#45 – CX as Homeostatic System, NPS Standard, CX ROI, and more
Welcome to the 45th edition of my customer strategy newsletter. The five topics this week are:
Some CX improvements work like antioxdants and vitamins
Many people will object to what I am about to write here. Not because of what I say about customer experience, but because of what I say about some common health misconceptions. Read on, but prepare to be offended.
WIn the past, I have written about Herzberg’s theory of motivation, and about ‘hygiene factors’. These are things that you must do reasonably well for your customers, but where trying to ‘delight’ them is pointless. Doing basic problem solving in a telephone support center is a good example. Call center interactions have four times the probability of making a customer disloyal as loyal. The best call center interaction is none at all.
I have come up with a new metaphor for all of this: the human body. There are things our body needs to avoid being unhealthy, and there are things that our body needs to be outstandingly healthy. There is not much overlap between the two. Our bodies are what is called homeostatic systems. A homeostatic system is one that is self regulating. You can think of it like a heating thermostat. You body wants to maintain certain levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. If you add more than is needed to maintain this level, your body excretes the excess. So, for example, all the pseudoscientific advertising you see telling you that antioxidants are good for you so you should drink as much pomegranate juice as possble are simply false. Vitamins, antioxidants, and indeed many other things such as oxygen are ‘hygiene factors’. You have to have them to live, but having huge amounts does not make you healthier.
Exercise is in a different category. Exercise is motivating and makes you healthier. Being part of a group improves your life, as does being admired for your work, sporting performance, artistic ability or simply some of your physical attributes.
So it is with customer experience. Your customers’ homeostatic systems expect your credit card approval system to do its job, expect your people to answer the phone, expect your website to be responsive, and so on. Improving the credit card system so that approval takes half a second rather than a full second will bring you nothing. Remembering who your customers are and personalizing their experiences with you are in a completely different category. These are among the many ‘above and beyond the average’ things you can do to ensure customer loyalty.
So, I am sorry if I have offended the one-third of my readers who believe that taking additional antioxidants or vitamins beyond the basic daily requirements improves their health. They are just demonstrably and scientifically wrong, in the same way that people who believe they should invest millions to improve call center operations that are already fine are scientifically, provably wrong. The only exception I can think of is call center businesses. Feel free to disagree below.
Reactions to my article on the NPS standard
I Last week I wrote an article on how the Net Promoter System is defined and documented. I posted it here and on the main LinkedIn feed. I got quite a few reactions. Let me reiterate two reasons I think having a standard is imporant, then add something about open systems like NPS.
An NPS standard is important for many reasons. Two that particularly matter to me are software providers, and companies that compare themselves with other companies. If every company buying survey software has a different expectation for what an NPS feedback request should look like, software companies will have great difficulty satisfying their customers. If the Acme company says ‘Our NPS is 47’, but measures it in some way it has dreamed up on its own, NPS becomes discredited. OK, the same applies to all feedback systems.
The Net Promoter System has been designed as an ‘open system’ that companies are free to implement without paying any fees to the rights holders. Linux is a similar open system. Android and Linux have a standard, reference, core distribution. Companies are free to add to them, creating attractive software such as the Ubuntu desktop version of Linux, and many others. None of this changes what the core Android and Linux standards are. The same applies to the Net Promoter System. It is defined the way I set out in the article in the blog post list below. Many people have added to it, creating their own ‘skinned’ versions of the system. Others have changed it, but still incorrectly call it NPS, and this is just wrong. Please have a read below if you have not already seen the article.
Our latest blog posts
Here are the latest posts. The one at the top of the list is the first in a series about types of teams you may want to implement if you are designing a new customer experience strategy for your company. The second item is the article I referred to above. Older posts are still available on the blog page.
Notable customer experience items from other sites
Temkin Group infographic: 15 CX Factoids – Customer Experience Efforts & ROI
Really nice infographic with interesting data on the ROI of various customer experience investments. You can even download it as a poster to put on your wall. Great stuff! Here.
CustomerThink – Why Can’t We Get Customer Experience Right?
Noreen Seebacher normally writes for Arke and contributed this article to the CustomerThink site on Sunday. Her main themes are: Technology isn’t everything; Put people first; Relationships drive customer experience. Well-worth the three or four minutes it will take you to read it here.
As mentioned last week, I have been invited to be the chairperson for a January 30th public webinar with leaders from Manpower and Thematic software about AI and its importance for customer experience. It will start at 11 a.m. Pacific time, which is 8 p.m. Central European Time, for example. You can read a little about it and sign up for it here.
It looks like January will be a new record month for our book sales. Thank you in advance for that. We have already reached a new record number of page reads in the Kindle Online Lending Library, which is free to Prime members. As always, the thing you can do that will help us most is to review them on Amazon, no matter what you think of them. Here are links to the books on Amazon.com.
“So Happy Here”: The Absurdist but Essential Guide to Better Business (Black & White edition)
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