InMoment recently hosted a webinar with three of our clients to discuss the lessons they’ve learned as they worked to establish their CX program. In “Three Things I Wish I Would Have Known When Starting/Growing a CX Program,” I facilitated interviews with Choctaw Nation, Tony Roma’s, and Discount Tire, where we discussed lessons from their individual CX journeys.
The discussion was incredibly informative and eye-opening, so for those of you who were unable to tune in, I will be writing a three-part series where I review my favorite insights from each of the client interviews. Let’s dive in!
The first client we interviewed was Choctaw Nation, an Oklahoma-based business that operates gaming sites, resorts, RV parks, a printing company, travel plazas, farms and ranches, and a country market. With so many customer journeys the brand decided to implement its first formal customer feedback management program with InMoment in order to hear and respond to customer stories.
Tommy Rhoads, executive director of guest experience and operational excellence, joined our webinar to discuss his experience implementing Choctaw’s new program and shared four lessons for other practitioners who are just starting their CX journeys.
1. Set expectations.
The first lesson Tommy shared was that any organization new to a formal VoC program must set expectations for what will happen after implementation. Tommy explained, “Customers are going to complain. Yes, customers are going to have something to say about your business, and you know, that’s really okay!” He then went on to emphasize what we here at InMoment truly believe about negative feedback: that though it may feel negative at first, this feedback is ultimately an opportunity to show your customer that you’re listening to their voice.
When you start formalizing your approach to customer feedback, it is important to expect that there will be negative feedback, but instead of dwelling on it, use it as an opportunity to identify areas for improvement.
2. Anticipate and prepare.
The next lesson Tommy described involved taking a critical look at what you already know about your business’s existing customer experience. What are the known issues you have as an organization? By identifying these before customer feedback starts pouring in, you have the opportunity to start making a plan and “look at the capability of the organization versus the capacity… to [address] it and… meet the needs of our customers.”
Tommy said that in his mind, this initial overview before implementation is the most critical step you can take when starting your CX journey (and I’d have to agree)!
3. Be flexible.
This lesson is all about expecting the unexpected. Preparation can take you a long way, but it is just a fact of the journey that unknown issues will arise. In this case, it is imperative for businesses to be flexible.
Tommy describes this flexibility as “collaborative recalibration,” or the process in which a business sits down, faces the unexpected issue, and puts a plan in place that allows them to take action. This kind of flexible approach is what will really allow your company to bounce back from unexpected issues and find CX success!
4. Don’t lose sight of the big picture.
With the incredible amounts of new customer data you will get when first applying your VoC program, it can be easy to get caught up in the minutia. In the first 13 days of Choctaw’s new program, they received 8,000 responses. Safe to say, they felt like they had a lot of work to do.
Tommy said that in the face of what might have been an overwhelming situation, they were able to find inspiration from their big picture. They knew that this feedback would be pivotal in providing the type of experiences they wanted to, and would ultimately help them to meet all their goals as a company. They also took a look at their core cultural values as a company, and returned to their task with the intention of not focusing on the negative, but emphasizing the positive. It is with this big picture outlook that Choctaw was able to start off its formal VoC efforts on the right foot.
Starting off a new customer listening program is no easy feat, but it helps to hear from organizations who have been there before and can offer first-hand advice on how to overcome CX hurdles.