The 6 things your teams are telling us

What does good communication look like during Coronavirus?

What more do you need to do to take care of your home workers?

How can you look after essential workers who are taking risks beyond their job description?

What are the new responsibilities of team leadership?

Our FREE team survey reveals the answers to these questions and more……….

Over the last two weeks, we have been offering all our clients - past, present and future - the opportunity to participate in our FREE team survey.  The findings from the survey from 20 client’s teams reflect the biggest changes in the working and social environment that most of us have ever experienced.  To keep up with the pace of change we have created a second FREE team survey that will be launched next week– if you would like to participate then please follow the link here 

Here are six insights from the first team survey during the Coronavirus:

  1. 74% of employees who answered the survey were working from home at the time of the survey.
  2. One in five of those working from home do not feel they have everything that they need in order to effectively work from home.  This is a result of having to use personal computers and laptops for work or not having a device at all to do work in addition to a lack of IT support.
  3. With an average rating of 7.9 out of 10 - 47% feel that their colleagues are taking excellent responsibility to stay safe in the workplace but one in four feel that their colleagues are not taking enough individual responsibility to stay safe in the workplace.
  4. 57% think the communication by their employers about the current situation has been excellent with one in four feeling that their employers could do better.  
  5. Overall the excellent communicators have been praised for being transparent, open and considered given the circumstances.  This resulted in employees feeling supported, well informed and up to date.
  6. For those that felt communication could be better, there was a need for more information, keeping up to date with where people are at in terms of anxiety and maintaining levels of communication as the situation changed. 

Other areas identified that employees wanted to raise are:

    • Looking after all front line workers to do everything you can to prevent them from catching the virus.
    • Fears for themselves and members of their families becoming ill.
    • Communication being managed to avoid it becoming distracting and getting in the way of being able to do your job.
    • Fears about cyber security and working from home.
    • Keeping a regular communication channel open.
  1. Specific Communication is key to keep your team motivated, feeling cared for and safe, don't assume everyone reads and absorbs information, in the same way, keep things positive using factual and accurate information
  2. Physical and mental wellbeing is perceived to be the priority in life at the moment and ‘checking in’ needs to be included in all the communication with the team, Have you got a process for this?
  3. Ensure your team have all the bespoke resources they need to work effectively and create IT champions to offer support to those less skilled in this area.
  4. Create a colleague support structure so everyone can tap into this help when they are on the emotional rollercoaster that is part of all our daily lives right now. Listen to the facts not social media gossip
  5. Create a timed and routine communication structure so you can plan your day around this to reduce the levels of disruption from sporadic communication.  Publish a suggested daily routine for home working   
  6. Make it part of your communication plan to keep your team up to date on the government advice around self-management and responsibility to control the spread of Coronavirus.  This will lead to a collective reduction of fear, anxiety AND risk of becoming unwell. Publish best practice advice from the government that is relevant to your team.

 

insight6 have created a new team survey to review the needs of your most important resource which will be available next week.  If you would like to participate please follow this link. Please stay well and safe and if you would like to meet for a virtual coffee to discuss the findings please contact us.

How To Measure Customer Experience

What is Customer Experience Measurement, and why should you care about it?

The success of your business is reflected in the satisfaction of your customers. Increase of profit is dependent on great customer experience (CX), as the customer’s positive recommendation, digitally or physically, is a vital method of attracting new clients, as well as ensuring customer loyalty.

It can be difficult to know for sure precisely how successful your company was at delighting a client once the transaction has ended; sometimes, the true nature of the client’s experience is not recognised until a negative review appears much later. With reliable customer experience management software in place, your business can properly gauge the customer experience, and use the data to improve and grow.

Esteban Kolsky, CEO of ThinkJar summed this up with: “Only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complain. The rest churn. A lesson here is that companies should not view absence of feedback as a sign of satisfaction. The true enemy is indifference.”

NPS alone isn’t enough

The most common tool used in customer experience measurement is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS is something you have likely experienced as a customer yourself, in the form of a post-transaction question such as:

‘How likely are you to recommend this company to a friend?’

The problem with NPS can be about timing - questions like these are not always applicable to the customer at the point in their journey that they receive them. For example, a customer that has an unresolved matter that keeps being bounced between departments would not feel an urge to give a glowing review of the company through an NPS given in the midst of the frustration. In some cases, simply receiving the irrelevant prompt can inspire the need to write a negative emotional response.

NPS can be a useful means of collecting valuable feedback from customers about the overall experience they have had with your company. Timing the NPS question at the end of the customer experience is ideal. Including an NPS in your CX measurement is simple, and a great jumping off point for businesses interested in measuring their entire customers’ journey.

In order to pinpoint the specific hindrances your customer might face, a wider arsenal of measurement tools is also needed to supplement the NPS question.

Build a comprehensive overview of the CX

The key to creating an accurate measure of your business’ CX is to ensure all aspects have been recorded and analysed. With a complete overview of the customer journey, you can then establish the ‘pain points’ and begin constructing a focused strategy to fix the areas that need most work. A smooth, frictionless customer journey is the ultimate goal, so it is vital that you have the correct system in place that can properly measure emotion in the customer as they move through your CX.

Know which parts of the CX you want to focus on

CX is a wide umbrella term for a range of different minute experiences a customer faces when interacting with a company. It is important to consider, before embarking on any type of measurement, what exactly you are hoping to find out, and how you will use the information to move forward.

Here are some examples of the metrics you can choose to measure:

Average Resolution Time: This involves making a note of the time a client first makes contact, and another at the end of the conversation that marks the close of the case. The information can be used to measure, on average, how long it takes to solve a problem for your client and help you to set a future goal to improve efficiency.

Customer Churn: This is the number of customers that decide to cease transacting with your business before completion. The purpose of this information is to determine the common areas in your CX where a customer might be persuaded to turn back. The way the churn rate is calculated is like this:

Exceptional Moments: With the rise of near-instant gratification in the customer service industry, customers increasingly expect an exceptional experience when purchasing a product or service. By asking customers for specific examples of your team giving an exceptional CX performance, you can access a wealth of illuminating information about the most enjoyable and successful areas of your CX. This data can also be a great motivator for your staff (e.g. an ‘employee of the month’ reward based on the best customer service).

Example: “During your time with us, were there any standout exceptional experiences? Please let us know!”

Customer Effort Score (CES): This data is usually collected through a scoring system provided to customers, asking questions such as:

“How straightforward was it to get from A to B when you engaged with this part of our interface?”

Customers would then be given a few options to respond with, such as a 1 to 5 rating. The CES can also be recorded using observatory systems like focus groups, where participants can be given a task that exists in your current CX, and the difficulty of their ability to tackle can be used to identify the customer’s feeling at that stage. The purpose of this data is to understand how the layperson interacts with various methods of CX systems, and consequently, how these systems might be altered to make the process smoother.

Mapping Customer Journeys

As we discussed in our previous blog post, insight6 give a great deal of credit to the correct plotting and implementation of a Customer Journey Map. When done correctly, the information gleaned from a map can help you to pinpoint exact areas of improvement that may not be obvious from inside the organisation.

As well as this, the Customer Journey Map can be used to figure out where might be best to prompt customers with survey questions or feedback opportunities. For example, if your map shows that a majority of customers encounter frustrations during phone-related enquiries, you could then ensure that all client calls are followed by an NPS question and track the progression of your efforts to improve the weak spot.

The methods you choose for measuring customer experience will vary depending on your business. It is important to consider the individuality between the ways your customers will engage with your business. Recording every client’s unique approach is known as emotion metrics; the collective build-up of emotion data allows you to create an ample impression of your company’s performance as a whole.

According to a 2018 study, “a consumer is 21 percent more likely to leave a review after a negative experience than a positive one.” This makes procuring a positive response from your client more of a challenge, as frustration and disappointment are more motivating emotions than mere satisfaction. These strong, negative emotions in customer experience can be harnessed through the correct measurement tools. This feedback can then be utilised to further develop the engagement with your clients and create a customer experience transformation.

A real transformation will be evident in your clients feeling happy, cared-for, experiencing a seamless journey from the first discovery of your website to the closing interaction with your team.

We would love to share more about how to measure customer experience with you and your team. Please contact me on 0800 970 8987 to arrange a customer audit call.

How much data do you have about customer experience?

How much data do you have about customer experience compared to the volume of data you have about the financial performance of your business?

This question is interesting because the finances represent the outcome of the state of the customer experience in most businesses and yet often, more is done to look after the finances than the customer experience! How can that make sense?

Our business is totally focused on facilitating our clients to improve their customer experience.

Over 25 years we have mastered and learnt from the specialist work we do with our clients on how to make an impact and improve customer experience.

THE most important aspect of our work is to measure customer experience. The reason measurement is a vital part of any customer experience transformation is because you need to know where you are before you start. All movement and change in life requires that you identify where you are and where you want to go; this process allows you to have a clear understanding of the gap between the two and what you need to do to get where you want to go.

And if you are still not convinced why you should measure the experience your customers have in your business, how about the old Peter Drucker quote "what gets measured gets done.”

So how do you measure something as individual, personal and emotional as experience?

An objective quality measurement tool that identifies where you are with customer experience, how far you have come and what you need to do to improve will enable you to focus on actions and not concern yourself with ‘how are we doing’ circular questions.

What we witness with clients, in the absence of an objective measurement tool is how easy it is to fall victim to confusion and frustration that results from listening to the subjective opinions of the last colleague you asked of ‘how you are doing?'.

There are a number of ways you can measure customer experience and all of them involve simply asking questions of your customers and your team, outlined below are our top tips to make it work:

1. Where do I start?

The simplest way to create questions that are relevant and help you understand how you are performing is to start with a customer journey map of your business (see last month’s blog). In a nutshell, map the questions around the customer journey map - the map identifies each of the customer touchpoints in your business which is what you need to measure.

2. What questions shall I ask?

In order to get to the heart of the customer experience the questions need to focus on how people feel at each of the touchpoints in the customer journey (https://www.insight6.com/what-is-customer-journey-map/.)

Skilful questions reflect that feelings follow thoughts, so it is easier for a customer to answer a question about what happened before they answer how it made them feel. Understanding consequences of circumstances on behaviour and feelings exposes the priority of what might appear to be perceived as a minor issue in a business to a full-scale burning issue.

For example, measuring the customer experience at a restaurant we could start the questions at the booking touchpoint and ask, "what happened when you booked a table at the restaurant y?"

Customer: “The online booking system would not accept my time and so I had to phone the restaurant”
Question: “How did that make you feel at the time?”
Customer: “Frustrated and annoyed - I was between meetings and didn’t have much time AND I had promised my wife I would book for that weekend”
Question: “What did you do as a result of this experience”
Customer: “I phoned the restaurant and they were engaged and so I booked restaurant x where it took less than a minute to book online”
Question: “How did this booking experience makes you feel about restaurant y?”
Customer: “We love the food at restaurant y and we still will continue to go there but nowhere near as much as the other restaurants we visit because the others are organised, make it easy for me to book and you know what the food is just as good - everyone I know has had the same problem with booking at restaurant y”

The above is a real-life example of a client’s experience and demonstrates at just one customer touchpoint how much insight can illuminate the consequences of a poor customer experience.

In this example, it is frustrating as a business owner to see that sometimes the customer’s experience of the human element of the business is great and it is the technology, that is intended to increase efficiencies, negatively impacts the overall customer experience. The identified weakness at the booking touchpoint is a threat to the sustainability of the business that needs to be addressed. ‘Wrapping technology with love’ is a challenge but something that every business in the 21st Century has to make a priority in order to create a real customer experience transformation.

3. How do I know what good looks like?

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one of the most tried and tested methods of measuring a customer’s experience. Through NPS you can understand the likelihood that a customer will recommend your product and service to someone in their community e.g. friend, colleague or family member. We use the NPS question in all our methodologies to gauge how people feel about customer experience. With over 1000 clients we can therefore benchmark your performance against others in your sector or industry. What we have observed in our work is NPS will increase by x% as a result of starting a customer experience transformation and this typically translates to an impact on sales.

4. Who should I ask?

Whatever your business, not all customers perceive you in the same way. For example, you can have a ‘regular' customer, a ‘lapsed' customer that you have not seen for a while, and a ‘non-user’ customer that you have never seen but uses the competition. Asking all of the different types of customers how they experience your business is important to understand the different perspectives. To ensure all the hard work of collecting the data from customers is used to create the maximum impact in the business, the careful analysis of the answers needs to be carried out. This will allow you to differentiate between the needs and experiences for each of the customer groups. As a result, a clear action plan can be prioritised with the intention of removing the most customer friction in the business. Make it your priority to remove all the reasons why customers do not use you!

Asking the team the questions about the customer touchpoints will also create a deeper level of insight that will help you identify the gaps in perception between what the team feels is the experience and how customer feels about the experience. We use this process to enable you to create a training programme to plug the gaps

5. How should I ask?

There are four key methods we have perfected over 20 years to use and measure customer experience.

1. Online and face to face surveys
2. Telephone and face to face interviews
3. Focus and Listening groups
4. Customer Experience Reviews

Each method or combination of methods will create a rich pool of data that will allow you to focus on the areas that need to improve and continue to do all the things that deliver a great customer experience.

6. Why should I bother?

We are proud of the relationships that we have with our clients that result in us metaphorically ‘going on the customer experience journey’ with them. A key part of delivering consistently improving customer experience is to put in place a continual process that needs fresh and insightful challenges to stay ahead of the competition.

As Lucy Knight in Dorset, Bath and Wiltshire says “we were aware that customers were suffering from survey fatigue as the questions were not engaging and there were too many questions being asked. We have streamlined the surveys and the questions and as a result we have increased the number of responses and quality of the information"

In the words of our Customer Experience Consultant Phil Heaven “One of my most challenging projects was working with a multiple site Holiday Park, over four years we conducted a continued programme of team training, customer experience reviews which resulted in x increase in scores across the board, a complete change in job roles, recruitment and induction processes, a new bonus scheme - all of this aimed at customer experience transformation - the results are a total culture change”

The work that we carry out with all of our clients is vital to delivering the customer experience strategy. Our role is to measure that the team displays empathy and understanding as part of all their interactions and this is included as part of our measurement programme. We sensitively measure and report through our customer experience reviews how the team are doing so that they can learn from each other and build on their experiences and knowledge over time.

If you would like to know more about how customer experience measurement can help your business, please call us for a customer experience audit.

What is a Customer Journey Map and How to Use One to Improve Business

Your customer’s journey, from the starting point when they make the decision to reach out to your business right up to the resolution of the matter, is trackable. You can trace their steps to identify weak areas in your Customer Experience (CX). Through ‘journey mapping’, you can create a visual representation of your average customer’s interaction with your business, and pinpoint the various trials, delights, and frustrations they face.

Using a personalised customer journey map, you can then single out the areas where your customers might trip up and decide to back out before completing a transaction, and start implementing strategies to improve the experience. But how do you begin putting together a customer journey map, and how can you use it effectively?

Constructing an effective customer journey map

Many companies boast their use of customer journey mapping to improve their CX. The lack of proper know-how, however, often render journey maps essentially meaningless. Ineffective maps give no real indication of aspects of CX that require improvement, and therefore have no value to a business interested in forward progression. A good customer journey map is a true reflection of the customer, not a painting of the ideal one.

The best way to achieve an effective customer journey map is through gathering honest data from your customers as they are interacting with your business in real time. This can be successfully done through workshops with customers, where their progression through your company’s phone service, website, or face-to-face meeting, can be monitored and recorded as it happens, allowing for an accurate representation of the experience to be made. You will need a large group of people from your customer base to extract this data, and it will need careful planning; understandably, this could seem like a daunting, time-consuming prospect.

Luckily, at insight6, our experienced team is able to do the legwork of gathering the data for you, by posing as customers and recording the journey through your business’ customer interface. We then construct a detailed customer journey map with the collected data, highlighting the ‘pain points’ as well as the excellent areas of your CX. We then share the results with you, along with examples of easily implemented strategies so that in future, the customer journey will be far smoother.

What does a good customer service map look like?

The great thing about customer journey maps is that they are individual to you and your customers. Journey map templates exist, but to create a map that represents the nuances of your CX journey, you need to flesh it out with the specifics of your unique brand.

Here is an example from the globally successful taxi company Uber, where they have taken a basic example of a first time consumer’s purchase of a product or service, and translated it into the niche Uber experience:

As you can see, the customer’s positive and negative comments are labelled at various stages throughout the ‘journey’, with an explanation of what specifically made them feel that way. At the bottom of the map, there are practical solutions to all the problems customer ‘Jen’ picked up on, allowing Uber to visualise a future of their CX where Jen would feel less frustration, and repeat her business. The biggest problem Jen faced – not being able to tip her driver by card or within the app, creating embarrassment and frustration – prompted Uber to alter their system, and they have since updated their CX to provide an in-app option to tip alongside the fare.

Common mistakes in customer journey mapping

The key to avoiding mistakes when creating a customer journey map is to remember the purpose of the map in relation to the future vision of your company. The priority of any business should always be creating customers and improving conversion rates from enquiries to successful custom. This is done by identifying the points of your customer’s journey at which they encounter technical hitches, unexpected costs of time or money, or other frustrations. It is common for businesses to omit these pain points in order to avoid portraying themselves as ineffective in some way. If the journey map is created but any meaningful data is left off, its use is virtually non-existent in terms of stitching up any tears in the CX.

Here is an example of a self-congratulatory customer journey map that we will dub a ‘pat-on-the-back' map’:

Although the design is pleasing to the eye, and there seems to be a lot of information packed into the diagram, the beneficial output of this map is almost nil. All this map shows is the ideal path a customer would take through a public interface system if they didn’t encounter any bumps along the road.

When compared to the Uber example, there are obvious omitted details, such as the emotions of the customer at each stage, and their personal method of navigating your unique interface.

In the following video, digital customer interaction experts The Service Design Show list five mistakes to avoid when plotting your customer journey map, all of which insight6 take into account at each stage of the process when creating one. As the video explains, it is wise to remember that your customers, and your business, are constantly growing and changing as technological developments are integrated into everyday life. Voice command AI, for instance, is rapidly becoming more popular, meaning that certain information about a business is often heard aloud in Alexa or Google’s voice, instead of being read off a screen.

This alone can make a significant difference in how users absorb the information. Therefore, your customer journey map should be updated periodically, and make allowances for the progression of your customer’s interests, methods of interaction, and levels of patience for an underdeveloped CX.

 How to use the customer journey map moving forward

Proper analysis of your customer’s journey can allow small tweaks to your business that provide long-term, profitable results. These tweaks are sometimes known as micro-interactions - a term for a tiny feature, usually seconds-long, of User Interface (UI) that is designed to give the customer a quick pulse of delight. Uber once again demonstrate an example of exceptional micro-interactions with their holiday themed updates, changing the animated car tracking your taxi arrival to have a rainbow coming off the back during Pride, or a witch on a broom at Halloween.

Although simple, the user response is instantly positive, and often prompts users to share news of the micro-interaction through word of mouth, or across social media, gaining the company exposure. With your customer journey map, you can implement and track the responses to micro-interactions such as these, and see in real-time how users respond to the feature, and whether it improves the chance of them making a repeat purchase decision.

What to take away

You want your customers to be able to navigate easily through your in-person, over-the-phone, or online interface without encountering any difficulties. With correctly implemented journey mapping tools, you can polish the front line of your business.

At insight6, we construct effective, detailed, thought-provoking maps with personally collated data. With our help, you can transform your CX into a straightforward pathway from the purchase decision to the buying process, and ensure that your business is the primary choice for your customer’s future needs.

 

Why Customer Journey Mapping is vital for improving CX

At the heart of the CX work we do at insight6 is Customer Journey Mapping.  It is the third step in our six-step customer experience management process.  In a nutshell, a customer journey map identifies each of the customer touchpoints, from brand awareness through to being a happy repeat customer.  Our approach focuses on understanding how customers feel at each point in the journey, in order to look at how the experience can be improved.

Customer Journey Mapping has an enormous impact on the engagement of the team, and it creates a customer focused mindset which results in a snowball effect in changing the culture within the organisation. Which is why we love it! We have worked with a number of sectors to create journey maps including car dealerships, law firms, accountants, major visitor attractions, event companies and restaurants.

Customer Journey Mapping is a critical step for success in achieving CX transformation for the following six reasons:

1.   A customer journey map creates a clear plan of action

For us, Customer Journey Mapping is about identifying clear actions that will transform
the experience your customers have with you.  This is not about creating pretty posters showing everyone that you have a customer journey map for your office wall; this is about action!  In every customer journey mapping workshop we have facilitated, we have witnessed immediate and clear action that has a profound impact on staff motivation, a greater focus on the customer and their needs and an increase in sales.

A recent example demonstrates this perfectly. One of our clients, a major UK tourist attraction has had incredible results following the customer journey mapping workshop. They saw an increase in the number of paid visits to additional areas of the attraction as well as an increase in other related revenue streams and will see incremental revenue in excess of £500k over a year. What is more interesting is that the key focus was on improving customer experience first and foremost and the side effect was all the financial metrics improved.

2.  Experience what it is like to look through the eyes of your customers

The first place we start in a customer journey mapping workshop is to identify the customer touchpoints starting from the moment a customer becomes aware that your business exists, perhaps searching for a coffee shop or solicitor on Google, to the moment that the customer receives an invoice, or exits your business.

Once the team are clear on the touchpoints, the brilliance of customer journey mapping starts.  Each member of the team can put themselves in the customer’s shoes and describe the experience at each of the touchpoints and how they might feel at each stage of the journey.  Compare this experience to what each team member is actually doing at each touchpoint, and the insights start to overflow.  The penny drops when team members see the gap between what they are doing and what the customer is experiencing.

Ian Kelsall, our CXD in Stoke, gave a great example about a team of accountants he worked with that kept customers waiting on the telephone whilst they went to find the relevant person that the customer wanted to talk to.  No-one in the team felt this standard practice of placing a customer on hold was an issue until Ian posed the question: "What do you think customers feel like during this time?”.

It then became apparent that no-one on the team had actually experienced being kept on hold.  The team then made a call into the office and simulated a normal call experience to discover the discomfort of being on hold.  The compelling need to change the customer’s experience was so great that the team of accountants created an action plan on how they could remove this negative part of the customer journey. Having the privilege of looking through the eyes of customers will never fail to bear rich pickings that you can use to improve customer experience.

“Every customer journey mapping session I have facilitated results in at least one person in the first 20 mins having a lightbulb moment.  Typically businesses make changes to make life better for themselves rather than the customer and when you observe the switch in the room to looking at how a customer might feel - it changes everything” - Graham Hill CXD, Bucks

3.  Create a shared understanding and vision of customer experience across the business

Most of us know the importance of involving the team in any obvious changes in an organisation.  When your entire team embraces and shares an attitude and belief system, incredible things start to happen.  Nothing illustrates this point better than the classic story of President John F. Kennedy’s visit to the NASA space centre in 1962, where Kennedy noticed a janitor carrying a broom. He interrupted his tour, walked over to the man and said, "Hi, I'm Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?"

"Well, Mr. President," the janitor responded, "I'm helping put a man on the moon."

Everyone has a role to play in customer experience, from the accounts clerk who sends out the invoices, to the cleaner who hoovers the floor.  Every single detail has an impact on how the customer feels about your business and this is what creates a great customer experience.

"The key to a successful mapping session is to ensure that everyone has the freedom to explore how the business works from a customer experience perspective.  Creating a space that is non-judgemental is a breeding ground for conversation that would not normally take place between colleagues and is a catalyst for change.”  - Graham Hill, CXD Bucks

4. Focus on the customer and how their differences impact on their needs

It is often the case that different customers have different needs.  Recognising that you may have different customer personas using your product or service is vital in the customer journey mapping session. A classic mistake in any business is to assume that a new customer has the same expectations as a regular customer.  They don’t!

Mac Eddy described a great example of using customer personas as part of a customer journey mapping workshop he facilitated.

“It was clear that there were two very different customers and we needed to differentiate the way the business behaved towards each one.  We named each of the customer personas a different name.  In this business James and Jane were instantly recognisable by the front-line team who described how they could identify their differences from their body language as soon as they arrived at the reception area. The team quickly realised in the workshop that treating James and Jane the same led to missed opportunities for the customers and the business and an equally uncomfortable experience for both.  The customer journey map highlighted a simple process that could be adopted that lead to a better experience for all and most importantly, the customer.”

5. You are solving problems by unlocking the causes

By identifying how the customer feels at each step of the customer journey, instead of from a business or personal perspective enables you to focus on the problem without getting defensive. This simple switch in perspective will allow you to uncover and understand what is causing the problem and finding a solution that will improve how the customer feels.

As Ian Kelsall described: “It is really quite simple, you identify a customer experience problem on the map, you figure out what is causing the problem and work with the team on how to fix it!  You effectively change the dynamics of what needs to be solved.”  

6. Independent facilitation keeps you challenged and inside the shoes of the customers 

Having an independent facilitator to coordinate and direct the team in a customer journey mapping workshop is vital for staying focused, not slipping back into the old habit of looking at problems from your perspective and keeping the energy in the room to explore and discover how your customers feel.

As Graham experienced, “We were working with a large group of NHS and private hospitals who were all employing lots of different processes to service the needs of their clients. My job was to facilitate the group to ensure that we uncovered and agreed best practice which at the end of the day enabled us to create a consistent approach for each step of the customer journey.  The team were able to focus on identifying and solving problems without worrying about sticking to the objectives or going off track as that was my job.”

Ian K described how “Having someone outside the business to ask those ‘stupid’ and obvious questions is gold dust in a customer journey mapping workshop. I am happy to oblige and be that person because the impact on a business of metaphorically ‘holding people’s feet over the flame’ in order to confront poor customer experience and solve it is exponential.”

This is why Ian so passionately believes that independent facilitation is key to getting the most out of Customer Journey Mapping.

If you would like to explore how Customer Journey Mapping can help your business
please contact us to arrange a CX audit call.

How to keep the sparkle with retained customers

Creating, building and sustaining long term relationships is a fundamental bedrock of all profitable businesses as it enables you to plan and have the right level of resources to deliver great customer experience.  Regular or retained business will create the opportunity for the business to grow as any additional clients will add to the existing business you have.  This highlights one of the key ways that businesses continue to grow from one year to the next.

Why retention is important

As one of our clients Swindells, a leading Sussex based chartered accountancy firm highlighted, "It is an enormous investment of time and money to find a new client.

Retaining clients is essential for the sustainability of the business AND if you don’t look after the clients you have, you will also damage your reputation.

Whilst we are in business to grow and be profitable, the most enjoyable part of our job is the relationships we have with our clients.”  Melanie Richardson, Managing Partner, Swindells Accountants.

The personal benefits to the person delivering a great customer experience and building relationships is not always spotlighted by companies as one of the most important aspects.  The positive impact of creating and building relationships with customers is enormous on everyone’s mental wellbeing and happiness at work.  As a result, the inevitable by-product of retention is a growth in business.

How to build long term relationships

So how do you keep your long-term relationships working for both parties? How do you ensure that your customers remain engaged with you and feel like they are invested in your success as much as you are invested in theirs?

Sometimes, complacency can set into customer relationships and you give more attention to the new customers forgetting you need to give the same level of attention and love to your existing customers. Like any long-term relationship, staying close to your customers is vital for being able to understand and know how you can better satisfy the needs of your customers.

Our client, Rob Copley, who owns the award-winning Farmer Copleys Farm shops, summed up how he does this with his customers and as a result is currently enjoying a 15% increase in sales:

"We work on making our customers feel really special and part of our business by using their first name, remembering and recognising them when they come to the store and personalising the product just for them and remembering the personalisation for next time.  

All of this makes customers feel special and wanting to return as they see you as a friend.

We treat as many people as we can in this way.  

It obviously works as we are 15% up on last year’s sales!”  Rob Copley, Farmer Copleys

Building the personal into your business relationships with customers enables you to keep the sparkle in the relationship and adapt your product and service to their needs.

Building the personal into your business relationships with customers enables you to keep the sparkle in the relationship and adapt your product and service to their needs.

What can you do to create a ‘retention’ culture in your business?

Relationship building needs to be at the centre of a retention culture so that all employees are aware and understand their role in building the rapport and the relationship with customers.

The steps towards building a retention culture are summarised below:

  1. Bring the team together to provide the inspiration and explain the personal benefits of building relationships with existing clients. Share experiences and establish best practices to deliver a great customer experience.
  2. Identify how you are perceived by the customers who have been with you forever and also the customers who have chosen to move-on and work with one of your competitors. Don’t be afraid to ask the difficult questions and discover the gaps in your service that will create untapped opportunities to grow.  Using a third party to gather this information is often far more productive.
  3. Use customer and employee journey mapping to identify opportunities to deliver a better customer experience.  Where are the areas of friction within the customer experience OR where are you falling short of customer expectations?
  4. Instruct and educate your team to deliver the customer journey you have illustrated in your journey map. Reinforce the personal benefits to the team of increased job satisfaction, better mental well-being and happiness in the workplace by building connections with your customers.
  5. Measure your new standards with the aim of catching the team getting it right. Work as a team to improve standards by celebrating success and exploring even more ways to generate delight with your customers.  As the famous Olympic-winning strategy for success quote says, ‘Will it make the boat go faster?’
  6. Keep going around the track back to step 1 – continuous improvement and keeping up with market trends and your competitors means never stopping. A culture is a way of life and putting retention at the centre of your business universe will ensure that your business never fails to deliver a great customer experience.

The six steps identified above are the insight6 methodology for creating, building and sustaining a customer experience culture that will not only build customer loyalty but build sales and profits in every business.

If you would like to know more about our six steps, we would love to share them and help you deliver them.  Please contact us for a customer experience audit and we can discuss how we can help you.

What is Customer Retention and How Do You Improve Customer Retention Rates?

Customer retention is at the heart of a successful company and is often overlooked in favour of customer acquisition. Yes, acquiring customers is important, but did you know that 12 - 15% of customers are loyal to a brand but they actually represent a massive 55 - 70% of sales? Understanding customer retention and the benefits that come with it is essential for the growth of any business.

At insight6, our job is to measure, transform and improve the customer experience for any business and retention is a big part of that.

What is customer retention?

Simply put, customer retention is the process of keeping existing clients engaged and interested in the product or service you’re selling. The ultimate goal of customer retention is to keep current customers buying and investing their time and money in your business. Through customer retention, customer loyalty is built (which we will move onto shortly).

What is a customer retention specialist?

A customer retention specialist is someone who specialises in keeping existing customers engaged and invested in the business. Their job is to find ways to keep customers buying products and investing their time and money into a business’s service.

The benefits that come with customer retention

Here are a few surefire benefits that come with customer retention:

1. It’s cheaper and easier than obtaining new customers

It should come as no surprise that keeping existing customers happy and investing in your business is easier than going out and gaining the trust of new clients who may not have heard of your business. You have built trust with existing clients, so keep them engaged and keep them interested in your product or service. It’s far more cost-effective to keep current customers than to seek new ones (not to say you shouldn’t be doing both).

The concept of acquisition versus retention falls in favour of retention according to multiple data sources.

2. Word of mouth from existing customers

Loyal customers who have had nothing but positive experiences from your business and have grown to trust and respect your brand are more likely to spread the word to friends and colleagues. You could also encourage your existing customers to share their positive experience online in the form of a review. This is another free way of extending your audience reach and attracting new customers.

Of course, online marketing and advertising campaigns will help gain exposure and drive leads, but these methods cost money and time. Keep your current customers happy and they will recommend you to others for free!

3. Existing clients are more likely to offer genuine and helpful feedback

Reading reviews and acting on customer feedback is a fantastic way to positively develop your brand. It shows that you genuinely care about your clients’ opinions and experience of your business and they will value the time you have taken to improve certain aspects of your business.

4. Once you build trust with a client, you gain their forgiveness

Simply put, loyal customers are more forgiving. Every business makes mistakes, whether it’s a staff member offering poor advice on a product or accidentally overcharging for an item. These human errors will be more forgivable with a loyal customer because you have spent the time gaining their trust.

New customers whose first experience was poor are far less likely to forgive your mistake unless it is immediately rectified. In fact, research has shown that customers who have made a complaint but swiftly seen their problem fixed are 84% less likely to decrease their spend.

5. Loyal customers actually enjoy marketing alerts

Of all the emails you receive from websites you have subscribed to, I’m sure there’s a few that you actually enjoy receiving. Be it a free coupon from your favourite restaurant or a newsletter from a local charity you support, as a loyal customer, you enjoy receiving updates and offers from brands you have shared positive experiences with.

What is customer retention rate?

This is the term given to the percentage of customers a company has managed to keep hold of or ‘retain’ over a specified time period. It is the opposite of the ‘churn rate’, which depicts the amount of customers lost during a specified time period.

What is the difference between customer loyalty and customer retention?

These two terms are commonly confused; customer loyalty looks at a customer’s stance and opinion of your company and the reasons why they buy or invest their time and money into it. Customer retention (as mentioned above) looks at ways to keep existing customers buying your company’s product or service.

What are some good examples of customer retention strategies?

So far, it’s clear that ‘churning and burning’ customers is a surefire way to lose money in the long run.

Here are a few customer retention strategies that can help you get the most out of your customers and keep them engaged and interested in your service:

1. Surprises

We’re not talking about sending promotional offers and deals through email or direct mail (although these will improve customer retention rates), we’re talking about sending your customers something more personal. For example, sending a ‘thank you for sticking with us’ letter or email shows you’re grateful to all your existing clients for their continued trust and support in your business.

For smaller businesses, you could send hand-written notes or even small gifts to show you care about them and their partnership with your business. Being personal goes a long way to keeping customers happy and invested in your brand.

2. Build trust and watch your customer retention rate rise

The first port of call for all positive customer retention practices. Essentially, there are only two people in your business; you and the customer and you need to gain their trust to retain their custom. Reviewing customer behaviour data is a great way to understand how your customers behave and interact with your product or service.

Additionally, a recent report by Forbes stated that marketers should use data to build trust with customers.

3. Learning from customer complaints

No one likes receiving a complaint from a customer, but complaints are a vital component to better your service and retain customers - if you act on them. Understanding the negatives your customer(s) experience will help you to fix or improve upon these issues going forwards.

Additionally, the fact that a customer has complained shows they were invested enough in the product or service to take the time to offer feedback, and as mentioned on our ‘customer retention strategies’ section, research has shown that customers who have made a complaint but swiftly seen their problem fixed are 84% less likely to decrease their spend.

Learn how to increase your customer retention with insight6

Understanding the ins and outs of customer experience is absolutely essential which is why you need to first understand the importance of customer experience.

Our article ‘What is Customer Experience?’ goes into detail about the importance of providing positive customer experience alongside other key components of the customer experience journey.

If you’re looking to improve your customer retention rate or want to learn more on the benefits of customer retention…

Then speak to one of our customer experience experts! Our team is on-hand to deliver expert advice on customer retention and how to keep your customers engaged in your brand. Get in touch with our team today to learn more about how our customer retention systems work and how we can help increase your customer retention rate.

What is customer experience?

As a Customer Experience CX brand, insight6 specialise in all areas of customer experience with the aim of driving up sales and improving customer retention rates. If you want your business to survive and thrive in a competitive market, then focusing on your customer experience is
essential. But, before you do that, you need to understand exactly what customer experience is. So, what is it?

Essentially, customer experience can be defined as the impression and overall experience a customer goes through when presented and experiencing your service. In an ideal world, customers who use and interact with your brand, product or service will come away with a positive customer experience, if their expectations have been met through their customer journey (more on that later).

Why is customer experience important?

We can all think of positive and negative experiences we have had as customers. Good or bad, these interactions shape our opinions of brands, products and services we interact with. Ensuring your business delivers a positive customer experience does not only make your customer(s) happy but can also increase the potential of return customers and therefore revenue.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you go to eat out at a local, family-run restaurant where the food was great,
the waiting staff were polite, and the overall experience was friendly and very positive. This is an example of a good customer service and experience, as the waiting staff went above and beyond to provide a positive customer experience, creating a lasting impression and improving the likelihood of a return visit.

Let’s compare this with a chain or corporate restaurant where the quality of the food is the same, but the waiting staff are disengaged and somewhat impersonal.

Although the waiting staff weren’t bad, they did not deliver an overly positive or memorable customer experience or a lasting impression. By this logic, you’re more likely to return to the family-run restaurant because your experience with them was positive and memorable.

We can all think of positive and negative customer experiences and this is why ensuring your business is providing a positive customer experience journey is essential. It is the difference between the sustained growth and development of your business and decreased revenue and a
declining reputation.

With online reviews now dominating people’s opinions before they consider, let alone investing their time and money in a service, ensuring your business has a great customer experience structure is now an essential practice.

What are the key components of customer experience?

At insight6, we provide six services that encapsulate the best possible customer experience:

1. Customer experience reviews
2. Training and development
3. Customer journey mapping
4. Online feedback
5. Focus & listening groups
6. Mentoring & coaching

More information on each of our six bespoke services can be found on our services page.

Alternatively, you can contact us via phone or email and one of our experienced customer experience consultants will advise further.

What is customer service?

Customer service is a branch of the overall customer experience. Simply put, customer service can be defined as the assistance and advice provided by the representative of the company to the consumer. Customer service is a direct interaction between buyer and seller, whether that’s via phone call, email or in-store interaction.

What is customer experience management?

One of our services at insight6 is to ensure professional and efficient customer experience management (CEM) is performed. It is a strategy that essentially organises all interactions through the customer journey to ensure the desires and requirements of your customers are met or even exceeded.

We use specialised CEM software to help analyse and collect relevant and necessary customer feedback to identify areas that may require improvement. Then, we are able to provide expert advice on how to improve customer experience through the insights obtained by our software.

What is the difference between customer service and customer experience?

Customer experience encapsulates the customer’s entire buying journey (which includes customer service).

Although customer service is a large part of the experience, it does not go into as much detail as the overall customer experience. To fully understand customer experience, businesses need to consider every step of their customer’s journey.

This begins with discovering and researching the service or product to shopping and buying the product, then using the product/service and finally reviewing their experience with your business afterwards. Every step will be assessed by the customer and their experience will shape their overall opinion of your brand and business.

This is not a ‘one time’ interaction like their customer service experience, it is the encapsulation of all touchpoints through their journey.

What is customer experience transformation?

Customer experience transformation is how a business creates internal structures and systems that impact on the customer and virtually transform the experience.

The transformation typically seeks to identify and improve areas of the customer experience structure.

What is b2b customer experience?

B2b (business to business) is the term given to a business that serves other businesses. Customer experience works the same way between businesses, and whether you are offering consultancy services b2b or serving an individual within a coffee shop, you still want to provide a great customer experience and journey.

What is a customer experience map?

A customer experience map is a visual map that outlines all the experiences and encounters a potential customer could have when interacting with your business’ service and/or product.

These maps are essential for identifying areas where you can improve and understanding how your customers interact with your product or service. The maps can be seen as a framework you can work off to improve your customer’s overall experience of your business.

For more information on customer experience, our customer experience experts are here to help you and your business understand how your customers perceive and interact with your brand. We provide professional advice on how to
improve their customer experience journey, from initial intrigue to purchasing the product or using your service to shaping their overall opinion and review of your business.

For more information on how our CX experts can improve your customer experience, please email or call us on the contact details provided at the top of this page.

What Creates an experience that makes YOU want to return?

We are within days of the dawn of a new year that according to the Walker report will be the year when customer experience becomes the key differentiator for choosing a product or service over price and the quality of the product. 2020 has to be the year that you get serious and make a plan for building your future business within the era of the experience economy if you have not already.

We do hope that this blog will help you on your customer experience journey by posing two key questions for you and your team:

1. How can I remove stress at each point in the customer journey?

2. How can I build a connection with my customer at each point in their journey?

In the last 7 months, we have hosted four LegalCX conferences across the UK. The purpose of the customer experience (CX) conferences has been to focus on the Legal industry and explore what does customer experience mean in the context of providing legal advice and how can it be improved.

The conferences have been hugely successful in moving customer experience to the top of the agenda in the minds of each attendee and providing effective steps to improve.

Is being excellent good enough to create a repeat customer and client?

The LegalCX south conference opened with the legal marketing expert, Clare Fanner, posing two questions about CX in the restaurant industry:

Question one: how many of the attendees have had a customer experience in a restaurant in the last month that they would rate as excellent?

In response, 75% of the people in the room raised their hands. The respondents described the ‘excellent rating’ was as a result of the great quality food, the waiter was friendly, efficient and looked after their party’s needs. The environment was clean with good decor and the price of the meal represented great value with the prices being in alignment with the food quality, the environment and the service.

Clare then asked the second question: of those people that have had an excellent experience how many will return to the restaurant?

In response to this question, only 10% of the respondents’ hands remained up with a
stunned and confused silence amongst the delegates as to how that could be the case.

How can a restaurant business deliver excellence and still not create repeat visits?

The answers to the two questions clearly communicated the context of the conference and the reason why so many had chosen to attend the LegalCX conference. Excellence is no longer good enough when there is so much ‘excellent’ competition that delivers on all the expected norms of quality.

What is the magic ingredient that makes a customer want to return?

The 10% of respondents who still had their hands up and were going to return to the restaurant described that they had experienced something in addition to excellence - they had a memorable experience that had planted the seeds of a new relationship that the respondents were invested in continuing.

It was clear that sitting in the room full of lawyers and accountants that the problem was not only specific to the restaurant industry. Being excellent is expected as standard and will not guarantee that a client or customer will return.

How can your business create a formula for repeat custom?

So how do you create an experience that is excellent AND makes your customers or clients want to return? Whether you are a law firm, an accountant, a private school or a coffee shop, what more can you do than be excellent?

The answer to this million-dollar question is to deliver excellent quality in everything you do AND create an emotional connection with the person you serve. In a nutshell, it is all about how you make the customer or client feel.

However, how can you do that when you are not in control of someone else’s emotions and you do not have the superpower to make a client or customer feel a specific way?

If you have watched the brilliant Pixar film ‘Inside Out' you will know this to be true! Creating a 'customer experience' is all about your intention and to ensure you act in a way that will enhance the way the other person feels. For example, the intention could be to create an experience that moves a customer in a coffee shop from feeling sad and alone to feeling part of a community or in a law firm to move a client from feeling confused and indecisive to a feeling of clarity and confidence.

How can you remove customer and client stress from your business?

The majority of customers/clients tend to be in a higher-than-usual state of stress and uncertainty in unfamiliar surroundings. With this knowledge what can you do to help your customers and clients in those first moments to make them feel welcome, secure, comfortable and happy to engage with you?

There is a brilliant example of how this understanding created a well-established ritual in restaurants. The assumption that guests are stressed when they enter a restaurant was the inspiration behind providing complementary bread once guests were seated. Eating creates a physiological response that powers up the parasympathetic nervous system in the body thus reducing stress. This creates
a calmer demeanour in guests and as a result they have a more pleasurable experience.

Another example is in an open morning for a private school where parents are making what feels like a once in a lifetime decision for their precious child. The ability to empathise and advise both parents, treating Mum and Dad as individuals to remove the stress and tension of the situation is vital for allowing them to feel safe and able to make a decision that is right for all parties.

So, what does playing host to stressed or uncertain people mean in your business? What can you do to aid your clients/customers’ transformation into a calm, neutral state where they can be fully present to all the excellent elements of your service offering? And how will this be enough?

Have you de-stressed your customer and client journey map?

Often a customer journey map will include all the excellent standards that you are striving to achieve at each of the customer and client touchpoints. And what if you were to look at your customer journey and answer two extra questions.

1. How can I remove stress at each point in the customer journey?

2. How can I build a connection with my customer/client at this point in the customer journey?

The answers to the two questions will create the foundations of a customer experience
strategy that will add depth to the customer/client connections and increase the certainty that they will return.

If you would like our help in building and implementing a customer experience strategy that will transform your business, please email to arrange a customer experience audit call.

What is ROI?

As experts in customer experience, insight6 understands that ROI is essential to every investment a business can make, especially when it comes to marketing and consultancy.

Return on Investment (ROI) is one of the most common profitability ratios, and is used to measure the gain or loss made on an investment, relative to the amount of money that has been invested. The use of ROI in business involves observing how money has been invested in a company and the return that is realised based on the net profit of the business. 

How do you calculate ROI?

ROI calculation is based on percentage, as this is how return on investment is most typically expressed. The most common formula used for working out ROI is:

ROI = (Net Profit/ Cost of Investment) x 100%

This calculation is flexible and can be adjusted for different uses. To give an example of a return on marketing investment, imagine a company that averages 4% organic sales growth and runs a £10,000 campaign for a month. They have a sales growth of £15,000 that month. The calculation would look like this:

Return on Marketing Investment = [(£15,000 - £10,000)/ £10,000)] x 100

= 50%

By using this calculation a business can clearly determine how much return they have gained by their investment of £10,000. In this case they are £5000 in profit.

What are the benefits of using the ROI formula?

There are some advantages which make ROI percentages useful, as well as the formula used to calculate them. The first of these is that percentages are more often thought of as being easier to read and understand than ratios. The formula is considered extremely easy to calculate as well, because there is no set definition of what “return” signifies and can therefore be used as you or the company investing sees fit.

The notion of return on investment is also generally considered to be a universal concept, so if you use this formula, it is most likely that others will know what you are referring to. This will also allow for comparisons between investing in a new office, or if a new member joins your team.

What is a good ROI?

What determines a good ROI depends on what a company is investing, and how that company interprets its returns. As the formula for calculating ROI is flexible, there is the possibility for it to be easily manipulated to suit any company’s particular requirements. Because of this, you may find that results vary between the results found for your company and those found for other firms. When you are comparing the efficiency of an investment, it is important that the same inputs are used to get an accurate determination of your ROI.

In theory, any return on investment that results in a profit is good, but how much profit is required to consider the investment a success would depend on the business and the circumstances involved.

Factors affecting your ROI

A number of factors can affect and even completely determine the results of your return on investment. The largest of these is market share, because the higher the share of the market, the higher your profit margin tends to be.

As an average, companies which have market share above 36% earn more than three times as much as businesses with less than a 7% share of their market. At least three contributing factors come from high market share; economies of scale, market power and better access to quality management and talent. The latter can increase your ROI as high performing managers are most often successful at achieving large portions of their respective markets. 

The second largest factor that will determine your company’s ROI is the quality of your product or service. When customers are satisfied with what is being provided, they are more likely to return and use your company again. The ideal outcome is for a company to have both a high market share and to supply a superior product or service. 

How R&D (Research & Development) Affects ROI

R&D spending can also affect the ROI of a firm. When market share is high, a company’s average ROI will be highest when its R&D spending is also high. There are several hypotheses as to why this is the case, though it is most likely that having a high ROI will encourage a company to invest more in R&D and when this has a positive impact, it helps to improve the return on investments.

How Inorganic Growth Affects ROI  

The newest factor, which often needs careful monitoring, is the notion of increasing ROI through inorganic growth, otherwise known as a merger or acquisition. When this is done correctly, the acquisition should increase both your market share and your ROI, as you will immediately gain the customers and sales of the acquired business. For example, when Google bought YouTube in 2006, the company immediately made gains from the website and its existing userbase, and went to the top of the online video streaming market.

Improving your ROI

Improving your return on investments can be achieved in several ways, from generating more sales to raising prices. Also, improving your overall customer experience can go a long way to increasing your ROI on any investment your business may need to make to increase sales.

When you choose to begin a plan for improving your company’s ROI, it is important you have clearly defined outcomes you wish to reach first. It is also recommended that there are milestone goals in place, in order to help you increase the payback on the different initiatives you have set up and to keep you working towards the end result you have planned.

How Improving Customer Experience Can Offer a Great ROI

Customer experience is essential to how a customer perceives your company. If you improve your customers’ experience, they are much more likely to a) buy your product, or use your service again, and b) to recommend your company to others. 

Our Customer Experience Experts have countless case studies where improving customer experience resulted in a fantastic ROI. If you invest heavily in marketing but haven’t considered the foundations of your customer experience, then you could be wasting money on investments that return a very low, or even non-existent ROI.

Book a consultation with one of our CX experts and make sure your business is built from the ground up. This way you can increase the chances of your ROI delivering a profit that can ensure the future success of your company.