At a Glance: 3 Employee & Customer Experience Program Use Cases for Financial Services Brands

Financial services brands know that customers take their money seriously, so many of them leverage employee and customer experience programs to understand what their customers need, then create experiences that build trusting, positive customer/brand relationships. However, these relationships aren’t the only things experience programs can support for brands.

In fact, many financial services companies use their customer experience programs as a primary tool to influence key business outcomes. Looking for a few real life examples of how brands have done this? We’ve compiled a quick list of inspiring stories from our finserv clients. Check them out below: 

Three Financial Services Customer Experience Program Use Cases

Use Case #1: Empowering Employees

A global senior wealth management firm was able to utilize its CX programs to gather information from up to 150,000 clients annually. The data was tied to client asset information, allowing all portal users to view the opportunities and risks by customer segment. Timely and integrated reports allowed different employee groups to utilize this information, proving that experience initiatives truly empower all employees regardless of where they fall in an organizational hierarchy. 

To get even more specific:

  • Financial advisors were able to identify and save at-risk client relationships, pinpoint opportunities for growth and potential new business, and leverage both the survey process and their own results to market themselves to prospective clients.
  • Field management was able to prioritize its coaching based on financial advisor survey results, manage key client relationships (in excess of $2 million dollars) at their branch, and foster peer coaching by pairing advisors with different strengths and weaknesses.
  • Senior management was able to quantify the impact of customer satisfaction on revenue and profit, as well as identify key opportunities at the firm level to improve the client experience and grow relationships

Use Case #2: Preventing Churn

A global financial services firm used its CX solutions to identify customer segments that were most at risk. This effort helped the brand prioritize retention and inspired it to invest in strategies to reduce churn.

By focusing on the customer experience, the company achieved immediate intelligence that it was then able to deliver to the team members who could make a difference, accelerating current and future operations service enhancements. The brand was able to identify the key variables that most impacted loyalty for various customer segments, paving the way for initiatives to enhance the end customer’s service experience.

Use Case #3: Combining CX and EX

One retail financial services firm struggled to retain its members. With customer demand hot on the rise, this fast-growth firm found it difficult to listen and respond to those individuals, but with retention at stake, it got moving on its experience initiatives.

The firm launched more transaction-based listening programs to gather real-time customer feedback and serve as the collective core of its updated CX program. In addition, the brand launched employee feedback programs and a customer relationship survey that would both help it view overall customer health and cross-reference customer and employee perspectives.

This new program launched using greater mobile engagement, text analytics, and case management to close the loop. Within 18 months, the firm expanded the number of products/services per customer household by 16 percent, resulting in a 4 percent increase in loan share of wallet. The brand also increased its customer base by 31 percent and identified specific areas for improvement and expansion based on customer feedback. Wow!

There’s More Where That Came From!

Each of these use cases is incredibly inspiring, but the good news doesn’t stop there. In our latest eBook, we lay out four specific business goals that financial services brands can achieve with their experience programs. You can check it out for free on our Resources page, where you can also find a collection of customer stories that describe how industry leaders make a difference with their experience programs!

Click here to read “The Top 4 CX Business Goals for Financial Services Brands!

Interviews Aren’t Dead: How B2B Companies Can Learn More from Their Buyers

B2B purchasing decisions are complex. They’re financial. They’re political. But more than anything—they’re unpredictable. While B2B firms have more systems in place than ever to predict sales outcomes, they’re still blindsided when prospects choose another vendor.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! To avoid this fate, it’s critical to have a process in place for exploring, analyzing, and improving the buyer experience—win or lose. You might have already guessed it, but I’m talking about buyer interviews.

Using the Right Listening Technique

There’s no one right way to collect feedback. It depends on the audience, the timing, the circumstances, and ultimately—what you’re trying to learn. Whether you’re sending SMS surveys, analyzing social reviews, or conducting phone interviews, it’s about using the right listening technique for the situation to get the best results.

Following the methodology below, our own customer experience (CX) program (Elevate) is successfully getting feedback from upwards of 90% of closed sales opportunities in our best months—and the insights are invaluable.

Here’s what we’re doing and why we think it is successful. 

Building Human Connections

For our post-opportunity listening post, we’ve found that interviews are the most effective way to engage buyers. And the intelligence we glean from these “buyer interviews” is impactful across teams.

Interviews can either supplement or replace a post-sales survey. I’ve found that many buyers actually prefer spending 30 minutes on the phone with me rather than two-minutes completing a survey. 

Also, the suggestion of a phone call lets the client know that we’re willing to take the time to listen—that we care, we want to learn, and we want to improve. It’s all about building that human connection, and it is a great way to get sticky with new clients and show your investment from the start. 

Buyer Interviews Process

Now, I bet you’re wondering how we efficiently scale this largely manual process!

First, we conduct dozens of interviews each quarter. The open-ended nature of an interview allows us to ask all of the right questions and follow the conversation wherever the respondent takes it. And we use the robust insights to drive cross-functional action. Across all of our listening posts, I can confidently say buyer interviews have quickly become one of our most beloved data sources. 

The Insights

Here are some of the things we’ve learned—and the teams that have benefited—by rolling out our buyer interview program:

  • Pricing (sales ops)
  • Roadmap Investments (product)
  • Messaging, Packaging, and Competitive (product marketing)
  • Demos (solution consultants)
  • Presentations (sales directors)
  • Renewal Strategy (client success)

At a regular cadence, our “Experience Improvement Board” looks at the emerging themes, chooses projects and specific actions, and assigns an executive owner. This owner then forms a “tiger team” to research and tackle the project—and reports on progress each month! 

Time to Get Started!

If buyer interviews are not currently part of your post-opportunity strategy, they should be. They will not only increase your response rate, but will give you additional intelligence and insight into what your buyers expect from your company. It’s the most personal way to request feedback and build lasting relationships, win or lose.

I’m not done sharing the successes of our buyer interview program. In subsequent blogs, I will talk about some of the questions we ask during interviews, challenges you may face in your conversations (and how to overcome them), interview do’s and don’ts, how to build your “interview team,” and what sorts of insights you should specifically try to gain from interviews.

But in the meantime, if you have questions about launching or refining your own buyer interview program, I’d love to talk to you. I’m Josh Marans, Director Experience Improvement at InMoment, and you can find me on Linkedin.

How to Eliminate Friction in Your Customer Journey

What Is Friction in the Customer Journey?

When most folks think of friction, they probably think of middle school science class. But if you’re a customer experience professional, “friction” is probably a term you’ve heard whenever your teammates talk about reducing customer churn. Within that context, friction refers to points in the brand experience that can have a long-term impact on customers’ relationship with a business. Friction may even cause some customers to quit a brand altogether.

Why Is It Important to Reduce Friction in the Customer Journey?

Did you know that the average business today loses between 10-30% of its customers annually?

Additionally, research by Carlson Marketing shows that U.S. companies lose 50% of their customers every five years. Multiply the amount of churning customers by the lifetime value (LTV) of the average customer at your organization and losing customers at this rate means losing millions of dollars!

Because of this, it’s essential that brands have an experience program in place that can detect friction, help experience professionals understand the problem(s) creating that friction, and correct them. The result is both a meaningfully improved experience and saved customer relationships. So, without further ado, let’s go over how your organization can ensure it’s eliminating friction across your customer journey.

How Can You Eliminate Friction in the Customer Journey?

#1: Understand The Moments That Matter

Like we said earlier, an important part of reducing friction is knowing about and understanding the moments that matter to customers. Brands can achieve this understanding by mapping out a few of their most important customer journeys. Learning about key touchpoints is one of the best ways to become aware of problems as they arise.

One of the most impactful methods to identify these moments and then reduce friction across your customer journey is InMoment’s Touchpoint Impact Mapping. Touchpoint Impact Mapping is a innovative way of understanding the moments that matter to customers. It is unique because it is based entirely on comment data drawn from customer feedback, ensuring a more accurate view of the customer’s memory of their experience. This creates an emotional picture of the journey that highlights what is most important to customers and also allows our clients to prioritize those moments that matter most to their customers.

Click here to hear how banking giant, Virgin Money, leveraged Touchpoint Impact Mapping to identify a key friction point and then improve its customer onboarding experience!

What’s more, once you’ve identified those high-impact moments, you can use this strategy to immediately begin solving those problems and expediently reduce journey friction. Understanding touchpoints and their drawbacks enables organizations to come up with solutions, implement them, and listen to see how they’re working. Experience practitioners can then point to those changes, and their improvements, when proving their program’s worth.

#2: Talk to Employees

Research has even shown that a highly engaged workforce increases profitability by 21%! So, getting your customers’ take on an experience is clearly important, but many brands, in their rush to do so, overlook chatting with their employees about customer journeys as well. Employees, especially frontline ones, can provide extremely powerful and eye-opening intel about your brand’s experience. How can brands access and leverage that?

The best way for brands to get their employees’ perspective is by letting them constantly submit feedback and ideas in real-time. Rather than relying on, say, an annual survey, organizations should instead utilize experience platforms that give employees a constant voice. This also further allows brands to learn about, and act upon, problems as they emerge in real-time instead of too far down the road for the customer’s liking.

Want to learn more about how employees can help you decrease friction in the customer journey and grow customer loyalty and value? Check out this infographic!

#3: Keeping Tabs on Your Customer Journey

That notion of being constantly aware of journey friction as it happens is at the heart of keeping it suppressed as much as possible. Surveys are important, but this dynamic is another reason why they’re insufficient for reducing journey friction by themselves—a constantly possible problem demands a constantly active solution. Organizations simply cannot achieve that level of awareness otherwise.

Another element of getting a full picture of your experience is leveraging data sources outside of surveys. And that’s going to become crucial in the next few years. Why? Because only 19% of U.S. Gen Z customers are likely to complete a traditional survey.

Instead of relying solely on direct surveys, brands can do this by combining survey listening with other sources of data, like your employees’ perspectives, and putting it against a backdrop of financial and operational information. This approach creates a 360-degree view of your customers and experience, an understanding that your organization can leverage to reduce friction, boost retention, and create a meaningfully improved experience.

Want to learn more about improving customer retention? We just published an entire eBook on the subject—click here to check it out!

2022 EX Trends: The Top 2 Things Employees Must Have in Their Next Job

Even if you don’t work in the HR space, you’ve probably seen the term “The Great Resignation” cross your news feed at least once (or 100 times, more likely). At the very least, no matter what department you operate out of, you’ve seen the unprecedented level of churn the job market is experiencing right now. And that might leave you wondering: what employee must haves are convincing employees to leave their old jobs for new ones?

There’s a lot to unpack with The Great Resignation, but one of the core truths playing out here is that many employees aren’t getting what they’re looking for from their employers in 2022. We dove into that in our recent 2022 Experience Trends Report (you can check out the full findings here), but we’re going to quickly cover two of those things here for you today.

What Do Employees Want from Their Employers?

  1. Supportive Culture
  2. Connection to Customer Experience

Employee Must Have #1: Supportive Culture

It may sound like a no-brainer to have an employee-supporting culture in place at your organization, but if the amount of employee churn going on right now is any indication, far fewer brands have that scheme in place than you might think. A lot of folks believe that the COVID-19 pandemic was the starting line for employee churn, but the truth is that the pandemic only exacerbated a lack of employee support that had already been there for a long time.

This is why it’s so important for organizations to invest heavily in this employee must have if they haven’t already. The best ‘employee support’ is what EX experts call employee commitment, wherein companies roll up their sleeves and dig deep to learn how they can better drive transparency, trust, and communication. Much of the churn we’re seeing with The Great Resignation stems from employees feeling that these elements were absent at their previous workplace.

Whereas the traditional employee response model has been to react to problems only as they arise, it’s become pretty clear that that’s no longer sufficient for retaining talent. Helping employees feel a human connection to their brand has never been easy, and the specs of that mission vary from company to company, but investing the time and effort into identifying what that looks like for your organization will make all the difference when it comes to employee retention. Remember; employees don’t want you to react to problems after they’ve occurred. They want to feel a bold, human connection to your brand.

Employee Must Have #2: Connection to Customer Experience

As important as it is for employees to feel connected to their organizations, workplace connections are only part of the puzzle. There’s another element here that employees are actively seeking as they look for opportunities in 2022, and that’s a connection with the customers and clients that brands like yours partner with.

On the surface, this may seem like yet another no-brainer. Employees become more committed when they see how their work makes a difference in a customer’s life. The thing is, though, is that a lot of companies have committed to illustrating that difference only to frontline employees, when the reality is that every team, frontline or otherwise, works together toward that goal. 

With that idea in mind, it’s vital for brands to find ways to let even those non-customer-facing teams know how their work contributes to Experience Improvement (XI) among customers. This contributes to employees’ sense of value at your organization and reduces the risk that comes with the siloed feeling many non-customer-facing individuals may encounter during their work. Demonstrating that link will look different at each company, but organizations need to find a way to do so now more than ever. 

The 2022 Employee Landscape

All in all, employees are seeking two major factors in 2022:  a culture that commits to them rather than just reacting to issues after they occur, and a chance to see how exactly their work matters to customers no matter how far they are from the front line. 

These tasks are by no means easy to execute on, but if you put the time and effort into figuring out how, you’ll be able to retain your talent and continue building meaningful experiences for both your employees and your customers!

5 Simple Steps Retailers Can Take to Build Stronger Relationships with Customers

Customer loyalty has become more elusive in the past few years. As customers seem to shop solely based on the best deal, it can be difficult to build customer loyalty in retail, which leaves many brands wondering if customer loyalty is even worth the effort.

However challenging it may be for retailers, developing a loyal customer base is essential to maintaining an active, healthy brand. A loyal customer is valuable to retailers in a multitude of ways. Many studies show that repeat customers are likely to purchase more frequently, spend more money, and pay a premium for a product. In addition to generating more income from their own purchases, loyal customers are more likely to refer new customers to the brand, furthering the cycle of customer retention.

As a retailer, how do you build these types of relationships with your customers? Read below for our five best tips.

5 Ways to Build Customer Loyalty in Retail

Step #1: Personal Experience

Your frontline staff play a large role in converting a customer from an occasional shopper to a brand advocate. Train your employees to go above and beyond to provide your customers with helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable service to create an experience your customers will remember. Work toward a culture of centered on employee engagement and provide your staff with regular training, feedback, and incentives to encourage consistently excellent performance. Simply put, investing in employee engagement saves you money.

Step #2: Store Experience

Is your retail store an inviting place for customers to spend their time? If you design your store to provide an appealing experience, customers will be more likely to visit your store as an activity or a destination. Your store should be clean, attractive, and easy to navigate. In addition to the physical design and layout of your store, pay close attention to your inventory. Customers expect stores to be well-stocked with high-quality merchandise.

Remember that retail purchases are intertwined with a shopper’s life, image, and identity. Your store experience and aesthetics should affirm to customers that your brand is a good fit with their lifestyle and personal identity.

Step #3: Price and Value

Retailers often mistakenly think that customers will only buy the cheapest product available, regardless of the brand or retailer. While this may be true in some markets, many consumers are willing to pay more if they feel the price matches the product’s quality. Price your products so that the perceived value is high. Sales, coupons, and promotions can also help customers feel like your brand offers a good value.

Many customers will pay slightly more to shop at a store that provides a better experience and that treats their employees well. As you improve your brand’s personal and store experience, your perceived value will increase.

Step #4: Marketing and Communication

Once you’ve fine-tuned your brand experience and product pricing, you can begin to promote customer loyalty through marketing campaigns. Your marketing and communication efforts should positively reflect your brand. As you plan your marketing strategy, prioritize brand voice and consistency across all of your channels (e.g. social media, email marketing, online advertising, and in-store promotions). If you have customers who enthusiastically promote your brand online, engage with them and encourage their behavior.

Again, consider that loyal customers will consider purchases from your brand as an extension of their personality and lifestyle. Use this to your advantage as you build customer relationships through your marketing campaigns.

Step #5: Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are a great way to incentivize customers to visit your store more frequently. Discounts and promotions that are tied to a loyalty program can help customers feel that you value their business. The data generated by loyalty programs is also very valuable. When implemented correctly, you can use this data to help customers find products they’ve purchased in the past or return an item without the hassle of a receipt. On the retailer’s side, this data can also be used to learn more about customer purchasing habits and establish net promoter score. As always, use and protect customer data appropriately and with discretion.

As you harmonize the touchpoints of your retail brand, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by improved customer relationships and a stronger bottom line. InMoment’s products are designed to help retailers create a positive brand experience and to cultivate lasting relationships. Learn more about our products and services for retailers.

The Importance of Employee Loyalty in the Workplace

We all know that employee loyalty is important, but oftentimes we forget how employee loyalty is connected with customer loyalty and how loyal employees contribute to the success of the entire business.

“Profit and growth are stimulated primarily by customer loyalty. Loyalty is a direct result of customer satisfaction. Satisfaction is largely influenced by the value of services provided to customers. Value is created by satisfied, loyal, and productive employees. Employee satisfaction, in turn, results primarily from high-quality support services and policies that enable employees to deliver results to customers.” (Putting the Service-Profit Chain to Work, Harvard Business Review, 1994)

Leadership and Loyalty

There is a strong relationship between employee satisfaction and employee loyalty and between employee loyalty and customer loyalty and, ultimately, profitability. So what is the secret to fostering employee loyalty and preventing employee turnover? Effective leadership.

In fact, according to a survey conducted by Korn Ferry, 33% of employees plan to look for a new job due to being bored and needing a new challenge.

Leaders who genuinely care about their people—who are “plugged in” to their organizations and listen to their employees for suggestions on how to improve—will develop corporate cultures that naturally support the concept of the Service-Profit Chain. By no surprise, employees who trust and respect the leadership of an organization often feel more empowered and motivated to do their best, which reduces employee turnover and its costs.

Those costs, particularly when layoffs are involved, can include low morale among stressed employees, and widespread distrust of the company by employees, according to the American Psychological Association’s 2014 Work and Well-Being Survey.

Metlife had similar findings in its 2011 Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, which reported that employee loyalty was  at a 3-year low. However, the study’s 2017 findings, titled “Work Redefined: A New Age” focused  on what companies can do to inspire loyalty: “With so much change, employees are looking for more stability, protection, and a safeguard against disruption. If they can find it in their employer, they’ll show their appreciation through loyalty.”

Much of the report examines what kind of benefits inspire employee loyalty in the workplace, but even great benefits can’t make up for a poor work environment, so it’s more important than ever for leaders to embrace and implement changes that encourage loyal employees who uphold your brand’s values.

6 Tips for Fostering Employee Loyalty

These tips, which are drawn largely from the experience of customer service reps (CSRs), are widely applicable since in the end we all ultimately serve the customer.

1. Give Employees the Tools They Need

Develop tools that allow employees to quickly look up the answers to common problems, share best practices and solutions with each other, and contribute to the company’s knowledge base. Train employees in soft skills as well, like de-escalating a situation, and feeling and expressing empathy.

2. Give Employees the Time They Need

Think about voice of the customer (VoC) for a moment, and how often feedback comes from a post-interaction customer satisfaction survey, whether it’s an automated phone call or email.

Now think about how much customer service is outsourced to call centers, which work effectively in keeping calls short. One call center explained the need for time limits this way:  “Companies account for customer service as a cost center, not a profit center, and companies need to keep costs down.” Talented, hard-working employees with great people skills might be forgiven for hearing this as, “You cost us, and the only value you have is your ability to keep costs down.”

This is hardly a way to build loyalty, and the pressure to keep calls short contributes to the call center industry having the highest turnover of industries worldwide. (In a 2016 post Talkdesk, a provider of call center solutions, reported the yearly turnover as 30-45%, double or triple that of all U.S. industries in 2013.)

3. Change How You Account for Customer Service

A better way to think about customer service and build employee loyalty is to think about how many customers your employees talk with and interact with each day. That gives them valuable perspective on customer wants, needs, frustrations, and satisfaction. Think about ways to record and gather that perspective, and how you can use the data to improve your services, products, offerings, and, especially, profits.

4. Measure the Right Things

Remember that not all projects take the same amount of time. Strict time limits or quotas may discourage talented employees from taking on difficult tasks. Quality Assurance and Training Connection (QATC) reported that one company saw a significant increase in retention by designating more resources and adjusting performance expectations a little for a particularly stressful call type. Think about the knowledge and experience the company held onto by keeping those employees. (Not to mention the cost savings.) QATC’s article ends with a table breaking out the line items behind the oft-quoted cost of about $6,500 to replace a non-supervisory employee.

5. Solicit Employee Feedback

How does an employee show loyalty? Through open communication. ATB Financial, which has appeared repeatedly on Achievers’ 50 Most Engaged Workplaces list (and most recently as one of The Elite 8), encourages its employees to logon to the recruiting site Glassdoor and leave anonymous reviews of the company. The chief people officer’s response to fears that employees might leave nasty reviews? “Then we’d better get a hell of a lot better,” Lorne Rubis told the Financial Post. “I’d much rather know and have the courage, strength, and conviction to allow for the data to be free-flowing than to worry about what kind of governance we put on that.”

6. Study What Other Companies Are Doing To Build Employee Loyalty

Achievers compile an annual list of 50 Most Engaged Workplaces by looking at eight categories: Leadership, Communication, Culture, Rewards and Recognition, Accountability and Performance, Vision and Values, and Corporate Social Responsibility. A good place to discover what other companies are doing is the citations for The Elite 8, the top companies in each category.

InMoment was honored to appear as one of the 50 in 2011 as Mindshare Technologies, and we’re tremendously proud to have employees who are engaged, passionate about their work, creative, and committed to providing the highest quality of internal and external service. At the heart of our company is a phenomenal leadership team that has created a culture where people work hard, care about each other, are innovative, and fun to be around.

By constantly improving from our employee feedback, we were recently awarded the Top 50 Most Engaged Workplaces in the United States.

Ready to improve employee loyalty and satisfaction in your company? See how InMoment can help you increase employee loyalty in the workplace and boost business success.

Why You Haven’t Been Able to Take Action on CX Feedback

One of the questions I am often asked by organizations is, “how do other companies use customer feedback?” Fortunately, the answer to that question is simple: most organizations use customer feedback to create PowerPoint reports or Excel spreadsheets to track performance. Then, they might tie results to compensation or be used to coach front-line employees. These are all good uses of customer feedback, but in many cases, they lead to chasing a score versus driving organizational change.  The real question, then, should be, “how do other companies take action on CX feedback?” 

The difference between “use” and “act” is subtle, but important. Taking action on customer feedback is not necessarily a more complex question to answer, but because there are many factors at play that need to be aligned to sustain action, it is more difficult to bring action to life.  In my twenty-plus years in the CX consulting industry, I’ve found the organizations that are best at taking action with customer feedback have five things in common.

5 Keys You Need to Take Action on CX Feedback  

Key #1: Senior Level Support  

One of the challenges many organizations face is gaining the support and influence to allocate both human and capital resources toward being customer-focused and action-oriented.  Thus, the critical foundation for all successful CX programs is a senior-level sponsor who embraces customer feedback and drives a customer-focused culture throughout their team.  

The role of a senior-level sponsor is most successful when they do more than just kick off the initiative and serve as a figurehead, but instead are an active participant in the process and ensure resources are allocated accordingly. When there are conflicts of interest, it is the senior level sponsor that should redirect focus toward the solutions that best align to the customer-focused strategies and, subsequently, provide sufficient firepower to allow people to maintain that focus.

Key #2: Cross-Functional Engagement

Some organizations, I find, build teams to drive action, but those teams are entirely composed of people from a single area—like marketing or corporate strategy.  Truly successful organizations will build their teams to include individuals from customer channels, product lines, leadership, technology, and the front-line.  

This cross-functional view will provide insights into how each group operates and, thus, how they can work together to push the organization’s customer-focused initiatives.  Additionally, a cross-functional team reduces the perception that any initiative is “corporate driven” and instead helps build advocates and spokespeople for the initiative across the organization.  

Key #3: Design with the End in Mind  

Consider the projects you may be currently involved with. Do you have a clear line of sight to who uses the information, how, and why?  How many times have you delivered a report or feedback to a mass email list, not knowing if people are actually looking at what you’ve produced?

The fact of the matter is that anyone can collect customer feedback, but collecting the right customer feedback is what best-in-class organizations do. Organizations who do not know their end goal, what hypotheses they are trying to test, who is going to use the information, or how they intend to measure the success or failure will have a difficult time gathering the input to drive action within an organization.  

“Designing with the end in mind” is about more than just determining how best to capture customer feedback. You also need to consider how you are going to get the feedback out to the organization. As part of the initial program design, organizations also need to think through how to get employees the right information in a timely manner.  This is where customer feedback dashboards—customized for each type of employee—can create transparency for how they are personally performing, as well as how the organization is doing against key metrics. If people do not know where they and the organization stand against goals, they do not know if what they are doing is driving the right outcomes or if they need to course correct.

Key #4: Hold People Accountable

 In a recent InMoment poll, we learned that 72 percent of CX professionals do not feel their programs are very successful at driving business outcomes. I am not surprised by this finding based on the several Action Planning sessions I have facilitated with organizations to help drill down into specific problem areas and identify strategies to address those problems.  

Often during these sessions, the energy level and intentions to take action are very high amongst cross-functional team members.  However, once people go back to their day jobs, the action steps and strategies identified frequently fall to the wayside.  

Successful organizations will not only encourage Action Planning sessions, but also hold people accountable for following through.  Typically, this is in the form of weekly check-ins with committee members and monthly and/or quarterly updates with senior leadership to keep the momentum moving forward and to change direction as needed.

Key #5: An ROI Story

Identifying what drives the customer experience most will help point an organization in the right direction. Action Planning can help identify the potential next steps, but management will want to know the ROI of focusing on a particular action item. This is not new, but the challenge is often the quality and accuracy of the customer information available within an organization’s database. Unfortunately, this is usually where the process breaks down because organizations will find themselves paralyzed in discussions about the accuracy of the available information.

In my experience, it is virtually impossible to develop an ROI prediction that is 100 percent accurate. Let’s imagine for a moment your database is 100 percent accurate (even though you and I know it’s not). Your ROI model might have the right inputs, but how are you going to control for what your competitors do, fluctuations in the stock market, the latest news, etc.? Creating an ROI story will require you to make some concessions and accept that your ROI calculation will never be perfect.  

I recommend organizations identify which internal metrics they feel most confident in and use those to create an ROI story. This can be done in a simple manner such as taking the average customer value and multiplying it by the number of customers who are at-risk to determine the potential loss should they actually leave. Or a more complex statistical linkage analysis can be developed that factors in multiple variables and data sources to provide more confidence in the ROI calculation. The former may take an hour or so of time, while the latter a few weeks. Either approach will give you and management some indication of the potential impact of a particular action—and all things considered, it is the relative magnitude of this impact that is most important.

Not as Easy as You Might Think

To sum it up, taking action on customer feedback is something all organizations should strive for, but it’s not as easy to do as some may think. While the factors above may seem intuitive, only the best-in-class organizations actually put these factors into practice. If you are not one of these organizations, I encourage you to revisit your CX program so that you can help your organization move closer to actually take action on your CX feedback.  

Want to learn more about how you can take action today to improve your customer experience (and your bottom line)?  Check out this eBook, detailing six specific steps you can take now to gain some CX wins!

Three Pitfalls to Avoid When Benchmarking Your Customer Experience Program

When it comes to customer experience (CX), it’s obvious that solicited customer feedback is vital. But what if we told you that, on its own, that feedback is not sufficient to give you a thorough understanding of how your brand is delivering on experience? In fact you need a lot more. You need to understand how your employees view the experience. You need unsolicited feedback from social media and other sources. Finally,, you need to understand the greater market’s perception by benchmarking your customer experience program against competitors.

In the latest episode of InMoment’s “XI Expert Take” series, InMoment VP of Customer Experience Consulting and Insights Jeremy Griffiths takes a deep dive into benchmarking and why it’s so important for customer experience initiatives. We’ll be providing a few of the best takeaways in our article today.

Thinking About Benchmarking Your Customer Experience Program?

Before we get into pitfalls and best practices, let’s talk about why you should be benchmarking your CX program in the first place. Primarily, those of us who lead and leverage experience programs have two overarching questions to answer: 

  • How am I doing?
  • What do I need to improve to drive successful business outcomes?

So, we search for the answers in our customer and employee data. But to answer these questions fully, we can’t just look at our own strengths and weaknesses. We need to be able to see the wider context of the market to get a sense of how we compare. Only when we have that big-picture view can we be certain that we have all the necessary information to make effective, strategic decisions.

However, you don’t want to set out on a benchmarking journey just to get it done. To do it well and get the intelligence you need, there are a few pitfalls you need to avoid along the way. Here are the three benchmarking pitfalls Jeremy has seen most often in his career:

Pitfall #1: Using Benchmarks as a “Big Stick”

When Jeremy works with brands to start up or refresh their benchmarking initiatives, he often has to help leaders shift their perspective about their benchmarking scores. He says one of the most common challenges he’s seen is leaders who use their results as “a big stick to tell their team to ‘do better.’” 

The imagery here is especially effective and accurate. It’s easy to imagine that if a brand’s scores are low in comparison to competitors, a leader might use those benchmarks as a weapon to spur their employees into action. However, this can be incredibly harmful to morale in the moment and to long-term success. 

How? Let’s take a look from the employee perspective. Let’s say that your leader has just given you a talking to, assuming that you and your team are doing something  to negatively impact the experience. But what if you feel as though you’re doing the best you can? What if the real issue is something beyond your control, yet you’re still being made to feel responsible? You’d feel incredibly frustrated, devalued, and helpless. 

This is just one example of how the wrong perspective on benchmarks can negatively affect your business. As we all know, disengaged employees can lead to an increase in employee churn, and therefore, additional costs in the millions!

Pitfall #2:  Using Experience Benchmarks as an Excuse

The next pitfall Jeremy describes is directly related to the first. In fact, it’s the other extreme in terms of leadership perspective: leaders who use their benchmarks as an excuse to do nothing.

In contrast to our previous example, let’s consider a brand whose benchmarking scores are good relative to its competitors. If the leadership sees the numbers and thinks, “well, we’re obviously doing well. Why would we need to do anything differently?” there’s potential for harm to the greater business.

The reason why is quite simple: you shouldn’t let success make you complacent. In our fast-paced world, you can be ahead of the pack one second, and fall behind the next. If there’s one thing we can promise you, it’s that your competitors are competing on experience. If you’re not actively working to provide your customers with the next greatest, more convenient, more memorable experience, then the competition will surpass you—and your customers will flock to the brand with the best experience.

Pitfall #3: Being Too Focused on the Number

The third pitfall is really a cause (and effect) of the first two. Leaders either use benchmarks as a big stick or a comfort blanket because they are too focused on the number. And at the same time, they are causing their employees to focus on the number. 

The issue with this number-based focus is that it only allows you to measure or manage your experience. It does not open the door to actually improving your experiences and boosting your bottom line. To inspire these major benefits, you have to look beyond metric scores and instead focus on the “why.” Why are you performing this way? Why are competitors performing well? Why do customers choose your brand over others?

When you shift your focus from the numbers to the context, you create a proactive, inspired, and positive Experience Improvement (XI) culture that is always pushing forward. This culture inspires your employees to be problem solvers, to strive for better experiences, and to keep your customers coming back. And isn’t that why you’re benchmarking in the first place?

Moving Forward

Now that we’ve chatted about what to avoid when benchmarking, are you curious about how you should execute your initiative? Click here to watch the full episode, “How to Win with Experience Improvement in Your Marketplace,” to learn how you should design your benchmarks (from the samples to take to the questions you should ask), popular use cases, and more directly from the experts!

How Operational Excellence Now Leads to Experience Improvement Later

Operations have everything to do with both your business’s bottom line and its relationships with customers. This makes ops’ importance to Experience Improvement (XI) pretty self-explanatory.

However, as foundational as operational excellence is to a company and its experiences, there’s more that brands can do to build a bridge between operations and Experience Improvement. Today’s conversation focuses on that bridge’s two main elements: optimization and innovation.

Element to Connect Operations with Experience Improvement

  1. Optimization
  2. Innovation

XI Element #1: Optimization

Creating operational excellence isn’t a one-and-done. It’s a process that requires constant attention and tweaking. Your experience initiatives can help here by shining a light on systemic issues that might need a closer look. That spotlight can also be used to help come up with fixes for those problems. Of course, a tried-and-true process for identifying and then responding to problems like these is a must here.

Fortunately for brands and organizations everywhere, a lot of the optimizing work has already been completed by the time you hit a stride with your operational excellence! Being good at ops means skillfully gathering the deep analyses and intel your brand uses to be better. This means you’ll already have some idea of what your north star should be as you begin the optimization phase. Desiloing data and sharing it with every team in the organization is also key here.

XI Element #2: Innovation

Innovation is what optimizing your operations builds toward. It’s what allows brands to actually implement their proposed solutions, study how they go, and realize their benefits. Having operational excellence in place makes it easier for brands to forecast market trends and, ultimately, predict exactly what their customers will want. In other words, ops-fueled innovation keeps your company robust and ahead of the curve.

Staying ahead of the curve is a major part of Experience Improvement, and it can only be enabled by:

  1. Operational excellence
  2. Optimization
  3. Innovation

Anticipating what your customers want before they may even know goes a long way toward building the relationships that cause them to ignore the competition (and that let them know you care about them as people). Unstructured feedback, especially from Voice of Customer (VoC) programs, is one of the best sources of additional intel on how to stay ahead of the curve and keep pleasantly surprising your customers.

Click here to learn more about how operational excellence leads to Experience Improvement. Expert Jennifer Passini, Ph.D., goes over additional means of using ops to better your experience and how it all feeds into the grander goal of meaningful transformation for your bottom line and your customer relationships.

How Operational Excellence Can Drive Experience Improvement

Operations is a central part of brands’ day-to-day activities, as well as their aspirations to become industry leaders. “Operations” means something different to everyone, but in the end, ops seek to impact two things: your business’s bottom line and your relationships with your customers. 

Operational excellence can also allow organizations to tap into something more fundamental: Experience Improvement (XI), i.e., creating fundamental connections with customers that go deeper than just transactions. Today’s post covers how brands can steer operations toward Experience Improvement, as well as why it’s well worth their time to do so.

Table Stakes

Customers don’t usually expect the worst when picking a brand or product, but that doesn’t mean organizations shouldn’t track performance objectives related to being operationally effective. Aside from helping to prevent a bad experience, which is obviously important, operational excellence helps ensure consistency. No matter whether it’s employee teams or brand locations, organizations need to make sure that they’re being consistent with interactions and experiences. This approach further cements those fundamental connections with customers.

Another variable that brands need to be mindful of when it comes to operational excellence is customer expectations. As we’ve all seen in this digital age of ours, customer expectations are not just changing; they’re growing more complex. Meeting these ever-more complex expectations means closely measuring performance, which is another reason consistency is so important.

How This Relates to Improving Experiences

As we said earlier, brands that go about operational excellence in a certain way will end up achieving Experience Improvement, or at least laying a lot of the groundwork that makes XI happen. For example, consider a retailer that, as a matter of operational excellence, builds up its omnichannel strategy and tries to reduce customer friction wherever it can. Both of those elements help ensure the consistency we talked about earlier, but they also create opportunities for deeper relationships with customers.

What’s handy about looking at Experience Improvement this way is that the methodology is pretty much the same for any brand regardless of industry. Reducing friction, being more multi-channel, and desiloing data are all helpful for improving customer relationships (and your organization’s own view of your customers) no matter how or what you serve them. This is why it’s important to begin your Experience Improvement efforts with operational excellence—consistency creates connections.

Click here to read more about how operations fits into Experience Improvement (XI) in our latest article by experience expert Jennifer Passini, Ph.D. Jennifer reveals additional ways to leverage operations toward Experience Improvement, as well as other handy tips for creating stronger connections with your customers!

Moments That Matter in Customer Experience: Which to Focus on & Why

In our recent blog, we discussed how you can improve your customer experience (CX) strategy in five simple steps. Customer experience often relates to the long-term relationship between customers and the companies they do business with. It reflects the summary of experiences at different points along the customer journey—such as considering doing business with a brand, making a purchase and becoming a customer, receiving additional services, having issues resolved, etc— and includes multiple channels: phone, in-person, email, and so on. These various interactions along the customer journey—and, more specifically, those that have the most impact on the business—are what we like to call “Moments That Matter”  (MTM) in customer experience.

But are there some moments that matter more than others in the overall customer experience? And if so, how do we assess their importance?

Five Questions to Address

  1. What Are “Moments That Matter?”
  2. How Are “Moments That Matter” Determined?
  3. How Are “Moments That Matter” Measured?
  4. How Is the Importance of Each “Moment That Matters” assessed?
  5. Why Does the Technology You Use to Understand These Moments Matter?

Question #1: What Are “Moments That Matter?”

In the past couple of decades, it has become more clear that consumers are after more than just the “product” they purchase. Their choice to support a brand is more than just rational decision-making; it’s about emotions, too.   Today’s organizations realize this; so, they try to continuously improve the way in which they deliver those experiences. 

For example, many organizations measure call center experiences as a part of their CX program, which is a smart move. Service and support is a key element that defines customer experience, and it frequently generates memorable moments. But is the call center interaction all that matters for the customer?

Moments That Matter” are the specific interactions—like a particularly superior or terrible call center experience—that trigger customers’ feelings and leave lasting impressions. These are the specific experiences that stand out more than others and impact the customers’ long-term opinions about the organization overall. Additionally, they can likely lead to a make-or-break decision about their future relationship with the organization. 

Question #2: How Are “Moments That Matter” Determined?

A key step to identifying the “Moments That Matter” is understanding the customers’ journey throughout their relationship with the organization, from consideration and researching the product or service they need all the way through using said product or service. 

Mapping this journey starts with the organization’s knowledge of its key customer touchpoints. Next, customers provide feedback and further input to pinpoints those touchpoints most important to them. They also provide context about their best and worst experiences, wins, and pain points. This mapping helps brands focus on the key “Moments That Matter,” because, in reality, not every touchpoint and every experience is as impactful as others in creating healthy and long-lasting relationships.

Question #3: How Are “Moments That Matter” Measured?

After understanding what “Moments That Matter” are, the next step is to measure the brand’s performance at each of those moments. This is typically done using a survey format that first asks customers to evaluate their overall experience with the company. Then, it should ask which MTMs they have experienced and evaluate those they are familiar with.  It may also be effective to rate some MTMs on a battery of actional deep-dive attributes.

Question #4: How Is the Importance of Each “Moment That Matters” Assessed?

There are two general ways to assess the importance of each MTM: 

  • Ask how important each MTM is (so-called “stated importance”), or 
  • Mathematically derive importance from each MTM’s ratings and the overall experience with the company (“derived importance”). 

Derived importance has an advantage in that it does not require additional questions and simply uses respondents’ evaluation of each MTM they experienced. In general, the rating for each MTM is aligned with the overall experience rating, and the MTM that best follows the overall experience rating is therefore the most important. This type of analysis is called “driver analysis.” At InMoment, we use a technique called True Driver Analysis, which surpasses other approaches in quality of results. 

Question #5: Why Does the Approach You Use to Understand These Moments Matter?

Different statistical approaches can be used to conduct a driver analysis and assess the importance of each MTM: correlation analysis, regression analysis, structural equation modeling, and partial least squares, to name a few. The results of these approaches, however, may be biased in the presence of a strong relationship among the MTMs themselves (called “multicollinearity”). 

For this reason, InMoment uses True Driver Analysis, which is a technique designed specifically to avoid this type of bias and to assess the “true” relative impact of each MTM on an overall outcome metric. As an output of True Driver Analysis, organizations can identify the key Moments That Matter, focus their efforts, and be able to improve customer experience, loyalty, and ultimately, their bottom line.

With continuous experience improvement being a key enabler of happier customers and long-lasting customer relationships, it is most critical to identify and focus on the Moments That Matter in every experience delivered. 

To read more about a proven strategy for continuously improving experiences across your brand in five steps—as well as the brands who have found success with it—check out this article for free today!

Turn Market Research into Stories in 4 Easy Steps

Companies don’t have to look far for market research these days. In fact, most organizations are inundated with such data—operational intel, customer profiles, employee experiences, and more can all be harnessed in the blink of an eye. However, as good as it is to have all this info handy, it also presents a new challenge: making effective stories of it all.

Today, we’re going to provide a quick rundown on how your organization can carve effective, powerful stories out of your market research data, starting with four specific steps.

How to Turn Market Research Data into Stories

  1. Understanding
  2. Planning
  3. Discovery
  4. Communication

Step #1: Understanding

This step takes place before your research study even starts. It’s common for companies to begin a general study and just try to gather what’s out there, but taking time to understand pain points, stakeholder interest, and other areas of context will make your market research, and thus your stories, much stronger. In short, understanding business objectives and research needs is a must before starting any study.

Step #2: Planning

Designing with the end in mind is vital to any market research study or experience program. Establish every step of your study from beginning to end, and work with your team to figure out how the information you collect will help meet brand objectives. It’s a lot of legwork, but it will make your sampling frame and survey instruments not just better, but more intentful.

Step #3: Discovery

The discovery step is where your brand can start making stories out of its gathered data, and you’d be surprised how many organizations overlook doing so! You may dread the thought of sifting through a giant mountain of study reports, but the good news is that with discovery, you don’t have to. Rather than dive in headfirst looking for a story, work with your team to establish the story you need your research to tell first. Agreeing on that story before you sift will save you time and, frankly, result in a better narrative than whatever you might happen to find in that data mountain.

Step #4: Communication

This step is where your market research needs to stick the landing, which makes it the most important part of this entire process. Effective communication isn’t ‘just’ important for creating better customer experiences—it also helps your team justify your entire market research effort to the boardroom and build that connection to your business objectives.

The Next Step

Following these steps will make your market research both simpler and stronger, but how can your team best proceed from there? Click here to read our eBook on this subject, where we take a deep dive into the wider world of communicating powerful, effective stories with your market research!

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