customer experience, customer satisfaction

Three reasons why the top 20 doesn’t change

Vicky Gerrish

I remember being a youngster and tuning in to ‘Top of the Pops’ to hear the top 20 songs for the week, it was exciting to hear if my favourite song had reached number one (no idea what it is now by the way, I’m too old for that)!  Twice a year, the Institute of Customer Service publishes its latest insight and results from their survey of cross sector organisations, and whilst I am always interested to read the results and learn from their insight, I find it a bit demoralising.  It is nothing to do with the ICS – it’s me!  Year after year, it’s pretty much the same 20 companies at the top with maybe a variation of one or two.

I know from the work that we do there are a number of organisations who have laser focus on customer experience across every team in their business – it’s an Exec. team agenda item at every meeting, it shows up in the good news stories shared on social media. We know leaders who take customer calls at least once a month to stay in touch with what’s happening at the coal face and we regularly hear, first hand, about agents having amazing conversations with customers, being curious, treating people as humans and not a policy number and working hard to show customers that their business is valued.

So, why are we consistently not seeing top insurance brands in the top 20, 30 or even 40 of the ICS surveys? And why do we not see much change at the top?

I have a view and I’ve narrowed it down to 3 top reasons. Feel free to challenge, argue, and shout loudly at your screen…I am always up for a good debate!

How high up on the agenda is customer experience?

It’s highly likely that customer experience is not on the agenda at the highest levels. If it is, chances are they are not focusing on the right things.  What I know to be true is that great customer experience is driven from the very top. Often, the people who sit on the board are brilliant at what they do, they have worked bloody hard to get to where they are.  Does that make them great customer focused leaders though?  In a truly customer focussed organisation, the top teams know that to deliver the best experience for customers and be recognised as a top 20 best for service business, there’s a number of things they need to do, which are:

  • role model customer focused conversations
  • be close to the people who are responsible for delivering a great experience
  • have an eye on how engaged their people are with the vision and direction of the business.
    This doesn’t mean it’s your bosses fault you’re not in the top 20..it just means the dial needs turning up how to deliver great customer experience, and the Board need to be fully committed to it.
Are your people engaged?

I’m not talking about a survey that asks questions that essentially mean your people can say yes or no. Ask yourself this… would I entrust my child, grandchild, sister, brother, mother or anyone else I love to this business? Would I confidently recommend it as a great company to work for? One which takes its’ responsibility for colleagues and customers seriously? If not, why not? When people are fully engaged, they will do everything in their power to look after each other and look after their customers.  They will challenge when processes get in the way of making things easy for Customers, they will feel empowered to make great things happen and they will seek forgiveness for a decision made that felt right, rather than look for permission to do the right thing. These behaviours are what I mean in my first point…. They are exactly the kind of behaviours we experience when interacting with any one of the top 20 companies in the latest ICS survey results. Leaders who have proximity to their people, know them as human beings, want to interact with them, understand what’s going on in their day to day world and tell a very compelling story for why things are the way they are in their business.

How is experience is measured?

One thing is clear, there is no one magic measurement for customer experience. If you are just looking at NPS as a measure of success, it will only tell you if your customer would recommend you. It won’t tell you why they would, or would not. If you measure CSAT and are targeting an 80% satisfaction score as a measure of success, aren’t you just saying you’re okay that 20% are not? And what is particularly satisfying about the experience? How can you replicate that and spread the word across your teams to make sure every interaction is satisfying?  It’s all just a bit hit and miss and doesn’t give us a full picture.  Having a suite of measures, looking at the experience of your customers through various lenses, will give you a much broader picture and enables you to take action on the areas where you mess up, get it wrong or just deliver the norm.  Customers don’t want to be delighted after all, we just want you to get things right, consistently and be honest with us, know your stuff and don’t make us run around for days trying to do business with you.

I’ll leave you with a thought, or a challenge, if you will…

What would you need to do to see your organisation rise up the rankings and be a top 20 best for service organisation?  Get in touch and let us know, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Right then, I’m off to listen to my cassette tapes from the 80’s…reminiscing about my favourite number ones! Duran Duran anyone?

 

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