Posted on 14 Apr 2016 by Carl Lyon
Congratulations to everyone at Atom Bank on the launch of the app. We've loved following your progress over the last year whilst working on the customer journey, thank you for the opportunity. http://www.business-money.com/announcements/atom-bank-gets-lift-off-with-sme-lending
Posted on 12 Apr 2016 by Carl Lyon
A member of The QoE (let’s call her Angie) is currently volunteering in an orphanage for ‘differently able’ children in Sri Lanka. ‘Differently able’ is a term used in Sri Lanka for children with conditions such as autism, Downs Syndrome and cerebral palsy.
It has been heart breaking to read Angie’s reports of the poor conditions and treatment that many of the children experience. Underpaid carers who have almost no empathy for the childrens’ situation regularly dole out punishments, regardless of the fact that the children have no understanding of the reasons behind their actions.
Sadly Angie is largely powerless to reverse these deep-rooted cultural differences. But what has made her experience bearable has been seeing the difference that simply investing her time in the children can make. To use her words:
“the most rewarding thing in a day is to see a child’s eyes light up with joy when you give them attention”.
Contrast this experience with that of another QoE member, Sam Ellis. As part of Atos’ Dream Builders team, Sam spent much of last year raising money for The Prince’s Trust charity. In a fantastic achievement, Sam and the team raised an unprecedented total of £210,111 between July and December last year. This will be invested in helping people improve the lives of disadvantaged young people in the UK, and The QoE were proud to be a sponsor of their efforts.
Despite the vast cultural differences between Angie’s and Sam’s volunteering efforts, the principle is the same: there is great value in investing your attention in people.
The Attention Economy
As long ago as 1997, Wired Magazine commented on the growth of the ‘Attention Economy’, noting that attention is both a valuable and limited resource. As our lives become increasingly full of distraction and noise, our ability to pay attention is being squeezed between status updates, online shopping, instant messages and the like.
As we become increasingly hyper connected, the scarcity of our attention increases. And as any good economist will tell you, the scarcity of a resource only drives up its value. The author of the Wired article, Michael Goldhaber, even goes as far as to suggest that the flow of attention around the internet will eventually replace the flow of money altogether.
Investing attention improves experience
The lesson from the above examples is this: investing attention in people improves their experience. As organisations become increasingly obsessed with using data to improve customer experience, it is worth remembering that there remains just as much (if not more) value in simply spending time really listening to and talking with customers. And more than just spending time, this involves spending attention.
Data-driven approaches to understanding behaviour try to reduce people to categories and trends, but this is a 20th century approach to understanding customers. Delivering great experiences in the 21st century requires authenticity, personalisation, and a willingness to listen and adapt to the specific needs of each customer.
To borrow the Sri Lankan term, we are all ‘differently able’ in one form or another. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses, this is a fundamental aspect of human experience. In the attention economy, we expect our organisations to pay attention to us, accommodating - and valuing - our differences.
Posted on 5 Apr 2016 by Carl Lyon
Wednesday 11 May CX Farnborough
Thursday 26 May Half day London
Wednesday 8 June Digital Farnborough
Personalisation has never been more desirable and achievable, but gathering and analysing the information required to deliver it is far from easy. Increasing personalisation also intensifies the challenge of responding appropriately to customers’ needs, desires and emotional expectations.
Even though a proactive survey approach is usually used to obtain customer insight, reverting to a more reactive or ‘listening’ mode may in fact be a more effective strategy in a climate of increased personalisation. Whereas surveying invites responses to our questions, listening enables us to tune in to the experiences taking place both inside and outside our organisation. Listening also has the additional advantage of giving us data from a wider audience, helping us to construct a richer understanding of what is actually happening.
Moving beyond customers and listening to a wider audience enables us to capture true and emerging needs and desires. But, and just as importantly, our listening strategy needs to extend deep into our own organisation, going beyond service and into operations, design, and business prioritisation. The more we listen internally, the more we are able to tune in to what is actually driving experiences and develop long-term solutions to generating quality experience.
During the discussions on this topic we will be looking for key outputs in the following areas:
Identifying the most effective surveying examples and experiences
Exploring the advantages we can expect from expanding the audience
Understanding the relationship between facts, opinions, and what we feel
Considering how we might use this new insight and to what effect
Customers continue to ask for more innovation more quickly, and satisfying their growing demands requires us to adopt different tools, strategies and thinking. How can we achieve this? Join us to find out.
Posted on 9 Mar 2016 by Carl Lyon
Our first topic of 2016 explored knowledge, power and influence in organisations.
Or to be more specific, where is the knowledge, who has the power, and how is this
affecting the ability to influence behaviour?
Searching for trust
To understand this topic, it’s useful to use the metaphor of going to the doctor. In the
industrial age, we went to the doctor to seek their professional opinion on a particular
ailment. The doctor was the ultimate source of knowledge about our issue. We had
little alternative than to have blind trust in him/her, and as such they held almost
all the power to influence our behaviour.
Fast forward to the information age. What do the majority of us now do before going
to the doctor? We Google our symptoms. The ability to search online has dramatically
shifted power away from the doctor to such an extent that the best question a doctor
can now ask us is ‘what have you Googled?’
This has a dramatic effect on trust. If the doctor fails to address our concerns arising
from our Google search, our trust in them falls to a new low. But if the doctor asks
us if we have any concerns, listens to the knowledge we have obtained from our Google
search into account, addresses our issues, our trust in the doctor then increases
to an all time high.
The power of context
Search has significantly shifted power away from organisations by putting information
and opinion in the hands of the customer. It is highly likely that customers will Google
a problem before calling a call centre. And in some cases, it is likely that the information
they find online will be more up-to-date than the information available inside the
This is why many call centre employees increasingly resort to Google searching in order
to resolve customer queries. The most up-to-date information lies within the customer
community, not within the official knowledge management system. The knowledge of
the community is being updated in real time, whereas it can take weeks (if not months)
for official sources of information to be updated.
But more importantly, the knowledge of the community is contextual. Whether customers
realise it or not, their query will arise from their specific context. Answering their query
effectively will therefore require an understanding of this context.
We instinctively seek answers to our questions from people who understand our
context, whether this be our friends, work colleagues, or our online network. And we
are more likely to trust the answers we receive from people who understand that
context. So how can organisations tap into the deep ocean of contextual information
that surrounds its customers, and use it to improve customer experience?
Organisations as dynamic, omni-channel communities
To tackle this growing problem, we need to re-imagine the organisation as a dynamic,
omni-channel community made up of both customers and employees. The community
has the knowledge and power to influence the behaviour of the organisation and help
it adapt to the rapidly changing demands of its customers. And the community may
well be made up of both customers, employees, and general observers.
This transformation has been given many names, including open innovation, bringing the
outside in, or even simply customer/employee engagement. The music service Spotify
is a great example, as is the Chinese Telecom giant Xiaomi who release a new version
of their operating system every week in response to user feedback.
The ability to listen and adapt has been key to the success of these information age
organisations. By minimising the effort required to engage with their community,
organisations can gain access to a wealth of untapped insight that can be used to
improve the business. And crucially, making the pockets of specialist information held
by customers, employees and departments more searchable by the community,
allows this contextual knowledge to be shared and leveraged in new and valuable ways.
Organisations that can listen, think, adapt and act in response to their community are
those that will successfully evolve and ride the wave of digital transformation. But while
a community can be grown inside any organisation, a common barrier is the tendency
for the organisation to act without listening, or worse, continue to believe that
‘it knows best’.
Many businesses still behave like an industrial age doctor by assuming that customers
haven’t searched online before calling. But if a business is engaging with the contextual
knowledge being co-created by its community, it will be perpetually evolving in response
to customer needs.
And that, surely, is just what the doctor ordered.
Posted on 26 Feb 2016 by Carl Lyon
Thursday 17th March, Full day CX Group Farnborough
Wednesday 23rd March Half day CX Group London
Thursday 14th April, Full day Digital Group Farnborough
We know that conﬁdence plays a key role in creating excellent customer experience, but building conﬁdence is no easy task. Previous discussions at the QoE have revealed that we need a better understanding of how and why we value things in relation to CX, and conﬁdence is no exception.
While businesses seek to grow their own conﬁdence, they often fail to appreciate the value of helping customers develop theirs. But as complexity increases, a customer’s level of conﬁdence is becoming an essential factor in their ability to navigate the business environment successfully.
Businesses who understand the relationship between conﬁdence and CX will be better placed to understand their customers’ needs, differentiate more effectively and reap the beneﬁts. Our March/April discussions will focus on:
- Conﬁdence as a customer outcome
- Conﬁdence in CX as a business approach
- Conﬁdence in how we promote and deliver our service
How could your business beneﬁt from more conﬁdent customers? Join the discussion to ﬁnd out.