A while ago, I was engaged in a conversation with a colleague. As always, I was evangelising the customer’s position, challenging current convention. We’d been discussing a marketing campaign that had been targeting a certain demographic, attempting to drive the email recipients to put money into savings accounts to build for their future. At a certain point in the conversation, a lightbulb moment occurred: “So we can’t really expect 20-somethings to put into a savings account when they are laden with student debt, maxed out on credit cards and barely able to cover their bills. To then put 200 quid a month into the savings account would be impossible, even if they wanted to!”, exclaimed the colleague.
Whilst the business had been really focused on making their customer experience intuitive, simple and engaging, what they were missing was the fact that sometimes, we need to zoom back out to the 50,000 foot view. It’s not just about a great customer experience, the challenge of growing your business and retaining your customers often requires multiple adjustments in your approach. What is genuinely challenging for most businesses (over and above the fear of change for some senior managers) is whether that change can deliver a return on investment, or whether it will be a loss-making distraction.
Let’s take, as an example the scenario above. In order for our business to achieve their ambition to grow revenue by encouraging all segments of their customer base to put money into their savings, they first need to understand what is stopping them from doing this. This is a key point that we can often miss in our customer experience planning. We focus more on making what is in front of us better, rather than unpicking the stages before our customer reaches us. So in this scenario, no matter how much we change our message, positioning or incentives, the “fresh from university, first job, debt laden” segment is unlikely to be able to afford to be able to put into their savings account at this stage of their life!
So we could simply ignore that segment, and focus on the cash rich baby boomers who might be easier to engage with. Or, we could aim for the long game. If we can help our younger segment to get their finances under control, manage their finances more effectively and become financially confident, we can help them get into a position where they will be able to put one into their savings. And if we build a relationship of trust, share information and educate the customers, they are more likely to invest with our business. This won’t give instant returns, but it will give sustained return, tangible advocacy and strong engagement. And it will give you a rich data source!
So back to the colleague who’d had the lightbulb moment – they were at a crossroads. Should they take the easy route, and do more efforts with a smaller number of segments, or should they face the more complex challenge of building a business case to show the value that could be achieved over time? As CX practitioners, we can help in both the former and the latter, but if you really feel passionate about CX like I do, you’ll always go for the long game – the challenge of building a meaningful customer relationship and growing together is always going to be more enticing!