How to Use CX Metrics to Find Bottlenecks to Product Led Growth

We are all competing in the End User Era now.

Investor Blake Bartlett coined the term “End User Era” to capture an important shift that is happening on an organizational level across industries: “Today, software just shows up in the workplace unannounced. End users are finding products on their own and telling their bosses which ones to buy. And it’s all happening at lightning speed.”

Companies like DocuSign, Slack, Zoom, and Hubspot are examples of SaaS companies that are thriving in the End User Era. Their success is rooted in products that end-users love. Product Led Growth codifies this end user-focused growth model. PLG relies on the product itself as the primary driver of customer acquisition, conversion and expansion. This approach goes all-in on end user ease and productivity to drive growth, and is a radical shift away from the acquisition growth model so familiar in the software industry.

Customer experience (CX) metrics have an important role to play in this strategy—something we explored in-depth in a previous post: Customer Experience in the Era of Product Led Growth.

Customers Will Tell You Where Your Product Led Growth Bottlenecks Are

Metrics are essential to understanding progress on the product led growth curve. Typically the PLG model evaluates business and pipeline health based on user actions (clicks) and subscription revenue.

This is where CX metrics are so valuable. Voice of customer data illuminates the “why” behind the clicks and the cash. Classic CX surveys like NPS, PSAT, CSAT, and Customer Effort Score(CES) monitor customer sentiment—providing critical insight into behavioral and revenue metrics.

By analyzing the open-ended comments that accompany the rating-scale questions you can identify positive and negative themes in what customers are saying. Based on what you learn, you can confidently prioritize improvements to your product that will remove bottlenecks, the enemy of PLG success.

At the core, product led growth is about taking tasks that would traditionally be done manually and putting them into the product to create efficiency and a better customer experience. Step back and map out all of the steps in your funnel from acquiring an initial lead all the way through to turning that lead into a paying customer who sees value in the product. Where are the bottlenecks?

How do you know where your bottlenecks are, and whether you are eliminating them?

Let’s explore each metric to understand how it can help you identify and address bottlenecks, with real-world examples from our customers.

Net Promoter Score (NPS): Loyalty and More

Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys ask customers to evaluate how likely they are to recommend your product or company to a friend or colleague, this “propensity to refer” is an excellent predictor of future growth.

Unlike the other metrics covered here, which are flexible and easily customizable, true NPS surveys follow a very specific format when it comes to asking the first (of two) questions. By asking that first question in a specific way, using a standard scale, companies can compare their NPS scores to industry benchmarks. The second question, which gathers qualitative data regarding improvement opportunities, can (and often should) be customized.

NPS Surveys ask two questions…

  • Question #1: “How likely are you to recommend this product or company to a friend or colleague on a scale of 0-10?”
  • Question #2: “What can we improve about this experience?” (if they rated you 0-8) or “What did you love about this experience” (if they rated you a 9 or 10).

The first question allows you to calculate your Net Promoter Score, which is a number between -100 and +100 and serves as a benchmark for progress. For detailed information on how to calculate NPS, and what the number really means, take a look at our Net Promoter Score post.

The second NPS survey question is just as important, if not more so, than the score itself because this qualitative data tells you what you need to do to improve end user experience.

Why is NPS key to Product Led Growth? Traditionally viewed as an indicator of growth (as mentioned above), NPS is also a crystal ball when it comes to retention. NPS gives you a glimpse into the minds and hearts of your end users. It can provide a constant stream of feedback about bottlenecks and that will help you create products that enable the ease and productivity you are going for.

In short, NPS captures what’s most important to users, whether it’s documentation, training, or aspects of the product itself. NPS is typically the foundation of any CX program, and since you don’t want to get overwhelmed in the beginning, there’s nothing wrong with making NPS your sole CX metric at this stage.

NPS Example: DocuSign

Docusign logo
DocuSign uses NPS to gather feedback on product features and pinpoint any bottlenecks in the experience. They achieve this by customizing their NPS follow-up question (the one that asks users to explain their score). In the in-app survey pictured below, Docusign asks “Tell us about your experience sending an envelope.”

Wootric NPS Survey in DocuSign

Guneet Singh, Director of CX at DocuSign, believes that regardless of which metric you use, it’s vital to understand how customers feel about your product at key points in their journey. In other words, don’t wait to conduct an annual survey—gather continuous data and refine your product based on that feedback.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): Because Support Is a Bottleneck

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), like NPS, is another metric you can use at various points in the customer journey. The classic use case for CSAT is following up on a support interaction, where you can ask customers about their experience:

  • Solving their specific problem
  • Working with a particular CS agent
  • Working with your company in general

CSAT surveys can use a scale ranging from “very satisfied” or “very dissatisfied,” often followed by a question that asks the user to share the reason behind their score.

What makes this touchpoint so vital from a PLG perspective? Support calls, by definition, are a point of friction—nobody contacts customer support when things are going right.

Product Led Growth endeavors to eliminate support interactions altogether. When was the last time you reached out to customer support at Slack or DocuSign? Chances are, it’s never happened. That’s the seamlessness you’re going for.

This touchpoint is a rich source of insight into frustrations that customers face. Product teams that prioritize end user experience pay close attention to feedback from support as they improve product and design new features.

CSAT Example: Glassdoor
glassdoor logo
Glassdoor, the popular site for job listings and anonymous employer reviews, uses Customer Satisfaction surveys to gather feedback on support interactions. When a support case is closed in Salesforce, end users receive a personalized CSAT survey via email.

Carmen Woo, Salesforce Solution Architect and Senior Application Engineer, holds the cross-functional CX technology vision at Glassdoor. “What is intriguing about our use case is that we use machine learning to analyze feedback. Comments are tagged by topic themes and are assigned sentiment to capture the emotion behind the user’s words.

“The [InMoment] platform allows our Support team to segment feedback by agent and other relevant business drivers to uncover insights that contribute to optimizing our support function, and it can also reveal bottlenecks that are best addressed by improving product features or design,” says Carmen.

Product Satisfaction (PSAT): Adoption and Engagement Bottlenecks

PSAT surveys are highly flexible, and they can be structured the same way you structure Customer Satisfaction survey questions—asking customers to rate their level of satisfaction with a product using a scale from “very satisfied” to “very dissatisfied” (e.g., 1-3 or 1-5) or through a binary response (e.g., “happy face” or “sad face”).

PSAT surveys are best delivered within an app, when customers are using your product and can give you fresh, timely feedback. The customer sentiment derived from PSAT surveys is the necessary complement to behavioral metrics. Sure, you can see in the clicks that users are not adopting a feature, but why? PSAT helps to answer that question and guides optimization efforts.

PSAT Example: HubSpot

Marketers that use HubSpot, the popular CRM software, may recall responding to a Product Satisfaction survey when using a new feature for the first time. PSAT gives Hubspot immediate feedback on whether a new feature is delivering value to the end-user.

Even if you’ve done extensive user testing, getting feedback on a feature within the context of a user’s experience of the whole product is valuable. Is there friction? Should the feature be tweaked in some way?

This approach, which is a key aspect of lean UX design, ensures you don’t go too far down the rabbit hole with a product feature that sounded great in theory but didn’t serve your end-users in the real world. New features can bring complexity — the bain of end user ease. By continually asking for feedback in-product, you can better calibrate that balance and maintain a frictionless, easeful end-user experience.

Mobile CSAT survey for banking app
Example InMoment PSAT survey in a mobile app.

Customer Effort Score (CES): Identify Bottlenecks in Onboarding

A seamless onboarding experience is key to widespread adoption. If end-users have to work too hard to get up and running, they’ll give up and try a competitor’s product. Even if you have an enthusiastic champion within a company, if they have to prod others to adopt or spend time convincing them of your value, their own enthusiasm will wane. As such, it’s important to evaluate how much effort end users must put into getting started.

Customer Effort Score (CES) asks how difficult it was to accomplish a given task using a predefined scale (e.g., 1-7 or 1-5). Here is an example of a CES survey:

Customer Effort Score Survey in Intercom Messenger
Example InMoment CES Survey in Intercom

CES surveys are frequently used to follow up on support calls, but they’re also extremely valuable when evaluating the onboarding experience. Success teams know that the seeds of churn can be sown in the onboarding phase. They have been using feedback from CES surveys to both (1) follow up with that customer to fix the problem and (2) develop tasks and processes that will prevent future customers from experiencing the same bottlenecks.

However, in the context of PLG, addressing onboarding feedback isn’t just the domain of the Success or Support team. It is vital input to UX teams that seek to eliminate tasks that would traditionally be done manually and put them into the product to create efficiency and a better customer experience.

CES Example: Watermark

Watermark is in the EdTech space, and they’ve taken a comprehensive approach to optimizing user experience. Here’s how they do it, starting with Customer Effort Score surveys.

Watermark has a complex onboarding and training process, so they gather data at the end of each of three phases of training using CES surveys. The feedback goes to the implementation and training teams to both (1) improve the process and (2) identify customers who may need extra support. Then, of course, they look for larger trends and modify their onboarding experience accordingly.

Watermark also measures NPS & CSAT.  NPS is measured across six product lines, and Watermark studies the correlation between NPS and renewals. Higher NPS scores predict a greater likelihood for renewal, and improving products based on NPS survey results is key to Watermark’s customer retention strategy. CSAT surveys, triggered from Salesforce Service Cloud when a case is closed, help to evaluate and improve Customer Support.

And as Dave Hansen, the CX champion at Watermark, points out, they dig into the data to identify points of friction. “The feedback we’re getting tells us that there isn’t necessarily an issue with our overall solutions,” says Dave. “You may have issues running a certain report, or you may have issues with the way you have to click through to something.”

Product Led Growth Strategy Is About End User Experience

The four CX metrics covered in this post (NPS, CSAT, PSAT, and CES) offer insight into end user experience and augment behavioral data with the voice of your customer.

Remember, don’t allow scores to be your sole focus. There is gold in the open-ended feedback you receive. Without analyzing the open-ended feedback you receive, the metrics are just benchmarks that you’ll aimlessly try to identify bottlenecks through guesswork. In the end, that won’t get you very far.

Product Led Growth is all about creating a smoother experience in the moments that matter. CX metrics and voice of the customer comments help technology companies do just that.

Get the ebook, “CX FOR EVERY STAGE: How to Scale Your Voice of Customer Program from Startup to Enterprise.’ Learn how to improve user experience for product led growth and loyalty.

How Two Companies Leveraged a Customized Social Listening Solution to Gain Game-Changing Insights

Many organizations are drowning in pools of untapped social data. Why? Because options to structure and analyze that data can be limited and even if businesses are able to compile that data, it often remains siloed from other data, such as voice of customer (VoC), call center, and more. That’s where InMoment’s game-changing customer social listening solution comes into play.

InMoment’s solution not only allows brands to access that data, but also to integrate that with other data sources, providing scalability and the deep, data-driven understanding that teams need to achieve their goals. 

But don’t just take our word for it! Check out the  three benefits real companies have realized leveraging InMoment’s customized social listening solution.

3 Benefits of Leveraging a Customized Social Listening Solution 

Benefit #1: Greater Access to and Value from Social Data

Benefit #2: Structure Massive Amounts of Natural Language Feedback

Benefit #3: Effectively Filter Social Content to Only Extract Relevant Data

Benefit #1: Greater Access to and Value from Social Data

A consumer electronics brand who partnered with InMoment previously approached Voice of Customer by designing, distributing, and analyzing a wide range of surveys. The brand knew they needed to diversify and optimize their approach to customer experience (CX) to continue to improve, so they partnered with InMoment! Their new partnership allowed the company to integrate social media content with their VoC data. This push allowed them to: 

  • Reduce survey spend by substituting social signals where possible
  • “True up” social data with survey responses to explore the feasibility of reducing their survey spend
  • Identify common themes and correlations in the social data to use as a reliable, immediately-actionable proxy for customer survey responses

Benefit #2: Structure Massive Amounts of Natural Language Feedback

A leading architect firm has leveraged the InMoment platform to structure and analyze massive amounts of natural language feedback. The firm now has the ability to achieve a deep, data-driven understanding of customer experience in airports by mining omnichannel social media data from dozens of America’s airports. The result?

  • A data-driven voice of customer program that can help win contracts and build airports that better serve stakeholders and travelers alike
  • More meaningful and accessible analysis of social data via the platform’s intuitive functionality 

And to top it all off? The customized social listening solution had a one week integration time, encompassing three data sources, 869,973 words, 30,000 travelers, and the top ten airports!

Benefit #3: Effectively Filter Social Content to Only Extract Relevant Data

Both brands we mentioned before had what many companies think they need: large amounts of data. But the problem with so much data is that it is difficult to find the signal through the noise and filter out the insights that will really make a difference.  But with InMoment’s social listening solution’s ability to effectively filter out actionale, relevant data, these two companies were able to see incredible return on investment.

Here’s what the benefits look like:

  • Run better surveys by identifying insight gaps
  • Easily configure flexible one-off analyses while also establishing and validating long-term trends
  • Help leadership teams make better-informed decisions around marketing and product strategy

When it comes to mining social data, working smarter, not harder is always the best route to take. Many companies struggle to grasp a true understanding of their client experience, thinking they have an ear to the ground because the data is rolling in. But all data is not created equal! That’s why it’s essential to have  a customized social listening solution to unlock  structured data, analyze for key insights, and capitalize on the most relevant opportunities. 

Learn more about InMoment’s customized social listening solutions here!

How to Write the Best Customer Onboarding Surveys & Improve the Experience

It’s no secret that customer onboarding is one of the most crucial (and oftentimes challenging) stages in a customer’s journey with your brand. Indeed, the onboarding process usually ends up setting the tone for their subsequent interactions with your employees, their  perception of your messaging, and even their product experience (PX). These and other variables make a well-designed onboarding experience of utmost importance to organisations and their customer experience (CX) initiatives.

Today’s conversation briefly touches on how your organisation can ensure that its onboarding experience isn’t just up to par, but built to ensure bold, human, and dynamic relationships with your customers. There are several reasons a lot of brands have mediocre or subpar customer onboarding; one of the biggest is because they don’t design their onboarding surveys with the end in mind.

What Is Designing with the End in Mind?

One of the most commonly held beliefs in the customer experience world is that a CX programme that gathers incoming data is a CX programme that’s good enough. This isn’t the case. Your initiative should be more than a metaphorical trawler net for data, especially if you want to fundamentally improve your customer onboarding processes. This is especially true for onboarding surveys.

Rather than aiming to collect data and then attempt to mine insights after the fact, brands should design their onboarding surveys with the end goal in mind before collecting any feedback from new or prospective customers. This approach may seem a bit unorthodox, but I promise it will save you time, resources, and customers. Designing with the end in mind will also make it much simpler to actually improve opportunity areas, not just identify them.

How Can Brands Design with the End in Mind?

There are a few best practices to bear in mind when designing (or redesigning) your surveys with the end in mind. Additionally, remember that these practices don’t have to apply solely to your surveys; you can aim them toward any facet of your experience programme and any goal that you need it to achieve.

First, take a hard look at your existing onboarding survey; evaluate what your existing customers have said it accomplished well and where it could’ve been better. Gather similar feedback from customer-facing and CX teams as needed. Identifying factors like these before you deploy your survey will give it (and indeed your wider programme) a proverbial north star, which will help you decide which audience segments and channels to devote your CX resources to.

Additionally, once you’ve identified the data you need your survey to collect, spell your related onboarding improvement goals out in concrete, quantifiable terms. Defining your goals with numbers will help you identify improvements much more precisely, and will also give you something tangible to present to the boardroom when you move to secure additional funding. A lot of programmes get stuck in defining their objectives abstractly, which can make it difficult to ascertain whether any improvements were actually made. This approach nullifies that problem.

Click here to learn how Virgin Money was able to improve their customer onboarding experience.

Meaningful Experience Improvement

Designing with the end in mind is not a simple task for any element of a CX initiative. It’s an approach that demands a great deal of time and discipline at the start of the process, followed by continuous dedication as you begin to collect insights. However, if your organisation is ready to invest that effort, you’ll begin to see much more promising results from your surveys than if you simply turn your listening posts on and dredge your data lake for anything potentially useful. Designing with the end in mind saves you and your team a great deal of both time and effort down the line.

Why? Because this approach will grant you only the most pertinent insights and feedback, enabling you to create meaningful Experience Improvement (XI).

Click here to read my full-length point of view article on what else your organisation can do to create consistent, successful, and peerless customer onboarding experiences. I present a few other best practices I’ve observed (and executed) in my many years within this space, and know that they will help you on your journey to improved customer onboarding.

Interviews Aren’t Dead: How B2B Companies Can Learn More from Their Buyers

B2B purchasing decisions are complex. They’re financial. They’re political. But more than anything—they’re unpredictable. While B2B firms have more systems in place than ever to predict sales outcomes, they’re still blindsided when prospects choose another vendor.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! To avoid this fate, it’s critical to have a process in place for exploring, analyzing, and improving the buyer experience—win or lose. You might have already guessed it, but I’m talking about buyer interviews.

Using the Right Listening Technique

There’s no one right way to collect feedback. It depends on the audience, the timing, the circumstances, and ultimately—what you’re trying to learn. Whether you’re sending SMS surveys, analyzing social reviews, or conducting phone interviews, it’s about using the right listening technique for the situation to get the best results.

Following the methodology below, our own customer experience (CX) program (Elevate) is successfully getting feedback from upwards of 90% of closed sales opportunities in our best months—and the insights are invaluable.

Here’s what we’re doing and why we think it is successful. 

Building Human Connections

For our post-opportunity listening post, we’ve found that interviews are the most effective way to engage buyers. And the intelligence we glean from these “buyer interviews” is impactful across teams.

Interviews can either supplement or replace a post-sales survey. I’ve found that many buyers actually prefer spending 30 minutes on the phone with me rather than two-minutes completing a survey. 

Also, the suggestion of a phone call lets the client know that we’re willing to take the time to listen—that we care, we want to learn, and we want to improve. It’s all about building that human connection, and it is a great way to get sticky with new clients and show your investment from the start. 

Buyer Interviews Process

Now, I bet you’re wondering how we efficiently scale this largely manual process!

First, we conduct dozens of interviews each quarter. The open-ended nature of an interview allows us to ask all of the right questions and follow the conversation wherever the respondent takes it. And we use the robust insights to drive cross-functional action. Across all of our listening posts, I can confidently say buyer interviews have quickly become one of our most beloved data sources. 

The Insights

Here are some of the things we’ve learned—and the teams that have benefited—by rolling out our buyer interview program:

  • Pricing (sales ops)
  • Roadmap Investments (product)
  • Messaging, Packaging, and Competitive (product marketing)
  • Demos (solution consultants)
  • Presentations (sales directors)
  • Renewal Strategy (client success)

At a regular cadence, our “Experience Improvement Board” looks at the emerging themes, chooses projects and specific actions, and assigns an executive owner. This owner then forms a “tiger team” to research and tackle the project—and reports on progress each month! 

Time to Get Started!

If buyer interviews are not currently part of your post-opportunity strategy, they should be. They will not only increase your response rate, but will give you additional intelligence and insight into what your buyers expect from your company. It’s the most personal way to request feedback and build lasting relationships, win or lose.

I’m not done sharing the successes of our buyer interview program. In subsequent blogs, I will talk about some of the questions we ask during interviews, challenges you may face in your conversations (and how to overcome them), interview do’s and don’ts, how to build your “interview team,” and what sorts of insights you should specifically try to gain from interviews.

But in the meantime, if you have questions about launching or refining your own buyer interview program, I’d love to talk to you. I’m Josh Marans, Director Experience Improvement at InMoment, and you can find me on Linkedin.

How to Eliminate Friction in Your Customer Journey

What Is Friction in the Customer Journey?

When most folks think of friction, they probably think of middle school science class. But if you’re a customer experience professional, “friction” is probably a term you’ve heard whenever your teammates talk about reducing customer churn. Within that context, friction refers to points in the brand experience that can have a long-term impact on customers’ relationship with a business. Friction may even cause some customers to quit a brand altogether.

Why Is It Important to Reduce Friction in the Customer Journey?

Did you know that the average business today loses between 10-30% of its customers annually?

Additionally, research by Carlson Marketing shows that U.S. companies lose 50% of their customers every five years. Multiply the amount of churning customers by the lifetime value (LTV) of the average customer at your organization and losing customers at this rate means losing millions of dollars!

Because of this, it’s essential that brands have an experience program in place that can detect friction, help experience professionals understand the problem(s) creating that friction, and correct them. The result is both a meaningfully improved experience and saved customer relationships. So, without further ado, let’s go over how your organization can ensure it’s eliminating friction across your customer journey.

How Can You Eliminate Friction in the Customer Journey?

#1: Understand The Moments That Matter

Like we said earlier, an important part of reducing friction is knowing about and understanding the moments that matter to customers. Brands can achieve this understanding by mapping out a few of their most important customer journeys. Learning about key touchpoints is one of the best ways to become aware of problems as they arise.

One of the most impactful methods to identify these moments and then reduce friction across your customer journey is InMoment’s Touchpoint Impact Mapping. Touchpoint Impact Mapping is a innovative way of understanding the moments that matter to customers. It is unique because it is based entirely on comment data drawn from customer feedback, ensuring a more accurate view of the customer’s memory of their experience. This creates an emotional picture of the journey that highlights what is most important to customers and also allows our clients to prioritize those moments that matter most to their customers.

Watch this video to hear how banking giant, Virgin Money, leveraged Touchpoint Impact Mapping to identify a key friction point and then improve its customer onboarding experience!

How Virgin Money Eliminates Friction in It’s Customer Journey

What’s more, once you’ve identified those high-impact moments, you can use this strategy to immediately begin solving those problems and expediently reduce journey friction. Understanding touchpoints and their drawbacks enables organizations to come up with solutions, implement them, and listen to see how they’re working. Experience practitioners can then point to those changes, and their improvements, when proving their program’s worth.

#2: Talk to Employees

Research has even shown that a highly engaged workforce increases profitability by 21%! So, getting your customers’ take on an experience is clearly important, but many brands, in their rush to do so, overlook chatting with their employees about customer journeys as well. Employees, especially frontline ones, can provide extremely powerful and eye-opening intel about your brand’s experience. How can brands access and leverage that?

The best way for brands to get their employees’ perspective is by letting them constantly submit feedback and ideas in real-time. Rather than relying on, say, an annual survey, organizations should instead utilize experience platforms that give employees a constant voice. This also further allows brands to learn about, and act upon, problems as they emerge in real-time instead of too far down the road for the customer’s liking.

Want to learn more about how employees can help you decrease friction in the customer journey and grow customer loyalty and value? Check out this infographic!

#3: Keeping Tabs on Your Customer Journey

That notion of being constantly aware of journey friction as it happens is at the heart of keeping it suppressed as much as possible. Surveys are important, but this dynamic is another reason why they’re insufficient for reducing journey friction by themselves—a constantly possible problem demands a constantly active solution. Organizations simply cannot achieve that level of awareness otherwise.

Another element of getting a full picture of your experience is leveraging data sources outside of surveys. And that’s going to become crucial in the next few years. Why? Because only 19% of U.S. Gen Z customers are likely to complete a traditional survey.

Instead of relying solely on direct surveys, brands can do this by combining survey listening with other sources of data, like your employees’ perspectives, and putting it against a backdrop of financial and operational information. This approach creates a 360-degree view of your customers and experience, an understanding that your organization can leverage to reduce friction, boost retention, and create a meaningfully improved experience.

Want to learn more about improving customer retention? We just published an entire eBook on the subject—click here to check it out!

Experience Improvement 101: What You Need to Know About InMoment’s Mission

Just discovered InMoment? Curious to know a little more about us and our differentiated Experience Improvement (XI)? Well allow us to introduce ourselves! 

Own the Moments That Matter

At InMoment, we have this saying: “Own the Moments That Matter.” This is fundamental to our mission, because those moments—packed full of emotions, judgements, learnings, and more—shape the world we live in. And with every moment, there is an opportunity to make a positive impact; to leave a mark.

But when it comes to your business, there are simply some moments that matter more, to your customer, employees, and beyond. 

Our goal is to empower you with the data, technology, and human expertise necessary to identify the moments that matter, understand what’s working (and what might need improvement), take informed action to solve business problems, and ultimately provide a truly differentiated experience for your business. 

Our CEO Andrew Joiner said it best:  “Whether it’s customer acquisition, growth, or retention that’s needed, InMoment brings a rigor, discipline, and science that makes our results trusted by the boards and executive teams of the world’s best brands.” 

What Is Experience Improvement (XI)?

Despite increased investment, experience management programs have plateaued. Why?

Because experiences don’t need to be managed or measured, they need to be improved.

The truth is that monitoring services and D.I.Y. approaches aren’t enough for today’s businesses; they cause program stagnation and make meaningful return on investment (ROI) impossible. Instead, what’s required for success is a new approach: an Experience Improvement (XI) initiative that solves the biggest business challenges, like retention, growth, and cost savings

The Moments That Matter

Improving experiences begins with sifting out the noise from experience data and identifying the moments that matter: where customer, employee, and business needs meet. This allows businesses to prioritize their focus on high-emotion, high-impact areas and connect with their most valued customers. Additionally, businesses can empower their employees to recognize and take action in these moments, ultimately culminating in organization-wide transformation from the boardroom to the break room. 

Data, Technology, and Human Expertise

Experience Improvement is made possible through our industry-leading Experience Intelligence XI technology and our in-house Experience Improvement (XI) services teams. With our ability to collect and gather data from anywhere and in any form, industry-leading technology, and decades of experience in key industries, InMoment can help you craft an experience initiative that truly meets the unique needs of your business. We are dedicated to being more than just a vendor to our clients—instead we take the role of a dedicated partner committed to a businesses’ short- and long-term success.

The Intersection of Value

Our mission is to help our clients improve experiences at the intersection of value—where customer, employee, and business needs come together.  Ultimately, our clients are able to move the needle and go beyond managing their experience to actually improving it. With the right intelligence, businesses can empower the right people to take transformative, informed action in the most effective ways and drive value across four key areas: acquisition, retention, cross-sell & upsell, and cost reduction. In other words, better results for the business and better experiences for their customers and employees.

The Continuous Improvement Framework

The key to taking an experience program beyond metrics is to move beyond monitoring customer feedback and stories and focus on the formation of actionable plans for changes informed by them. Customer narratives contain meaning that companies can use to diagnose both superficial and deep-seated problems, define remedies to those problems, positively impact the bottom line, and create more meaningful experiences. We help our clients  achieve all of this by sticking to a simple, five-step framework that we call the Continuous Improvement Framework: define, listen, understand, transform, realize. (You can read all about it here!)

Does this Experience Improvement (XI) mission align with your vision? We’d love to hear from you—reach out to our team for a chat here!

International Women’s Day: 8 Tips for Women in Customer Experience Looking to Build Their Career

International Women’s Day 2022 is here! To mark the day, we asked some of our women in customer experience (CX) for the best career advice they’d like to share with our readers. Hopefully these ideas will help you take your career to the next level.

We asked our female CX leaders, “What advice do you have for female professionals starting their career in customer experience?” 

Here’s what we heard:

Tip #1: Take Control of Your Career

Wing Poon, VoC & CX Strategy Lead at Medibank

“Restructuring has become a norm which you will encounter at some point in your career. Don’t feel you have to fit into or accept a role that is not what you wanted. Shape your role proactively by talking to your manager and review your career goals and skill set every year to see if you are still growing. If not, it might be time to find another role.”

Tip #2: Bring the Passion! 

Trish Roberts, Voice of the Customer Programme Manager at New Zealand Post

“Bring your passion and care to the role. It’s been instrumental in driving engagement from stakeholders and continually connects me back to my reasons for building a career in this sector. Ultimately, my goal is to improve the customer and organisational experience. I also feel when you bring that fire and passion to everything you do in customer experience it makes it a truly exciting and fulfilling place to be!” 

Tip #3: Take a Risk

Wing Poon, VOC & CX Strategy Lead at Medibank

“Don’t be afraid to apply for jobs even if your skill set doesn’t 100% fit the job description—because no one’s will perfectly fit!” 

Tip #4: Know Your Worth

Wing Poon, VOC & CX Strategy Lead at Medibank

“Don’t be afraid to proactively ask for a promotion and a raise. Arm yourself with evidence of achievements and market salary information for negotiations.”  

Tip #5: Take Opportunities When They Surface

Linda Broady, Customer Success Director at InMoment APAC 

“I discovered my passion for customer experience early in my career, but getting a foothold in the field meant taking on a couple of specialist and operational CX roles before ultimately landing my dream role as Head of CX.  My passion for customer experience has since led me in other directions, enabling me to further broaden my experience and in my current role, share that experience with my clients.” 

Tip #6: Be Human

Renee Jeffery, Senior Customer Experience Manager, ahm 

“I believe the last two years, more than ever, have demanded we put the ‘human’ back into the corporate world. We have seen pets, family, and home space merge with our work space. So, my advice to anyone starting out in the CX space is to not shy away from bringing the human into your work. Customer experience (and work in general) is so much richer when we are all our authentic selves, always.” 

Tip #7: Find Your Tribe

Trish Roberts, Voice of the Customer Programme Manager at New Zealand Post

“Surround yourself with interesting, creative and intelligent women, who lift each other up. I’m lucky to have worked with some incredibly collaborative and respected women over my career who I have learnt from and passed those skills on to others. When one of us succeeds, we all succeed.”

Tip #8: Bring Others Along the Journey

Morgan Jackson, Senior Customer Feedback Specialist, ACC

“Passion, resilience, relationships, and empathy are the four words that resonate with me as I reflect on my career in CX. Everyone I engaged with when establishing our VoC program advised us not to underestimate the culture change required to implement. If you are prepared to take the time to bring others on the journey with you, understand their challenges, explore solutions together this will result in better outcomes that enable your success long term.”

How Targeted Surveys Help Improve Your Customer Experience (CX)

One tool is practically synonymous with the customer experience (CX) industry: surveys. Since the inception of the industry, targeted surveys have been seen as a foundational listening and research tool that leverages strategic questions to collect data from a specific group of customers.

Sending out a targeted survey is the first step to improving customer experiences, employee experiences, and even the bottom line. Once a targeted survey has collected the desired data, a top-notch Experience Improvement platform mines that data using advanced analytics to uncover actionable insights. And once an action plan is made and carried out, businesses can improve their practices and processes in a way that helps them to acquire new customers and employees, retain existing ones, identify cross-sell and upsell opportunities, and eliminate extra costs.

All that starts with a targeted survey. But what are the best practices for creating a targeted survey? How do you get started? Well, that’s what we will break down today!

Picking Your Audience 

The first step to a successful targeted survey? Selecting a target audience! Ask your team, “Who are we trying to appeal to? How do we want to improve their experience?” The audience in question should be one that is crucial to your strategy, so be sure to examine sales data, demographics, and other analytics to inform your decision. 

For instance, let’s say that you are a fast casual restaurant looking to launch a new menu item in a specific region. Your target audience would then be customers from that region who are regulars at your restaurant. That would be helpful to gauging interest in your new sandwich combo!

You can also leverage other, more general surveys that ask broader questions in order to identify more specific populations to survey. Additionally, it’s possible that your company already has the data you need! Check other relevant data or research that may have already been done on your desired subject. If the insights you need are already in your possession, this can help you avoid the dreaded survey fatigue in your customers (and employees).

Four Principles for Building a Good Survey

At InMoment, we often get questions like, “What is the best way to design a survey?”, “What questions should I include?”, and “What rating scales should I use?”. The quick answer to those questions is that it depends on both the type and the topic of the survey.

Principle #1: Design with the End in Mind

This principle is also referred to as the “Backward Research Process.” When you design with the end in mind, you must first think about the decisions you want to make and actions you want to take based on the information you collect. 

Are you focused on increasing customer retention by identifying customers who had a poor experience? Do you want to “grade” your outlets or employees on their ability to serve customers? Do you want to assess which specific customer-handling processes are and are not working? The content of your survey should be guided by your answers to these questions. And since you’ve already identified your target audience, you’re ahead of the game!

Principle #2: Generate Hypotheses When Designing Your Survey

While designing the survey, it is often helpful to generate some hypotheses about how you think the results might turn out. This exercise can help you define what information you need to either collect or append to your survey data.

Principle #3: Ask the Right Questions

Don’t ask all the questions. Ask the right questions. Depending on your desired outcome, you might use a variation of these question types:

  • Multiple Choice Questions
  • Text Entry Questions
  • Quotas and Qualifications

Principle #4: Don’t Forget About The Survey Invitation

One of the most neglected parts of the survey design process is the survey invitation. Often, it is designed as an after-thought. You need to design your email invitation to maximize the likelihood that customers will receive it, notice it, open it, and click the survey link.

Email Targeted Survey Invitation
A well-designed, branded targeted survey experience is key!

Learn from the Data

You’ve zeroed in on your audience, chosen strategic questions, and sent out an optimized invitation—now the data is rolling in! This is the most exciting part of the process, because that feedback you’re receiving will be the basis of your next major improvements to the customer experience!

Your Experience Improvement (XI) tools (such as our Active Listening Studio)  will be able to ingest that data, and not only reveal insights, but will pinpoint the moments that matter (or the interactions, channels, and touchpoints that most impact your business). Prioritizing those moments helps you to take swift action to improve not only experiences, but also your bottom line.

After you’ve taken these actions toward Experience Improvement, you can also send follow up surveys to identify the effectiveness of your improvements and fuel continuous efforts toward experience excellence.

How InMoment’s Active Listening Studio Can Help

InMoment’s Active Listening Studio is a one of a kind listening suite that gives you the control to gather feedback at every touchpoint, allowing customers to tell you what matters most to them without bombarding them with survey after survey. Active Listening Studio includes:

  • DIY Survey Creation
  • Our AI-powered Engagement Engine™
  • The Rapid Resolution Engine™
  • Our Eligibility Engine™
  • Social Monitoring
  • Multimedia Feedback

Leveraging these tools allows you to create a more effective targeted survey, optimize your listening strategy, and ultimately prove that you’ve improved experiences and your business. One of our global retail clients was even able to increase survey response rates by 37% and response length by 38%!

Want to learn more about how InMoment can help you conduct a better targeted survey—and improve your customer experiences, employee experiences, and beyond? Contact our team today and we’d be happy to explore the right options for your business!

The Secret to Improving Your CX Survey Response Rates

It is a fact that CX survey response rates have been declining. Additionally, we are being surveyed more and more every day about every mundane thing in our lives. Even the federal government is in on it—an executive order in 1993 directed federal agencies to gather public feedback on how well they delivered services and to strive to offer a comparable level of customer experience with private companies. Orders similar to that one have continued into the present day.

But, with surveys being the lifeblood of nearly all customer experience (CX) programs, what is a CX practitioner to do to improve their CX survey response rates? Much has been written about the tactical things a survey owner can do: list hygiene,  fatigue or quarantine rules, visual appeal of the invitation, subject line, formatting, time estimates in the invitation, etc.  And while these elements can have some impact, they are temporary band-aids for the over-surveying problem.

The Secret to Improving CX Survey Response Rates Is…

I’ll let you in on a secret: if you truly want to improve and sustain your response rates, look to your CX program (specifically your closed loop processes). There are two critical things any company can do to improve its response rates, and they tie back to the inner and outer loop concepts described in the Net Promoter SystemSM.

You’ve probably heard that it’s vital for organizations to close these loops, as doing so can help you achieve everything from Experience Improvement (XI) to enhanced customer retention and sustained business growth. That’s true!  But effectively closing these loops also provides an incentive and opens a door for continuous feedback from your customers or members.

The Inner Loop

The inner loop refers to the systems, processes, and teams that organizations use to respond to customers one-on-one to address negative feedback. Having an effective inner closed loop process is of obvious importance to any company that wants to keep its doors open, let alone create a differentiated and meaningful experience for customers. Fail to close the inner loop, and you open the “leaky bucket.”

However, if you can build a system that allows you to receive customer feedback, analyze it for actionable insights, and respond both meaningfully and expediently, you’ll have a much easier time retaining customers and extending their lifetime value. You will learn more about their individual preferences and may even potentially cross-sell or upsell them to additional products and services.

There is also plenty of research that demonstrates that customers whose complaints have been successfully resolved tend to leave higher review scores than customers who never had a complaint in the first place! Finally, by responding to customers when they have complaints, you demonstrate that you have listened and acted on their feedback, giving them a strong incentive to provide feedback again in the future.

The Outer Loop

The scope of the outer loop is considerably wider than that of the inner loop and requires more organizational resources, cross-silo cooperation, and team coordination.  Rather than focus on individual customer interactions and complaint resolution, the outer loop is about the actions your organization takes on the collective feedback you’re receiving to drive Experience Improvement and communicate those improvements back to a much broader segment of customers (if not your entire customer base). The one-on-one interactions that comprise the inner loop are certainly important, but the outer loop is all about incorporating those into a cumulative group effort to drive sustained Experience Improvement.

This improves your CX survey response rates by demonstrating to all customers that your organization truly does care about feedback and attempts to take action to improve the overall customer experience. This provides a feedback incentive even for customers who may not have shared it in the past, as they see the direct benefit.

Widening Focus

Click here to read my full-length Point of View on how focusing on your CX program will actually help you achieve better outcomes. In the meantime, take advantage of anything you might have learned here to meaningfully improve your inner and outer loop processes. I promise you you’ll see a difference.

Digital Customer Experience: The Value of “Slamming” Your Assumptions

In the world of experience (especially when we’re talking about digital customer experience), we’re constantly making predictions or hypotheses about what the customer is expecting from their experience. And whether we’re making a change to the website, opening a new store, or debuting a new product, that prediction will either be right or wrong. 

When we’re wrong, or surprised, it can be easy to feel like we have failed. But in reality, these moments are really opportunities to slam our assumptions, dive into our feedback data, and improve experiences.

This is exactly what we discussed at a recent event with InMoment client Julie (JB) Booth, Head of UX/CX at Columbia Sportswear. In that presentation, JB walked us through how she and her team put their beliefs about in-person and digital customer experience expectations into perspective, use CX tools to dive in and test assumptions, and finally create a culture with an opportunity mindset.

In today’s post, however, we’ll walk through the steps of an exercise JB calls an “assumption slam,” so you can take this process back to your team and use it to test any assumptions of your own. Let’s get started!

How to “Slam” In-Person & Digital Customer Experience Assumptions

You know the old saying, “If you assume, you’re making an ‘a**’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’.” And it’s true! If you are assuming you know exactly what the customer expects out of their experience, you are not truly serving them. Instead, you need to operate on the theory of falsification: to have a great hypothesis, you need to be willing to prove yourself wrong. And that’s where an “assumption slam” comes in handy.

Step #1: Gather Your Team & Select a Topic

The first step in an “assumption slam” is to select a specific topic. If you were to select a broad topic such as “the digital customer experience,” it would be hard to create a thorough list. That’s why JB suggests a more specific theme, like how a specific customer segment navigates your website. 

Step #2: Give Your Team Permission to Assume

Next, you need to give yourself permission to assume. Oftentimes, it can feel embarrassing to believe something based on instinct, without having looked into whether that belief is qualified by any data. That’s why it’s so important to let the team know there is no pressure to back up any claims they speak. This kind of behavior is most effective when modeled by team leaders; if the leader is willing to be vulnerable and talk about their assumptions, it gives the rest of the team permission to do the same.

Step #3: List Out Assumptions

Grab a white board and start listing out any and all assumptions! Don’t feel the need to be neat and organized yet—that will come later. Right now, you are primarily trying to get all the assumptions about the in-person or digital customer experience out in the open. You might even find that multiple team members have been operating under the same assumptions. 

Step #4: Map Out Assumptions by Risk & Testability

Now it’s time to get organized. Draw two intersecting axes, labeling one “risk” and the other “testability.” Once you’ve done that, as a team, map each assumption along the axes. This allows you to gauge priorities. Those assumptions labeled as “high risk, high testability” will be the first you want to dive into. 

Step #5: Dive into Assumptions with Impact

You’ve identified the “high risk, high testability” assumptions your team has about your focus subject, but what do you do now? Well, you get testing! Start with the assumption with the most risk and highest testability and develop a plan for how your team can test that assumption. Then you can work your way down your list until you no longer have assumptions—until you have concrete facts about the way your customers behave and what they expect from their in-person and digital customer experience.

Testing Your Assumptions—and Acting on the Results

Want to learn more about how you can take the results of your assumption slam and then take action to improve your experiences? You can watch the full webinar with helpful tips and tricks here! 

The Employee & Customer Experience Framework for Improvement You Need in 2022

Every year, we at team InMoment like to look back and reflect on what we’ve learned about employee and customer Experience Improvement, and then put those top learnings into a “cheat sheet” of sorts for our readers. Building a customer experience program that helps you to differentiate from the competition is difficult—that’s where InMoment’s customer experience framework, the Continuous Improvement Framework comes in. This employee and customer experience framework will provide you with some of the best practices in the business to help you get the most out of your customer experience program.

So, sit back and read on to learn how our customer experience framework can benefit your business!

What Is a Customer Experience Framework?

As a starting point, it is important to define what a customer experience framework is. 

A customer experience framework is a set of processes a company implements in conjunction with its customer experience program to help the program be as successful as possible in its efforts to improve the customer experience, create a customer-centric culture, and positively impact the bottom line. It is like an map that you follow as you go through all the steps of gathering feedback from customers and improving processes based on the feedback.

Without a customer experience framework, it is hard to get consistent results you want. But with a customer experience framework, you’ll be able to make your CX program consistently successful, and adapt your program to scale and evolve with your company, customers, and the greater market.

The Continuous Improvement Customer Experience Framework

Your Path to Employee & Customer Experience Improvement Success

The key to InMoment’s customer experience framework, the Continuous Improvement Framework, is to move beyond merely monitoring employee and customer feedback. Instead, experience professionals need to focus on using that feedback to inform action plans. Customer narratives are a goldmine for companies looking to eradicate superficial and deep-seated problems. Their feedback allows you to identify issues, define remedies that positively impact the bottom line, and ultimately create more meaningful experiences.

Brands can achieve all of this by sticking to a simple, five-step  customer experience framework that we call the Continuous Improvement Framework: define, listen, understand, transform, realize.

Continuous Improvement Framework for employee and customer Experience Improvement

Step #1: Design

When folks start up their employee and customer Experience Improvement programs, they’re often tempted to start listening right off the bat. However, it is absolutely essential that experience professionals design their programs before they launch listening posts. 

Here are some notes from InMoment expert Andrew Park about the first step of the customer experience framework, design:

“Listening to customers is obviously an integral part of any well-built experience program, but it isn’t enough on its own, especially when brands don’t truly know what they’re listening for. Listening broadly can be helpful, but far more useful is the capability (and the willingness) to listen purposefully.

There are mountains of data out there, and the only way for companies to own the moments that matter (when business, customer, and employee needs intersect) and thus achieve transformational success is to figure out how to listen purposefully. That’s why it’s important for brands to design their experience program’s goals, objectives, and other factors before turning the listening posts on.”

Want to read more from Andrew? Click here to access “Why ‘Just’ Listening to Your Customers Isn’t Enough”

Step #2: Listen

Now that you know what you’re listening for, you can start setting up your listening posts. And whenever most of us think about employee and customer listening, we tend to also think about surveys. But what are the best practices and philosophies successful listening programs follow?

Here’s Andrew Park again:

“Traditional forms of listening usually involve long-winded surveys that focus on single points within brand channels. These surveys may also take a spray-and-pray approach, asking about everything the brand cares about—but that customers may not. Finally, brands may also spend too much time focusing solely on solicited customer feedback, which results in fragmented data. Fortunately, brands can be more versatile when it comes to collecting feedback.”

Want a succinct look at how to achieve meaningful survey listening? Get the four steps you need to follow in “How to Achieve Meaningful Listening Through Surveys”

Steps #3: Understand 

You’ve collected data at strategic touchpoints using best practices. Now it’s time to leverage analytics to get to the actionable insights in your data. That’s when text analytics come into the picture. 

Text analytics are vital to your brand’s ability to understand your customer and employee experiences. You can have listening posts across every channel and at every point in the customer journey, but if you don’t have the best-possible text analytics solution in place, your ability to derive actionable intelligence from that data is essentially moot. And your ability to create transformational change across the organization and drive business growth? That’d be a non-starter without effective text analytics. Without them, all you have is a score, not any context or information on what actually went well or needs improvement.

It’s obvious that text analytics are vital, but in an industry full of jargon, claims about accuracy, and a huge amount of conflicting data, how can you tell what solution attributes will be the best for your company?

Learn everything you need to know about text analytics in this eBook.

Step #4: Transform

In our experience, we’ve found that the hardest step for programs to conquer is going from insights to action—and therefore, to transformation. This is also arguably the most important step in the employee and customer experience framework. 

Transformation is an important step of the process not just because brands can actively improve themselves, but also because it’s what your customers expect is happening. Customers wouldn’t provide feedback if they didn’t expect brands to do something about it, so bear this in mind when working toward providing the best experience for them.

So how do you go from insights to transformation? Learn the process in this article.

Step #5: Realize

This is what you’ve been building toward all along: realizing employee and customer Experience Improvement. But what does true success look like? How do you prove it to your business stakeholders? 

Here are some thoughts from InMoment XI Strategist Jim Katzman:
“Realizing success occurs when you can evaluate how well your program is hitting goals and when you can quantify the results. Even if you don’t hit a homerun against all your goals, evaluating what you have achieved—and what you haven’t—still gives you a great idea of what exactly about your program might need tweaking.

There’s another, more profound way to evaluate your experience program’s impact on the business, and that’s through the lens of four economic pillars. The handy thing about our model is that it’s broad enough to be of use to any company regardless of size, brand, or industry while also giving experience practitioners a foundation from which to evaluate additional financial metrics.”

Want to learn about the four economic pillars and other ways to quantify program results? Read Jim’s full piece here.

A World of Possibilities

With the right mindset and a proven employee and customer experience framework for success in place, the possibilities for your employee or customer experience improvement initiative are truly endless this next year.

With that, we’d like to say happy holidays from our team to yours!

InMoment’s Modern Market Research and Data Analytics Approach Ranks in Top 50

In the latest 2021 Insights Association Top 50 Market Research and Data Analytics report, InMoment ranks in the top 20 established industry reports and market research or market experience (MX) brands, alongside other powerhouse brands such as JD Power, Gartner Research, and Forrester Research Services. 

About InMoment’s Market Research and Data Analytics Approach

With the help of our industry-leading data and research science capabilities, we’re able to help brands go beyond collecting data to reveal actionable intelligence that leads to Experience Improvement (XI). Our “full-service professional CX approach designed to continuously improve the customer experience and deliver business outcomes to an impressive list of clients that includes 90 percent of the world’s automotive companies: 8 out of 10 of the top banks, nearly 20 percent of the top 50 retailers, 40 percent of the top hospitality companies, and 4 out of 5 of the top insurers.”

And this isn’t the first time we’ve been ranked on this list. In fact, InMoment has endured the test of time to be ranked on this report regularly over the past two decades. Here’s why: InMoment goes beyond a traditional approach to pursue what we call modern market research. So what’s the difference and what does it entail? Keep reading to find out.

The Difference Between Traditional & Modern Market Research

The difference between traditional market research and InMoment’s modern approach is that we focus on providing brands with access not only to insights, but to actionable intelligence that opens the door to concrete change. Too often traditional approaches fail to go beyond observing and reporting trends. How can brands expect experiences to improve if the research insights aren’t being used to create actual organizational progress?

How InMoment’s Approach Enables Action

So if part of modern market research is taking action, what does that look like? By focusing on stakeholder engagement and journey mapping, businesses can become more proactive about utilizing their research. Having buy in from your executive boardroom allows research teams to develop projects related to organizational goals and drive their insights into action. And understanding how the customer and employee journeys interrelate can guide that collaborative process into a more honed business strategy.

What Modern Market Research Strategy Looks Like

But what about the research strategy itself? Modern market research combines marketing science and research consultancy to make the most out of data. After journey mapping and capturing customer insights, InMoment supplements that data with financial, operational, employee, social media, etc. data. This new approach means reaching for multiple sources of insights and synthesizing that information to allow organizations to take practical action.

InMoment is dedicated to continuing to be a leader in this space because we believe these initiatives are essential to creating deeper experiences between our clients and their customers. 

Learn more about the InMoment XI difference and our market research and data analytics solutions here.

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