Every time a company and a customer interact, the customer learns something about the company, and adjusts their behavior based on what they learn.
To explore this proposition, Kinesis conducted a survey of 500 consumers asking them to recall an experience with any provider that they found to be particularly positive or negative, and determined how these customer experiences influenced customer behavior.
When asked to characterize the cause of the positive or negative experience, these customers’ descriptions were grouped into four common themes that mirrored each other regardless of whether the experience was positive or negative. The most common themes for both experiences were: speed of service, pleasantness of personnel, efficiency of service, and the success of the outcome.
Causes of Positive & Negative Experiences
|Positive Experiences||Negative Experiences|
|Speed of Service/ Problem Resolution||72%||69%|
|Pleasantness of Personnel||70%||63%|
|Efficiency of Service/ Not Passed Around to Multiple People||60%||71%|
|Outcome Successful/ Problem Resolved/ Expectations Met||55%||49%|
The speed of service was cited with about the same frequency (7 out of 10 cases) as a cause of the experience being positive or negative. Pleasantness of personnel was mentioned 70% of the time as a driver of positive experiences compared to 63% for negative. Efficiency of service (or lack thereof) was more commonly cited as a reason for the experience being negative (71%) compared to positive (60%). The fourth most common theme mentioned as a reason for the success or failure of the customer experience is the successful outcome of the experience itself (55% for positive experience, 49% for negative).
Again, every time a company and a customer interact, the customer learns something about the company, and adjusts their behavior based on what they learn. So…how did these experiences (positive or negative) influence customer behavior?
Here is how respondents told us they changed their behavior based on the experience:
Changes in Customer Behavior Based on Experience
|Positive Experiences||Negative Experiences|
|Change in purchase behavior (Buy more or less)||54%||57%|
|Told others (Positive or negative)||36%||43%|
|Considered change in purchase behavior||32%||38%|
Over half of the respondents said they changed their purchase behavior as a result of the experience, 54% of the customers recalling a positive experience told us they purchased more from the provider as a result of the positive experience, while 57% told us they purchased less as a result of the negative experience.
Furthermore, about a third of the respondents told us they considered a change in purchase behavior as a result of the experience; 32% considered purchasing more as a result of the positive experience, and 38% considered purchasing less as a result of a negative experience.
Finally, roughly four out of ten told others of the experience. Thirty-six percent of participants told us they gave positive word of mouth as a result of the positive experience, while 43% gave negative word of mouth as a result of the negative experience.
Again, every time a company and a customer interact, the customer learns something about the company, and changes their behavior based on what they learn. The two primary ways customers change their behaviors based on the customer experience is both their own purchase behavior and sharing the experience with others.
Customers do not care nor understand why the experience of interacting with an organization through one channel is different than another. Be it via in-person, contact center, chat, or website, customers expect a seamless and consistent experience. Cross-channel alignment presents managers with a series of complex issues. This post focuses on the issue of sales and service behaviors, and outlines a methodology to align channels into a consistent set of cross channel behaviors.
Define Overall Experience
It should go without saying that the first step in aligning sales and service behaviors across channels it to define the elements of the experience for the entire organization. This sounds fairly obvious, but I’m always surprised by how many clients do not have agreed upon cross channel customer experience requirements.
Starting at the beginning, the first step is to define the customer experience in terms of dimensions or attributes which make up the desired experience.
For example, a financial institution may decide they what their customer experience to be comprised of four dimensions:
- Relationship building
- Sales process
- Product knowledge
- Customer knowledge
Define Dimensions In Terms of Attributes
The next step in building a consistent set of behaviors across all channels is to define each of the desired service dimensions in terms of attributes, which support each dimension.
In keeping with the above example, a financial institution may define each dimension in terms of the following set of attributes.
|Relationship building||Establish trustCommitment to customer needsPerceived as trusted advisor|
|Sales process||Referral to appropriate partner|
|Product knowledge||Understanding of a range of productsUnderstand features and benefitsExplain benefits in ways that are meaningful to customers|
|Customer knowledge||Needs analysis|
Map Behaviors Across Channels
Once each dimension is defined in terms of specific attributes, the next step is to identify specific behaviors for each channel that support each attribute.
Keeping with the above example, the financial institution may decide that establishing trust is made up of a set of five behaviors mapped across each channel.
Relationship Building: Establish Trust
|New Accounts||Teller||Contact Center|
|Maintain eye contact||Maintain eye contact|
|Speak clearly||Speak clearly||Speak clearly|
|Maintain smile||Maintain smile||Sound as if they were smiling through the phone|
|Thank for business||Thank for business||Thank for business|
|Ask “What else may we assist you with today?”||Ask “What else may we assist you with today?”||Ask “What else they could do to assist you today?”|
|Encourage future business||Encourage future business||Encourage future business|
Note this behavioral map assigns behaviors based on their appropriateness to each channel. So, for example, while the in-personal channel may be expected to maintain eye contact, obviously that would not apply for the contact center. Or the in-person channel may be expected to maintain a smile, while for the contact center this behavior may be modified for the phone channel to sounding as if they are smiling through the phone.
Measurement and Reinforcement
Key to maintaining consistent behaviors across channels is monitoring the experience. The two most common methodologies to monitor cross channel alignment are post-transaction surveys and mystery shopping.
How customers feel about the organization, and the extent to which each service dimension and attribute is perceived within the customer’s mind are best measured with post-transaction surveys of customers.
Measuring specific behaviors is best performed with mystery shoppers, where specially trained researchers observe the presence of each behavior using predetermined scenarios.