Lessons from Mars…


Mankind can catapult unmanned spacecraft into the far reaches of our galaxy and know when they need to prepare to land on Mars, so why can’t organisations set expectations and keep us informed effectively when it comes to service experiences on this planet?
Whether it’s airlines, who misuse “operational reasons” and move from “wait-in-lounge” to “final call” in 30 seconds; rail operators that are often consistent at one thing – being inconsistent with information; parcel delivery firms who will try to convince you they have attempted to deliver when they clearly haven’t; or energy companies who insist they need more than 2 weeks to swap some data and carry out some simple processing to get you a final bill, fail to do so but don’t tell you – too many firms are stuck in the mire of excuses and poor processes to understand that it’s the customer, their journey and experience that matters and, is ultimately, at stake.
To put this in perspective, it’s a bad day when we now regard that taxis manage our expectations better than the many brands that are supposed to value the experience of their customers – thanks Uber!
In the words of Mr Spock, “…it is not logical”!

Time to act!

Now, we all know that some of these things are complex and indeed some organisations in the industries above are getting it right – including many of our clients at Ember – but there is work to be done!  What we really need is to remove all the rationalisation for why it is what it is, and apply a bit of ‘outside in’ thinking.
Maybe it’s me, maybe my expectations are too high – possibly like a little Martian who knows we are coming and can hide. I don’t think so. I’m just an average Joe (well Chris actually) and my view is that it really should be easier for organisations to keep us informed, manage our expectations and turn experiences (even if they are going wrong) around by being more open, empathetic and positively consistent.
Getting to the bottom of these issues can be tough – organisations, like people, often don’t like to hear that they could be doing better. The truth is, the quicker they can positively answer the following questions, the quicker they will be starting to think more about what really makes a difference to their customer.

  • Does the ‘left hand’ of our organisation know what the ‘right hand’ is doing?
  • Do value chains add value to the customer, or are they just adding more cost/complexity?
  • Do our staff have information, tools, skills and competence to support customers at all touchpoints and give them the appropriate, personal experience?
  • Is our technology helping or hindering customer experience?
  • How do we prioritise across different parts of the business to ensure we put customers first?

Sound sensible?
Well, I hope it does! At Ember we help lots of organisations hold a mirror up to themselves, see what is needed and then take action before it becomes too problematic or just too late. If this sounds of interest then why not get in touch and let’s chat. I promise no Martians, Vulcans or ‘Phasers on stun’, but clear, practical and actionable outputs that will let you go boldly into the future with your customers.
Chris Mcilduff is Client Director, Scotland at Ember.

Chris Mcilduff Client Director, Scotland