The Importance of Understanding Customer Experience in the Moment to Drive Excellence

The Head of Customer Strategy and Experience at Direct Line Group discusses the importance of asking for feedback at the right time and delivering a targeted experience in line with your business and brand promise.

At the Customer Experience Transformation: Financial Services conference in London last month, Manuela Pifani, who is the Head of Customer Strategy and Experience at UK insurance company Direct Line Group, discussed how organisations can turn insights into customer experience to achieve excellence.

She highlighted the important of monitoring the end-to-end customer journey, and velocity when asking for feedback to understand a customer experience in the moment.

For example, don’t send a questionnaire a week after a customer has visited your store or has spoken to a customer service agent on the phone, instead send it the day after. That way you ensure that the contact is fresh in the customer’s memory and what they really felt during the experience comes across in the answers – which is what you want to understand.

Pifani asked the audience in attendance at the conference, at what level they measure customer experience. Brand level? Journey level? Touch points? A combination of the above?

She said there is an opportunity across all these levels and you shouldn’t just focus one. It is however very important to make sure that the process is easy and comes at the right time.

Additionally, you have to ensure that the way you measure the customer experience aligns with the customer contact point. For example, for an online purchase you need to enquire about the clarity of the website, the price and product cover. Where for a cancellation, emotional engagement is more important and you measure softer elements such as the people, clarity of the process, fees and refunds.

The insights you gain through this process can be complemented from both sides; customer insight and internal insight from employee feedback.

Pifani said that customer experience matters and there is a correlation between, for example, a customer experience measurement score such as NPS and revenues, customer lifetime value, multi-product holding and word of mouth.

In addition she said that delivering the right customer experience is cheaper. After all, an easier customer journey will result in fewer repeat interaction and errors.

How do you utilise the insights gain from feedback and questionnaire to make the necessary internal changes going forward? Pifani said that when looking at the customer journey and business processes you can identify the pain points and isolate a top 10 customer hotspots.

You need to remember that customers don't always want to be wowed or delighted every single day; they want the process to be easy and to get things done. Depending on your business you perhaps shouldn’t target a 'wow' experience, instead you should target the right experience.

For example, cooks wants to wow customers, but normal transactional banking providers wants to deliver the experience customer expects and what the brand stands for, which isn’t always 'wow'.

Pifani has summarised the principles as implemented at Direct Line Group , with their LUCK strategy:

Listen to your customer
Understand what they want, what they need and why
Create the experience… an easy one
Kick-start a customer-led culture.

"You need to create a customer experience by design and in line with the brand promise," she concluded.

For more from the Customer Experience Transformation: Financial Services check out the following articles: