The Greatest CX Opportunities for Financial Services in 2021

One of our favorite things about the 2020 Wealth Poll is that it didn’t just dissect the investor mindset. It took that understanding one step further by identifying the best opportunities for wealth management firms, banks, and other financial services businesses to improve their experience in 2021.

So without further ado, let’s dive into our findings!

About the 2020 Wealth Poll

The InMoment Wealth Poll is a multi-wave poll of affluent investors done every few years for the past fifteen years. From June 30, 2020 to July 2, 2020, we surveyed 1,212 investors with over $100,000 of privately held assets to understand how the unsettled market has affected them, how they feel about their client experience, and where opportunities may lie for investment firms to improve and expand business.

Here is a quick breakdown of the investors we surveyed:

  • 790 Mass Affluent Investors ($100,000 to less than $1,000,000 in investable
  • 400 High Net Worth Investors ($1,000,000 to less than $10,000,000 in investable assets)
  • 22 Ultra-High Net Worth Investors ($10,000,000 or more in investable assets)

Experience Improvement Opportunities in 2021

Perhaps one of the most important functions an experience program can serve is helping an organization to identify what they do well in the eyes of the customer—and where there’s room to improve. Only when brands pinpoint those areas can they remove friction and improve experiences (and even move on to increase customer retention, save costs, and more).

That’s the idea that inspired one of the most telling questions in the InMoment Wealth Poll, “Thinking About Your Primary Investment Firm, How Satisfied Are You with Each of the Following.” The answers we received for this question are sure to inform financial services organization’s experience strategies for the upcoming year. Let’s take a look!

It is important to note which firm types have advantages in specific areas. Mutual fund firms, for instance, are currently outperforming others when it comes to “Investment Performance” according to their clients. Additionally, full-service brokerage and insurance firms are showing particular strength when it comes to delivering for their clients, specifically when it comes to the relationships clients have with their financial advisors. Discount firms are also showing strength when it comes to their online services.

When it comes to the big picture, however, it is clear that elements like “Financial Stability” and “Reputation” are mere table stakes for investors. “Fees” are areas of dissatisfaction across the board—which is not surprising—but discount brokerages seem to have a particular advantage here in that investors seem more satisfied with their fees. 

Looking for More?

If these findings peaked your interest, our full length report, “How the Investor Mindset Has Evolved in the Last Decade (and Where It’s Headed)” is full of them! You can download it and see all of the insights our 2020 Wealth Poll here for free. Enjoy your read!

How to Ensure Your Brand Promise and Customer Experience Are Always Aligned

One of the toughest challenges that many brands face is making sure that what they promise lines up with what their customers are experiencing. This alignment is huge for attracting new customers, keeping your current ones, cross-selling to your customer base, and lowering cost to serve. Brands want to succeed for themselves and their customers, so keeping these elements aligned is crucial. However, it’s not always easy.

If you’re looking to make sure your brand promise syncs with your customer experience, never fear! We’ve got a few quick steps you can run through to double-check that everything’s in order:

  1. What is Your Brand Promising?
  2. What is Your Brand Delivering?
  3. What Do Customers Think?

Step #1: What is Your Brand Promising?

This step isn’t as simple as booting up an ad or reading your brand’s website. Those things are important, yes, but be sure to get your marketing and customer experience folks together as you consider this question. Having these two perspectives in the same room is vital to assessing what your brand is promising. Marketing teams offer up ideal goals. Customer experience teams assess how well things are going on the ground.

It’s always good for these two teams to be aligned anyway, but take the time to hash out what exactly your brand is promising. Don’t be afraid to go beyond slogans; take a close look at your organization’s product promise and how it’s being transmitted to customers.

Step #2: What is Your Brand Delivering?

This step is another reason it’s so important to get your CX team on the line for this brand alignment chat. Making a brand promise is one thing, but a CX team will quickly tell you how well that’s playing out in customer interactions. This gives both CX and marketing teams a chance to see where things aren’t quite lining up between brand promise and customer experiences (and gets a good conversation going about solutions).

Step #3: What Do Customers Think?

Your CX team’s perspective is important, but when it comes to evaluating experiences, nothing beats seeing things through your customer’s eyes. What are customers saying about how and why they interact with your brand? How do they feel about the experience you deliver? Is your experience consistent at every touchpoint?

Questions like these go a long way toward spotting the gap between brand alignment and customer experience. More importantly, they give brands a chance to see where things could be better and to shape those touchpoints up. With this process handy, brands can work to align what they promise with what they deliver, creating a better experience for their customers and stronger bottom lines for themselves.

Click here to learn more about the crucial link between CX and marketing, and how uniting those perspectives can transform your entire brand!

Three 2021 Customer Experience Trends You Need to Know

Looking back on last year, there’s one word that personifies the customer experience industry’s response to 2020’s unprecedented events: adaptation. Very few periods in history have tested and challenged our industry to level up, listen harder, and adapt our efforts to meet customer and employee feedback. With the new year already here, we’ve assembled a list of the three top customer experience (CX) program trends you can look forward to in 2021:

CX Trend #1: The Value of Continuous Listening 

We saw it throughout the year—when circumstances shift, our programs need to adapt as well. New channels, ways of purchasing, servicing, and working emerged overnight as people were suddenly required to stay home, go contactless, and take extra steps to ensure personal safety in a matter of days, or in some cases, overnight.

Ideally, new products, services, and ways of working are tested prior to going live, but this wasn’t always possible in 2020. Therefore, a test and learn mentality proved to be a valuable business asset. Many brands had to and learned to take a “launch first, listen second” approach using an adaptive, always-on listening solution to understand how customers and employees were responding to new initiatives, and then take action to adapt and improve those initiatives. To evolve at speed, brands will need to consider continuing or adopting this approach as external factors such as the Coronavirus require them to change and evolve quickly for success.

Further Reading: How You Listen Matters: Modernizing Your Methods & Approach to Customer Feedback

CX Trend #2: Focusing on the (New) Moments that Matter

Respecting our customer’s effort and time continues to be paramount, especially when considering the  busy lives and conflicting priorities customers must balance. Factor in any extra anxiety around COVID-19 and our appreciation for people’s time and energy must be even greater. 

Heading into 2021, it is more important than ever to design and structure a CX program around the key moments that matter to your customers. With all of the changes in 2020, those key moments may have altered slightly or changed all together, especially with the new purchasing and servicing paths that have emerged and new channels that have appeared. Customer journey mapping will help you with this in two ways: 

  1. To identify and prioritise the high-impact and high-emotion moments for your most valued customers
  2. To help employees recognise, react to, and own those moments that matter. From there, you can make meaningful and impactful adjustments to the business. 

Customer journey mapping will more than ever help brands ensure they are respecting their customer’s effort and time by focusing on and enhancing the moments that really matter to them.

Further Reading: Five Steps for Uncovering the Real Customer Journey 

CX Trend #3: Understanding and Communicating the ROI Impact of CX

Many CX programs start out with the belief that “CX is the right thing to do” and are able to gain sponsorship from a senior executive within the organisation based on that logic. However, 2020 brought about greater scrutiny on resources and budgets. So, as we go into 2021, it will be more important than ever for CX teams to understand and prove the return on investment of CX programs. 

Understanding how your CX program supports key financial and business outcomes for your organisation is paramount. To connect the dots, combine your CX and business/financial data, analyze the relationships between the two, working collaboratively with your finance team. Ensure the links are understood across the organization so it is obvious to internal stakeholders that your CX program is contributing to the overall success of the business. Many CX programs initially have the goal ‘to improve the customer experience,’ but undertaking the necessary analysis to prove the financial benefits will ensure ongoing investment for your program and CX initiatives.

Further watching: How to Demonstrate the Value of Experience Improvement to C-Suite and Beyond

Wrapping Up

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a year like no other. As we head into 2021 with new resilience, at InMoment we are looking forward to the upcoming industry trends that will come along with it. Adaptation is what defined 2020, but more importantly, it will be what takes us forward.

‌Here’s to a healthy and happy 2021 for you and yours.

If you’re interested in learning more, here are some of our top content pieces of the year for you to read.

Download here:

Fight Change with Change: How Brands Can Overcome COVID

We’ve explored how COVID-19 has changed customer experience (CX) and behaviour in prior conversations, and how those changes are likely to leave the CX landscape altered for the foreseeable future. While the announcement and gradual deployment of a COVID vaccine is certainly cause for hope, it’s important to remember that the pandemic will be with the majority of us a while longer.

This is not the most welcome of news, especially for brands in hard-hit verticals like non-grocery retail and food service, but those organisations still have recourse for keeping their heads above water and thriving in the post-COVID world. Here’s how brands can stay ahead—how they can fight change with change.

Choose Your Transaction

Customers have enjoyed being able to choose how to transact with brands, but the rise of COVID-19 has put most of them on high alert in this regard. Customers are now especially wary of any threats to their health or personal safety, and take these factors into account when considering everything from in-person interactions with employees to touching a self-service kiosk.

As I mentioned in a previous discussion, contactless payments have skyrocketed during COVID-19 and will certainly remain the norm even after this pandemic concludes. There’s a more abstract shift underlying this trend, though, and it’s that customers are expecting brands to deliver greater transaction choice whatever its form. Foot Locker, for example, has continued to offer contactless payments, but has also begun offering Klarna as an online option. Customers have also come to expect these changes at a quicker pace thanks to COVID, and will continue to do so.

Tech’s Time to Shine

As difficult as this pandemic has been for many organisations, it also presents an opportunity to create new, oftentimes unorthodox solutions to the virus and other business challenges. Innovation has gotten many a brand through adverse times before, which is why companies must think outside the technological box as much as their resources will allow.

My favorite example of COVID-era innovation right now is Tesco, which has sought to address the rise in contactless payments by piloting its own drone programme. With this initiative, the grocer is using a fleet of drones to deliver groceries to customers in Ireland, satisfying those individuals’ desire for contactless payments and personal safety all at once. Tesco may very well continue the programme even after the pandemic subsides—after all, the innovations minted during crises rarely just go away after the fact.

A New World

That last idea is something that brands should bear in mind going forward. Not to sound indelicate, but crises come and go. Innovation, however, is forever. Organisations should remember that the tools they’re developing to combat COVID-19 now will likely serve as the foundation of a post-pandemic world. Fighting change with change is not just a stopgap measure; it provides a map for what brands can expect from their customers (and what customers will expect of them) going forward.

Click here to learn more about my take on this subject, the obstacles brands face in the age of COVID, and how they might find success for themselves and their customers as we transition to 2021.

3 Steps to Intentional Customer Listening

Listening to customers carries obvious importance for any customer experience (CX) program. Employee and marketplace perspectives are important too, make no mistake, but customer feedback is an incredibly meaningful source of intel on where your brand experience is at, what’s great about it, and what could be better. Because of this, analyst firms like Forrester have begun more critically examining how to achieve intentful listening.

Intentful listening is where customer experience and Experience Improvement (XI) intersect. Experience improvement allows brands to create fundamentally transformed experiences that connect to customers on a deep level, enticing them to return to your brand for more even amid fierce competition or other marketplace conditions. Thus, it makes sense to constantly evaluate how to better listen to customers. Our three-step guide to better listening can help you achieve that goal:

How to Achieve Intentional Customer Listening

  1. Go Beyond Survey Ratings
  2. Contextualize Feedback
  3. Identify Changing Attitudes

Step #1: Go Beyond Survey Ratings

Survey ratings can be a quick source of customer sentiment, but they also run the risk of being too superficial. Or, put another way, numerical ratings and scales are great for rapidly letting brands know whether customers had a great experience or not… but that’s about all the information they provide. Thus, survey ratings are not the best means of listening intently.

To solve this problem (and to delve into deeper listening) brands need to provide customers the chance to express feedback and sentiment in their own terms. This means building surveys that include open-ended questions and utilizing platforms that can effectively analyze the sentiments hidden in that written feedback (also known as unstructured data). This approach, unlike ratings, gives brands actionable feedback that they can work into improvement plans.

Step #2: Contextualize Feedback

Letting customers provide unstructured feedback is a great start, but it’s only the first step toward more intenful listening. To truly understand customer sentiment, brands must also consider the context in which that information is being presented. For example, which element of the experience are customers referring to? Was there a particular step they found praiseworthy or unwieldy?

Contextualizing feedback is just as important as collecting it in an unstructured format if brands want to meaningfully improve the experiences they create. Much like allowing for unstructured data, context goes a long way toward helping brands create specific action plans and, subsequently, meaningful improvement. This is yet another arena that ratings-based questions aren’t always as useful for.

Step #3: Identify Changing Attitudes

Unstructured, contextualized feedback is important enough on its own, but its ability to help brands see the writing on the wall (i.e., identify changing customer tastes and attitudes) cannot be understated. As every experience practitioner knows, customer tastes are anything but static. They evolve and change in response to everything from world events to product trends. Brands that hope to become or remain successful must tune into those changes as they happen, which is why being able to identify changing customer attitudes is so important.

By staying on top of customer tastes and responding accordingly via meaningful experience improvement, brands can demonstrate that they are committed to both improving interactions with customers and staying well aware of the important factors that keep those individuals coming back to them instead of the competition. This constant awareness is the crown jewel of listening intently to customers, and it means the difference between being an industry leader or a follower.

Want to learn how to get more out of your customer listening efforts? Check out our eBook, “How You Listen Matters: Modernizing Your Methods & Approach to Customer Feedback” for free here!

COVID-19’s Effect on the Investor Mindset (as Told by Our 2020 Wealth Poll)

There isn’t an organization in the world that has not been affected by COVID-19. But every organization and industry has been affected differently. The same can definitely be said for investment firms, who must also be concerned about the mindset of their investors;  without a keen understanding of the investor mindset, it’s hard for them to develop a strategy for 2021.

That’s why InMoment is releasing the results of its 2020 Wealth Poll, to give investment firms a glimpse into the minds of their clients—and how they’re feeling about the year to come. Today, we’ll take a closer look at what investors are saying specifically about the effects of COVID-19.

What is the 2020 Wealth Poll?

Before we dive into specific takeaways and data, let us give you a few more details about the 2020 Wealth Poll itself. For this study, we surveyed 1,212 investors with over $100,000 of privately held assets. This group included 790 Mass Affluent Investors

($100,000 to less than $1,000,000 in investable assets), 400 High Net Worth Investors ($1,000,000 to less than $10,000,000 in investable assets), and 22 Ultra-High Net Worth Investors ($10,000,000 or more in investable assets). 

Our goal was to understand how the unsettled market has affected affluent investors as well as how they feel about their client experience, and where opportunities may lie for investment firms to improve and expand business. In our survey, we asked a series of questions specifically about the Coronavirus and were able to unearth four key takeaways. Let’s dive in!

Four Takeaways on the Investor Mindset

  1. Investors Don’t Expect a Full Recovery Until Late 2021
  2. Investors Are Staying the Course
  3. Most Have Funds but Many Don’t Plan to Invest
  4. Investment Firms Learned the Lessons of 2010

Key Takeaway #1: Investors Don’t Expect a Full Recovery Until Late 2021

After a decade of success, COVID-19 has cast a shadow of uncertainty over the global economy—and affluent investors aren’t completely sure what to expect. In fact, an overwhelming majority (64%) said they expect the next twelve months to be volatile. 

Regardless of how investors feel, financial services firms and advisors must be prepared to guide investors through the ever-changing market over the next 12 months!

Key Takeaway #2: Investors Stay the Course

Despite investors’ uncertainty concerning the market, 85% of investors say their risk preference has not shifted because of the pandemic. In fact, our results for pre-pandemic risk preference were almost the same as our post-pandemic results.

Key Takeaway #3: Most Have Funds but Many Don’t Plan to Invest

For as many affluent investors who plan to stay flat in 2020, the same amount plan to invest more in their portfolio, despite the fact that 78% report that they have available funds.

From this same question, we also were able to arrive at the conclusion that affluent investors were more likely to invest if they are self-directed investors, believe their investment expertise is higher than average,  or do not work with a dedicated financial advisor.

Key Takeaway #4: Investment Firms Learned the Lessons of 2010

Remember 2010 and the burst of the housing bubble which wreaked havoc on the markets and the economy? In 2010, investors across the board were not happy with how firms responded to the financial crisis. Since that time, investment firms have made significant progress in delivering to their clients.

The proof? Investor satisfaction has held steady the highs achieved during the market’s long bull run even in the midst of the pandemic.  Financial planning, more proactive advice, and better online tools have made investors much happier with the response to the current crisis.

Want to see more data from our 2020 Wealth Poll? You can check out the infographic on the effects of COVID-19 here, or watch the full webinar with each and every insight we collected here

5 Steps to Improve—Not Just Manage—Your Experience

Since the inception of customer experience (CX), the conversation about feedback and listening tools has largely revolved around data collection. Many brands have emphasized turning listening programs on immediately, gathering feedback from everyone, and using that feedback to inform both metrics and strictly reactive experience management.

Is there not a deeper layer to experience, though? Top-tier analyst firms like Forrester certainly seem to think so. That conversation about gathering feedback, about experience management, is being taken a step further to a new paradigm: Experience Improvement (XI).

Rather than being about reactive management and just watching metrics like NPS, experience improvement encourages brands to amp things up by creating meaningful, emotionally connective experiences for each and every customer. What follows are five steps to getting your program to that level.

Five Steps to Improve Experiences

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

Step #1: Design

Until now, most experience program frameworks encourage brands to turn listening posts on immediately and use gathered feedback to shape eventual goals. However, with experience improvement, this model is inverted to great effect. Rather than getting feedback first, forming goals later, brands should carefully think about what objectives they want their program to accomplish and design their listening efforts around those goals.

For example, does your brand want to reduce customer churn by a given percentage? What about increasing retention or acquisition? Whatever your company’s goal, your experience program can help you get much further toward it if you spell out concrete, numbers-driven goals before turning any listening posts on. Frankly, some audiences are also more worth listening to than others, and completing this step can help your brand better decide where to tune in and why.

Step #2: Listen

Once you’ve established your experience program’s goals and audiences, you can then turn your aforementioned listening posts on. Having determined which audiences to listen to before doing so can help your brand consolidate experience program resources toward much more helpful groups. For example, if you’re looking to boost customer retention, it makes more sense to focus on your established customer base than anyone who interacts with your brand in any context. This approach saves your brand time and resources hunting down helpful intel.

Step #3: Understand

After gathering more focused, relevant feedback through your program, take time to carefully digest it and sort out what might need improvement. An experience platform armed with capabilities like sentiment analysis can be a huge help here.  Additionally, it bears repeating that understanding your feedback means more than scoreboard-watching NPS—it means diving deep into customer feedback to understand common themes, praises, problems, and possible solutions.

Step #4: Transform

Understanding your customer feedback is one thing; using it to meaningfully transform the business is another. This is arguably the most work-intensive step of the experience improvement framework… and one of the most important. Meaningful transformation means sharing CX intelligence with leaders across the business (especially in the departments most relevant to the feedback) and working closely with them to outline and implement process improvements. Desiloing data is always a good idea because it gives employees a holistic view of the brand’s purpose.

Step #5: Realize

Realizing experience improvement means circling back to the goals you set forth in the design stage to ascertain how things shook out. Did you meet your program numbers? Perhaps more importantly, have the improvements implemented as a result of your program resulted in positive cultural changes? Having an initial goal to compare your outcome to is vital to realizing experience improvement… and simplifies proving ROI to request more resources for additional efforts.

By following these steps, organizations can transcend managing experiences and start meaningfully improving them. As we mentioned up top, Experience Improvement leads to the sorts of deeply connective experiences that keep customers coming back no matter what, leading to fundamental brand success.

To read more about these five steps—and brands who have found success with them—check out this article for free today!

How COVID-19 Changed Customer Experience Forever

Many of us may try to forget 2020 altogether, but the changes that COVID-19 brought to the world won’t disappear anytime soon. Customer experience (CX) practitioners the world over are reckoning with this challenge as they make sense of a new experience landscape. In order to fully understand the path forward, however, it’s important to take a look at what exactly happened in 2020 and how COVID changed customer experiences forever.

The Early Trends

As I discussed in my recent article on this subject, I saw a number of trends in the CX world really take off at the beginning of the pandemic. Some of these trends were already on the rise before the Coronavirus arrived, but this crisis has expedited their trajectory. This is most true of contactless payments. Digitisation had already made these the norm for many businesses and industries, but as I’m sure you can imagine, customers on high alert for virus-contaminated surfaces have propelled it to new heights.

Relatedly, many major brands introduced initiatives that further reduce physical contact between customers and frontline employees. These initiatives were already linked to increased digitisation in many respects, but social distancing and other health guidelines have really thrust them into focus. As a result, this trend of brands keeping customers and employees separate wherever possible has been humming along these last 9-10 months—and isn’t ending anytime soon.

The Homebody Economy

Quarantine and social distancing have changed customer life in ways beyond shopping. Though it probably comes as no surprise, the amount of people who commute via train here in the United Kingdom has dwindled to a tiny fraction of pre-2020 numbers. A COVID-19 vaccine is gradually being made available in this country, yes, but commuter trends aren’t likely to return to any sort of “normal” in the near future.

Closer to home, we’re seeing what I call “the homebody economy” maintain its grip on quarantined customers all over the globe. It used to be that work, personal activities, and other endeavors were clearly distinct from one another, but as the months at home have dragged on, all of these pursuits have mixed together. Additionally, we’ve seen the development of a “time soup” made of shifting shopping habits—customers are now much more likely to make purchases during the week than risk crowds on the weekend.

The Next Step

All of these strengthening and emerging trends—from increasing contactless payments to the homebody economy—have already had a profound effect on the customer experience paradigm. They present new, unanticipated challenges for CX teams and practitioners, especially as demand for some products and services across industries has fallen due to economic hardship.

The question, then, is how exactly can brands respond to these challenges, especially since they’re not going away anytime soon?

Click here to learn more about my take on this subject, the obstacles brands face in the age of COVID, and how they might find success for themselves and their customers as we transition to 2021.

A Cheat Sheet for Mapping Out Your Brand’s Customer Journey

One of the most important elements of a customer experience (CX) program is a customer journey map. These maps serve as visual guides to the interactions customers have with your brand, including product purchases, talking to employees, and more. Customer journey maps can help brands hammer out the steps customers take on the road to a better experience and, just as importantly, do so from the customer’s perspective.

Today, we’re going to walk you through how to quickly create an effective customer journey map that touches on elements like key evaluation points, positive and negative experience components, and more. Let’s jump in.

A Certain Point of View

Though a customer journey map focuses heavily on seeing your brand’s experience through customers’ eyes, it actually starts with a different perspective: yours. The first step to building an effective customer journey map is considering that journey as your organization sees it. 

First, identify the key interactions that customers have with your brand. Are these interactions limited to one-step transactions, or are they a bit more involved? The answer to this question varies from company to company—it’ll even vary between the different stakeholders that you bring in to help just at your brand. This can make creating a shared framework a more involved process, but brands can’t build a truthful, effective customer journey map without it!

The Next Level

Once you, your team, and stakeholders from other departments have agreed upon your customers’ steps, it’s time to expand on every step by identifying some key elements. These elements include: the customer’s desired outcome; time or duration; attitudes and thoughts; emotional responses and needs; customer pain points; strong and weak areas; and the importance of and satisfaction with the step.

At first glance, hammering these details out for every step in your customer journey map may seem a bit overkill. However, similarly to getting everyone’s opinion on what those steps actually are, doing this legwork enables a more educated approach to your customer journey map. This, in turn, will give your brand a greater understanding of its experience, the strengths and weaknesses of that experience, and what you can do to meaningfully improve it.

Bridging The Divide

Now that we’ve talked about building out the customer journey and the elements of its every step from your brand’s point of view, it’s time to circle back to what we talked about up top: understanding the journey as your customer sees it. Starting with your brand’s perspective on the customer journey is important because it gives you a perspective to compare and contrast to your customers’.

The Value of Understanding the Customer Journey

In short, a customer journey map encourages brands to consider what makes their experience great while also giving them a means of seeing why customers may (or may not) agree. Brands then have a better chance of knowing how to bridge potential divides and work toward a more connective, meaningfully improved experience for customers, employees, and the organization itself.

Want to read more about uncovering the real customer journey? Check out our eBook on the subject here, where we break down the process in five simple steps!

What Retail Customers Are Saying About Black Friday in 2020

We’ve all seen videos of customers flooding through retailer doors in the small hours of Black Friday. While many of us are still asleep on the day after Thanksgiving, these shoppers are getting their Holiday shopping started with doorbuster deals—but what about this year? Will those shoppers still be rushing to stores? Or will the concerns of COVID-19 encourage them to stay home and snag deals from their laptops?

Not the type to leave anything up to guesswork, our Strategic Insights Team asked 5,000 future holiday shoppers how they expect to spend their Black Friday. Here’s what they learned:

Most Customers Will Do Their Holiday Shopping in November

One of the questions our team asked customers was when they planned to do their holiday shopping. More specifically, in which month did customers expect to begin their holiday shopping? More than half (54%) responded that they would start shopping in November.

Here are some other important results to note:

  • 42% of respondents are planning to make purchases on Black Friday (in store)
  • 39% plan to purchase on Cyber Monday (online)
  • 19% plan to make purchases before Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Most Customers Will Shop the Same Ways They Did in 2019

Because 2020 is a year unlike any other, our experts wanted to know if customers would shop more, less, or about the same this year.

In a somewhat surprising twist, respondents noted that they were even more likely to shop on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday in comparison to last year. They are also more likely to save shopping until December.

Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

One of the biggest questions retailers have on their minds is whether customers be participating more in Black Friday sales or Cyber Monday specials?

Well, many retailers have expanded their online sales to be more of a Cyber Week, with the full week of Thanksgiving offering opportunities for customers to save on holiday gifts. And it’s a good thing, because the majority of shoppers say that they will be shopping both in store and online.

No matter where customers are this Black Friday, there’s no doubt that they will be grateful for the brands that prioritize their safety!

For more details about our findings on in-store versus online holiday shopping, check out this infographic! We outline:

  • How many shoppers will be in stores and online
  • What customers are saying about their experiences
  • What matters most to them in both places.

3 Powerful Ways to Create Engaging Transactional Customer Surveys

Few elements of customer engagement matter more than well-designed transactional customer surveys. You need feedback from your customers and they deserve a chance to provide it. And a well-designed survey can help everyone achieve these respective goals. With that in mind, we’re going to take you through a few principles that can turn any survey from a questionnaire to a conversation. Let’s get after it.

  • Key #1: Design With The End in Mind
  • Key #2: Keep It Short
  • Key #3: Invitations are Everything

Key #1: Design With The End in Mind

A lot of brands out there believe that the best way to get information from their customers is to throw a bunch of questions at the wall and see which ones stick. That strategy may get you some intel, but it’s nowhere near as effective as designing with the end in mind. This strategy is all about considering what you actually plan to do with the info you want to collect.

For example, do you want to better understand why retention is looking a bit down this quarter? Maybe it’s time to assess how well your employees and locations adhere to company standards? Whatever business goal you have in mind, designing your surveys around specific objectives will make them far more useful to you and your customers. You can gather information vital to accomplishing your goals, and customers can alert you to problems and process breakages that a more general survey wouldn’t have picked up.

Key #2: Keep It Short

One of the reasons customers either abandon surveys halfway through or outright ignore them is because they’re too long. The funny thing is that a lot of brands don’t mean for surveys to become long-winded. They usually start out short, but slowly accrue too many questions from other stakeholders over time.

A good rule of thumb for any transactional survey is that it should take no longer than five minutes to complete. That limit is important to bear in mind as you decide which questions to include and which to cut. Additionally, save ratings-based questions for the most important parts of the experience.

Finally, consider what data you may already have from other systems and listening posts. If you’re asking questions related to those areas, consider cutting those questions out.

Key #3: Invitations Are Everything

Creating an enticing invitation is one of the most overlooked parts of survey design. Recipients pay a lot of attention to how well invitations are designed and factor that into accepting whatever it’s for. Thus, it’s never a bad idea to put some time into making your survey link or invitation look good. Whether it’s a beautiful design or a funny one-liner, think about what your customers might appreciate seeing in a survey invite and act accordingly.

The Benefits of Transactional Customer Surveys

Keeping these three principles in mind can supercharge any brand’s survey design and create a noticeable uptick in customer responses. Armed with that new intelligence, brands can be more aware than ever of their strengths, their weaknesses, and how to go about both of these elements to create a peerless experience for their customers.

Click here to learn more about survey design best practices from expert Dave Ensing.

Tons of CX Data? Here’s How to Make Sense of It

If there’s anything organizations aren’t hurting for these days, it’s CX data. Brands may have been avidly searching for it once upon a time, but nowadays, they face the opposite dilemma: having more data than they might know what to do with. This is particularly true for experience program data—a few listening posts here and there can quickly inundate even larger organizations with a ton of customer intel.

Today, I’m going to talk you through how to make sense of your data. Using the tips below will help you isolate signals, cut through all the white noise, and ultimately leave your organization more CX savvy.

All Data, No Decisions

Having a lot of data is not a bad thing in and of itself, but it is more challenging for brands to make data-driven business decisions when they’re not sure where to start. Should companies dive directly into customer feedback? What about employee surveys and financial metrics? The sheer amount of disparate data sources at play within most companies can make gleaning actionable intelligence feel overwhelming (if not flat-out impossible).

The first step toward overcoming this challenge is to take all of your data and pour it into one place. This includes customer feedback, employee intel, financial data, operational data, and other sources. Why? Because siloing data makes understanding your customers and their experiences much more difficult because it obscures the context needed to fully understand both of these business problems. Putting all your data together will help your company not only contextualize what is broken, but also illuminate the path toward solving those challenges.

Finding The “Why”

Desiloing data gives companies the chance to holistically understand their customers’ perceptions and experiences. This is important not just for making data-driven decisions, but also understanding the root of broken or underwhelming experiences. When brands connect experience data with financial and operational information, it becomes much easier to see where things might be going wrong and how badly.

Once brands gain this holistic view, it’s time to dive deeper with key driver analysis. This doesn’t mean sit back and watch your NPS—it means rolling up your sleeves and getting into exploratory analysis and customer profiling. These processes allow companies to learn exactly why their customers behave the way they do. Even more, they identify what experience strengths and weaknesses drive that behavior.

Don’t forget to ask your employees for their experience feedback as well! A lot of brands mistakenly overlook this step because the employee and customer experiences drive one another. There’s no better way to make an employee feel valued than to ask for their feedback. Moreover, it encourages employees to feel involved in and take ownership of customer experience.

The Next Step

Brands can make sense of their experience data by desiloing it, analyzing it within the context of additional data, and hearing employees’ side of the story. These are the first steps toward becoming a more data-driven (and customer-centric) organization, an endeavor that can make any company a leader in its vertical.

Click here to read my full article on the importance of understanding customers to transform your brand. I take a deeper dive and provide additional tips on how to revolutionize your brand through the power of Experience Improvement (XI).

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