Customer experience is the battlefield in the digital era

Blog
23.02.21

Your customers may be talking, but do you hear them? Today two-thirds of companies compete on customer experience. Why? Because companies with initiatives to improve their customer experience see employee engagement increase by an average of 20%. They also report increased revenue – 5.7 times higher than their competitors who are lagging behind. And they’re 60% more profitable.

It sounds like customer experience is the silver bullet to success. But if that’s true, why are nearly a third (31%) of companies viewing it as an expense rather than a growth opportunity?[3]

Delivering a great customer experience consistently is a shared responsibility across the organisation. When you’re busy, it’s too easy to lose sight of the customer and keep them at the heart of everything you do.

So how do you amplify the voice of the customer so they’re always heard?

Earlier this month S&S hosted a breakfast seminar with a range of business leaders to better understand the mechanisms they have in place to really listen to their customers. The following are six lessons learned from the session: 

1. You need to start with a baseline

It’s important to start with a comprehensive insights and research study to really get under the skin of your customers. Not only will it give you a huge amount of information to act on, you might also find the insights to be quite revelatory. Some of the business leaders in our seminar discovered a real disconnect between what they thought their customer wanted, and what the customer actually wanted.

With this baseline in place, you now know what’s important to your customer, can identify where change will have the biggest impact, and perhaps most importantly, can track your progress. 

2. NPS alone isn’t enough

While the majority of our guests said they measured their Net Promoter Score (NPS), it was interesting that no-one viewed the number alone as an indicator of success.

One big criticism of NPS is that the output is a single figure, and the frustration is that it doesn’t tell you how to better support your customers and improve the business. There needs to be an evolution of NPS.

However, if we consider what’s driving the scoring from the promoters, passives and detractors, we can identify the root causes of any low scores and address them. And just as importantly, we can continue to do the things our customers love. However, people often dismiss the passive scorers, but it’s important to remember that this is the most volatile group, and also the one that creates the most opportunities, so invest your time in understanding them.

3. It takes courage

Within a business, it feels very natural to us to critique systems and processes that don’t work. If a new piece of software doesn’t quite have the functionality you need, you’ll raise it with IT or simply find something different that aligns better to your needs. It’s not often we tolerate things we deem to be broken, and yet it’s rare that someone will stand up and say, “It’s not good enough,” when it comes to customer experience.

If we are running a customer-centric organisation, we need to ensure that the voice of the customer is heard in every conversation. Give people permission to hold the mirror up to the organisation and to stand up for customers. Make it part of the organisation’s culture. Sometimes it can even be helpful to nominate someone in each meeting to ‘play’ the part of the customer to keep them at the heart of every conversation.

4. Text and sentiment analysis give deeper insights

It’s through qualitative data that we get the really rich insights and hear the real voice of the customer. But, when faced with huge volumes of unstructured data, it can feel pretty overwhelming to know where to start making sense of it all.

However, there are several tools available that use text and sentiment analysis to support analytics by structuring your data. This helps you to see themes emerging from the data, which means you can prioritise your improvement activities.

5. Ignore the art of storytelling at your peril

Storytelling is a very hard skill to master, but it’s essential if you’re to create a customer-centric organisation. By sharing your customers’ experiences in their own words, you can better communicate where the problem areas lie and the impact they have. It’s a very powerful way to create a narrative that directly connects the Board to the customers.

Now, rather than just see an NPS figure, the Board makes an emotional connection, which fuels change. And because the narrative is backed by data, it becomes easier to hold the Board to account for making change happen – after all, if you can prove where the root cause(s) of poor customer experiences lie, it’s the Board’s responsibility to invest in making the necessary improvements.

6. Take the team on the journey

Not every role within the business is customer-facing. And yet delivering a great customer experience is a shared responsibility across the whole organisation. People turn up to work wanting to do a good job. So if you can help them understand their role within the customer experience, you equip them with the knowledge to know how to do a great job.

The key to this is communication – creating a feedback loop where the customer is brought closer to the business to share their ideas, questions and concerns. These are passed to a team to act upon to improve the customer experience. And don’t forget, when you receive confirmation that the customer loved the changes, make sure you feed back to the relevant people to recognise their work. This will continue to engage them in your customer experience journey.

Find out more…

To learn more about how the successful 16% of transformation projects account for customers in their change initiatives, you can read our orange paper: The secrets of the 16%

Alternatively, why not join us on Wednesday 21st April at 5.30pm as our panel of experts discuss more key elements that businesses need in place to be change ready. Find out more and register…

 

 

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Written by Jacqueline Shakespeare