Carvana: CX and Car Buying Finally Meet!
Aug25

Carvana: CX and Car Buying Finally Meet!

How Carvana is leveraging customer experience principles to revolutionize the process of buying a car. Last night began in standard fashion…I consumed a spicy chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A and wandered around the kitchen for a bit.  Things took a turn for the crazy, however, when we headed out to buy a new car out of a giant vending machine. Yes, I’m speaking of Carvana,  “The New Way to Buy a Car” as their tagline says.  For those of you who are not yet in the know, Carvana is looking to revolutionize a process 99% of us despise…purchasing a vehicle through a car dealership.  How do they accomplish this you ask?  With a huge emphasis on both automation and Customer Service.  Having now achieved the objective of buying a used Hyundai Tucson, I can say I’m a huge believer in what Carvana has created.  Let’s look at three strategic elements which culminated in an exceptional customer experience:   Convenience Through Digital CX – As with so many things today, the whole process begins online.  Carvana makes it exceptionally easy to find not only the type of car you want, but specifically the car you want.  I was considering between the Toyota Rav4, Honda CR-V, and Hyundai Tuscon.  By combining all the research from third party sources and making it extremely easy to compare features and prices, Hyundai quickly rose to the top.  At this point I could look at dozens of actual Tucsons available for pickup as soon as the next day.  There are no stock photos….you can see all the cars in great detail with 360 degree virtual tours.  Say goodbye to days of driving around to car lots with only a few relevant vehicle options, but are full of sketchy and aggressive salespeople.  This proves yet again there is always a better way- even for problems that have existed for generations.   Designing a Unique Experience and Brand – Who would have thought you could apply the “Disney” model of making magic to the car buying experience?  Carvana has found a way to do this with their giant robotic vending machine.  It’s a pretty exceptional feeling to watch your new car roll down the tower and triumphantly make it’s way through the grand double doors.  We actually could have had the car dropped off at our house, but we were so excited for the vending machine we even brought the kids!  Since when was buying a car a memorable night out for the whole family?  Well done, Carvana, well done.  There is a special loyalty factor achieved when you combine convenience with a fun, unique brand personality.  ...

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Gamification in the Service Center
Apr10

Gamification in the Service Center

How to creatively motivate and retain employees in your support environment At times I wish the word “game” was not part of the word “gamification.”  While it is certainly an important element, the principle goes far beyond the idea of playing games.  “Creatification” might be a better word to describe what is really happening.  As Robin Jenkins defines it, “Gamification is about applying the same principles that have always inspired people: goals, status and rewards – to motivate people to accomplish high-value actions.”  You are providing a unique and creative infrastructure that taps into the intrinsic motivators of your employees….the kind that will bring them to the next level. There are so many ways to make gamification happen in your workplace.  While there are countless systems and automated tools available, it’s much more than buying a piece of software.  A personalized effort is required to create a true value-add program.   While it can be helpful especially for “moment of need” training, software rarely changes culture.  In the end, it all comes down to an intentional , consistent effort over time to build great relationships.  Here are a few of the key things we learned while “gamifying” the experience in our service center:   Know your audience – Gamification should not be a “top down” effort.  Include the individuals who are going to be participating in the program while creating it.  Understanding the interests of your employees and what motivates them will be paramount to the program’s success.  Also consider the goal you are looking to accomplish.  Is this a training program or an employee experience program?  The two will look very different.  For Kevin Hegebarth (@kghegebarth on Twitter) gamification is “a formal program of collecting rewards based on the attainment of well-documented goals.”  The concept will look very different when applied in different support environments. Competitiveness vs. Collaboration – For many gamification programs, it is all about competition and moving to the top of the leader board.  These types of initiatives often work well in a sales environment.  Be careful when choosing one of these for your group, as they can often do more harm than good.  In a service center, generally a more collaborative approach is best.  Reward the individual behaviors the create success for the larger team and for your customers. Always Mix It Up – This is not a program you can put out at the beginning of the year and have it run on autopilot.  Think about why we are drawn to games….they simulate a unique and exciting experience.  As soon as that game ceases to challenge us or surprise us, we will stop playing it.  Authoring...

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Customer Delight vs. Customer Effort
May20

Customer Delight vs. Customer Effort

There are two camps forming.  Both are waving the customer experience flag with great conviction.  Thousands of support leaders are choosing sides and donning the colors of either Customer Delight or “The Effortless Experience.”  Before taking your long sword off the wall, however, let us consider the critical lessons we need to learn from each to create the perfect balance! There is great power in delighting customers.  Doing so on a regular basis can turn them into an army of word of mouth ambassadors for your brand.  And unlike your internal marketing team, they’re paying you!  Steve Denning systematically articulates in his article why those organizations who do not sustain customer delight as a focus are missing the mark.  In the book, “The Customer Delight Principle: Exceeding Customers Expectations for Bottom-Line Success” authors Timothy L. Keiningham and Terry Vavra demonstrate how mere satisfaction is not enough.  It takes more than modest approval to retain customers, as 60% of those who leave a vendor report being at least satisfied. A study into customer effort brings clarity to this otherwise confounding statistic.  In the book “The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty,” The Corporate Executive Board * notes that even the almighty Customer Satisfaction Score (the holy grail of customer support metrics) has an astoundingly low connection with loyalty.  A typical customer does not expect to be astonished on every touch point with the business. They simply want to reach a resolution as quickly and easily as possible. Therefore, we need to reduce the amount of effort required by the customer.  Actions to reduce channel switching and guide customers to the best resolution path are what foster a successful partnership.  Find out more here.  Business leaders who invest innumerable resources into fostering customer delight universally are seeing very little return on this investment. How do we reconcile this? We must create an effortless experience interspersed with pinnacles of customer delight! There are touch points in every CX journey where customers expect the extra mile.  We need to identify a handful of touch points and roll out the red carpet in these areas.  Even as we work to manufacture these summits, we can still cater to several “effortless” principles – including guiding the customer to the best resolution path.  If we know we will not create a good resolution experience for a problem using social media for example, then why would we guide our customers there?  Equip them for success and give them the right solution at the right time.  Having fantastic support channels is better (from both a delight and an effort standpoint) then having a large number of channels. One of...

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