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Redesigning customer experience with BrandLove CX

Take 40 workshop attendees from all walks (and works) of life. Give them an introduction to laughter yoga as an icebreaker and then tell them to 'build the customer of 2020' by giving each a box of the same Lego pieces and you're guaranteed one of the best customer experience results.
Redesigning customer experience with BrandLove CX
© Stefano Armaroli – 123RF.com
On Friday, 19 February 2016 I attended the highly interactive BrandLove CX event at the new Century City Conference Centre. Fresh from a recent business trip in Denmark, Brandlove’s head of customer experience strategy and consulting Chantel Botha explained that CX is nothing to do with fancy IT terminology – it stands for ‘customer experience’ and involves “emotions and messy stuff”.

That’s the crux of why you need to support your customer support staff. Whether they sit in a call centre or are part of your marketing department, they face an adrenaline rush each time the phone rings, as they anticipate having to deal with the caller’s problem.

In order to get the group going, Botha then introduced us to the wonder of laughter yoga. She explained that it releases the same cocktail of emotions and chemicals in the brain as certain drugs and helps you think better as you get a rush of oxygen. I also found it to be a much more effective icebreaker than the typical ‘awkward explanation of who you are and what you do’.

It’s a great way to both get in touch with your emotions while also boosting alertness and brain functioning due to the sudden oxygen flow fix that results from laughing and deep breathing – amazing what a difference that can make when you’re feeling stressed at your desk.

Importance of flow for better workplace functioning


Next, to illustrate the fact that our brains don't function quite as well when we chain them into the same format of thinking and writing each day, Botha says: “Two hours can disappear in a flash when you're in flow, facing pressure to create or design something you've not used before.” One way of sparking this process to make sure you use active listening and learn not to interrupt, ask questions and effectively outthink someone who’s sharing an idea with you.

Moving onto the topic of collective disrespect, Botha said a lack of unity across your various communication platforms – telephonic, email, social media and face-to-face – actually sends the message: “You're not good enough to be my client, you're just a number.” This gives some context to the idea that for customers who resort to screaming, shouting and swearing, it's not probably not the first time they’ve felt negative emotion such as anger and disappointment linked to your brand – or any brand. Botha says we need to transform that, and the best place to start is internally.

In order to empower your employees to communicate the right message to customers, you need to make sure each one feels like an ambassador for the brand. To do that better, you need to manage the stories they hear and tell about the brand or you'll get a disengaged workforce. Help your members of staff to find their purpose and you’ll be one step closer to better managing their engagement.

But keep in mind that there’s no quick fix. When we work with CX it's not just one thing that we need to tackle and usually takes time to get it right. This is based on the customer journey and their evaluation of your product, especially when they need support. Sadly, companies tend to think the experience is better than it is.

Companies are schizophrenic


Botha expanded on the fact that the feedback from customers – if you’re lucky enough to get that level of honesty with them – is all too often along the lines of: “When I email you, the interaction is different to when I phone.” That’s not a good thing. But nor is the company that insists its customer interaction all be based on a set script. Instead, Botha says the best organisations have consistency in their interaction channels and that’s based on emotion more than exact wording. Companies need to ensure they live their corporate values internally and not just on the customer journey map stuck up on the wall, in order to get their employee engagement right before this can be applied externally.

Meet the changing face of ‘customer 2020’


Looking then to the drivers of change, Botha said most of them are based on technology as we automate so much. Wearables like the FitBit and intelligent devices can automate certain processes are truly life-changing as we can see on a screen what's happening with our bodies in real-time – but it’s more about the actual devices and more about how we interact with them. It makes you wonder why call centres be the same, pre-emptive and forward thinking, based on the principle of ‘If this, then that’, especially as consumers want instant everything and to feel in control, with choice.

Botha says it helps to really listen, and that marketing as we know it is dead, instead becoming a connector of people. As examples of this Botha demonstrated the #KLMsurprise #happytohelp campaign, in which they extended the principle across all brands in the industry, not just their own. Similar thinking is evident in the award-winning Volvo Life Paint campaign, as well as the Always #Likeagirl movement and Nivea’s sunburn doll, which gets children to change their behaviour by externalising the issue. To achieve similar results for your company, Botha says to ‘take the product out of it and identify what your business stands for and the problems it's trying to solve’.

Botha quotes Lou Carbonne on experience management. He says the crux of improving brand experience lies in helping consumers to connect and reconnect with you when they contact you with a query. You need to give a genuine response and continuously anticipate their needs, such as with the way MRI scans for children have been flipped on their head from something scary to the chance to take part in a pirate story as part of an adventure journey:

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With all this in mind, Botha asks: “what will the consumer of 2020 look like?” Attendees were all given the same sets of Lego to build this consumer of the future, yet no two looked alike. That’s a fitting result as consumers are changing faster than businesses can. You need to keep eyes open for disruption, which usually comes from unexpected places, and learn to use design methods to deal with your existing and potential customers.

All in all a truly eye-opening experience. Find out more from the BrandLove Happiness Matters conference on 12 and 13 April, where Botha’s team will instruct attendees on how best to engage people for purpose and performance, and click here for more from Botha on the craft of customer experience (CX) design.

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.

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