Customer experience = Emotional connections

Another article from earlier in 2018

We all make purchasing decisions based on a combination of facts and figures, but it’s the emotional connection, that drives our choices more than you might think. But how are customers emotions influenced or driven? Most of the time it’s through the experience you have received.  In recent years talk of customer experience has become deafening, today its seen as the primary battleground for completion and future business success. In work or personal life, we tend to seek out things we like (desire) and avoid things we dislike (pain), at its most simplistic this is what customer experience is all about. There are many tools and complexities around the subject such as value stream and customer journey mapping, but at its heart, it’s about building an emotional connection.

Design

Designing a great customer experience is not dissimilar to creating a value proposition for your customers, is all about understanding your customer’s pains, gains and job to be done[1]. Tools like the value proposition canvas can be valuable to help understand customers and create both user and buyer personas. Just a small increase in loyalty can significantly improve profitability, and numerous studies are available that demonstrate this. If your business’s engine or growth is primarily of the paid variety, (marketing and sales activity) as opposed to the sticky (high retention) or viral variety (customer referral). Increasing loyalty inevitably activates these other engines as happy customers become advocates and share their positive experiences with others, something that in today’s 24×7, social network connected world can happen very quickly indeed for good or ill!

Just as business performance. i.e. profit can be driven by reducing costs or increasing revenues customer experience can be influenced by removing pain (commonly referred to as friction) or increasing the customer’s gains (desire). We all know when we have had a good experience, in the travel world the consumer brands work hard to minimise the friction with a company like Uber often described as frictionless or easy to use. Mobile apps have taken this connected customer experience to the next level with many brands now offering apps. Mobile apps are an area Travelport has intimate knowledge of, as we work with some of the leading travel brands like Easy Jet, Singapore Airlines and Emeries to create and maintain their mobile apps and experiences, the power behind the app you might say.

Measurement

Measuring such emotional indicators is not simple in business, you apparently can’t look every customer in the eye to understand how they feel about you and your business. And Although Account management teams have regular contact you don’t always get the full picture. That’s where net promoter score (NPS) has proven to be a useful, not only as a leading measure for future sales. But also, to help understand customers real feeling about a brand, product, and or solution.  It’s at it’s most useful when applied to individual touch points in the customer journey, I.e. at the end of a support call or interaction with a website. These moments of truth give a barometer of customer sentiment in real time and on an ongoing basis. These kinds of feedback loops are comment place today across industry’s but are common in travel rank your driver, rank your room, rank your stay etc. And although they may not use the 0 – 10 scales and the ultimate question[2]  “How likely are you to recommend to a friend or colleague.”

In many established businesses grown by acquisitions and mergers, complexity is rife. Multiple back offices, CRM and support systems compete to be the one source of truth about the customer and the impacts inside the business are additional costs & complexity and experience for the customers that from the outside is one that feels disconnected and confused. I recently met a customer who said they wanted to ‘Uberize’ their customer experience, to compete with, as they put it ‘a new breed of ‘.

Travelport is not unlike many businesses in this regard, however, in 2018, we have some exciting new initiatives underway. A new CRM system that will enable us to deliver a single view of our customers, a new single telephony system that will facilitate intelligent call roughing, for our support teams. Making it easy to connect customers with problems to the right skilled support person. We are also focusing on better self-service tools like myTravelport that is designed to deliver more self-serve support, in the world of Amazon we all know how convenient this can be when done well.

But our efforts go further than that we are building customer experience thinking, into the products and services joining up the solutions we offer to travel suppliers, resellers and corporates. Products like SmartPoint and Agency effectiveness suite are focused on driving performance for the customers that use our platform, we’re helping them maximise the return on every trip they book with us. At Travelport we believe so firmly in the importance of customer experience, it makes up part of our customer promise in the power of the platform story, and it’s recently become part of our new purpose “to make the experience of buying and managing travel continually better.”


[1] The concept of jobs to be done come from Clayton Christensen who is best known for his book innovators dilemma

[2] The ultimate question 2.0 by Fred ReichheldRob Markey