I was sent a link to a really interesting article by McKinsey & Co, the leading business research and advisory service.
It talked about all the new machine learning systems and algorithms that you can use to ‘mine the data lake’ of your customers and make predictive insights from data analytics.
Companies of all stripes have invested heavily in tools and technologies to help them understand their customers more deeply and to gain the advantages of superior customer experience (CX). Yet as leaders strive to form a more complete picture of customer preferences and behaviours, they continue to rely on aging survey-based measurement systems that for decades have formed the backbone of CX efforts.
The trouble is, executives increasingly recognize that survey-based measurement systems fail to meet their companies’ CX needs—although surveys themselves are an important tool for conducting research.
They go on to say:
Those with an eye toward the future are boosting their data and analytics capabilities and harnessing predictive insights to connect more closely with their customers, anticipate behaviours, and identify CX issues and opportunities in real time. These companies can better understand their interactions with customers and even pre-empt problems in customer journeys.
Their customers are reaping benefits: think quick compensation for a flight delay, or outreach from an insurance company when a patient is having trouble resolving a problem.
Early movers in the world of customer-experience analytics herald a fundamental shift in how companies evaluate and shape customer experiences.
Here are a few thoughts for what they’re worth.
The facts according to McKinsey: (and my comments)
CX Surveys are:
Limited: The typical CX survey samples only 7 percent of a company’s customers. I agree: completely silly a lot of the time: that’s why we at Slow Selling advocate FEEDBACK systems … NOT surveys! Be ‘Investors in Feedback’!
Reactive: Surveys are a backward-looking tool in a world where customers expect their concerns to be resolved increasingly quickly. Exactly: that’s why you need quick feedback and qualitative questions.
Ambiguous: Surveys often fail to reveal the root causes of customer sentiment. Exactly: that’s why online/paper systems are so useless!
Unfocused: many parts of the organization simply claim a business impact from their CX initiatives with no real evidence. Linking CX and behaviour is vital: I agree.
The McKinsey recommendations (and my comments) are:
- Work on changing mindsets: I couldn’t agree more: this is the main issue at stake, and this applies whatever sexy IT tools are available … or not: this is the No 1 barrier! This is why we always start with the ‘Customer Focused Mission’ at Slow Selling!
- Break down silos and build cross-functional teams: Surely this is standard business advice? The key here stems from the above point: making sure everyone sees customer reputation and loyalty as their role and looks at their own metrics.
- Start with a core journey data set and build to improve accuracy: Makes sense: start somewhere simple and build it step by step: We call this ‘Go the extra inch’ at Slow Selling!
- Focus first on the use cases that can drive quick value: More standard business practice: low hanging fruit first, then go deeper!
In conclusion I would suggest:
This research is very detailed and has some really helpful points, but we need to be careful not to be misled by sexy tools and impressive sounding words! IT systems and data mining is all about efficiency (doing things right), using new and sexy tools. But before we engage with any of this, we perhaps need to focus on effectiveness (the right things to do) – it’s vital to ensure we’re doing the right things before we start to try and do things right!
My suggestions to add to the McKinsey ‘to do’ list:
- Have powerful, simple, professional feedback systems to help you understand the customer psychology, problems and unmet needs. So you can keep changing and innovating in the right way, inch by inch.
- Always remember that words are only 7% of communication: the other 93% is body language, behaviour and tone/inflection: all this needs to be monitored using the right tools in the right way appropriate to the type of customer relationship:
- Transactional / Emotional / Relationship / Partnership
- Examine every area of the customer journey step by step: filtering through the ‘customers real needs’, using weekly and monthly ‘Go the extra inch’ systems: this is a continual process of consistency and improvement, not a project or a strategy.
- Use IT as an efficiency tool only: once you know what the right things to do and where the right areas to focus on are (the point made in Jim Colins’ marvellous book: ‘Good to Great’): never rely solely on IT systems: customers are not machines!
- Keep going the extra inch in all areas and keep going back to the start!
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