Proactive Experience Recovery

In this week's episode, James Dodkins, Customer Experience Rockstar joins the pod booth to discuss his concept 'Proactive Experience Recovery' and why companies should adapt this into their business approach.

Proactive Experience Recovery


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James Dodkins


Guest Speaker - James Dodkins

James used to be an actual, real life, legitimate, award-winning rockstar. He played guitar in a heavy metal band, released albums and tore up stages all over the world, James uses this unique experience to energize, empower and inspire his clients and their teams as a ‘Customer Experience Rockstar’.

Not only is he an international keynote speaker, #1 Best Selling author and host of Amazon Prime’s ‘This Week In CX’, James is also the UK’s #1 Customer Experience Influencer.

Connect with James on LinkedIn.

Understanding that we should be monitoring our experiences as they happen to notice when bad things happen, and then fix the experience in the experience. Don’t wait for the complaint. If the customer has to ask, you failed. There’s a four step framework that I think about with this. And it’s identify, monitor, communicate, compensate.

Discussion Topics

  • What is proactive experience recovery?
  • How does this differ from customer recovery and if so how should a company adapt their current processes?
  • In order to be proactive, companies presumably need a very well-orchestrated review process combining customer insight and journey analytics continually identifying where the experience has fallen down. What are the practical suggestions for getting started?
  • Is the key to identify the customer outcomes first and work backwards or is that too simplistic as all customers have differing views on what a successful outcome would be?
  • Linking to ROI has never been more important but companies often struggle to make the connection – you talk about measuring return on experience investment – can you tell us how this works?


Simon Thorpe – Welcome to the CX Chat with Matt and Simon, the weekly podcast on all things customer experience. Now during our podcast series, we are once again going to be talking about some of the hottest topics and biggest issues facing CX professionals right now. And we’re gonna be inviting some cool and interesting guests into the pod booth to join the debate. And now as ever, no big intro from ourselves. If you’re interested, check us out on LinkedIn. But my name is Simon Thorpe. And as ever, I’m joined by my colleague, Matthew Dyer. And this seems to have stuck Matt. But we we described ourselves a long time ago his two blokes with bags of enthusiasm for cx both with big opinions and lots of passion for the industry. And then it seems that that that has become a bit of a catchphrase for us so. So anyway, Matty, how are you?

Matt Dyer – I’m very well, thanks.

Simon – And how is this fancy new podcast microphone system treating you?

Matt – Well, I’m absolutely loving it. And I’m wondering when you’re going to get one. Mike is still not signing off the receipt, but I’d recommend you getting one.

Simon – I have got I’ve got podcast microphone envy, if that’s such a thing. So, so yeah. So season two, we are in full swing now, Matty. So. So yeah, I’ll tell you what I’m properly excited about, about this week’s guest. But before I get on to introduce him, and as ever shameful requests for questions, comments, likes, podcast subscriptions, on all your good and evil podcast providers, and so please keep those coming in. Honestly, folks, for those of you that keep tuning in and listening, we are so chuffed with the level of engagement. You know, we did this really to, you know, act as a kind of conduit to, you know, some interesting people, interesting topics and ideas. So, thanks for all of that we really do appreciate it. So, so let’s get on with this week’s episode. And this is really, really exciting, I think because we’ve managed to persuade a man who really doesn’t need much of an introduction to give us a look at a business concept that he is he is coined is developed called Proactive Experience Recovery and if that hasn’t given it away our guest this week well let’s give him a suitable welcome he is the CX Rockstar, the number one CX influencer, best selling author, Amazon Prime TV host, all round top bloke It’s Mr. James Dodkins, how the hell are you sir?

James Dodkins – Woo! What an intro what an intro indeed.

Simon – Well you know you I think you deserve it. You deserve it. I’m a you know I said to you when we had a chat the other day I’m a fan so we’re properly chuffed to have you on the on the show mate so thank you for for giving up your very busy schedule to join us.

Matt – One question I do have James is when I’ve seen you on LinkedIn and you’re doing those podcast you got the videos. What camera is it the use because I cannot believe the high definition you get.

James – So it is a Sony… A something… [Laughs]

Matt – You need to send us the details because Simon and I really need one of them in our lives.

James – The thing is, my wife’s a photographer. So when I was gonna get a high end camera, I was like, Wife can you just figure it out for me she she figured out for me, hence, I don’t really know what it is. But of course, you will have seen I produce Well, when I used to be allowed to travel around the world, I used to produce quite a lot of almost like mini documentaries of my travels and my escapades. And so I’ve got a guy that travels around with me doing that, so I bought all the kit for that. But luckily, he’s very clever and knows how to use it. My videos, I have enough trouble just pointing them at me and pressing record. So I think it’s something simple. That looks kind of good. Yeah.

Simon – And I’ve got a question for you, James. How does the How did the whole amazon prime piece come about? I mean, that’s awesome. And well, brilliant for the industry as well.

James – It’s a good question. So I decided very early on, when I was going to do this big push on my You know, my personal brand, that video content was where I was going to focus. And this is gonna say a little bit sort of braggy not humble bragging just overtly braggy. But when it when it comes to video content and customer experience, think I’m one of the first people, if not the first person that was putting out like daily consistent video content. And it was, that was my plan. And the way I used to do it was I used to interview people, like you guys are doing now I’d interview some of the top people in customer experience, talking about, you know, their views on customer, customer experience and customer centricity and ways to approach it. And it gave me loads of really cool video content to put out there every single day. But the problem was, I was given the platform to those people, which was cool, but I wasn’t really showcasing what I knew about customer experience. So people would watch it and he’s cool, dude, I don’t know if he knows anything about customer experience or not. So then I decided I needed to sort of Move away from that and focus on my own content. And I was, I’d kind of planned out all of my content for last year in the beginning of the year. And literally, then, the night before I was supposed to go live and post what I had recorded. I had no idea. This for the entire next day, I changed everything. It was Saturday night, I had the idea. And Sunday, I spent the entire day creating this new format of video content. And that was This Week in CX. And it was essentially just a news roundup show about stuff that had happened in customer experience, but kinda like you know, the late night American, show type thing like that’s that sort of feel. And so started the first one is awful, don’t go and watch the first one. But then they started to get better and better. And I was doing weekly shows, and all it was was being filmed with a green screen. So no matter where it was in the world, I could put it together and do it. And basically it got to the point where I was like, you know what, I’d like this to go a little bit wider than just LinkedIn or just YouTube. So I submitted it to Amazon Prime. And we got accepted. And then it was on amazon prime. The thing is, I stopped doing that as well now. Because, again, people were watching it go, Wow, he’s good at making fun of things that have happened. I don’t really know if he knows anything about customer experience, though. So he’s kind of served its purpose. They’re all still that To be fair, if you don’t have amazon prime, I put them all on YouTube as well. So you can just watch them.

Simon – They’re really good. Yeah, I mean, you do have a brilliant way of making things superhuman and comical and interesting, but I get what you’re saying. I mean, it’s, um, it must have been a great platform, but I can understand the kind of, you know, the pivots and other things.

James – Yeah, it kinda like it kind of put me in this bracket where a lot of people saw me, almost like as a customer experience celebrity, not like a proper celeb, but like, Yeah, I was Like almost like just an entertainer, which, I mean, don’t get me wrong that has been very good for my brand, but doesn’t allow people to actually know that I know some stuff about customer experience too.

Simon – Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Well, let’s on that. That’s a great segway actually, let’s, let’s showcase some of that. Because we’re me and Matt are really interested in this topic, proactive experience recovery. And let’s get on with it. And well, from the man who has coined this and come up with this business concept, James, tell us about it.

(What is proactive experience recovery?)

James – So productive experience, recovery is like service recovery, but for experiences, and it’s proactive and better.

Simon – Okay. You’re gonna have to go deeper. [Laughs]

James – Didn’t that tell you everything you need to know? Basically where it came from, was I remember the exact moment that I thought about this. And look, I don’t think I invented the actual doing of it, because I think some companies have been doing it. I don’t think there’s very many Companies if any, that has systemized it, but I, as far as I’m aware, I’m the first person to have written about this. And I coined the term proactive experience recovery. And I wrote about this first in May of 2017. And it was in Australia at the time. And my, the flight was delayed, landed like four hours late, took off late, everything was bad about the flight. And then of course, you get a little thing in your inbox. Hey, on a scale of one to ten, please tell me how good your flight was. You should you should already know. That was a crappy flight. But you should not like and it made me think why do so many companies deliver rubbish experiences, know about them, they know they’re happening, and then do nothing? And then then still have the cheek to send you a survey afterwards. And it made me think you know what, instead of sending me a text or an email saying, hey, how was your flight? You should send me an email or a text saying, Hey, we know that flight was bad. We’re really sorry about that, you know, he is 10% off of your next flight, or here’s a drinks voucher or something. And that’s where the concept came from. Understanding that we should be monitoring our experiences as they happen to notice when bad things happen, and then fix the experience in the experience. Don’t wait for the complaint. So that’s where the concept came from.

Simon – I think you’re right. I think some companies that have done bits and pieces of this, but it’s interesting to say, you haven’t seen many companies systemize it which, which I agree with, I don’t think I have either. Well, why do you think that is? Is it because it’s, it’s too hard? You know, there’s too many silos to actually work out what’s going on? Or is it a case of companies it’s better not to admit mistakes? Or is it just it’s, you know, fundamentally, they don’t want to be giving anything away right now or anytime because there’s a perception that costs money and it it feels a little bit like this. This is the evolution and this is the obvious next step, and but yeah, we’re expecting companies to go on that route. Do you think?

James – It’s a really good question? And I don’t, I don’t know, for certain, I think all of the things you said probably play a part of it. I think there’s a mentality of supposedly, according to according to statistics, which are always true. Only 4% of dissatisfied customers are going to complain. So if you give 100 bad experiences, only four of the people are going to complain. Now, for those four that complain, you have to work to put it right. That’s the service recovery, the standard service recovery. What I’m saying is, you should be fixing the problem and putting things right, maybe giving some sort of gesture to the entire 100. And when you say that people go, oo, okay, well, they weren’t going to complain anyway. So why should I spend money and effort fixing something that they weren’t going to complain about? It’s almost If companies think that if a customer doesn’t complain, the default means that they’re happy. Yeah, I think we could all agree that isn’t the case. So it’s quite scary for them to think, well, I could just deal with the 4% that they’re gonna complain, or I could try and deal with everything. And there’s not enough research that’s been done. There’s not enough companies that have systemized and done it to actually give any sort of return on investment for that to understand, okay, if you spend the money to do that, yes, it’s going to be an outlay To start with, however, these are the benefits that you’re going to get. So I think that’s probably it, what do you think?

Matt – Yeah. Well, just from listening to what you’re saying, I totally buy into I kind of love to see that. I guess the challenge that I typically see when I go to a lot of contact centres, they’re not even doing the service recovery piece that well, so they’re doing the basic surveys, and they still forget that when they do get some unsatisfied customers, they don’t actually reach out and try and fix that issue. So I think it’s really comes down to A, I guess a top down leadership approach in terms of right, this is a new way of working, this is how we’re going to differentiate. And if we don’t get the buy in from the leadership, I’m just not sure you’re going to be able to kind of move the dial with this one.

Simon – Yeah, I love the idea. It’s plays into, Matty do you remember at our Disrupt event when I spoke about closing the loop, and I use James, I use the example of, we did an experiment with my family, and we got them to fill out loads and loads and loads of surveys over the course of a month. And in those surveys, we said something like we want to speak to someone please in the comments. And it was a staggeringly low return of closed loop. It was something like two out of 50 surveys, actually bothered to close the loop with us. But then I saw I did a bit of research on closing the loop because customer insights really passionate something I’m passionate about and very much to your point. I read a stat again, stats are always right. They said one out, only one out of 26 people will complain the rest, you know are fundamentally at risk. And I forget the company that I quoted, and I’ll stick it on the podcast links, but they were talking about the churn risk across the full NPS spectrum. So anyone that’s doing any kind of service recovery tends to focus on the the kind of zero ones and twos of NPS, whether you bind to MPs or not, but there was still massive risk potential across all of the, you know, those scores. So to your point, this gives you a potential into the, into those massive bodies of people that are risk opportunities, aren’t they because most don’t engage with their brands. And we’re living in an age where it’s so easy to switch and take your business elsewhere.

James – Yeah, it’s the way the way I kind of think of it is what an analogy what I, right I don’t actually know if it’s an analogy or an allegory, or a cinnamon minim or whatever.

Simon – We won’t be able to help you with that.

James – Imagine, imagine you’re in a bar. You walk in through the bar and somebody walks past you with four drinks. Four pints, because we’re all British, four pints, and you bump into them and they spill the drinks, there’s four ways that you can go about dealing with that situation. Number one, you go blah blah blah and out you run away. Now, you’ll be over there in the corner of the bar going haha I’ve got away with it, evil genius. But the problem is, that person is now telling everyone else in the bar, what a jerk you are. Okay? So remember this. The point of that is that one customers bad experience can quickly become thousands of potential customers. bad first impression. Number 2, you run away, but the person does come after you. Right? But they tap you on the shoulder say, dude, you just fill all my beers and you turn around and go. Actually, when you entered the bar, you agree to a set of terms and conditions whereby if the bar was over an 80% occupancy rate, this spillage was a possibility. And as a Anyway, you are carrying over the recommended load limit of beers, therefore any drink replaced with liability falls on you. Thank you. Bye. Now he really thinks you’re a jerk might threaten to punch you in the face. Number three after he threatened to punch you in the face. You go Oh, no, no, no, no, it’s obviously I was only joking. Of course, of course I’m going to replace you beers, which is kind of what we do mostly in business. We wait for the customers to complain. And then if they after we’ve tried to blame it on them, and they don’t kick back then we’re like, Okay, well, we’ll fix it. Or number four, which is the way we are most likely to act in real life, but least likely to act in the business world. We will immediately turn around we will immediately apologise and we will immediately offer to replace the drinks without the customer having to ask without the person in the bar having to ask, I think that’s the mentality we need to take. If the customer has to ask you failed. You should realise those things that have gone wrong and fix them without the customer having to ask, compensate without the customer having to ask. And there’s a four step framework that I think about with this. And it’s identify, monitor, communicate, compensate. And it’s so easy. First of all, you have to take some time to identify the things in your experiences that cause dissatisfaction. You’ve probably already got the data for this or if you don’t, you’ve probably got the mechanisms to record that data to understand the things that happen, that annoy people that cause complaints that cause dissatisfaction that cause negative online sentiment. So you’ve identified those things, then once you’ve identified them, you need to monitor, monitor the experiences in the experiences to notice when these things happen. Now, when you’ve noticed one of these things has happened. It’s not good enough to just go ha, I’ve noticed that this has happened. You then need to communicate to the customer that you know something thing has gone wrong, communicate to them before they have a chance to talk to you don’t wait for the complaint, proactively reach out to them. That’s where the proactive part comes in, proactively reach out to them and say, Look, we’ve noticed this thing has happened. You may not have even noticed it yet. But here’s what we’re going to do to put it right. And that’s where a compensate comes in. You don’t, it doesn’t necessarily need to be a monetary compensation, but some sort of gesture goes a long way towards changing how our customer feels about a particular situation. But really only when they haven’t had to ask for it. As soon as they have to ask for it, it loses all meaning, but if you offer it without them having to ask, it really does make them feel a lot better about the situation. And this is where that 4% stat comes in. Because 4% only 4% of dissatisfied customers are going to complain. If you are only fixing problems for that 4% that complain you’re missing a massive opportunity because the other 96% are out there telling everyone else in the world What a jerk you are, and maybe never do business with you again.

Matt – Yeah, it’s quite a good concept actually, because we’re seeing a lot of organisations kind of go from department within Sabio that there’s a lot of primary research that maps, I guess, the customer journey, so to speak. So building this framework into that process to kind of understand their motives or frustrations and kind of those moments of truth and building that into that would probably give organisations I guess, a framework to work around. So I quite like that concept.

Simon – I love how you described that.

James – Companies could come along and be like, Hey, here’s some standards you could work to, like course, every company is going to be different, and they’re gonna have to find their own triggers. But it’d be really cool if a company could come along and be like, Look, here’s a standard here are the standard things that will usually piss customers off. here’s here’s your framework. Let’s get started then we can build on it. So if you guys want to do that, you just let me know when we can work on it.

Simon – How would you get started James? I mean we try with these, with these podcasts to try and get a little bit of practicality in there and your four step guide. That’s brilliant. But, you know, if you were in an operation, where would you start? How would you? How would you start getting the ball rolling?

(What are the practical suggestions for getting started? )

James – It’s a good question. I’ve got like a 19 step methodology as to how you can literally go from not having anything all the way through to having this systemized and live. Now, I can’t remember every single step in order but I’ll talk you through the main principles of it, the very first thing you have to do is list every different experience that your company can deliver to a customer. That’s the first thing to do. And I know that sounds crazy, but a lot of companies don’t, they don’t have a list of all the different experiences. And I’m not talking about buying a thing. I’m talking about all different scenarios, as well, different scenarios that customers could be working with you and buying from you with. So once you Understand that, you can then start to look and say, Well, which one of these scenarios which one of these experiences causes the most complaints, which one of these has got the highest negative online sentiment? Which one gets the lowest satisfaction scores? See start with the worst one, you may as well. So you find which experience that you’re delivering, or which scenario your customers are involved with you that has the lowest success rate or low satisfaction scores. And then you can start to take it through a bit of a process. There’s certain things you’ve got to do where you have to take time to measure volumes of complaints, try and find out what how much of these complaints actually costing us. And this is a massive part of it. Because if you know that, Okay, this one specific thing that’s going wrong is costing us x per year. You then can kind of use that as a bit of a budget to fix it. If that makes sense.

Simon – Yeah, it does.

(19 Step Methodology approach)

James – Because it is going to be difficult to go to somebody and say, I’ve kind of just got this random idea. I would like to Do all this for a bunch of customers that are never going to complain anyway. Whereas if you go, look, it’s costing us this much anyway, why not use that money to make life better for everyone that goes through this problem. So you do that you measure the volumes, try and figure out how much it’s costing the business, then you can get into some sort of workshop scenarios where you start to look, you have to understand your triggers and your thresholds. So what are the triggers that are going to trigger us to do something as a company? And then what are the thresholds? So if it’s a delayed flight, that should be a trigger, but one of the thresholds? Is it if it’s delayed by one minute, are we going to do that? Are we going to get in touch with them? Or if it’s delayed by an hour or three hours or 10 hours? And then of course, the compensation that the thing you do the gesture you give has to be proportionate? Like if flights delayed by one hour, and we’re like, oh, we’re really sorry. We’re giving you free flights for the rest of your life. Probably not proportionate, probably not a sensible idea. If it’s delayed for 10 hours, and you go look, what we’re going to do is we’re going to refund 50% of that flight, and give you 100,000 bonus flight to Platinum points on your card, or whatever you figure out that. And but you need to figure out that stuff as well. And then you need to start to design the workflows and the scripting. And then you need to train people to be able to deal with this, you need to figure out what how are you going to communicate with the customer? Is it going to be a text? Is it going to be an email? Is it going to be in person, because it doesn’t always have to be a technology solution. You don’t need masses of data to be able to do this. You don’t need a fancy technology solution. It helps. But you can just empower your employees to do it, you could give the stewards or airhostess what’s the right word to call them nowadays?

Simon – I don’t know. We’ll find out actually, we’ve got, we’ve got someone who’s gonna be talking from the cabin crew in this podcast here. So we’ll let you know.

James – Cabin crew. There you go. You did it. There we go. So the cabin crew people you could just give empower them that if you land X amount after you were supposed to, you can just hand out vouchers on the way out, you can have them hidden away. You know, it doesn’t have to be like a big fancy way of doing it. And you might think yeah James, you said you want to systemize that technically a systemized, system is just a way of doing things. So I lost track of where, thresholds and triggers, then, so you need to write all that stuff, train the people to be able to do it, and then you got to wait, this is this is the important bit, then you’ve got to measure Is that okay? If we were to implement this, how many times would we have had to have reached out to the customer? How much would this have cost us for one month, two months, three months, and then you can take that and see if it’s actually worth implementing or not. Because in down to brass tacks, really If you look and say, Okay, this one issue is costing us $40,000 a year in complaints, but to fix it is going to cost us $200,000 a year like to implement this PSR you got a bit of a fight on your hands. Although I think we can we can subjectively say it’s going to make customers happier, it’s going to build positive sentiment, there’s going to be good word of mouth, customers are more likely to use you again. I still don’t think just throwing out those, hey, this will make customers smile a bit is going to be enough to get sign off. But providing that you get all that covered. That’s when you can start to go live, you probably do a bit of a pilot to start with. And then you can if that goes well, you can then start to actually measure the positive sentiment, your return and how much more customers are spending with you as a result, how many more customers you’re gaining as a result, are you getting more of their wallet, share, etc, etc. And then you can go live with it. So If I had it in front of me, I could probably have gone through a little bit better. But if you are interested in doing this, that is kind of the method I would go through. Did any of that make sense at all?

Matt – Yeah, I quite like the concept because when I think about the number of flights I’ve been on, I’ve been delayed over the 4 hour period. And I think there’s the ability to then claim the money back which I have done a few times, if the if be whoever it was, had the delay coming off the plane to save me the bother of actually haven’t registered, they’ve done all that as part of that function. I would be promoting that business a lot more than I probably do at the moment. So I really like that kind of approach makes sense to me.

James – Well it’s like trains, in the UK Virgin will automatically refund you if you are due a refund. So they will so Virgin are one person that has, one company that has systemized it. If your train is delayed the amount of time that entitles you to a refund. They will communicate to you and say hey, you’re entitled a refund. But don’t worry, it’s already done. It’s automatic. Whereas every other training company makes you go online, makes you fill in a form makes you put your details in, makes you take a photo of you ticket makes you submit your blood type and your dental records. Don’t do it, but the reason they do it is because they don’t really want people to make the claims they want to make it difficult for customers to do, because they don’t want to pay it back. What Virgin have realised is that you know what, it’s their money, they are entitled to it. Let’s just make it as easy as possible. And as a result, I don’t know how many trains you’ve ever been on. I think people prefer to go on Virgin Trains, than pretty much any other.

Matt – Yes, gonna force Virgin to improve their standards and kind of try and get to be there on time. Bottom line, so it’s quite a good stick, isn’t it to get them to do what we want them to do.

James – Yeah, it is kind of like lighting a bit of a fire, isn’t it? Because they’re saying, Okay, if we don’t actually do the thing we said we were going to do, it’s going to cost us a bunch of money. So it gives them even more bonus to actually provide that good experience in the first place, which is a nice knock on effect.

Simon – James, would you would you pick, you’d mentioned about doing a pilot and I love the steps and it’d be great actually, if we can try and reach out to the audience if anyone’s kind of, you know, thinking about doing this or dipping the toe in the water, let us know because we’d love to have you on. But James if you if you were going to start this pilot wise, would you pick maybe one, I don’t know one journey one customer outcome and try and prove the concepts on that.

James – I think you have to do that to start with, especially with something like this, which is largely unproven, is technically like, it’s a theory more than anything, is my theory is that if you do this, your customers will be happier and you will make more money in the long run. That’s my theory, but I don’t really have any proof of that. So hundred percent I say you need to, it could be one experience of one journey, one scenario that you pick, or just one pain point, you could do it for just one pain point. For example, if we were an airline, we might say delayed flights. Because it’s something we’ve we already measure that data, we don’t need to do anything extra, we already measure it, all you’ve got to do is set up a trigger. That means when it’s delayed more than X amount triggers some text messages or some emails or whatever, it I’d probably try and find the an easy one to do and but also one that does cause dissatisfaction quite quite heavily because the problem is, you could go through it really well through a pain point that kind of doesn’t really like a letter gets delivered a day late or something it I don’t really think you’re gonna get too much return from that. But there are some rules around this. Would you like to know what the rules are?

Simon – I love to know what the rules are.

James – The problem that you put into the PRX system has to be something that you can actually monitor so it can’t be the customers in a slightly bad mood today because they burnt their toast, that’s stupid, can’t do that, it’s got to be something you could actually monitor. And the resolution has to be something that you are willing to do 100% of the time, you can’t just do it, sometimes you can’t just do it on some flights, you can’t just do it on some trains, you can’t just do it in some situations, because you will then start to create the expectation that that’s how you operate. And then the moment you don’t do it, customers will be more dissatisfied than if you would have never done it at all.

Matt – So that was going to be my question, would you try and do an A B test or a placebo to see the impact, you could actually prove the impact it’s having. But you’re just you just said that if you have shown it and people hate about it, then they’re not getting it. That’s gonna kind of potentially impact.

James – Yeah, I mean, for the sake of a pilot or an A B test, I think it’s a risk worth taking. But it’s when you actually fully commit to it and go live. It has to be something that you’re going to do every time, it can’t be something that you decide to do on Tuesdays, or something that you decide to do when you feel like it. Or it’s something you decide to do when you’re doing a big marketing push, it’s got to be something that you commit to do every single time. Because you start to set those expectations, what my expectation has been set by Virgin Trains that if I’m due a refund, they will just do it. If all of a sudden they stopped doing it or stop doing it for a week or stop doing it for a while. I go through expecting that it’s going to happen and then it wouldn’t happen then I would be more pissed off than if they never did it all in the first place.

Matt – Yeah, makes sense.

Simon – Can we can we take a step back a second because I’m really interested to get your view on this James because I know you work with loads of different brands. This I think you’re absolutely bang on any kind of proof of concept has to be linked to some kind of financial return on investment I think, to get the to get everyone interested anyway. But that seems to me and we talked about this endlessly on the podcast, one of the big challenges most CX professionals face, they’re kind of taking the the kind of the view of, you know, smiley customers and you know, and they’re kind of slightly fluffier kind of concepts around customer experience and turning that into kind of business value that people that don’t talk in CX language really kind of get and appreciate. How have you, are you still seeing most companies struggle with making those links James, or do you think we’re starting to get a little bit better at that?

(Measuring return on experience investment – can you tell us how this works?)

James – I think overall, companies are starting to demonstrate the return on experience investment a lot better than in the past. But overall, as customer experience professionals, we’re kind of crap. We’re not very good at it. It’s almost as if we expect someone else to do it for us, or we expect the execs just to, you know, you know, the customer experience is a good idea. Of course it is. I shouldn’t have to prove it to you and I don’t think that’s a very smart way to think when you are trying to, you know, embed customer experience within your organisation.

Simon – Is it is it hard?

James – Is it hard?

Simon – I’m not sure. I’m not sure. I don’t know, I, I think it might be hard because a lot of companies have silos and old fashioned systems and they can’t necessarily get the data to hand but it shouldn’t be as hard as you know, I’ve witnessed I don’t think.

Matt – I think a lot of time the problem is, is the storytelling back to the kind of people you need to sell it to. So we talked about this in a previous podcast and listening to you you talk a great story that I suspect a lot of people would buy into, if you’ve got the data. But then if you can’t sell it, people aren’t going to kind of action on it.

James – Well, dude, you are right. You need both sides. I tell a great story around productive experience recovery, and I talk about it very well. And a lot of people go Wow, that’s really cool. But because I don’t have the data to back it up. Nobody is doing it. So Now when it comes to return on experience investment, I agree, it is hard. If you’re trying to convince someone else to do it for you, if you don’t take the responsibility for yourself, I think if you take the responsibility for yourself, and you start to measure the right things, that’s when it starts to get easy. For me. I don’t like to see data gymnastics. So what I call data gymnastics is when people take 78 million different data points, splice it in with some random statistics from a study that was done 28 years ago to say, hey, look, we did this thing. Therefore if that’s, that’s true, we should raise the revenue by naught point 3% engine, it doesn’t work. For me. There are just four areas that you need to link your customer experience activities to just four areas, and they’re, they’re not ambiguous. They’re not fluffy. They’re very hard and fast and they link to what executives care about. And that is acquisition. Are we going to get more customers from what we’re doing? Or did we get more customers from what we’ve done? Retention, did we keep more customers from what we’ve done? Did they stay with us for longer? Wallet share, did they spend more money with us and cost savings, did it cost us less to serve? They’re just the four things acquisition, retention, wallet share and cost saving. And I’ve been talking about this for like, it’s probably close to 10 years now. Like linking your stuff to essentially service custom revenue, so that I just I don’t think people try and complicate it and I don’t think you need to.

Simon – I think you’re right, James, I think you’re right. Well, hey, we usually try and leave our guests with our guests or our listeners with with some takeaways, I think that’s a brilliant way to finish this episode. What I’d love to see and I’d really encourage people to get in touch with James, we’re going to obviously put his details on the podcast social and the landing pages and that sort of thing. I’d be fascinated to see if we can, you know, get some people to make connection with James and maybe start seeing some of these pilots because it is a brilliant concept. And in a lot of ways, I kind of no brainer, but it does take some bottle. And I think it does take, you know, someone to take that kind of leap of faith, but it feels intrinsically like this would make sense and this would deliver great value and particularly to were to customers so and so brilliant way to finish James. You know, we knew you’d be an awesome guest. And of course you you have absolutely delivered. And so mate, thank you so much for joining us on there on this episode as as part of our second series. Have you enjoyed it?

James – Very much so, thank you for having me.

Simon – Oh, you are welcome. Anytime and yeah, let’s hope you do get some traction and we can have you on again. You can tell us all about it. And Matty always a pleasure.

Matt – Yeah, it was a really interesting podcast today and I hope we see more organisations adopt the methodology.

Simon – Yeah, be great to see well, yeah, as ever, let us know how you’re getting on. Let us have your comments, your feedback, link up with James. But you know, once again, thank you for tuning in. Thanks for listening, stay safe and we shall see you next time. Goodbye.


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