To Question, Human; to Experience, Divine

When an airline designs a boarding process for “self-loading freight” (read: people) you know just how far some companies have to go. Let’s hope yours isn’t one of them.

If it is, you’ll find an uncommonly rich set of links this month to help shift to an “outside in” mindset. If not? Then join us as we laugh (so we don’t cry) at the self-inflicted wounds of others…

1.) 'The Bank of the Future' TweetChat was the #1 trending Twitter discussion yesterday. Interesting summary:
If you missed this TweetChat, scan this summary of what financial industry professionals (consultants, execs within the industry, media watchers…) had to say about some hurdles and high points of banking in the future. Ok, so mostly hurdles…but it’s a great collection of what’s on our minds. (Tweet Score: 396)

2.) Oh right. The people. Do they really matter?
Yes it’s an airline story, with all the attendant hilarity we’ve come to expect, but it’s also so much more. Most of the consulting we do helps organizations address the massive disconnect that can arise between an internal process and a customer’s experience. Are you guilty of designing customer-facing systems for “self-loading freight” instead of human beings? If you think your customers are baggage, as do most airlines, the experience will follow suit. (Tweet Score: 347)

3.) Touchpoint Insights | Making Lemonade: Learning From Sour Customer Experiences
A tale of two corporate behemoths…both of which we love to hate. But in this case, one has turned the customer experience around. The lesson without the tale? Analyze the data you have. Listen to customers. Look at yourselves from the outside in, fix the touchpoints that drive loyalty and perhaps most importantly, so that your hard work doesn’t disappear in a year, institute a system for acting on customer insights. (Tweet Score: 209)

4.) Reading: "If You Want to Raise Prices, Tell a Better Story"
What’s your “Why?”? In a world where little of what we buy is essential to existence, you might want to think about what makes people want to listen…share…care…purchase. Tell a good enough story and strangers will pay $51 for a jar of mayo. Build a good enough story around your business and product, and you can actually enhance their experience and loyalty. (Tweet Score: 112)

5.) Touchpoint Insights | Secrets of The 5 Whys and Customer Experience Improvement
More “Why?”‘s…five of them to be exact: This time, employed to poke holes in the story a business tells itself, instead of getting to the heart of what customers think. Without the "why", you can’t get to the fix. (Plus a video link to Eric Ries, entrepreneur-in-residence at Harvard Business School, with an excellent illustration of how “why” helps find the human causes of a technical problem.) (Tweet Score: 108)

6.) Touchpoint Insights | Confessions of a Former Pizza Boy: Sometimes, Experiences Don't Need to Be "Improved"
Did you know that 89 percent of customer-related decisions made by marketers are made based on “intuition,” hunches and second-hand information? So when we exhort you to “think disruptive,” we don’t mean to go out and get crazy with your customer experience. We mean that while you're keeping your mind open and creatively borrowing from other industries, you’re also carefully asking questions - the right questions - of the right people, and zeroing in on the changes that will drive measureable experience improvements. (Tweet Score: 94)

7.) Does destination trump journey?
And here we are asking more questions that will help companies pinpoint what ails them. This time, it’s, “What are we trying to achieve?” As we speed through our workdays and overflowing to-do lists, try to substitute the erroneous “what do I need to do?” with the much more thought-provoking “what do I need to achieve?” This post shows how taking a step back, can actually propel you forward. (Tweet Score: 85)

8.) Internet killed the dieting star: Why Weight Watchers is floundering.
TA cautionary tale of disruption to an established and revered brand. Will they rally or fail to connect with the app generation? Let’s hope their team is up to the challenge of reinventing their model. (Tweet Score: 78)

9.) For-profit and non-profit #cx may have more in common than some think. [If not, perhaps it's being done wrong.]
Most healthcare experiences are enough to make anyone sick – if they weren’t already. In a move focused more on radical transformation than a quick-fix, UK’s NHS is looking to retail customer experience golden child John Lewis for guidance. This may be an “extreme makeover” worth watching. (Tweet Score: 73)

10.) Reading: "B2B CMOs: Is It Time for you to Evolve or Move On?"
B2B CMO’s, this one’s for you. Actually, it’s relevant to any marketers who find they must span organizational silos, focus corporate strategy, identify gaps in sales, purchase, and support experiences, and juggle new technologies they may find daunting. In other words, pretty much all of us. It’s a recap of a Forrester study that you can download for free. (Tweet Score: 72)

Do you know what you (or your customers) are trying to achieve?

Too many times, we’ve seen that it’s easy for well-meaning execs to get so caught up in the “process” of improving customer experience that they don’t consider what, exactly, they are trying to improve – or what their customers are trying to achieve.

This falls under the umbrella of people answering questions like “what do you want” with the task they are trying to accomplish – not necessarily the goal they are trying to reach.

Because the solution that best fits a task-driven need can be very different from the solution that best meets a customers’ actual goal.

Next time you set out to improve a service, experience or a product – or the systems that deliver them – make sure to ask and answer one of the most important customer experience questions of all: “What are you trying to achieve?”