10 Principles for Optimizing Your Customer Experience (CX) Data
Customer expectations are rising — faster than the speed at which companies can improve their customer experience. Customers want every interaction — with any company with which they do business — to be the best it can possibly be. As a result, organizations have responded by developing often complex Customer Experience (CX) programs across a multitude of touchpoints to evaluate, and improve, their performance.
The result? Data overload! Organizations are now overwhelmed with mountains of information about customer relationships and experiences that they can’t effectively manage. This has actually hindered the ability of many organizations to impact those experiences and leverage customer-driven insights.
This last decade has seen the growth of Software as a Service (SaaS) providers, with organizations installing sophisticated reporting platforms for collecting, distributing, and reporting CX data. A well-written survey and plug-and-play software are all that’s needed for CX excellence … right? Wrong! In fact, nearly 85% of CX professionals are still struggling at being just data gatherers — taking away from their ability to be change agents in their organization. So what is it that you can do to effectively manage this onslaught of data and be the change agents that you need to be?
You can make the most of your CX research using a CX Action Framework that includes 10 Principles spanning across 3 core components: Corporate Alignment, Corporate Development, and Optimization. As strategy gets implemented with the 10 Principles below, companies experience a positive impact on customer loyalty, higher retention, and, ultimately, increased revenue.
1. First and foremost, your CX program needs to be designed for action based on the information you collect to “close the loop” with your customer. You are essentially measuring to manage your frontline to perform against the expectations and behaviors you defined; improve processes; and identify areas for change and enhancement based on the evolving service desires and needs of customers. Always make sure a fully designed system is in place prior to any closed-loop implementation.
2. Establish a governance within your organization. A CX program across a large organization will require consistency of measurement across business units, with a keen eye on preventing any “unique and arbitrary” measures.
3. Act only if it’s important to your customers. A well-designed customer journey map will help identify those “key moments that matter” to customers. Discard measurements that aren’t important to customers.
4. Your CX program must be motivational, one that allows management to instantly recognize top performers in delivering great CX. This can effectively be implemented via the reporting platform.
5. Use post-transaction programs to manage the behaviors and performance of your frontline staff. It’s critical that the input and feedback you give is at an individual level. Monthly store or branch-level reports are far less effective than one-on-one feedback sessions conducted on a weekly (or bi-weekly) basis, during which you can talk to an employee about their specific conversations with customers and the feedback the company received. Such discussions empower employee ownership of the dynamics involved in their daily customer interactions.
6. Incorporate employee development into your program. This typically includes a suite of tools for training to make the CX coaching process effective, easy, and fun.
7. Effective communication of the results is critical. For every successful CX program there’s C-Suite support. Communication across the entire organization helps to ensure results are used effectively. When possible (and it makes sense), communication should come from senior management and occur in stages to build excitement and corporate acceptance. Specific action plans for improvement should be provided to business leaders as well.
8. Root-cause analysis helps to statistically identify and address the real issues affecting your business. A simulator based off the analysis to explore “what if” scenarios is a best practice to help identify customer-driven priorities that need action.
9. Social media integration is another important element. It’s the connection of what people are saying to you in the surveys and what they are saying about you in social media.
10. Lastly, your CX programs need to be continually refreshed. Your customer needs will change, and so should your measurement. Establish an annual planning cycle including a mid-year review of insights gleaned from your various studies. Look for improvements at the product and channel level. This will allow your team to better prioritize what you need to do to move the needle.
Client Results with a CX Action Framework
So, can these principles really make a difference? Here’s just one example of an organization that came to us struggling to move the needle:
A major financial services company had a very complex and expensive CX program in place for a number of years, including a strong reporting platform. But they were still struggling — showing no movement of scores, very limited actionability, and little to no revenue consequences.
After a review of their challenges, we implemented a program leveraging the principles discussed above. Corporate alignment, corporate development, and optimization included process improvement, issue resolution (utilizing closed-loop), individual-level feedback, employee incentives, and social media integration; with it all being managed through a corporate governance structure.
A 15% improvement in the Customer Experience scores and revenue savings in the millions of dollars that can be tied back to these customer-driven process improvements. Our client’s team moved from data gatherers to real change agents for their organization.
Looking to impact meaningful change with your organization’s CX programs? Contact us to discuss implementing these 10 Principles.