Apathy – whose fault is it?

My wonderful wife is the first to point out that I am not necessarily the best customer. Doing what I do for a living, I fully acknowledge that I am very conscious of the experiences I have as a customer – wherever that happens to be. Sometimes this leads to me ‘harping on’ about how wonderful organisations and their staff are. Sometimes this leads to me vociferously pointing out what is wrong! All poor Naomi wants is to eat or shop in peace!!

So when Naomi went to London last Friday for a break with Caitie (one of our daughters), in the back of my mind I knew that I would be able to ‘rant and rave’ to my heart’s content for two whole days (although we must recognise that Jack and Ciara – our two other children – would have to put up with it instead!).

Identifying; spotting; noticing; recognising; appreciating; good and bad customer experiences is not something I intentionally go out of my way to do – it just happens. Having focussed on the importance of doing the right things for customers for such a long time, it is now part of my make up! I can go for days and sometimes weeks without ‘noticing’ anything that warrants comment – in other words, I can go for periods having experiences that are neither exceptional, nor sub standard – they just do what I expect. That in itself is not such a bad thing. However, there are other times when it seems as though every experience I has is significant – and not always for the right reason.

The weekend that has just passed was one of those ‘times’. I had a number of experiences that genuinely surprised me. They surprised me because there was a common theme to all of them. It is that common theme that is the subject of this blog.

What do the following brands all have in common?:

 0 halfords  0 morrisons1

They are all very well recognised brands in the UK. They are also all brands that I had an experience with over the weekend. They are all brands that delivered experiences that I have and will remember for a while. I will remember the experiences for one reason – all four interactions were delivered by disinterested, disengaged, APATHETIC staff – at least that is the impression they all gave me. Let me talk you through the experiences.

1. Holiday Inn – I am cheating slightly here as this experience was last week, rather than the weekend, but it was an experience that set up the apathy theme perfectly. I stayed in the Holiday Inn in Walsall – a hotel that sits right on the M6. Being late in the day, and being lazy, I decided to have dinner in the hotel restaurant. I approached a member of the waiting staff who was standing by the till at the entrance to the restaurant. He made no attempt to look up from what he was doing to greet me. When I enquired as to whether or not the restaurant was open, he replied ‘I suppose so’. I was really taken aback. This guy could not have been more apathetic if he tried. He genuinely looked at me as if he could not care less. His colleagues were no better – throughout my meal, all of the waiting staff seemed to have some kind of magnetic attraction to the till and each other – congregating in a way that made delivering a plate of food to a customer seem like a real inconvenience. The food was actually quite good – the kitchen staff were greatly let down by the waiting staff. APATHY – 9, CUSTOMER 0

2. Halfords – My little boy Jack mastered riding his bike without stabilisers on Friday. However, Naomi and I noticed that the handlebars on his bike needed to be raised. For some reason I could not find a suitable tool to raise them – so, a visit to a brand new Halfords store beckoned. The store in Chester has only been open a week. It is bright and shiny with a great array of products. I quickly found what I wanted – within two minutes of entering the store. Regrettably it took me ten minutes to get out! I could not find a member of staff who wanted to take my money!! The first member of staff I found (next to a till I might add) was on the phone. He pointed down (I was upstairs in the bike shop) – basically telling me to go downstairs to pay. Should a member of staff (who I now understand was the manager) be taking a phone call by the till? So I went downstairs to be greeted by another member of staff at the main till on the ground floor. This chap was marking up stock. He spotted me coming from ten feet away. The look he gave me was one of ‘for Pete’s sake, can you not go somewhere else?’. I actually felt guilty for disturbing him. He told me that I needed to pay for my item upstairs. Rather than argue with him, I went back upstairs (who needs to go to the gym for a workout?). This time,  there was  not a soul at the till – not a member of staff in sight. My temperature was starting to rise at this point. I stood there for a couple of minutes before making the decision to re-visit my friend on the till downstairs……only when I got there, he had disappeared as well!!! It did cross my mind at this stage to walk out without paying. The staff obviously could not care less about taking my money, so why should I care about giving it to them. After another couple of minutes, the manager appeared down the stairs – he looked at me with a quizzing look – ‘is no-one helping you?’ he asked. That was plainly obvious. However, rather than going behind the till and taking my money himself, he sought out ‘my friend’. As ‘Mr Friendly’ got to the till, he very loudly said ‘anything wrong with the till upstairs’ to the manager. The manager either did not hear him, or chose to ignore him. I on the other hand was left rueing my decision to give my hard-earned money to a company who had employed people who appeared to care so little about their customers. APATHY – 10, CUSTOMER 0

3. Next – The Halfords experience should have sent me home with my tail between my legs. I should have committed to not going anywhere for the rest of the weekend!! I did not make that commitment. Instead, I decided to visit Next to buy some new work shoes – something I had been meaning to do for a while. I was greeted at the door (as you always are at Next) by a nice lady holding a clipboard. I always feel as though they are about to sell me something (which they probably are), so I hurriedly shepherded Jack and Ciara past her and in to the men’s section of the store. Like Halfords, I very quickly found what I wanted. Unlike buying a tool for a bike though, before I could make the decision to buy, I needed to try the shoes on – herein was the problem. Once again, I could not find anyone to help me. It looked like all the staff had been ‘beamed up by Scotty’ (apart from the lady with the clipboard). When a lady did appear, she ‘hollered’ at me from the other side of the shop to say she would be with me ‘in a minute’. Why do you feel as though you are inconveniencing someone when they say that to you? The lady in question arrived back before I had made the decision to leave. I asked her for the size and style of shoes I wanted to try. As she was walking off, I decided to try another style – this threw her a bit – ‘you want to try on two pairs?’ she said. She made me feel as though this was a highly unusual request. I was not asking to try on a spacesuit for a trip to the moon! As she was walking to the storeroom, another customer (yes, they can accommodate more than one in the store), dared to ask her for help. Her response – ‘I am helping a customer at the moment – I’ll be back in a minute’. I did eventually buy one of the pairs of shoes I tried on – because the product and price were right. If this had been a visit to a restaurant, the lady that ‘served’ me would not be getting a tip! APATHY – 9, CUSTOMER 0

4. Morrisons – My next visit was to Morrisons – one of Britain’s biggest supermarkets. I did not have to do a big weekly shop – I just needed a few bits and pieces – Milk, Bread and a great big Pumpkin (for Jack, Ciara and I to carve that afternoon). Once again (there is a theme building here), we found what we wanted very quickly. We worked our way to the tills. Ciara had insisted on holding the Pumpkin, and was huffing and puffing behind Jack and I. We approached a till that had a small queue and Ciara put the Pumpkin on the belt. ‘I’m closing’ said a voice from somewhere in the ether. As I looked around to see where the voice was coming from, it came again – ‘I’m closing’. I realised that the assistant on the till was looking at me with a look of defiance.  Now there are a couple of issues I have with this scenario. There was absolutely nothing to tell me that the till was about to close. No nice sign politely requesting that I find another till – only other customers in front of me. But it was the way the assistant spoke to me that bothered me most. I almost thought she was going to say ‘nah nah nee nah nah!!’. The lady just gave me the impression she could not care less. Her going on a break was far more important than any customer. Do not get me wrong – I completely understand that hard-working staff need a  break – it was the way she spoke to me that is the problem. APATHY – 8, CUSTOMER 0

Four experiences. Four different experiences with a small number of people who represent some of the biggest brands in the UK. Four brands who employ thousands of people. I recognise that the people I met are a very small minority of the hard-working men and women who represent these brands on a daily basis. However, how representative are they of the behaviour that is displayed to customers across the country? The levels of APATHY I experienced are, in my humble opinion, never acceptable – under any circumstances. The question is why did I see it so many times in such a short period?

Is it down to the four people I met – they are just not cut out to be in customer facing roles? I do not believe it is down to that. The old cliché of ‘no-one ever comes to work to do a bad job’ is accurate in this case. Although our interactions were brief, these people did not appear to be intentionally lacklustre and uncaring.

Is it down to circumstances? For example, is a lack of staff causing employees to be incapable of having the time to be empathetic to their customers? In two of my four examples there is an argument that  this might be a cause. In both Halfords and Next, there was a distinct lack of people (staff not customers). However, just because you are stretched and do not have much support, it is still no excuse to ‘not care’ (or at least display that attitude to a customer).

Is it down to training? Could it be that these people have not be trained how to behave and act in front of customers? It is difficult for me to cite this as a cause – I am not party to when or how they were trained. Knowing the sheer size and scale of these organisations, I would be surprised if they were not given the training required to represent their brands.

I do not feel any of these possible causes are the reason for the APATHY I experienced.  I believe that ‘leadership’, or lack of it, has a lot to do with it. I’ll give you an example of why. I ‘tweeted’ about my Holiday Inn experience (something I do from time to time if I am riled enough). I got a response from InterContinental Hotels Group very quickly. They told me that the food and beverages manager from the hotel would contact me imminently. It was very impressive. A few minutes later, the phone rang in my hotel room. I had a great conversation with the manager. He was horrified. He told me that he spends his evenings at ‘the pass’ to ensure that food gets out to customers promptly and accurately. Our conversation confirmed that he did not really know what his team were getting up to ‘front of house’. Now I could be hard on him and say that his management skills are lacking. However, I genuinely think he was doing what he thought was right, and trusting his staff to do the same.  In his quest to get the food right, he had neglected to effectively lead and manage another stage of his customer journey.

The next morning, the staff in the restaurant were ‘exceptionally attentive’. They were the same staff – only recognisable in the way they looked – not the way they behaved. They did not look irritated or ‘put out’. They looked attentive. They looked as if they cared. They needed leadership, and when they got it, the difference was immense. Let’s hope that they continue to be led effectively going forward.

We must never forget that our people are the backbone of our organisations. Without them we would not have a customer experience. People need to be looked after. They need to nurtured. They need to be developed. They need to be led. They need to be appreciated. The people I met at the weekend would almost certainly NOT be able to put a tick next to all of these things.

I learned a long time ago that unless your people are fully engaged with your brand to the point that they are advocates of it, it is very difficult to create a strong customer focussed culture. If your staff do not care about your brand, what hope is there for your customers?

So ask yourself two very important questions – do your people care about your brand? Do your people care about your customers? I will remember my experiences for the wrong reasons. How many of your customers will do the same and look elsewhere for the pair of shoes they want?

People say that online shopping is growing so rapidly because it so convenient. Maybe it has something to do with not having to deal with uncaring humans as well!!

As always, I am very grateful for any comments you may have about this or any of my blogs.

2, 4, 6, 8, who do we appreciate? Why some organisations may struggle to answer the question!

Every time I join a new business, there are a number of things I insist on doing. Meeting key stakeholders is one. Finding and befriending the PAs is another (they are often among the most influential people in an organisation). Learning how the business works is another. These things might seem pretty simple, and indeed obvious. You are not wrong. However, it never ceases to amaze me how little people really know about the organisation they work for. It is remarkable how little colleagues APPRECIATE each other. Why we should understand and appreciate what everyone does in the organisations we work for is the subject of this blog.

Let me use an example to explain what I mean. Last year, I watched an episode of ‘undercover boss’ – a TV programme on Channel 4 in the UK where senior business leaders go ‘under cover’ to really understand what is happening in their businesses. The fact that a senior leader has to go ‘under cover’ to find out what is really going on is pretty shocking in its own right. The episode I watched was really rather embarrassing – both for the leader in question, and for the company he represents.

Kevin McCullough (pictured below) is (at least I think he still is) COO or NPower – one of the UKs huge energy companies. Kevin went under cover in one of NPower’s contact centres to see what was going on, and what customers thought of his business. Kevin also saw for the first time (at least it looked like the first time), what it is like to be an employee of NPower.

Now call me cynical (among other things), but I find it pretty remarkable that it looked as though the man responsible for NPower’s contact centres appeared to be walking in to one for the first time. I also find it amazing that no one had any idea who he was. It was incredible to see how surprised he was to find out what his customers thought of his company. But perhaps the saddest thing that I witnessed is how hard he thought it was to do the job of an NPower customer service agent. It is obvious that he had never appreciated any of these things before.

Mr McCullough is not the only senior leader to be guilty of failing to appreciate what his colleagues in the business do – what they go through every day – the amount of effort they put in – what they have to face. At least he had the courage to go on national TV to figure it out. It is also not only people at Mr McCullough’s level that fail to appreciate what colleagues from other parts of the business do.

Unfortunately, many businesses operate in silos. Business functions operate largely independently of other functions in the business. They are often measured differently and work towards different goals. It is in businesses like this that it is common for functions to have no appreciation of each other. Businesses like this are very unlikely to offer their customers a seamless customer journey. Where a customer journey is delivered by multiple functions, if each one does not understand and appreciate the other, how can they possible expect the poor old customer to get what they want?

A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of being a judge at the Customer Service Training Awards. One of the entries I judged was from Pizza Hut. It is not the merits of their submission that I want to reference. What I want to share with you is the behaviour of their UK Managing Director – a gentleman called Jens Hofma (pictured below). Jens was the only Managing Director that accompanied his team that day. Jens is also a rare example of a senior leader who genuinely appreciates what his team does. The question is why?

The answer………..Jens is a leader who puts himself in his people’s shoes – on a weekly basis. Work commitments permitting, Jens works as a waiter in his Oxford Street restaurant once a week. Not only does this enable Jens to see and speak to customers, it allows him to see and speak to his staff, and observe his product in action. When Jens visits other restaurants and speaks to members of his team, he speaks with a complete appreciation of what is going on in his business. There is also little chance of Jens walking into one of his restaurants and staff not knowing who he is. I think he is a wonderful example to others.

But as I have already said, appreciating what colleagues within an organisation do is not just something that senior leaders should have. I have worked in and with businesses where different functions just do not communicate with each other. I have worked in businesses where sales and marketing teams have never set foot in a contact centre. They have no appreciation of the amazing work their colleagues do in resolving their customers problems. Likewise, I have rarely seen contact centre teams going out on the road with the sales force – meeting actual customers face to face for the first time. It is not uncommon for those poor men and women who work in warehouses to never have seen someone from head office – it is amazing how products get to customers by magic (said with tongue in cheek). Many nationwide organisations have offices and sites in far-flung corners of the country. I pity those who are the furthest distance from head office. I remember going to a contact centre in Sunderland once (the North East of England for those of you who do not know) – one woman told me I did not need to say anything. When I asked why, she said that just being there was enough.

Knowing and appreciating what everyone does in the business that you work for is extremely important. It is important so you have a clear understanding of how your business works. It is also extremely important that you understand what your colleagues do and how they do it. It will make you think before you make a decision, or commit to doing something. It will allow you to understand the effect those decisions might have on others. It will enable you to work effectively with your colleagues and deliver a consistent customer experience.

So ask yourself the following questions:

  1.  Do you appreciate what other people in your organisation do?
  2. Do you know what they do?
  3. Have you ever seen or experienced what they do?

If you have answered no to any of the questions, I implore you to do something about it. It is not difficult. You do not necessarily have to go to the lengths that Jens has at Pizza Hut. But do make the time to go and visit colleagues in other parts of the business. Not only will it help you appreciate your colleagues more, they will be so grateful for you taking the time to do it.

As always, I encourage and welcome you to respond to any of my blogs.

I’m not paying to park! Why the British high street might be struggling

I woke up this morning to see and hear reports about the continuing demise of the British high street. According to the media, up to 30 high street chain stores are closing on a daily basis. These stores are being replaced by pawnbrokers, bookmakers and charity shops. Here is one perspective from the Independent newspaper – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/goodbye-toys-and-cards-hello-loans-and-bookies-8215751.html

It is clear that the challenges of the economic climate have had a significant effect on changing the face of the British high street. All organisations, whether they be in retail or not, are having to assess the effectiveness and feasibility of their operations. A cost focus has meant that underperforming parts of organisations have had to be streamlined – for a retailer, regrettably this means that their ‘footprint’ has had to be reduced where possible.

So exactly what are the causes of this – can it all just be blamed on the economy? In my opinion, the causes are as follows:

1. Spiralling business rates – this is definitely a significant economic factor. I live in Chester in the North West of England. The business rates (so I am led to believe) are exorbitant. For those of you who have been to Chester, it is a historic town with a very historic shopping centre with the world-famous ‘rows’ – a two tier high street (see picture below). The ‘rows’ used to be bustling and full of individual specialist retailers. It was wonderful. Today, not only are many of the units empty, those that are occupied are occupied by national chains that can still make the Chester stores work. Why? individual retailers simply cannot afford the rates – big out-of-town supermarkets and a huge outlet village have made the consumer think twice about where to do their shopping. If the town centre offers nothing ‘different’, why bother going……this leads me on to my second point….

2. Car parking – the bane of any shoppers life. Not only is it difficult to find somewhere to park, when you, you are expected to pay through the nose for it. Chester have implemented a ‘free after 3’ parking policy in some car parks. Personally, I will only visit the town centre when I know I can park for nothing. The policy works – but what about the rest of the working day. The consumer now has more choice than ever before. They can visit the big supermarkets or the outlet villages and park for nothing – anytime. They can literally buy anything they want from anywhere in the world from the comfort of their living room. Why would you pay to park in the town centre that offers nothing different? This leads me on to my third point…

3. Where is the WOW? More than ever before, consumers want an experience – a positive, memorable experience in everything they do. Recognising that fact, one needs to question what kind of ‘end to end’ experience do many of our high streets now offer? The experience starts with being able to access the high street (parking, walking, public transport etc..) and ends in much the same way. In the middle are a number of elements that make up the full end to end ‘customer journey’. What kind of journey does your high street offer you? Today it is not great – queues of traffic to get to overpriced car parks. You then walk past empty shops and often dirty streets. You might be able to dine in a fast food restaurant before walking past a gang of youths on street corner to get back to your car before the parking ticket runs out. I am being a bit extreme here, but I am guessing you get the point.

A customer experience specialist in the US, Bruce Temkin, once taught me that there are three elements to any experience:

When you think about these elements for the high street, it does make it clear why there is a struggle. Is the British high street functional any more? Does it provide the basic things that the consumer wants? Is it accessible? It is certainly not as accessible as other options now available to the consumer. And the third one is the key one – how does shopping in the high street make the consumer feel? What is the emotional connection with the consumer? What is the consumer going to remember about their day out?

I think it is pretty clear-cut why the high street is suffering. The only way to help address the issues is for the key stakeholders to start working together – central and local government; retailers; local people – unless the high street can start to compete from a functional and accessible perspective, the only emotional element of the experience that the consumer will remember is not likely to be positive.

As always, I welcome any comments on this or any other of my blogs.

Woah there tiger!! Beware what and how you react to social media

The benefits of social media in the business world have been a hot topic of conversation for a few years now. Many businesses have started to adopt ‘social media strategies’, and are using the likes of Facebook and Twitter for marketing and customer service among other things.

It is true to say that social media has been a revelation for the consumer. Many recognise that social media has put the consumer ‘in control’, and given them a ‘voice’ unlike any generation has been able to take advantage of before. On the one had this is great – especially for those of us who spend our lives working with businesses to ensure that the poor consumer is listened to. However (or ‘but’ depending on which word you prefer), social media has also caused us a problem – and by us, I mean the collective us – customer experience professionals and our colleagues within the businesses that we work.

Whilst social media has enabled the consumer to speak openly about their experiences with an organisation (good or bad), the world-wide web has also enabled senior managers to see what customers are saying about their businesses – whenever they want.

Now on the one hand, this is not such a bad thing. As I have already said, customer experience professionals spend their lives getting senior managers to listen to what customers are saying. The problem is that senior managers tend to look at the comments they see online as ‘red’ – an absolute black and white (sorry too many colours being used in this explanation!!) description of the problems within the company. They tend to see a one-off tweet as completely representative of what is happening in their business.

I personally have been on the receiving end of this ‘phenomenon’ many times – where a senior leader has seen a negative tweet, and then demanded that anyone responsible be summoned for both an explanation and an immediate solution. I am sure that those of you reading this recognise the scenario. It is not wrong for a CEO or a senior director to be agitated by negative sentiment on a social forum – but they way that they react to it is critical.

In an organisation that has an established customer feedback programme, any comment about the business MUST be taken in context with what the ‘representative sample’ of customers are saying – not one or two angry customers who proactively use twitter to get themselves heard. Businesses run the risk of taking the wrong action if they listen to the few, rather than the many.

All too often people make the mistake of responding immediately to negative comments made about their businesses. However, it is not always the case that the consumer making the comment actually wants a response. Sometimes consumers just want to have a rant. At Shop Direct Group (my previous business), the CEO received a complaint directly from a customer. The complaint was not about something Shop Direct did in providing a service. The complaint was because one of Shop Direct’s brands responded to a tweet. The customer complained because they felt they were being ‘snooped on’. We may consider this to be an overreaction – but it is an interesting example of what can happen if you react to everything.

The challenge for any customer experience professional is to ensure that their business has access to ‘the facts’. That everyone in the organisation understands what customers think about them, and what the priorities for improvement in the customer journey are (from the customer perspective). Having access to the facts should ensure that IF a consumer posts something to Facebook or Twitter or any other social forum, the senior leadership who might stumble across it will have the appropriate context. If you have access to the facts but senior leadership do not, make sure they do!!

However (sorry there is another one), the other challenge for the customer experience professional and his/her colleagues is to ensure balance – that whilst making sure negative sentiments are put in context, the business does not ‘under-react’ to what the consumer is saying.

A great example of over-reaction was in the UK earlier this year. Martha Payne is a school girl from Argyll in Scotland. With the help of her dad, she started a blog to rate the quality of her school dinners. The blog exposed some shocking facts about the quality of the meals her school was providing. Martha did nothing but tell the truth. The local council decided that this was not acceptable, and shut her blog down. What happened next demonstrates the power of social media – there was a twitter backlash. Within a couple of days, the local council had no option but to reverse its decision. You can read the story of Martha as reported in the Independent newspaper here – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/the-council-that-bit-off-more-than-it-could-chew-girls-school-dinner-blog-back-by-popular-demand-7854487.html

Argyll and Bute council reacted in the wrong way to one little 9-year-old girl exercising her freedom of speech. If they had just listened to what she was saying, they could have avoided a PR disasterand genuinely addressed a problem . Martha has now raised over £100,000 to feed children in Malawi – quite remarkable. She has also changed the quality of school meals in her region.

So the next time your CEO comes charging to your desk to remonstrate about a negative tweet, please remind him/her that one negative tweet may not always be representative of the overwhelming majority of customers. Gather the facts and determine if you should just listen, or if action is indeed necessary. Of course, an integrated company wide social media policy would be a big help at negating senior management reaction in the first place!!

As always, your comments to this or any other of my blogs is encouraged and appreciated.

The ultimate challenge! Why doing the right thing for your customers is just that!

I am often asked how best to influence all levels of an organisation to focus on the customer.

‘How can I get the board to listen to me?’

‘I have the facts, but nothing ever changes’.

‘Why do we keep taking customers for granted, despite knowing what to do to make their experience better?’.

All customer experience professionals (CXPs) are used to frustration – it comes with the job title. All CXPs will at some time have experienced the same challenges in trying to improve or sustain their organisations customer experience. CXPs are often specialists in defining strategies, measurement systems, voice of the customer programmes, employee advocacy and engagement initiatives etc.

BUT….there is always a but…….the thing that really makes a CXP is the basis by which they operate – their role is ‘to always do the right thing by customers’. Sounds simple right? Yes and No!!

I will always strive to get organisations I work with to do the right thing by their customers. Businesses are in business to serve their customers – without them they would not exist. I am obviously stating the obvious, but there are many occasions where we could all be forgiven for thinking that our organisations had forgotten that customers exist! However businesses are not charities (as many CFOs will be only too quick to point out), and exist to make as much profit for their owners and shareholders as possible.

This is where ‘doing the right thing for customers’ can often become the ultimate challenge. How can you do what is right for customers when profits are falling? How can you do the right thing is costs are rising? The job of the CXP is use fact (a word I use a lot), to help their business understand the effect ‘not doing the right thing’ might and will be having on customer behaviour.

Whilst many business leaders focus on the numbers – ‘top and bottom line’ (dreadful words that are a million miles away from the language of the consumer), the CXP focuses on how those numbers can improve by designing and delivering experiences that customers are willing to buy over and over again. Using voice of he customer information and operational metrics, the CXP can help business leaders understand BOTH what it is that is driving customers away, thus identifying the priorities for improvement, AND what is generating unnecessary cost.

I found a great blog the other day by Mark McDonald from Gartner. Mark’s blog talks about Customer Experience ‘bridging the gap between revenue growth and cost cutting’ http://blogs.gartner.com/mark_mcdonald/2012/01/06/customer-experience-bridges-the-gap-between-revenue-growth-and-cost-cutting/. Mark says:

“Create a superior, a simple, an engaging and powerful experience and you will grow revenue. Deliver that experience requires cutting the internal clutter that makes it hard to do business.  This view creates a focal point for both rather than a forcing function requiring a choice between revenue growth and cost cutting.”

In other words, doing the right thing by your customer can deliver BOTH revenue growth as well as making your organisation a leaner more cost-effective one. This is such a vital thing to remember when you are in an environment where you are being encouraged to do things that may NOT be in the interests of your customers.

I am always reminded of an online retailer who removed the telephone number from every page of their website. They did it to ‘prevent’ customers from unnecessarily contacting them. The move would save them significant amounts of money from reduced contact volumes. Was it the right thing to do? All I can say is that the retailer in question now has the telephone number visible on their website.

In my time at Shop Direct Group, the decision was made to introduce a ‘free delivery option’ – a bold move that wiped out an income stream overnight. It was done because the business knew it was the right thing to do – not only was the lost delivery income recovered from increased revenue, a greater increase in sales resulted.

Doing the right thing is obvious to the CXP – but not always obvious to everyone else. That is why we have CXPs – it is our job to make sure that business leaders have all the facts to make the right decisions – decisions that will result in customers coning back to them, time and time again.

As always, your comments on this and any of my blogs are both welcome and encouraged.