which keeps energy levels up. This can be accompanied by a ‘what is CX-DNA’ interactive workshop format we’ve developed. This introduces participants to the difference between customer experience and branded customer experience.
To get to this we apply an extra ingredient, which is very much to do with the end customer. As specialist in customer-led thinking, and using either clients existing customer drivers sets or conducting our own CX behavioural change research as an input source. We identify what outcomes customers are looking to fulfil through the relationship with the brand and understand how to frame this as a set of Branded Customer Standards that only that brand can deliver (we call it CX-DNA).
These are validated and articulated as an accessible set of Customer Standards to help colleagues’ prioritise and direct decision-making in favour of achieving the right customer outcomes. This enables us to be confident that any decision (internal or external) will be seen as valued by customers, and differentiated to competitors. We have found this is the smartest way to get employees from all areas of the business on-board with branded customer experience.
What do clients say about playing Lexden’s Customer Experience Game?
The outcome is always the same: employees empathise with customers, understand the impact their actions have on customers, take ownership of improving the situation and drive the change though.
Clients have expressed their satisfaction with the format and we find it delivers the value of CX more effectively than any town hall, video or presentation can. We’ve had some great feedback:
- “REALLY ENJOYED THE WHOLE APPROACH – ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT WE GOT TO BE HANDS ON”
PM COMMUNITY MANAGER, TRANSFORMATION & CHANGE
- “GOOD INTERACTIVE SESSIONS HAD BEEN CREATED TO STRETCH THE MIND AND REALLY THINK ABOUT WHAT CUSTOMER STANDARDS MEANS IN YOUR OWN WORLD”
INTERIM HEAD OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS
- “VERY INTERACTIVE AND FUN WAY OF LEARNING… QUALITY OF MATERIALS WAS VERY HIGH. REINFORCED OUR RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL BEING ADVOCATES OF CUSTOMER THINKING”
HEAD OF AUDIT
- “I THOUGHT THE APPROACH WAS GREAT. A BREATH OF FRESH AIR WHAT WITH THE LEVEL OF ENGAGING MULTIMEDIA, INCLUSIVE GROUP ACTIVITY AND FUN FOCUSED ON WHAT I FOUND TO BE A VERY USEFUL FRAMEWORK. ALL TRANSFORMATION SHOULD AIM TO BE LIKE THAT.”
SOLICITOR, TREASURY & CORPORATE LEGAL
- “I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED THE SESSION AND WOULD ENCOURAGE THE BANK TO HOLD MORE ENGAGING SESSIONS SUCH AS THIS ON OTHER TOPICS IN THE FUTURE”
FINANCIAL ACCOUNTANT, FINANCIAL CONTROL
- “I REALLY ENJOYED THE SESSION AND GAINED COMFORT FROM THE FACT THAT WE COULD ALL SEE WHERE WE ADD VALUE TO THE CUSTOMER IN THE WORK WE DO”
ANALYSIS & BUILD LEAD, IT RELATIONSHIP AND CHANGE
- “I REALLY ENJOYED THE SESSIONS …AND I WANT TO CONDUCT IT FOR MY TEAMS”
BUSINESS READINESS MANAGER
If this has been of interest, why not find out more?
We can provide the ‘Making a CX Difference’ board game as a finished product for you to use with your colleagues, or we can facilitate groups from 8-200 in gaming sessions or training.
If the Customer Standards are of interest, we can share much more on the thinking and the difference applying Customer Standards in Customer Experience can have on the potential for sustained commitment by all to CX.
OCTOBER 20 2017
It used to be said consumers will see 5,000 (Walker-Smith) advertising messages every day. From how frequently I am asked I’m sure that number will soon be overtaken by ‘customer feedback requests’! I was at a CX event recently where one company alone claimed they had over 300 listening points! As customers we seem to be asked at every keystroke or foot step to provide feedback for one thing or another.
Is the purpose to better understand how to enhance the experience to fulfil known customer outcomes or to be tipped off about processes which weren’t fit for release? The question is will this use of feedback by companies to discover their own faults enhance the overall customer experience or over time impair perceptions of the company?
I’ve heard it said, ‘but it’s feedback, that’s different to comms’. Organisations can’t afford to believe feedback systems are in a bubble and won’t impact the customer’s overall perception of their experience? Our evidence, from research and from helping companies caught in this space shows that whilst ‘being listened to’ is important to many customers (so much so it can be a driver of decision making), it still needs to be timely, measured and meaningfully executed if it is to be recognised and valued by customers. We once collated a number of feedback survey data sets for a client for analysis to discover that two of the top five reasons for detractor scores were the quality and quantity of surveys received by customers!
Too often the brand experience is absent in VoC design. Like customer communications and brand activation, the voice of the customer presentation to the customer should be aligned to the brand value and visual identity, and most importantly adhere to the brand experience standards. However, the flexibility here is often limited by vendor platform capability which may be limited to a logo, colour palette or font change.
I saw an example recently where the company’s feedback button had been launched on top of the customer ‘contact us’ button used for sales. Brand should be at the table when it comes to VoC feedback design as well as being grateful recipients of the insights.
Is quality sacrificed for quality?
When I walk through an airport, I’m asked for feedback on how the experience was at security, passport control, at Starbucks, WHSmith, the loos etc. – it seems everywhere. And any bored 5-year walking to the gate ahead of me gets to whack the same set of buttons as me. I chose not to tap because of the floored value, even though I had an experience I wanted to feedback. How useful is that data exchange?
If this was a polling station, or online questionnaire, the child’s feedback would be recorded as a spoil. But not here – every ‘whack’ and ‘whacker’ is equal. Worryingly there will be a group of execs sitting around a table analysing this data and deciding investment choices for the airport experience!
Doubling up. Dumbing down.
The ease of serving online feedback might ultimately become the catalyst for their demise. This recent personal account highlights my point. Having spent less than £6 on a screen cleaner fluid for my son’s laptop using Amazon Prime, I then received two requests for feedback (on a product I’ll never use).
First Amazon came knocking. They wrapped three questions into one answer (ouch), not sure I’ve seen that in any MRS training manual. The third of which isn’t applicable to most customers. The questions are also about the seller who Amazon highlights as an unnamed ‘seller’. Well the seller to me is Amazon. I bought my product through their platform and I paid them. So, the buck starts and stops with them surely?
And then the actual seller approaches me and asks more questions. They want to know about the product. They want ‘2 min’ of my time, that’s twice as long as it took to buy the product! I am then confused because they refer to leaving a review on Amazon ‘for millions of shoppers awaiting your feedback’. As useful as screen cleaners are, I’m not sure four times the population of Iceland are glued to their screens, uncertain of their screen clean purchase until I make my case for it! Sack (at least) the copywriter.And then I look at the choices for feedback which feel rather loaded to me. I asked my 11-year-old son whether he was ‘very happy with the screen clean’. He looked at me like I was mad. I didn’t pursue it.
Whose benefit is it for after all?
The value of customer feedback is to improve things for the customer. However, when the focus is on socialising the feedback, the priority shifts to getting volume with the intention of creating a free (weak) marketing tool. And undermining the importance of insight collection for the rest of us at the same time.
Shortly afterwards, we bought a £180 keyboard for our other son’s birthday. That’s a significant purchase to us, and emotively means something as I want my son’s face to be full of joy on his big day. So how it was presented online, the reviews, the packaging, the delivery and how it performed really mattered. However, because we get feedback requests for everything we buy on Amazon, I can’t be bothered to get feedback on anything from them anymore.
Listening but not hearing what really matters
Digital capability has really enabled the popularity of this continuous feedback obsession. Where an interaction occurs (either commercial or service based), there’s an opportunity to capture feedback. Sometimes it feels appropriate, other times it’s as welcome as a power cut. The driver is the need for vendor platforms to consume vast lakes of data to ensure analytics are substantial (and some price per response aware of this dependency too, although most have moved beyond this pricing model now).
What happens when the digital data collection touch-point isn’t there?
Silence! I was in my local 3 shop a couple of weeks ago. We have 5 devices with them. Some had finished their initial contracts, but I hadn’t been contacted, so I have been paying a fair chunk more than I needed to for months (thanks). The service rep had to switch between two CISCO systems to see my devices and actually needed to look at my 3 apps to get the details. But much of the information was missing, such as how much I pay. It made it very difficult to work out what was what. In fact, we resulted in a scrap of paper from my pocket and a pen to work things out. By the end of it we’d worked out I could be about £90 a month better off. That conversation turned me from being frustrated to impressed with his perseverance.
But at the end of it I hadn’t completed a transaction so there was no survey triggered. I’d gone from detractor to promoter but I couldn’t feedback my more important observations on the lack the integration between the app and the retail tech experience or the impact a lack of transparency has had on my confidence in 3, the neglectful CRM system, or most importantly (in my mind) the patience and brilliance of the service rep (not sales rep because he didn’t try and push things on me). But he turned it around. In all the time I’ve had 3 contracts, that was the moment that has mattered most, and 3 missed it. How many organisations miss moments because their listening posts are tied to technology platforms capabilities?
This highlights the challenge faced by VoC managers in gathering feedback appropriately, from the right customers, when it matters most to them, not the organisation.
The customer feedback asset journey map is usually an interesting one but ironically often neglected.
With so much to learn, but so many trying to learn from it customer feedback must be treated with as much importance as any other customer experience reflecting its value to the company. Otherwise you will get less than you put in and could find your feedback programme cited as a driver of customer attrition – ouch!