Today I wish to share with you the key points that I took away from my participation in Day One of the Customer Insight & Analytics Exchange conference taking place in London.
Are you measuring the Customer Effort Score?
Moira Clark of the Henley Management Centre for Customer Management made the case for measuring the effort that the customer has to make in doing business with your company. She argued that the Customer Effort Score (CES) is more predictive of repeat business and higher spend than NPS or CSAT. This clearly suggests that customers favour those companies that take the effort out of doing business with them.
If you want to grapple with getting a handle on and reducing the amount of customer effort then Moira suggested mapping the customer journey. The objective being to identify what level of effort is experienced at the various stages of the customer journey. And to figure out where to intervene to reduce the customer effort.
Which dimensions of effort should one consider? Cognitive, Emotional, Time and Physical.
Customer Journey Mapping: what does it bring to the table?
The panelists (from Orange, Aviva, RSA) agreed that customer journey mapping is an effective way of generating insight. It can give people access to what the customer goes through; the customer’s perception of the experience; which touchpoint matter to customers; where touchpoints/interactions/processes are broken; how much money the company is ‘losing’ as a result of service failures and lost customers……
A danger that was highlighted is that of confusion of customer journey mapping with business process mapping. That is to say that it is all too easy to take an inside-out approach (focusing on what matters to the company as opposed to the customer) whilst thinking that you are taking an outside-in approach. For customer journey mapping even to cross the threshold and enter into the margins of the outside-in orientation it is necessary to get access to/involve customers in the mapping and evaluation of the customer journey.
What are you doing about engaging your employees?
Derek Brown of Vovici made three great points. First, employees do have valuable feedback on what matters to customers and how the customer experience can be improved. Second, ultimately any insight has to operationalised and that involves the employees – especially those that serve/interact with customers. Third, there is value in connecting feedback from customers and feedback from employees. It was interesting to note that only about half of the participants said that their companies sought to gain feedback from their employees.
Analytics: does the real power lie in business model disruption?
Chris Roche of Greenplum (EMC) made the point that the real power of data mining/predictive analytics might just lie in business model disruption. For example, by harnessing breakthrough in human genome mapping and the power of predictive analytics it is possible to identify who is at the risk of which disease. Which in turn allows a complete transformation of the the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK: from treating acute disease to encouraging/enabling wellness. Another example is insurance companies. They can put a device in the customer’s car, record/analyse driving behaviour, come up with a personalised risk profile and thus provide a premium tailored to the risk profile of each individual customer.
What is the future likely to look like? According to Chris the incumbents are likely to use analytics to make incremental improvements. And so the task of business model disruption will fall to new entrants who do not have an installed base / revenue stream at risk.
Does the ‘age of the customer’ require a learning organisation?
Suresh Vittal of Forrester made the case that we are in the ‘age of the customer’ and that means customer obsession in term of generating customer insight (‘customer truths’) and taking effective rapid action on these truths. How many companies are at this point right now? About 12%. What kind of organisation is best suited for generating and operationalising customer insight rapidly/effectively? The learning organisation. Which group of people are the main obstacle to putting in place a learning organisation? According to Suresh, it is the Tops.
Which is better for generating customer insight: quantitative or qualitative?
The panelists (from Whitbread, HSBC, JustGiving, Forester) agreed that this is no longer a useful way of thinking about insight. Customer insight is more useful if both quantitative and qualitative techniques and insights are used. For example, if you are looking to optimise the customer experience on the website you would start with quantitative to know what is happening on the site and then follow this up with qualitative research (surveys, focus groups, user experience labs) to work out the why. And with this level of understanding you can take action. On the other hand it is possible that qualitative research will throw up some customer insights which will need to be validated/quantified through quantitative research in order to decide on whether it is worth acting on the customer insight.
My take on the day
It occurs to me that the customer insight community is grappling with the same kind of issues that it was some ten years ago:
- How can we get the business to act on the insight we generate?
- How to make sense of the information from disparate sources to get at genuine customer insights that make a difference?
- How to convert data into actionable insight?
- What should we be measuring: CSAT, NPS, something else?
- How do we integrate the quantitative side (analytics) with the qualitative side to generate rounded insight?
The second ‘truth’ that hit me is that there is huge gulf between the theoreticians and the practitioners. The theoreticians – analyst, technology vendors – make even the most complex sound so easy. The practitioners are finding it difficult to get even the simpler stuff done. One practitioner summed it up nicely when she stated that whilst it sounds easy, it is anything but easy to generate useful actionable insight and get this acted upon effectively and rapidly by the various players in the organisation who have their own agendas/priorities.