Like most of us, I went into the New Year thinking that I was going to eat healthier, exercise more, and learn something new. It turns out that I was not alone in my aspirations. About 41 percent of Americans, about 130 million of us, make a resolution and it turns out that this goal oriented approach to making a beneficial life change actually works.
Companies tend to make resolutions too. Whether it is to increase revenue, improve profitability, or better serve their customer, we find the same type of aspirational goals made by many of our clients. As we go into 2017, more and more of those goals center around digital transformation and improving the customer experience. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of spending time at the National Retail Federation’s BIG Show in New York. Walking the conference halls there was no shortage of new technology and solutions making promises related to these two trends. Beacons, robots, and virtual/augmented reality all bring new and interesting capabilities, but the challenge for retailers, and really all of us looking to take advantage of new tech, is how to best measure the improvements that these solutions are actually bringing to the customer experience. The good news is that we’re starting to talk about putting measures in place to evaluate customer experience, but there is a lot of opportunity for us to get better.
The great thing about New Year’s resolutions is that they tend to be goals which are easy to measure progress against. I went to the gym so many times or I ate my vegetables are easy things to quantify. Improving the customer experience is a different story. Companies have traditionally relied on reactive measures to understand the customer experience. Unfortunately, technology and the competition move too quickly to rely on customer surveys, NPS scores or other such metrics alone. Executives and shareholders want near immediate feedback on their investment in digital transformation. For most organizations that means identifying ways to better understand how customers are working with their organization to accomplish their goals, what they are actually experiencing along the way, and where there are opportunities for improvement. What has in the past been relegated to a “look and feel” assessment needs to now become more scientific if it is going to drive investments in technology and business modernization initiatives while evaluating the promised returns. To accomplish this task, we at NTT DATA take examine the following using our Customer Friction FactorSM and recommend you do the same.
- Understand the customer experience and where the customer is challenged along that journey
- Define quantitative measure of success and proactively evaluate the new solution
- Elicit actionable improvements that will help take your solution to the next level
- Continue to re-evaluate the customer experience and improve
Those of us who do explicitly make a new year’s resolution are actually 10 times more likely to achieve our goal. Unfortunately, not all of us are going to be successful. Foursquare, the location intelligence and technology company, has classified the first Thursday in February as “Fall Off the Wagon Day” because their location and consumer data tells them that it is the day after New Years that the number visits to fast food restaurants meets the decreasing number of visits to the gym. What a great insight. Not only is it relevant to a resolution, but it is actionable. I will now make sure that I continue to hit the gym.
We need to be able to put that kind of rigor and analysis behind the customer experience.
A fast food company recently conducted a trial of burger vending machine in Boston, MA. First, AMAZING! Second, what might have been a public relations stunt or clever way to sabotage some new year’s resolutions could just as easily be a test of a new channel for engaging the burger-hungry public. In either case, it is going to be the metrics gathered on the customer experience and marketing data which will determine the success of the trial. The marketing data is easy (see above). I would venture to guess that the customer experience data is going to be a challenge.
The successful organizations are the ones who are able to consistently deliver a superior experience to their customers. Even if you fall off the wagon, and hit the burger vending machine, sometime in February in your personal resolution, get going on your goal of improving the customer experience off on the right foot and maintain momentum by demonstrating the progress you are making towards delighting your customer with tangible metrics and actionable insights.
Post Date: 2/21/2017