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Easy and helpful? Or a pain in the neck?

Singapore. Land of love, outstanding service, and customer experiences that are simply phenomenal. You walk into hotels, and every detail has been attended to. My barista (who I haven’t seen in 18 months, remembered not just my name, but my order). There are so many unwritten laws here (and plenty of written ones too) but it seems like such a fitting place to be sitting and writing our first blog of the year.

We believe that #CX has strayed a little too far from the things that matter. And we’re going to focus our writings in 2019 on the theme of #nailtheCXbasics.

Customers are pretty fascinating, but they all have one thing in common. They are all people ( … at least for now). I’ve seen a bunch of new riffs off of Maslov’s hierarchy of needs in the last 12 months, so I’m going to dust this version off (circa 2007) and use it as our basis for much of this conversation that we’ll have over the next several months.

Let me walk you through this. We’ve found that, again and again, this framework simply works.

First up is the basic building block of a great customer experience. Before you get to do anything, you have to be easy and helpful. EVERY TIME. For so many of you, you only interact with your customers once a year, or once every two years, or perhaps, only when something goes really, really wrong in their life. They lose a house (mortgage companies). They get cancer (health care companies). They lose a spouse (life insurance companies). They get into a massive car accident (car insurance). They have a flood or a fire (home insurance).

I call you guys the “negative service industries.” Because, the only time people really have to do business with you is when something happens in their life. It isn’t like buying a pair of shoes, or a new toy, or going on vacation — or even something as mundane as buying food.

I’ll tell you that you guys have it harder than anyone. When that one touch a year/a decade/a lifetime happens — you can get stopped in your tracks if you don’t nail making it easy and helpful.

And customers aren’t likely to give you another chance if you mess up that first one.  Especially if they are in a time of crisis. Or frankly, because they actually need to use the service they’ve been paying into for years.

So, the first thing I’ll tell you is: you need to determine if you’re easy to do business with. I see way too many firms talking about how they have plans to surprise and delight their customers! But they aren’t even coming close to meeting the basic needs of their customers.

There are several ways that I like to approach this problem, but I’ve found that if you do these three things, you’ll at least get on the right path. Remember – pull yourself out of analysis paralysis, listen to your customers and take action. And I promise you’ll start seeing those scores move.

  1. Ask your customers the simple question: was it easy to do business with us today?
  2. Ask your employees what policies are in place that makes it hard for people to do business with you.
  3. Sit back and ask yourself: what’s the one thing that I know will make it easier for our customers to do business with us, but that is the sacred cow/the elephant/the unmentionable?

I can almost guarantee you that all three questions will get you to a very similar set of answers.

Then my #cxpeeps, the trick is to go and fix that biggest thing first. Measure your baseline answer. Fix the issue (even if you have to use duct tape and hangers at first). And measure the impact it has on that question: “Was it easy to do business with us today?”

Stop trying to journey map your way to nirvana. Yes, you need a strategy, and we’ll tackle that later.

But trust me, you need to have a win. From what I’m hearing, you haven’t had one in a while.

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