How Poor Customer Journeys Can Still Succeed

Mathew Bailey

“No chance!” you tell me.

Normally I would agree with you. And most consumers and customer experience advocates, who feel that a poor customer experience is detrimental to an optimal outcome, are probably rolling their eyes and thinking I’m from some parallel universe.

“Haven’t you been paying attention to the digital disruption of the traditional business model, pressured by customer expectations?” I hear them say. Or better still, “You, my friend, have low expectations of the companies you deal with. Dictate rather than be dictated to, and move if you are not happy.”

Customer experience means a lot of things to a lot of people, so to keep things simple, I will look at it through the eyes of a consumer. How that consumer interacts with a company via a mobile device, news he or she hears about that company, or even another person’s experience with it are all part of the customer experience.

How does a company master all of these interactions and maintain a 100% positive customer experience for everyone?

Let’s be realistic with what we expect.

A brief personal story: I have insured my car with the same insurance company for almost 10 years. I’ve never really felt nurtured or received personal attention beyond being a policy number (nor have I been a positive promoter of the company), but for some reason I continue to insure my assets with this company. It is not the cheapest insurer, and its unassisted and assisted channels are obviously and unbelievably disconnected, forcing me to spend significant amounts of time navigating the best outcome. Yet I still insure with it.

“Lazy!” I hear you say.

Admittedly, I am not as diligent as I should be when it comes to managing some of my financial affairs, and I hear the word “procrastinator” more often than I might like. But lazy? No, I don’t think so. To me, customer experience is more than just how I interact with a company, getting the best price for desired goods or services, and consistent personal attention. I don’t really care if they know who I am or not. I don’t really care if they give me the best price, and I know with some patience, I will always find the answer I am looking for if I really want to find it.

So why have I insured my car with the same company for so many years? It’s simple, really:

During the times that I really needed them, they were there for me.

After a random inconvenient incident, this company guided me through the process of a quality repair, got me back on the road extremely quickly, and made sure that my customer journey—when it mattered to me—was the best it could be. I let them know how much I appreciated it. In exchange for handling this stress for me, this company gets my loyalty, my attention, and my money.

Make the journey important when it needs to be important. Isn’t that what’s most important?

Sure, my insurance company needed to know enough about me to eliminate the stress, and I’m sure it has utilized many internal resources to simplify my experience. But keeping these internal processes theirs, not mine, turned an otherwise potentially arduous shopping experience into an easy decision.

Next time we whinge and moan about how a company doesn’t know us, or that it hasn’t personalized every interaction across every channel, reflect instead and consider what we really want from our customer experience and why it is important. We might be surprised at how satisfied we actually become. And it might just give us back some time to spend on other things.

I’m interested in your thoughts—do you agree that poor customer journeys can still provide positive outcomes for all?

As a starting point, download the SAP Australian Digital Experience Report 2016, which reveals why 40% of Australian consumers are not satisfied with the digital experiences they receive from major local brands.


Mathew Bailey

About Mathew Bailey

Mathew Bailey works for SAP Australia/New Zealand with a focus on the Financial Services & Insurance (FSI) vertical. He has worked in the FSI sector for almost 15 years, mainly in Retail Banking and Personal Insurance. He has also worked in various roles across Consulting, Sales, Presales and Practice and Program Management in different parts of the world, including four years in Hong Kong, one year in Singapore, as well as short stints in the Philippines, Malaysia, Belgium and the USA.