CYBERSPACE CAN BE LONELY_nlighten article_July_2019

Cyberspace Can be Lonely: Give Your Customer Someone to Talk To

CYBERSPACE CAN BE LONELY_nlighten article_July_2019

Digitising consumer interactions was supposed to give the customer what they want – instant access to information and communication. To a certain extent, it does. Most businesses now communicate with their customers through various online portals and UX business is booming, as businesses invest in ensuring that user experience is optimised and personalised at every stage.

We’re huge advocates of great UX, of course, and of how technology can facilitate great CX and give businesses a way to digitally record and track the customer journey at all stages. But – and this is a big BUT – businesses are forgetting something really important: You still need to make it easy for your customers to talk to you in person.

Wasn’t the Internet supposed to speed up communication and make things simpler?

Humans have the capacity to speak at 150wpm, meaning 1,000 words can be spoken in around 6.6 minutes. Conversely, the average typist using a computer keyboard can master 40wpm – meaning that those same 1,000 words could take upwards of 25 minutes to exchange. This is even more protracted when people are accessing online platforms using their mobile phones, and relying on their thumbs to do the talking.

When people are looking for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems, the more difficult it is and the longer it takes, the more lonely and irritated they feel. And if there is one thing technology and the Internet has achieved, it is lowering people’s tolerance for waiting.

This is when it can all go wrong for your brand online

One of the reasons that customers take to social media to vent their spleens when they are aggrieved is because they have learned it is the easiest and fastest way of getting attention and support. That’s sad, isn’t it?

When things go wrong, customers aren’t just looking for a resolution; they are looking for validation, sympathy and support. They aren’t getting that from chatbots, FAQ pages, or a contact form.

Don’t let your customer feel isolated

When things don’t go as they are supposed to, it can be lonely online. Cyberspace is a frustrating place if you want to reach out and get answers to questions that somebody hasn’t already thought of.

Why don’t businesses make it easy to contact a human when it’s needed?

Going through customer service contact options can be a frustrating experience, one that merely adds fuel to the fire when a customer is disgruntled. If your business has messed up, you want to have as many options as possible for your customer to tell you all about it, and providing a real person to speak to often feels as though it is an absolute last resort for businesses.

Have you gone online to get customer service contact details and had to answer multiple questions about your complaint using dropdown boxes directed to a FAQ, offered the option of sending an email, and only once every avenue has been explored are you bequeathed the privilege of a precious phone number? That’s simply not good enough.

Many customers prefer to chat online – the above-average typists, those with social anxiety, noisy households or a multitude of reasons they would rather keep things behind a screen. Many just wish for a little human interaction, without having to jump through hoops to get it. It isn’t too much to ask for.

View the previous nlighten article by Nathalie Schooling: How to Be a Better Customer Experience Leader

nlighten. enhancing customer experience:

Customer Experience Masterclass: Get results by thinking like a customer experience pro – Invest a day in our value-packed interactive CX coaching. The quality of your customers’ experiences defines your success. | CPT – 15 August 2019 | JHB – 9 October 2019 view more


How to be a better CX leader_nlighten article_July_2019

How to Be a Better Customer Experience Leader

How to be a better CX leader_nlighten article_July_2019

In today’s competitive market, it goes without saying that high-level company leaders need to understand that meeting customer satisfaction needs is essential to the bottom line. Simple as it may seem, this is a complex issue – with many contributing elements – that has driven organisational psychologists to conduct extensive research on the various factors that impact on this goal.

Organisational psychology research makes use of scientific, statistics-based methods to identify what factors will lead to a company’s success. For nlighten’s clients, measuring customer satisfaction levels – and linking them to sales figures – becomes a primary point of focus.

What are some of the behaviours that define a successful customer-centric leader?

  1. Inspire your team to go above and beyond

A significant revelation linking employee behaviour to improved sales centres on customer satisfaction. Studies found that employees that go beyond what is expected of them – beyond company-defined performance expectations – tend to delight customers more, leading to marked increases in sales. It comes as no surprise that leadership behaviour (that of CEOs and Senior Management) had the strongest influence on an organisation’s “passion for service”.

  1. Adopt a participative leadership style

Research findings show several common leadership behaviours that impact on proactive service performance. A participative leadership style encourages employee involvement in a company’s decision-making and emphasises the value of team contributions. Senior executives and line managers who micromanage less and empower their employees more by delegating responsibility to them – giving them more decision-making responsibility to complete their tasks – are more likely to nurture a passion for service excellence amongst their team.

  1. Focus on employee development

A recent study within a major South African ITC organisation investigating line managers’ behaviours revealed that those who focussed on the need to attract and retain talented employees displayed an important set of behaviours that resulted in a profound mindset shift within the company.

In this case, the organisation’s CEO personally attended the Leadership Development Programme’s workshops and events – even participating in performance reviews. The message to all employees was that executive attitudes were focussed on excellence and employee development. By the same token, top management involvement in even the most menial of company activities, like service excellence programmes, can lead to improved levels of customer satisfaction.

  1. Lead by example

Leader behaviours that focus on service quality include the ability to recognise and appreciate high-quality service, removing service delivery obstacles and setting clear customer satisfaction standards. When management support for customer experience excellence is abundant – employees are more likely to reflect that philosophy in their work – showing more customer-centric behaviours in the process.

In the end, leaders who rely too heavily on external service consultants or internal training departments to improve customer satisfaction levels without including themselves – are unlikely to develop teams with a proactive sense of service performance.

View the previous nlighten article by Nathalie Schooling: Recording Voice of Customer (V0C) is Important, But Are You Listening?

nlighten. enhancing customer experience:

Customer Experience Masterclass: Get results by thinking like a customer experience pro – Invest a day in our value-packed interactive CX coaching. The quality of your customers’ experiences defines your success. | CPT – 15 August 2019 | JHB – 9 October 2019 view more


Voice of Customer_VoC_nlighten article_June_2019

Recording Voice of Customer (V0C) is Important, But Are You Listening?

Voice of Customer_VoC_nlighten article_June_2019

Before you can improve customer experience, it helps to understand what that experience actually is, and what your customer wants it to be. So, how do you find out? You need to be getting real feedback from your customers and translating what they say about you into needs. This is known as Voice of Customer research.

What is Voice of Customer?

Voice of Customer (VoC) means exactly what it says – what your customer says about you. There are many VoC methodologies, and many ways to gather data, but very often these days businesses rely on technology to collect data in a standardised, easily comparable format. So, instead of meaning everything your customer thinks and feels about your brand and their experience of it, these days it often just means how they “rate” you.

After a customer service call, you will find you are often invited to take part in a survey.  “Were you satisfied? Press 1 for yes and 2 for no. How do you rate your call today out of 5?”

After an online purchase or enquiry, you may find you are invited to take part in an online survey so we can improve our service to you. “How many stars do you give your experience?”

Do these standardised, contrived online or telephone surveys really give your business an accurate insight into what your customer thinks or what they have to say about you? Does your 3-star rating really give you any kind of actionable insights into how you could turn that 3 into a 5?

So often, large to medium businesses give themselves a pat on the back and think they’re at the cutting edge of customer service when they have a Voice of Customer programme. But so seldom does this programme achieve anything more than checking a box because they have to “do VoC”. It’s just data for data’s sake. Little to no substantive, valuable information is gleaned from your effort and expense.

Collecting VoC is not enough – you need to listen

The point of VoC is to listen to your customer, translate what they say into wants or needs, and then discover what the requirements are to meet those needs and turn those into business objectives. The aim of the game is to give your customer what they want, often before even they realise they want it.

At nlighten, we believe that to remain relevant you need to actually talk to and engage with your clients, not just record them.

Where to look for VoC data

Online or telephone surveys aren’t enough. Offering your customers a formulaic method to rate your business doesn’t give them a chance to share their voice with you. You need to invite welcome feedback at all stages of your customer journey, but often the richest sources of VoC data can be indirect.

The first source, though secondhand, is your frontline staff. We have said before that businesses so often neglect to gather feedback from the personnel who are customer-facing – remember my frustrating experience at the Lancome counter a few months ago?

The people who are speaking with your customers every day, who receive firsthand soundbites from a spectrum of customers, whether it’s frustration, gratitude, praise, indifference or rage – your staff face the brunt of it all. They should be recording noteworthy interactions.

In the B2C world, an often overlooked source that can be mined for rich VoC data is social media. You learn a huge amount about what your customers really think about you by eavesdropping on what they say about you behind your back. People also turn to social media platforms for sounding boards these days, leveraging the power of the hashtag to promote public outrage or sympathy and get results, often before they have even picked up the phone to the customer service department. Businesses face trial by social media all the time. You can’t hide anywhere.

A truly valuable, actionable Voice of Customer programme involves mining VoC data from a variety of sources, but unless the outcome is a collection of authentic anecdotes that give you insights about where you are going wrong and right, then where’s the point? Remember, you need to be listening, not just recording.

How does your business approach gaining client or customer insights in order to remain relevant to their needs?

View the previous nlighten article by Nathalie Schooling: 5 Ways to Make Sure Consumers Choose You

nlighten. enhancing customer experience:

Customer Experience Masterclass: Get results by thinking like a customer experience pro – Invest a day in our value-packed interactive CX coaching. The quality of your customers’ experiences defines your success. | CPT – 15 August 2019 | JHB – 9 October 2019 view more

5 ways_consumer choice_nlighten article_May_2019

5 Ways to Make Sure Consumers Choose You

Decisions_nlighten article_May_2019

Consumer power continues to grow. There is a wider choice of goods and services available than there ever has been, and our access to information and ability to compare retailers and organisations is virtually limitless. This gives today’s consumer even more power to vote with their wallets and make demands from the brands they buy from. But consumer power transcends an individual’s own personal purchasing as consumers have the ability to influence other people’s buying behaviour.

Social media, comparison websites, review portals, and countless horizontal and vertical e-marketplaces mean that we deal with an overwhelming array of choice by relying on the opinions and experiences of our fellow consumers. No longer taken in by sales pitches and clever marketing, we want to get straight to the nitty gritty – consumers won’t take your word for it anymore.

A consumer’s journey is now more complex and consumer-driven than ever, with customers now preferring to source their own information about your brand and pull out what they want to know rather than have your marketing pushed on them.

It’s never been more important to be getting right. You just can’t get away with getting it wrong anymore.

So, to ensure you are keeping up with consumers and their ever-increasing power and expectations, here are our top 5 tips for ensuring you are delivering what your customers want, and keep them choosing you time after time.

1. Turn a negative into a positive.

Remember, a complaint is a gift. It’s an opportunity to improve a flaw you didn’t know existed, and it’s also an opportunity to enhance CX. Seriously, handling a complaint or a mishap with aplomb and an efficient, customer-focused attitude is an opportunity to exceed expectations and even turn a negative into a positive. See our previous blog about customer complaints for an example of getting this so right. You don’t need a crystal ball to solve your customer’s problems before they even happen, just a watertight customer complaints procedure and true accountability for customer satisfaction.

2. A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush

So many businesses are barking up the wrong tree when it comes to their growth targets. By hyper-focusing on growing your customer base, getting new business or upselling you are in danger of overlooking retaining your current business. New business only matters if old business isn’t falling off the other end of the conveyor belt as fast as you can bring in the new.

3. Know your customer

Understanding what drives your customer and what motivates them to buy will help you ensure they buy from you. These days for customers it comes down to less “what’s in it for me” and “what’s in it for the world”. People want to know what you stand for and if your values align with theirs. Often, your product or service isn’t the differentiator that clinches a deal – it’s who you are.

4. Invest in your employer brand

There are two main reasons why this should be a priority for your business in 2019. First, your company’s reputation as an employer intersects its reputation among your customers. Second, a strong employer brand can result in increased retention, lowered hiring costs and ensure you are attracting the top available talent. Just as people are researching your business before buying from you, they also research your business before considering working for you. The more satisfied, engaged and talented your workforce the better they are at being ambassadors for your brand and the better the customer experience.

5. Be human

People buy people. In a sea of faceless competitors, a personal touch can be a huge differentiator, particularly when it comes to retention of business. If your customers feel like you are connecting with them and that they are valued, they are more likely to be loyal.

Your reputation rests on more than just PR. It rests on how people perceive you. Reputation rests on what the world says about you, and the recipe for success is actually pretty simple:

Make good products, provide good service, listen to the people who engage with you, do good things, treat people and the planet well, deliver on your promises and make it right quickly and efficiently if you don’t.  Consumers may be more demanding than ever, but when you break it down consumers are simply demanding that businesses care.

nlighten can help you reach your CX potential. Contact us to find out more about how you can strengthen your customer engagement and begin reaping the rewards.

View the previous nlighten article by Nathalie Schooling: Debunking 5 Myths Around CX

nlighten. enhancing customer experience:

Customer Experience Masterclass: Get results by thinking like a customer experience pro – Invest a day in our value-packed interactive CX coaching. The quality of your customers’ experiences defines your success. | CPT – 15 August 2019 | JHB – 9 October 2019 view more

Debunking_5_Myths_of_CX_nlighten article_May_2019

Debunking 5 Myths Around CX

Debunking_5_Myths_of_CX_nlighten article_May_2019

Many people believe they have CX sussed, but so often at  our masterclasses when we ask our delegates what they think customer experience means, or what they think they need to achieve great customer relationships, the same untruths surface every time.

So, we want to put these untruths to bed once and for all. Here we bust 5 of the customer experience myths we hear all the time.

1.   CX is about Tech

Yes, tech is totally an enabler. We believe that digital customer engagement tools can truly give your business a competitive edge, but technology it isn’t a silver bullet. Investing in tech will only make your business stronger if it is used correctly. Technology is an opportunity to automate certain customer interactions, but it isn’t a replacement for human interaction – aside from streamlining processes and making your customers’ lives easier, your tech should  be freeing up your employees to make meaningful connections and lasting impression with your customers.

2.   You need a big budget.

Improving CX doesn’t need to cost big bucks, it just takes big change a shift in paradigms. The only thing your organisation must invest in is spreading your message and ensuring that everyone is on board with constantly and consistently applying your CX principles across your entire organisation. The people, the product and the processes that impact on your customer must all be lined up like little ducks with your customer-centric principles neatly in a row. Consistency, not cash, is the key.

3.   CX is the remit of the few.

Implementing initiatives to enhance customer experience is about getting all 1,000 people that work for you to apply one small improvement, rather than a few people in your organisation to make dramatic, sweeping changes. For change to be meaningful, it must be universal. Enhancing customer experience is about changing your business at its core, and developing policies and strategies that permeate your entire organisation. Start with small changes, scale them up, then keep growing your initiatives.  Ensure you record and communicate the incremental improvements and success to everyone in your business.

4.   If I am measuring customer satisfaction, then I am customer-centric.

Sadly, wrong. If you measure your weight, does that make you health-conscious? No, it just means you know what you weigh. That’s a good step towards health-consciousness, but it isn’t enough – you need goals, you need accountability and you need action. In much the same way, if the outcomes into your research into customer satisfaction are not linked to KPIs and accountability then you are totally wasting your (and your customer’s) time.

5.   The customer takes front and centre stage.

Nope, wrong again. Your customer is your raison d’etre, of course, but there is someone at the core of your business who without you cannot and will not achieve positive customer relationships. Who? Your employee. Think of the people who work for you like an internal customer, because you cannot expect great CX without awesome SEX (staff engagement experience.) Your employer brand and reputation will impact on your commercial brand and reputation, but there is more at stake than that. The people who work for you are the most important part of your business because only when you get it right with them will they be getting it right with your customers. Forget that at your peril.

It’s time to stop believing in these CX fairytales that are preventing your business from gaining the competitive advantage that truly exceptional customer experience can bring. If you aren’t looking at CX as a strategic differential value, then you are behind your competitors, and it’s time to play catch up.

It’s nlighten’s mission to help you uncover more truths about CX and how it can lead your organisation to success. Contact us to find out the ways we can work with you to do just that.

View the previous nlighten article by Nathalie Schooling: No Pain, No CX Gain

nlighten. enhancing customer experience:

Customer Experience Masterclass: Get results by thinking like a customer experience pro – Invest a day in our value-packed interactive CX coaching. The quality of your customers’ experiences defines your success. | CPT – 15 August 2019 | JHB – 9 October 2019 : view more