by Mark Galauner | December 28, 2019
As it turns out, psychics and fortune tellers have plenty to tell us about effective CX. And while some findings were obvious, some were a little more surprising.
-- Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, 1949
I bet Joseph Campbell never thought that his study on the structure of mythology in literature would ever be used for a post on improving customer satisfaction. And while his quote can describe literally thousands of stories from Jason and the Argonauts to Star Wars, let’s get this out of the way first: Yes, I am going to be the hero in this story!
And like every hero, I had a similar experience with my call to adventure in the world of customer experience. I left the common day world and got to interact with the closest thing I could find to supernatural forces . . . psychics and fortune tellers! As it turns out, psychics and fortune tellers have plenty to tell us about effective CX. Psychic services is a $2B dollar/year industry in the US that continues to grow. And like any business, customer satisfaction drives its success.
Now I know what you’re asking yourself right now: “Well, if they are psychic, shouldn’t they just use their psychic powers to divine what their customers want?” But, just because you can predict it’s going to rain doesn’t mean you don’t want to know the science of how and why it rains.
Satisfying customers is more than just telling them what they want to hear. Customers want to know that their interaction made a difference and did not result in more confusion. They are even willing to accept bad news if done in an environment where the resolution allows them to feel comfortable.
So, my hero’s journey into the world of psychics gave me insights (reinforced by survey research) that I now bring back to the ordinary world and can be applied to any industry.
Customers to psychic services almost all rely on a session or “reading” with a psychic. Most of the psychic customer experience is based on the “conference resolution” of that session. Customers who feel comfortable with the way their session wrapped up are significantly more satisfied than those who do not.
And while some findings were obvious, others were a little more surprising.
- Psychic customers like to get good news (don’t we all!!). Customers who received good news generally reported the highest satisfaction. But of course, not all news can be good all the time. In the absence of good news, customers also reported high satisfaction with news that they felt was the truth or that was unexpected or novel.
- The psychic customer experience is not only affected by the information provided, but also by how the interaction concludes. Sessions that ended due to time running and those that were unilaterally concluded by either the psychic or caller were rated much less satisfying than those that came to a natural end. A natural end to the session not only makes the customer more satisfied, it also causes customers to rate other aspects of the session, such as price, more favorably.
- Surprisingly, the one thing that was the kiss of death for customer satisfaction was not bad news but rather ambiguous or confusing news. Confusion was the biggest indicator of dissatisfaction as respondents who were “not sure” about their reading reported the lowest satisfaction and were less like to return or recommend the service.
If all this sounds vaguely familiar, it is because we could probably just swap the word “psychic” for “call center rep” or “business” or any other term and the findings would still be true.
Satisfying customers is more than just telling them what they want to hear. Customers want to know that their interaction made a difference and did not result in more confusion. They are even willing to accept bad news if done in an environment where the resolution allows them to feel comfortable. Finally, if the situation allows, adding some surprising or novel twists always helps to provide a sense of unexpected delight. This will not only keep the customer happy, but also coming back.
And happy loyal customers are a decisive victory for any hero.
CFI Group has 30+ years of experience helping clients conduct CX programs. Contact us for more information on how we can help you become a CX hero.
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