Think about the last time you flew. As a customer, did you enjoy the experience, or did you have the real-life equivalent of the Hollywood commuter flight from hell? Many experiences become memorable because they were pleasant and enjoyable; others become memorable because they were miserable and contentious. If your customer experience falls in either of the extreme brackets of ‘memorable’ or ‘poor,’ chances are good you’ve formed a strong opinion about that airline.
Apply this scenario to your business: What kinds of experiences do you think your customers are having with your people, products and services?
Reviewing the Ratings
Before you answer that, let’s examine this simple straight line of customer experience scores (where 1 is the lowest possible score and 10 is the highest) and see if we can establish a common set of beliefs about what these scores mean.
For the purposes of this discussion, here is the way I want us to interpret what these scores mean:
- Any score from 1 to 5 is a bad score. Really, there is no other way to interpret this.
- Any score between 6 and 8 should be considered just okay. It’s a satisfactory score, and we can live with it- but we understand there is much room for improvement and moving beyond 8 is going to be a challenge.
- Any score of either 9 or 10 is the target we aim for, the magic numbers that likely mean your customer found his or her experience to be memorable for all the right reasons.
Since I can’t see you nodding your heads, I’m going to assume you agree with my interpretation. If you don’t agree right now, keep reading and perhaps you will.
Let’s realize that the battle here is not just about finding new and innovative ways to deliver exemplary customer service or outstanding product performance; It’s also about changing the perceptions of those customers who give low scores by finding the resources, ideas, technologies, people and attitudes capable of turning negatives into positives.
The Staggering Gap
Sadly, while most businesses think their products/services rate a 9 or 10, the stark reality is that most customer experience scores fall way below 8! Don’t believe me? According to SAP’s Capital Markets Day 2019 report, “80 percent of CEOs believe their company offers a superior experience, but only eight percent of customers agree. That’s a staggering gap.”
A 2018 report by New Voice Media stated that 67 percent of customers in the US are ‘serial switchers’, flipping from one brand to the next because of what they perceive as poor customer experience – an astounding 37 percent increase in just two years. In the experience economy, not having a deep, accurate picture of the entire experience – customer, employee, product and brand – can be fatal to a business.
Bridging the Staggering Gap
So how does one win the battle to change perceptions? The key lies in using the help of advanced technologies to gain unbiased insights into the customer psyche and behaviour, and then using those same insights to bridge the gap. This includes technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Predictive Analytics and the Internet of Things which, when implemented into a cohesive integrated whole, transform any company into an Intelligent Enterprise.
Bumble Bee Foods: A Case Study
Helen Dwight, Global VP of Marketing at SAP, in an article on “The New Economy,” cites an interesting case study involving Bumble Bee Foods, the largest branded shelf-stable seafood company in North America. She narrates how Bumble Bee wanted to proactively address consumer concerns around food safety and sustainable sourcing. “Through the use of blockchain technology, the company now tracks the fish it sells from the moment it’s caught to its placement on store shelves. Critically, customers can easily access the complete origin and history of the product on a smartphone via a QR code for complete transparency in food sourcing and safety,” she elaborates.
Further, she says, “To meet customer expectations and live up to Bumble Bee’s long history of sustainable tuna production, the company implemented an innovation sea change across its operations and throughout the supply chain. The results were wide-ranging, positively impacting ecosystems and the lives of stakeholders.”
Here is my point: Your ability to apply intelligent technologies across applications and processes holds the key to providing an enhanced customer experience. In a way, this boils down to twin factors: speed and personalization. Only technology can help identify and improve these experiences.
Let me know what you think. If you’d like information on how SAP can help improve your customer experience rating beyond 8, please feel free to write to me. I am more than happy to share additional case studies like that of Bumble Bee.
I look forward to hearing from you.
By: Venkat Nanduri