It’s no joke to say that we live in uncertain times. We’re hopefully turning the page on a pandemic, but steep inflation and unrest both at home and abroad are making many customers nervous about what’s around the corner. Unfortunately, this attitude and the events precipitating it have a big impact on customer experience (CX), which means that CX professionals like you face the daunting task of keeping your CX program effective in the face of multiple challenges. As a perennially “glass half full” person. I prefer to see this “daunting task” as a great opportunity!
Where to start, though? Whether you’re running an existing program or looking to start a new initiative, what steps can you take to ensure that your effective CX program gets off on the right foot? Today’s discussion focuses on achieving that start and ensuring that your CX program will bring you business value that helps you stay ahead of the competition. More specifically, we’re going to cover the first two steps in our success improvement framework:
- Step 1: Design
- Step 2: Listen
Step 1: Design
Unfortunately, we see far too many clients start a CX program by just turning on some listening posts (social media, review sites, survey feedback, etc) and hoping for relevant insights to come to the surface. However, as the old adage goes, hope is not a plan. Listening is certainly an important part of the process, but if you want your CX program to truly succeed for you in uncertain times, it’s important to actually begin a step before hitting the lights and focus on a more foundational program element: design. I often tell my clients to design with the end in mind—it’s an approach aimed at helping you first understand what you need your CX program to accomplish in specific and quantifiable business terms, then keeping that guiding ethos front of mind as you execute the rest of your program.
So, what does the end goal look like for you? Do you need to pivot to new, post-pandemic messaging with a certain audience segment? Are you a finserv brand that needs to reassure clients rattled by inflation? Whatever the case, identifying your goals before you activate your CX program is critical to ensure your program is successful. It’s always better to begin with concrete, quantifiable objectives than to listen first and try to work backwards from there.
Step 2: Listen
Taking a step back to define your program’s goals makes the next step in the process, listening, a lot easier than trying to turn all your signal sources on first. When you design with the end in mind, you give yourself an opportunity not just to define your program’s goals, but also to identify the audience segments most relevant to those goals, as well as the channels that those individuals tend to prefer. The end result of all that legwork? Much better, much cleaner, and much more relevant data.
Now you’ve reached the point where you can actually turn your listening posts on, and with this target profile handy, you’ll begin to receive data that will contain much more effective and actionable insights. This is a foundational way to keep your CX program effective, and it’ll also help you get an idea of what messaging you need to issue and what actions you need to take to keep customers feeling happy and connected to in uncertain times. It’s critical to look beyond just the survey. I believe there are three data sources to “listen” to: direct data (from surveys), indirect data (from outside sources like social media) and inferred data (operational non-customer data that can be overlayed with the other sources).
The Next Level
To recap: it’s important to consider what you need your CX program to accomplish for your brand (especially in times like these), and to design your program with those end goals in mind before activating any listening posts. Using this strategy makes the listening stage of this process much easier, as you will have already set your program up to collect only the data most relevant to your organization’s goals and needs.
What comes after that, though? Once you’ve completed the design legwork and gathered this ultra-pertinent data, how best can you scour it for actionable insights and meaningfully transform your brand in a way customers will appreciate? To learn more, click here for my full-length point of view document on how to apply what you’ve listened for to effective transformation, especially as it pertains to the current inflation crisis.