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make customers happier by showing your back end: process visibility and customer engagement

I read academic studies all the time. Dozens a month, hundreds each year, and I still have a hard drive full of them - most of which I have paid for either individually or through membership in various organizations (a special shout-out to the Academy for International Business, whose JIBS journal is terrific.)

I am researching perception management for a book and a series of podcasts, and ran across this free study I thought you'd find interesting. It's a doctoral dissertation for a PhD candidate from Brazil that looks at how transparency in business processes affect customer perceptions. (Here the customers are university students, as is often the case in such studies.)

This study reinforces the strategy that back-end systems contain data that can create value for customers. FedEx started a trend when they made it possible to track your own packages. Somehow knowing where the package is, and seeing all the activities related to it, sets a customer's mind at ease - and probably their heart, too, since the package usually has value (otherwise the customer wouldn't be looking it up online) and so losing it would incur frustration, pain - even a bit of outrage. UPS followed suit. Now, the US Postal Service does it, and they handle far more packages than any specialized courier service.

What back-end data do you have, or could develop, that would create efficiencies internally while also creating an effective customer experience? In fact, with the goal of "effective" customer experience in mind, is there something more that FedEx, UPS and the US Postal Service could do? 

Yes, indeed. I have three ideas right off the top of my head that flow instantly from two areas: My five forces of customer experience framework, and sensual strategies. (The latter isn't naughty; it's about leveraging how senses create memories.)

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