Four Things to Consider When Leveraging a Customer Feedback Management Platform

I may be dating myself here, but does anyone else remember sitting in a conference room surrounded by sets of data tables and analyses so  you could then manually pull numbers, read through all the comments, and manually populate reports? And after all of that, you still had to manually tweak those reports for each audience!  It took days to complete a report. And when I look back on all that, I couldn’t be more grateful for customer feedback management platforms (also known as CFM platforms).

Boy, how times have changed! Customer experience (CX) technology has taken what used to be a days-long process and condensed it to minutes. However, there are two areas the technology hasn’t mastered (yet):

  1. How to service itself 
  2. How to tell a story with feedback. 

Yes, customer feedback management platforms are very good about providing both a high-level snapshot of feedback and a convenient way to drill down into that feedback, but an online dashboard can only take an organization so far. CX professionals need to know what to do with their feedback, tell a story with that feedback, and be able to adapt their approach to the customer experience as their business and the market evolve. And their ability to do that is directly impacted by the CFM vendor they partner with.

How to Choose a Customer Feedback Management Platform

Selecting a CFM platform partner should be about more than just price, “sexy” graphics, branding, etc. In our experience, businesses start the process by distinguishing which  of two primary approaches to supporting a CFM platform work best for their business:

 1) Full-service where the company that provides the platform manages all aspects of the technology (programming, analysis, change management, etc.,) or 

2) Self-service where a person or persons within the purchasing organization are responsible for all aspects of the ongoing technology usage.  

Of course, there is also a hybrid combination of the two that might be the best fit, but determining which structure is best for your organization depends on the answer to a few key questions.

  • What resources and expertise do you have in-house? Creating a best-in-class CX program requires expertise in dashboard and questionnaire design, governance to ensure alignment across programs, a structure that reduces the possibility of customers being over-surveyed, analytics, etc. Many organizations will have one or maybe two areas where they have some expertise, but very few have all the resources and expertise to successfully and smoothly execute a broad CX program.
  • What do you want your team to focus on? Would you prefer that your team take the time to learn the new software and then manage dashboards and program surveys? Or would you prefer they are focused on helping drive change within the organization? Sure, the former will reduce the fee paid to your CX technology partner, but how does that fee compare to the salary you are paying your employee for what might be a better use of their time?
  • How will you manage complex changes or requests? Every company will have unique branding, compliance, ADA, and other needs, and while there are many ways to accommodate these more customized requests, looking critically at how your organization has historically handled them will help inform how you may want to structure the support for your program. So, will you set aside hours in advance for support from the technology partner or will you prefer to use change orders when technology requests come up? The former may be a little more money upfront, but the latter will require getting contract teams involved for each and every request, and could create perceptions of ‘nickel and diming.’ 
  • What is your plan to keep your team current on technology? Your platform partner’s specialists work with the technology every day and are aware of the system’s nuances. And while most CX platform providers offer some type of training, there is always a learning curve for new users that may require more hands-on assistance, especially if the team doesn’t use the technology regularly. Likewise, if you dedicate one person to be your expert, what will your plan be if that person leaves the organization or takes on a new role? When these situations arise, you’ll need to reach out to your technology partner for help, but they will be unaware of what’s been built, which will require additional time to become familiarized.

Each organization will  answer these questions differently, but one thing that we have seen repeatedly is the need to set aside some ongoing service support hours with your CFM partner from the beginning of the relationship.  If you wait til after the program has started and certain aspects of the program have already been built, you’ll need to spend additional time to bring your partner up to speed. If they are there from the beginning, however, not only will they be able to assist more quickly, but they can also coach your team on the best practices for building a more insightful program in the most efficient way. Initially, having no service hours may seem ideal for your calendar, but in the long run, it can be less efficient, create staff frustration, and end up costing more money in the long term.  

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution that will apply to every organization but, on the brightside, there is a customer feedback management solution that will work for every organization, as long as you consider  the above questions. Although, I suppose we could go back to manually pulling all the information—I’ll be waiting for you in the conference room!

What Brands Should Do to Design More Inclusive Experiences

The road to more inclusive experiences is rarely straightforward, which is why it’s imperative for organizations to consider as many voices as possible along their inclusion journey. Whether it’s how quickly news travels via social media or how to have conversations with marginalised communities, the sheer myriad of variables for brands to consider can seem overwhelming. Recently, though, I had the privilege of participating in these conversations at our Inclusive Experiences Exchange, and what follows are the key takeaways I believe organizations like yours can (and should), utilise as you strive to design experiences that work for the wider customer community.

Mistakes Will Be Made

No matter where your brand is on its Inclusion journey, some amount of mistakes and missteps are, unfortunately, to be expected. Because of that, while it’s obviously great to have an experience team that’s both proactive and that has an eye for detail, it’s also important to focus on how to respond to mistakes when they occur. Quite simply, the key here is to accept that mistakes will be made and to be prepared to be both visible and sincere in how you respond. This will compel customers to forgive your mistakes and result in positive messaging for your brand.

The Speed of Social

There’s another factor to having visibility and sincerity in your mistake response toolkit, and it’s the speed at which social media can bring worldwide attention to company blunders. In this day and age, such missteps can spread like wildfire across review sites and related media, making it all the more vital for brands to be sincere in their responses. Acknowledging that a mistake was made and taking steps to meaningfully improve it, hopefully with the aid of an Experience Improvement (XI) framework, can help stem the tide of negative social media attention..

Don’t Shy Away from Conversations

Being able to learn from your mistakes is of obvious importance to Experience Improvement, but how else might you and your team learn about creating more inclusive experiences? Working directly with the people and groups you want to expand your tent for is the best practice here; never presume that you know best. Additionally, while it’s important to refrain from pigeonholing your customers and employees by the traits that make them marginalized, it’s also vital to acknowledge the challenges they face and to embrace those differences. This holistic approach to conversation will help your inclusion efforts as much as being gracious about mistakes.

Want more best practices for how you can craft inclusive experiences? Check out “Designing Experiences with Inclusivity and Accessibility in Mind. In this white paper, you will learn:

  • What inclusivity means for experience professionals
  • How seven steps will help you develop an inclusive and accessible strategy
  • What the principles of inclusive experience design are and how they benefit your organization

Loyalty Marketing Programs: How CX Insights Can Inform Incentives

It’s easy to confuse loyalty marketing programs with customer experience (CX) programs; both seek to drive positive customer relationships and retention. But it’s crucial to define each individually before we parse out how a CX mindset can inform what incentives your business should provide customers. 

The Difference Between Loyalty Marketing Programs and Customer Experience

Loyalty marketing uses a traditional company-wide approach to grow and retain customers by selling them more. Selling them more aptly summarizes the loyalty marketing mindset. It focuses on selling through incentives. 

On the other hand, customer experience invests more in the ongoing conversation through the customer journey. And the goal of that process is to drive a deeper sense of loyalty.

There is clearly some overlap between both programs, so how can brands utilize one to inform the other? Here are three specific ways that the insights you gain from your CX program can—and should—help inform the incentives you choose for your loyalty marketing program:

Insight #1: Customers Are Less Likely to Share Without the Right Incentives

Organizations have to first understand what’s at stake when the right incentives aren’t given. The biggest drawback is that you risk losing a loyal customer. If a customer isn’t satisfied with the proposed exchange your loyalty program offers, they won’t buy in.

For example, according to our CX Trends report, customers are less likely to share their info when a program only offers to make interactions easier, more efficient, or to deliver personalized recommendations. What we can learn about this is that customers value their personal info highly. The thing is, loyalty programs almost always ask for customers to share that data.

Insight #2: Customers Want VIP Treatment

So the question is, what incentives do customers really want? In Microsoft’s study, The Consumer Data Value Exchange, 99.6% of those surveyed said they would give information if there’s a cash reward and 89.3% would if a discount is involved.  

To truly drive brand loyalty, you need to promise substantial VIP benefits. Because if you expect customers to invest in a loyalty program, you need to show that you will invest in them as well. The more your program raises its value, the more it will raise customers’ view of your brand and willingness to share data.

Insight #3: Find Out What Really Drives Participation for Your Loyalty Marketing Program

Of course, incentives can differ greatly depending on the industry and individual organization. The best practice is to find out from your own customers what would incentivize them to participate in your loyalty program. And that begins with listening capabilities.

By listening to the Voice of Customer (VoC) with a CX platform, your business can find the golden nuggets in collected data and analyze them to find out what customers truly desire from you. Don’t let other brands within your industry narrow the range of what your perks can be. And neither should you expand your perks beyond what’s relevant to your customers. Keep your incentives specific to who your customers are.

A CX mindset can be a game-changer for how to incentivize your loyalty program and these three insights are just to get you started. Read this paper to learn how a CX mindset can transform your entire loyalty marketing program to one that cultivates strong customer relationships.

Reducing Customer Churn: Do You Need Prediction, Interpretation, or Both?

Customer behaviour prediction—including customer churn prediction—is at the top of our clients’ agenda—and for good reason. Who doesn’t want to be able to predict the future for their customers, employees, and business? 

What Is Predictive Modelling?

In the world of customer experience, predictive modelling means using data to predict the future needs, wants, and behaviours of your customers and employees. 

My name is Ton Luijten, and I’m a Customer Success Director for InMoment, as well as the Data Science Lead for the APAC region. I’ve come across many interesting case studies that show how predictive models can be really powerful when trying to sell products or services to your consumers. However, when it comes to actually improving the experiences of your customers, it becomes more complex. 

In order to take action and make the right improvements to your CX, it’s vital to understand why something will happen. If you do not have those actionable insights, you will know what or who to target, but you don’t know how best to target them. In this post, I’ll take you through why you need both prediction and interpretation to make the best business decisions.

What’s the Difference Between Prediction and Interpretation?

Let’s take a step back and talk about the difference between prediction and interpretation. In data science, there’s a trade off between prediction accuracy and model interpretability. We have very flexible approaches that tend to come with great prediction accuracy, we’ll call these “black box” models. We also have more restrictive approaches that lend itself to better interpretation, which we’ll call “white box” models. While at first glance it might be appealing to always go for black box models (i.e. the flexible approach with the higher prediction accuracy), you might want to opt for white box models, which leave room for greater interpretation.

To Decide Which Prediction Model, Identify Your Goal

The best model for your business will depend on what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re in a situation where you just want to be able to predict who will buy your products or services, then you don’t really have a need for interpretation, because you just need to target that audience with your ads. However, if you need to have a conversation with a customer that’s very likely to churn, it might be useful to understand why they’re going to leave, so you can have a more relevant conversation.

Bringing Employee and Customer Churn Prediction to Life

The most common use case for predictive models in CX and EX tends to be employee or customer churn, which means customers or employees are intending to leave your brand. Of course businesses are motivated to retain their customers and employees, as it takes time and money to replace both customers and talent. 

When we build predictive models for churn, I typically create at least two—one black box model, where I use a flexible approach that tends to achieve good prediction accuracy and a white box model that provides more insights. When we do this, it becomes very easy for clients to understand why it’s important to have interpretation alongside your prediction accuracy.

Recently we went through this exercise with one of our clients and the black box model provided a great fit, however the only output it provided was relative importance of the variables. In this case it showed tenure as the most important driver. Now this might not be a surprise for most of you, as tenure tends to be quite important when it comes to churn. It’s also not very useful and just throws up more questions; the key question would be at what tenure do my clients start to churn

Taking Action Post-Churn Prediction

The most important part of predicting churn is taking action on those insights. Churn prediction won’t give you all the answers to why customers or employees might be leaving, but it will direct you where to focus. You’ll need to identify the best way to avoid the churn—and there are right ways and wrong ways of actioning your churn insights. 

The wrong way of taking action might look like contacting your at-risk customers and explaining why they shouldn’t leave, or perhaps explain how easy it is to use our product or service. It’s also a bad idea to call at-risk customers to confirm they are leaving, then try and talk them out of it. 

These approaches are highly problematic and could cause customers or employees who weren’t actually going to leave to consider doing so. After all, some customers or employees are not looking to leave but are also not very engaged or loyal, so these types of actions could make them rethink the relationship.

The right way to take action on churn insights is to think broader and make a proactive plan. From the “white box” approach, we could actually see that there were high churn groups across the tenure range. At one end there was a group with very low tenure (less than 1 year) who never really used the service and on the other end we have clients who had been with the company for many years and had done many transactions, but they never bothered to use certain services, which made the service harder to use. 

Now this obviously gives us a much better idea of how to take action and reduce churn. For new customers, you might consider introducing incentive programs to start using the service when they sign up, while for customers with a longer tenure, you could intervene and make them aware of the services they could take advantage of to make their lives easier.

So, Do You Need Prediction, Interpretation, or Both?

When it comes to Experience Improvement, we need both prediction and interpretation. We want to be as accurate as possible when we predict churning customers or employees but we also want to understand why they’re leaving—and this is not just a one size fits all. 

Different segments might be leaving for different reasons and have different propensities to leave. Having insights into why customers or employees might be leaving gives you a better idea of what to do about it. Of course, this might lead to a slightly less accurate predictive model, but the trade off is worth it, because what good is an accurate prediction if you cannot take effective action on the back of it?

Want to learn more about how you can reduce employee and customer churn with your experience program efforts? Check out this eBook, “How to Improve Customer Retention & Generate Revenue with Your CX Program”

Luxury Retail: Three Elements to Closing the Physical and Digital Experience Gap

Black Friday is right around the corner and you know what that means. Shopping, shopping, and more shopping! But not just any kind of shopping. This once a year occasion means customers are looking for the perfect gift for someone special—and the best deals they can find for the best and most luxurious products on the market.

The thing is, any customer making a luxury purchase will have high expectations for not only the product, but the experience—whether it’s online or in store.Bridging that physical and digital gap is about as easy as finding a parking spot at the mall on Black Friday, and the need for an accessible online experience is only growing as customers prioritize ease and convenience. 

Here are three elements for luxury retail brands’ to consider when closing the gap and delivering that premium level customer journey!

Element #1: Let Customers Speak—and Listen When They Do

Just as you ask for feedback in store, provide those same opportunities for customers when they shop online. Physical and online shopping experiences are significantly different, so you need to collect and analyze feedback from both channels. 

Knowing what’s working and what’s not in each type of experience can teach you how to create a smoother and more connected experience for customers. And it’s most important to communicate back to your customers that you’re listening, you’ve acted, and change is quickly coming.

Element #2: Don’t Choose Online Retail Over Physical, You Need Both

Digital experiences aren’t meant to entirely replace physical ones. They’re meant to allow customers other options that might better suit their needs. Factors like flexibility and convenience influence how customers shop, but it doesn’t mean one experience is objectively better than the other. The best experience isn’t digital or physical. It’s one that fully matches the customer’s preferences. The goal then is to make physical and digital experiences work in harmony. 

Element #3: Keep Your Brand on Point to Tell a Consistent Story

Your digital and physical customer journeys must not only match in quality, but in branding as well. The way you communicate to customers along each digital touchpoint, whether it be a newsletter sent out by email or a personalized message on the website after they purchase something, should keep consistent with your brand’s style, messaging, and tone of voice.

It’s also vital that the digital experience adheres to human-like interactions as if the customer was actually in the store. And that comes through with a unique branding voice and character. Customers shouldn’t feel like they’re purchasing from a robot dispensing products and services, but a human being behind their screen.

Of course, we know that digital and physical experiences aren’t the only aspect of the customer journey that luxury retail brands need to pay attention to. Read this report if you want to learn more about bridging the experience gap and how to improve personalization and emotional intelligence in the new luxury retail age.

What the Supply Chain Crisis Means for Your Customer Experience

The ongoing global supply chain woes have created massive headaches for both customers and the brands that serve them. One of the many products of lingering COVID uncertainty, the supply chain crisis has resulted in steeper prices, logistics chaos, and a markedly lower supply of everything from video game consoles to garden furniture. Today’s discussion covers three factors brands should be aware of as they consider supply chain issues within the context of customer experience (CX).

3 Supply Chain Crisis Factors to Consider for the Customer Experience

  1. Manufacturing
  2. Logistics
  3. Commodity Prices

Factor #1: Manufacturing

The manufacturing gap is not the only cause of the supply chain’s current state, but it’s certainly one of the most important. As I’m sure you remember during the early days of the pandemic, COVID lockdowns weren’t restricted to offices and restaurants—many manufacturing facilities were also closed due to a combination of quarantine guidelines and falling demand. Now, as the world reawakens after what is hopefully the worst of the pandemic, the manufacturing sector is struggling to match the speed of reemergent customer demand. As a result, many brands find themselves with insufficient stock to actually meet that demand, which poses an obvious threat to customer experience.

Factor #2: Logistics

We’re all hopeful that manufacturing will eventually catch back up to demand, but production capacity is, unfortunately, just one reason the supply chain is currently creaking. The second factor to consider here is logistics, and how both shipping queues and an enduring truck driver shortage are preventing what goods can be manufactured from actually reaching store shelves. Many ships find themselves idling in harbors the world over, which of course increases shipping prices, while the aforementioned driver shortage is an outgrowth of the mass-quitting phenomenon the media have dubbed The Great Recession. Both problems further complicate acquiring stock and providing the experiences that your customers expect.

Factor #3: Commodity Prices

This is a more subtle element than the previous two, but no less important to understanding the supply chain. As it turns out, the higher prices that coffee, sugar, wheat, and other staples command right now aren’t strictly a byproduct of shipping or manufacturing problems. Rather, the reason they’re so high is because, to put it simply, customers bought and cooked with them all while stuck at home! This phenomenon feeds directly into the higher prices you’ve no doubt noticed while grocery shopping, and, of course, brands’ ability to purchase and make use of those same staples for their customers.

How Your Brand Can Respond

The problems I’ve touched on represent significant obstacles for any CX programme. Almost every industry is somehow being affected by the supply chain crisis, and though we all hope that things will improve soon, it’s imperative for your brand to take meaningful action in the meantime. Taking action will help you not just make the best of this problem, but will also help protect your customer experience and to maintain the connective relationships you’ve worked so hard to create. This is what the supply chain crisis means for your brand: action is more important now than ever before.

Click here to read my full-length point of view document on how best to take action against supply chain problems. I go into each of the issues I touched on here (and The Great Resignation) in more detail, followed by solutions that will allow you to continue creating powerful experiences and achieving meaningful change even in these uncertain times.

You Ask, We Tell: How Do I Increase Survey Response Rates? Should I Shorten My Survey?

I’ve been looking back over my 20+ years of various research consulting roles and during that time, I’ve continuously fielded questions from clients and others within the industry. In this blog, I’m going to focus on one question that continues to come up in conversations with CX practitioners and data analysts and my answer may surprise you.

How Do I Increase Survey Response Rates? Should I Shorten My Survey? 

My first instinct when asked this question is to ask, “are you really interested in only increasing your survey response rate, or are you interested in getting more responses?” Those are two different things. Survey response rates are the percentage of responses you receive from the survey invitations you send out. Responses are the absolute number of responses you receive, regardless of response rates. In many cases, you can actually increase the number of responses you receive while decreasing survey response rates by sending out more invitations.

In most cases survey response rates matter little in terms of your sample providing representation of a population. What’s most important is the absolute number of responses you have. For example, if I’m trying to represent the United States population of approximately 325 million people, I only need a little over 1000 respondents for a confidence level of +/- 3 percentage points. It doesn’t matter if those 1000 respondents are acquired from sending a survey invitation to 5000 people (20% response rate) or 100,000 people (1% response rate). 

The only caveat here is that a lower survey response rate may be an indicator that some sort of response bias is occurring: certain types of people may be responding more in comparison to other types. If that’s the case, it doesn’t matter how many responses you have. Your sample will still not represent the population. If you fear response bias, you should do a response bias study, but that’s a topic for another blog post.

Usually, when I point out to clients that they should be more interested in increasing the absolute number of responses they receive rather than just increasing survey response rates, they agree. 

Begin By Increasing the Number of Outgoing Survey Invitations 

You should begin your efforts to increase responses by deciding if it makes sense to send out more survey invitations. Below, I’ve identified three specific things you can do: 

  1. Consider Doing a Census: Some CX programs still engage in sampling instead of sending survey invitations to all eligible customers. If your program is sampling, consider doing a census. This will both increase the number of responses you receive and give you the opportunity to identify and rescue more at-risk customers.
  1. Scrutinize Your Contact Data: Are a significant portion of your records getting removed because contact information is either missing or wrong? If you obtain customer contact information from business units, such as stores, hotels, dealerships, etc., it’s important to look at sample quality at the unit level. It’s also helpful to examine the amount of sample records received from business units compared to their number of transactions. Units with low samples in proportion to their transactions probably need to focus on better ways to obtain customer contact information.
  1. Invite All Customer Segments: Are you missing some segments of your customer population? Not obtaining contact information for specific customer segments often has to do with information system issues. For instance, in the earlier days of automotive CX research most companies only surveyed warranty-service customers. They didn’t survey customers that went to a dealership and paid for the repair/service themselves (customer-pay events). The reason was simply a system issue. Companies didn’t receive those transaction records from their dealerships. Now, most automotive companies have remedied that issue and they survey both warranty and customer-pay service customers.

Next, Revise Your Survey Invitation

The next step is to look at your survey invitation process and the survey invitation itself. You should look for two general things. First, is there anything that might prohibit customers from receiving the invitation?

  • Are You Triggering Spam Filters? Sending out too many invitations in too short a time frame can trigger spam filters. Sending out too many invitations with invalid email addresses can also trigger spam filters or even get your project’s IP address black-listed by internet service providers. Therefore, make sure to check to see if email addresses are correctly formatted. If you’re really worried about the quality of your contact information, there are services available to pre-identify valid email addresses. 
  • Are You Sending Survey Invitations to the Wrong Customers? Outdated databases can cause you to send surveys to people that are no longer customers. Obviously, these people probably won’t respond to your survey, thus reducing response rates.
  • Are Your Customers Receiving the Invitations but Never Seeing Them: Most email domains use algorithms to sort emails into various folders such as Primary/Inbox, Promotions, and Spam. Keywords in your subject lines and invitation text can affect where your invitations go. Do some testing of your invitations to make sure they end up in the Primary/Inbox folder for the biggest email domains. Also, you need to repeat your tests periodically because sorting algorithms can change unexpectedly. An invitation that goes to the Primary/Inbox folder today will not necessarily go there next week or next year.

Second, is the invitation compelling enough that a customer or prospect will open it and take action?

  • Is the Subject Line of the Email Engaging to the Customer? The subject line is the first thing the customer sees. If it’s not engaging, the customer won’t open the invitation email. It’s helpful to test various versions of the invitation with different subject lines to determine which yields the highest open rates.
  • Does the Invitation Display Well on a Smartphone? Over half of InMoment’s survey respondents are now completing their surveys on smartphones. Make sure your invitation (and the survey itself) displays well on smaller devices. You should also check to see how well your invitation and survey display in all major browsers.
  • Do You Include a Realistic Time Estimate for How Long the Survey Will Take To Complete? This is especially important for shorter surveys, so that potential respondents know there will be only a small time commitment. It’s also a good idea for longer surveys because respondents will know what time commitment they’re getting into and they’ll be less likely to abandon the survey. If you are reluctant to tell the customer how long the survey will take to complete, your survey is probably too long.
  • Is the Response Option Visible? When a customer opens the invitation, is the link or button to respond to the survey visible (front and center) without having to scroll down? Remember, this should be the case on a smartphone as well as on a tablet or computer.
  • Is There a Call to Action? Your invitation should ask customers to respond and tell them why responding is important and what you’ll be doing with the information that will make their world and interaction with your product or service better. 
  • Are You Using Incentives to Increase Your Response Rate? Using incentives is complex and can be a bit tricky. But it’s always worth seeing if it is something that might work for you and your company. If you’re interested in testing it out, learn more about using incentives here.

Last but Not Least, Look at Revising the Survey Itself

Revising the survey itself may help increase responses. However, remember that revising the survey will only increase responses by reducing the number of people who abandon the survey after starting it. Typically, that number is quite small (about 5% for most CX surveys), so reducing abandonment probably won’t lead to a meaningful increase in the absolute number of responses. That being said, some of the things you should look for, in addition to the possibility that your survey is too long, are:

  • Is Your Survey Simple and Easy to Use? You should keep your survey focused on the topic it is intended to measure and avoid “nice to know questions.” In addition, avoid mixing response scales as much as possible, as this can lead to confusion for the respondent.
  • Does Your Survey Look Engaging? Your CX survey represents your brand. It should have the same voice and look and feel you use throughout all customer touch points-physical location, mobile app, website etc.
  • Is the Language in Your Survey Easy for Customers To Understand? Don’t use industry jargon. That turns off respondents and can lead to confusion. Be your brand, upfront with your requests, and transparent.
  • Does Your Survey Follow a Logical Flow to Walk the Customer Through the Experience Being Measured? This not only helps in reducing abandonment, but also helps customers recall the event accurately so they can give more thorough feedback.

When you want to increase the number of responses you receive, you should look beyond increasing your survey response rate and shortening your survey. There are much more effective ways to increase the number of responses that are often overlooked. 

Remember that we’re here with the latest tips and tricks to help you figure out the best way to listen to your customers (via surveys or other feedback channels like social media, websites, apps, reviews etc.), understand customer behaviors and wants and needs, and act upon what customers are saying to create better experiences and ultimately drive business success.

Want to learn more about how you can boost your customer experience survey response rate? Check out these InMoment Assets to learn more:

What Is the First Step in a Customer Experience Transformation Roadmap?

Whether your program is just getting started or has stagnated over the years, this post is for you! 

Every brand—across industries and around the globe—has a unique opportunity to overhaul outdated ways of managing customer experiences, and move toward actually improving experiences for customers and employees. Achieving this is no small task, and often requires customer experience transformation. At InMoment, we’re here with you every step of the way and ready to take on the challenge, together.

So, what is the first step in a CX transformation roadmap? Set up your program with the end in mind!

Whether you are taking on a program for the first time, or redesigning an old one, this is the most fundamental step of a customer experience transformation. For a lasting impact, we can’t emphasise enough how important it is to take the time up front to outline your CX vision, align it with your corporate objectives, and make a tactical strategy for how your CX program will ladder up to expectations. 

Three Ideas for Taking Action Toward Customer Experience Transformation:

Action Item #1: Outline Success

Decide what success looks like for your CX program in six months, one year, and three years. Without a vision to point to, it’s difficult to make any progress. An example of a program goal could be: 20% increase in customer retention, 10% reduction in cost to serve, +10% increase in revenue per store year on year.

Decide how often your team will check in to make sure you are still tracking toward your targets. As for the best cadence, plan to check in once a month with a program roadmap or visit these goals in quarterly board meetings—and don’t forget to schedule those calendar reminders!

Action Item #2: Consider Employees

Get super clear on how your customer experience program will impact employees. These frontline workers are your biggest resource to transforming customer experiences, and it’s important to help them understand what delivering success looks like in their unique roles. 

You should develop a solid comms plan to bring staff on the journey, co-design and embed processes and training for closing the loop, or perhaps train employees to reach out to happy customers with a personal ‘thank you’.

Action Point #3: Decide What ‘Solving For X’ Looks Like For You 

Decide which initiative you will tackle first—will it be customer retention, reducing costs, cross- or upselling, or customer acquisition? Pick one of these, which is your ‘X’, and make a plan for tackling financial linkage. 

Action Point #4: Settle on a Program Soundbite

Ensure you understand the business benefit of transforming customer experiences so that you can communicate far and wide across the business. Prepare a soundbite or elevator pitch so you are prepared to communicate why CX transformation is so important and what it means to people in their roles.

At InMoment, our team of experts are the best in the business for helping you design innovative, continually evolving experience initiatives. In fact, for three consecutive years, our clients have won the award for “Best CX Transformation” through the CX Awards! To learn the next five steps to an award-winning CX transformation, download the full guide here!

Three Steps to Align Your CX Program Goals with Business Initiatives

Has your customer experience (CX) program matured or just begun? Or is it somewhere in the middle? No matter where you’re at, CX program goals need consistent tweaking to be aligned to greater business initiatives. And with the proper alignment, your company can drive better decisions that will positively impact your customers, employees, and bottom line.

In our recent experience forum with Forrester, Goldilocks and the CX Paradigm: Too Little, Too Much, Just Right, we broke down the mystical process of melding a program and business together to work in harmony. It starts with three important steps:

Step #1: Develop a Strategic Plan

Okay, maybe you’ve been thinking, “this program’s been in the game for years, what do I do now?” or “I don’t even know where to start.” Do yourself a favor and take a step back. 

To develop a strategic plan, you need to zoom out so that you can focus on the overarching CX program goals that matter. What’s your company’s vision and how can this program play a key role? When you first identify the big-picture mission, the smaller decisions become easier. And then you can start to set trail marker goals that’ll push you towards the finish line. This will only work, however, if the CX goals you create are practical ones. Goals that are too aspirational will inevitably cause your business to lose organizational efficacy and buy-in. Make sure anything you set your program for is actually achievable. Remember: Quick wins build momentum for major buy-in in the long run.

Step #2: Establish Customer, Employee, and Stakeholder Essentials

Just because developing a strategic plan is step one doesn’t mean you’ll never have to revisit that strategy down the road. Your plan will need to continuously adapt according to several factors. Namely, who are your customers, employees, and stakeholders?

To flesh these core groups out, try analyzing the trends in your market from both global, regional, and local perspectives. What benchmarks does your CX program need to meet to stand against competitors and how will that fit into your company’s business plans? If that’s still not enough information, it’s also useful to look at how your specific industry (in terms of CX maturity) is evolving. Some industries are in the early stages and some have a long-established history. And that history makes a difference. 

Gathering these broader insights into the industry and market will help you to realize realistic goals and give better direction on how to move your CX program forward.

Step #3: Design & Assemble CX Leadership

You can’t have CX program goals without a CX team. There needs to be dedicated leaders consistently working on customer experience as your business initiatives and the business world changes over time.

One might think, “Why don’t I just have a few CX experts figure this out?” And you should let your CX pros do what they do best. But when customer experience exists in a vacuum, it ignores one crucial reality. Customer experience programs should be owned by and should encompass all parts of a business because it informs all parts of the business. Your program needs to be cross-functional to be truly successful and aligned with big-picture business goals. The more experts from various departments you bring in, the greater the perspective and outcome. The ideal CX leadership doesn’t look like a single team—it looks like multiple teams overlapping. .

If you’d like to learn more about aligning your CX program to business initiatives and how that helps you prove ROI for your initiatives, watch our recent Experience Forum with Forrester VP, Principal Analyst Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian here.

4 Reads That Will Help You Prove CX ROI

At the end of the day, investing in customer experience (CX) is about more than just the score. Sure, it’s great to see a boost in CX metrics like NPS, CSAT, and CES, but what really drives impact? Creating tangible value for your business—and that means proving that sometimes elusive CX ROI. 

Historically, CX practitioners have struggled to assign a dollar amount to the value of their programs. And if that sounds familiar to you, that’s okay! Throughout our decades of experience helping the world’s top brands craft memorable, business-powering Experience Improvement (XI) programs, We like to call them the four economic pillars of customer experience (or the four pillars of CX ROI for short).

Curious about the pillars and how they support a foundation of bottom-line value? Look no further! We’ve packed this blog with information on each pillar, examples of programs who have found success in that area, and assets you can leverage to mirror that success in your own program. Let’s dive in!

Four Ways to Prove CX ROI (and Assets That Show You How)

  1. Customer Acquisition
  2. Customer Retention
  3. Cross-sell & Upsell
  4. Cost Reduction

#1: Customer Acquisition

A well-built voice of customer (VoC) program enables organizations to anticipate what new customers are seeking in a brand and thus be ahead of the curve. 

For example, a major athletic company sought to capitalize on acquisitions by optimizing its surveys to find new types of customers. By targeting respondents between the ages of 18 and 35 with specific questions, the company was able to understand this demographic and expand to new cities and demographics.The practitioners who ran this initiative were able to prove CX ROI by tracking the new customer acquisition, increases in unique customers, and market share growth that it generated.

In “Four Customer Experience Tools That Fuel Your Customer Acquisition Strategy,” we highlight four CX solutions you can add to your tool box that will help you bring new customers through your doors. They include Key Driver Analysis, Competitive Benchmarking, Microsurveys, and Multimedia Feedback. You can read the full piece here!

#2: Customer Retention

Organizations should never underestimate the power of service recovery—70 percent of customers who have a situation resolved in their favor will return to a brand, while a 10 percent increase in customer retention can grow a company’s value by 30 percent. Truly customer-centric companies can easily reach and maintain these percentages.

For example, America’s largest cable and home internet provider leverages VoC technology in their regional customer care centers (and are able to prove millions in CX ROI). They discovered that 3% of all respondents requested callbacks, meaning the brand had 1,000 customer recovery opportunities a month (or a whopping 12,000 per year). By combining this insight with customer lifetime value, the company was able to identify $23 million in recoverable revenue—directly resulting from customer retention! 

Our eBook, “How to Improve Customer Retention & Generate Revenue with Your CX Program” is an all inclusive guide to everything you need to know to make your program a customer-keeping machine. Read it here!

#3: Cross-sell and Upsell

Given that it costs 25 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, brands stand to gain a lot from finding new cross-selling and upselling opportunities.

Organizations can leverage CX listening tools to identify what about a brand spurs trust and loyalty from its customers and take action to make those offerings even stronger. After all, nearly 50 percent of customers are willing to spend anywhere from 11 to 50 percent more with a brand they feel they can trust.

An example of this is a large cafe group that was able to capture feedback from its existing customer base, analyze their sentiments, and make fundamental menu changes accordingly. As a result, the cafe group saw a noticeable revenue bump that it was able to link directly to their program insights and subsequent menu changes.

Curious how your CX program can help you identify opportunities for cross-sell and upsell? Check out our white paper, “Understand and Predict Your Customers’ Needs with Customer Journey Analytics,” you’ll learn more about understanding your customer journey, identifying what matters most to your customers, predicting customer concerns and behaviors, and how that information helps you to drive business growth. Get your copy here!

#4: Cost Reduction 

Organizations can use CX feedback and employee feedback to both save money within operations and to simplify their provided experience. Are there ineffective processes that are costing more than they’re worth? Eliminating such costs can save companies time, resources, and revenue. (After all, training one employee can cost an average of almost $1,100!)

A top-tier mattress retailer used CX tools to install an exit survey for departing employees, giving them a greater understanding of employee sentiment. After implementing the necessary changes to reduce turnover and new hire training costs, the company was able to establish a clear link between its CX strategy and the ROI it helped to generate.
This infographic, “3 Ways Your CX Program Can Save You Money” lays out three areas where you can cut costs, lower cost to serve, and still deliver the same great experiences. You can access it here!

Who Owns Your CX Program? (Hint: It’s Everyone)

In my last post, we discussed the difference between interactions, engagement, and customer experience.  Now, I’d like to dive deeper into customer experience and the role everyone in your organization plays in delivering that experience. You heard me right: not one department owns the customer experience—it’s every department!

I often talk about customer experience lying at the intersection of communications, operations, technology, and employees.  Which really means it encompasses all aspects of your organization.  As Jan Carlzon, former CEO of Scandinavian airline SAS, once said, “If you’re not serving the customer, your job is to be serving someone who is.”

Every Team Owns Part of the Customer Experience

Marketing and Sales have to correctly position your products and services, and set proper expectations for how customers can use them and, more importantly, what benefit(s) they will derive.  Operations then has to deliver an experience that matches, or better yet, exceeds those expectations.  

All of these teams are supported by HR in terms of the people they hire and how they onboard and train them.  The org is also supported by IT and the technology platforms—such as apps and websites—that customers can use, as well as the internal systems that enable employees to deliver a great experience.  And of course, Customer Care is the safety net if something goes wrong along the way.  

Let’s Take a Closer Look at Revenue Management/ Pricing

As Mr. Carlzon suggested, there are also supporting functions that are in service to those who serve the customer. The one supporting function that I’d like to consider in terms of the role it can play in the overall customer experience is Revenue Management or Pricing.  

Recently, I was stuck in the middle of a prime example of how pricing can impact the customer experience when my family and I tried a new burger place in town.  The burgers, Cajun fries, and parmesan truffle fries that we ordered at the counter were outstanding.  But 4 burgers, fries, and drinks set me back $75 (and I don’t live in NYC, Los Angeles, or San Francisco).  It made me consider the role that price plays in my perception of value and more importantly, my overall experience.  We enjoyed the food, but at that price point, we are not likely to return, or at a minimum, it won’t be the regular Friday night meal after a long week.

CX Success Is One Motion

In my previous role leading customer experience for Hertz, I was also responsible for Voice of the Customer, CRM, and Loyalty.  This was intentional, as we wanted to closely tie together:

  • Understanding customer needs, wants and expectations (VOC)
  • Experience design to meet/exceed those expectations (CX)
  • Delivering the right message to the right customer at the right time (CRM)
  • Member acquisition, retention and frequency to drive business growth (Loyalty)

We also had a Customer Experience Council to engage the rest of the organization.  This governance component is critical to ensuring alignment and accountability in the organization around the customer experience.  Nearly all companies are organized around functional silos—sales, marketing, operations, pricing, finance, HR, IT, etc.  But the customer doesn’t care about your org structure, and managing the customer experience requires a shared understanding of customer expectations, and clean communications and executional handoffs between functions. 

At InMoment, our Continuous Improvement Framework has 5 stages: 

  1. Design
  2. Listen
  3. Understand
  4. Transform
  5. Realize 

Too many companies get stuck in the Listen and Understand phases because they are too focused on capturing and analyzing customer feedback and not focused enough (or organized properly) to take action on the data and then measure the ROI improvements from those actions. 

The organization component here is key. To make sure that you are facilitating transformational action across the org that will lead to tangible experience improvement, you must consider your internal communication methods and your organizational orientation and compare it to the customer experience.

Want to learn more about how you can put in place foundational tools that facilitate CX transformation? Check out Eric’s recent webinar “CX Transformation: The Key to a Truly Valuable CX Program” here and learn how to organize, action plan, and manage your portfolio for success!

3 Elements to Consider When Selling CX to Your Boardroom

Getting your C-suite onboard with customer experience (CX) programs can be a real challenge. If you’re reading this, chances are it’s the same story at your organization! While there’s no silver bullet for getting boardroom approval on more CX resources or program renewals, we’re going to break down three elements that can help warm the execs to your Experience Improvement (XI) initiatives. Those three elements are:

  1. Reporting Frequency
  2. Content Formatting
  3. Cross-Functional Teamwork

Element #1: Reporting Frequency

One of the most important elements to consider when speaking your C-suite’s language is its preferred reporting frequency. You can figure out how often your C-suite would like reports by considering each executive’s thinking style, as well as those of your teammates. Some leaders are quantitative, and may want numbers-heavy reports more frequently. Others are qualitative and more concerned with the aspirational elements of your program. Reporting frequency preferences vary wildly between brands, but understanding those preferences is crucial to winning—and maintaining—that support!

Element #2: Content Formatting

This piece dovetails with reporting frequency quite a bit, which only makes sense, right? Once you determine how frequently your executives want reports, it’s vital to press that advantage by figuring out how best to present them. Usually, this presentation takes the form of scorecards, but we challenge you to use something much more powerful if you aren’t already: customer stories! Executives love seeing their brand vision presented in a human light, and stories of how that vision creates genuine connections with people go a long way toward program approval.

Element #3: Cross-Functional Teamwork

This is a big one. If you want to make sure your program is presented from all its best angles, you need a cross-functional team to do just that. Identifying and recruiting the folks you need from other departments is never a quick or easy process, but it’s essential for so much more than ‘just’ more budget. In fact, desiloing program data and uniting your organization around it can provide everyone the exact same customer profile. And when everyone is working off of that holistic, united customer view, every experience you provide will be meaningfully improved. Powerful stuff for your next presentation!

Going Deeper

How else can your team speak the C-suite’s language when it comes to Experience Improvement? Asia-Pacific Managing Director David Blakers has written a full-length point of view on this subject that you can read by clicking here. Check it out to gain additional, powerful insights on how to speak to executives, gain the program approval you need for brand success, and maintain those connections over time!

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