Posts Tagged ‘Customer Centricity’

The Peak End Rule – how do you leave your customers on a high?

June 25, 2014

Neil ShackletonHave you ever watched a film and as it plays find yourself thinking, “wow, what an amazing special effect, I wonder how they did that” or “NO, don’t go in the house, he’s in there with a knife!” Did you know that Hollywood craft every single moment of their movies to an exact formula, that every incident, special effect, twist in the tale is laid out to the exact same page number, every time? Check out http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Hollywood-Blockbuster

Those that are genius at it like Steven Spielberg are able to craft an amazing movie experience with a great ending to leave us exiting the movie theatre on a high. But think about those movies you saw that didn’t have a great ending. What did you say about them when asked…. “it was ok but the ending was rubbish, so don’t bother seeing it!”? Probably 95% was great but that last 5% wasn’t good enough to really win you over, and promote the movie to a friend. Relate that to the customer experience you deliver in your business. Are you carefully crafting that journey for them, ready to send them out on a high, so they promote your business to a friend?

To help you, you need to understand The Peak End Rule and the different ways in which it works. In his book “Thinking Fast and Slow”, Daniel Kahneman says that we judge any experience we have in life by two things – how they were at the peak or peaks of the experience and whether it got better or worse at the end. He calls this The Peak End Rule. If a movie has great special effects or an amazing fight scene but the ending just wasn’t strong enough to leave you on a high, you probably won’t tell your friends to go see it. Relate that to the customer experiences you are creating. You may have a great welcome, ask great questions or offer amazing solutions, but how much thought did you give to how you closed the transaction or in fact, where the customer is on their whole journey with you? Sometimes, by that point we are just happy that we gave the customer what they wanted as we limp out with a “bye, thanks for using us!” but if Spielberg did that, you know what you would say about his movie.

But there’s more. Understanding the journey the person has come on is also important. Daniel also states that if the ending is strong enough, it has the power to wash away any pain the customer may have felt along that journey. “WHAT!” I hear you say. YES. Let me explain…

The Peak End Rule in action

So, a friend of mine went to get a tattoo, his first and rather than choosing something simple as a first, oh no, he had to go big. He chose to have a huge tattoo over his left side. Now they say tattooing over your rib cage is possibly the most painful experience you could ever have whilst getting a tattoo, but that is where he wanted it.

Here is the journey. So the first peak is deciding he is actually going to do it, he is euphoric about it. The second peak is deciding the design he is going to have. It includes an intricate Celtic Knot design, interwoven with pictures of his children. There is a bit of a low when he finds out how much it is going to cost but he hits a peak when he actually raises the money to have it done. So far, three peaks, right?

He is 15 mins into having the tattoo done when he has to ask the artist to stop. He is in so much pain and it is about to continue for the next four and a half hours! During this time he is in agony, he is crying, I think he even called for his mother at one point (which we still tease him about), but here is the surprising twist. The minute it is finished you would think that he would say “never again”, but no. He stands looking at it in the mirror in total awe, turns his body to show the now untouched side and says, “think I will get this side done as well!”. “WHAT!” I hear you shout, “is he insane?” but actually, he just got hit by The Peak End Rule.

Remember, when the ending is strong enough, it does have the power to wash away the pain, which in this case, he had only just experienced. A bit like a mother holding her newly born baby – the pain was worth it. The minute he saw how fabulous the tattoo looked, he was ready for another one.

Let’s put all of this in the context of your customer. Firstly, you have a product you sell, let’s say it’s broadband as that probably resonates with most of us and let’s put it in some simplistic terms to scope the journey.

You just bought a new house – peak
You choose the Broadband provider and you are really happy with the deal and speed you are going to get – peak
The router arrives when it should and service goes live without a hitch – peak
Then one day, the Broadband just won’t work and you can’t figure out why – low

What happens next is often the key deciding factor on how the customer feels about the provider they chose. If the customer calls up and the company is really easy to do business with, then it is a peak for the customer and they are happy to continue. They may even promote your business because they get that it will go wrong sometimes, but you were so great in fixing it and made it so effortless for them, they are happy to stay. Peak

BUT, if you create a difficult experience for them at this point, full of hurdles and broken promises to call back and a total lack of acknowledgement of the pain they are going through, then this is when they want to leave you. You created a poor ending. Get it?

Creating a Peak Ending

You can take The Peak End Rule into any customer interaction you have by ensuring that you leave the customer on a high. It is the way you leave them that will have the lasting effect and to illustrate it, I am going to leave you with a short story I stole from a colleague of mine.

So my colleague orders his groceries online regularly and as usual, a guy brings them to the door and leaves. No big deal, that is what we expect, but one day a different guy turns up. This guy offers to carry the groceries through to the kitchen, passing the young daughter who is trying to learn guitar. On the way out, the delivery guy stops and shows the daughter two great little guitar chords and on the back of a receipt he has in his pocket, writes a visual depiction of the chords so she won’t forget them. WOW, what a way to leave. The daughter is delighted she learned two new chords and my colleague is stunned to say the least. TA DA! The Peak End Rule. Guess what, he tells EVERYONE to get their groceries from that store.

So are you ready for your high after RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK or are you churning out SCREAM 58?

Written by Neil Shackleton, Associate Consultant at Blue Sky

Feel the fear and do it anyway

November 23, 2011

Almost exactly ten years ago, I conducted some research into Customer Experience.  It wasn’t called Customer Experience in those days; it was called ‘Customer Centricity’.  The research showed that over 80% of organisations had customer management strategies but fewer than 40% had the processes and measures to actually implement the strategy.  We referred to this discrepancy as ‘the Knowing – Doing Gap’ (the title of a very good (although quite heavy) book by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton of the Harvard Business School).  Recently, we reran the research at Blue Sky and it showed that whilst organisations now have the processes and measures in place, they still aren’t actually delivering on their strategies.  It seems the Knowing – Doing gap is still alive and well. And I now reckon we have conclusive evidence as to why this gap exists.

Explore - Feel The Fear - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

Fear.

People have the direction, the skills, the knowledge, the systems, the processes, the measures, in fact everything they need to deliver a transformed customer experience, but it’s still not happening consistently.

I was working with a retail bank recently.  Their new operating model involved more staff actually talking to customers.  What we observed when we went into branches was similar to what is referred to in social circles as ‘Approach Anxiety’.  Approach Anxiety is the justifiable fear of approaching strangers. People are innately terrified of rejection.  This means they either hide from customers altogether or ask direct closed questions to get the agony over with as quickly as possible.  “Can I help you?” is the most obvious question.  My standard response to this is: “no thanks.”  Sometimes braver staff may ask me “how can I help you?”  to which I generally respond, “I’m fine thanks”.  The reason I respond like this is because I share the same anxiety; I don’t want to look stupid!

The best example of an organisation that does not suffer from Approach Anxiety is Apple.  Go into an Apple store and you will be greeted by people that have all the skills and knowledge to answer anything you may ask.  They also have confidence in their colleagues.  If they don’t know the answer someone in the store will.  They also have confidence in their employer, their brand, their products and services. Building the confidence of your staff does not require you to be richer than the US Government, as Apple apparently now is (who isn’t?), it requires a culture of positive coaching – not simply coaching for correction, but coaching to build the emotional intelligence and confidence of staff at all levels. And if you’re interested in self-help, start by reading Susan Jeffers’ “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

Simon@Bluesky

Simon Daisley - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

www.blue-sky.co.uk

Blue Sky Performance Improvement

Ever tried to bake a cake without an egg? Part 2

September 8, 2011

We know that customer advocacy is vital, now we need to explore the current shift in customer perception and mindset.

So, there has been a shift – a big shift!  So why, following this big shift in focus and perceived capability to deliver against a customer focus from the top, are the top dogs for service still relatively similar to the one’s we would recall from 10 years ago?

Really! The same organisations that were at the top of the tree in the UK; the likes of First Direct, John Lewis, Waitrose, Virgin and BUPA are still there today. (Check out any of the UK CSI results over the years)

Some, like BT, Tesco, British Gas have slipped a bit, but if you were to look at Britain’s best-loved customer experiences then and now, there would not be much difference.

So despite making a shift in implementing processes and retaining really strong intent from the top, success still eludes the vast majority of companies.

As with ten years ago, successful companies are those that have the greatest appeal to their customers in both rational and emotional terms.

We’ve spent much of the last decade shoring up the rational ways we do business – better processes, better measurement, better management, but have potentially neglected the emotional appeal.

Engage - Hand Holding - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

So what’s the answer?

Well, I think there are probably many things that the best of the best have in common in the way they create customer advocacy, but I was recently reading the Starbucks story and Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks summarises the customer experience transformation undertaken by Starbucks as a combination of Intent – the genuine and visible intent of the leadership team, Process – those that truly support customer advocacy, and Heart – the engagement of the people within the organisation to deliver.

We often get asked to focus purely on Heart – ‘please come in to our business and make our people more engaged!’. But what we know is unless all three are working together and continually finely tuned, you’ll always be good, but maybe not on the list.  It made me think – focussing purely on one bit is really just like trying to bake a cake with just an egg.

Sally@Bluesky

Sally Earnshaw - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

www.blue-sky.co.uk

Blue Sky Performance Improvement

Ever tried to bake a cake without an egg? Part 1

September 2, 2011

It’s pretty common knowledge now that creating customer advocacy pays off.

By ‘advocacy’, I mean generating such an emotional connection with your brand that customers remain loyal in the long term and by ‘pays off’, I am referring briefly to the robust research that concludes that loyalty leaders have lower costs and higher growth rates than the average organisation.  (If you don’t believe me, check out any of Fred Reicheld’s work on-line.)

So armed with this knowledge, you’d think organisations would be getting much better at creating high levels of advocacy, wouldn’t you?  Well I don’t know about you, but I’m not feeling a massive amount of advocacy for many of the companies I am a customer of – there are some, but they are still the same companies I liked 20 years ago.  They are probably the same companies you like, or at least have heard other people raving about.

Connect - BlueSky - Bluesky Performance Improvement

10 years ago research was conducted into Customer Centricity, to establish the extent to which organisations truly did place customers at the heart of their organisation.

What this research revealed was this:

  • 83% of companies believed their CEO’s were passionate about customers, although few had evidence to support it.
  • However, whilst over 80% of organisations had strategies in place for customer acquisition, development and retention, in some cases as few 40% actually had the relevant processes, targets and measures in place to implement the strategies effectively. Companies knew what to do but didn’t have the mechanisms in place to deliver.

Now 10 years on, we repeated this study in to a smaller number of organisations, but the pattern was evident all the same.  The picture 10 years on looked like this:

  • Interestingly 88% of organisations now believe their CEO is passionate about customers
  • However over 90% now have not only the strategies in place, but claim to be happy with the supporting processes, targets and measures in place for each business development component – customer acquisition, customer development and customer retention

The next part of this blog will explore the shift and what it means to the ‘Top Dogs’.

Sally@Bluesky

Sally Earnshaw - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

www.blue-sky.co.uk

Blue Sky Performance Improvement