Like it or not, cultural awareness across nations is becoming a must for all, managers and employees alike. Discussions on organizational culture are frequently in focus because we feel we can have an active hand in learning or practicing these cultural elements, much more than we might if we did not grow up in a specific different national culture. However, as discussed in this book, there is a way to frame and understand the work behavior in various national cultures if you frame it right. This book combs her broad investigation into such cultural distinctions and formulated into a framework of eight different scales.
Each of the eight scales is described as a continuum between the two ends which are diametric opposite or at least competing positions as follows:. Neither are they better in one direction versus the other. For example, take the Trusting scale see Fig 1. In China, Saudi Arabia or Brazil, for example, trust stems from personal relationships built over time between people. Because these national cultures are on opposite ends of the Trusting scale, there is a tendency to see those on the opposite end as being wrong-headed about how they do things.
When working together, the challenge is not to prove how you are right and they should see your way, but to first understand that the view has value to them. It is how they are used to see and do work in environments they are familiar with. If you want to succeed in working together then have the conversation about the particular difference. Somewhere along the line of accepting, understanding or challenging, is compromise.
Cultural differences can be difficult to understand or even notice, especially when you are immersed in it. As Meyer describes,. New York City feels entirely different than Athens, Georgia. After 16 months in New Delhi working with…, I can report that I have learned a tremendous amount. As I view the American way of thinking and working and acting from this outside perspective, for the first time I see a clear, visible American culture. The culture of my country has a strong character that was totally invisible to me when I was in it and part of it.
Is stereotyping national cultures in this manner useful? Unfortunately, this point of view has kept thousands of people from learning what they need to know to meet their objectives. I tend to agree with her for a different reason: to eventually get to understanding individuals, you may want to start with trying to understand their culture, and know the differences of how they see things. This is only a starting point to really getting to know them, which I think only comes from more frequent and meaningful exchanges with them.
With any kind of evaluation framework such as in this book, I look for the data and methodology it is based upon. The diagram shows a single point per country on each scale. Early on the author explains that this the peak value in terms how managers from each particular country responded to that scale. As the author describes:.
After collecting all of the data from hundreds of interviews, we analyzed the results…. In other words, the country position on the scale indicates the mid-position of a range of acceptable or appropriate behaviors in that country. What is important is to understand the placement and then the gap between any two countries. I appreciate the real stories that capture the experience of culture clash from different views. In some anecdotes, she relates a story and conversation by her clients during a such a clash or misunderstanding.
In others, she is the protagonist of the story experiencing the point of culture confusion, and reflecting upon it. Customer satisfaction is essentially the culmination of a series of customer experiences or, one could say, the net result of the good ones minus the bad ones. To understand how to achieve satisfaction, a company must deconstruct it into its component experiences. The customers themselves—that is, the full range and unvarnished reality of their prior experiences, and then the expectations, warm or harsh, those have conjured up—must be monitored and probed.
Such attention to customers requires a closed-loop process in which every function worries about delivering a good experience, and senior management ensures that the offering keeps all those parochial conceptions in balance and thus linked to the bottom line. This article will describe how to create such a process, composed of three kinds of customer monitoring: past patterns, present patterns, and potential patterns.
These patterns can also be referred to by the frequency with which they are measured: persistent, periodic, and pulsed. By understanding the different purposes and different owners of these three techniques—and how they work together not contentiously —a company can turn pipe dreams of customer focus into a real business system.
How Accurate Are Personality Tests?
Customer experience is the internal and subjective response customers have to any direct or indirect contact with a company. Direct contact generally occurs in the course of purchase, use, and service and is usually initiated by the customer. It might just be an e-mail from one customer to another. Every Apple product is designed with the overarching purpose of making the time one spends with Apple an enjoyable experience. In , Mercedes-Benz introduced a system that automatically controls the distance between a Mercedes and the car in front.
BMW would not consider developing such a feature unless it amplified rather than diminished the driving experience.
Understanding Customer Experience
Service quality and scope matter, too, but mostly when the core offering is itself a service. For example, the tracking and shipping support FedEx provides on the Internet and by phone is as important to customers as its fundamental value proposition—on-time delivery. In their concern with logistics—how something is provided, not just what is provided—business-to-business companies take after consumer-service companies.
For both, the goal is to provide a positive experience to the end user. In a B2B context, a good experience is not a thrilling one but one that is trouble-free and hence reassuring to those in charge. Accordingly, sales and marketing do not necessarily monopolize points of contact with customers: Operations people at the first company deal directly with their counterparts at the second, and so forth.
The functional nature of the relationship—indeed, the fact that it is a true relationship—creates a pervasive awareness of experience issues and priorities. For a young family with limited time and resources, a brief encounter with an insurance broker or financial planner may be adequate.
Not all touch points are of equivalent value. Service interactions matter more when the core offering is a service. Companies need to map the corridor of touch points and watch for snarls. At each touch point, the gap between customer expectations and experience spells the difference between customer delight and something less. Customers instinctively compare each new experience, positive or otherwise, with their previous ones and judge it accordingly.
For example, Dell transformed buying computers over the Internet from a risky to a reliable experience. When it extended that set of procedures to the selection and purchase of expensive plasma HDTV sets, however, it disappointed. Dell did an effective job of creating positive customer expectations, but they turned out to be better fulfilled by the in-person sales force at Best Buy. Ideally, good design makes both the most routine and the weightiest customer experiences—checking a price, getting a question answered, or placing a multimillion-dollar order—pleasant and efficient.
However, even when dissatisfaction or wariness arises, artful control of consumer experience can overcome it. Upon releasing the new medication, which had demonstrated advantages over existing ones, Gilead noticed that while sales to patients new to therapy were robust, sales to patients already undergoing treatment were growing far more slowly than expected. Switching requires ending a trusted relationship in the hope of reaching an uncertain improvement level. The company also learned that HIV-positive patients are far more interested in the potential adverse effects of a new drug than in its supposedly superior efficacy.
Three forces in the main conspire to preserve this gap. Having spent millions of dollars on customer relationship management software, many CEOs consider their problem to be not a lack of customer information but a superfluity of it. Before investing more time and money, executives justifiably want to know how customer experience data are different and what their value is. CRM tracks customer actions after the fact; CEM customer experience management captures the immediate response of the customer to its encounters with the company.
CEM Versus CRM Customer experience management and customer relationship management differ in their subject matter, timing, monitoring, audience, and purpose. Leaders who rose through customer-facing functions, such as Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers, are more likely to act with reference to customer experience than those who have not. When competing new technologies are difficult to choose among, Cisco defers its choice until key customers have registered their reactions. Because the company knows there will be a market for the choice it finally makes, it can afford to commit itself later than its competitors.
In contrast, executives who rose through finance, engineering, or manufacturing often regard managing customer experience as the responsibility of sales, marketing, or customer service. Once data start flowing, the bogeymen come out of the closet. Can we afford to do what customers are asking for?
How do we choose between conflicting preferences? Can we accept what customers say they are experiencing without first telling them what they should be experiencing? Corporate leaders who would never tolerate a large gap between forecasted and actual revenues prefer to look the other way when company and customer assessments diverge, as they do in the Bain survey.
Corporate leaders who would never tolerate a large gap between forecasted and actual revenues prefer to look the other way when company and customer assessments diverge. However, statistical analysis has developed to the point where it can dependably quantify both the relative importance of each touch point and the experience it provided. It can also isolate key transactions, accounts, regions, customer segments, and so forth, and then parse the resulting data.
About ten years ago, companies started collecting experience information electronically.
Now they can instantly combine it with data collected from CRM systems and other customer databases, conduct analyses of both individual and aggregate responses in real time, and then automatically route and track issues needing resolution. Approached, however, with the requisite empathy and insight, they can be in their own way more revealing than concrete findings. Many organizations place responsibility for collecting and assessing customer experience data within a single, IT-supported customer-facing group. Doing so accomplishes at least three things: It saves money; it protects customers from redundant and annoying solicitations; and it permits direct comparison of customers on the basis of their location, choice of product, or some other criterion.
But it is a mistake to assign to customer-facing groups overall accountability for the design, delivery, and creation of a superior customer experience, thereby excusing those more distant from the customer from understanding it. In contrast to this common pattern, Palm drew on customer experience to make the Treo one of its most successful products ever. A combination of cell phone and Palm Pilot, the original Treo used the same built-in rechargeable battery as the Palm organizers. When used as a cell phone, the device consumed far more power than it did when used as an organizer.
So customers who were heavy users of the cell phone feature found that their Treos were often losing power—and often at an inconvenient distance from their rechargers. Dissatisfied with the status quo, customer service vice president Dan Gilbert, showing unusual initiative, distributed the experience data his department had collected to product development, which went to work on the problem.
The next-generation Treo came with a battery that users replace. Typically, however, a vigorous reaction to intelligence gathered on customer experience requires general management to orchestrate a response to customer problems. Intuit learned that when it tried to address the trouble customers were having installing a new release of TurboTax. There are three patterns of customer experience information, each with its own pace and level of data collection. Tracking Customer Experience: Persistent, Periodic, Pulsed Companies can monitor various patterns of interaction with customers to gain a better understanding of the customer experience they are providing.
Depending on the precise information a company is seeking, it may choose to analyze past patterns, present patterns, potential patterns, or a combination. Each pattern requires a distinct method of generating and analyzing data and will yield different types of insights. When companies monitor transactions occurring in large numbers and completed by individual customers, they are looking at past patterns. As these two examples demonstrate, each attempt to determine the quality of the experience directly follows the experience itself.
A Framework for Assessing Effects of the Food System.
Although surveys are the tool used most often for gathering data on past patterns, customers are sometimes approached through online forums and blogs. For this reason, the employees evaluating results must be attuned to areas of customer experience that a survey or other tool does not directly address. Analyses of present patterns are not simply evaluations of the meaning and success of a recent encounter. They envision a continuing relationship with the customer. By initiating contact with different customers at different times throughout the year, BearingPoint has created an almost persistent data flow that does not depend on the completion of a given transaction, while permitting comparisons among customers on a range of issues.
BearingPoint learned in this fashion that the best practices it had established in one vertical-market group had not migrated to other groups. Present patterns are collected through surveys or face-to-face interviews, studies tailored to the subject, or some combination thereof.
It helps to prepare customers for the inquiry by telling them the purpose of the survey, how they will hear about the findings, and what role they might play in addressing them. Accordingly, Hewlett-Packard rewards its account managers on survey-participation rates as well as results. Potential patterns are uncovered by probing for opportunities, which often emerge from interpretation of customer data as well as observation of customer behavior. Most companies apply a single summary metric to data on past and present patterns.
As relationships with customers deepen, companies tend to collect data with greater frequency.
The patterns that emerge suggest further areas of inquiry. For example, present-relationship studies may indicate that on-site service experience is wanting. Low cost and ease of modification make surveys the overwhelming favorite for measuring past and present patterns. E-mail—based surveys are superior to paper-based ones because they can be more easily shared; they allow rapid distribution; they give the surveyor the flexibility to extend or abbreviate the questioning according to the wishes of the respondent or the substance of the response; they minimize delays in analyzing the results; and they lead to quick action, such as a referral to a general manager should scores fall below a predetermined level.
E-mail surveys can also be more easily tailored. For example, the surveys Marvin Windows and Doors sends to its distributors are different from those sent to architects who buy its products. A well-designed survey is not simply one that elicits the desired information.
It must itself avoid becoming an unfortunate aspect of the customer experience. One way of keeping surveys mercifully brief is to avoid asking about matters like recent purchases that the company already has a record of. Nor should they be triggered by the transactions of regular customers such as purchasing agents. Such customers are, after all, among those a business can least afford to annoy.