Member Since: 23rd Apr 2009
Managing Partner The Leadership LaunchPad
7th Aug 2022
Is it in company DNA, Rhys, to spend decades building success, and then screw it all up by doing really dumb things? There are so many examples, and include companies that were once revered. Other examples: Apple, Disney, and as you have written in previous articles, Amazon, just to name a few.
13th Jul 2022
What a superbly written and well-researched article, Andrew! It may be my age, but your piece describes the failure of many automated CX functions that simply just don't work, frustrating customers and wasting their time endlessly. The vendors with vested interests love to hype their products - but they have forgotten that they are dealing with irrational, emotional and totally human customers. The sooner people like you and me point out their failures, the sooner companies will realise that there is no substitute, no matter how clever it is, for customer service, and they money they THINK they are saving is just an illusion. Thank you for your courage to point out this brutal reality.
5th Jul 2022
At the risk of offending my American friends, (and possibly some in the UK too,) I'd like to make a couple of small comments about your excellent article, Rhys.
First, the world does not end on the borders of the USA, and while many American citizens may be somewhat cynical about Amazon, and the way it treats its employees, the reality is that Amazon has vastly changed commerce for the better in many other parts of the world. My temptation is to say to employees in the USA, "Just get over yourselves." Last time I looked, nobody chained an Amazon employee to their workstation or vehicle, and their are hundreds of millions of people who would be delighted to earn what they earn.
Second, I specifically remember a long-lost article from Fortune magazine in around 2005 that predicted the same for MacDonald's: nobody would want to spend time "flipping burgers" for the rest of their lives. Well, we all know how successful MacDonald's have become, together with many other fast-food businesses.
Third, and arguably most importantly, the fact that the executive team at Amazon are conscious of the impending "crisis" means that once again, they will in all likelihood pull a rabbit out of the hat. I may be proven completely wrong, but I have confidence that they will make sure that their success with customer obsession and CX continues - particularly if Bezos remains in the picture. (CX at Apple, in my opinion, started it's decline after Jobs died, and we have seen this in many other conglomerates too.)
I remain optimistic.
24th Mar 2022
I love your headline, David, but the whole article makes great sense. Call it "shiny new objects," or anything you like, but it seems like we flit from idea to idea like a fly in a cow field. There was that old expression of strategy eats culture for breakfast, but I would add that implementation beats both hands down. Pick a strategy and fulfill it's promise. (Of course, a lot of the introduction of these new fads is about companies with a vested interest in their sales, not in genuine CX.)
14th Mar 2022
Makes perfect sense, Rhys. Moira Clark of Reading and Henley Business School states that we need to measure effort in 4 areas: physical, emotional, intellectual and time, and that certainly gives a more accurate picture. However, what this work by Ipsos concludes brings in the principle of fairness, which I believe is very powerful in making customers feel more in control. When the burden is on the customer to solve their problem or complete their transaction - and this is a disturbing trend with increasingly more automation and AI being used to replace human beings - then of course they will punish the businesses that force this upon them. And while customers'perceptions do play an important role, the bottom line is that you can't fool them into believing that you are putting in more effort than they are. They are far more savvy than most businesses think.
And I know I keep harping on about this, but when does clever research ever beat sitting down with your customers face-to-face and talking with them?
21st Feb 2022
Great insights once again, Neil.
I'd make one small change to your title: Why MOST brands won't benefit from CX tech's evolution. Forgive me for harping on and on about this, but customers are people, and no tech/AI/Big Data will ever replace our basic need to connect with other human beings. It's been like this for hundreds of thousands of years, so why do we think that some smart tech will replace this all?
Not suggesting there's no room for tech as a tool, but when my bank can't even phone me on my birthday after 57 years as a customer, what the use of all this expensive tech? In fact, I'd suggest that nothing is necessary beyond your first sentence, which I have to repeat here: "In a previous article, we discussed how the latest MyCustomer research reveals that customer experience leaders find technology to be a considerable obstacle to CX success." It's an even greater obstacle to success when you ask customers.
But then again... I am 64, so maybe that plays a role.
19th Feb 2022
Missed this one first time round, Neil, so I'm glad you've re-posted it. These examples remind me of the classic case study with the "convenience" of cake premixes in the post World War II years. Sales were going nowhere until a psychologist told them that housewives felt guilty about it all being too easy, and being judged as lazy. So all they did was add an extra step - add 2 eggs and beat - and the problem was solved. Great post.
19th Feb 2022
Loved this article, Chris, and both Jim Barnes and Ron Kaufman made excellent points. Bottom line for me is as follows: It used to be true that customers would figuratively queue up outside our doors keen to do business with us. Now the reverse is true: we are outside their doors begging them to buy something. It all comes down to one simple fact. In most industries, we need them more than they need us. I think it was Phil Forrest who said that the customers are not always right, but they are always in the right.
14th Feb 2022
I like your approach Rhys, and it's always important to focus first on the things that need to be fixed. When clients ask me "Where should I start?" my answer is always the same: before doing any of the fancy stuff, kill the "dumb things." It's low-hanging fruit, it has a high impact on customer loyalty, and it prepares staff for the rest of whatever CX initiative is coming.
9th Feb 2022
You've summarised both sides of the argument well, Neil, and there are pros and cons. Jeff Toister and others have also made good points, especially about giving customer care a boost by showing it's important, and making sure that you really measure the right stuff.
But it reminds me of broccoli. In order to bribe kids to eat broccoli, we say, "If you finish your broccoli you can have ice-cream." The message: Broccoli is not as nice as ice cream, and you need to get a reward to eat them. But the problem is that when the parents stop rewarding them, kids stop eating them.
For me it starts with recruitment: if you have people who are willing to reach out and help others, the incentive may help them feel better, but if they don't really want to, the effects are going to be very short-lived, and those people will try to manipulate the system.