I was recently in my favorite grocery store when I was disappointed by the cashier’s response to my answer to her automatic question, “Did you find everything okay?”
I replied that I had really been hoping to buy refrigerated pie crust but couldn’t find any. She let me know that refrigerated pie crust is a seasonal item but that I could go on the store website and submit a purchase recommendation.
I live in an area in Michigan known for its blueberry farms, so trust me, people want pie crust in the summer. However, the most significant customer experience (CX) opportunities here involve customer effort and frontline employee insight, which are CX opportunities that translate across business and organization type.
The book The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battlefield for Customer Loyalty is well-known to CX practitioners and provides a terrific overview of the importance of reducing customer effort. It makes sense that customers would like to accomplish their goals as easily as possible, but organizations may not always recognize the myriad of ways that they inadvertently increase effort, including the effort required for customers to provide feedback that informs continuous improvement.
My shopping experience is a simple example of customer effort: my feedback was solicited, and I was happy to share it at the point of sale because it didn’t take much effort. However, after I got home and finished lugging in and putting away all of my groceries, I wasn’t motivated enough to go to the store website and figure out how to submit a purchase recommendation. While pie crust is important to me, it’s not that important, and I can always purchase it from a larger competitor anyway.
How often are you missing out on valuable feedback because your library or organization doesn’t effortlessly capture it at the right moment along the user journey?
Which leads me to the next opportunity here: frontline employee insight.
Frontline Employee Insight
Those cashiers–and frontline employees in almost any library, organization, or industry–have abundant knowledge to share about what customers want and need and where the pain points exist along user journeys. However, there have to be mechanisms in place for frontline employees to share this knowledge. In this shopping example, there are numerous ways that this information could have been documented and shared. While solutions can vary based on organizational context, the important thing is that this process is intentional and ongoing and that frontline employees are actively involved in the process of continuous CX improvement.
How often are you missing opportunities to improve customer experience because you don’t have an intentional strategy for collecting insights gained by the people most often interacting with your customers?
And the last takeaway from my pie crust story? Only ask a customer for feedback if you’re going to do something with it. Otherwise, you’re better off simply commenting on the weather.
Dixon, M., Toman, N., & DeLisi, R. (2013). The effortless experience: Conquering the new battleground. London: Portfolio Penguin.
 To read about how my library designed a library service model to better capture these insights, see the article: Rodriguez, J. C., Meyer, K., & Merry, B. (2017). Understand, identify, and respond: The new focus of access services. portal: Libraries and the Academy: (Special issue) Public services and user engagement, 17(2), 321-335. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/653207