Over the holiday season I noted the launch of a new coffee & breakfast spot in a trendy local suburb already crowded with similar venues. Curious, a few of us decided on the place, which had only been trading for two days at that time, for a breakfast meet-up. Our expectations were high.
We secured what seemed to be the last available table. The décor was brilliant and the staff attentive. Rose approached us for our order, and that was when things started going badly. After poring over the extensive menu half of us were forced to adjust our original orders because some basics, like bacon, had run out. Yes, bacon. Some basic condiments also seemed to be strangely missing. Rose was apologetic and we were hungry, so we persevered. Resultant meals, which clearly took the scenic route to our table, were smallish and inconsistent, and anything which the portions lacked were certainly going to be balanced by the size of the bill. I noted several other patrons walk out in frustration which did little to enhance the mood. An average-to-poor experience overall, we all agreed. We settled and left without a fuss. As I walked back to my car I tweeted something unfortunate about the visit and added a poor rating to Foursquare.
If the establishment had had the inclination to ask me about my experience (on my mobile, perhaps, shortly after leaving) it would’ve got interesting. If asked whether I’d recommend them, a classic single-question Net Promoter Score (NPS) approach, I probably would’ve said No. If they’d asked for supporting details I would’ve said “No for now, but worth a try again once the place has settled.” If I’d been asked about my overall experience I would’ve said Poor, or Average if I was feeling generous. If I’d been asked about Rose I would’ve said she was Great, acknowledging that she had been hamstrung by the kitchen. About the décor, I would’ve said Very Good. On the selection of food: Poor. On the level of service: Average to Good. Portions? Poor. Presentation? Very Good. Value for money? Poor to average. And so on.
People experience things in layers. An effective Customer Experience Management (CEM) solution, or Voice-of-the-Customer program, must support a layered experience model. The program should differentiate between Overall Loyalty, Satisfaction, Experiences (e.g. a meal), Transactions (e.g. placing an order, or paying a bill), and Touchpoints (e.g. Rose, or the manager). Configuration of the program according to the layers will allow for the identification of a positive Touchpoint within a negative Experience, for instance. The effective program will also use the Customer Journey (from awareness to fulfilment) as a foundation and overlay it with the experiencial layers in order to fully understand the scores which are being awarded, or withheld. The layered results collected then allow for focused actionability, as apposed to results which the business doesn’t know what to do with.
The trouble with anything other than a layered experience model at the heart of your CEM program will be the inability to decouple the customers’ experiences and intentions which lie behind their ratings. Our well-meaning waitress, in the example, could end up being assessed based on overall experience ratings. Or, the chap in charge of décor may be trying to adjust his merchandising based on ratings intended for the kitchen. Worse still, the manager may distribute results to staff which are neither understandable nor actionable, and nobody would end up ordering bacon.
Measurement according to experiental layers allows for reporting and actionability according to layers, helping the business to apply effort and resources intelligently. Please contact inQuba if you’d like to know more about the layered experience model and how it can be applied to your business.
[Incidentally, a CEM program worth its coarse sea salt will also escalate my poor ratings in real time allowing the restaurant manager to contact me before I reach 6th Street. The same program will also build a single view of me as a customer over time, supplemented with any social media/online activity, overlaid with operational information or understanding, and will present combined results to the CX manager online and dynamically in real time.]