The Key to a Great Customer Experience Design

Customers are the lifeblood of any business, and providing them with a great experience can lead to increased loyalty, higher satisfaction, and improved brand reputation. It’s simple: every company needs customers, but what happens when there are so many brands to choose from? How can brands stand out? The customer experience (CX) is crucial for any business that wants to succeed in today’s highly competitive market. Great customer experience doesn’t just happen as soon as you send out a survey; it needs to be planned and designed purposefully. 

In this article, we’ll discuss what designing an effective customer experience looks like, what makes it different from user experience and customer service, why it matters, the elements of customer experience design, and how to design a great customer experience from start to finish.

What Is Customer Experience Design? 

To start, what is customer experience? Customer experience is every interaction your customers have with your company at any point. That experience affects how they view your organization and products, as well as their loyalty. Customer experience design is the process of creating the customer experience at all touchpoints, from the initial discovery phase through to the post-purchase phase. It’s what your company does to ensure a positive customer experience across all stages of the customer journey. 

The goal of customer experience design is to create a positive, memorable experience for customers that meets their needs, exceeds their expectations, and strengthens their relationship with the brand. It’s a way to move your customers through their journey while actively working to make that a smooth and easy process. Customer experience design involves a multidisciplinary approach, including user research, journey mapping, visual design, and user experience (UX) design.

A great customer experience can lead to increased customer loyalty, higher customer satisfaction, improved brand reputation, increased revenue, and a competitive advantage. So focusing on customer experience design is a way to actively work toward creating that great customer experience and helping your company benefit from it. 

Customer Experience vs. User Experience vs. Customer Service

Customer experience is often confused with other similar terms. While customer experience, user experience, and customer service are related, they are not the same thing and should not be discussed interchangeably. Understanding the differences between these concepts is crucial to creating a great customer experience. So, let’s dive into the differences. 

Customer Experience

The customer experience encompasses the customer’s experience with the overall brand at all touchpoints before and after purchase. It includes all interactions with the brand, including marketing, sales, customer service, and post-purchase interactions. It’s every ad, every social media post or comment, every article that a customer reads, and much more. It’s even walking past your storefront or coming across your website. The goal of customer experience is to create a positive, memorable experience that will ultimately strengthen the relationship between a customer and your brand.

User Experience

User experience (UX) is specific to the experience of navigation, usability, and interface design of a specific product or service. It focuses on the user’s interactions with a product or service, including how easy it is to use, how it looks, and how it feels. Basically, it’s your customer’s experience with your product. 

Customer Service

Customer service is the experience that customers have with your representatives about products or services. It includes interactions with customer service representatives, returns, and warranty claims. Again, customer service is a piece of the larger picture of your customer’s experience with your brand. Good customer service is crucial for creating a great overall customer experience because it helps customers feel valued and supported even after the purchase is complete and when something goes wrong. 

Benefits of a Great Customer Experience Design 

Let’s take a closer look at all of the benefits of dedicating time and effort to designing a great customer experience. A great customer experience design can lead to numerous benefits for your business, including:

Increased Customer Loyalty & Retention

A great customer experience design can create a strong emotional connection between a customer and your brand, leading to increased customer loyalty. Essentially, if your company can develop a real relationship with customers, they will continue to come back again and again. Loyal customers are more likely to make repeat purchases, recommend your brand to others, and provide positive reviews and feedback. Plus loyal customers are what makes running a business so rewarding. 

Higher Customer Satisfaction

A great customer experience design can lead to higher customer satisfaction, as customers feel that their needs and expectations are being met. Higher customer satisfaction can lead to increased revenue and improved brand reputation. Plus you get the satisfaction of creating something that benefits people. 

Improved Brand Reputation

When you provide a great experience for your customers, they’re going to spread the word. Satisfied customers are more likely to provide positive reviews and feedback, as well as recommend your brand to their friends. So if your customers have a great experience with you, that’s what your company will be known for. 

Increased Revenue

A great customer experience design can lead to increased revenue. It’s a simple formula: satisfied customers are more likely to make repeat purchases and recommend the brand to others. This leads to more revenue for your company. Increased revenue can lead to business growth in the long run and help you have the opportunity to continue to provide excellent products and experiences.

Competitive Advantage

A great customer experience design can provide a competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace. There are so many brands for everything, but companies that provide a good experience are where people want to go. Customers are more likely to choose a brand that provides a great experience over a brand that does not. So to stand out and be chosen above a competitor, provide a great experience for your customers. 

Elements of Customer Experience Design

Customer experience is so important, but what makes up the process of designing CX? These are the most common elements of customer experience design that are important to consider when crafting an excellent CX. 

User Research

User research is the process of gathering information about customers to better understand their needs, behavior, and expectations. To understand how to provide a good experience for your customers, you need to understand who your customers are, what their problems are, and how to solve them. User research can include surveys, interviews, focus groups, and usability testing. 

Journey Mapping

Journey mapping is the process of mapping out the customer’s journey from initial discovery to post-purchase interactions. It’s about knowing where your customers start and what leads them to an eventual purchase. It helps your company understand the customer’s perspective and identify any pain points that might hinder the journey. Journey mapping can be used to create a customer experience that meets the needs of the customer at every touchpoint.

Visual Design and UX

Visual design includes the look and feel of the product or service, including branding, colors, and typography. UX design focuses on the usability and functionality of the product or service, including navigation, information architecture, and interaction design. Visual design and UX design work together to create a seamless, enjoyable customer experience. When visual design and UX are prioritized, your company can create a website and products that are easy to use, meet customer needs, and provide customers with a great experience. 

Designing a Great Customer Experience from Start to Finish

With those elements in mind, let’s look at the steps to designing a great customer experience, from start to finish. 

Discovery Phase

The discovery phase involves identifying customer needs and understanding their behavior and expectations. This phase is when you utilize user research, market research, and analysis of customer data. It’s important to develop a deep understanding of who your customers are, their current journey, their pain points, and any areas for improvement when designing your customer experience. 

Definition Phase

With a clear understanding of who your customers are, it’s time to define what success looks like. The definition phase involves defining goals, objectives, and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your customer experience design. The definition phase helps ensure that your customer experience design is aligned with your overall business goals and customer needs.

Design Phase

The design phase involves creating a blueprint for your customer experience. You’ve come up with great ideas for what your customers truly need (hopefully revealed in the discovery phase), and you know what success looks like (thanks to the definition phase), so now you can make a plan for how to get from A to Z. You might prototype, test, and refine the design based on research and goals. The goal of the design phase is to create a customer experience design that works when you put it into action. 

Development Phase

The development phase involves bringing the customer experience design to life. You get to take your blueprint and make it into the actual experience for your customers. This phase can include developing necessary systems, processes, and tools to support the customer experience design. 

Deployment Phase

Once you have a developed plan, you can put it into action. The deployment phase involves launching the customer experience design. This phase can include training employees, communicating with customers, and ensuring that everything is working as intended. Now your customers will get to experience a deepened relationship with your brand. 

Continuous Improvement

Simply executing a plan does not mean that your work is done. The continuous improvement phase involves monitoring, evaluating, and improving your customer experience design. You can seek out customer feedback and make any needed changes. The goal of the continuous improvement phase is to ensure that the customer experience design is always improving and meeting the real needs of your customers.

Design a Great Customer Experience With InMoment

The InMoment XI Platform offers a comprehensive suite of tools and services that allow businesses to collect, analyze, and act on customer feedback in real time. Businesses can use these tools to do necessary research about their customers and to evaluate CX design and work toward continuous improvement. 

InMoment’s solution is also valuable when developing your CX design. InMoment provides businesses with actionable insights that can be used to identify and prioritize areas for improvement, design, and test new customer experiences, and measure the impact of changes on customer satisfaction, loyalty, and revenue.

In addition to its platform, InMoment offers expert consulting and professional services to help businesses develop and implement effective customer experience strategies that align with their business goals and customer needs. InMoment’s team of experts can provide guidance on user research, journey mapping, visual design, UX design, and more.

Final Thoughts

A great customer experience design is essential for any business that wants to succeed in today’s highly competitive market. In today’s competitive landscape, simply having an exceptional product may no longer be enough to win over customers. By designing a great customer experience, businesses can increase customer loyalty, improve brand reputation, and increase revenue. Designing a great customer experience involves multiple elements, including user research, journey mapping, visual design, and UX design—and it is a step-by-step process that includes multiple phases.

By using InMoment’s platform and services, businesses can create a great customer experience that meets the needs of their target audience and aligns with their business goals. InMoment can help businesses stay ahead of the competition by providing real-time feedback and insights that can be used to continuously improve the customer experience. Get started with InMoment to begin designing a great customer experience. 

How Aegon Is Reaping the Benefits of Customer Centricity

At Forrester CX EMEA, we heard from InMoment client Aegon, a Dutch public company for life insurance, pensions, and asset management. The key message throughout the conference was to be bold and ensure that organisations are aligned, focused, and ready for the future. Aegon are certainly delivering on this agenda and are continuing to succeed by connecting people and processes across the entire organisation to achieve shared goals and focus on growth.

Aegon’s ‘Connecting with Customers’ programme is an award winning programme which has delivered spectacular results for the business, colleagues and customers. Using a customer centric approach, Aegon has successfully enabled their teams to receive real-time feedback in order to drive change and as a result, are increasing customer satisfaction and accelerating growth.

Connecting With Customers

The experience programme ‘Connecting with Customers’, is successfully embedding a customer-focused culture throughout the business, underpinned by the strong CX & Insight framework run in partnership with InMoment. The programme reaches all parts of the business through online learning, customer talks, animated games and cartoons, podcasts, skills workshops, topic masterclasses, and more. 

In their Forrester CX EMEA presentation, Aegon explained how their program has resulted in deeper customer understanding and colleague empowerment, which translates into measurably better outcomes for the customer and a healthier business. Keep reading for the top takeaways: 

3 Key Takeaways From the Presentation: 

Takeaway #1: Be BOLD

Set out to create a customer-obsessed culture, and get there! Aegon has taken the Connecting with Customers (CwC) roadshow to all locations and functions in the business. It is a very high profile campaign, an ‘all or nothing’ approach because the business knows the customer must come first. 

The Board Directors have shown their support and CwC manifests in many different forms from a regular podcast to learning and development resources, an audio library of customer calls and customer feedback videos. 

Making VoC a part of the entire business might seem like a bold move, but the effort is worth it. As a CX leader, you need to ensure the whole business is aware that every decision affects the customers’ experience.

Takeaway #2: Break Down Silos

Everybody has a role in serving the customer so be inclusive! Recently, a customer was invited into the Aegon offices where he met all those who had helped him on his retirement journey, both back office and customer facing. This event really brought it home how everyone at Aegon has a unifying purpose, to connect with customers. 

Creating a customer focused culture throughout the entire organisation breaks down barriers and allows for better communication and understanding, and as a result, better customer outcomes.

Takeaway #3: Have Fun

Customers can tell when employees enjoy their role and connect with their purpose. Aegon threw a CwC 2nd birthday party recently with music, discussions, and games. And for the New Year’s quiz, Jenny Ryan from ITV’s “The Chase” was the guest of honour! Connecting EX and CX is massively important and by understanding that employee experience can have a positive impact on customer experience is key to creating a customer centric culture. 

One final point that stands out from successes such as Aegon’s is how vital it is to have an inspirational CX leader with the charisma, vision and drive to elevate customer centricity to new levels. In Iain O’Connor, Head of Customer Experience & Insight, Aegon has one of the best, along with other great CX leaders such as Claire Tidey, CwC Programme Manager.

Want to hear from Iain as he speaks about understanding customers’ expectations? Check out this video!

InMoment’s eNVy Awards and Buyer Expectation Study Shines Light on the Top Vehicle Models in 2022

–Automotive benchmark study with 50 year track record reveals top vehicle models ranked by consumers

–The New Vehicle Customer Study (NVCS) is used by major automotive manufacturers and suppliers, government agencies, think tanks, and academia

SALT LAKE CITY, May 18, 2023—InMoment®, the global leader in automotive Customer Experience Improvement (XI)™, announced winners for the fifth annual eNVy Awards®. The New Vehicle Customer Study, 2023 eNVy Awards, recognize 2022 model year vehicles consumers rated on comfort, quality, performance, safety, and ownership cost.The study data is used by global automotive companies and automotive suppliers.

Study Observations for 2022:

  • This year, Kia won 5 segments in the mass market category: compact car, small car, mid car, mid SUV, and compact van
  • Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) won 4 segments and Plug-in Hybrids won 2 segments
  • Honda Ridgeline maintains its perfect record of winning the Small Pickup Truck segment
  • Porsche 911 was the overall winner for the first time

The New Vehicle Customer Study is one of the world’s longest running benchmarks of vehicle satisfaction with over 50 years of data, and provides consumer feedback about vehicle experiences, shopping and buying patterns, and feature preferences. The study data is available to help automotive manufacturers and suppliers make smarter decisions to exceed buyer expectations.

If you’re interested in the New Vehicle Customer Study, please contact your InMoment sales representative or Shawn St. Clair, our syndicated research lead.


Overall Winner 

Porsche 911

Premium Market Vehicle Segment Winners

Small Car: BMW i4  (Electric Vehicle)

Mid Car: Mercedes Benz E class

Small SUV: Volvo XC60 Plug-In Hybrid

Mid SUV: BMW X5 e Plug-in Hybrid

Large SUV: BMW X7

Mass Market Vehicle Segment Winners

Sports Car: MINI Cooper

Compact Car: Kia Soul

Small Car: Kia Forte

Mid Car: Kia Stinger

Large Car: Dodge Charger

Compact SUV/Crossover: Subaru Forester

Small SUV: Hyundai Ioniq 5 (Electric Vehicle)

Mid SUV: Kia Telluride

Large SUV: Dodge Durango

Compact Van: Kia Carnival

Small Pickup: Honda Ridgeline

Full-Size Light Duty Pickup: Ford F-150 Lightning (Electric Vehicle)

Full-Size Heavy Duty Pickup: Rivian R (Electric Vehicle)

“The New Vehicle Customer Study continues to be used by the largest OEM manufacturers globally and we’ve seen an extensive increase in the use of the study data for automotive suppliers like technology and batteries, think tanks, and academia to understand consumer shopping and buying patterns and feature preferences,” said Tim Englehart, VP Automotive, InMoment. “This year’s study shows that new vehicle design and newer hybrid and BEV vehicle models are the top choices at addressing buyer expectations of comfort, quality, performance, safety, and cost.”

Congratulations to the Winners of the 2023 eNVy Awards for Making Your Buyers and Their Expectations a Priority!

Want Access to the eNVy Award Study?

The latest eNVy data is available immediately for customers and InMoment provides Experience Improvement solutions through technology and services that help automotive and mobility companies around the globe make smarter decisions that help exceed buyer expectations. Visit Shawn St. Clair, our syndicated research lead

eNVy Award Details:

The eNVy awards are based on the new vehicle buyers’ independent feedback of verified vehicle owners via the New Vehicle Customer Study. The final eNVY award scores were calculated using NVCS independent feedback and segment-specific importance weights. Only 2022 model year vehicles were included, and each vehicle required a minimum of  90 ratings to be included in the rankings. This year awards were not given for the Premium Sports Car and Premium Large Car segments because too few models reached the minimum number of ratings to be included. 

The Inoment New Vehicle Customer Study is one of the most used new vehicle buyer behavior studies in the market. The study has been integral to automotive manufacturers and suppliers for over 50 years to gain insight into vehicle shopping and buying patterns to give automotive manufacturers a roadmap for vehicle design and marketing initiatives. 

With 290,000 domestic and 50,000 Canadian responses from buyers and lessees of approximately 325 vehicles types, automotive manufacturers are able to cost-effectively leverage a massive amount of current and historical insight from this long-standing study.

The eNVy awards leverages the New Vehicle Customer Study data to recognize vehicle manufacturers in the United States. The award winners are determined based on a full year of NVCS score responses from thousands of buyers who purchased new 2022 model year vehicles. 

How to Navigate (and Strengthen) Your Customer Experience Strategy in Turbulent Times

Read a blog by Phil Sager, Expert Partner and Daniel Moellerhenn, Expert Partner, Bain & Company, speakers at the XI Forum in Cologne on June 13 & 14

Reports of record inflation, ongoing labor constraints, rising capital costs, and other macro trends are ongoing and have compounded in unique ways. As in previous cycles of historical uncertainty and downturns, these increased headwinds across the globe mean customers and companies are behaving differently.

So, how can CX leaders and their teams best navigate customer experience in such challenging times?

We’ll explore below how to prioritize customers and strategically use customer experience tools to drive growth for your business and keep on course.

Understand the Landscape

As outlined in Bain’s The New Recession Playbook, a successful approach to strategy during a downturn requires businesses to:

  1. Have a realistic assessment of your company’s starting point. Establish a clear understanding of your current strategic position and financial strength in relation to your peers and competitors. From this viewpoint, you can more easily strategize and weigh the types of risks your company can handle.
  2. Be aware that, historically, downturns provide an opportunity for more dramatic gains and losses. In this moment, it’s vital to follow a decisive strategy, as the consequences will have long-term impacts on your business, talent, and customers. Those with a successful approach can end up stronger than before the downturn.

Take a Human-Centric Approach

How does recession strategy talk translate into CX planning and approach?

Customer experts Phil Sager and Daniel Möllerhenn suggest strategically doubling down on customers & employees. You can strengthen your experience management efforts by understanding your customer segments and taking special action to better serve those populations.

In one segmentation use case, a major Retailer Co leveraged existing capabilities and assigned unique Guest IDs to consistently collect detailed data on customers. They were then able to provide specific coupons and product suggestions, even leveraging life events (i.e. expecting parents, new college students) to provide an ecosystem of products at specific points in those customer journeys.

In another example, a major Asia-Pacific Telecom Co utilized segmentation to align their growth strategy with changing customer needs and, as a result, exceeded revenue goals and cemented their leadership in the industry.

From a recent survey of CX leaders conducted at Bain, we learned that while 61% of respondents have existing segmentation that drives action toward different customer segments, the majority of those same leaders do not use segmentation data strategically to buffer the negative impacts of budget cuts. In less-turbulent times, segmentation provides potential opportunity for growth, but in today’s challenging climate, it’s a necessity to strengthen your position and better connect with your customers.

How can you make better trade-offs using segmentation?

Strategic Use of Customer Segmentation

This demonstrates an important opportunity to strategically use customer segmentation to make informed trade-offs, especially in challenging times, to buffer budget cuts, potential downsizing, and other factors outside of the control of CX teams.

Segmentation will help you zero in on the best ways to provide for and delight your customers and with a tailored approach, lean into specific areas to drive customer retention and customer loyalty to weather the storm, earning growth in the short and long term for your business.

Our experts have compiled actionable ideas below to help companies prioritize customers and strengthen their customer experience strategy:

Provide For Your Customers 

Where can you deliver a stellar customer journey point?

  • Offer unique services on top of products that service the customer’s greater overall need
  • Remove junk / nuisance fees from the equation
  • Understand the emotions of your customers and build responses in kind

Inspire Your Teams

Invest in a culture that empowers teams to continuously improve and work toward a common purpose.

  • Equip your front line employees and customer service representatives (CSRs) with proper product, procedures, and communication for supporting customers in challenging situations
  • Deepen their customer connections / distil a clearer voice of the customer
  • Invest in your current employees to create future leaders
  • If applicable, clarify expectations around hybrid / work-from-home (WFH) models

Activate Your Promoters 

Their customer value increases exponentially over time.

  • Find the right implementation of referral programs to reward promoters and grow your base
  • Provide loyalty programs that enhance customer experiences in a meaningful way
  • Improve communications with customers – timely responses over preferred service channels

Your Customer Experience Strategy Going Forward 

In conclusion, navigating turbulent times requires a human-centric approach that prioritizes customers and employees. Customer segmentation is an effective tool for understanding customer needs and taking action to better serve specific segments. By leveraging segmentation, companies can make informed trade-offs, buffer budget cuts, and drive growth in the short and long term. To strengthen their customer experience strategy, companies should focus on providing stellar customer journeys, inspiring their teams, and activating their promoters. By adopting these strategies, CX leaders can steer their businesses through challenging times and emerge stronger on the other side.

Announcing the Latest XI Platform Product Enhancements

Q2 Product Enhancements

InMoment announced today new innovative capabilities in the award-winning XI Platform for clients around the globe. This release of enhancements builds on InMoment’s integrated CX approach and AI-powered product foundation to give organizations the best chance of competing in today’s changing business environment.

Below you’ll find the latest innovations to: 

  • Summarize customer feedback more effectively to save time and resources
  • Improve the closed-loop service experience to reduce churn and increase customer lifetime value
  • Infuse feedback into enterprise systems to save time and resource expense
  • Elevate your CX programs and the teams that drive them to create program efficiency and a quicker time to value

“We’re proud of our innovative and aggressive product cadence to deliver innovation and product enhancements into the market regularly,” said Sandeep Garg, Chief Product Officer at InMoment. “We believe it is important to continually enhance products alongside introducing new innovative solutions that benefit our clients and the goals they are trying to achieve to improve their customers’ experiences.”

If you’re a client and want to talk to someone about the updates to the XI Platform, contact your account rep. If you simply want to learn more about our innovative products and services, a representative can answer your questions by completing the form below, and we’ll get right back to you.

Product Enhancements to Increase the Business Value of CX Initiatives Include the Ability to:

Summarize Customer Feedback More Effectively to Drive Focused Action

First-of-its-kind technology–Smart Summary Generator powered by Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) technology, intelligently transforms feedback into easily consumable short, structured paragraphs. to surface the most important topics and trends to help organizations take immediate action on their customer feedback. What’s so exciting about this technology is it reduces the time spent analyzing and helps immediately summarize key themes and topics, making it easier for businesses to get to the root cause quickly. Read the press release about this innovation and other exciting AI capabilities that help save a ton of team time and resources by summarizing customer feedback more efficiently. 

Improve the Closed-Loop Service Experience

We’ve made major UI upgrades and introduced additional features to increase the performance of case management systems. Organizations can now also include employee insights that describe the moods of the employee and the customer at the case close (the person who called into the call center and you resolved their issue). There is also the capability to use closed-loop data for reporting alongside operational data to get additional insights about the customer and their experience. This allows teams to use customer case data to dig deeper into segments and geographies, enabling a better understanding of what to take action on to reduce churn and increase customer lifetime value.

Drive CX Program Engagement by Infusing Feedback into Enterprise Systems 

We often mention integrated CX and the ability to integrate different systems, feedback channels, and key insights that lead to action as key contributors to the success we see our clients have when it comes to understanding their customers. With that in mind, we’ve made major updates to our workflow application to easily export text analytics data and send it directly into BI tools. It allows users, like analysts or researchers, the ability to pivot on data from tags to mine data and find insights that no one else can find in their BI tools of choice. This gives business analysts the flexibility and control over data analysis, which saves time and resource costs by minimizing the need for manual or scripted analysis. This process is critical to helping organizations identify trends and actionable insights more quickly, regardless of the data source or language.

Elevate CX Programs and the Professionals that Drive Them

InMoment and NPSx by Bain & Company have entered an exclusive strategic partnership to continue our efforts in alleviating the angst organizations are having as they struggle to understand where to begin when setting up a CX program or how they can evolve their program’s maturity level. Our joint expertise helps organizations understand how to assess current CX capabilities and how to create and execute successful CX strategies and initiatives to improve program efficiency and quicker time to CX value. NPSx Bain is also an expert in training and certifications with accreditation for CX professionals and practitioners to enhance their expertise around the latest customer experience and NPS prowess or training and certification to stay current with industry best practices, develop new skills, and advance careers. 

These enhancements and more, including 26 new language capabilities added to the platform, have been designed to help our clients summarize and leverage customer feedback more efficiently, identify how to take targeted action on closed-loop feedback, leverage AI to intelligently transform feedback into easily consumable paragraphs to understand themes, and export text analytics to current BI tools. 

To learn more about the latest product innovations and enhancements, you can find additional detail on the web pages linked above or check out the release notes here

How to Write Email Survey Subject Lines That Increase Your Open Rates

Customer experience (CX) surveys are foundational to soliciting the customer feedback you need to power your CX program, and many of these surveys are sent via email. However, the first step to receiving that survey feedback can be one of the most difficult: getting your customer to open your email. 

When it comes to open rates, your email’s subject line is more important than you might think it is. Two helpful email stats drive this point home:

  • 69% of recipients will look only at the subject line before flagging an email as spam.
  • 47% of recipients decide to open an email based only on the subject line.

If you’re trying to figure out all the possible reasons why your survey emails aren’t getting decent open rates, it makes sense to start with your subject lines.

5 Tips to Help You Write Engaging Email Survey Subject Lines

Tip #1: Establish the Right Tone

Effective customer interaction is super dependent on speaking your audience’s language. This doesn’t just refer to the words and terms you use in your emails, even though that is obviously also extremely important.

No, we’re referring to your “voice” here – where you pitch the subject line on the “familiarity” spectrum. On the one side of this spectrum is “ultra conversational,” and on the other side, “ultra professional.”

On the conversational side, you’ll use language that makes your recipients feel like they’re being asked a question by a friend or a trusted colleague. These subject lines should make the recipient feel comfortable because they have an approachable tone.

Here are some examples:

  • “A quick question for you”
  • “Leslie, got a sec? ”

On the professional side of the spectrum, you’re using language that builds trust in your brand’s ability to take your service seriously. You don’t have to come off pompous or like you’ve swallowed a thesaurus. Stick to the point, and treat the recipient like someone who appreciates professionalism in the workplace.

  • “We’d genuinely appreciate feedback on our performance.”
  • “Leslie, how can we make you more productive?”

There are quite a few things to consider when choosing the tone of your survey email subject lines. Your brand image is arguably the most important, but things like recipient demographics and the industry you’re playing in should also play a role.

Building buyer personas is a standard practice in digital marketing. Many successful businesses go through this process to understand exactly who they’re selling to. This data is invaluable when deciding on the tone of your survey email subject lines.

Tip #2: Go Beyond Basic Personalization

According to Campaign Monitor, recipients are 26% more likely to open an email if the subject line has been personalized.

What you use to customize the subject line will obviously depend on the data you have on the customer. Using their name is an obvious starting point. However, you can also reference their most recent purchase if your CRM has logged it. Or a virtual event they attended. A modern CX platform can grab this info and personalize the subject line. 

If you’re online mattress retailer Zoma and you’re sending out a customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey email to find out how a support query was handled, if the shipping went well, or if the customer is satisfied with the quality of a recent purchase, you could take one of the following approaches:

  • “How did we do on your support query [#66456]?”
  • “James, how was the webinar with DocuSign?”
  • “How’s that Zoma mattress working out?”

Showing evidence that the email comes from a reputable origin (i.e., the actual company they interacted with) is critical if you want to maximize that open rate.

By using their name and referencing their purchase, you’re landing a one-two punch of credibility and massively increasing the chances of a response.

Tip #3: Talk About Benefits

Let’s be frank here. When you send out a net promoter score (NPS) survey email, you’re basically asking an established customer to take time out of their day to reveal their feelings about your brand despite there being no immediate reward in it for them.

But that shouldn’t stop you from letting your recipients know that their feedback will result in long-term benefits for you and them.

Good feedback — both positive and negative — means improved service for everyone. A large number of honest responses will help you get better at designing new product features. Let your recipients know! Make them feel like their voice is important and that it benefits them to be heard.

Here’s an example. If you’re an energy services company like Ecopreneurist, and you’re sending out an NPS survey, you may want to try subject lines like these:

  • “Help us get even better at saving you energy.”
  • “Leslie, your feedback helps us save you money.”

Even though the email content will ask them a typical NPS question like “How likely are you to recommend Ecopreneurist to a friend?” the subject line can illustrate the eventual reward customers will experience by responding.

There’s a genuine correlation between improved service and receiving this type of information from customers. There’s no reason you can’t creatively leverage this relationship to create highly engaging subject lines.

Tip #4: Ask Your Recipients a Question

A good subject line engages the recipient. You’ll want the subject line to make them think and feel something. Trigger their thoughts and their emotions.

A great way to do this is by asking a question. 

The right question can trigger introspection. It can make the recipient think about something they want to share with you.

A SaaS company like ShowMojo might employ a customer effort score (CES) survey to help them spot inefficiencies and/or improve in two areas:

  1. Onboarding. Good onboarding helps ensure “trial subscribers” see the product’s value and eventually become paying customers, and it’s a critical step in maximizing a subscriber’s lifetime value (LTV).
  2. Product features. A CES survey can gauge how easily customers are adopting a new product feature and help you optimize for improved adoption. 

In both cases, positioning the survey in question form is a great way to maximize open rates. For example:

  • “How hard was the migration to ShowMojo?”
  • “How easy was it to create a new rental dashboard?”

You can see in the above examples that the subject lines don’t even mention the survey. The two questions are directed at the customer and their experience. 

Tip #5: Keep It Simple and Short

You should keep your survey email subject lines to under 50 characters to be sure everyone sees it. The number of people opening emails using their mobile phones is increasing every year. And the limited amount of real estate on a mobile device means that subject lines are often truncated.

Yes, it’s hard to make a compelling case for someone to open an unsolicited email using so few words, so take your time writing. Constantly try whittling the number of characters and words down to an absolute minimum without compromising your core message.

Let’s take a look at some concise and effective customer survey subject line examples:

  • “Are we doing a good job, Leslie?”
  • “Where can we improve?”
  • “We’re always looking for honest feedback.”
  • “Give it to us straight; we can take it.”

A Quick Word on Open Rate Benchmarks

What kind of open rates should you expect from your survey emails? Having a sense of benchmarks is critical if you intend to measure how effective your new subject lines are. 

According to our customers’ results, an open rate over 20% is solid, with only a small number of emails achieving a 30% open rate. If you see this level of engagement, you’re probably doing multiple things right. If it’s below this figure, realize there’s room for improvement and review your subject line copy against our recommendations.

Some Final Thoughts

Regardless of what industry you’re operating in, certain best practices will always be relevant when crafting email subject lines.

Here’s a summary of the most important things to bear in mind (along with a fifth bonus tip):

  • Personalize as much as possible.
  • Tell recipients about the benefits of completing the survey.
  • Ask a question.
  • Keep it short and to the point.
  • Try to keep your subject lines under 50 characters.
  • Avoid spammy words like “opportunity,” “offer,” “cash,” “discount,” or “click here.”

There’s little point in rethinking your subject line strategy if you’re not backing up your efforts with data on the success or failure of a new approach.

You’ll want to A/B test your survey emails. A simple way to do this is:

  1. Split your email recipients into two groups (Group A and Group B). 
  2. Target Group A with subject line A. “Welcome! How was the sign-up process?
  3. Target Group B with subject line B. “Answer one question and help us improve.”
  4. Measure each email’s open rate. If Group A gets a higher open, a post-onboarding greeting works well for your new customers.

By A/B testing your email subject lines over time, you gain valuable knowledge about the subject lines that resonate with your customer base. Not only will that information help you with your specific survey, but it can also help other CX-focused teams optimize their customer communications as well.

Want to learn more about best practices for surveys? Check out this white paper from the experts! And if you want to learn more about how you can listen to your customers not only via surveys, but by leveraging data from social media, online reviews, and more, let’s chat!

Three Tips for Building an Award-Winning CX Program

In March, I spoke at InMoment’s XI Forum Sydney, and it shouldn’t surprise you that I chose to talk about building a customer experience (CX) program! In the spirit of sharing insights for those who couldn’t attend or want to revisit my key points, I’m here on the InMoment blog to briefly recap my presentation!

When I started working at InMoment, I knew nothing about CX. I didn’t know what a closed-loop system was and certainly didn’t know the difference between the inner and outer loop.

So at the recommendation of my supervisor, I read two books that you’re probably familiar with: The Ultimate Question 2.0 and Outside In.

I started to understand customer experience. NPS made sense. The case studies in the books made sense. And using customer experience to drive business outcomes felt common sense.

However, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that our leadership team asked me to lead the effort to rethink and revamp our CX program: Elevate. Here’s my story of going from a CX newbie to turning Elevate into an award-winning program in 365 days. And I entirely attribute it to the three tips below!

In the post below, I’ll cover these three practical, simple, and impactful tips to turn your CX efforts into award-winning programs.

Tip #1: Stop Doing Things That Don’t Work

My first tip is “stop doing things that don’t work.” While you likely know what’s not working in your program, here are some red flags: low response rates, high drop-off rates, homogenous responses (i.e., only hearing from one type of customer), or a lack of actionable insights. Sometimes surveys are not the proper listening methodology for a given touchpoint.

Here’s an example:

Previously, we sent a post-sales survey to buyers after our sales team closed a deal. This is a critical touchpoint to understanding the buying process and competitive landscape. However, we received fewer than 20 responses from hundreds of invites yearly.

Everyone knows the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” right? Well, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then in the world of CX, a customer conversation is worth a thousand surveys. As companies move toward more automated, impersonal interactions, I’d argue that live customer interviews are more important than ever.

So, instead of trying to increase survey response rate, we realized we were using the wrong listening method at this key touchpoint. We scraped the after-sales survey completely and doubled down on doing live Buyer Interviews.

We found that many customers would rather spend 30 minutes live on Zoom with us than two minutes completing a survey. We upload our interview transcripts and summaries to our XI platform for tagging and analysis—and the insights are invaluable.

Maybe you can’t conduct customer interviews, but I bet you have existing customer conversations in the form of call and chat transcripts, social reviews, or email support.

If something’s not working, try something new! Although there are best practices in CX, you know your business and your customers best. You need to do what works for you.

Tip #2: Listen With Purpose

No CX leader intends to ignore customer feedback. But too often, we launch surveys—or other customer listening posts—without purpose. Every customer feedback data source should have a clearly defined purpose, owner, and governance (i.e., a way to analyze the data, identify insights, and take action based on the themes).

Otherwise, customer feedback goes into a bottomless pit… and eventually, you’ll stop receiving it.

Sandeep Garg, our Chief Product Officer, is the most customer-centric product leader I have ever worked with. He is committed to ensuring the InMoment solution works for every single customer and that we continue to innovate to meet the emerging needs of our customers. And there’s no better way to achieve that than through customer feedback.

Sandeep and his team receive and review every piece of customer feedback, whether it’s a survey from our current customers, in-platform user feedback, or the Buyer Interviews I mentioned previously. He cares deeply about every nuance of the platform and ensuring it meets customer needs.

Here’s an example:

On February 1st, we received feedback from a customer. They were mostly happy, but the feedback contained a specific qualm about the platform. Sandeep received and triaged the feedback; by the next day, his team had resolved the issue for the customer.

The response from the customer: I wish I had given feedback sooner!

That’s what listening with purpose looks like. And when customers know you’re not only listening but taking immediate action, they’re more likely to give feedback repeatedly!

Tip #3: Always Be Celebrating

I saved my final topic for last: celebrating employees, as I call it, “Always Be Celebrating.”

Our Relationship survey asks, “Has any individual or team at InMoment gone above and beyond to ensure your success?” When we were revamping the Elevate Relationship survey, I knew I wanted to include this question, but I had no idea how much of an impact it would have.

We call this “Above & Beyond,” and it’s become a key metric for account health, customer satisfaction, and employee performance. We know that when an Above & Beyond employee is recognized, NPS is 5x higher. So while we’re primarily a technology company, our customer-centricity drives loyalty and continued value.

Whenever a customer calls out an individual, we pipe that comment into Slack and tag the employee. We also recognize Above & Beyond employees at:

  • Company All-Hands Meetings
  • Weekly Company Emails
  • Moments Boards in Conference Rooms
  • Our Mobile Application

Through this process, we’ve also identified the DNA of Above & Beyond employees, which we use for hiring, coaching, and training. And all of this results in highly effective employees that know how to meet customer needs!

Wrapping Up

Taking your experience program from the early stages to “award-winning” doesn’t have to be complex or require massive investment. Simply reframe your mindset and implement these three practical tips to build a program that customers, employees, and even executives love.

Want to hear more from Josh? You can follow him on LinkedIn here.

Realistic and Personal: How Avnet Strengthens the Bond Between EX and CX in a Post-Pandemic Workforce 

These days, social media seems polarized with posts from friends or colleagues either about starting new positions or sharing that they’ve been a part of recent layoffs. This hectic environment is on the top of both employees’ and employers’ minds, making employee experience (EX) initiatives vital to retaining talent and keeping morale up.

Peggy Carrieres, Avnet’s VP of Global Sales, Enablement, and Supplier Development, shared with InMoment how Avnet is taking a realistic but personal approach to strengthening its employee experience to sustain its customer experience (CX).

Where Employees Will Work—And Why It’s Complicated

Most employees are grappling with what work-life balance means in the new normal, and while some CEOs say they don’t care where employees work (at home, on the beach, etc.), others are pushing hard to get everyone back in the office. 

Carrieres shared that the answer of whether employees should return to the office full-time is much more complex than anyone is giving it credit for. She says the last two years of pandemic living are not truly in the past.  While employees and clients adjust to this new normal and experience stress and change, reconnecting to each other may result in a dynamic that is difficult to navigate. This new challenge makes an effective EX program much more important in a company.

A good EX program needs to be realistic by looking at employees holistically. Because when they come to work, they come as their whole selves, and a burnt-out employee can be a detractor to the overall employee experience, which may, in turn, affect customer experience. 

Creating a Culture of Community

In these unprecedented times, allowing employees to voice their stress and worry is a big part of a productive employee experience. Carrieres says a good EX program has to allow employees a safe space so they know they’re not alone in their struggles. 

Carrieres shared an experience of a time she became aware of a specific piece of employee feedback. She then gave the employee’s concerns an anonymous platform in a staff meeting, where she found that nearly every employee in attendance shared a similar worry. This act of acknowledgment uncovered a conversation that led to ideas and changes that may have been overlooked otherwise. This experience proved that how employers leverage employee feedback for learning and growth is crucial to reducing churn and growing a healthy employee base that is sustainable. 

What’s Next for EX Programs

Employee choice and control within their professional experience is invaluable, and taking a holistic view of the organization and its employees will allow companies the opportunity to meet their people where they are, help them feel valued, and, ultimately, reduce churn. 

Providing optimal customer experiences hinges on employees feeling valued, happy, and confident. That’s why it’s so important to include the voice of employees in your experience programs!

Learn more about how your employees can impact your customer experience in this eBook!

7 Steps for Implementing a Closed-Loop System

With so much riding on each interaction with your brand, you can’t afford to leave a negative customer experience unresolved. Research shows that it takes about 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience. In fact, a study by Lee Resources reveals that 91% of unhappy customers won’t return to your brand at all. That’s where a closed-loop system comes in!

What Is a Closed-Loop System?

 A closed-loop system is “the ability to identify and resolve individual customer issues and larger organizational patterns and trends based on those issues while communicating solutions back to customers and employees,” as defined by Bain & Company in“The Ultimate Question 2.0.” 

This system consists of an inner loop, the ability to identify and resolve individual customer issues while communicating solutions back to customers and employees, and the outer loop, the ability to identify and resolve larger organizational patterns and trends based on individual customer issues while communicating solutions back to customers and employees.

Why Is a Closed-Loop System Important?

And though closed-loop systems have been around for a while now, they are still just as vital to your customer experience (CX) program! Here are just a few reasons why: 

  • A closed-loop system gives you a competitive advantage. Many organizations don’t have a formal process for closing the customer feedback loop. If you have one, that places you above more than half of the competition in terms of making your customers feel seen and heard. 
  • A closed-loop system increases your customer loyalty. Did you know that 83% of customers feel more loyal to brands that respond and resolve their complaints? Getting feedback is one thing, but acting on that feedback is what will keep your customers coming back time and time again. 
  • A closed-loop system will decrease customer churn. By reducing your customer defection rate by just 5% using an effective closed-loop system, you can increase profits by 25-95%!

Are you convinced? Great! Now that you’re on board, we’ve outlined the 7 most important steps you need to take to get started with an effective closed-loop system. 

Getting Started with a Closed-Loop System

1. Get Executive Buy-In

Customer experience is an investment, and for your program to have a positive impact—and succeed—you need buy-in from your executive team. For best results, we’ve found that closed-loop pilot programs focused on a few locations usually are the easiest for executives to get behind. With fewer locations, it’s easier to prove the efficacy of the program without straining your brand’s resources too much.

2. Prioritize Initiatives

Implementing a closed-loop system is a marathon, not a sprint. No matter the size of your company, setting up your program will take time. As your program matures, look for the easy wins to gain credibility and prove success within your organization. Once you’ve found your stride, gradually move on to more complicated issues.

3. Harness Existing Business Knowledge

Identify employees with an understanding of your organization’s operations, and empower them to resolve customer issues as they occur. Your employees know your business and are in a unique position to help your customers and quickly close the loop on customer issues.

4. Commit to Faster Resolution

As technology advances and the customer experience evolves, consumers expect more and more from your brand. Expectations have risen to the point that 42% of consumers said that if they contact your brand for support, they expect a response within 60 minutes. Resolve customer issues in a timely fashion, and your customers will reward you with repeat business and brand advocacy throughout the years.

5. Increase Organizational Agility

Don’t get too comfortable with the way things have always been done in regard to your CX program. Treat every customer issue as you would if you were a small business, and resolve it as quickly—and personably—as possible. Customers want to feel special, and the quicker you’re able to adapt to individual customer issues, the more you’ll be able to reduce customer churn and ensure organizational success.

6. Make Individual Contact

Your customers don’t care about the size of your business; they care about how your brand treats them on a personal level. Study your brand’s customer journey, gather feedback, and identify ways to increase the amount of personal contact during the process of resolving a customer issue. A simple note or phone call can have a profound impact on the success of your program.

7. Empower Your Employees

As mentioned earlier, your employees understand the way your organization operates better than anyone else. This knowledge puts them in a unique position to understand customer issues and know the right solution for resolving the problem. Have faith in your employees and give them the autonomy they need to address customer issues on a case-by-case basis and resolve them as efficiently and personably as possible.

closing the loop on customer issues with a closed loop system

The Value of Closing the Loop

Closed-loop systems are one of the most effective ways to not only reduce customer churn, but prove the financial impact of your brand’s customer experience program. One client of ours implemented a closed-loop system that helped them identify nearly $23 million in potential revenue.

Other studies have found that closed-loop programs help retain customers, which can increase company value (up to 30%) and increase profits (up to 125%).

You can learn more from InMoment expert Jim Katzman about the value of closing the loop in his article here.

3 Myths Around Closed Loop Systems

When developing an effective closed loop system, it is just as important to think about what to do as well as what NOT to do. We’ve put together a list of 3 myths revolving around closed loop systems—and what you can do to avoid them. 

Myth #1: Closed-Loop Systems Are Not Profitable

An effective closed loop system will not only help you break even, it will help save you money! While many people think that closed-loop systems handle singular cases, they actually help you identify business trends and get ahead of them! By anticipating, not merely reacting, to your customer’s needs, you’ll be improving experiences before they even happen. 

Myth #2: Closed-Loop Systems Are Only Relevant for Certain Industries

There is a stigma surrounding closed-loop systems—that they only belong in certain industries, such as retail or food service. While those industries definitely benefit from closed-loop systems, they are not the only ones with something to gain! Every business, regardless of the industry they operate in, can benefit from a system that gives you the ability to identify the next best action for a customer, and address the root cause of issues to ensure continuous improvement. 

Checkout this case study to see how one of our Financial Services clients utilized a closed-loop system to improve their NPS score as well as other business-specific metrics! 

Myth #3: Closed-Loop Systems Are Too Complex

A system that allows you to quickly respond to customer complaints, analyze data to identify customer trends, and share knowledge within your organization to create a holistic view of the customer experience? It sounds like it would be a headache to implement. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth—if you have the right partner!

Get the Closed-Loop System Starter Kit with InMoment’s Closed-Loop Action Package

Not sure where to start? No worries, we are here to help. We have developed a Closed-Loop Action Package that contains everything you need to get started with a system that will improve your business tomorrow, today!

Our Closed-Loop Action Package consists of four products: Case Management, Alerts & Notifications, Moments, and Reporting. Let’s break down what those are and what they mean for your business. 

  • Case Management:  Manage, track, prioritize, and resolve customer experience cases. Supports the ability to track communications with customers about their experience and helps to surface the root cause of customer issues from the employee perspective. Case Management is available on all managed survey programs purchased with XI Platform and allows for flexible filtering, for example: case status (closure or expiration), case owner, or case timer
  • Alerts & Notifications:Provides the ability to notify designated users based on specified criteria which may include scores and/or verbatim content tags.  Includes up to 5 notification workflows per survey program from employee recognition, phrase/score recognition, and customer rescue alerts. Alerts can be sent via email, text or other custom systems.
  • Moments: Case Management integrates with the Moments mobile application to enable creation of cases and close the feedback loop on the go. With Moments, users can create and amend favorite collections, share feedback, create a case, mark moments invalid, or complete and close the loop so they get the insights they need to take immediate action.
  • Reporting: Offers insights into closed loop data. Users can visualize and monitor cases at a high-level. Program owners can immediately see stats such as average days to close a case, hours to first action, and number of escalated cases. 
  • Voice of Employee: Supports the ability to track communications with customers about their experience and helps to surface the root cause of customer issues from the employee perspective. Incorporate the voice of the employee tasked with case resolution with a built-in questionnaire to uncover actionable intelligence from your employees; including customer and employee sentiment, and the root cause of the customer issue.

Ready to start closing the loop? Schedule a whiteboarding session with our experts today!

Q&A: B2B Customer Experience Conversation with Avnet’s Peggy Carrieres About Supply Chain Challenges, Capturing the Voice of Customer, and More!

One of the best ways to overcome obstacles is to fall back on your community and brainstorm solutions together. That’s why InMoment hosts regular Experience Exchanges to help customer experience (CX) professionals do just that. 

InMoment XI Strategist Jim Katzman had the opportunity to sit down with Peggy Carrieres, Global Vice President of Sales Enablement and Supplier Development for Avnet and electronics components-industry expert. 

In the conversation, she offered insight into how B2B brands can create transparency, combat supply chain challenges, redefine “customer loyalty,” and drive trust for customers who face an increasingly complex supply chain in one of the most volatile market cycles in recent history.

Our Conversation with Peggy Carrieres of Avnet

Jim: Great to see you again, Peggy! I’d like to start the conversation about the connection between the supply chain challenges many B2B companies are facing and how these challenges affect loyalty. What role does Experience Improvement play here, and how? 

Peggy: I have been in this industry for over 25 years, and back then, it was all about process-focused engineering and technology—and that’s great. Still, we’ve seen the pervasiveness of electronics, and everything we use—from work to play—is packed with technology to make our lives easier. 

For example, a simple light bulb used to house a filament and now has many semiconductors in it. It’s a huge industry and growing like crazy, but over time, it has gotten incredibly complex.

Our product goes to 40 countries to get to market, and we sit in the middle of the value chain between suppliers and customers. 

We’re a value-added distributor with almost 2K engineers globally who work on designing a journey to help our customers get their products to market in a complex supply chain. But at the end of the day, what we’ve found from our trend data since we started our CX program back in 2014 is that relationships still matter. That is probably the most significant lesson in our voice of customer journey: relationships can drive so many other factors in your business, and if you miss the boat, you are going to miss your customer. 

Jim: We all know about supply chain challenges, but in the semiconductor industry specifically, can you talk about how or what role agility plays?

Peggy: It’s important to know that this industry, by nature, is cyclical; it ebbs and flows about every four years and is driven by technology.  What we’re seeing today is different and more complex and has permanent changes to initially temporary solutions. Early 2020 COVID-19 hit but didn’t drive the situation yet, but as it became more and more complex, its influence grew. 

Avnet is a broad-line distributor, operating in over 140 countries globally in every region. We are able to move our customer’s demands from one country to another quickly.  So when you put that through a CX lens, I would say in this industry, what we’ve learned is that it’s imperative to understand global and cultural norms and how people get work done on a day-to-day basis in different cultures.

A lot of the hiccups that happen in B2B are due to miscommunication. We’ve learned that being agile through our supply chain means distributors like Avnet become the control tower, creating transparency across the full product lifecycle.  If you think about it, a customer may have 300 suppliers to purchase from to get their product to market. Their demand signal can be diluted, but because we have established relationships with suppliers, we can get the early warning and adjust to be flexible in our supply chain with our clients.  I don’t think this is a temporary standard; it’s going to completely change how we get business done on a daily basis. 

Jim: Would you say Avnet is like a hub for those 300 suppliers? 

Peggy: Absolutely, 100% I do—a global hub! We have customers who’ve engaged with us that haven’t traditionally engaged with “the channel” and who prefer or even try to go direct to the supplier, but the process is so complex it’s just very difficult. They can’t physically manage every supplier and every step of bringing their products to market, so they come to us. 

Jim: Since Avnet is a global company, you have many different cultures to navigate. How do you listen for, understand, and drive action to counter the communication problems you may encounter due to those differences? 

Peggy: That has been one of the most significant values of our voice of customer program. When we started it, we wanted to build a coalition in every country, but every country did its own thing and tracked its own trends over time.

It’s essential to give the feedback to someone who has context and insight into that culture. For example, we have one response that came through in Hebrew, and our translation team couldn’t translate it. So, I took it to someone who is Israeli, who works on our team here in Phoenix, and who knew the context. She relayed that the feedback was such an endearing phrase that no translation can convey its special meaning. 

This experience taught me that we need global understanding and empathy across. However, we also need context in regions and countries that offer nuance because it’s hard to hear those things sometimes. 

We do that in a consultative manner, and by doing that, over time, our teams have been conditioned to get that feedback and use it to drive revenue and benefit, our teams have made that connection, and it has been highly successful. 

Jim: How does customer experience play a role in how Avnet deals with global supply-chain challenges?

Peggy: The market will change—we are seeing signs of it now. Who the customer is can also change over time. We’re the largest revenue-generated AZ-based company, with 45% in Asia, 30% in Europe, and 25% in the US, so we’re well-balanced. But from the perspective of customer experience and relationships, we needed more. 

We did a cross-correlation with NPS and what has the most uplift in “loyalty,” which is a term I hate because it can change quickly depending on how you react and respond. However, the pillars and drivers for us are ease of doing business, the quality of products and services, and, at the end of the day, how we engage with customers matters. 

For instance, how we respond to a customer’s challenge will be remembered when a customer’s partnership is on the line. I am their advocate to our supplier base; being present at the table to show them I care is mission-critical. These relationships are what drive the B2B space. 

Jim: Yes, I learned that when the executive escalation call comes in, you first hit mute and listen for pockets where you can fix something, even if it’s not everything. I think the key is honing your skill of listening to encompass the whole pain point and resisting the urge to jump in immediately at the first sign of distress.

Peggy: Right, and we’ve seen a complete shift in the focus of this industry. Raw materials, labor, and logistics all cost more now, and so we’ve had to change an industry’s discussion.  It used to be from the total cost down to total price, but now it’s the total cost of ownership, which is the assurance of supply and mitigating risk for our client. 

The conversation has shifted, and if we didn’t have a finger on the pulse of the market and work collectively with our customers, we would’ve missed the boat. If you just show a price increase without offering a conversation, you’ve hurt your relationship as well, and you don’t just come back from that. 

Jim: One thing I hear from our clients is that it’s hard to capture the B2B voice. I’d love to hear how you think and process capturing that flavor in your design approach and how Avnet built its relationship survey with the employee experience in mind. 

Peggy: The value of feedback is trends over time, so one thing we do (as we know who our demographics are) is we have the customers self-identify their role in the organization. We’ve got buyers, engineers, executives, and supply chain materials, and because they see the relationship differently at each level, it’s important to know the perspective behind the individual feedback.

I own our design tools and capabilities, and I focused specifically on the feedback from customer engineers. One thing that has been valuable is we ask them in a simple survey if they’d like to opt-in for a focus group, and we’ve had a pretty good response there. This volunteer participation allows us to quickly pose further and more profound questions to that group about what we’re developing at Avnet.  So, I think it’s important to ask customers to self-identify because every company is different in B2B. A supply chain person in one company may be completely different from a supply chain person in another.

Another thing we are seeing is what we call “customer lifecycle convergence,” where the supply chain and design chain are becoming more integrated than ever before, so you have to be in touch with both of those voices if you want to be successful. 

Jim: So, do you have different relationship questions for the different audiences you’ve identified?

Peggy: We actually just did a voice of the engineering survey, and what we found was that 93% said they spent the majority of their time looking for parts and needed someone to help them.  With this, we were able to develop a new design process based on the current state of the market and trained the field application engineers to use that process.  

In return, our revenue, that’s tied to what we call demand creation, has really increased over the last two years. So having that outside-in perspective and then changing the approach and the selling motion had a huge benefit for us.

That’s a Wrap!

This B2B Experience Exchange was packed with valuable insights about the supply chain challenges. Additionally, awesome employee experience insights also packed a powerful punch in this conversation, and we’ll be including those as part two! Look out for our next quarterly experience exchange, and in the meantime, check out this Guide to building a customer-centric B2B  experience.

Where Should Customer Experience (CX) Teams Live Within An Organization?

Oftentimes, CX practitioners will discuss the best reporting position for a core CX team to give an organization the best chance for Customer Experience (CX) success. Here at InMoment, we’ve seen far too many instances of programs turning into (or frankly never becoming more than) measurement-only programs no matter where they live within an organization. 

After working with many of the world’s best brands for over two decades, we’ve seen CX teams report to the CMO, the COO, and directly to the president/CEO at various points—this conversation made us think about what impact the reporting relationship has on CX success. Is there one best place for CX to live, or can it be successful in multiple areas?

More importantly, it made us think that, in addition to where the function reports, there are other organizational factors that contribute to program success. The skills and characteristics of the person spearheading the CX efforts matter a great deal as well.

Is There An Optimal Organizational Position for Your CX Team?

Regardless of where your CX team lives, the team must remain unbiased and have the purview to work cross-functionally in order to drive collaboration and break down silos. Without that organizational freedom and neutrality, the team’s efforts are already handcuffed and chances of CX success are greatly diminished.

While many companies have added a seat at the table for a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) or Chief Experience Officer (CXO) in recent years, we still see most CX functions report to either marketing (the CMO) or operations (the COO). There are pros and cons to each of these reporting relationships:

The Pros and Cons of Your CX Team Reporting to Marketing & the CMO: 


  • Tied More Closely to the brand promise of the organization (since CX is the fulfillment of that promise)
  • Tied more closely to the communication function. Too many CX functions don’t think about the role communication plays in the overall experience, but this is where the customer expectations get set
  • Part of a more holistic view of the company and the customer journey
  • Marketing (or strategy) is more likely to consider the experience of the future as opposed to only today’s experience


  • May be too far removed from the actual frontline customer interactions, so it can be more difficult to implement change
  • Often too closely tied to marketing’s priorities and budget
  • Can marketing enforce an effective closed-loop process if that work happens elsewhere in the organization?
  • Marketing is often more focused on customer acquisition and top-of-funnel activities

The Pros and Cons of Your CX Team Reporting to Operations & the COO:


  • More closely tied to frontline customer interactions
  • Typically has good success with enforcing a strong closed-loop process (if staffed and funded properly)
  • Operations typically focused and measured on customer retention


  • Unless digital and call centers report to the COO, the program can get too focused on in-person or physical interactions
  • Can be too focused on break/fix of today’s experience and not focused on overall CX strategy, process redesign, or experience design. Programs can get very tactical
  • Susceptible to budget cuts and quarterly targets, whereas CX tends to be a medium-to-long term proposition

The Pros and Cons of Your CX Team Reporting to Executives Such as the CEO:


  • Easier alignment to executive goals and buy-in
  • Budget is set aside specifically for one purpose and can have less constraints
  • Easier to build relationships around CX with each department to break down silos


  • Difficult to get all departments aligned to taking action as they can be seen as an outsider
  • More difficult to be in synch with the day-to-day business rhythm
  • Focus often on medium- or long-term initiatives while peers focus on quarterly results

Customizing CX Team Organization: Considerations for Success

In terms of the reporting relationship of the CX function, one size doesn’t fit all. Every organization, leadership dynamic, employee culture, and business is different. We mentioned above that we have led CX reporting to the CMO, reporting to the COO, and as an independent function. What we learned is that it can be successful in any of these reporting relationships, though we suggest it has a head start if it reports into the predominant power core of the organization.

Some companies are operations-led, others are sales & marketing-led, while others are product-led. Tying CX to the true cultural and power core of the company, though it brings some of the bias mentioned above, aligns it better with the core of the company.

Regardless of where your CX function reports, there are key organizational elements that must be present and the CX leader also has to have certain key skills, strengths and characteristics for it to be successful.

Keep an eye out for two subsequent discussions in this series to learn more about what those elements and success drivers are. In the meantime, compare your current CX structure to the pros and cons laid out above to consider what your reporting structure’s strengths and weaknesses are. You may find that it’s time for a change; if so, don’t be afraid to enact it and thus drive greater Experience Improvement success!

5 Tips For Choosing the Right Survey Rating Scale

You’re sitting down to carve out the newest survey in your customer experience (CX) program. You know what touchpoint you’re examining, what you’re hoping to learn, and what questions you’re going to ask. Now it’s time to settle on the survey rating scale you’ll use.

Unsure of which scale to choose? I’m Kiri Burgess, a Senior CX Consultant at InMoment APAC. Together, with our Director of Marketing Sciences, Sharon Allberg, in this post we’ll share with you a collection of best practice tips for using rating scales in your customer surveys 

What Is a Survey Rating Scale? 

If you’ve ever put together a customer survey, you will no doubt have used a rating scale as an option for respondents. 

Survey rating scales are a way to ask a “closed question” to survey respondents, and collect valuable input in a quantitative way. Here’s an example:

There are a number of important considerations when using rating scales including:

  • Number of scale points
  • Anchoring of scale points
  • Midpoints
  • Colors and images

The choice of which survey rating scale to use can be perplexing. And while academic research is vast, it’s not always relevant to market or customer experience research, which can leave a number of unanswered questions.

Whatever scale you choose, the aim with a survey rating scale is to limit individual interpretation and ambiguity. In an ideal world, you want all respondents to view a scale in the same way.

Having reviewed scale literature and our own internal research; then overlaid client and research experience, here are five tips for survey rating scale success:

Here Are Five Pro Tips for Survey Rating Scale Success

Tip #1: Longer Scales Typically Reveal More Actionable Insight 

There is not a great deal of evidence on the difference in performance between shorter (i.e. 5 point) or longer (i.e. 10 point) scales from a respondent point of view—but the advantage of a longer scale is you’ll get greater differentiation in response. Responses will be more spread out due to having a longer scale. This typically results in stronger driver analysis revealing more actionable insight.  

Tip #2: Keep Survey Rating Scales as Consistent as Possible 

If you can, decide on a rating scale size and stick with it throughout your survey. Greater scale consistency will not only make it easier for respondents but it also makes it easier to communicate what a good result looks like to the business as all questions will calculate ‘good’ the same way with the same scale points. We understand that this isn’t always straight forward so if you do change your scale in your survey, that’s okay. Our advice would be not to chop and change scale lengths multiple times which will cause respondents confusion and fatigue.

Tip #3: Label Your Scales Appropriately 

How to best label your scale will depend on the scale length.  For shorter 5 point scales, we recommend labeling each scale point for clarity. However, this isn’t an easy task for longer 10 or 11 point scales as you quickly run out of space (particularly on mobile devices!). Therefore for longer scales, we recommend labeling the end points only. Whatever scale you go for, labels should only be attached to the appropriate single scale point.

Tip #4: When It Comes to Mid Points, Assess On a Case-by-Case Basis

Researchers like to include mid points for respondents who are undecided.

There is some evidence that neutral respondents will answer randomly if they don’t have a neutral option to pick; however, this point-of-view comes from the world of public policy research. Therefore, at InMoment we recommend a case-by-case approach and to include a midpoint if it makes sense. With satisfaction or agreement scales, it is more common to use a midpoint.

Tip #5: Avoid Scale Colors and Images 

Research has shown that coloring scales (even shades of gray) or adding images or icons (including smiley faces) is not recommended, as this leads to scales being inconsistently interpreted by respondents. Examples include colors being an issue for those who are color blind; and images, icons and smiley faces having different meaning for everyone, particularly those who are neurodiverse (which is estimated at 15-20% of the population).

There you have it—five best practices to help you avoid bias, optimise your surveys, and collect the most actionable insights possible. To learn more about best practice surveys, check out this paper on Transactional Customer Experience Survey Best Practices.

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