Monday, April 14, 2014

Making Sense of Your Initial Assessment - Part 2

In the first part of our assessment, we tied together in a one or two page format, the key findings from the quantitative and qualitative portions of the initial investigation.  Your review of recent survey results, coupled with your interviews with various stakeholders, should provide a fairly high-level understanding of where the organization is performing well in serving its customers, as well as identify areas where the customer experience is deficient.

Let’s now take a bit of a deeper dive in our assessment.  You’re no doubt familiar with the SWOT analysis - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats - but you may not be benefiting completely from this useful tool.  Many SWOT analysis are completed as a catch-all with the emphasis on trying to find as many strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities as possible.  When trying to work this, the result is often “paralysis by analysis” because the SWOT items are random entires with no real context.

Instead, before completing the initial SWOT, I suggest completing an initial Moments of Truth (MOT) exercise.  Gather your assessment notes and review them through the frame of “...what are those key make or break interactions customers have with our company that must be executed flawlessly, or else?”  I suggest, at this point, generating a list of 5 to 7 MOTs culled from your assessment notes.  As you proceed with establishing your organization’s CX strategy and framework, you’ll likely add, delete or modify these MOTs, but at this initial stage, you want to build on your assessment by developing an initial hypothesis to guide your strategy development.  How do you go about identifying these Moments of Truth?

A useful “rule of thumb” that may serve as a “North Star” in guiding an organization’s CX is the following.  A customer typically purchases your product or service because of the brand, and its various associations (e.g. luxury, quality, design, etc.), or because of price and value.  They continue purchasing because these initial expectations continue to be met.  Customers cease to do business with a company because the accompanying service fails to resolve any issues they may be having.  A common example may be a restaurant with great food, but poor table service.  Eventually, most customers can tolerate only so much in the way of say, mixed up orders or slow service, and trade off to another restaurant where the food may not be quite as tasty, but the service is first-rate.  In this case, the restaurant, has two MOTs...the meal itself, and the accompanying service...these are both “make or break” touchpoints that must have a first rate execution.  In general, Customer Experience focuses not so much on the consideration and purchase activities, but more so on those touchpoints that occur once a customer has purchased your product or service.  At least initially, in your CX journey, you'll want to focus on the latter before turning your attention to the experience of your prospects.

Once you’ve identified your initial MOTs, proceed to rate them based on your organization’s performance.  Again, go back to your assessment notes, and you should be able to find factual evidence (e.g. survey scores, or comments from your interviews) to support your ratings. Use a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (excellent) for each of your MOTs.  In our restaurant example, the meal might receive an 9 or 10 rating because customer feedback about the food is always overwhelmingly positive.  The service, however, may receive a 5 or less because it’s a frequent source of complaint.

Now you’re ready to develop an initial SWOT that links with your MOTs.  Remember that Strengths and Weaknesses are internal to your company.  Let’s refer to the assessment presented in the April 7th post.  Recall that we uncovered an area of customer dissatisfaction for widgets shipped to specific stores in the North Region.  Customers purchased widgets that were damaged as a result of inadequate storing capabilities in the North Region warehouse.  So, we can identify one MOT in this instance...the customer’s initial unpacking and use of the widget.  The storage of the widgets prior to shipment would be a related “support point” for this particular MOT.  Weaknesses are, by definition, internal to the organization.  In this case, we can now list the delivery of widgets to the North Zone as a weaknesses,  that is directly related to a customer’s Moment of Truth.  Continue proceeding with this initial listing of Strengths and Weaknesses and try to assure that these are in some way tied to a Moment of Truth.  You’ll then have a starting point for subsequently developing a more comprehensive SWOT when you begin the development of your CX strategy.

Turning to Opportunities and Threats, these are generally external to your company.  While you may have come across some items to put in these categories from the qualitative portion of your assessment, it’s likely you’ll also need to do a bit more research on your own to uncover those that are truly relevant to your organization’s customer experience.  Generally, Opportunities can come from new technologies, products or services your company may be developing, new markets or customer segments, or new a new business model that your company can exploit.  Similarly, Threats can come in many ways,with some of the most common in the form of new products and services introduced by your competitors, disruptive technologies that may allow your customers to be served in a new way, or government regulations that may hinder your ability to conduct your business and serve your customers.  We’ll talk about these in future posts.


For now, you’ve hopefully assembled a reasonably robust initial assessment that should provide you with a 15 to 30 thousand foot view of your company’s current CX situation.  In the next few posts, we’ll begin extrapolating from this assessment and getting a bit more into some details that will then lead us to developing our initial strategic direction and choices.

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