Video - Using Small Data and Humans to Give Great Customer Experience with Nigel T Packer

podcast Jun 29, 2022

VIDEO: 49:34 mins
AUTHOR: Robert Craven and Nigel T Packer.

In this GYDA Talks, Robert talks to Nigel T Packer. Nigel is a Digital Customer Experience Consultant and Trainer.  He is also an author and digital business speaker. For over twenty-five years he has used his extensive knowledge and broad range of experiences to engage, educate and entertain business audiences across the UK and Europe. His subject expertise includes customer experience optimisation, customer experience journey mapping, e-Business strategies, effective website development, and International digital business strategy.  He heads a consultancy practice: PelaTis Online Ltd.

Your team make your business happen but without customers you will not have a business for long. This GYDA Talks will challenge your perceptions of your digital customers, helping you understand the digital journey and get ahead of your competitors through better customer experience.

 Robert and Nigel discuss:

  • The customer is cross
  • Effective vs efficient work
  • Tribes are bad
  • Why is it so bad now?
  • Think customer
  • Start with the customer needs first
  • CX vs CS
  • Speak their language




Robert Craven  00:56

Hello, and welcome to GYDA Talks. And today I am delighted to have on the show as a guest and Nigel T Packer who runs Pilates. Hello and welcome Nigel.


Nigel T Packer  01:10

Hello, Robert. And thank you for inviting me along today.



Robert Craven  01:14

It's an absolute pleasure. So your title for today is and this is going to be like the challenging thing like using small data. And humans, we've got very pointy heads to give great customer experience. I mean, that's the title using small data in humans to give a great customer experience. But before we go into that just give a bit of background  a bit of understanding of who you are and what you do.


Nigel T Packer  01:39

Well, oddly enough, I was writing a small bio for Big Ideas Wales, which is a programme of taking entrepreneurs and business people into schools to talk to children  about entrepreneurship as a career path. And one of the first things I put in there, I started my first business at 12. And within two days, I realised if you do not help the customer to make the decision, if you do not help the customer, then you don't sell anything. And I was selling fish on the beach in a little village that I grew up in, on the coast of South Gower. And it's stayed with me all my life. Because it seems that as technology develops, everyone's jumping on technology and forgetting about humans. And once the Internet has enabled us to get out to more people, as business owners to get out to more customers. And to get to more people. It's also isolated us as well, because we don't have that opportunity  to have those conversations that we used to have in the shop when somebody would come in with a problem and you'd see it and then you find a solution for them. Where it's on the internet. You  it's anonymous, it's impersonal. And it's also self service. And how do you turn back the clock as it were? Do you want to? But how do you turn back the clock to get that interaction with a customer to understand what they're looking for. And I think a lot of smaller companies and medium sized companies find it difficult to navigate through all the information that's out there. And they've forgotten the one important thing people buy from people.


Robert Craven  03:24

I think they're my customer  king book, which was originally written in 2001. I think  when we release it for the next edition, the customer is angry. So I actually think the customer is not just that they're angry because you can't, this is going to be too grumpy old man,  you can't get what you want. So yesterday, we were trying to book some meeting rooms, you know, how hard can that be? Go to the website. Look up, take the phone number, phone them up, ask them what they've got, you know  that is such an old school thing to do that doesn't exist anymore. Most websites don't even have phone numbers on it. Because the self serve thing. They think that it's making it efficient for them. But it's really hacking you off. And three or four people will not get my custom because it made it too hard for them to actually buy from them, which is just bonkers. I mean, How did we get to a state where the customer is so clearly knocking?


Nigel T Packer  04:32

How did we exactly and I think it's because everyone saw the internet as a way of speeding things up of getting more customers. We can automate everything. And they forgot that the customer base because one of the fundamental things they haven't sat down and read through and worked out exactly who their customers are, and they're missing out and it's funny  I gave a talk to the Chartered Institute of marketing in Bristol back in 2001. And normally about 18 people would turn up to it. And I offered to give a talk on internet marketing. And I got a phone call from the organiser about a week or two weeks before and said, Oh, we've moved the venue. And I said, oh, where's it now? And they said, Oh, it's now in the Wesleyan centre, rather than the small golf club that they used to hold it in. And I said, Oh, any particular reason for this, or we've had a bit more interest than normal. I said, Well, how many people are coming is a we've got 150 registered so far. I'm thinking, Oh, God, and it really frightened me. Because I knew that the people who were going were chartered marketeers fellows of the Chartered Institute of marketing. And there were all these people. And I had this crisis moment, just before I started my presentation. And I sort of realised that  after I'd been speaking for a few minutes, they were all writing, I'm thinking they don't know this, I said, this is madness. And then it suddenly occurred to me, they think we got to do everything new. And everything I was saying, because I thought I was teaching them to suck eggs, everything I was saying was all based on all the marketing knowledge that had been accumulated over 100 years of marketing, nothing changed, all the  rules stayed the same. It's just we had a new tool, the internet. And I think what's happened is there's a laziness come into the marketing arena, because people are not stopped to thinking about the customer. And they are focusing on the technology and automation to do all the work for them. Take for instance, even the automated response. Phone calls you have today, the voice sounds like a human being, but actually it's a machine, it's a piece of software that's doing it  for the company that saves them employing someone to actually speak to the customer is just crazy. And you can fool them so easily just by saying why all the time, when they ask you a question, or could you explain that? Why? And they can't compute because all they're doing is looking for key phrases, which aren't necessarily connected to what the question you want to ask is. Or they just use some fill in these fields on a thing and book your room, like you were trying to say, but you want a specific type of room, you want specific facilities there you want. And it doesn't say everything in the end on the website. And I've always said that if you have to put an FAQ page up, the website fails, because it should be explained in the website, what people need. And if you've got an FAQ page,  then it's wrong. And oddly enough, I was discussing this with my colleague earlier. I sent in a question to Microsoft in 2006. I'm still waiting for a response. Okay, they've upgraded seven times since. But it's like, if no one's going to respond, then what is the worth of having this automated system in it? Well, you know, you want to speak to a human being.


Robert Craven  08:08

Don't you think that from their point of view, side with your goals and pay the price? So if you're able to work with a bank, and the bank had, I think 2 million customers, on any given day, their helpline, their call centres are going to get anything between 1000 and 100,000 calls and they don't know what that  number is going to be. So they've got a massive logistic problem. And then on top of that, anything they can do to make to add an extra call into each hour that the telephony does is a massive savings. So anything they can do, from their point of view, to slow it all down, so that the telephony just can get your details up and be ready to their advantage. Now, I think it's an absolute disgrace. At this conference, they're all saying how awesome they are, they've made all the savings. But their argument would be that you know, across their business, it is efficient and more profitable. And my argument would be, but the customers don't love it. The power has moved back to the supplier. You know, we thought customers were king, but that's absolutely nonsense, you know, unless you go into a local shop, where they know who you are, oh, you'd like your land cut this way. Blah, blah, blah, blah, we'll bring it to you. But the majority of the time is about efficiency at the up at the price of the customer experience.


Nigel T Packer  09:54

I think we can relate this to the same as the supply chain itself. And we've seen that of pre pandemic, the efficiency of the just in time system on this global conveyor belt of products moving from one part of the world to the other, it was wonderful, you could order today and receive it tomorrow, even if it was flown in from the south of France, or from America, or even from China. But we've had a couple of issues with people being able to load stuff because the humans weren't there to do it because of lock downs and various other things. And then suddenly, you had a boat stuck in a series canal. And it's created such a knock on effect is destroyed the whole of the International just in time system. And I think what people have to start respecting is that things take time. And this ever increasing speed of trying to deal with everything is isolating the customer  from the producer from the seller,  it's reducing their ability to have that conversation that we would have. And everything speeded up to such a point that do you want to live in this hectic frenetic world where everything's happening at such a pace, that companies can't keep up with it, suppliers can't keep up with it, delivery organisations can't keep up with it. And the customers just thinking, Okay, it's nice and convenient. But yeah, I can wait another two days, I can wait another four days. And if you're told in advance, that it's going to take three days to arrive or five days to arrive. And you tend to say, okay, that's fine, there's no problem because I want that particular product or from that particular company. I think companies are trying to be very efficient. And yes, that's great from the company's perspective and their staff, its shareholders and all the people working within the company. But it's, as you said,  it's changed the dynamic between the customer and the company. But the company's forgetting the long term objectives of their business. And that's sustainability. And I'm not talking about eco stuff here, I'm talking about the sustainability of the business, this here in 100 years time, as well as being here now. And long term effects. And you can see this with  some of the things that some companies, especially the large companies have done, where they're moving away from talking about their product and moving more towards cultural trends and issues that have gone on in the general public and in politics. And as a result of that they're losing massive amounts of companies and massive amounts of customers because of this distraction. Okay, from talking about the product, talking about how it enhances your life and all the other things that marketing does. And talking about are you've got to do this because otherwise you won't be right. And I'd be very careful here because, you know, I don't want to say something that's going to offend anyone, because everyone's in that position these days.


Robert Craven  12:53

But  isn't it the case that  part of marketing, part of the job of marketing is to model in the modern day, I'll rephrase that is to create a tribe to create a community of advocates of value. So it's not just about the product, and the benefits. It's about. I'm a Nike type customer, and I like things and therefore I will be a Nike advocate  because I'm in the Nike tribe, or I'm in whatever it is tribes, isn't there a sense of brands trying to be  human to be not just manufacturing products and flogging them?


Nigel T Packer  13:43

This is one of the issues they're trying to create new tribes. But as we always see, when tribes are formed, you will get a core in that tribe who will continue to support you irrespective. But then what about all the other customers out there? What about that huge volume of that pool of customers that would like to buy your products but object to some of the things you've said  or are in betweens where they can buy us or they can buy Adidas or they can buy some other companies. And I think  Apple did a fantastic job, Steve Jobs, he started off and his first thing was, what does the customer want, and everything could become customer centric, and they built up this huge tribe of people now, almost to a religion on Apple products. Whereas once you've got the bat trade going, you've also got the other tribe who totally object to it because they are against some of the principles  that the bat brand represents. And even though they give fantastic customer service, they make it easy to use the products they tie people in so they can't escape. So, you know, is that really a fair view of your customers or should you be thinking that there's a lot more See, one of the things that I find confusing with the way that some other people some brands operate, is that they try and encapsulate their tribe, and create this tribe, as you said. But they forget about all the other people in the pool. And the thing is, those people are even in this day and age with all the availability of information on things you don't have. Not everybody wants a smartphone. Not everybody wants to get all their information through a screen. People are still buying newspapers.


Robert Craven  15:39

 I totally agree with you that the trouble with most digital agencies is that they think of tactics first and they go, Oh, no,  what should I be doing? I know it shouldn't be touched, you should be strategic. And it's no, no, no, you shouldn't be doing strategy you should be doing customer first figure out what the customer wants, what problems they have, blah, blah, blah, how to make that happen. So  isn't it within keeping with that kind of mindset of recognising, you can't delight all people you can to delight some people. So therefore, you should look for a narrow focus of the sorts of people who will be buying your product or service  and satisfying them 100%. And then if other people like the cut of your job, that's cool, because most of us don't need, you know, a typical digital agency that doesn't need 1000s of clients. And most agency clients don't need 1000s of sales, we just need a number of sales. So  surely there's an argument for that very focused target market.


Nigel T Packer  16:43

And there is a focus. But  if you look at the customer's journey, most of the focus, especially with the technology, all deals with once people have arrived at their website. Okay, and that's where they do most of their tracking, whereas they forget about the journey  that customer took to get to that website, the stepping stones from discovery, because the initial part is ignorance. And it's not in a derogatory way. It's just they don't know this product exists, this brand exists this, you know, this service exists. So  those people who probably do not want that product, are unaware of it. So how do you influence them? Yes, you can do the advertising on television to get a wider market. But a lot of smaller, medium sized companies who would take on the agencies to get them to do the work, don't do it. Because the agencies are too busy focusing on just that part of the website, once people have arrived at the top of the funnel as they think of it, but actually the funnel is much bigger than it is that it's higher up just catching the people who want to buy but don't know it exists. And especially for the smaller businesses, and the medium sized businesses, they're not aware of this journey that customers take before they get to the website. And then once they get to the website, a lot of companies, right, we've got their money, we've sent the product off. That's it. And a lot of them don't do a follow up. Now, agencies are meant to be involved in that same side of things. But they send out one email saying please fill in our questionnaire for feedback. You look at the questions, they're very, very tight, they're very biassed, there's no option to put in extra stuff. So you can only choose the answers that somebody wrote the questionnaire. And  there's the biases of the people filling it in. And that's a whole kettle of wriggling worms to sort out in many cases, because there are so many different biases out there.


Robert Craven  18:48

So what you're saying is what they used to call the first moment of truth, which is when the product is delivered to you, or when you  pick it up, then hold it. Agencies are not wandering back, wandering back, wandering back to when someone goes, oh, I need a new pair of trainers. Or oh, I need a new camera or whatever it is. I need a microphone for my studio. They don't actually go okay. So let's stick with microphones, because it's quite a good example. I need a new microphone for my studio. What's on offer? I don't know. I know I'll do it, I'll do it. And  I'll ask some friends What microphone they have. Oh, wow. So you can get a microphone from 20 quid to 500 quid. I'm gonna go on a report, which says what's the best budget microphone for podcasts. What you're saying is agencies aren't high enough  to funnel understanding what bit of the customer journey?



Nigel T Packer  20:06

Yes. And the emotions that are involved in our journey as well. Because for instance, booking a holiday should be a joyous experience. But actually there's quite a bit of trepidation at the moment because you don't know whether you'll be allowed to travel to that country. What are all the extra pieces of paper you've got to get done? Have I booked? And that's just to deal with that side of it. It's also about thinking about the stresses that the customer goes through when they make the payment, have they made the payment in the right way? Is it been deducted from their account, and they've got to do a lot of extra work to find out. Whereas it used to be a much more joyous experience when you walked into the traveller shop and said, Hi, we're looking to go to Tenerife. Can you tell us  some great places to go and there's interaction and that staff member is learning something about the way that their customers behave. So it improves their way of interacting with the next customer.


Robert Craven  21:03

My wife came off the internet the other day saying that's it, we're never gonna fly with Ryanair ever again. cheap and cheerful said no, because it's like, it was 27 pounds. And then it was three sizes of the bags, and then it was maybe a seat, and then it was priority booking another five pounds, and then it was, you know, enough I just want to go somewhere and not see the price, triple or quadruple. I just feel like I've been ripped off and I feel I've been abused. And  it's I mean, it's bizarre, we've kind of gone full circle. Now what you're saying, if I've got this right, is that you're not especially criticising what agencies do when they do no agency work. You're saying, you know, when you've got the client and turn around, you can make it happen. But what you're saying is it's they're not aware of all they're not engaged with, I would call it brand, but they're not you're not engaged with higher up the funnel. How on earth, you know, a lot of the agencies here, they sell PPC, a client comes down and says  we want some, we want some PPC, we've got 1000 pound a month, after we spend it, what should we spend on, can you spend it for us? How does an agency stop themselves from being what I call three digit monkeys just banging away on keyboards  and doing stuff to actually be part of or maybe they need to lead the conversation to get their clients to understand you can't just buy ads? It's about so much more. And that question will do for a start.  How do we get out of just delivery of PPC campaigns to actually going up the food chain?


Nigel T Packer  23:06

What it starts with what why is the per customer buying? What position is the customer in at the moment they actually start doing the search? Because suddenly  they've realised they need something. Okay, so they go in to do the search. What is their language? Okay, do they understand the technical terms being used in the keywords? How big are the key strings, you know, the phrases that are being used by the customer and  with voice activated? Search, the key strings are much bigger, because it's easy to say I'm looking for a new microphone for my studio for podcasting. Okay, so that's quite a long string, whereas before it'd be microphone podcasting. And you just put the two words in and you'd see what came up so you get a different set of answers or results  on the search engine results page and the adverts. So and again, how tight you make that because you can spend the clients money very, very quickly. Okay, and they get visitors and it looks good. But at the end of the day, it doesn't mean anything because a lot of the people are typing in the microphone for bird songs and bird song recordings and they get pulled in because the word microphone is in there and they've got this general pull of a keyword microphone to make the ad activate. And whenever I've done PPC with clients, I've always said right, it's a single phrase reworded in different orders because people put them in different combinations. So we get about 10 phrases but it goes to one advert. Okay, and which takes them to one page, which answers what that question was raised. But what interested them and once they got a lot less people clicking on it, they actually got people further down the funnel  to take them to the purchase point. And sometimes  I don't want to be critical of the agency, sometimes I see it where they just throw in a whole heap of key phrases, just to spend the client's money. And  they haven't put the work in to actually focus each adverts for each particular product, or each particular inquiry that the customer is making.


Robert Craven  25:36

 I mean, because a lot of that can now be automated. bless, bless Google. Do you think  that should be a manual piece?


Nigel T Packer  25:47

 Yeah, I think it should be manual, because the automated thing is just acting on the data that they pulled in from previous activities of people. So it's all in the past tense. They can't predict what's going to happen, they can only suggest  that may happen, because this has happened in the past. And as we see in history, often history is not the right way to go. But you learn from it. But are they learning from it?  Yes, they say the AI is learning from it. But I haven't found any good AI yet. I'm sure there's people out there screaming at the screen right now saying oh, well,  you evidently haven't investigated enough. Again, AI is about technology. And it's only as good as the person who wrote the AI in the first place, who has a vast experience of every subject matter, to be able to get that AI to work for every single thing. Go back to big data, big data is only good if you're a big company. Most websites when you analyse  the day, look at the analytics, they're getting perhaps 100 visitors a day. That's not big data. That's small data. Okay, and I think  this is one of the mistakes a lot of people are making they're using the information from big data of big companies, big organisations who have millions of visitors a day. And using that information for a company that gets 100 visitors a day, okay, have a totally different type of customer set, or tribe that they want to engage with. And they're not really thinking about their own customers, because they've stopped talking to them.



Robert Craven  27:30

Yep,  I get that if you're, if in the morning, you've been working with a football club, which has millions of inquiries and millions of pounds of stuff every day. And then in the afternoon, you're working with a 10 desk solicitor or lawyer or accountant, then the  thinking that goes into the mass product in the morning is not the same as the thinking in the afternoon. Because  the whole point of the lawyer is it's all about engagement and trust in a conversation. And in fact, the best thing the law firm can do as soon as possible is pick up the bloody phone, you know, pick up the phone and talk to people get a meeting in the diary that the less time you spend with an email system pinpointing saying thank you very much, exactly what is it that you require so that we can give you the best? What about someone selling my house? Thank you very much. The next stage is that and that data that I totally get. So just going back to it. Most agents are doing more or less the same stuff, which is say How can we get you more hits? How can we get you more sales? How can we get you better cost of customer acquisition, how can we help you with the lifetime value of clients? How can agencies get ahead of the game? In your opinion,  what should they be doing to create this better customer journey?


Nigel T Packer  29:18

I think as you know, I'm writing a book at the moment on digital customer experience. And it's about optimising that. And I spent the last year digging deeply into the different things and trying to pull out and draw out useful information that people can act on. It's a sort of half story half work manual, because I've drawn a lot from my own experiences as well as experiences from people that I've engaged with and clients I've had over the years. I haven't named them but I've mentioned my own experiences. And one of the things I think is to actually look at the customer journey itself, because  it's a step process, they actually go through a step process. And it can be as long or as short as the urgency of the client. Sometimes it can happen in a couple of minutes, because they go, Oh, Chris, we need that bank. Like, I need to get an emergency plumber in. Okay, so you type in a 24 hour emergency plumber and their location, and then up pops the stuff but then not everybody is in that position, they haven't actually seen that as an opportunity. So they aren't using that  in their business, they haven't optimised for those sorts of eventualities. Everyone starts with not knowing. And I like to say, well, let's start with a customer who doesn't know. Okay, because there are more people out there who don't know, your customer, your company, your product or your services existing than do. And it doesn't matter how big you are, because there are still people out there have never heard of Apple. Okay, where they've been living, I don't know, for the last 20 years where they've been living? I don't know. But there are people out there who have never heard of it. There are people who don't engage with technology at all. Okay, and I was looking at some statistics recently from the Office of National Statistics. And when you look at the different demographics, different ages, yes, you look at young people and 80% have got smartphones. But when you get fat going up, once you get to 30 and 30, plus the number of smartphone usage drops dramatically, until you get to 60, where it's completely the other way round, where you've got 40% not engaged with a smartphone. Okay, but they're still potential customers, they've still got disposable income to buy the products that you want to buy. And yet you see a lot of people trying to sell their products focused on an older demographic. You see them advertising on the Internet. Okay, well, they were actually they should be in the saga magazine, or on psycho websites or because all the people do use the internet, but they use them in a different way, they've either got a tablet, or they've got a laptop, or they've got a PC. And it might be an old one. So that might not be able to deal with them, the newer technologies. And so now, you know, you've got to think about that process. Once you've got there, and you've got them engaged, because then you can drop your marketing communications into their pathway as a first stepping stone to make them aware of it, draw their attention to it, suggest that they like it and then you've got to see how they progress through it. And at different levels of the funnel. People have different objectives, because they've done the research. Now they're looking at buying it possibly, but they want more information. And then suddenly there's a big space, because at that point, they're all negotiating. Now they're not negotiating with a company to try and get a better deal. They're negotiating with themselves, do I really need this? Because if I buy that I can't go on holiday next year. Or if I buy that, it allows me to go on holiday, but the wife won't be able to come or something like that, you know, say negotiating with themselves? Also, should I spend this money? Or shouldn't I? Okay, impulse buying It's, I can't have that, and they buy it. They don't think about it. Okay, so what is that characteristic of the customer that you're looking for? Once you've got that negotiation, they then go back to the website. But in the meantime, they might have done a bit more research and thought, Hmm, I wonder if they've gone here? I wonder if they've gone somewhere else? I wonder if somebody else does this, but it's a better deal? Or does somebody sell it locally, I can pop into the shop and pick it up because I know exactly what I want. And that's where you can lose them. So the ideal situation is if you can keep them on track. Okay, and then you have to ask them for information. They got to fill in forms. And that's the stuff people want to fill in forms? Do you like filling in forms? No, so again, the forms you see are filled with so much information, or require so much information and the little red star saying and must be completed? And I don't want to give them my date of birth. I don't want to tell them at this point.  How I found out about it. And anyway, if they only give you a set number of things, social media, advertising, television or whatever. It's irrelevant to me buying or purchasing something or being notified or anything going on.


Robert Craven  34:28

So you're saying that, ironically, for our own benefits, we've simplified the customer journey into a  four stage,  each stage we do something different with them. But actually, just because it fits our spreadsheet and just because it goes on the whiteboard in the office and looks very, very pretty. It doesn't reflect the truth because ...


Nigel T Packer  34:55

Yeah. Because there are more stages in the process then people realise.



Robert Craven  35:00

Or maybe less, because people don't necessarily follow your format.  I don't want to do the audit before I buy from  I've already decided I'm going to buy from you because my best friend said, you're great. And the audit is not very good. So  I just wanna give you my money, but no, you need to do the audit, and then we'll send you the report. And then we'd have, you know, someone will phone. We did some research about 10 years ago, yeah, about 10 years ago. And the findings of it were to be brief, that 80% of suppliers thought their service was fantastic.Not only I think 10% of their customers actually agree that the service was awesome. So there's an incredible myopia about how good we are at everything, and whether that's marketing or delivering the service, whatever it is, versus the customer experience. I still struggle. And I'm looking for an answer to this. To understand why we've so badly got that wrong. Because if you go and try to buy a TV from that well known electrical store, you come out with a thumping headache, because no one. I actually say you should have this one, not that one, because this one has this and that and therefore is more suitable to you. Or the thing that they advertise they have been out of stock for three months, or my customers' angry thing is, I just don't think people realise how hacked off people are trying to buy from you. Wouldn't it be amazing if someone was customer centric? Why don't most agencies and why don't most businesses get that, you know, a proper warm welcome and a smile?


Nigel T Packer  36:55

Yeah, I know. It's not putting the words, welcome to our website, at the top of the homepage, because I think people forget that a website isn't just a linear progression. It's not like walking into a big department store and you walk into the front door, and then you go through the cosmetics department, then you go into the household goods department, then you go to the first floor where all the men's clothes are, and then you've got the next floor and all the ladies closer, and then you've got the top floor, all the technology is you can enter a website from any point, and you can not get stuck on the surface and have to go through different problems, you go straight to that department. So you've got to look at it as a spherical being  or body, okay, that can be accessed from multiple points. So you can't say welcome to our website or on every page because that's just what people just laugh at because they're focused on one thing and you can distract people so easily. And you can make them angry easily as well. And I think  it's something I said in a comment on in response to a question that was put up on a Twitter chat the other day, and he said, if you listen, you'll find the opportunities will present themselves. And I think a lot of people have forgotten to listen. Okay. They've listened to the automation people saying, oh, it will reduce your labour workload, you can get  more things done in less time and everything else. And it's really great. But they've automated posting, they've automated presenting their marketing communications with whichever social media channel they use. And then they put it out there, it goes out on the hour every hour or five minutes past the hour or five minutes because they've been testing and seeing which is the most efficient. But what they find is no one's responding. Because what's happened is, so if someone does respond, there's no one there to pick it up.


Robert Craven  39:01

So you're saying the digital customer experience is broken?


Nigel T Packer  39:05

Yeah, totally broken in a lot of cases. I'm not saying for everyone, in a lot of cases, once you get the tribe thing working. Okay, which is great for Amazon and for Google, and for all these other big companies that have got a huge spread, and have built up over the last 20 years. What about all those other companies trying to get into that space? They've got to start from scratch. They've got to start and they can do a much better job. And the big companies as I said earlier, I've got the big data to draw from, but that doesn't tell you what's going to happen next year. I mean, all those people were selling summer holidays back in January of 2020. That didn't work out too well, isn't it? Okay, because you just don't know what's coming along. So you have to look at every aspect. Do things like failure mode effect analysis, and I bet most market isn't market doesn't never heard about it's an engineering term. But it's looking at the processes, looking at everything and saying what happens if this fails. Now, yes, you can drill down, you can do more and more work. But at the end of the day, I, as I've always said, gonna have a conversation with a customer, you don't have to talk to many. And you can get a picture built up very, very quickly, the seller, and stop talking to the customer. And then when they do engage with the customer, they don't listen, because they're trying to produce automated feedback forms where you put one to 5, one to 10, you put this as this year of experience, okay, but there's no opportunity to put in that conversation of what issue that person has. And I find it in so many things. So suddenly, when you write that feedback form, and you put your questions in the answers that people can select, and they can do their one to 10, you think you're getting a broad spread of information, but no, that's just been designed in that way, so that the software can analyse the information at breakneck speed. But you still don't know what the customer is thinking. Because they can only put that in if there's a space underneath it says, What are your thoughts here? And it's only the people who want feedback who have the time or the inclination to do so who will actually put that in? How many people actually write a nice comment about the wonderful service they received in Simpsons when they got a key cut last week?


Robert Craven  41:30

So what is your kind of your top five tips?


Nigel T Packer  41:36

Go back to first principles. Start thinking about the customer. And don't add it on at the end. Start with it. As Steve Jobs said, when he was doing the whole process of developing Apple back in the late 90s. His whole focus was let's start with the customer. And then build our products and all the things that we do and our brand and everything else around that. But it's not just the one bit of selling the product because it looks sexy. It's actually about starting off with why do they want it? What do they want? And they did a lot of research. And that's how it built up. And that's how they built that strength there. They started with a customer and built the products around them. Now, Okay, companies have already been producing a particular product for X number of years. And it's still selling. Are they looking at innovating? Are they looking at doing a development or improving or bringing new products online or new services online? We're gonna ask the customers first guys, the ones you know, the ones you can speak to, certainly picking up the phone. I know it's frightening.


Robert Craven  42:44

But if you ask if in 1880, you asked people what they wanted doing with a horse, they might have said we want a bag to stop them and you're going on the road, but they wouldn't come up with the idea of a car.


Nigel T Packer  43:04

That's a huge leap forward. I think as you said the customers are much angrier. And they're not getting the service that they expect now that this is one of the big things about what is the difference between customer service and customer experience. And the best way I've just defined it is that customer experience is the whole journey. Okay, just like Steve Jobs said, it's the whole journey, even the time it takes to lift the lid off the box before you can get out your phone. It's that experience, everything is a pleasure is peeling that plastic label off the screen. I mean, they even advertise the fact that it is like that it takes x number of seconds for the lid to come off. And it's all part of the thrill. And I think people have to start thinking about the whole journey, whereas customer service is have a smile, okay, and be jolly, and dealing with complaints. The call centres there to deal with complaints. And it's the wrong way around. If you have good customer experience, you don't get so many complaints. So it's that focus. And that's one of the takeaways I would say from going through this whole process. Okay, and remember that the customer doesn't speak your language. The customer doesn't know the industry terms. And this is especially significant for software companies and for specialist engineering companies where they talk about it because even the translation industry you look at the comments and the articles that a lot of translators put up there to promote their services. They're talking to other translators who will not buy their services, because they'll do it themselves unless they can they do a different language and IE and translation agencies are the same, that they talk to other translation agencies...


Robert Craven  45:05 the accountants, to the lawyers. Yeah, they all speak their own language. So okay, we're about to run out of time. So finally, it's been a fascinating conversation. And finally, what are  your big golden nuggets or your big things that you find yourself saying off and all the things you want to run down agency people, they can understand what they need to do?


Nigel T Packer  45:34

All right, yeah, a couple of older people into the office. People who've had lots of business experience in multiple sectors, and also  had customer experience as well. And, you know, it's the same with what if you've got a whole audience or a whole team, of people who are young, yes, they've got the energy, but bring in a couple of older people to just tap off the energy from the youngsters and get the old jump leads out. So it sparks up the older person, because we all need a little bit of energy boost now and again, and, and the enthusiasm of the younger people, but actually to temperate them with the knowledge and experience and understanding of the whole audience of customers out there. Not just this focus on younger people, because they will change. I was doing some work with a university a couple of years ago. And they had an app, they developed this app for all the students to have when they arrived. But one of the difficulties that they are one of the things they hadn't considered was that first year students have different requirements from second year students who have different requirements from third year students. So the app didn't upgrade as you went through your three years in doing your degree. So as a result, you've got your app, they used it for Freshers Week. And then it was dumped. And even though they were trying to communicate with the students, they couldn't get through to them because they just deleted it or switched it off from there or didn't use it  on their phones. And again, all students have phones. So people go through a different process as they get older, their ideas that their focus, and their desires change. And no one really takes that into consideration. So you've got a customer at an early stage, they bought some of your products, if you want to keep them as a lifetime customer, you've got to think about how them their desires, wants and needs change, and you need the spread in your team to be able to communicate it across the whole thing. The younger ones will learn so much. Anyway, I could go on about this all day, as you can gather. Hopefully it's been in a sequence so it hasn't been too complicated.


Robert Craven  47:56

I love the idea of a back to basics. I love the idea that we've just forgotten about why we exist. And we've been mesmerised by our own reflection in the water mesmerised  by shiny objects. And the number of times you're in an agency and you hear them saying, well, the customers should know or the customers should know, coffee. Shouldn't they are? They are just people doing their own thing. Yeah, Nigel, thank you so much. It's been an absolute pleasure talking with you. It's been a little at times we apologise for it being too Grumpy Old Men Wittering on about the good old days, but the golden era. But my point, and more clearly, your point is, you know, if we only just listened to the customers and engage with the customers, everything would work so much better for everyone, the whole thing would be much more pleasurable and like, yeah, get out there and shout it from the highest rooftop, Nigel.


Nigel T Packer  49:00

I'm doing my best.


Robert Craven  49:03

So, on that note, we'll say thank you ever so much for being a great guest. Thank you ever so much for giving us your viewpoint. And I think you have rattled some cages. So that's the mission accomplished. Yeah, thanks very much indeed.


Nigel T Packer  49:18

Thank you, Robert. Thank you very much indeed.