Experience Innovation: Sweet + Sour

If you’re craving delicious morsels of customer experience, this month’s stories involve the sweet (A bank with rabid loyalty and Barista’s happily keeping the change); sour (World Nutella Day being shut down by…Nutella); and even a mystery flavor (Virgin airlines as a pick-up scene—tasty or tasteless?).

There’s a reason some customer experience innovations are welcome and others aren’t. And there are lessons to be learned from successes and failures. But every success has the same two ingredients in its recipe: an understanding of what customers want and a willingness to give it to them. Bon appétit!

1.) The Multi-Screen Integrated Customer Experience [Infographic] http://ow.ly/kGX6R
This falls into the “picture is worth 1000 words” category. If you’re still focusing on your website to the detriment of the smart phone and tablet experience, it may be to your detriment as well. Our advice? Responsive web design: what you may lose in design control, you’ll absolutely gain in customer contentment with their user experience. (Tweet Score: 126)

2.) "The value of big data isn't the data. It's the narrative." http://ow.ly/kCc9C
Data is where things start…what you do with it is a whole other story. Literally. Whether you’re talking about “big data” or just “data” (we recommend reading the heated and on-target comments), true understanding comes from a blend of data and analysis with a human touch. (Tweet Score: 115)

3.) Focus on serving customers rather than telling them what to do. http://ow.ly/lg8SF
Maybe the new guard at JCP will take a look at this and clearly see the costs of not having a Single Customer View (SCV) and disintegrated channels… (Tweet Score: 103)

4.) First Direct: Six experience lessons from the bank that bucks the trend http://ow.ly/kESSR
A customer experience case study about a bank? It’s been awhile since we’ve seen one of those. Why? Because as the article says, how can you tout an industry designed around and for its own convenience, with limited hours, archaic online functionality, geared towards “no” rather than “yes”…until now. (Tweet Score: 94)

5.) What do you do with wildly loyal customers who rave about your product? If you're Nutella, you tell them to stop. http://ow.ly/ld3Rp
Ahh, the great Nutella scandal of 2013. What can you say about a company that slaps a super fan…with a large social following…with cease and desist orders for promoting your product with love and respect? “Oops?” “Time for an emergency integrated customer experience strategy session to learn how to ‘spread’ the love”? (Tweet Score: 93)

6.) Don't Take The Customer Decision Journey For Granted http://ow.ly/ldyW4
The ever-important Customer Decision Journey...or what we call the first stage (or two) of the customer relationship lifecycle: Instead of investing in annoying pay-per-clicks, or untargeted mass emails, how about spending some muscle to better understand, “…the job your prospects are trying to get done.” Now there’s a customer-experience-improving idea. (Tweet Score: 88)

7.) Three Lessons Learned: Big Retailers Play with #BigData and Narrowly Avoid Getting Bit http://ow.ly/l6UAj
We focus here on a Nordstrom misstep, teaching us once again that surprises are not always welcome, and customer perception is everything. This cautionary tale isn’t meant to stop change (as if anyone could), but to remind us all that when it comes to customers, our prime directive is to serve and communicate. (Tweet Score: 85)

8.) A quick tip in a world where most people choose plastic over paper. http://ow.ly/kBYXc
Notice an issue (paying with plastic diminishes tips) > Articulate the problem (make it as easy to tip with plastic as tossing your spare change into a jar) > Create the solution (one swipe equals one dollar) > Make it happen (tips made easy, once again!). I look forward to seeing these tip jars show up in the spots that my guilty plastic and I frequent. (Tweet Score: 78)

9.) Reading: "Don't Let Predictability Become the Enemy of Innovation" http://ow.ly/l48sj
When Nordstrom surprises customers with its Euclid technology, it’s bad. When Apple surprises the world with an iPhone, it’s good. Maybe the analogy is a stretch, but this lesson is anything but. Before innovating, “link and measure the value of an innovation to the pleasure of its surprise.” A must-read. (Tweet Score: 77)

10.) Rather connect with the person in 9A instead of the one you're stuck next to? Virgin brings you closer... http://ow.ly/kC5qY
Am I the only one who finds this a little creepy? A Virgin Airlines fan otherwise, maybe I’m not their demographic: A drink sent over from seat 9A would definitely NOT surprise and delight me. (Tweet Score: 76)

Where can you innovate in your customer experience?

The question is a compelling one, and it’s easy to see why companies like those identified in this month’s tweets are baking it into their service offerings.

But not all innovation is good—which is why a keen understanding of where your customers WANT you to surprise and excite them is the “price of entry” for any innovative addition to your customer interactions.

And whatever you do, if your customers are helping to innovate for and engage with you, think before you act. (Hello, Nutella—what were you thinking?) Because innovative ideas can come from anywhere…