2016 Predictions Mash Up Part 3: Investing in Customer Experience
By Mary Aviles & Sandra Bauman[In our role as trend analyzers, we read a lot of trend research and we pay particular attention to the pundits and prosthelytizers. This four-part series features mash ups of some of our favorite predictions for 2016.]
We’ve been speaking and blogging about customer experience for the past several years. As such, we’re always on the lookout for proof points, that is, tangible evidence that an organization has embraced a customer experience strategy and set tactical measures against it.
Our first example comes from the airline industry: At a recent American Marketing Association event, Strategic Communications Consultant, Scott Monty shared an example from Delta–an airline renowned for its historically poor customer experience. Borrowing a page from USAA, at the end of each service call, customers are now asked to take a one-question survey. Of particular interest is the question they ask (paraphrased): “On a scale of one to five, with one being not at all likely, and five being extremely likely, if you were a business owner, how likely would you be to hire the person who just handled your call?”
Kudos to Delta for several reasons:
- proof point of an organizational investment in customer experience,
- use of a one-question survey, and
- fantastic choice of a survey question–both relevant and attention-getting for its distinctiveness.
Next, a retail industry example: long time Nordstrom fans and newcomers to Trunk Club, we were curious about the strategy behind Nordstrom’s acquisition of the personalized clothing service ($350M in late 2014). Trunk Club only recently hit our radar, as they began as a service for men and expanded to serve women in Q4 2015. After a highly engaging personal shopping experience at their Chicago Clubhouse, we decided to further investigate the strategic drivers of the acquisition. There we discovered that the Trunk Club brand is a critical component in their strategy to “Create a Seamless Customer Experience.” Through this strategy, Nordstrom aims to serve customers in multiple ways thus increasing customer engagement, total customers, and new customers (~Gain Marketshare). They are looking to Trunk Club as a key component in improving online penetration, upping their $14B (21%) overall online business to $20B (30%) by 2020. Business integration will be an ongoing tactical focus necessary to meet these business objectives over the next five years. As Nordstrom Personal Shoppers still mainly rely on handwritten notes and offline relationships with customers, Trunk Club can help introduce that part of the organization to technology integration and better, more automated facilitation of these premier customer relationships. Most importantly, Trunk Club represents the critical full-price side of Nordstrom’s business. It will be interesting to see how this pans out as overall Nordstrom sales have been on a downward trend which many associate with the volume of business they’ve shifted to a discount mindset via their Nordstrom Rack expansions.
And, from the healthcare industry: Linda R. Larin, FACHE and the Associate Hospital Director for Cardiovascular and Neurosciences at the University of Michigan Health System spoke about patient experience at the Spring MSHPM conference. She oriented the importance of patient experience in this quote from Crocker and Johnson’s Privileged Presence:
When our normal physical and mental functioning is uncertain, or when we are brought face-to-face with the fragility of life, all our senses are heightened…[thus] Healthcare experiences…are situations that people remember with great intensity.
She shared the following four principles for patient and family focused care at her organization:
- Dignity and Respect
- Information Sharing
Her multi-media presentation was full of storytelling–and both positive and negative experiences from actual patients. It contained artifacts they’ve developed as part of their extensive employee training programs. But, most impressive was her own transparency in sharing their internal patient satisfaction and HCAHPS results:
We’d love to see what kind of real-world evidence you’ve encountered during your customer experiences.