Why customer experience management matters
Customer experience (CX) management is a key differentiator for today’s top brands. As customers interact with businesses over a variety of touchpoints and channels, it has become essential to offer a consistently seamless experience.
But while everyone is rushing to launch CX programs, it’s not easy to know where to focus to drive the most value and change.
A well-designed CX program should deliver real-time, actionable feedback from customers about their experiences and expectations, as well as their future intentions to recommend or purchase. It should connect multiple types of feedback across all customer touchpoints, and help organisations to focus on the areas of greatest impact.
Using appropriate customer measures, both lead and lag, organisations can then understand their performance by leveraging real-time stakeholder dashboards and comprehensive reports that need to be fully adaptable as customer priorities and business needs change. Qualtrics recommends seven key tips for organisations to manage the customer experience more effectively:
1 Customer feedback is key
Managing the customer experience depends on the ability to build a stable, repeatable process for capturing customer feedback and helping people learn from that feedback so that it is embedded into the way teams work and make decisions every day.
2 Measure the experience constantly
Organisations that measure the customer experience only at certain times of the year will fail to get a complete picture of the customer experience. Without a systematic approach, businesses will get a fragmented picture of the customer experience, which doesn’t provide enough information to make positive changes for better results.
3 Choose where to focus first
While it’s important to markedly improve all aspects of the customer experience for all types of customers across all touchpoints it’s critical to have a focus. Businesses should therefore identify the areas that customers interact with their organisation with highest frequency and prioritise the moments that matter most. Whether that’s a particular customer segment; interaction across a particular touchpoint; or interaction at a certain stage of the journey.
Whatever the business chooses to measure, it must be able to demonstrate that it has taken the feedback on board and made substantial changes accordingly before moving onto the next piece of the puzzle.
4 Set targets tied to business objectives
Measuring the customer experience and responding to opportunities for change is important but, to deliver optimal results, businesses must set clear targets that correspond to business objectives. For example, if the business is looking to reduce the transaction cycle times by a certain amount, then it should focus on the measures of the customer experience against that target. This puts the organisation’s focus on reducing cycle times, delivering a better customer experience.
5 Plan to respond
Businesses should have a plan in place for responding to customer feedback. Few things are more frustrating for customers than to feel their complaints have fallen on deaf ears. By contrast, customers who can see that their feedback was taken seriously and acted upon are far more likely to demonstrate ongoing loyalty to the company. It’s not enough for businesses to commit to responding; they must put an action plan in place that clearly lays out whose responsibility it is to respond to feedback and in what timeframe. This should be part of employees’ key performance indicators (KPIs) to illustrate that the business takes customer feedback seriously.
6 Remember employees drive experience
Many organisations forget about the impact employee engagement has on the customer experience. At the end of the day people drive change and an engaged workforce is essential for long term success of a customer-centric brand. Companies should learn from their people what gets in the way for them in delivering a superior customer experience and actively remove the barriers for their people. They should also implement a strong internal communications campaign that encourages a positive, customer-focused culture and rewards employees to deliver exceptional customer experiences. By making this approach a part of the daily culture, organisations can ensure a consistently-positive customer experience. By contrast, a culture in which employees are driven by fear of not producing results will spill over into their interactions with customers and damage the customer experience.
7 Map the journey, not the moments
Businesses that map the customer journey by segment can better understand the unique paths their customers take. This lets them measure things like barriers in the journey, what drives satisfaction, what drives purchase decisions, the relative importance of each stage in the customer journey, and more.
Organisations that can tie journey performance metrics to actions can deliver customer experiences that are tailor-made to encourage loyalty and repeat purchases. Furthermore, customers may be satisfied during individual interactions within the journey while considering themselves to be dissatisfied overall at the end of the journey. By measuring their performance when key customer experiences are delivered through the journey, and not just during one-off interactions, organisations can see opportunities for improvement as well as areas that are working well, and should be rewarded and encouraged. Furthermore, organising teams around key journeys lets businesses connect their functional siloed teams and enable them to work together to innovate, deliver customer value, and find ways to improve efficiency, which reduces cost.
To achieve all of these steps, it’s critical to capture customer feedback in the moment, not once a year or even once a month. The social media age has created an expectation among consumers that businesses will respond to them immediately. If not, they’ll quickly take their business elsewhere.
Online surveys provide an ideal channel to get in-the-moment feedback from customers. However, these can prove problematic when dealing with customers who are wary of being spammed or who have been burnt before by companies that don’t act on their feedback. Businesses need to build trust with consumersby demonstrating that they will use their feedback to change.
Qualtrics has identified three things to remember when looking to capture in-themoment customer feedback:
1 Timing is everything
Understanding when to capture feedback is critical, so the business can learn about the entire experience and make adjustments quickly.
2 Get the right feedback to make the best decisions
Just asking customers for their opinion is not enough. Organisations could be asking the wrong questions, which means they are collecting and measuring data that does not lead to the best decisions. Going deeper with the questions, pulling out a customer’s expectations, drivers and perceptions, will help the business learn how to do things better. It’s also important to divide the feedback based on demographics and touchpoints, which can include call centres, emails, chat logs, social media comments, and even customer reviews on review sites. All feedback is useful regardless of origin.
3 Prioritise closing the loop at scale
The faster a business can get customer feedback to the right teams for action, the quicker it can make adjustments to meet the needs of many customers at scale. Making adjustments faster shows customers the company listened to their opinion. This preserves and deepens trust in the brand, especially if the business identifies problems it can resolve for the customer.
Qualtrics has released its Customer Experience Management: 5 Competencies for CX Success recommended for any organisation that is looking to build or start a CX program. The competencies outlined in this e-book detail how organisations large and small can focus on customer needs, inject that view into the company, and use those customer insights to drive business results.