After working within the utilities industry for several
years, I have come across challenges that many regulated organisations face
when trying to manage and deliver changes in the fast moving world of digital.
In an industry where it is hard to differentiate yourself,
such as utilities, a great digital customer experience can be the difference
between retaining a customer and losing a customer. Customers have an
expectation that they will be able to sign up to products online, manage their
account online and do all of this without any instabilities in performance. If
this expectation isn’t met, customers will become frustrated, have a negative
brand perception and may eventually be inclined to move their business elsewhere.
Within the utilities industry, there is often the added
pressure of having the finger pointed when profits are posted or when prices go
up. Utilities companies have a responsibility to educate their customers about
any changes taking effect and providing digital functionality for customers to
engage with can enable a deeper understanding of prices, products and how the
customer can make savings.
Continue reading "Digital in a regulated industry" »
In today’s challenging economic environment, the importance of holding onto existing customers is more paramount than ever. Too many organisations prioritise acquiring new business from new sources when much of the real value can be found right in front of them – it just needs to be nurtured in the right
way. A focus on building loyalty within the existing customer base will create
brand advocates organically and, ultimately, stimulate growth.
Brand advocacy is not an overnight process. Rather, it is a relentless,
consistent and long-term approach to delivering the best customer experience
possible. Every touch point that the customer has with a business (and vice
versa) needs to be best-in-class: richly personalised and highly efficient.
This means having a ‘customer-pull’ culture driving organisations’ operating
Continue reading "Keeping the customer loyal" »
We may all be tired of hearing about big data but the human dimension to gathering, storing and analysing consumer data has been thrust back into the spotlight by two major news events in the last week.
Firstly, the midata initiative is set to switch from being a voluntary to compulsory code: companies will have no choice but to make the data they hold on an individual available to that individual. Suddenly the big data opportunity is looking more like a big problem!
Secondly, the OFT has initiated a call for information, often the prelude to an inquiry, into loyalty schemes and personalised online promotions. The regulators and legislators seem keen to redress the balance between business and consumers in terms of the information that one holds on the other and the power to wield it. At the very least they want to ensure that the former behaves ethically when dealing with the latter.
Continue reading "More than just a number" »
June 2012 was not an easy month for RBS. It has to be said that it was probably not an easy month for some of its customers either. A relatively marginal technical glitch during a routine software upgrade escalated to the point of an almost IT meltdown. The impact of the crisis on RBS customers has been significant and consequently the impact on many has been broadcasted by traditional and non traditional media. As a result, RBS has work to do both to enhance controls such that this kind of failure does not recur, while managing its customers’ experience to ensure that trust is not eroded.
Based on this account, it may sound like a crisis of this sort is a one in ten, twenty years event. Actually, in a highly networked economic environment, composed by complex global organisations, the risk of a minor error spiralling into a full crisis is a lot higher than generally perceived. The risk to a company reputation and to its relationship with its customers can be either in the hands of the organisation itself or not, being caused by one of the company’s partners or simply by a natural disaster.
Continue reading "Disaster planning" »
Customer journeys are visual representations of the customer interaction with an organisation. If mapped and used correctly, they help visualise the end-to-end customer experience and identify its weakest and strongest points. They are powerful tools that can be used to support tactical and strategic design decisions. While helping clients to map customer journeys we have identified five key lessons that I would like to share with you all.
1. Focus on customer risks and values: to extract the maximum benefits from the Customer Journey Mapping (CJM) exercise it is important to map the journeys that can really reveal the customer impacts and value. You need to focus on areas where the material impacts are expected to occur. For example, high volume of impacted customers, high risk of attrition and high change processes.
Continue reading "Mapping customer journeys – five valuable lessons" »
With the Olympic Games less than 100 days away, it is a good to time to reflect on what will make London 2012 stand out from the crowd to make the Games the best yet. These Games will be the first Games ever which are taking place in a truly digital age. Smartphones, tablets and online social platforms such a Twitter and Facebook amongst thousands of others mean the individual experiences of Games-goers can be beamed in near-real-time around the world to millions of interested media-savvy consumers.
Delivering a customer-centric Games experience is a significant challenge given the scale, international diversity and security requirements. However, London is well known for its ability to deliver large events and I am sure we will all be able to learn some valuable lessons that we can all apply to our clients and customers.
Continue reading "Customer centricity: fact or fiction?" »
As suggested in Rob’s inaugural blog, this isn’t about telling you what you already know or about becoming your news aggregator. It’s about offering insight. Now I can’t claim to be an expert in complaints management but I have been on the front line of managing customer complaints and I have had the opportunity to review complaints processes and improve them. The one thing I believe more than anything is that organisations should learn to love their complaints. (I love complaints!)
Having complaints processes and functions in place is not a new concept but many organisations are failing to manage these complaints effectively to build loyalty from their customers. Consequently, organisations are failing to learn from the valuable insight provided to them through these complaints and use this information to really understand what is happening within their business.
Continue reading "Learn to love customer complaints" »
‘Improving customer service’, ‘adopting a customer centric approach’, ‘putting the customer first’, ‘enhancing the customer experience’ are all phrases companies are using to describe what they are doing to improve customer service. These phrases are used continually across advertising campaigns and customer charters.
But what does this actually mean and what can customers expect? Below are some examples of organisations that we believe are offering a pioneering, customer centric approach to everyday customer interaction.
Continue reading "New approaches to customer services" »