First, let me say I am a huge fan of big data and analytics. The more data you have, the more accurate your machine learning model will be. However, there’s a lot you don’t know from big data and the results of your machine learning algorithm that you can only get by talking to your customers.
You don’t know if you’re delivering a great customer experience, because every customer has a different definition of a great CX.
For example, I’m a huge fan of Chipotle. I’ve been eating there six days a week for the past 10.5 years. Even though I reach out to them with suggestions, they still may not know if they’re delivering a great customer experience. A lot of companies don’t. They just want to make monthly and quarterly numbers to keep the investors happy.
A great customer experience for me at Chipotle revolves around the black beans and whether they have the right amount and thickness of gravy. That’s probably not a big issue for most Chipotle customers.
By the way, I’ll have burrito bowl number 3,067 today and Chipotle has never made me sick — but that’s another story.
Now back to customer experience.
For years, I’ve been asking Chipotle to improve its mobile app. The restaurant chain came up with a new one about a month ago. While I’m a raving fan of Chipotle, I will probably never use its app. It forces you to order and pay online and then walk-in and pick up your pre-made order.
This prevents me from having a great customer experience on several fronts:
- I am not able to look the person in the eye, many whose name I know, and tell them what I want;
- I’m not able to see if the black beans are prepared correctly;
- I’m not able to see what looks better that day — is the steak medium rare? Is the chicken dry? Do the carnitas have too much fat?
- I’m not able to see how much salsa and guacamole they give me — sometimes I want more and sometimes I want less.
I completely understand what Chipotle is doing with their mobile app – they’re trying to reduce the number of people in line, get more throughput, and less variability in production. That’s great for Chipotle but does little to improve my customer experience.
Now, for someone trying to get in and out in the shortest period of time to get back to work or to the next event, the new Chipotle mobile app may be the definition of a great customer experience.
Where Data Fails CX
Data, like number of app downloads, number of orders, average order size, mean-time-to-order-delivery, revenue and return visitors will tell Chipotle a lot, and the chain may even infer the quality of customer experience from these results. However, this is inference, it is not knowledge.
To know whether or not you are delivering a great customer experience, you have to engage with your customers, not disengage with them using technology. This is why bots will not replace humans in the near-term.
Does your definition of a great customer experience vary by provider?
Tom Smith is a DZone research analyst who built a career gathering insights from analytics to inform integrated marketing plans that make a significant positive impact on business. He's a hands-on leader in marketing and analysis who has worked with more than 120 clients in eight vertical industries. Smith is an experienced full-stack marketer who uses insights to drive positioning and branding, demand generation and lead creation, channel management, and customer relationship management and customer experience. The purpose of his blog is to share thought-provoking insights regarding customer experience. Reach him at email@example.com.