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Trusting your customer…information

In my last post I introduced the concept of a Customer Experience Competency Center (which is very hard to say three times, fast) based on a presentation I gave at Clarabridge’s C3 conference. Jeffrey Henning over at Vovici just posted a great summary of the session. Since his summary is so good (probably better than I could have done anyway), I’ll refer you to his post for the overview, while I take this opportunity to delve a little deeper into the concept.

My stated goal for a Customer Experience Competency Center (CECC) is to allow for better, more customer-focused decisions across an enterprise. This is not a unique or original goal. Nearly every CRM system, BI platform, and decisioning system has this goal, but I believe a CECC is uniquely positioned to actually accomplish this goal. Why? Because getting people to reliably and effectively use customer information to make decisions requires them to trust that the information is useful, and trust is most effectively created by people. And guess what the first, and main, component of a CECC is? That’s right, people. Not tools or systems or infrastructure, but people 
Hierarchy of engagement
As customer advocates, we know not everyone is predisposed to act based on the customer intelligence we deliver to them. We also know that external motivators like incentives based on customer surveys are rarely effective (see here and here). But we can convert most people to taking self-motivated action on the intelligence we provide them. At Walker we often use a concept called the hierarchy of engagement illustrated here. The idea is that you only achieve action after building awareness, understanding, and belief in the information you are presenting. And the only way you can lead someone through these stages is by having their trust. Without that, you don’t even get in the door.

Here are a few practical things you can do to build trust and motivate people to take action on your information:

  1. Involve respected, trustworthy people from every key function and department in the company. These people will find it much easier to sell their colleagues on the importance of your customer intelligence. And you will also get some key feedback to make the information you gather more applicable to their departments.
  2. Show people proof that customer intelligence can help them achieve their own goals.
  3. Treat them like partners. You can learn as much from them as they can from you.
  4. Communicate clearly and effectively. There are a lot of good ideas on our blog related to this topic.
  5. Allow field tests. If someone doubts the usefulness or impact of the information, devise a simple test or pilot program to help prove it. This is not always possible, but it can often work if you think creatively about it.

There are many other things you can do, but the point is that you should always be thinking of trust when you are devising your plans. Everything you say, do, or present to others should increase their level of trust in the intelligence you are providing. And having a customer experience competency center can help you achieve the goal of enterprise-wide, customer-centered decisions.

Troy Powell, Ph.D.
VP, Statistical Solutions
Walker Information 

0 thoughts on “Trusting your customer…information

  1. Thanks so much for the shout out, Troy. You left out one of my favorite jokes from your presentation! "We call this the Hierarchy of Engagement because calling it the Pyramid of Engagement sounded cultish!"

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