Houston, we have a CX problem! How Australian companies can lead the world

Despite its vigorous advocation appearing so regularly on this platform and others like it, Paul Jenzen says the global state of CX is in disrepair. Here’s how to fix yours.

Forrester’s 2017 Australia Customer Experience Index shows that local brands are struggling to meet CX standards, and 2018’s Customer Experience Index highlights that companies globally are failing to create and sustain a human connection with their customers. There’s also a divide between the service that customers feel they are getting versus the service brands believe they’re delivering.

This was highlighted in InMoment’s 2019 ‘Customer Trends’ report which showed that 13% of customers versus 33% of brands believe CX is definitely getting better.

What this tells us? We have a CX problem.

While it’s difficult to know whether there’s an exact formula, having carefully looked at areas where companies are falling short in both Australia and globally, there are most certainly steps that can be taken by brands locally to not only improve their CX, but set an example to brands the world over.

 

Flexibility and cross-pollination

The problem with CX right now in many countries, not just Australia, is that so many businesses are still operating on traditional model where sales, marketing and customer divisions are not collaborating enough. Organisations that are more flexible and broadly integrated with significant cooperation across planning, strategy and execution will be better prepared to deliver the experiences that customers demand.

As cliché as it sounds, implementing any customer strategy into a business (and making it stick) is not easy. Fortunately, there’s plenty of data available on the customer experience and the elements that influence it. The challenge comes in collecting the right data, at the right time, and applying the right data science to surface real intelligence. Brands that continue to rely on manual processes or piecemeal technologies will never bring all of the pieces together.

Companies that are committed to understanding and organising their business around the customer must get serious about locating and implementing powerful technologies. Only then will they have the right intelligence to know how to create a corporate strategy that serves both the financial and relationship needs of the business.

Once this foundational work is done, organisations can establish a CX vision and associated goals for each area of the company. The next step is to socialise this information across each business unit and to every employee. When a brand understands how CX and business outcomes complement one another, each person’s role in creating and delivering the right customer experience becomes clear, employees become engaged and a new culture begins to build.   

 

Be like Uber

When it comes to delivering strong CX, Uber is a brand that perpetually stands out and provides a benchmark for other companies to follow. The original app was customer centric at its very core, created to solve the expensive and often cumbersome process of hailing a taxi.

Not only did it blow the taxi hailing industry wide open by creating a service that customers so desperately wanted, its technology and user experience have been flawless from the get-go. And now it has diversified into other offerings, such as Uber Eats, which have all been built on a foundation of strong CX.

Emulating Uber and its customer-centric approach through technology will go a long way in helping your organisation improve its overall CX.

 

Hire right

There’s no doubt about it; despite the rise of automation, human interaction will always play a defining role in the CX arena for years to come. A human interaction can be dynamic and nuanced in a way that digital is still not capable of replicating. There is undoubtedly a role for online, apps, bots, AI services and the rest but there’s still a need to give customers a choice of how they prefer to interact.

A few years ago we [Hyundai] did an event at the Intercontinental in Sydney. Its chief concierge at the time David Patt was sharing his insights on the importance of hiring the right people. One thing he said that still sticks with me is, “hire for attitude and train the skills”.

In many of the customer facing aspects of CX the idea of ‘attitudinal hiring’ still rings true. The human interaction is a great opportunity, but if you don’t deliver it consistently it’s also one of the biggest risks.

 

Listen to your customers

If you want to truly serve your customers in the way they want to be served, you need to understand them and listen to them, it’s as simple as that. The ramifications this can have on your business from a positive standpoint can be huge.

In 2014, for example, Hyundai decided to onboard the CX intelligence platform InMoment to collect the right data, perform targeted analyses and deliver insights to our store network and leadership team in a timely fashion. One of the first insights from the platform was pinpointing that customers wanted a self-service option when booking an appointment, instead of having to book via phone. We implemented a new process whereby customers were given the choice to book appointments both online or via phone. This single action led to a rise from 1000 online service bookings per month to nearly 6000 – an increase of 500% and still growing.

 

Value at-risk customers

There’s an opportunity for CX to play a bigger role in identifying when existing customers are ‘in market’ or ‘at risk’ and ensuring that we present them with the correct touchpoint. The ‘at risk’ customers are the interesting ones. If a customer had a marginal experience and may not come back, how can we turn that around and recover them? Brands typically are not proactive in this space but it’s a great CX recovery opportunity to prevent leakage.

Paul Jenzen senior manager of customer experience at Hyundai

 

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Image credit:Slava Bowman