Elephants and Relevance - A different perspective

Elephants and Relevance - A different perspective

We are continually surrounded by challenges that seem to arrive faster and with more magnitude than ever before.  Political, economic, social and technological challenges are everywhere; it has recently been reported that $83bn US is lost due to poor service every year, and that in every minute 16 million text messages are sent.  So, the big Customer Experience Elephant is evident and making its presence felt!

The problem is clear – we live in a world where bad news travel fast, fake news even faster and fear and failure fastest of all.

This is not yet another blog on CX and the impact of poor customer experience and lack-lustre service, we all feel for those moments of pain that customers and brands suffer. We don’t need to dwell further on the United Airlines over booking problems.   It also seems recently that they failed to check a customer who boarded the wrong flight (after a gate change) and ended up in San Francisco not Paris.  Bad news spreads fast, but evidently not always in the right direction.

Time to take control

There are no places to hide, the internet has made sure of that (there are 452,000 tweets per minute).  So as a result, it is harder for businesses to maintain a semblance of balance between the following: -

Brand – what you offer and what you promise

Customer – where they reside and why they might choose you

Employee – who they are and what they know

The biggest opportunities are where each of these meet – where customers love brands, employees delight customers and most importantly employees love their employer and understand how to deliver the brand promise.

Failure comes where the cracks show, when the employee does not understand what is expected of them, misjudges the customer and creates a bad brand experience – if you are not United, then customers get ejected, literally!

Relevance – so what is new?

We all know when things go wrong – but do we know when they go right?

Personally, I have now stopped reading articles of impending doom based on the intermittent ineptitude of our politicians, airlines, supermarkets, car companies, phone providers and public services.

I like reading the good news – call me naive, unrealistic, hopeful, out of touch - all of those may apply.  However, I firmly believe that the more good we hear, the better we feel and more good stuff will happen!

So, check this one out – today I read about a Southwest Airlines Pilot who counted every passenger he has flown – and this is what he did…

“Today is a special day,” said Captain John Richie, a former Air Force pilot who said he’s been with Southwest for 22 years. “Ever since I started with Southwest, I’ve kept track of the passengers I’ve flown, and today I’m flying my one millionth passenger.”  The cabin cheered. Richie proceeded to shower his millionth passenger with a bottle of Champagne, an autographed copy of her boarding card and an envelope of cash equalling the cost of her ticket.

Time to Wake up and Smell the Roses

Risking the introduction of yet another metaphor, we should all celebrate the good and smell the roses.  Obvious you say – but we should put this into practice!   Recently I have worked with a technique learnt in recent years, where a simple evaluation of your business can give you as positive and balanced view: -

Every time you run a meeting, read a report or view a webcast, just take the time to identify what you experience and categorise as follows: -

Roses – the great things to celebrate, share, repeat and build on

Thorns – the obstacles that get in your way, best removed or protected against

Buds – those emerging pieces of brilliance, not fully formed but about to bloom

The horticulturalist in me knows that things are not always that simple.  You will need to prune, weed and fertilise along the way.

Celebrate and Share

Next week I will be at the MSPA Europe conference in Belgrade, where for better or worse we will be trying to encourage 200 plus attendees to smell the roses and celebrate what is going well, where to trim and what to nurture.  

At the same time, at the Chelsea Flower Show in London the Royal Horticultural Society celebrates the best plant growers and garden designers in the world.  It is the place where Gold Awards are won, and ideas are openly shared in the hope that budding talent is encouraged to bloom.

So back to the Elephant in the room. There is a new one. It is the failure to recognise creativity, energy, enthusiasm and talent.  Share the good stuff – it is much more fun than fake news. 

Nigel Cover

Cover Consulting and Past President MSPA Europe

Published 15 May 2017