This is our month focussed on book recommendations, let me share one about how the Customer Wins.
These topics are not disconnected from last month’s GDPR topic. As we’ve shared before GDPR should be a positive customer benefit. As well as being a business benefit, when approached in the right way, GDPR is at root about empowering people/customers.
But, more widely, all is still not well in the CX garden. Despite what feels like a lifetime of various Customer Experience events, books & consultants – all too often we still experience bad service.
I love it & let me share with you why, I think, you might enjoy it too.
It’s funny we still need to make the case for ‘The Customer Wins’
The first positive to express about this book is Gerry’s candour & humour. With a gentle (mostly) & dry Canadian wit, Gerry exposes the first secret of CX, in most cases it ain’t yet working.
Much of the first half of this book is a combination of calling out that ‘the emperor has no clothes‘ and sharing buttock-clenching stories of all too common bad service. His points are well made.
As we have shared before, much more than fine words a & strategy statements are needed to fix the most common customer irritants.
Gerry has been around the block enough, to put things simply. To cut through the latest Digital-Customer Self-Actualisation jargon. To make clear the basic building blocks that are needed, to get started. This he does with both practical advice on influence & strategy, then tackling some of the barriers you are likely to face.
To achieve the Customer Wins, requires technology & people
One of the strengths that Gerry brings to this conversation, is his combination of IT expertise & people focus. This enables him to avoid two common pitfalls. Too many CX speakers, mislead their disciples, into believing it is either all about technology solutions, or all about people/culture. All businesses, who’ve succeeded at CX, have developed both.
Gerry explains some interesting back stories to the approach of Four Seasons, amidst other brands, as well as his personal experience with one Holiday Inn. These examples help ground this book in practical examples. Showing what businesses need to manage in practice, not just aspirational statements & PR.
Beyond that, Gerry also engages with the work required in both technology & people departments. From cloud computing solutions & use of big data, to organisational alignment & Bring Your Own Attitude. There are lots of practical tips to be picked up here.
As I write this post, I’ve just suffered another frustrating experience at a Novotel hotel. This is a brand I want to like, as their design & proposition work for me – but getting the basics wrong (like air conditioning) and hearing frontline staff powerless to do anything about it – confirms so many of Gerry’s points. Technology alone will not deliver CX nirvana, you need the right recruitment, training & examples – to deliver people who care and are empowered to ensure good customer outcomes.
4 principles to ensure the Customer Wins every time
As well as the many practical examples, from firms like John Lewis, Zappos & Autoglass, Gerry also shares some models & theories. These help provide a framework, and approach, for those pushing for improved CX in their businesses. There’s more advice than I can simply summarise in this post (including the meaning of CARE acronym at Four Seasons), but his central 4 are worth sharing.
In chapter 9, Gerry outlines these 4 principles to ensure Customers Win:
- Culture: beyond mission statements to how organisations have got ‘customer first’ into their DNA.
- Commitment: from the top down, demonstrating & expecting everyone to care about & ensure good CX is delivered.
- Community: from public visibility, to community engagement & social care benefits.
- Communication: keeping the CX journey alive, so everyone can see progress & ideals.
These make sense & as a Customer Insight Leader, it’s encouraging to see how many rely on Customer Insight. Analytic & Research leaders should partner with CX leaders, to ensure insights about customers wants & needs guide design & progress metrics work.
Gerry also has some typically frank & useful advice on metrics. Including why NPS or CES are not enough, you need to think more carefully about metrics & customer insight.
Case studies on how the Customer Wins
Compared to so many other CX textbooks, one of the reasons that I am happy to recommend Gerry’s book, is its real world pragmatism. This is a book & consultancy approach, grounded in what is actually being achieved, as well as problems often faced. It helps so much that Gerry continues to see things through a customer lens & complain when things go wrong.
In keeping with the many examples, shared throughout this book, Gerry concludes by sharing 3 short case studies. These bring the challenges & principles to life in the businesses of HomeServe, Autoglass & Metro Bank. Here is a link to see the GoodReads entry for this book.
As we’ve shared before, there is much that CX leaders & Customer Insight leaders can learn from collaboration. Do you have any CX books that have helped inspire you or guide your work? If so, please share & perhaps we can publish one of your book reviews in this ‘month of books‘.
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