How to Maximise Efficiency With a Small CX Team

Limited resourcing continues to be a challenge for customer experience (CX) teams across Australia and New Zealand. Whilst customer experience teams are becoming smaller, the remit of these teams are becoming broader and more complex. Most CX professionals in this region are expected to do more with less.

Our experts have weighed in on the best ways to foster efficiency within your organisation and free up your time so that you can be left to focus on creating positive change and lasting impacts across the business.

Here’s how you can maximise efficiency with a small customer experience team:

  • Democratise Data
  • Leverage available resources
  • Create CX champions
  • Level-up Your Dashboards

Democratise Data

Democratising data is an important step for protecting your teams’ time and resources, and it can be performed at any stage of CX maturity! 

Invest the time needed with key stakeholders to explain the importance of customer experience, co-create dashboards, and reduce any ambiguity about CX programs. By spreading the responsibility between team members throughout your business, you will save time both now and down the line with fewer emails, more empowered colleagues, and more visibility to your hard work. 

Leverage Available Resources 

Technology alone won’t help with demonstrating return on investment. The most effective programs have a strategic partner to help map the initial CX framework, discover those actionable insights and point out the cost savings along the way. In a recent interview, Keira Hazell, Voice of Customer Manager for Kayo Sports and Binge, said, 

“Get a CX partner to be an extension of your team. Relying on our partners at InMoment (previously MaritzCX) has extended my impact and strengthened our business outputs. ”

You need a motivated team behind yours to design the roadmap of experience management success. Best practices show that the financial impact of the CX capability is outlined in the onboarding process, tested and controlled along the way, and measured and reported against quarterly.

Create CX Champions

Take time upfront to educate teammates on the importance of customer experience and ask for volunteers to champion such initiatives across various departments. The more stakeholders invested in a CX program, the more time practitioners will have to delegate responsibilities across a business.

See which people in your business are organically gravitating toward your CX program and formalise their role as a CX champion. Empower these individuals to access the CX data anytime, anyplace to drive action. Along these lines, Voice of Customer Programme Lead of the New Zealand Post Trish Roberts described that, 

“Your CX champions will start talking about the program and make your work visible across the organisation. The more people I train up to talk about this, the more time I have to focus on the program rollout.” 

Level-Up Your Dashboards

When your dashboards are intuitive and easy to understand, stakeholders can easily circulate them within their organisations. Roberts also described her best practice tip for top-of-the-line dashboards: 

“Include a bit of information around each module in the platform so when users log in to their dashboard, they will be reminded and feel empowered to talk to the scores and represent the data accurately.”

In other words, an effective dashboard is designed to guide the user, not overload the user with data. 

We recommend you follow this design structure where possible:

  • Main KPI: Where are we? How has our performance changed over time?
  • Main KPI & Main Segment: Who/what should we focus on?
  • Sub KPIs: What is contributing to our core metric?
  • High Level Text Analytics: What overall are our customers telling us?
  • Verbatim: What are our customers actually saying about their experience?
  • Deep Analysis: Splitting KPIs up by pre-pop data.

Wrapping Up

It’s not easy doing big work with a small team, but by implementing these tips we hope it makes your job a whole lot easier. Thank you to our CX Leaders from Kayo and New Zealand Post for sharing their program optimisation insights and best practices.

For more CX best practices just like this, be sure to read our new eBook “Evolving Your CX Program” for additional tips and insights.

4 Ways to Measure (and Prove) B2B CX Program Results

If you’re a practitioner who won support for your B2B experience program and have since implemented it across your organization, congratulations! Garnering sponsorship for experience programs is not easy, but doing so means that you’ve built trust at and received investment from both the frontline and executive levels.

Now comes the hard part: proving results and justifying ROI.

Tying experience program results to improved outcomes often proves to be the most challenging aspect of running an experience program, especially since stakeholders usually express at least a little skepticism alongside all the buy-in. Luckily, there are several tried-and-true metrics that practitioners can track to justify ROI, and we’re going to hit them all right now:

  • Customer Acquisition Growth
  • Customer Retention & Recovery
  • Upselling Established Customers
  • Profitability From Lowered Costs

Metric #1: Customer Acquisition Growth

This is one of the biggest goals that most brands set for their experience programs, which makes it a vital metric for practitioners to keep track of as their initiatives take off. Acquiring new customers is neither simple nor cheap, and if there’s one group of stakeholders who constantly bears this fact in mind, it’s the C-suite.

Tracking customer acquisition is thus a must for any B2B experience program. Doing so demonstrates an experience program’s merit to all stakeholders involved, especially since, as we just mentioned, acquiring new customers is no small task. Experience platforms that can track changes and monitor new growth are especially useful here since they make proving acquisition relatively straightforward.

Metric #2: Customer Retention & Recovery

There are two big reasons why customer retention is a powerful and pertinent B2B experience metric: first, retaining customers is far cheaper than acquiring new ones, and second, most brands begin experience programs to, well, improve experiences for their existing customer base. Experience practitioners can prove their programs’ effectiveness at hitting both goals by tracking customer retention and recovery.

There’s a myriad of ways to demonstrate experience initiatives’ value when it comes to customer recovery. For example, these programs often make it simple for practitioners to survey customers who reach out to contact centers, garner feedback, and turn it into actionable intelligence. That intelligence can then be used to meaningfully improve both call center processes and customer retention along with it. All of those metrics can be tied directly to experience programs.

Method #3: Upselling Established Customers

Retaining existing business is great, but many B2B brands set their sights on a more ambitious goal: increasing their share of wallet with their established customer pool. The tools, improvements, and processes afforded by experience programs make this goal possible, and practitioners can and should tether the improvements brought about by their efforts to any increase in share of wallet.

Practitioners commonly use experience programs to upsell existing customers by honing in on those individuals’ needs and wants. They can also use these programs to call upon a backdrop of operational and financial data, which grants B2B organizations a 360-degree view of who these individuals are. Practitioners and customer experience (CX) teams can then identify and act upon upsell opportunities.

Method #4: Profitability from Lowered Costs

This ROI metric can be less flashy than sporting new customers or increased share of wallet from existing ones, but the C-suite loves it no less.

In addition to providing meaningful experience improvement opportunities, a well-run experience program can help brands identify ways to eliminate waste and save costs. Experience practitioners can establish their programs’ value by showing stakeholders such opportunities as their initiatives reveal them, giving B2B organizations the chance to save money while also being empowered to improve experiences. To put it candidly, nothing screams “value” to an organization quite like increased profitability.

Acquiring sponsorship for an experience program isn’t easy. Harder still is proving that program’s worth. However, practitioners who focus on proving their programs’ worth through these four lenses will have a markedly easier time actually doing so. They can then secure additional resources to expand their programs’ scope and reap additional success for themselves, the B2B brands they serve, and the customers who sustain those organizations.

Learn more about B2B experience programs, proving ROI, and creating continued success here.

Three Ways B2B Brands Can Promote Experience Programs Internally

At face value, pitching an experience program internally may sound like a no-brainer. Experience programs enable B2B brands to listen to clients, gather intelligence from employees, and attain a holistic understanding of where they fit in the marketplace. Who doesn’t want that?

Well, as any customer experience (CX) practitioner knows, it’s not that simple. Organizations are hemmed in by the very real restraints of time, budget, and resource allocation, which usually determines whether experience programs get greenlit at all.

Fortunately, there are effective ways to sell experience and listening programs to everyone from the boardroom to the front line, and we’re going to show you three of them:

  • Memorable Branding
  • Success Stories
  • Educational Tools

Memorable Branding

This is a great technique to generate awareness of and affinity for a CX program. Practitioners can begin building the case for an experience initiative simply by giving it a catchy or memorable name, which helps the idea stick with potential stakeholders. More importantly, it will foster connections between employees, create grassroots support for the initiative, and help drive a customer-centric culture.

Additionally, practitioners can put tools like newsletters, training videos, and even employee competitions to great effect marketing their B2B program. This strategy incentivizes employees to remain engaged with the initiative no matter where they’re located, which also helps build the same sense of unity we mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

Success Stories

Catchy names and team exercises can help CX practitioners win employees over—executives, though, are usually a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. Make no mistake, executives love clever branding ideas, but the only way to truly sell this group on B2B experience programs is success stories. It’s even better when these stories are quantifiable; nothing garners executive sponsorship quite like provable numbers.

While on the subject of numbers, practitioners should try to integrate their experience initiative into as many corporate KPIs as possible. The reasons for that are to ensure executive involvement in all sectors of the company, foster interconnectivity between offices in different countries and cultures, and to create program champions in multiple departments who can help you sell your program again in the future.

Educational Tools

Educational opportunities are an oft-overlooked benefit of experience programs, and pitching them is a great way to build the case for these initiatives. Indeed, practitioners should strive to build experience programs on education, which only makes sense when you consider that continuous improvement is these programs’ chief purpose!

With that in mind, practitioners should strive to fold white papers, training guides, videos, and other useful tools into the branding process. These resources should be complemented by in-house survey tools, customer templates and any other support mechanisms that employees find helpful.

Once all of these resources have been consolidated, it’s essential for practitioners to not only make them accessible, but also push employees to use and become reliant on them. Giving frontline employees access to real-time dashboards, for example, can help experience programs feel more familiar and even second-nature. This technique will cement an experience program’s integration into any organization.

Making the case for a B2B experience program can be a challenge at the best of times, but these techniques will enable those programs’ advocates to build organic support, gain the executive stamp of approval, and place continuous improvement at the very heart of the brands for whom they work.

Learn more about championing experience programs, acquiring B2B customers, and retaining their business by clicking here.

Three Ways to Deepen Relationships with Your Customers

It’s important for brands to spend time acquiring and then retaining new customers, but it’s just as (if not more) important to find ways to expand relationships with the customers that they already have. Today’s conversation focuses on that very theme: how can brands deepen relationships with existing customers to drive better experiences and create a positive impact on the bottom line?

The following three strategies can help organizations achieve deeper relationships with customers:

  • Creating Support Team Consistency
  • Using Formal Relationship Surveys
  • Leveraging Loyalty Programs

Strategy #1: Creating Support Team Consistency

It can be nerve-wracking when a customer submits a complaint, but such complaints can be opportunities for deeper relationships if they’re handled correctly. Make no mistake, brands should prioritize fixing whatever went wrong, but they should also seize the opportunity to do so in a way that makes the customer feel endeared to.

This strategy can only truly work, though, if every support team across the organization is consistent in eliciting those emotions from customers. That’s why it’s important for brands to invest the time and resources necessary for ensuring that all support teams endeavor to identify customer needs, create customized value and benefits, and leave customers feeling both listened to and that they are of high value to a brand. This strategy helps deepen the bond between company and customer (and turns the latter into brand advocates, a company’s best marketers).

Strategy #2: Using Formal Relationship Surveys

Surveys are no longer companies’ only means of acquiring feedback from customers, but that doesn’t mean that brands should forget about them. In fact, relationship surveys remain an invaluable means of acquiring insights-rich data from long-term customers.

While relationship surveys are great for seeing how customers are doing and what they think of a brand, their length and format makes them ideal for another purpose: spotting warning signs that are unique to your business. If enough long-term customers opine about the same problem or broken process, brands can take advantage of yet another opportunity to provide a better experience, create a stronger bottom line, and, of course, let customers know just how important they are to an organization. This is why, even in an age of multimedia feedback and multichannel listening, surveys are still a crucial component of any customer experience (CX) strategy.

Strategy #3: Leveraging Loyalty Programs

This is a big one. Though it hopefully goes without saying, organizations must constantly be vigilant for new ways to entice and reward long-term customers. Loyalty programs are a great way to drum up additional business while also deepening relationships with customers who have shopped with that brand for a while.

Loyalty programs vary wildly from company to company, let alone industry to industry, but brands should generally try to find ways to reward long-term customers with recurring benefits and discounts. More importantly, and to the point of this discussion, they should find imaginative, organic ways to just let those customers know that their business and brand advocacy is deeply appreciated. Gratitude keeps long-term customers coming back for more.

Strategies like these are effective for keeping long-term customers enticed and finding new ways to deepen relationships with those individuals. Juggling support consistency, survey design, and loyalty programs is no small balancing act, but the brands that invest in doing so can strengthen their bottom line and create an ever-better experience for the customers that sustain them.

Want to learn more about customer retention and effective customer recovery? Our webinar on this subject with experts Jim Katzman and David Van Brocklin is now available for you to view for free! You can find it here.

Three Strategies to Quickly and Effectively Recover Customers

Customer retention lies at the heart of everything from customer experience (CX) strategies to contact center tactics. Additionally, retaining and recovering existing customers is far more cost-effective for a brand than focusing solely on acquiring new business. Faced with these and other reasons, most brands see the importance of customer recovery and work hard to turn negative experiences into positive ones.

Today we’re going to touch on three proven strategies that can help organizations quickly and effectively resolve issues and recover at-risk customers. Those tactics are as follows:

  • Closed-Loop Programs
  • Multichannel Listening
  • Empowering Employees

Strategy #1: Closed-Loop Programs

As most CX-minded professionals know, closing the loop is an invaluable component of any customer retention effort.

The term “closing the loop” actually refers to two separate processes. The first, sometimes called closing the inner loop, denotes addressing and resolving individual complaints from customers. It should go without saying that closing the inner loop is vital for not just customer retention in general, but also recovering at-risk customers.

Closing the outer loop, by contrast, refers to engaging the entire organization in a holistic, continuous improvement effort. When every person who works for a brand resolves to do so in a way that creates a better experience for customers, organizations can achieve success that carries them to the top of their respective verticals. This also makes customer recovery simpler and more intuitive.

Strategy #2: Multichannel Listening

There was a time when surveys were considered the apex of customer feedback methods, and while they’re certainly still important, they’re no longer the only means by which customers report insights.

In this day and age, customers expect to be able to give feedback however they’d like, and most of the time, that means via social media or with non-text feedback. That’s why it’s important for brands keen on recovering customers to both enable a platform that combs social media for feedback, and allows feedback submissions via image, video, voice and other multimedia methods. This strategy lets customers know that you’re interested in hearing their feedback on their terms, which makes them more receptive to being recovered when a customer care agent responds.

Strategy #3: Empowering Employees

Many brands risk overlooking employees when considering how best to recover customers. Employees aren’t just invaluable for facilitating the customer recovery process—if they have an excellent experience with a brand, they’ll become much more impassioned advocates for that organization in their own right.

Thus, companies that want to more effectively recover employees must consider employee wants, perspectives, and needs (i.e. the employee experience). Providing an improved experience for employees increases their happiness and the quality of their work. That enthusiasm is infectious, and will come across to the customers that those employees are charged with recovering and caring for. This makes empowering employees a great way to recover at-risk customers.

The Recovery Trifecta

As we mentioned up top, customer recovery is essential to brands’ continued success. Companies that strive to close the inner and outer loops, listen to customers where they are and on their terms, and create an improved employee experience are setting themselves up to not just recover customers, but also to achieve meaningful change.

Want to learn more about customer retention and effective customer recovery? Our webinar on this subject with experts Jim Katzman and David Van Brocklin is now available for you to view for free! You can find it here.

How to Achieve Versatile, Modernized Listening Within CX

Whether your brand is emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic or searching for new groups of customers, it’s become clear that traditional methods of listening don’t quite cut it for learning what customers want anymore. Long-winded surveys, question inundation, and collecting only explicitly solicited feedback have long been norms in the customer experience (CX) world, but today’s brands need something more versatile if they hope to keep up with their customers.

What follows is a brief discussion of four ways to transition to versatile, modernized listening within CX:

  • Long-Form Surveys Versus Multimedia Feedback Options
  • Single-Point Versus Multi-Point Feedback
  • Spray-and-Pray Approach Versus Optimized Surveys
  • Solicited Feedback Versus Unsolicited Feedback

Long-Form Surveys Versus Multimedia Feedback Options

The long-form survey has been the traditional customer experience questionnaire for many years. Multiple brands rely on these surveys to gather feedback from customers and sometimes build their entire CX strategies around them, too. Typically, a long-form survey comes packed with questions aimed at every possible facet of the customer experience.

Ostensibly, these surveys’ goal is to gather detailed, actionable insights from customers, but their format leaves a lot to be desired. For a start, the sheer length of long-form surveys makes them unattractive to many customers, meaning that this questionnaire is often dead at the starting gate. Traditional surveys may also come packed with questions that many customers find irrelevant. Finally, long-form surveys tend to focus on what brands consider to be important, not what customers do.

Instead of throwing long-winded surveys at customers, brands should instead opt for multimedia feedback options. Multimedia feedback options kill several birds with one stone—they enable customers to express their opinions in a format they prefer (be it audio, video or other), allow brands to learn what customers consider important, and take up much less bandwidth than reams of formal questions.

Because of this, brands should do away with long-form surveys in favor of multimedia feedback options. It makes for a more versatile, more engaging solution that can better enable organizations to acquire the feedback they need to achieve meaningful change.

Single-Point Versus Multi-Point Feedback

Another strategy that has traditionally defined customer feedback efforts is restricting insights collection to a single point on the customer journey. Many brands save gathering feedback for the end of a transaction or another singular point.

The drawback with this strategy is that the customer journey doesn’t consist of a single point. It’s a multi-point, multi-channel endeavor that varies endlessly between different organizations. As such, brands can intensify their feedback collection by posting feedback options at every step of the customer journey.

When brands engage in a multi-point, multi-channel feedback strategy, they gain a holistic understanding of the customer journey that cannot be acquired via studying a single point on that journey. Focusing on a single touchpoint can skew a brand’s view of that journey and lead them to indirect conclusions. Multi-point feedback, by contrast, can give brands the full picture and thus a much better idea of what on their customer journey may need improvement.

Spray-and-Pray Approach Versus Optimized Surveys

In addition to making their surveys very lengthy, many organizations aren’t shy about inundating customers with multiple long-form questionnaires. This strategy may be intended to boost brands’ chance of receiving feedback, but all it oftentimes accomplishes is leaving customers overwhelmed and unwilling to complete any surveys, never mind all of them.

Optimized surveys are just as important to gathering accurate, actionable feedback as keeping questionnaires short or posting them at every stage of the customer journey. Optimizing surveys means posting them at whichever touchpoints customers are at, especially if they leave the journey at one given point or another. Rather than drown customers in surveys, organizations can boost the chance that their survey will be completed at all by posting it at the touchpoint most relevant to the customer in that moment

This strategy helps customers feel that brands are truly interested in what those individuals have to say. Optimizing surveys for touchpoints and feedback options also encourages customers to speak up because, as we discussed with those aforementioned options, it provides a great platform for them to speak what’s on their minds.

Solicited Feedback Versus Unsolicited Feedback

We’ve mentioned a few times now that brands traditionally load questionnaires and other feedback methods with the topics that they’re interested in. While important, this interest doesn’t always line up with what customers are interested in, and what customers are interested in can make or break an experience improvement effort.

Along those same lines, brands oftentimes prefer to focus on gathering solicited feedback from preselected groups of customers. The catch with this approach is that, much like gathering insights from a single point on the customer journey, collecting feedback from one predetermined group of people risks giving organizations a skewed view of what their customers actually want.

To gain a better understanding of their experience and what customers seek from them, companies should also strive to gather unsolicited feedback from not just customers but also brand advocates, brand detractors, and non-buyers. These groups’ opinions are just as important to understanding perception of a brand as customer perspectives, and can help companies gain that aforementioned, holistic understanding just like multi-channel feedback options.

In CX, Versatility is King

The common theme with all of these feedback strategies is versatility. Brands that that let customers express themselves in their own terms at whichever point of the experience journey they’re on will gather far more valuable feedback than organizations that don’t allow that versatility for themselves. 

Organizations can further enrich this feedback by gathering insights from any groups that interact with them, not just preferred pools of customers. By succinctly gathering information in a way that espouses context, organizations can gather the actionable insights they need to ascend their marketplace and, ultimately, create a better experience for their customers.

Interested in learning more about achieving modern, versatile feedback? Check out our webinar, “The Future of Feedback: Adapting Customer Listening for Our Changing World” here.

How Empathy Empowers Excellence When It Comes to Brand Experience

For a brief moment, it looked as though the Coronavirus pandemic might finally be under control, but recent viral surges throughout the country indicate that, unfortunately, this disease and the new way of life accompanying it will be with us for the foreseeable future. 

While this is certainly unwelcome news, especially for the thousands of businesses that are struggling right now, there is a way that these brands can both stay ahead of the competition and create a better experience for customers: empathy.

Empathy enables brands to understand what their customers want, how to reach them, and how to react quickly to any big changes. Empathy is an essential component of a winning customer experience (CX) strategy. 

Today’s discussion focuses on how brands can wield empathy to thrive, not just survive, during this pandemic, especially as it pertains to four key areas:

  • External Communications
  • Employee Policies
  • Employee Behavior
  • Taking Action

Key #1: External Communications

How can companies use empathy to meaningfully consider and improve external communications? 

Well, it should surprise no one that most customers are experiencing some kind of COVID-related stress, whether that’s staying put at home all day or coming into any sort of contact with the virus. Brands can build trust with new and existing customers by being empathetic to their concerns and putting that empathy front-and-center in their messaging.

Many brands have found great success by expressing empathy for customers’ uncertainty, then offering relief in the form of concrete action plans. Starbucks, for example, wasted no time reassuring its customers that the chains was taking the pandemic seriously and demonstrated that by instituting stringent cleanliness and social distancing measures. Crucially, the chain also told customers that it cared about employee well-being.

As a result of this messaging, many customers felt that Starbucks earnestly understood their concerns and felt empathized with by the coffee chain, which encouraged them to continue buying their cup of joe there. Companies which employ that one-two punch of empathizing with customers and taking steps to address their concerns will see success in the age of COVID.

Key #2: Employee Policies

As we touched on in the previous section, customers are paying attention now more than ever to how companies treat their employees during this pandemic. Most customers won’t give a brand the time of day if they get the impression that it doesn’t care about its employees’ safety.

Though it hopefully goes without saying, brands need to include empathy as a centerpiece of their employee policies. This means making accommodations wherever possible for employee concerns about COVID, especially when it comes to workplace safety. Brands that invest time and resources into this endeavor will retain more employees, increase those individuals’ passion for their workplace, and signal to customers that these organizations care for the folks who sustain it.

Key #3: Employee Behavior

Expressing empathy toward employees can do more than make them better brand advocates—it can also encourage them to make positive behavior changes in the workplace.

For example, employees who feel that their companies care about them and are invested in their well-being are much more likely to infuse that attitude of care and consideration into their own work, being more proactive about, say, wiping down self-checkout kiosks and even helping customers who have questions. Suffice it to say that empathy can spread quickly.

Key #4: Taking Action

We’ve touched on this a bit already, but the importance of backing up empathetic sentiments with real action really can’t be understated. Think about all of the emails you’ve received these last few months from companies who say that they’re passionately in the fight against COVID… but don’t actually back that up with anything more concrete.

That train of thought has occurred to countless customers, and it’s why taking action is so important. Actions like wider aisle spacing, better storefront cleanliness, social distancing enforcement, and other measures let customers know that a brand wants to fight COVID with more than just a polite message.

Taking action is also the ultimate act of empathy. Verbally expressing that emotion is one thing—turning it into action is quite another. Likewise, brands that take action to craft external communications around empathy, pour it into employee policies, and implement measures that reflect customer concerns are the ones that can thrive even as this pandemic continues to rage.

Want to learn more about how to survive and thrive in the age of COVID-19? Be sure to read our Special Edition CX Trends Report “Your Post-Pandemic Playbook” for additional tips and insights.

How to Tell The Story of Customer Experience ROI

Customer experience (CX) programs can usher in meaningful transformation, a more robust bottom line, and a better experience for customers, yet proving all of this ROI can be challenging for the CX teams and practitioners helming such efforts.

Today, we’re going to take a brief look at how to prove that ROI by telling the story of CX—a story of metrics, connections, aspirations, and, yes, hard numbers. The factors that comprise good CX storytelling are as follows:

  • Operational Metrics
  • Key Drivers
  • Key Metrics
  • Business Metrics

Operational Metrics

One of the best ways to prove customer experience programs’ worth is pointing to their impact on operational metrics. Of course, it’s equally important to include specific metric improvement as a goal at the outset of any CX initiative. That way, it becomes easier for practitioners to link the two when presenting to the higher-ups.

There are many operational metrics that CX programs can be used to improve. For example, if a given brand wants to decrease customer CPA (cost-per-acquisition), CX initiatives are a great way to lower cost to serve. CX practitioners can tell that story by establishing lowering cost to serve by a specific percentage as a program goal, then keep the mechanics of that program firmly tethered to that goal as they report to stakeholders and the C-suite.

Key Drivers

There are several drivers of customer satisfaction that CX programs can be particularly helpful for boosting—so, it’s also particularly helpful for CX practitioners to bear these drivers in mind as they link their initiatives to business success.

First, practitioners need to be mindful of their initiatives’ impact on trusted brand reputation. Are these CX efforts having a noticeable effect on the organization’s impact with customers? Other important drivers that brands can power with CX programs are better and more innovative advice to customers, as well as more promptness in returning to customers and closing the inner loop. Practitioners who can link customer experience to improvement in these areas will have told the CX story.

Key Metrics

Key metrics are useful tools for assessing and managing CX programs’ impact on an organization as a whole. There are several such metrics that brands can use to help measure CX efforts, including the Net Promoter Score (NPS), Overall Satisfaction (OSAT), and Customer Effort Score (CES).

The Net Promoter Score is particularly useful for distilling an organization’s CX efforts down to a single number. CX practitioners can use the Net Promoter Score to gauge how well single and multiple departments are doing in this regard. They can then utilize the Net Promoter System, the philosophy of continuous improvement that underpins the Net Promoter Score, to discern the meaning behind that number.

Metrics like NPS also make it easy to translate CX improvement into hard, specific numbers, which in turn makes practitioners’ job of pitching CX ROI to the boardroom significantly easier. Thus, relying on a key metric to tell the story of customer experience is a must.

Business Metrics

This is a big one. Improving a brand’s provided customer experience is an admirable goal, but CX program stakeholders and the C-suite are also interested in how these programs affect the bottom line.

Similarly to operational metrics, it’s important for CX practitioners to define how their initiative can positively impact several business metrics. A few of these metrics are particularly pertinent here—successfully telling the CX story means spelling out how customer experience increases brand revenue, lowers cost to serve, leads to better profitability, and finally, how it widens a company’s market share.

CX practitioners who can incorporate all four of these elements into their CX storytelling will have successfully made the case for experience initiatives’ positive impact on both a business’s standing and its interactions with customers. They can then be given additional leeway to keep improving those and other business elements through the power of customer experience.

Want to learn more about CX ROI, governance for success and more? Listen in to this latest webinar that includes brand new research from CX Network here!

Back to Basics: Serving Customers’ Fundamental Needs

One of the greatest threats that the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic poses to business owners is, well, the uncertainty of it all. We live in unprecedented times—COVID-19 has thrown a lot of the old world’s rules out and left brands wondering how to best serve customers as a viral disease rages the world over.

Though COVID-19 has changed all the rules, businesses needn’t necessarily change how they approach customer service and customer experience (CX) in these challenging times. Rather, the Coronavirus presents an opportunity to get back to the basics of providing a quality experience, and that’s addressing fundamental customer needs.

Identify, Prioritize, Address

As we discovered and outlined in our recent trends report on this subject, one of the ways that brands can stay afloat and even find continued success amid this pandemic is by identifying customers’ most fundamental needs, prioritizing such needs in business and CX plans, and then addressing them directly.

Though this strategy is nothing new to any company that wants to keep its doors open, much less take its vertical by storm, the pandemic has shined a light on one of customers’ most cherished experience needs: health and safety. If that desire wasn’t pertinent before the pandemic, it’s all the more so now.

According to our research, it’s vital that brands not only institute stringent health and safety measures, but also let customers know that those steps have been taken. This one-two strategy both ensures customer safety and reassures them that brands are taking the COVID-19 threat, and their own health, seriously.

A Serving of Success

As we discussed in our previous article on this topic, the restaurant industry is among the most favorably viewed verticals when it comes to Coronavirus responses. When the pandemic began to ramp up, restaurants made it clear that they took customer health seriously by closing dine-in services to help prevent the disease from spreading.

This action let customers know loud and clear that brands they cared about were reciprocating that emotional investment. Restaurants took things a step further by including social distancing measures in their other strategies, adapting curbside and third-party delivery services into their experiences to let customers keep coming without making them feel at risk.

As a result of taking these steps and emphasizing customer safety, restaurants rapidly became one of the most favorably viewed verticals in the country. Our research indicates that there’s a sizable divide between how favorably restaurants are viewed versus other industries that did not take similar safety measures as quickly, such as certain online-only retailers. Clearly, addressing fundamental customer needs makes all the difference, especially at a time like this.

Back to Basics

The strategy that we laid out at the beginning of this article still holds true even in the age of COVID-19. Brands can still find success in the middle of a pandemic by identifying their customers’ needs and desires, making those a priority in its grander strategy, and continually addressing and re-evaluating them. This strategy can prove successful for a brand come rain or shine, pandemic or none. Additionally, as we established with our restaurant example, can also mean the difference between meaningful success and rapid decline.

Want to learn more about how to survive and thrive in the age of COVID-19? Be sure to read our Special Edition CX Trends Report “Your Post-Pandemic Playbook” for additional tips and insights.

CX Trends: How Brands Can Thrive, Not Just Survive, During and After COVID-19

If you’re a business owner, you’ve probably heard at least one musing or another about how the strongest brands are the ones that can best adapt to change. That quote is especially true in times as unprecedented as the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we acknowledge in our trends report on this issue, it’s difficult (if not impossible) for brands to prepare for every eventuality, especially one as heartstopping as a worldwide pandemic. However, that doesn’t mean that companies shouldn’t try, and it certainly doesn’t mean that brands that try don’t stand a good chance of finding a way forward. Here’s how brands can do precisely that.

Speed: The Name of The Game

It’s never too late to create the processes and teams that brands need to adapt to a crisis like this. Our research indicates that the faster an organization acts to put these changes in place, the easier it will be for brands to maintain positive customer sentiment even in conditions as adverse as these.

Consider, for example, the gulf that lies between customer perceptions of the restaurant industry and those of online retailers. When the pandemic began truly ramping up, many restaurants responded by quickly changing teams and processes so that they could keep providing excellent experiences.

These establishments were able to maintain positive customer sentiment in a number of ways. First, they made it clear that they took customer health seriously by encouraging social distancing and even closing dine-in services. Then, they quickly adapted new strategies like curbside and third-party delivery to keep the meals going and to encourage customers to keep returning.

Finally, many restaurants were able to accomplish all of this without overburdening customers. Indeed, our research shows that the only difference many customers noticed was that they didn’t need to venture outside to grab their favorite grub!

All told, restaurants were able to keep customer sentiment positive by recognizing an encroaching threat and working quickly to adapt to it. As a result, many of these establishments continue to enjoy business even in an age of closed dining rooms and stringent social distancing guidelines.

Left Behind

Restaurants are a great COVID-era brand success story, but the same cannot be said of every industry. As we mentioned earlier, there’s a stark difference between customer perceptions of restaurants versus online retailers, and the X factor here, again, is adaptation.

When the pandemic arrived to American shores in earnest, many online retailers were slow to react. They failed to adjust incoming shipments and were slow to follow up on how that logistical change affected their stock, leading to, well, much less of it.

Additionally, a lot of online retailers also failed to take order pace and workplace safety measures into account. They did not attempt to anticipate how the pandemic would affect certain items’ stock, and they also left many of their fulfillment centers bereft of the workplace safety measures that other industries adopted in the face of the pandemic.

All of this inability to adapt did not stay confined in-house. Before long, customers became adversely affected by these retailers’ surprising slowness to adapt, resulting in overwhelmed call centers, negative comments, and unimpressed customers. Many customers were also outraged at these retailers’ seeming indifference toward employee safety, a fact that many of these individuals are paying attention to and will remember when choosing a brand to shop with in the future.

Going With the Flow

There’s an old Greek proverb about reeds surviving storms because they can bend with the current, while the oak tree is destroyed because it’s too stiff to adapt to the tempest. The same holds true for organizations and COVID—the brands that adapt will come out the other side of this pandemic in much better shape than the ones that don’t.

As we’ve illustrated with the examples above and as our research demonstrates, brand survival and brand adaptation are one in the same. Companies that can change teams and processes—that can bend with the proverbial current—will still provide quality experiences for customers. They will thus survive and thrive during and after COVID-19.

Want to learn more about how to survive and thrive in the age of COVID-19? Be sure to read our Special Edition CX Trends Report “Your Post-Pandemic Playbook” for additional tips and insights.

5 Keys to Effective Governance of Your CX Program

As businesses slowly reopen and some semblance of “normalcy” creeps back into customers’ lives, organizations are faced with an opportunity to define and find success in a post-COVID world. Customer experience (CX) programs are the best means of acquiring new customers, retaining previous ones, cross-selling within existing customer bases, and lowering cost to serve, among other benefits that brands will sorely need as they reestablish business as usual.

Whether companies are new to the CX world or looking to brush up their brand, it never hurts to (re)visit the building blocks of effective CX governance. A well-governed CX program can help brands achieve transformational success, a better bottom line, and an improved experience for their customers.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at five key elements crucial to effective CX governance:

  • Focus
  • Alignment
  • Visibility
  • Accountability
  • Management

Key #1: Focus

Seeking to deliver a better experience for customers and achieve meaningful transformation is all well and good, but what does that goal look like for your brand specifically? Brands may be united in their aspiration to deliver those goals, but getting there looks completely different in every industry from construction to coffee.

That’s why it’s important for brands to sit down and define specific, concrete goals that they want to achieve through the power of customer experience. Think about what you want your organization to accomplish—could the company stand to improve its customer retention? What about lowering cost to serve or getting better at closing the loop with customers?

Creating a focus like this enables organizations to build better CX programs and keep their eye on the ball as it grows and delivers results. It also allows brands to track their progress and introduce or subtract program elements as needed.

Key #2: Alignment

The next step companies need to take after defining goals for their CX program is to align the proper stakeholders and resources. For some brands, this might mean creating a CXO position or aligning customer service, operations and financial departments. For others, it could result in creating an entire CX team and enmeshing it alongside customer-facing departments. Either way, it’s important to get all the right players in the same room.

Aligning the right stakeholders also enables organizations to close the outer loop, i.e. adopt a company-wide culture dedicated to customer success and continuous improvement. Metrics like the Net Promoter Score and its underlying philosophy, the Net Promoter System, are also helpful here. 

Stakeholder alignment ultimately prevents customer experience from being relegated to one departmental silo and instills it as a fundamental value of doing business. This can help gear an entire organization toward continuous improvement and, ultimately, success.

Key #3: Visibility

There’s another reason why it pays to make CX an organization-wide effort: visibility. Visibility goes a long way toward inspiring employees and departments to work in concert toward an improved experience.

As we just discussed, keeping CX initiatives cooped up within a single team or department actually makes executing those initiatives harder. Sure, organizations might attain some results, but making initiatives visible across departments enables those other groups to help work toward more ambitious goals and, again, inspires all employees (customer-facing and otherwise) to work toward a better experience and transformative achievement.

Key #4: Accountability

Focus and alignment can help a CX program proliferate—accountability helps ensure that the work actually gets done. This point begs little elaboration, but once brands focus and establish both goals and KPIs for their CX program, the stakeholders involved need to hold each other accountable if they hope to hit those goals.

More specifically, CX teams should establish a regular cadence for meeting, reviewing metrics, and looking for ways to adapt today’s progress to tomorrow’s CX goals. It’s key that stakeholders review KPIs, customer data, and financial and operational metrics at these times.

Key #5: Management

Focus, alignment, visibility, and accountability all feed directly into this fifth and most important element. Effective CX governance means effective management, which means defining a specific focus for a CX program, aligning all of the key players and resources, allowing CX enthusiasm to flourish organization-wide, and keeping those aforementioned players accountable.

All of this is easier said than done, and there’s no silver bullet for the job, but great CX management comes from effectively governing its four preceding elements. Organizations that can pull that off will reap the success they’ll need to (re)establish a foothold in the post-COVID world and beyond.

How to Achieve Effective Listening in A Post-COVID World

We’ve spent quite a lot of time discussing how brands can survive during the COVID-19 pandemic, but as shops reopen and governments begin lifting quarantine measures, it’s time to start talking about how businesses can thrive after this crisis.

Sure, COVID-19’s impact will continue to be felt for quite some time, but as customers return to storefronts and some semblance of normalcy is restored, it’s essential that companies consider how to effectively listen to those individuals in a post-COVID world. What follows are a few ideas for achieving exactly that:

  • Listening to Customers
  • Listening to Employees
  • Listening to Non-Customers
  • Employing Digital Strategies

Listening to Customers

It’s imperative for businesses to keep their customer experience (CX) and listening programs on during this pandemic, and doubly so as this crisis subsides. The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed customer preferences, and tuning in to what these new desires are will make or break a brand’s post-pandemic success.

For that reason, organizations should not deactivate their listening programs as they reopen for business, let alone rely on insights gathered before quarantine measures took effect. Rather, organizations should tune their programs toward figuring out what customers want in their experiences as they emerge from quarantine.

Though these desires may vary somewhat from customer to customer, our research has identified a few common trends. For example, many customers want brands to maintain the safety standards they adopted during the pandemic, such as wider aisles for greater personal space and rigorous cleaning of self-checkout stations. Brands that listen for these and other preferences, then adjust their experience strategy accordingly, will find the success they need in a post-COVID world.

Listening to Employees

Employees have faced just as much uncertainty as customers in the age of COVID-19, if not more so. Between the threats of being furloughed or becoming flat-out unemployed, employees have had a lot of stress on their plate during this uncertain time. Brands that have spent the past few months listening closely to employee concerns and making adjustments wherever possible will emerge from this crisis much stronger than brands that don’t.

It’s key that brands continue paying this close of attention to employees as they return to work. Like their customer counterparts, employees care deeply about cleanliness measures, and will work much harder for managers and teams that they feel understand and sympathize with those desires.

There’s another reason to listen carefully to employees as quarantines subside. Depending on how they’ve been treated during this pandemic, many employees will hopefully return to work as brand advocates. Some, however, may return as detractors. Thus, it’s crucial for organizations to listen in not just to gauge how employees feel about their treatment during this pandemic, but also to address any disparities or negative sentiments.

Listening to Non-Customers

Maintaining relationships with existing customers is obviously important, but brands that want to aggressively regain footing they’ve lost during this pandemic should pay close attention to what non-customers are saying. This means expanding listening programs to cover multiple points of the customer journey, as well as giving non-buyers a chance to express their sentiments about a brand with tools like multimedia feedback.

This strategy can give organizations a heightened awareness of what potential buyers are looking for, and provide actionable insights with which to tweak experiences (within reason, of course) to better attract those individuals. This work can help businesses acquire and retain new groups of customers, which, again, is a must for companies looking to regroup and recoup after COVID-19.

Employing Digital Strategies

Listening to customers, employees, non-buyers, and other groups of individuals is important for gaining a holistic understanding of a brand’s experience and marketplace position. Knowing these things will be more important perhaps now than ever before as brands attempt to resume business as usual.

For those reasons, brands, again, should not deactivate listening programs or step away from digital strategies. If anything, companies need to adhere to both of those things more closely now than ever to find success in a post-COVID world. Multimedia feedback options, multi-point feedback, optimized survey design, and scanning for unsolicited feedback are but a few such strategies that brands can use to their advantage in a world after the Coronavirus.

Change Region

Selecting a different region will change the language and content of

North America
United States/Canada (English)
DACH (Deutsch) United Kingdom (English) France (français) Italy (Italian)
Asia Pacific
Australia (English) New Zealand (English) Singapore (English)