Recently, on an edition of the ‘Delighted Customers’ podcast, I had the pleasure of chatting with Mark Slatin about the challenges of feedback .
Mark is a Customer Experience Advisor and Consultant, a certified Customer Experience professional (CXPA) AND a Professor of Practice at Michigan State – Eli Broad School of Business. More importantly, his website “Empowered CX” has a lively podcast – ‘Delighted Customers‘. The podcast is excellent with a buffet of colorful characters and focuses discussions with leaders of all stripes.
To begin with, and before we dive into the interview – lets define the terms. Specifically, just what are ‘Delighted Customers?’ and just who first coined this. Perhaps a good first start is:
“Customer delight” refers to the process of exceeding customer expectations and creating a positive emotional response or satisfaction that goes beyond what the customer initially anticipated.
The origin of the phrase “customer delight” has been widely used in the context of customer service and business management to emphasize the importance of going beyond basic customer satisfaction.
As highlighted in these sources:
- “The Loyalty Effect: The Hidden Force Behind Growth, Profits, and Lasting Value” by Frederick F. Reichheld (1996)
- Harvard Business Review article: “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers” by Matthew Dixon, Karen Freeman, and Nicholas Toman (2010)
- “Moments of Truth” – delivered by Jan Carlzon of SaS (1980)
For those who want to skip the transcript – you can listen to the full podcast on here
Moving on to our discussion – what did we talk about? Did we disagree? And what is to Learn?
What were the main discussion topics? Lets go….
- Firstly, describe is the current business environment – Is it hostile? And what is the impact on CX?
- More importantly, how important is speedy feedback in CX strategy?
- What is causing the high defection rates most service businesses experience?
- Are businesses still over focusing on strategy?
- How can Opiniator be used for real-time feedback?
Question1 : Is the current business environment – hostile? And what is the impact to CX?
The current business environment is extremely hostile – meaning that many threats face a business. Right now there is a triple threat.
Firstly, high inflation – has been over 6% but now about 3.7%. This means customers have less disposable income and businesses have higher supply costs, not all of which can be passed onto the customer
Secondly, above average interest rates – with current US average over just over 8% – multiple issues affect a business. For example, their borrowing costs are higher, and consumer spending is generally lower. Moreover, Businesses with variable-rate debt may experience increased interest payments, impacting working capital. Thus – no good news here.
Thirdly, low unemployment rates – this is now around 3.8%, meaning the labor pool is way less than usual, so a business will struggle to find staff, and there will be pressures to increase wages.
In summary, the impact to a business will be significant. The effect on CX just for one would be difficult but there is an aggregate of six.
- Increased operating costs:
- Financial strain:
- Lower consumer purchasing power
- Businesses will not be able to pass on all supplier price increases:
- Supply chain disruptions
- Labor Market Pressure:
With all these – it is unlikely a business can maintain CX standards – so ‘Customer Delight’ is nigh on impossible.
Question 2 : How important is speedy feedback in CX strategy?
The pillars to the platform are simple. Some of the ‘speedy’ tenets are:
- The most effective, actionable feedback is at the point experience. Never after the event. Speedy means accurate recognition and analysis.
- The feedback will always be more accurate if speedy. Put another way – the greater the delay from the experience the more inaccurate the data received will be
- It allows immediate (speedy) action to be taken – to dix the issue and recover the customer
This means that ‘speedy’ is vital to maintaining competitive CX.
Question 3 : What is causing high defection rates?
Check out the answers from question 1 – the current environment are extraordinarily hostile to any business. Imagine a restaurant where:
- There are staff shortages
- Fewer customers
- Increased prices
- Irritated customers
- Higher expectations
Specifically, not a great recipe for customer defection – so no wonder defection is on the increase. In turn this means fewer profits and more online complaints. Check out current defection rates – well into double digits.
Question 4 : Are businesses over focusing on CX strategy?
Therefore, when the environment is business unfriendly, the only focus should be operational. If the day to day transactions and operational processes are not executed flawlessly, there is no strategy that will save the business.
Question 5 : How can Opiniator be used for real-time feedback?
Simple. We enable real-time, point of experience feedback from real customers at the point it matters. In addition, data and analysis is instant so the business always knows how it is performing. Best of all, the right staff are alerted in seconds if a customer is not being delighted. This means the business can fix the issue and even connect with the customer before they defect, or worse, defect and complain on line.
Opiniator is a closed loop feedback tool designed for insight and operational improvement.
Moreover, ideally placed to delight in such a hostile environment
- Businesses are having a tough time and feeling the pressures of a tough environment
- Many are losing profits, customers and brand impact
- Now is not the time for complex CX strategies
- A short term operational focus is the only thing that matters to survive
- On location, actionable customer feedback is critical – Opiniator can help.
In closing, many thanks to Mark for the podcast – a great conversation