Aged Care Royal Commission: The Report Is Out… What’s Next?

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has delivered its final report, with 148 recommendations for overhauling Australia’s aged care system. Among these, the report calls out the need for a new system underpinned by a new Act, additional government funding, and stronger governance.

These recommendations present a vital opportunity for clients and residents to have their voices heard, but it doesn’t stop there. Customer experience leaders need to leverage this feedback in order to deliver a better quality of care for clients and residents.

Where Should You Start?

If you’re looking to get started, we’ve teamed up with the experts from UnitingCare Queensland to outline the main challenges professionals will face in light of the Aged Care Royal Commission Report, as well as some tactical solutions for improving experiences for clients, residents, and employees. 

The First Step: Zone In On Client and Resident Journeys

The Aged Care Royal Commission has shown that the client and resident journey is anything but simple. In fact, it requires all clients, residents, and their informal carers to navigate My Aged Care and make sense of pretty complex information. 

You need to see your business through the eyes of those who are interacting with you r brand. Without understanding what a client or residents’ end-to-end journey looks like, providers can run into three big problems: falling short of their current clients’ expectations and needs, an increase in employee churn, and difficulty attracting new clients.

In the case of aged care, clients, residents, and their families are interacting with your products, services, and brand experience. The best way to see the world from their point of view is through understanding each of their journeys.

Next Up: Consider the Point of View of Informal Carers

Clients and residents are one moving part in a bigger ecosystem. It’s just as important to understand the journey of the main carer or decision maker (often a family member) who is responsible for the client or resident. 

It is estimated that in Australia in 2020, there were almost 2.8 million informal carers, made up of around 906,000 primary carers, and 1.9 million non-primary carers, many of whom are the primary decision maker around the care their loved one receives.

These informal carers have an enormous influence over the care and wellbeing of aged care clients and residents, and have their own set of unique challenges. They may live close by, may be interstate or overseas, they may have a family of their own to take care of, be full time employed or retired, or may require care of their own. 

Carers can have an immense sense of guilt, stress, and worry when making critical decisions about aged care for their loved ones, particularly residential aged care. By understanding the role these carers play, and the needs they have, aged care providers can better design products and services around the family unit. This means a much more pleasant transition to aged care, and much better ongoing support for everyone.

Aged Care Royal Commission: Where to Next?

Want to learn more? There are three more challenges (and their solutions!) we’ve outlined in our latest paper. Don’t miss out on these insights that will help to navigate the new world and fundamentally change the level of care and support provided. Download the full paper here

You Said, We Did: What Is Operational Transparency & How Can It Lead to Experience Improvement?

On this blog, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about the importance of taking action on customer feedback to inspire tangible Experience Improvement (XI). For most programs, this “action” means closing the loop with individual customers while also working to identify and solve systemic problems to improve the overall customer experience. But after closing the inner and outer loop, there are those brands that take even further action with operational transparency.

This additional step communicates to customers the actions a brand has taken to directly improve the customer experience. And for taking this fextra step, brands are rewarded with further customer engagement and loyalty. In our article today, I’ll discuss how your brand can take this final step and reap the benefits. Let’s dive in!

What Is Operational Transparency?

“Operational transparency” is a behavioral science concept that refers to a company that purposefully exposes its processes to customers to help them understand the work being done on their behalf.  Think watching employees at Subway build your sandwich, or make your coffee at Starbucks. Another example is seeing a progress bar during a software update that lets you know you’re on item 5 out of 20 updates, just so you know how long it will be before you can work again.  

Research has shown that customers value this glimpse into a company’s process and that being transparent builds engagement, trust, and loyalty. Why? Customers appreciate the work companies do for them.

How Operational Transparency  Improves Your Customer Experience  

Operational transparency can be a two-part process embedded into your customer feedback efforts. First, you can combine your transparency efforts with your immediate “thank you for participating” message after a survey. This can look like providing a short overview of how you as an organization plan to look at the feedback and take action. This message can be sent to both participants and non-participants.

So what does this do for you? It lets you be completely transparent about the process and show how feedback will shape the organization. It’s not necessary to identify the exact actions the organization is going to take based on the feedback. Instead, you could mention previous actions you’ve taken as evidence that you aren’t just making empty promises

Secondly, it is important to communicate the actions you’ve taken after the fact to bring feedback full circle. This communication can piggyback on existing marketing communications, be included in feedback invitations, or be a standalone communication.

The key is to be short and focused on a few specific actions, sharing both the feedback driving it as well as the actual improvement (and maybe even how it’s been received). The idea here is to say to your customer, “you said, we did!”

How Does This Work in Practice?  

We have many clients who successfully communicated their Experience Improvement actions to their customers. Here are just a few of those examples: 

  • One client, a global supply chain company, sent out an email from their COO in early January to all of their customers, thanking them for their business and sharing the results of their survey alongside the improvements the company planned to make.  The company tracked the number of customers who opened the email and found that the vast majority of customers opened the email.
  • One of our superannuation clients builds operational transparency into their ongoing newsletter to fund members and employers. They include in the newsletter an update of any action that has been taken based on their voice of the customer program. 
  • A shipping company has automated their customer communications through our platform. They have an email that explains their action process and also highlights several initiatives they have implemented based on the feedback they’ve received. They update the email regularly to keep it fresh and relevant.
  • A global technology company has created a page on their website which they continuously update to reflect the actions they have taken based on customer feedback. In an annual email, they incorporated a video from the CEO regarding how feedback was used to make changes, including a summary of the items implemented.

In the end, this type of transparency not only engages customers, but it also communicates how much you value their feedback. It is a way to show appreciation for the customer while also building loyalty. And that’s what we like to call a win-win.

Three Pitfalls to Avoid When Benchmarking Your Customer Experience Program

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

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

Thinking About Benchmarking Your Customer Experience Program?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pitfall #2:  Using Experience Benchmarks as an Excuse

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

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

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

Pitfall #3: Being Too Focused on the Number

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

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

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

Moving Forward

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

How to Build Story Frameworks for Executive Buy-In

Creating a compelling and emotional story is one of the best ways for experience practitioners to secure ROI from the boardroom. However, while a lot of program managers might be content to wing their way through those meetings, there are proven storytelling methods and frameworks out there that can greatly improve your chances of getting that executive buy-in. Today, we’re going to lay out a framework invented by famed consultant Barbara Minto called the Pyramid Principle, and it goes like this:

  1. The Situation
  2. The Complication
  3. The Question
  4. The Answer

Step #1: The Situation

This is the step in which you lay your story’s framework. When it comes to customer experience (CX) stories specifically, it’s handy to start this area out with a profile of the customer who’s at the heart of the interaction. Provide a few compelling personal details about this person as you build the world toward your brand being able to address their inevitable concern. This will tee the rest of your narrative up for how your organization saved this customer’s day.

Step #2: The Complication

Once you’ve set the stage by describing who your customer is and providing a few key background details, you can then dive into the problem that drove the customer to your brand. Take care not to describe the issue in solely problem-meets-product terms—emphasize how whatever the customer is dealing with is affecting them as a person. This approach builds empathy with the executives to whom you’re presenting and reinforces the notion of treating customers like people, not just clients, which is key to Experience Improvement (XI).

Step #3: The Question

This is the part where you establish how your brand can solve the customer’s problem, and it’s where the product and service piece that’s usually better to sidestep in step 2 can really come back in full force. Detail how your organization first came to the customer’s attention, why they believed your brand could assist them, and how your organization thought to solve the problem. Which brings us to the fourth and final step in the Pyramid Principle…

Step #4: The Answer

This step is a culmination of the personal elements established in step 2 and the business side outlined in step 3. Here’s where you can reveal not only how your brand solved the customer’s problem in a purely business sense, but more importantly, what that solution did for them personally. Don’t hold back when describing how happy your solution made the customer and whether they shared that joy with others online. That sort of connection is truly what creates a stronger bottom line for brands… and it’s something that executives are actually just as much if not more interested in than numbers.

Click here to learn more about how effective storytelling can inspire executive buy-in. Expert Simon Fraser has studied storytelling for well over a decade and has a lot more to say about how telling a good story can wow boardrooms, drum up ROI, and get your boardroom fired up for more.

Six Must-Dos for Executive-Level CX Reporting

Imagine you are a CEO in 2021. COVID-19 is rampant, lockdowns are everywhere, 90% of your staff are working from home, and your traditional customers are… not so traditional anymore. Each day brings a new challenge trying to navigate this unpredictable environment, as you spend 9 hours each day in back-to-back zoom meetings. Friday rolls around and your last zoom call ends at 6pm. You open your emails to notice 20 unread emails. 

As you read through them, you open an email from the customer experience (CX) team with insights from the previous month. The document is 15 pages, has 30 charts, a bunch of text, and a lot of numbers. You flick through each page, making sure the trend charts are not declining. You gauge that the numbers seem about normal, so you move on to the next email.

Do you feel excited about these extensive, exhaustive customer experience reports? Probably not.

Executive CX Reports Could Use A Shake Up

For most large businesses, this is quite common. Customer experience teams often ‘data dump’ their customer experience results into a fairly large, dense PowerPoint deck that is sent to the C-Suite once a month.These decks are usually time consuming to produce and may not even be read in its entirety. 

It is not the role of the CEO to analyse charts–that’s the analyst’s job. It is also not the role of the CEO to figure out an action plan to tackle each issue–that is the role of the CX team with each product or channel lead. 

The role of the CEO is to steer the ship. Like a ship’s captain, they will use their instruments to ensure the ship is sailing smoothly. A ships’ captain does not receive an in-depth deck on the engine’s health as they are sailing, and neither should a CEO. 

So, what kind of report should a CEO receive? Let’s take a look.

Must-Do #1: The Shorter, the Better

First up, shorten the report as much as possible. Best practice is one page maximum. CEOs should be looking at a scannable, summarised view that shows the high-level health of the company. 

Picture your report as an alert monitor. If there are any slight declining figures, the CEO will reach out to you for more information. But by this point, you and the product lead should have already identified any issues and drafted a plan of attack. To caveat this, if your NPS has dropped from 80 to 60 overnight, then definitely provide context on the reason why the drop has occurred. Most of the time, CEO’s will know this anyway, as it is probably due to a system outage that month or a negative media release.

Must-Do #2: Minimise Text and Maximise Visuals

The reports made up of mere bullet points are missing out on big opportunities. Best practice is to include infographics with as minimal text as possible. 

One of the most useful design tips to learn is the data ink ratio. This is where the “total amount of data ink” is divided by the “total ink to produce the graphic.” In essence, anything that does not help tell a story should be removed. 

It’s also important to make sure this one-page report is on brand. Your digital and marketing teams should already have branded icons and hex colour codes, so we would recommend reaching out to them for a template.

Must-Do #3: Only Include What the C-Suite Cares About

First and foremost, your report should include your northstar CX metric. This figure should be an overall score of all your touchpoints combined. It signifies the overall customer health of the business. 

Next, include customer churn numbers in the report. The number of customers defecting from your business is highly correlated to their customer experience with your brand. Make sure you include total churn numbers, not net flow of customers. 

Net flow of customers can mask the extent of customer defection due to the amount of money business pour into sales and acquisition. It is surprising how much money businesses spend on acquisition, yet they have the tightest rules for their customer service agents on what they can refund or grant as loyalty points. 

That leads us next to customer complaints and cases. CEOs need to be aware of the number of complaints that have been recorded, how long it takes to resolve them, and the satisfaction outcome of these complaints. 

What not to include? Agent friendliness, branch cleanliness, etc. Those questions are in your surveys to inform the front line and middle management, but are not needed in this report.

Must-Do #4: Show CX Scores Over Time

Showing a single score from an isolated month leaves a lot of key information out of the report. Instead, show CX scores over time so the CEO can see the trend. 

Let’s say you presented an NPS score of 60 with an upward green arrow showing a month-over-month increase of 2. Seems good, right? But, what if the business consistently had an NPS of around 80 for the previous 6 months? In light of this new context, the 60 score with the upward arrow is misleading. CEOs are interested in the direction of the business, not necessarily current scores. As I said before, their role is to steer the ship.

Must-Do #5: Include Customer Comments

CEOs need to be aware of what customers are saying. Copying and pasting your text analytics bar graph is not enough—there needs to be more context. Therefore, the data should be presented in an actionable and relatable way. 

We recommend segmenting your text analytics into three core categories: people, product/price, and process. These are three pillars that underpin an organisation and it is important to highlight the key strengths and weaknesses of each pillar. 

Make sure to also include customer verbatims of common themes. This turns black and white data into a real story with emotion. If a customer posted on your social media about an issue, include it, especially if it shows the pain point’s impact on the customer. Make sure you are showing common trending themes—your CX dashboards should already highlight these to you, so you should not have to go digging each month.

Must-Do #6: Show CX Impact 

Finally, it’s great to highlight the wins of the CX team. Include a section of positive initiatives the CX team has taken on to improve the customer experience or even examples of how frontline staff have gone above and beyond to solve a customer issue. This can help bridge the gap between the c-level and the people responsible for your direct customer experience.

At most organisations, the c-suite has probably never stepped foot in their contact centre. They often view the contact centre as something that has to be there and therefore, they might try to cut costs there as much as possible. To protect this asset, it’s up to you to change the perception of the CEO and highlight how these frontline staff financially contribute to the growth of the company by turning detractors into promoters. 

Wrapping Up

Best practice for exec-level CX reports is simplicity. Stick to a one-page, infographic-styled report that showcases key trending metrics with summarised common customer feedback. Speak with your customer success manager to set up dashboards that will have the information ready to go at any time! 

If you liked this blog, our new eBook will take your customer experience reports to the next level. Download “How To Tell A Story Using Market Research Data” for free here!

How Operational Excellence Now Leads to Experience Improvement Later

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

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

Element to Connect Operations with Experience Improvement

  1. Optimization
  2. Innovation

XI Element #1: Optimization

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

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

XI Element #2: Innovation

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

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

  1. Operational excellence
  2. Optimization
  3. Innovation

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

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

Three Cost Reduction Success Stories Powered by Experience Programs

Customers have more complex expectations than ever before. They want seamless, memorable, and down-right enjoyable experiences every time. But to experience professionals, empowering these kinds of interactions is anything but easy, and it often means investing even more money. However, better experiences don’t have to mean higher costs. In fact, effective and efficient experience programs can power serious cost reduction for brands.

In the second episode of InMoment’s “XI Expert Take” series, Senior Director of Strategic Insights Radi Hindawi sits down to discuss how brands can utilize their experience ecosystem to improve costs (and ultimately boost their bottom line). Radi works one-on-one with brands to leverage data from their customers, employees, and more to detect areas of friction and inefficiency that are causing revenue drain. Once these areas are identified, he helps brands take action, make changes, and delight their customers.

It’s safe to say that Radi has many success stories to tell, so we’re going to highlight three in our post today. Let’s get started!

Leading Financial Services Brand Focuses in to Save Costs

Radi recently worked with a prominent financial services brand to clearly define its vision, set objectives, and then create a focused action plan to develop its digital experience. 

Before the pandemic, most financial services companies had a digital experience roadmap. However, COVID-19 kicked those initiatives into high gear. This financial services brand even experienced quadruple the amount of digital interactions practically overnight! The team was frantic to reduce friction, continue driving value, and to keep costs down. At first, they were willing to take any and every possible action, but by leveraging the intelligence from their CX ecosystem, Radi and the team were able to pinpoint exactly which levers to pull to achieve the best outcome. 

And the results speak for themselves. By reducing friction and removing inefficient processes, the brand was able to reduce spending by 22%, which ultimately enabled it to invest in further digital innovation.

Major Retailer Reveals Savings with Data from Everywhere

Our next use case comes from a retail client Radi has recently consulted with. Like many businesses in its industry, the retailer was hit hard by COVID-19 quarantine protocols. As a result, it was looking to cut business costs as much as possible. 

The InMoment Strategic Insights Team was brought in to work with the brand’s executive team to run linkage and cost analysis with data—solicited and unsolicited—from anywhere and everywhere. Over the course of their work, the team realized that a surprising amount of the business’s costs were due to one element: employee churn. In fact, employee churn had been steadily increasing year over year. The team had found their focus!

Over the next few months, the brand was able to rethink the employee experience to identify why employees were leaving and then take action to alleviate those pain points. And, as employees stay longer, costs are getting steadily lower, meaning this process was a win for the business and employees. (Check out this video to see why it’s a win for customers too!)

Food Services Brand Scales Back Ineffective Programs

We already discussed this earlier, but with the global pandemic came increased digital experience spending for brands. This is especially true for food service brands that needed to adapt quickly to start takeout, curbside pick up, and delivery initiatives. 

For one InMoment client, the costs associated with these initiatives practically skyrocketed. It wanted to cut costs, but at the expense of losing valued employees. The brand consulted with Radi and his team and were able to find an alternative solution: the brand reviewed promotional deals to see which were popular and which were underutilized, then eliminated the dead weight from there. By scaling back on ineffective processes, the brand was able to reallocate resources into new, necessary initiatives that kept its business thriving.

Experience Improvement Leads to Cost Reduction (and Business Success)

The bottom line here is that when you put the right experience program in place, it can be the final push that gets your business across the finish line with goals and KPIs. You might be asking yourself, “how do I know if I have the right experience program?” Well, the answer comes down to whether your initiatives, priorities, and greater strategy are geared toward measuring and managing your experience, or if they are designed in a way that inspires action, transformation, and ultimately improving your experiences. Between those two, you want to aim for the latter.

The stories in this article are proof that an Experience Improvement (XI) approach can directly impact your bottom line and boost cost reduction (and if you ask us, we think they’re pretty incredible). If you want to learn more about how you can imitate this success with your own program, watch the full XI Take video, “How to Use Your CX Ecosystem to Improve Costs & Experiences,” here!

How Operational Excellence Can Drive Experience Improvement

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

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

Table Stakes

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

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

How This Relates to Improving Experiences

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Questions to Address

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 Ways Reducing Friction Benefits Customers & Brands

Reducing customer friction is extremely important to any brand. However, going about friction reduction in the right way can do more than lower costs for an organization; it can also build a fundamentally improved experience for your customers. Today’s conversation briefly covers how brands can strike this balance with a single approach.

Creating Friction-Free Journeys

Ostensibly, reducing cost is supposed to do just that. However, what a lot of organizations don’t realize is that reducing costs can also reduce friction along the customer journey—that excess effort that customers have to put in just to interact with your brand. Things like repeat phone calls, having to go back to the store, and the like all fall under that category.

Friction creates higher customer dissatisfaction, steeper costs, and, in a worst-case scenario, customer churn.  Fortunately for organizations, this dynamic also works in reverse, which is why it’s all the more important for organizations to leverage their experience programs as much as possible to address customer friction points. Continue gathering feedback, but make sure to analyze its sentiments, share that information with the wider organization, and work with all the relevant teams to come up with solutions and program enhancements. Even fixes like taking a few seconds off of contact center calls, for example, can save brands a lot of money while also increasing customer satisfaction.

The Ties That Bind

There’s a bigger picture to reducing costs than making individual transactions easier for customers: their overall relationship with your brand. Remember that, while evaluating singular interactions is certainly important, most customers don’t think about your company in those terms. Generally, customers think about their entire relationship with your brand from beginning until now, which is why going about cost reduction with friction elimination in mind is so fundamentally important.

When customers feel like all their interactions with your brand are frictionless, you create a more human connection and a more loyal customer relationship. Cost reduction isn’t just about saving money; it’s about refining your customer experience into something that keeps customers coming back for more because they know you care about them as people.

So, how else might brands use cost reduction to create a more human experience while also strengthening their bottom line? Click here to read my full-length point of view on this subject and to learn more about how cost reduction can create Experience Improvement (XI) when it’s done meaningfully.

How to Design an Effective Customer Recovery Strategy

Brands work hard to keep their customers happy and to create positive experiences, but the reality is that no organization can prevent every negative experience that might come a customer’s way. Whether it’s due to unforeseen circumstances or plain old human error, negative experiences are always a specter that brands need to watch out for.

Perhaps more importantly, organizations need to be prepared to recover at-risk customers when those experiences, for whatever reason, do occur. At the end of the day, a brand’s obligation to these customers goes beyond the bottom line—it’s part of creating a grander, positive, human experience that will not only salvage the relationship but also keep that customer coming back for more. Let’s dive in.

Before Problems Become Problems

The first step to an effective recovery strategy is to be as vigilant for negative experiences as possible. Proactive multichannel listening is key here—brands need to constantly meet customers where they talk about their brand interactions, then analyze their sentiments to make sure they’re not missing anything. Post-transactions surveys can be helpful here, but brands also need to pay attention to social media, phone calls, and every other medium their customers use to express how they feel about their experiences.

This strategy is effective for more than just one-time problems, too. The right experience platform can digest entire spectra of customer feedback, which helps brands spot recurring issues that they may not have even known about. Thus, companies can use this strategy to both save at-risk customers and fix deep-rooted problems that might be plaguing their wider goals and aspirations.

Closing The Loop

Paying close attention to customer conversations is important, but what happens when problems slip through that crack and put their relationship with your brand at risk? When that occurs, organizations must be prepared to close the loop with customers. In this context, closing the loop refers to assigning an employee to the customer, having that employee intently listen to the customer’s story, and rectifying the problem well enough to salvage that relationship.

While closing the loop seems pretty straightforward at the outset, there’s much more to this process than ‘just’ effective customer service. Closing the loop doesn’t end when a satisfied customer hangs up the phone—meaningfully rectifying that problem means reviewing how it occurred with the wider organization, creating a solution, and implementing it so that future customers don’t suffer the same issue. Looking at it this way means that the organization is actually closing two loops: the one with the customer (inner loop) and creating a more customer experience (CX)-driven culture (outer loop). Both are vital to customer recovery.

Making Things Right

There’s a common element to both of these strategies and to customer recovery in general, and it’s empowering your employees to do the right thing. Challenging employees to step up, involving them in the recovery process, and democratizing data to help them see the big picture are all great ways to ensure that your recovery strategy is working. There’s no better person to salvage an at-risk relationship than an impassioned employee, and no better way to instill passion in your teams than giving them the tools (and encouragement) they need to rise to the occasion.

By challenging employees to be proactive, paying attention to customers’ constant conversations, and by closing the loop when problems do arise, brands can ensure they’re doing everything they can to rescue at-risk customers. This approach allows them to create fundamentally improved experiences that both strengthen the bottom line and turn recovery situations into meaningful human interactions.

Want to learn more about how you can boost your customer retention through recovery methods and more? Read our full eBook on the subject, “How to Improve Customer Retention & Generate Revenue with Your CX Program” today!

Three Ways to Find the Meaning Behind Ease & Effort Scores

For decades, brands have used metrics that gauge how easy (or difficult) a time customers have interacting with them, as well as how much effort it takes for customers to complete such transactions. At a glance, metrics that measure ease, effort, customer satisfaction, and the like can be very helpful for both alerting organizations to certain problems and giving them a surface-level idea of what those issues are. This makes them hand canaries in the coal mine.

While these metrics certainly have their uses, it’s much more difficult for brands to use them to find the deeper meaning behind problems. That is, unless they take part in a few brief exercises. Keep reading for the rundown on the exercises we suggest you apply to your own ease and effort scores.

Three Exercises to Help You Find the Meaning Behind Customer Ease & Effort Scores

  1. Driver Modelling
  2. Transaction Subgroups
  3. Customer Subgroups

Exercise #1: Driver Modelling

One of the best ways for brands to glean the meaning behind their metrics is to set them as the outcome measure of driver modelling. This technique enables organizations to not only better understand key parts of the customer experience, but also customers’ perceptions of those components. Driver modelling also lets organizations know whether they’ve used enough such metrics to adequately explain how effort is being impacted.

Exercise #2: Transaction Subgroups

Every interaction with your organization brings with it its unique amount of customer effort. Because of this, it’s handy to divide your transactions into groups depending on how much effort customers perceive they entail. Thus, diving deeper and analyzing transactions in this manner can help brands pinpoint friction or pain points, then create solutions to deal with them.

Exercise #3: Customer Subgroups

Your brand has a variety of different interactions—your customer base is even more diverse. Rather than study this base as a whole, brands can and should profile subgroups who, say, tend to report dissatisfaction more often than usual. Some groups of customers will, unfortunately, have a harder time interacting with your brand than the rest, and though the possible reasons behind that vary wildly from industry to industry, profiling subgroups like this can help brands further identify CX pain points and, more importantly, fix them in a way that those customers find meaningful.

Meaning Over Metrics

Like we said before, metrics have their uses and are helpful for letting brands know that customer satisfaction, ease, effort, etc are shifting in one direction or the other.

Applying these techniques to your metrics can make them much more powerful, giving your organization the context and the details it needs to meaningfully transform your customer experience. Your customers will thank you for it and feel much more valued, creating a human connection that transcends market forces and that builds a better bottom line for your brand.

Want to learn more about effort and ease and their purpose in customer experience? Check out our free white paper on the subject here!

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