How to Find The Right CX Partner for Your Business

Developing and maintaining a customer experience (CX) program is challenging, which is why many brands turn to a partner to help see this massive endeavor through. If, like many business leaders, you’re wondering how best to go about this process, what follows is an effective methodology for finding the right CX partner for your business.

Developing and maintaining a customer experience (CX) program is challenging, which is why many brands turn to a partner to help see this massive endeavor through. If, like many business leaders, you’re wondering how best to go about this process, what follows is an effective methodology for finding the right CX partner for your business:

  1. Assess Your Current Program
  2. Establish Why a Change is Needed
  3. Incorporate The Needs of Other Stakeholders
  4. Outline Program Goals
  5. Develop Short, Middle, and Long-Term Plans

Step #1: Assess Your Current Program

Before searching for a CX partner, it’s important for brands to assess where their program is at. Specifically, organizations should establish which feedback channels they rely on, which stakeholders are involved, and whether their current program is effectively helping them attain meaningful transformation or meet business goals.

Companies that establish the scope, strengths, and weaknesses of their CX program before they begin searching for a vendor can better identify which CX partner can best suit their individual needs. Having this knowledge handy can also hasten any implementation processes once brands select a vendor.

Step #2: Establish Why a Change is Needed

Once brands have had a chance to sit down and evaluate their current CX efforts, they also need to answer a very important question: why bring in a vendor? What program or business need would recruiting a CX partner help meet?

Just as taking stock of a CX program can better prepare companies to seek out a vendor, so too can answering this question. Companies should always try to distill their CX and business shortcomings down as specifically as possible to both help find the right vendor and to be prepared to hit the ground running on improvements.

Step #3: Incorporate The Needs of Other Stakeholders

Considering company stakeholders’ needs is another important part of nailing down an ideal CX vendor. Just as they should consider why a change might be needed on the CX front, businesses also need to carefully consider which stakeholders would stand to gain from a CX partner’s assistance and how.

For example, do frontline teams need help with effectively managing customer feedback? Would Human Resources benefit from a change in how they engage with and solicit feedback from employees? These and other questions are why it’s important to consider what various stakeholders need from a CX program and how finding the right vendor could help their respective efforts.

Step #4: Outline Program Goals

This step can only take place after companies have identified how their current CX efforts are faring, why a change might be needed in those efforts, and which stakeholders need to be involved and how they’d benefit. 

To be clear, outlining program goals means establishing specific, meaningful transformations that brands wish to see, not something generic like “general CX improvement.” Much like establishing why a change is needed, outlining specific goals can help a company find the right CX partner for them significantly faster.

Step #5: Establish Short, Middle, and Long-Term Plans

Companies can take outlining program goals a step further by examining what they’d like to see a CX program achieve in the short, middle, and long term. Brands should get as specific as possible with the high water marks they’d like to achieve through customer experience, including customer acquisition, customer retention, upselling to existing customers, and by how much they’d like to lower cost to serve. These are just a few elements companies can incorporate into these plans.

Brands that take the time to put all five of these pieces into place will be excellently positioned to find the right CX vendor for their respective business goals. No matter those goals, though, it’s important to seek out a partner that offers a balance of data-powered solutions and inveterate expertise. Together, brands and their vendors can then establish needed changes, bring benefits to stakeholders, meet business goals, and achieve short, middle, and long-term success.

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Though every organization needs a customer experience (CX) solution tailored to its own industry, challenges, and strengths, there are several fundamental traits that all successful CX programs share. 

In our latest webinar, “Now is the Time to Assess and Reinvent Your CX Program” with Forrester Senior Analyst Faith Adams, Eric Smuda described five elements that together define world-class CX initiatives and can enable organizations to achieve transformational success:

  • CX-Centric Data
  • Economic Framework
  • Aligned/Empowered Employees
  • Data Accessibility
  • Organized for Success

Key #1: CX-Centric Data

If an organization hopes to reap success and meaningful learnings from its CX program, it needs to ensure that every bit of data gathered through that program is relevant to the experience it seeks to provide.

Companies can help ensure CX centricity in their data in a number of ways. First, it always helps to design feedback channels in such a way that customers can share what they think is most important about an experience, not just what a brand considers most prudent. For example, open-ended survey questions and media upload opportunities are just a few ways to help make this happen.

Brands can also make their data more CX-centric by desiloing it. Departments should never work in a bubble when it comes to soliciting feedback—rather, they need to ensure that their feedback methods aren’t running over each other and are working in concert toward a holistic understanding of the customer experience. These methods are key to ensuring more CX-centric data.

Key#2: Economic Framework

The best CX programs both help brands identify opportunities for meaningful improvement and serve as cornerstones of a companies’ economic aspirations. Thus, it pays for organizations to be mindful not only of how to provide a better experience, but also how that improved experience can help brands climb to the top of their vertical and provide new opportunities for growth.

Organizations can help their CX programs stay rooted in an economic framework by anchoring it in four economic pillars. First, companies need to ask how CX programs can help them acquire new customers. They also need to consider how those same programs can improve customer retention, identify opportunities to cross-sell/upsell within existing pools of customers, and, finally, lower cost to serve. This paradigm can help keep customer experience within an economic framework and, ultimately, improve an organization’s standing in its marketplace and with customers.

Key #3: Aligned/Empowered Employees

Employees are an integral part of any successful CX effort. Thus, brands that want to be customer experience leaders need to empower their employees to take part in that endeavor. 

How exactly can companies accomplish this? For starters, it pays to recognize the employees who are part of the feedback process. This means incentivizing and rewarding customer-facing employees who go above and beyond to listen to customer concerns and reassure those individuals that their feedback is being heard.

Additionally, once companies implement meaningful improvement(s) based on customer feedback, they need to circle back to the employees who helped collect that info to let them know what took place as a result of their dedication. This can help employees find greater meaning in their work and become more impassioned about their brand. After all, employee passion is a key component of any world-class CX program.

Key #4: Data Accessibility

The more accessible a company’s CX data is, the easier it becomes for CX practitioners and stakeholders to understand where their company’s experience effort is and where it needs to go to achieve meaningful improvement.

Again, it’s also important for companies to desilo their data. When departments and stakeholders collect CX data by themselves, they risk creating skewed views of their company’s CX efforts and may even trample over each other’s attempts to gather meaningful information. The companies with the best CX programs recognize the importance of having departments and practitioners work together toward a single understanding of the experience they provide. They can then make that understanding available for all stakeholders.

Key #5: Organized for Success

When companies strive to ensure CX centricity in their data, work to keep that data rooted in a framework of economic success, empower employees to take part in and drive that success, and make CX information united and accessible to all relevant stakeholders, they’ll be ready to build a world-class CX program and, thus, be organized to attain transformational success.

Though none of these tasks is a small endeavor, companies that work toward achieving them will not only see an improved CX program, but also get the most out of that effort. Doing so can help any company reach the top of its vertical and continuously achieve meaningful improvement for itself and its customers.

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Are You Making the Most of Your Experience Programs?

If your company focuses on making the most out of your experience programs, you can be proactive in times of crisis and take transformational steps forward when it’s business as usual. The work you do now to listen attentively to feedback from employees and customers will help you guide your organization through the current crisis and beyond.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way many companies do business overnight. Businesses have shut their doors or reduced operating hours, shifting traffic to overburdened websites and call centers. Employees are adjusting to working from home or navigating the challenges of working on the front lines of a pandemic. As a result, customers are adapting to new ways of shopping, banking and receiving medical care.

Amid all this change, business leaders need clarity about what’s happening on the ground. That’s why your customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) programs may be the heroes your company needs—even in the post-COVID-19 world.

If your company focuses on making the most out of your experience programs, you can be proactive in times of crisis and take transformational steps forward when it’s business as usual. The work you do now to listen attentively to feedback from employees and customers will help you guide your organization through the current crisis and beyond.

Here are several tips to help you make the most of your experience:

Zero in on Unusual Trends

If you’ve made widespread changes due to the pandemic or to other operational shifts, you’ll likely see your CX metrics shift across the board. Focus on the metrics that are changing the most, and look at the key drivers in relation to each other, not just at overall change. For example, maybe your ease of doing business score has gone down because fewer employees are working at stores and interacting with customers. Keep in mind that some changes may be seasonal rather than crisis-related. Make sure to compare current data to the same time period last year to identify seasonal trends.

Look for Opportunities to Act Quickly

Because the impacts of COVID-19 are changing constantly, the value of any response has a short shelf life. If it will take months to incorporate a new data source into analysis, don’t waitmake use of the data you have now. Prioritize problems you can address quickly through short-term workarounds, quick shifts in CX strategy or a temporary allocation of resources. For example, many banks that have reduced branch hours during the pandemic have shifted branch staff to call centers to handle increased call volumes. 

Share Insights with Stakeholders

To act on the opportunities you’ve identified, you’ll need buy-in from leadership. When you present your findings, don’t just share data and statisticstell a story about what your customers and employees are experiencing now and how that may impact satisfaction going forward. While short-term fixes are important, leaders are also interested in initiatives with a longer time horizon. Make sure to highlight any areas where your company has opportunities to innovate in ways that last beyond the current crisis, for example, by building out digital workforce management capabilities.

Double Down on Employee Engagement Strategies

At a time when nearly half of American workers are afraid to go to work, companies must prioritize listening to and addressing their employees’ needs. How your company handles this period will determine whether employees return to regular work as advocates or detractorsand disengaged employees are on average two times more vocal than happy ones, spreading negativity throughout the organization. To avoid this outcome, listen to and empathize with employees who are struggling with the changing nature of work. Provide your employees with the tools and resources they need, and offer flexibility as they adjust to the new normal of our everyday lives.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the rapid pace and broad scope of change to business practices that is happening right now. Fortunately, CX and EX programs can offer the insights and guidance your company needs to forge a clear path forward. By listening carefully to feedback from both customers and employees, your organization can successfully navigate this crisis—and any others that occur in the future.

Looking for more guidance on how to harness the power of your CX and EX programs in trying times? Check out our latest webinar, Revealing the Power of Experience Programs in a Time of Crisis.

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How Your Experience Programs Can Step Up in a Time of Crisis

It’s clear that the Coronavirus has affected everything from commerce to customers, but how precisely is it impacting customer experience (CX) programs? Additionally, how can companies use their experience programs to spot problem areas and enact meaningful change under these unprecedented conditions?

It’s clear that the Coronavirus has affected everything from commerce to customers, but how precisely is it impacting customer experience (CX) programs? Additionally, how can companies use their experience programs to spot problem areas and enact meaningful change under these unprecedented conditions?

In a recent webinar, we posed these questions to our CX experts and they were all too willing to answer. What follows is a quick, three-step journey they outlined for brands to understand customer experiences, ensure that they’re picking up accurate info, and to effectively share those insights with leadership.

Step #1: Monitoring CX Programs

There are several trends and changes that brands can expect to see within their CX programs during this challenging time. For most businesses, in-person transactions have decreased while online transactions have soared, so companies should adjust their sampling criteria accordingly. 

Additionally, brands should ensure that the trends they’re seeing are based on adequate sampling sizes, and remember that geography can have a massive impact on response rates. After making any necessary adjustments, it’s time to let the data flow once again and move on to the next step: learning.

Step #2: Learn From What You’re Hearing

There are several data sources that brands should pay close attention to during this pandemic, especially survey questions about transactions, employee professionality, and store effectiveness (especially cleanliness). Open-ended questions and social media comments are lucrative sources of insights like these.

Other data sets that companies should pull from include quantitative feedback, operational and financial data, and employee input. Putting all of this information into the same place is an ideal goal during the best of times, but it’s especially important for grasping the full picture of your brand’s goals and challenges now.

After brands have gathered all of this information, they should compare it to its pre-pandemic counterparts to discover what has changed and, more importantly, what within the organization needs changing. The quickest way for companies to gauge how they’re doing is to look for both consistencies and inconsistencies between these two sets of information. This allows organizations to rapidly identify their strengths, weaknesses, and any journey pain points that may need fixing.

Step #3: Sharing Learnings with Leadership

Figuring out how your organization is faring is one thing—reporting that to the higher-ups is another. There are several factors that we’re seeing leaders care about most (and thus that CX practitioners should report first), including customers’ current experience with a brand and the impact COVID-19 is having on the business from both customer and employee perspectives.

Leaders should also be apprised of how customers are interacting with the organization, what those customers are saying, and what they’ve stopped doing (such as in-person shopping). CX practitioners should also report employee input on the situation and how any resulting workplace changes are making them feel.

As for the pandemic’s business impact, leaders should be allowed to compare pre- and mid-COVID conditions to gain full context. Practitioners can then report changes, needed fixes, and, perhaps more optimistically, opportunities for meaningful improvement. It never hurts to share customer and employee stories that make the case for these fixes, too.

Taking the Fight to COVID-19

Companies that stick by this process will come out of the Coronavirus pandemic in a much stronger position than brands that don’t. By monitoring CX programs, being vigilant for inconsistencies, and keeping leadership apprised of the opportunities those inconsistencies reveal, organizations can reveal the true power of experience programs and let customers know that they haven’t been forgotten. Those customers will remember that dedication when this pandemic ends.

Knowing how to navigate you customer experience during this difficult time can be a challenge, so we distilled our CX expertise into a new webinar, “Revealing the Power of Experience Programs in a Time of Crisis,” that you can access for free here!

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Modernizing Your Customer Feedback Strategy Part 2: Modern Listening Methods

Customer journeys are increasingly complex. And each customer’s brand perception is informed by an accumulation of many experiences across multiple channels. To understand this perception, it’s no longer sufficient to collect feedback on a single experience or at a single point in time via traditional methods such as long-form surveys. 

Customer journeys are increasingly complex. And each customer’s brand perception is informed by an accumulation of many experiences across multiple channels. To understand this perception, it’s no longer sufficient to collect feedback on a single experience or at a single point in time via traditional methods such as long-form surveys. 

As highlighted in Part 1 of the Modernizing Your Customer Feedback Strategy blog series, brands must adopt a modern approach to customer listening that examines the customer journey across all its touchpoints. This approach leverages both solicited and unsolicited feedback as well as other data sources and optimized survey practices to collect more useful data and paint a more complete picture of the customer experience (CX). 

3 Ways to Start Modernizing Your Customer Listening Strategy

Fully modernizing customer listening methods may seem like a large undertaking, but every journey starts with a single step. Many organizations will find they can make significant progress by modifying their existing processes to reflect the new approach. Below are three steps organizations can take to orient their customer listening strategy toward a more holistic vision.

#1: Target Digital Intercepts

Digital intercepts are specific points in the online experience where feedback could be collected about a key point in the customer journey. Looking at intercepts helps brands collect the data they need to gain a view of the entire customer journey. Remember that feedback from non-purchasers can be just as relevant as feedback from customers who completed transactions: Organizations should identify digital intercepts that are relevant to each group.

#2: Make Opting in Easy

Too often, brands solicit feedback by mailing surveys days after a transaction or providing customers with a code that must be input into a survey website. These unnecessary steps add friction and make it less likely that customers will offer feedback. Instead, brands should meet customers where they are by sending SMS and/or email survey invites that can be accessed in the moment, on their phones. QR codes printed on product packaging or displayed in brick-and-mortar stores are another easy way to direct customers to a feedback form.

#3: Offer Multimedia Feedback Options

When customers engage with other people online, they use a variety of media, including voice, images, and video. By incorporating these options into feedback mechanisms, brands can meet customers where they’re at and solicit more detailed, meaningful information. They may also see participation rise. For example, one national pizza chain saw a 6% year-over-year increase in survey response volume after implementing image uploads.

Next Steps for Modernizing Feedback Strategy

Exclusive reliance on traditional customer listening methods holds many brands back from gaining a deep understanding of their customers’ journeys. The above modifications can shake up existing processes in the name of gaining a fuller, richer picture of the customer experience.

As an organization continues to modernize its customer listening strategy, additional capabilities can give that picture even more texture and depth. 

  • Social listening enables an organization to collect unsolicited feedback from social media channels that may offer new perspectives on customer experience. 
  • CRM or call center data can add context to customer feedback. 
  • A/B testing and survey optimization tools help organizations further sharpen their data collection with ongoing optimization of feedback mechanisms.

Beyond collecting feedback, brands need tools to turn data into insights and action. While it’s possible to comb through CX data manually, a robust CX intelligence platform offers more efficient analysis and a swifter path to business impact. Organizations can use the resulting insights to fuel more intelligent predictive analytics that show how to capitalize on successes and avoid losses. Ultimately, investing in CX intelligence yields better performance and gives organizations an edge over the competition.

To learn more tactics for collecting holistic customer feedback, read our eBook, “How You Listen Matters: Modernizing Your Methods & Approach to Collecting Customer Feedback,here.

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How Grocery Stores & Supermarkets Can Provide Excellent Essential Experiences

Grocery stores and supermarkets are among the few specified “essential” businesses that remain open, allowing home-bound customers can keep their fridges and pantries stocked. This is an important lifeline for customers, but it also presents a set of challenges—and opportunities—for grocery store and supermarket brands.

Grocery stores and supermarkets are accustomed to being a central part of their customers’ lives, but in the age of COVID-19, many brands are finding that they are the only destination for customers—outside of their homes, that is.

These stores are among the few specified “essential” businesses that remain open so home-bound customers can keep their fridges and pantries stocked. This is an important lifeline for customers, but it also presents a set of challenges—and opportunities—for grocery store and supermarket brands.

Here’s a comprehensive list of key elements brands should master in order to provide excellent, essential customer experiences:

Rethink Employee Roles

The pandemic is forcing so many of us to rethink our processes and see if they still work in this unprecedented scenario. As grocery stores and supermarkets reflect, it will become apparent that they will need some employees to perform different tasks. For instance, where one employee may usually help to pack bags at the cash wrap, they may now need to disinfect carts as shoppers are finished using them. Additionally, businesses should dedicate more staff to fulfilling online orders, as pickup and delivery options will be more heavily relied upon.

Go Out of Your Way

Customer stress levels are up for obvious reasons. Any little thing you can do to make their lives easier or more convenient will therefore go a long way in the world of COVID-19. You could open up more pick-up time slots, assign extra cleaning duties, or even go the extra mile of dedicating specific shopping hours to the most vulnerable communities. Making customers feel cared for now will create a sense of trust and loyalty that will far outlast this pandemic.

Let Customers Know Their Health is Your Priority

When customers step out their door to go anywhere, they have a lot on their minds: Do I need a mask? What about gloves? How can I be sure I stay six feet away from strangers? Is this store disinfecting regularly? 

The most important thing grocery store and supermarket brands can do is show customers that you understand their concerns and are doing everything in your power to keep them safe and healthy. Doing something as simple as posting an employee to wipe down carts and pass them off to shoppers as they enter the store will be effective. Even asking cashiers to wipe down credit card machines after each and every customer will have the desired effect. Why? Instead of telling your customers you are taking extra precautions, you are performing those precautions right before their very eyes!

COVID-19 may be creating incredible amounts of uncertainty, but if it is doing one positive thing, it is proving that we are able and willing to do what it takes to keep each other safe. 

Grocery store and supermarket brands have the opportunity to lead the charge; if they take up the mantle, they are sure to capture the long-term loyalty of customers for years to come! 

Looking for ways to show your shoppers how much you care about their health and safety? Check out this article that walks through the specific steps you can take to create a stress-free shopping experience!

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Tips to Help Your Employees Stay Healthy While Working from Home

Between trying to figure out how to collaborate on projects and find balance between working, online meetings, and being at home, your employees may find themselves exhausted with the process. Therefore, it's even more important for brands to encourage their employees to take extra care during this time to keep themselves healthy, happy, and engaged in their work. 

With everything going on in the world, many workplaces are making the switch and having their employees work from home. As nice as it sounds to stay home all day, routine changes can take quite a toll on physical and mental health.

Between trying to figure out how to collaborate on projects and find balance between working, online meetings, and being at home, your employees may find themselves exhausted with the process. 

Therefore, it’s even more important for brands to encourage their employees to take extra care during this time to keep themselves healthy, happy, and engaged in their work. 

The Crucial Importance of Employee Health 

Research has shown that when an employee is healthy and happy, their engagement and productivity increases. 

It’s important to care about your employees and their well being because now more than ever, looking out for your employees is something that matters to consumers. 

To do this right, brands need to help employees look at health matters holistically, both the physical and emotional aspects.

Below are best practices that we’ve compiled to help employees thrive during this difficult time. These tips will help employees to stay motivated and create a healthy, balanced work environment at home. Feel free to share with your own employees!

Tip #1: Establish a Daily Routine

  • Get dressed: Make an effort to get up, dressed, and ‘ready’ for the day. Don’t be tempted to work from bed. It will help you to focus if you have a designated area for working.
  • Go through a routine: You don’t have to check your emails as soon as you open your eyes. Have breakfast, drink your coffee, get the kids ready, etc. before logging on (if that is your routine). Right now, things are far from normal, and you may have to be more flexible with timing. But where possible, stick to a consistent set of working hours each day. 
  • Have a set time for lunch: Set down your laptop and phone and take an hour to do something else. Go for a walk or watch that episode that you didn’t have time for last night. Don’t be tempted to work through lunch unless you absolutely have to. Set your Slack status to ‘On Lunch’ so folks won’t expect you to respond right away. 
  • Set boundaries for others at home: Let your partner/children/roommate/goldfish know when you are available, and when you’re not. Shut the door to signal you do not wish to be disturbed, hang a sign for when you’re on calls, or do anything else that will establish those boundaries. We know this is tricky with young children, but you’ll have a better chance at success if you establish boundaries up front and consistently stick to them. (For example, if shutting the door means “do not disturb” time, then you’ll have to keep it open other times.) 

Tip #2: Take Care of Your Mind & Body 

  • Work with fresh air: If you have a spot outdoors (garden, balcony, courtyard), try working outside. If you’re able, you can also keep doors/windows open and let the fresh air/bird noises in. Creating a peaceful ambiance will help you to focus and relax. 
  • Get those steps in: Schedule a daily outdoor walk, or even mix it up with a walking phone meeting. Get those endorphins and your daily dose of Vitamin D at the same time! 
  • Focus on the positive: Make small lists of things you are looking forward to that day/week (cupcake after dinner, virtual yoga with friends, etc.) 
  • Remember your microbreaks: Take a few minutes every hour to get a drink, get a breath of fresh air or even just swapp your laundry over. This is great for your creativity, mood, circulation, and heart rate. It also helps you to maintain better focus when you take periodic breaks for your mind to recharge. 
  • Lighten up the mood: If it’s not too distracting, play music in the background so it’s not so quiet. Deep focus playlists can be found on Spotify and Youtube, so find a playlist that works for you!

Tip #3: Virtual Social Interaction 

  • Set up the right tech: Make sure you’ve got all the communication tools going so it’s easy to keep in touch: mobile, email, Zoom, Slack etc. You can even start a Slack channel for fun interests you share with other co-workers. 
  • Hang out virtually: Schedule a Zoom coffee with a friend or colleague! It’s healthy to stay connected and support each other. 
  • Turn your camera on: Always communicate face to face (if you can). Communicating through email can be confusing sometimes, so video calls can help others better understand how you really feel—and keep you from talking over each other. 
  • Connect on a personal level often: Take the time to be human before getting down to business, and chat about how life is going for a minute. Some folks live alone, while others live with children, so those social interactions with peers are extra important during this time. It feels good to catch up with someone and feel supported. 

We’re All In This Together

Working from home is tough. So our advice to brands is to send a clear message to employees with these specific points: 

  • Remember to take care of yourself.
  • Stay connected with your co-workers. 
  • Take advantage of this time to leverage new technology
  • Establish a routine that works great for your health and happiness. 

There are many, many more resources out there, but the main takeaway is that by encouraging your employees to stick to a routine, be intentional about how and when they work, and find joy in the small moments, you are really encouraging them to be their best—and most engaged—self. 

Employee Health Resources:

  • Check out BBC’s Five Ways to Work Well from Home.
  • Obe Fitness, an immersive digital fitness experience offers over 100 live classes per week. Use the promo code TINYBEANS for a free month on Obe!
  • Ekhart Yoga is offering free online yoga & meditation classes.
  • Down Dog is another cool yoga/HIIT/workout resource — their apps are free until April!
  • Insight Timer is an amazing app with great meditation/mindfulness techniques for calming an anxious mind.

Helpful Resources for Kids: 

 

 

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Modernizing Your Customer Feedback Strategy Part 1: The Evolution of Listening

In today’s digital world, keeping up is no longer the goal; it’s getting ahead. With customers engaging with brands in a myriad of ways and channels, the ability to transform feedback into actionable insights has never been more crucial. 

In today’s digital world, keeping up is no longer the goal; it’s getting ahead. With customers engaging with brands in a myriad of ways and channels, the ability to transform feedback into actionable insights has never been more crucial. 

Organizations must take a pragmatic, modern approach to customer listening—one that looks at feedback holistically to better understand the entire customer experience (CX). When you pair the right, useful data with modern solutions and platforms you can transform your customers’ feedback into business intelligence that drives meaningful change. 

Traditional vs. Modern Listening

A holistic approach to customer feedback doesn’t mean that tried-and-true methods need to be replaced, just modified. An entirely modernized customer listening strategy includes all different types of feedback to better understand the complete customer journey, including: 

  • Traditional listening: Solicited customer feedback typically gathered through long-form customer feedback surveys that focus on a single point in time, experience or channel. 
  • Modern listening: Customer feedback collected through multimedia channels and sources that are often optimized and personalized but can also be aggregated like social, employee, operational, financial, and CRM data. 

Traditional methods of feedback, despite their limitations, aren’t without merit.  At the same time, what a truly modern approach to customer listening does is aggregate all feedback—modern and traditional—into a centralized location to better understand business impact. 

Understanding the Full Customer Journey 

Survey questions provide answers, but that kind of solicited data can be limiting. Expand your listening program to include various touchpoints and channels. For example, SMS, email survey invitations, and QR codes meet customers where they are—on their phones. Social listening targets younger generations, and that data can open the door for unfiltered, meaningful stories and reviews that survey questions alone can’t capture.

Traditional listening methods still have a part to play. Methods of obtaining information like call centers or market surveys produce a wealth of data. However, when combined with an intelligent customer feedback management tool, this information can be personalized, compiled, and integrated into actionable data insights—a significant upgrade from basic answers to survey questions. 

Bigger Insights, Bigger Wins

With modern customer listening, it’s important to note when a sale becomes more than a sale and can be transformed into a blueprint for achieving larger business objectives. Tools that digitally intercept targeted points of the buying journey can provide real-time insights into customer purchase habits and behaviors. This unique knowledge gained helps facilitate more intelligent predictive analytics so that your business can more easily adapt to losses and duplicate and intensify wins.  

The truth is that not all brands have the talent and bandwidth to expand their customer listening programs in house. Leveraging robust data intelligence tools is crucial in optimizing, harnessing, and capitalizing on meaningful conversations. Collecting the information is one step, but combined with a modern CX program, you can add context to data, maximizing your business insights and performance. 

To take a deeper dive into the evolution of customer listening, you can read our eBook, “How You Listen Matters: Modernizing Your Methods & Approach to Customer Feedback”. 

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A Clear 2020 Vision: Best CX Practices for the New Year

Aligning your organization on a metric framework is a crucial step in achieving your CX improvement goals. And what better time than the beginning of the year? With a strong customer experience strategy in place, you can move through 2020 with a clear, winning vision that delivers profound results.  

If one thing is certain, it’s that digital expectations are perpetually changing—that’s true for customers, employees, and businesses. And yet, organizations are always playing catch up; the more phenomenal experiences they deliver, the greater expectations grow. 

In fact, when we surveyed consumers and brands to better comprehend the overlapping and conflicting opinions on how the customer experience is delivered, we discovered that fifty percent of brands said they are “definitely” doing better, but only 11% of consumers said the same. That’s a pretty big discrepancy—one that we certainly don’t want repeated in the new year. The good news? There are steps you can take to level the playing field. Here are some of the best practices to incorporate into your CX strategy in 2020.

#1: Cultivate data holistically 

How: Extend feedback channels.

The bustling eCommerce industry has undoubtedly changed the wants and needs of the modern consumer. Feedback across nearly all retail industries shows one common thread: People want to connect with the brands they love, in more than a transactional way. So when it comes to data, think outside the box by taking advantage of multiple platforms. 

For example, take a look at our initiative with Foot Locker. During our partnership, the brand used InMoment’s Video Feedback and Image Upload capabilities so customers could tell their own stories in their own way. With our technology, Foot Locker could more easily hear, understand, and solve any customer complaints or feedback, effectively strengthening the brand-to-consumer relationship. Our point? By looking at feedback from various channels, you’re able to see the big picture more clearly—and even lock in customer loyalty for the new year and beyond.

#2: Get better information

How: Optimize survey methods.

Your brand may provide several modes of feedback, but that doesn’t always mean it’s all useful, or effective. For instance, if an online survey interferes with the overall design of your website, why would anyone give it the time of day? When it comes to design, a clean, simple, functional, and optimized page is always best. 

But don’t just rely on that alone. Include modern data analysis tools in your CX strategy that reach customers where they are and when they’re ready to give feedback. And most importantly, to gain useful insights on overall guest satisfaction, only ask them questions that are relevant to their experience. 

#3: Experience a 360-degree view of feedback

How: Marry CX and EX.

It’s no secret that the customer and employee experiences are closely intertwined. But what does that actually mean in terms of metrics, and how can you use this information to get ahead? While customer feedback data is essential, it’s also limited. But by implementing an EX program to complement your existing CX program, like our client Massage Envy, you can use employee feedback and turnover metrics to better determine key drivers of customer satisfaction. This sophistication allows you to assess your company’s entire experience (customer, employee, and beyond) and deliver true intelligence for actionable business change.

#4: Personalize with purpose

How: Tailor the experience.

Over the years, many companies have missed the mark on what exactly customers value and why. It’s important to not only use personalization for profit, but also leverage feedback to better understand the entire customer experience. 

For example, customers are not satisfied with marketing emails that are simply personalized by name or browse history. They would rather you understand their preferences (such as device or channel) and buying habits. By tailoring your experience to the customer, your brand can more easily achieve that desired intersection where customers are happier and more loyal, and your business is more profitable. 

#5: Drive big-picture change

How: Focus on the right CX metrics.

Instead of hyper-focusing on small details, aim for the big picture. Think about the endgame and leverage customer experience metrics with meaning, rather than over-analyzing every data point that piles up over the year. By putting your company’s growth at the center of your efforts, you’ll drive the desired outcomes that will make the biggest financial impact in the long run.

Aligning your organization on a metric framework is a crucial step in achieving your CX improvement goals. And what better time than the beginning of the year? With a strong customer experience strategy in place, you can move through 2020 with a clear, winning vision that delivers profound results.  

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From Knowing to Doing: 6 Action Steps for Experience Transformation

When companies combine data insights with action, everyone wins. The right intelligence platform works in unison with capable employees for a fully formed CX strategy that produces a transformative impact for customers, employees, and the business itself. 

Don’t just experience the experience transformation: own it. And if real transformation is what you’re after, you’ll need to turn metrics into meaningful and strategic CX actions. Our latest eBook, “How to Go Beyond CX Insights and Take Action: 6 Action Steps for Experience Transformation” guides you on everything from feedback to insights, insights to intelligence, intelligence to action, and action to transformation. 

Here are six crucial action steps outlined in the eBook that detail how you can own the customer experience transformation. 

#1: Get the right reports

Work smarter, not harder. 

Gathering data is an essential step for nearly all businesses, but it’s not enough to transform your organization. Not all data is good data—and to ensure your company is moving forward, you need the right reporting tools to complement your customer experience strategy. You don’t have to be a data expert, but with the right templates and reports, you can turn metrics into insights that produce meaningful change.

#2: Include third-party information 

Feedback is everywhere. Use it.

Technology never stops evolving and as a result, customer feedback takes various shapes. With social media commanding the attention of nearly all generations, your approach to data collection must be extensive. It’s imperative to implement tools that break down social data and deliver integrated insights to you in a variety of dashboards, reports, and apps. This enables you to take action to address unhappy customers, and get ahead of your competition.

#3. Proactively monitor the impact of campaigns on your CX

Understand the big picture, faster.

Businesses—no matter how big or small—constantly introduce new initiatives, leadership, campaigns, or policies. With all this noise, it can be difficult to ideate, complete, and understand the impact of projects. How can you address this challenge head on? Work to continuously monitor specific issues, and their impact on key metrics. By tracking, A/B testing and improving campaigns,  you can better understand the big picture to more quickly determine what’s working, and what isn’t. 

#4. Resolve issues quickly

Control the entire customer lifecycle.

Negative customer feedback can be valuable. One of the most important actions your CX program can take is to respond to negative feedback quickly and efficiently. But with a massive amount of data to sift through, addressing all negative feedback on your own might not be feasible. Linking up with intelligent tools, like InMoment’s case management system, gives you more control over your case list. That means your company can address things in order of importance to quickly solve everyday issues.

#5. Train your employees efficiently

Use data to empower your staff. 

Give your employees the tools to succeed. With the right intelligence program, you can leverage customer feedback to train your employees. Robust coaching applications equip local managers with simple, procedural steps to solve service and satisfaction concerns in a quick and efficient fashion. With advanced data science in your corner, your company can take the employee experience to the next level—an action with rewards that will trickle down to the rest of your company.

#6. Prove the effectiveness of your actions

Justify the importance of your CX program.

How many times has your organization implemented projects that fall off the map? Often, it’s not the fault of those responsible for the project, but rather the lack of ability to determine and analyze the conclusions. Data-ingesting experience tools, like our XI Platform, can turn CX initiative data into intelligent and easy-to-understand insights for long-term, meaningful change. This intelligence helps gain the trust of higher-ups, which in turn leads to more business initiative freedom down the road. 

When companies combine data insights with action, everyone wins. The right intelligence platform works in unison with capable employees for a fully formed CX strategy that produces a transformative impact for customers, employees, and the business itself. 

You’ve collected the data, now what? Download our eBook, “How to Go Beyond CX Insights and Take Action: 6 Action Steps for Experience Transformation” to learn more today. 

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How to Use Guest Feedback to Drive Organizational Success

Whether you’re responsible for your company’s books or determining the best locale to open a brick-and-mortar location, a strong CX strategy must touch every facet of your business. By aligning departments across your organization on how to listen, leverage, and act on guest feedback, you’re working to create better customer experiences, in turn driving more business success. 

Guest experiences don’t exist in siloes. From marketing to HR and operations, your entire organization plays a role in delivering memorable customer experiences (CX) and interactions that lead to increased customer loyalty.  

InMoment’s Nate Morley was joined by Savannah Harper, director of operations services at Auntie Anne’s, and Nhuy Weidinger, brand marketing manager for McAlister’s Deli, to host a webinar in partnership with FastCasual.com, “Success Starts with Your Guests: Using Guest Feedback Throughout Your Entire Organization.” From leveraging the power of data to improving employee and customer interactions, this webinar discusses how each department across your organization can leverage customer feedback to make better business decisions and improve the overall experience. 

How Guest Feedback Impacts Department Roles 

Operations: It’s no secret that good customer experiences start with employees. Your operations department is a great place to uncover how you can deliver value from the inside out. 

According to Savannah Harper of Auntie Anne’s, this can be done by leveraging your guest experience platform to deliver in-depth data and metrics. This real-time, priceless data shows store owners and employees why they should care about guest experiences, drawing a correlation between good service, guest recovery, and a better bottom line. 

Human Resources: A reported 79% of employees who quit their jobs claimed that a lack of appreciation was a major reason for leaving. And employees that don’t feel appreciated likely aren’t going the extra mile to improve customer experiences. But when your HR team highlights employee successes—as detailed in guest feedback—employees not only feel valued, they also know they’re doing well. 

HR teams can also leverage employee success for training purposes, using real-world situations to prevent negative or bad customer experiences in the future. 

Finance: Think finance is removed from guest experiences? Think again. While employees on the floor are the ones responsible for interacting with customers, those interactions directly impact things like revenue. By investing in your guest experiences, your business will see positive outcomes like: 

  • Recovering at-risk revenue: Guests have lifetime value, especially those that continually seek out your brand for products or services. Identifying and recovering at-risk customers helps you rescue that revenue as well. 
  • Increasing sales opportunities: According to Forrester, customers who have great buying experiences are 3.6 times more likely to spend more with the brand who provided it. Good customer experiences can equal more revenue opportunities.
  • Acquiring new customers: Word of mouth from happy customers makes up roughly 3% of CX-fueled revenue potential. Not only do great experiences lead to repeat purchases from existing customers, but it also increases the chance they’ll share your brand with their peers. 

Development: For departments responsible for business development, guest feedback can lead to clearer understanding on brand perception, which in turn allows you to better optimize store locations. Granular guest data helps you know where your customers are coming from, where there’s opportunity to open new stores, and when it might be time to close ones that aren’t performing well. 

Marketing: Marketing teams are constantly testing the waters with customers. And finding products customers love, or uncovering those they don’t, requires gathering guest data and feedback. According to Nhuy Weidinger, brand marketing manager for McAlister’s Deli, when the company changes the menu or introduces limited-time, seasonal menu items, they make sure to gather guest feedback to determine if those items should be rolled out again the following year. 

For example, when McAlister’s Deli removed gravy and croissants from the menu, customers spoke up to let the company know they missed those items. And when McAlister’s marketing department made the decision to reintroduce those menu offerings, guests felt like their feedback was heard—and their cravings were satisfied. 

Whether you’re responsible for your company’s books or determining the best locale to open a brick-and-mortar location, a strong CX strategy must touch every facet of your business. By aligning departments across your organization on how to listen, leverage, and act on guest feedback, you’re working to create better customer experiences, in turn driving more business success. 

For more insights, check out Fast Casual’s webinar, “Success Starts with Your Guests: Using Guest Feedback Throughout Your Entire Organization,” today. 

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5 CX Insights You Might Have Missed in 2019

Today’s oversaturated markets make it difficult to stay on top of all CX intelligence news and trends. To help you sort through the massive amounts of market information, we’ve gathered some of the best CX insights from 2019 that you might have missed so you can better prepare for 2020. 

Today’s oversaturated markets make it difficult to stay on top of all CX insights, intelligence, news and trends. To help you sort through the massive amounts of market information, we’ve gathered some of the best CX insights from 2019 that you might have missed so you can better prepare for 2020.

Insight #1: Optimize the feedback experience.

It’s what your customers want. 

Did you know that 70% of your customers want direct feedback? Our survey revealed that consumers want to be heard, but not in the same way as before. Traditional modes of feedback like long-winded surveys no longer cut it. Users demand a beautifully designed experience that expedites customer service—without skimping on the service portion. 

One way to achieve this is by integrating intelligent conversations in real time to improve your CX insights. Showing that you care as a brand makes customers more likely to tell their story (and for it to be positive). By building a customer-centric culture, you’re establishing not only trust between the brand and consumer, but you’re creating a more engaging and meaningful experience for everyone involved.

Read more…

Insight #2: Build your employee experience index. 

Gain CX insights from EX improvements.

It’s no secret that customer experiences and employee experiences are more connected than we think. As a result, business success cannot be achieved if one is neglected. However, it’s important not to treat EX and CX feedback the same. 

As referenced by InMoment VP, Customer and Employee Experience Strategy Paul Warner, work and organizational psychology professor Dr. Wilmar Schaufeli suggests organizations focus on the three tentpoles of employee engagement: vigor, absorption and dedication. Building your employee experience index and taking effective action is extremely crucial for growth. By first listening to employees, then acting on that feedback, you’re working to create meaningful changes that start at the employee level, trickle down to customers, and offer actionable CX insights.  

Read more…

Insight #3: Create an effective listening strategy.

Ask the right questions to gather better CX insights.

You can’t predict customers’ needs, but with the right tools and information, you can better curate their experiences. Start by asking better, more relevant questions that allow them to tell their stories. Guests want to engage with a brand that makes them feel seen and heard, and takes their feedback into account. Creating an effective listening strategy that gathers the voice of guests and employees will also help you fulfill all their needs to create a better, more positive experience.

Read more…

Insight #4: Take a more personal approach.

Treat your customers like friends.

When it comes to customer appreciation, it’s important to go above and beyond. Effective brands with stellar customer reputations are those who accommodate several feedback options. While some customers prefer a phone call, others feel that chatbots or email work better with their schedules. A more personalized approach facilitates stronger brand-to-customer connections and grants an opportunity to gather CX insights.

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Insight #5: Leverage feedback.

Learn from CX insights, gather feedback, and then use it.

Surveys aren’t useful unless you do something with the results. It’s imperative for brands to use CX insights to capitalize on the unique things customers like about their brand, and quickly solve for things they don’t. Some organizations struggle to understand how leveraging feedback can lead to tangible change. As InMoment VP of CX Eric Smuda explains:

“Better experiences lead to happier customers, more brand loyalty and increased revenue.”  

Useful, educational data comes from the intelligent tools that allow you to understand what your customers want. Companies wanting to stay ahead need to use metrics to develop stronger customer relationships that power business growth. 

Read more…

It may be the end of the year, but it’s never too late to adjust your CX strategy. By implementing these CX insights now, you can better prepare your business to deliver more profound customer experiences in 2020 and beyond.

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