Seven Stages to a Data-Centric Mindset

Analysts who work with customer data are often frustrated by the slow uptake in its usage. They see a ton of valuable insights in their work that go to waste. They’re frustrated that business partners aren’t lining up for as much of this insight as they can possibly consume. What’s going on?

Are analysts unjustifiably bullish about their content? Are business people just anti-data?

No! (at least most of the time)

People are creatures of habit, so most changes are not instantaneous. Adopting something new is a process, not an event. To understand how to encourage business people to use more data insights, it’s helpful look at their path to adoption. That’s why I created what I’m calling the “Seven Stages to a Data-Centric Mindset.”

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Here are some tactics that analysts can use with their business partners at different stages of building a data-centric mindset:

  • Stage 1: Resist: Try and understand the personal and professional goals of the individual business partners. Use that knowledge to discuss the value of the insights in terms of how it will help him/her achieve those SPECIFIC goals. As much as possible, use his/her language for metrics, measurement and objectives.
  • Stage 2: Consider: Show the business partner the data in different ways, trying to see how he/she may be able to use it. Do not assume that any existing reports or formats are the right ones. Look for what resonates with him/her and customize the data in those areas. Your effort in this stage is like helping someone find the right shoes in a shoe store. You’ll need to cater your pitch to tastes and desires that you may not have anticipated.
  • Stage 3: Request: Once the business partner is in this stage, you’re on the hook. You will need to quickly respond to their needs. They have interest in using the data, but can easily slip back if they feel as though you are unable to support their needs.
  • Stage 4: Incorporate: Keep in touch with your business partners and look at how they are using the information. They may have some modifications that they need, but more importantly they will help you identify new ways that you can add value across the organization with your analysis.
  • Stage 5: Envision: This is an exciting stage as business partners are really using the data insights. But they may create demands that are beyond your current capabilities or resources. Make sure to be a part of this process, but also manage the expectations about what your group is able to provide. This is also a place where you might want the business partner to fund new development.
  • Stage 6: Demand: In this stage, business partners will likely need dedicated support as data insights are becoming a fundamental component of their operations. Make the case that they might need more headcount intheir organization to support this “great” increasing use of the insights.
  • Stage 7: Embrace. Yay! Your business partners have achieved the final stage of developing a data-centric mindset. Use them to help “sell” the value of using your insights across other parts of the business.

The bottom line: Help your business partners develop a customer-centric mindset

Winners of the Amplify Empathy Challenge

In my post on customer experience trends for this year, I named 2014 as “The Year of Empathy.” Empathy is a critical component to any customer experience effort. To help ignite the discussion on this important topic, we launched the Amplify Empathy Challenge as part of the overall Amplify Empathy Movement.

We asked people to share how they’ve raised customer empathy within their organizations and Temkin Group committed to awarding up to $2,500 for the best ideas. We had a number of great submissions, which made it hard to decide, but we selected the five winners below (all receiving a $500 Amazon.com gift certificate). We added the titles to their entries, but the rest of the description is exactly what they submitted on the Amplify Empathy site.

The bottom line: Keep finding ways to #AmplifyEmpathy within your organization!

Amplify Empathy Winners

Here are submissions from the five Amplify Empathy winners:

Empathy Mapping in Workshops

Aaron Cooper, Customer Experience Architect

“I integrated empathy mapping into cross-functional design workshops, focused on generating customer-centered ideas to inform redesign of experiences within digital channels.

These workshops were hosted in a main corporate office, and brought directly to stakeholders via an on-site session at one of our call center locations. This was an excellent way to build empathy across the business, by bringing the opportunity directly to key team members.

Each team in a design workshop was composed of 4-5 people – a mix of developers, system analysts, business leads, customer experience professionals, call center agents and other team members. Each team was given two scenarios, based on one of our five personas. The scenarios provided a description of the persona, their context, needs, specific tasks and “how might we” statements to stimulate thinking. The workshops were structured as a series of rapid sketching sessions, kicked off by empathy mapping before sketching began for each persona’s scenario.

During empathy mapping, each team member contributed real, recent customer experiences. Call center agents offered particularly rich descriptions of customer thoughts, feelings, statements and actions (Think, Say, Feel, Do) to feed the conversations. Directly after empathy mapping, teams individually and collaboratively sketched, then reviewed and consolidated concepts, then voted on ideas. I tied the idea voting directly to customer experience metrics (eg. ease of doing business – see Forrester), plus a colored dot for “breakthrough idea, if…” to emphasize ideas that had innovative characteristics. By weaving key performance indicators into voting, very early in the design process, team members had another way to evaluate the efficacy of ideas.

Results:

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How Much Innovation Equity Have You Earned?

Our research shows that consumers are most willing to try new offerings from Advantage (rental cars), Sony (software), Fujitsu (major appliances), Apple (software), Audi (auto dealership), Lexus (auto dealership), QVC (retailer), Foot Locker (retailer), and Activision (software).

Consumers are least willing to try new offerings from HSBC (bank), Fifth Third (bank),Time Warner (Internet service and TV service), Cox Communications (Internet service and TV service), Charter Communications (TV service), Citibank (bank and credit cards), Comcast (TV service), Sun Trust Bank (bank), and Capital One (bank).

Which group of companies do you think will fare better if they face innovative competitors?

As part of our ongoing research, we collect data on different types of loyalty. One of the areas we examine is a concept called Innovation Equity, which is the willingness of customers to try a company’s new products and services. You earn (or lose) innovation equity over time based on how customers view your company and its offerings.

Most people don’t talk about this kind of loyalty, but it’s very important. If your customers aren’t willing to try new things, then it’s very hard to expand your business into new areas or to keep up with innovative competitors. To measure Innovation Equity, we created the Temkin Innovation Equity (TIE) Index. Here’s how we calculate the TIE Index:

  • We ask customers this question: If <COMPANY> announced a new product or service, how likely would you be to try it right away?
  • They select answers between 1 (Extremely unlikely) and 7 (Extremely likely).
  • The TIE Index for a company is calculated as the percentage of customers who chose 6 or 7 minus the percentage who chose 1 , 2, or 3.

Purchase 2014 TIE Index Dataset for $195PurchaseDataButton

We calculated the TIE Index for 254 companies across 19 industries based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers in Q1 2014. Here’s some of what we found:

  • Major appliance, hotels, and software companies have the highest average TIE Index
  • TV service providers, Internet service providers, and banks have the lowest average TIE Index
  • Advantage, USAA, MetroPCS, and QVC most outpace their industry average
  • RadioShack, Travelers, HSBC, and Fifth Third fall the furthest behind their industry average

1408_TIE_Industry1408_TIE_IndustryLeadLag

Purchase 2014 TIE Index Dataset for $195PurchaseDataButtonDownload this excel file to see what’s in the dataset

The bottom line: Start building up your Innovation Equity!

Report: Social Employee Engagement

1407_Social Employee Engagement_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, Social Employee Engagement. The research shows best practices for infusing social tools into employee engagement efforts. Here’s the executive summary:

Temkin Group research shows that engaged employees are valuable assets. They try harder at work, are less likely to look for a new job, and feel more committed to helping the company succeed. We found that companies with stronger employee engagement competencies are more likely to use social tools as part of their internal efforts than other companies. For best results, companies should introduce these social capabilities into their employee engagement plans to enhance what we call the “Five I’s of Employee Engagement”: Inform, Inspire, Instruct, Involve, and Incent. We interviewed 17 companies for this report, including EMC, Fidelity Investments, Houlihan’s, Humana, Oracle, SunTrust Bank, TELUS, and USAA, and identified more than 20 best practices enabled by social tools. We also added a checklist to help organizations introduce social tools to employees.

Download report for $195
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The report identifies best practices for using social tools across the 5 I’s of Employee Engagement:

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Download report for $195
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The bottom line: Tap into social tools to engage employees

Robin Williams Provides Lesson in Empathy

I’m a huge fan of Robin Williams’ work. He was a brilliant artist who unfortunately lost his battle with internal demons.

I remember many scenes from his movies and TV appearances, but nothing is more vivid to me than one of his discussions with Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting. Williams plays a psychologist who is trying to help a brilliant, yet troubled inner-city Boston kid (WIll Hunting played by Matt Damon). In this scene on a bench in the Boston Public Garden, Williams is explaining to Damon the difference between intellectual knowledge and emotional understanding.

Here’s an excerpt from the beginning….

“So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the Pope, sexual orientation, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling. Seen that…”

The scene provides a parallel commentary on the difference between analytics and empathy.

The bottom line: RIP Robin Williams. May the spark you brought to our lives continue to live on.

Customer Effort, Net Promoter, And Thoughts About CX Metrics

There’s been a recent uptick in people asking me about Customer Effort Score (CES), so I thought I’d share my thoughts in this post.

As I’ve written in the past, no metric is the ultimate question (not even Net Promoter Score). So CES isn’t a panacea. Even the Temkin Experience Ratings isn’t the answer to your customer experience (CX) prayers.

The choice of a metric isn’t the cornerstone to great CX. Instead, how companies use this type of information is what separates CX leaders from their underperforming peers. In our report, the State of CX Metrics, we identify four characteristics that make CX metrics efforts successful:  Consistent, Impactful, Integrated, and Continuous. When we used these elements to evaluate 200 large companies, only 12% had strong CX metrics programs.

Should we use CES and how does it relate to NPS? I hear this type of question all the time. Let me start my answer by examining the four types of things that CX metrics measure: interactions, perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors.

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CES is a perception measure while NPS is an attitudinal measure. In general, perception measurements are better for evaluating individual interactions. So CES might be better suited for a transactional survey while NPS may be better suited for a relationship survey. You can read a lot that I’ve written about NPS on our NPS resource page.

Now, on to CES. I like the concept, but not the execution. As part of our Temkin Experience Ratings, we examine all three aspects of experience—functional, accessible, and emotional. The accessible element examines how easy a company is to work with. I highly encourage companies to dedicate significant resources to becoming easier to work with and removing obstacles that make customers struggle.

But CES uses an oddly worded question: How much effort did you personally have to put forth to handle your request? (Note: In newer versions of the methodology, they have improved the language and scaling of the question). This version of the question goes against a couple of my criteria for good survey design:

  • It doesn’t sound human. Can you imagine a real person asking that question? One key to good survey design is that questions should sound natural.
  • It can be interpreted in multiple ways. If a customer tries to do something online, but can’t, did they put forth a lot of effort? How much effort does it take to move a mouse and push some keys?!? Another key to good survey design is to have questions that can only be interpreted in one way.

If you like the notion of CES (measuring how easy or hard something is to do), then I suggest that you ask a more straight forward question? How about: How easy did you find it to <FILL IN THING>? And let customers pick a response on a scale between “very easy” and “very difficult.”

My last thought is not about CES, but more about where the world of metrics is heading. In the future, organizations will collect data from interactions and correlate them with future behaviors (like loyalty), using predictive analytics to bypass all of these intermediary metrics. Don’t throw away all of your metrics today, but consider this direction in your long-term plans.

The bottom line: There is no such thing as a perfect metric.

CX Fallacy #8: Middle Managers Are Obstacles

10CXFallacies4I recently discussed how organizations that want to improve their customer experience will need to evolve from superficial changes (fluff) to operational transformation (tough). As part of making this shift from fluff to tough, companies will need to shed some of popular myths and fallacies about CX. These myths may hold true in early stage of maturity, but they fall flat as organizations expand their CX efforts. To help in the process, I’ve assembled the top 10 CX Fallacies.

CX Fallacy #8: Middle Managers Are Obstacles

When we ask executives about which groups of employees are the toughest to change, they almost always point to middle managers. Front-line employees are willing to shift their activities when they see that it will help customers, and executives are often pretty easy to entice on to the CX bandwagon. So it’s easy to view middle managers as a problem.

But middle managers aren’t obstacles, they’re the the backbone to stability within an organization. If you want to create sustainable change, then they are a critical building block. Rather than viewing this employee group as a problem, treat them as the guardians of your success and activate them as part of your efforts.

Here are some recommendations for shedding this fallacy:

  • View your success through the eyes of middle managers. When you’re rolling out changes, don’t consider these efforts as being successful until your middle managers are fully on board. This may take some extra work, but the initial investment in time and effort will pay dividends in the speed and consistency of the ultimate roll out of the change.
  • Create group of middle manager ambassadors. identify a set of influential middle managers to provide guidance on company efforts and to promote new ideas with their peers. They may recommend slowing down some efforts, but those activities weren’t likely to succeed anyway.
  • Actively gather feedback from middle managers. Look for ways to collect feedback from middle managers, whether its analyzing their responses in employee-wide surveys or by targeting this group directly.
  • Track engagement levels of middle managers. All companies should understand the engagement levels of employees. If you use a measurement such as Temkin Group’s Employee Engagement Index, then segment the results to identify the engagement level of middle managers compared with other groups. This can be a great leading indicator for the company.
  • Train middle managers to support change efforts. Whenever you are driving change in your organization, make sure to put together specific training to help middle managers support the efforts.

The bottom line: Don’t complain about middle managers, activate them.

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