We’re already halfway through 2019 and no one can deny the rising demand for better customer experiences. Companies are now using machine learning technology to improve customer experience and traditional institutions usually resistant to change are coming under pressure from a customer base that wants more.

Our list of the top CX articles of 2019 covers all these topics and more. 

Article No. 1: Human Experience is Greater Than Customer Experience

April 7, 2019 | Anthony Stephan and Amelia Dunlop | The Wall Street Journal

We start our list with this article from The Wall Street Journal. Anthony Stephan and Amelia Dunlop from Deloitte Consulting explore how with the rise of customer experience it’s easy to forget that people are human first.

They explore the idea that businesses that focus solely on customer experience may be missing a significant opportunity to truly connect with people on a deeper level.

The authors put forward that business leaders need to understand that as humans we’re messy, inconsistent, and emotional. Companies can only connect with us by creating experiences and stories that resonate on a human level.

We don’t wake up in the morning as ‘customers.’ We don’t pour that delightful first cup of life-giving coffee and think, ‘I am the end user of this coffee.’

Article No. 2: 3 Ways To Inspire Your Team To Provide Standout Customer Experience

March 26, 2019 | David Nour | Inc.

David Nour is the author of ten business books, a leadership advisor and executive coach.

In the Inc. article, David describes how to leverage the value of relationships in the customer experience journey.

David puts forward that customers gauge the quality of your customer experience based on the quality of the last one they experienced.

For example, while a two day delivery time might seem fast in your industry, customers don’t compare you to others in your industry, they compare you to Amazon that offers same-day delivery.

David also talks about how large corporations or new technology aren’t a threat, but rather not focusing on the customer experience at each stage of the buyer journey is the threat.

He gives examples like how:

  • People were always scared of paying the $1.50 late fee when they rented a VHS video from Blockbuster and Netflix ended that.
  • Catching a taxi during Manhattan’s rush hour was frustrating and Uber removed the pain of limited taxi access and fare controls are.

According to David, in the examples above, each company fundamentally forgot its why. Which is to serve, delight, impress, engage and hopefully enhance the work, lives, and play of their customers.

Technology by itself is not the real disruptor. Not focusing on customer relationships at each stage of the buying journey―and in the process, being more customer-centric―is the biggest threat to your business.

3. Customer Experience ‘disconnect’ puts pressure on financial services to modernise

Feb 25, 2019 | Steve van den Heever | TechRadar

Weighed down by layers of bureaucracy and regulations, financial institutions are some of the most change-resistant industries around.

This TechRadar article examines how financial institutions are now feeling the pressure to revamp their customer experience as more Fintech startups and tech giants make their way into the financial space.

And while tech companies are known for being extremely customer-centric, most financial institutions still have a long way to go.

Even though 94% of financial services professionals see CX as a key differentiator in their competitive market only about 30% of them see it as something that’s prioritized within their organization.

Change is coming to the world of finance, even though it may be slow, when the financial services professionals were asked to identify the top three trends being prioritized by their CX team, analytics (44%), digital business transformation (39%), and self-service solutions (36%) were the most common technology changes underway.

Technological advantage is nothing without the right customer-centric business strategies and attitudes. With almost one in five companies operating without a formal CX strategy, it comes as no surprise that so many organizations are seeing low net-promoter scores and little commercial improvement, despite investing heavily in new digital channels.

4. Why Is Customer Service So Bad? Because It’s Profitable

Feb 28, 2019 | Anthony Dukes and Yi Zhu | Harvard Business Review

In this HBR article, Anthony Dukes and Yi Zhu propose that the reason customer service is so bad at some large organizations is that it saves them money.

They explain that the long wait time and redirects screen out less resilient customers which reduces payouts companies give out.

The authors also state that the reason these companies can stay profitable despite appalling customer service is that they own large market shares in their industry usually consisting of millions of customers.

Little wonder people are most frustrated with airlines, internet, cable, and telephone service providers.

Any caller insisting on a refund was told to call the U.S. headquarters during normal business hours, generating additional tasks for any customer seeking more compensation from the call center manager, or Level 2 agent. This design relies on the fact that some consumers are not willing to incur this hassle. When this happens, the company is off the hook for the additional payout.

5. 20 Examples Of Machine Learning Used In Customer Experience

Apr 25, 2019 | Blake Morgan | Forbes

We all know that customer experience like many other areas is currently being transformed by advancing technology.

In this Forbes article, Blake Morgan gives examples of companies like BMW, Starbucks, and Nike that are currently using machine learning to improve their customer experience.

Guests at Disney parks use MagicBand wristbands as room keys, tickets and payment. The wristband collects information on where the guests are in the park to recommend experiences and even route people around busy areas.

6. 7 Ways to Turn a Negative Customer Experience Into a Positive One

Jan 15, 2019 | YEC | Inc. 

No matter how much you try or how advanced the technology you utilize is, negative customer experience is bound to happen at some point.

This article explains how businesses can manage it and even turn it into a good experience for the customer. The first bit of advice is to listen and empathize with the customer to show them that your company is committed to keeping their business.

We’re then given advice from different entrepreneurs about how they’ve managed to turn negative customer experiences into positive ones.

When a customer contacts you with a problem, it’s best to proactively fix it to the best of your ability…this may mean issuing a full or partial refund, offering a free month of service, or researching the answer to their issue so they don’t have to.

“We never say, ‘We’re thinking of doing X, does that work for you?'” Schwartz adds. “Instead we take the action and ask, ‘What more can I do to help?'”

Conclusion on our CX articles selection

Whether you sell financial services, coffee or software, customer experience has to be a company priority if you want to emerge as a leader in your space.

The articles above teach us to think of our customers as humans first, to be more conscious of friction along key touchpoints, to use technology where we can to help us create better experiences and to try our best to turn even bad customer experiences into great ones.

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