Customer Experience

Customer Experience

A Dark Sky experience led Kaihan Krippendorff to ruminate on how to disrupt your industry.

It’s 6:30 a.m. at the Dark Sky RV resort in Utah. I’m sitting out by the gas firepit and everyone else is asleep. The sun is rising, but it’s not one of those sudden appearances that I often see in the Northeast. Instead, the sky is wide open above the vast horizon, and it begins to change colors over the short desert vegetation and red rocks. The rising sun gives a far longer preview of its arrival. It’s bright enough to be nearly daylight now and yet the sun has still not officially peeked over the horizon.

Now, our family is not an obvious RV family. When I tell our friends how often we have journeyed across land in these houses on wheels, complete with nighttime BBQs after arriving late to the site and impromptu stops at unplanned points of interests, I’m often met with wide eyes and expressions of disbelief. But we continue to realize the value of forced family time in close quarters and pushing out of our comfort zone to explore unfamiliar territory.

The other day, we toured the tiny motel strip at Page, Arizona, a road lined with extremely compact motels made for construction workers while they were building a nearby dam half a century ago. Last year, we stopped by the graves of the Gypsy King and Queen in Mississippi.

But the issue has always been where to sleep when the sun went down. Our days of exploration and delightful surprise too often lead to evenings of predictability and frustration. You see, although the RV camping industry in the US is an important slice of the US economy, employing nearly 23,000 people with an average salary of US $30,628 per year, the experience of spending the night at an RV camp leaves much room for improvement.

Key points include:

  • Reform the strategy
  • Prioritize the pain points

  • Rethink each pain point

 

Read the full post, Disrupting Your Industry: Lessons From An Rv Park, on Kaihan.net.

Carlos Castelan provides key steps that can be taken to improve disconnects and find opportunities throughout times of change and functional issues. 

In today’s world where change is one of the only constants, we often hear of companies undergoing a transformation to reinvent themselves and revitalize their customer offerings. This is a natural function of the organizational life cycle where companies grow and organize in a variety of ways along the way, including around services or products. However, in focusing on efficiency and processes to enable scale, organizations lose some measure of tight collaboration and team agility that comes from regular innovation. So, how can companies avoid having to regularly undergo transformations? One way successful businesses do this is through the identification of gaps in team collaboration through a Customer Correction tool that allows teams to find opportunities and cooperate to improve where disconnects may be occurring and resolve issues before they impact customers.

Functional issues cause established companies to have difficulty with transformations and innovation to meet their customer’s needs. As an example, we recently saw a team dedicated to measurement of new initiatives struggle to meet key milestones and deliverables due to the novelty of the project and complexity of data. This resulted in a high likelihood of failure for the business team to understand the customer benefits of the innovation.  The business team raised the issue several times to leadership but, over time, the business team had to accept the problem and figure out a work-around. The acceptance of the issue led to many hours of lost productivity and countless meetings to try to close the gaps which went unresolved.

To get ahead of functional issues within a company, we’ve seen forward-thinking organizations adopt a regular exchange of notes by each member of a group (team) to assess for the purpose of improving collaboration and performance. We have all worked with managers, co-workers or teams that affect others and we understand the impact that poor collaboration and communication has on each step of their process. So, how can concerns be raised in an objective manner for management to course correct before they become larger issues?

Key points include:

  • Team collaboration
  • Customer correction
  • Team feedback

Read the full article, Leveraging your company’s greatest asset to improve the customer experience, on TheNavioGroup.com.

 

Kaihan Krippendorff identifies the importance of proxemics between product and consumer/user as a key component of growth for businesses.

Shuffling through the crowds of Fourth of July weekend shoppers, I spied my prize. The farm stand’s rows were bursting with color—juicy strawberries, rich blueberries, and robust peaches. “Over here,” I called out to my kids to join me. We carefully selected handfuls from the overflowing baskets. Fresh berries would make a perfect addition to our family’s dessert that night.

When I approached the shop owner to pay, I had a brief moment of panic.

“Is it cash only?” I asked her.

“Nope,” she replied, revealing the white square hooked onto her phone. “We take credit cards now.” I breathed a sigh of relief as I handed her my card to swipe through the reader. She smiled and bagged our fruits, and I followed my kids on to the next stand.

TODAY’S CUSTOMERS WANT PROXIMITY 

It would be difficult to stroll through a small-town market or other pop-up shop without seeing a Square reader. These recognizable contraptions, which now include contactless payments for cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, easily connect to mobile devices and empower small- and medium-sized business owners to accept credit and debit card payments on the spot.

No longer do merchants have to turn down sales because the buyer doesn’t have cash on hand. Square is a leader in digital payments, and its onsite and digital point-of-sale systems are part of a bigger trend that’s helping people purchase the goods and services they want exactly when and where they want them.

Today’s technologies have a human mission. Our mortal desires have always demanded instant gratification. Wants and needs arise, and we are driven to satisfy them as quickly as we can. The underlying concept, coined by my friend Rob Wolcott, is proximity—products and services produced and provided ever closer to the moment of demand in time and space. Square represents a proximity technology; it allows a business owner to cheaply and quickly set up a point-of-sale system on the spot at a weekend pop-up event.

If shoppers prefer to stay home, they can order from a small business online and receive their shipment in just a few days. It’s no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this trend. We’ve come to expect Amazon packages in mere hours. Food deliveries arrive within an hour at our doors. Our doctors and educators enter our homes through video cameras.

Enabled by technologies such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing, virtual reality, Internet of Things (IoT), self-driving cars, and 5G connectivity, proximity is occurring at an accelerated pace, and it’s going to continue to transform nearly all aspects of our lives.

 

Key points include:

  • Customer demand
  • Investor returns
  • Three steps to benefit from proximity

Read the full article, How “Proximity” Technologies Are Bridging The Gap Between Demand And Delivery, on Kaihan.net. 

 

Stephen Wunker shares a few key tips to help develop a customer experience strategy that is effective during times of crisis

If the customer experience for your company hasn’t changed in the past year, you are unusual. In industry after industry, from consumer goods to B2B technology, the distancing, fear, and economic turbulence caused by the coronavirus are affecting the sales process, customer selection criteria, the way products and services are consumed, and even what customer service means. Designing experiences for the coronavirus world is a fundamentally different proposition than what people responsible for CX were doing just 13 months ago.

A Pressing Need To Keep Customers Loyal

With the economic fallout from the coronavirus broad and durable, it’s more pressing than ever to keep your customers loyal. Their relationships with companies – be they restaurants or IT service vendors – may well consolidate as a result of the crisis, and you want to be one of their chosen partners going forward. Four steps provide a roadmap to do so:

  1. Determine What Changes Are Occurring In Key Jobs To Be Done

It’s critical in a crisis to understand what underlying motivations – or Jobs to be Done – are driving customers’ behaviors and preferences. The Jobs approach is a powerful way to think broadly about your business and how you might be relevant to people in ways you’ve barely considered. If there was ever a time to use these methods, it’s now.

For an example, look at restaurants – one of the industries most challenged by COVID-19. The Job of impressing a date is no longer relevant. Rather, restaurants that are still operating can target contemporary Jobs such as staying healthy while in confinement and feeling like a good parent. Step back, determine what’s driving priorities today, then chart which of these Jobs might relate to your business. Start by being expansive; you can winnow down the list as you proceed.

 

Key points include:

  • Map the customer’s current journey and potential leverage points
  • Consider new approaches and opportunities
  • Get inspired by what others are doing

 

Read the full article, Customer Experience Strategy In Times Of Crisis, on Newmarketsadvisors.com.

 

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Samantha O’Neill.  Samantha is an independent consultant with expertise in Marketing, Digital strategy and Customer Experience. She was most recently the Chief Marketing Officer for Sun Life Canada where she ran a broad portfolio including Marketing, Customer strategy, the Digital properties (from the strategy through development), and the newly built Customer Experience capabilities.

Prior to Sun Life, she was with LoyaltyOne and ran their Analytics function, serving Air Miles’ Partners with advanced analytics to support their Marketing and Merchandising strategies. Before she joined LoyaltyOne, Samantha spent 7 years at McKinsey, serving Retailers and Financial Institutions. Samantha is also CPA (CA).

She lives in Toronto with her husband and 3 tween/teen children. She just recently returned to consulting and is looking to collaborate on projects in the Marketing, Digital and CX space though she also has extensive experience in Transformation and Change and in Insurance and Wealth.

 

In this article for Forbes, Stephen Wunker reveals how this small business led the charge in innovation, safety, and customer service during the height of the pandemic.

You might not think of an auto body shop as a hotbed of business innovation – but you’d be quite mistaken. Consider the story of one small chain that shows how businesses can go on offense during the coronavirus pandemic, seizing the initiative to remake customer experience, business relationships, and competitive position. This is how one company made its Great Reboot happen.

Today’s Collision, a 64-employee chain of three auto body shops based in the Boston suburb of Malden, saw the pandemic happen at an unfortunate time. Boston had a relatively mild winter with little snow, and – sorry to tell you – auto body shops expect people to have more accidents when the weather is nasty. However, owner Bobby Cobb had a realization: if the winter was tough for his relatively well-capitalized company, it must have much harder for the mom-and-pop firms that were already just eking by. As the coronavirus hit and the plummeting level of road traffic foretold still fewer collisions, Cobb knew that shops across the industry faced dire circumstances. For him, this was the time to seize the initiative.

 

Key points include:

  • Changing the customer experience
  • Expanding your business partnerships
  • Seizing market share from weaker rivals

 

Read the full article, How a Local Business got on the Front Foot during COVID, on Forbes.

 

 

In this podcast, Susan Hamilton and Ethan Beute discuss brand psychology and how your breakfast cereal makes you feel about yourself. 

Much like having a relationship with another human, a lot of it is about how that other party makes you feel about yourself. Or how you are able to see yourself via that other party.’

You know, I think the customer experience is very much about the relationship that you are building with your customer. In fact, I often define the brand as the actual relationship, and the experience is an important part of that. And the relationship can be on many platforms, and many formats, but it’s that feeling that you have when you’re connecting to the brand, the product, to the people that are involved, and I think that’s the most important thing about your company and your brand, is that relationship that you’re building. 

So, I think it’s really interesting and truly goes beyond what we, as humans, traditionally think of as relationship between person and person, and I think what really drew me into branding actually, coming out of a pure strategy background, was seeing how people had these really intimate personal relationships with brands where they didn’t have connections with people. You know, it wasn’t  a retail situation it was cornflakes! Right? It was a product where they had never met any of the people that worked for that company, personally interacted with any of those people, but they had an actual relationship with that product that made them feel a certain way, that made them loyal to that product, that made them, you know when social media became more vibrant, that made them want to engage with that product, and I remember thinking in the early days of Facebook, how poetic it was that people were friending brands on Facebook. And I thought that was such a nice metaphor for that relationship that people have between themselves and those products, before you even get to the people in customer service, or the retail environment.

 

Points of discussion include:

  • The relationship between brand and customer experience
  • What people are really afraid of about creativity
  • The pervasive contempt of design as a waste of time

 

Listen to the full podcast, From Cornflakes to Customer Experience, It’s All About Brand, on CustomerExperience.com.

 

 

As more companies seek mega mergers to dominate the marketplace, a new alliance is going to revolutionize how you access your meds. Kaihan Krippendorff uses Amazon’s recent expansion into pharmaceutical distribution to illustrate the importance of proximity in expanding and improving business offerings. 

 

If you want to predict the path of innovation in your industry, consider one unifying strategic concept: proximity. Introduced by innovation guru Rob Wolcott, proximity is the theory that the production and provision of value moves ever closer to the point of demand. Viewing your industry through this lens can reveal new opportunities, help you clarify where to focus your innovation efforts, and help you better anticipate which innovations will thrive and which will fall.

Consider TJ Parker, a second-generation pharmacist who came to realize the pharmacy industry was broken. Over the years, he observed how convoluted the experience was for patients, particularly those with multiple prescriptions, to get the drugs their health depended on.

Multiple prescriptions meant multiple trips to the drugstore. At home, they had to handle multiple bottles of drugs and keep track of how often they took each one (some once per day, some multiple times per day, others only on certain days of the week). They might sort the pills at home into pill organizers. But, still, the time and effort was onerous, resulting in low compliance and poorer health.

 

Key points covered in this article include:

  • The pharmacy industry system
  • The pillpack system
  • The value of proximity 

 

Read the full article, Pillpack, Proximity, and The Amazon Future of Pharmacies, on Kaihan’s website. 

 

Umbrex is pleased to welcome David Uriarte with Horvent. David Uriarte, former BCG consultant, has an outstanding track record of achievement in customer experience, business management, digital transformation and development in travel & leisure and other service industries. Senior international advisor, entrepreneur and executive with more than 20 years of relevant experience. Digital and people passionate, optimistic, flexible, with a strong strategic vision and leadership in high growth business.

Managing Partner in Horvent Advisory Services and Partner of GuestPro (Leading new generation SaaS to manage hotels). He is also an Associate Professor in Service Management at Toulouse Business School and The Valley of Digital, Mentor at Conector Travel Tech, BTS, Startupbootcamp IoT & Big Data and at The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and Strategy Advisor at Hacks/Hackers Barcelona.

He previously held executive positions in PGI Management, Pierre Vacances Center Parcs and Barceló. David holds an MBA at IESE/ Georgetown University, a Business Degree in the University of the Basque Country.

David also paints horizons in his freetime. Do not hesitate to check his instagram page @horizontem.art

David is based in Barcelona Spain and is happy to collaborate on projects in Spain and travel industry worldwide.

 

This article from David Burnie’s company blog identifies the value of the contact centre, and how it helps to prevent customer attrition. 

The contact centre is a necessity for any mid-large size organization. It is where customer inquiries are handled across multiple channels, such as the phone, email or live chat. It is a bustling place of energy, activity and collaboration and often a starting point for many who want to forge a career in corporate.

When built and supported the right way, the contact centre can be a highly engaging and interactive environment. Palpable energy can be felt if you were to walk the floor and observe employees in action. It is a place of discovery, learning and, most importantly, the hub of customer information. No other place in a company can provide the same insights regarding how customers are feeling.

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • Why contact centres are undervalued
  • How to prevent employee and customer attrition
  • How to leverage the full value of the contact centre

 

Read the full article, The Value of Contact Centres, on the Burnie Group website.

 

 

Carlos Castelan shares how to improve the customer experience and team collaboration.

In today’s world where change is one of the only constants, we often hear of companies undergoing a transformation to reinvent themselves and revitalize their customer offerings. This is a natural function of the organizational life cycle where companies grow and organize in a variety of ways along the way, including around services or products. However, in focusing on efficiency and processes to enable scale, organizations lose some measure of tight collaboration and team agility that comes from regular innovation. So, how can companies avoid having to regularly undergo transformations? One way successful businesses do this is through the identification of gaps in team collaboration through a Customer Correction tool that allows teams to find opportunities and cooperate to improve where disconnects may be occurring and resolve issues before they impact customers.

 

Points covered include:

  • How to facilitate team conversation
  • How to get ahead of functional issues

 

Read the full article, Leveraging Your Company’s Greatest Asset to Improve the Customer Experience, on the Navio Group website.