Posts Tagged ‘Experience’

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

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Speak no evil…

November 26, 2013

Felix Harrison is one of several twenty-somethings who belong to my family of ‘surrogate children’ – having had none of my own, I’m blessed with wonderful (but usually, virtual) relationships with my friends’ kids.  Most of the time, I know more about their comings and goings than their parents do because I keep up with their blogs, Twitter feed and Facebook…and they keep up with mine!

Right now, Felix is in his second month of teaching English in Japan. He’s been keeping a wonderful blog – http://harrisongoeseast.wordpress.com. Check it out – I’m sure he’d be thrilled. This weekend, he wrote a heartfelt piece about the difficulties of communicating without the benefit of the spoken word. ‘Aha!’ I thought.  ‘I can give him some comfort by introducing him to Mehrabian’s theory of communication’ and proceeded to search the web for nuggets of wisdom.

Instead of reassuring him that ‘words account for only about 7 per cent of human communication. 38 per cent is to do with tone of voice and over half (55 per cent) to do with how we look and act when we talk’ I came across a YouTube animated video which apparently blows Albert’s theory out of the window! Not really true – Mehrabian’s theory only applies when people are talking about their feelings or attitudes. So, in fact, Felix is still doing everything right – conveying his feelings towards the cool girl that’s grabbed his attention through nods, smiles and eye contact…whilst still trying to learn the right words to say in Japanese. Can’t wait for the next instalment, Felixsan.

There’s a lesson for all of us Brits abroad – shouting loudly in English will never compensate for a smile, a wink and learning a few words of the local language beyond ‘two beers please’

Carla-MarchCarla March

www.blue-sky.co.uk

“If I Had More Time I Would Write a Shorter Letter”

August 7, 2013

Simplicity & Sophistication.

There’s much debate over who this quote is actually attributed to. On this occasion, let’s credit Mark Twain. More here. No matter, it’s a theme that fascinates me. (It’s also a rich vein for irony as any expansion on the topic surely invites ridicule. Note to self: Use the KISS principle in blogs.)

Recently joining Blue Sky I am learning all the time about us: as people and The Blue Sky Way. Then there are our many wonderful clients and projects. Have you seen our case studies?! It’s really rather exciting! And yet really rather overwhelming when you’re new. My poor, overloaded Welsh brain is imploring folk to provide summaries, headlines, priorities and snapshots because it can’t make sense of it all.

This is where the fun starts.

You see, when you are so very deeply connected with a job/project/idea, to pull back and give someone a simple oversight is surprisingly challenging. It’s all too easy to brain dump and give all the detail in briefing a colleague. How so? This is human nature on several fronts: our professionalism, our intelligence, our thoroughness, our knowledge, our expertise all jostle for position.

Yet such detail is not always helpful to the new guy/gal. Not at first. So how do you do this in a manner that gets the newbie up to speed with maximum efficiency? Time to efficiency is a concept all of us have some interest in at work. (Although when you Google it I was rather surprised to see searches around Viagra as a top hit!) How long before you’re going to be truly effective?

Not that one can exist on a diet solely of sketches, helicopter views and big pictures you understand. Yet to prioritise, one must get a handle on the themes at play and then seek out the detail. It came to me in a flash: I need people to pitch to me so that I can buy what they are talking about.

At times like these I turn to Dan Pink. In his corking read “To Sell is Human” he postulates that we need to practice six pitches to get on.  Here’s the first one:

http://vimeo.com/66508882

On a note closer to home, I’ve had success with asking “how would you explain this to my maiden aunt?” Then I get a non-technical, jargon free, plain English overview for what’s going on. It works wonders. Why? Because then I’m curious: then I want to know what’s going on behind the scenes.

Da Vinci said it before, I’ll say I again:

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Ian-Beer - Blue sky Performance Improvementhttp://www.blue-sky.co.uk

When was the last time you tried something new?

July 30, 2013

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.”

So said Mark Twain and as my first month with Blue Sky ends I am moved to write on the topic.

Ask yourself: when was the last time you started something new? I mean, properly new? For me – professionally – it’s been not far short of a decade. Add in not getting any younger and the whole shift from comfort zone to discomfort zone is a fascinating one to reflect on.

Consider this: you get home to find your nearest and dearest half way through a movie. You sit down to watch. It’s awkward to interrupt, to ask what’s happened so far, you’re not sure what’s going on and the plot is a little bit of a mystery. Familiar? Well, it’s like that changing to a new role only more so. It’s frustrating not knowing who the main characters are and what they represent. It’s maddening not knowing what’s important and what’s inconsequential.

Unlike that movie though, with a new role it’s okay to ask. It’s okay to press pause, to ask “what just happened?” Of course, it’s not a movie, not a recording. It’s more like live TV and the cameras are trained on you!

It’s only when you make a personal change like this that you realise how all-consuming it is. You’re surprisingly tired, you’re more easily confused and you’re blessed (?!) with excess information. Add to that your desire to make it work and professional pride, or in my case, sheer stubbornness. It is oh-so-difficult to remember to step back such is the onslaught. Particularly as you’ve trained yourself in being really, really good at your last job.

Luckily, the folk around here are not just great to be around, but also rather excellent at this change stuff. I know I’m in good hands, I just need to let them help me!

So I’ll be focused on prioritising and keeping it simple. After all, Leonardo Da Vinci told us “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” If I allow myself a moment to stand back, I think I know what he was getting at…

Ian-Beer - Blue sky Performance Improvementwww.blue-sky.co.uk

Could 50 Shades of Grey help your learning stick?

July 31, 2012

It was the conversation over a coffee with friends that made me brave my local bookshop and buy the hottest book of the moment – 50 Shades of Grey.

Even my husband when he saw it in the bedroom (I’d hidden it under a copy of Infinite Jest, another novel I’m trying to get through) cried out “not you as well?!” Yes, it seems that everyone on his commuter train and beyond are mesmerized.

So it made me think ‘wouldn’t it be great if we could design and launch a learning programme that would have the same impact as 50 Shades of Grey?’ A programme that employees would clamour to sign up to and evangelize with their colleagues about the content and learning.

Perform - Handcuffs - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

I am not advocating that learning interventions should involve porn, bondage or domination, just the sentiment that we need to keep designing creative and exciting content to capture employee’s imagination to make learning stick.

And so the Blue Sky 50 Shades of Learning was born by asking our staff to email their lighthearted take on the book and the world of learning. Here are our top 10 for you to enjoy and we want to find the 40 best others from out there in the learning community to make up the 50. If you’d like to send in your contribution, please email hello@blue-sky.co.uk and the top three winners will receive a bottle of Jo Malone perfume or cologne (no handcuffs or gimmicks are involved in this offer!)

The Blue Sky Top 10 Shades of Learning

“Make me cry like I’ve never cried before!” he screamed. “Alright” I said and made him read the entire works of Tom Peters.

“I am your master and you will perform everything I say” …it was then I knew it was time to leave the CIPD.

“I’m curious” he whispered. Never had she felt so deeply probed. She felt exposed from all angles; naked, yet strangely liberated and safe. “So” she said silently to herself, “this is how 360 degree feedback works.”

Wearing my seductive skimpy schoolgirl outfit, I gazed around the room. How was I to know that that was not what they meant by classroom learning?

Once I knew his seven habits…I was disgusted.

He felt his net promoter score rise as she whispered down the phone “thank you, that’s the best customer service I’ve ever experienced”.

My heartbeat raced as I heard him suggest his embedded learning methodology would be different to anything I’d ever experienced before…

He brought a new meaning to the phrase “yes, we can plug the leak in your sales pipeline…”

His PowerPoint presentation was the longest I had ever seen. Slide after slide after slide after slide of animated ecstasy. I died a thousand deaths before I fell into a deep untroubled sleep.

She lay back, disappointed. It was all over so quickly. “Oh” she said, “that’s what you meant by accelerated learning!”

Briege@Bluesky

Briege Kearney - Director - Client Development - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

www.blue-sky.co.uk

Blue Sky Performance Improvement

Getting Your Hair Cut Is Like Being A Manager Of People

May 14, 2012

I’ve had a few less than perfect haircuts recently, nothing you as an observer would probably notice, but it affects my confidence.  I have come out of these situations feeling a bit angry with the person responsible for cutting my hair and disappointed in how they have performed.

So there I am, in the hair dressers chair again, and I am reflecting on how I could take responsibility for what had been going wrong, and get the kind of outcome I want; a great haircut.  Perhaps I have had some part to play in a poor outcome.  The first point of self-awareness comes when I realise that I am not always 100% straight and clear about what I want when I am describing how I want the hair cut.

This is because I realise that the truth is I am nervous that other men in the barbers shop will hear what I am saying and secretly laugh at me inside their heads, as surely no proper masculine man worth his salt would really care that much about the way that they look? And have the nerve to talk about it so openly in front of a bunch of men? I understand that actually I am not having the courage to describe clearly and in detail exactly what it is I am looking for in the hair cut, being precise about the exact outcome I am expecting and painting a vivid picture in detail, and then checking back that my understanding is the same as theirs.

I am not having the confidence to say what I want and be clear about it; I am worried about what people might think and what kind of person that makes me.  As I am sat there I am reminded of the conversations I have with managers and sometimes their own fear of being clear in what they want from their teams.  I think they are worried about setting out very clearly what they want and what they expect, and this is what I observe when I see them with their teams.

Confidence - Haircut - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

“I’d like it to really go out at the top of the head on the sides”, I say, “to make a sort of a triangle shape; I think it suits the shape of my face better” I say.   No one in the shop laughs at me.  Actually, I feel very pleased with myself. I feel sort of bigger and stronger.  In fact, I have become so concerned about getting this to be clear, I say it twice.  The girl is great at her job.  She repeats back what it is I am saying and I know she has understood what it is I want. I am delighted inside, I know she has heard and listened and this is the first step. This is all going rather well.

She starts to cut my hair and I am relaxed.  At least, I think I am relaxed until I notice that my hands are clasped incredibly tightly together and they become a little sore as I unclench them and the pressure in my knuckles is released.  I have been clasping them very tightly due to my nervousness of how my hair cut will turn out.   It turns out I haven’t been relaxed at all.  In fact I have been very anxious about how it will turn out and the prospect of more weeks of misery as I wait for my hair to grow back.

I realise that this isn’t helping the situation; I am not helping the situation.  I think at some level if I am tense and anxious she will pick up on this and it will affect her performance.   If I am tense she will be distracted about my reactions, and will not focus so clearly on the task.  So I decide to trust. To let go of the idea that I have much control now over the outcome.   I realise I don’t have much control now anyway in truth. What I can focus on now is deciding to trust her in the task in hand.  She is a professional after all.   I make sure that I don’t look at my hair in the mirror at any stage to give her the message that I am confident about what she is doing.  This is something productive that I can focus on rather than my worry.

“Are you out for lunch?” she says. I am wearing a suit. “Yes” I say happily. It’s a good exchange of pleasantries.  But suddenly things take a turn for the worse, I am aware she seems to be cutting my hair quite fast. This makes me nervous. Why is she doing that? I think. Oh no, this could be going wrong, I think.  Suddenly I understand the reason why.  “She wants to cut it quickly so I can get back to the office quickly” I realise.  I don’t mind about this I think loudly and urgently inside my head, I would rather you cut carefully and it was a good cut I think. But am I going to do? What can I do? I might be making an assumption and embarrass her and make myself look silly if I say anything. I am racking my brains.

I know I am making assumptions but I am worried about the performance I am getting.  Suddenly as she is looking closely at my hair as she cuts I hit up on the answer. “I love the way you are really paying attention to the detail in the cut” I say.  And I make sure I look her in the eye as I say it – so that she knows I mean it.  This seems to have hugely dramatic and positive effect.  I kid you not.  She then spends perhaps the next 30 minutes, an inordinate amount of time it seems, on the tiniest movements and motions. I can’t believe the amount of detail she is going into; I am delighted.  She uses at least seven different tools to do various little jobs around my head and I am thrilled.  It seems that positively affirming what I really like in her behaviour really does produce her to do more of the same.

It’s a great cut, and I am very pleased.  As I go I tell her that, with real feeling.  It’s been an emotional experience for me. And I think she is pleased too.

Of course, I might have been over estimating the impact that I think had on the cut. She might have just been brilliant at her job. But it did make me think about some of the challenges of managing people:

  • Having the courage to be clear about what you want can be hard.  It doesn’t make you a bad person. People like to do well and knowing what well is, is important
  • Letting go of control can be hard. But holding the reins tightly won’t make them perform better.  The more you trust, the more responsibility people tend to take.  Trust implies confidence. Confidence drives performance.
  • Acknowledge and affirm the behaviour you want to see more of. People like to be told they are doing something well.

James@Bluesky

James Hodgkinson - 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

Great service in the most unlikely places..

July 13, 2011

Trains are not usually the sort of places that you would expect to find excellent customer service, especially not trains packed to the gunnels with over tired business people during the morning rush hour.  But here I am on the early morning Grand Central train from York to London having a conversation with the ticket collector and thinking how great his service has been. To backtrack a few minutes, I’d boarded the train and was in the process of buying a ticket from the collector when he suddenly stopped in mid sentence, excused himself and started running down the carriage calling after a lady who he’d just let past.  I looked at my fellow passengers and we wondered if he’d realised that she had the wrong ticket and needed to pay an excess.

inspire

A minute later he reappeared and slightly out of breath told us that “I just realised that she was heading to the buffet car to buy a drink and I’d forgot to tell her that it would be free if she showed her ticket”. It was a simple gesture and one that was delivered with absolute sincerity. When I commented on this he simply said “well, it’s part of my job to look after the customers” and then he added “Grand Central is a really good company to work for, we all like coming to work each day”.  I wish I’d had time to explore this comment further but of course he had better things to do than to talk to me. But it did inspire a conversation around my table about customer service and how the simple gestures like this leave you with an overwhelmingly positive impression of an organisation.  It doesn’t mean that I won’t ever moan about broken air conditioning, delayed trains or overcrowded carriages, but this is definitely a company I want to travel with again.

Robin@Bluesky

Robin Mar - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

www.blue-sky.co.uk

Blue Sky Performance Improvement