5 Guides For Your Experience Improvement Journey in 2021

What is your experience program looking to do in 2021? Is it a disparate list of tasks or a strategic play guided by a clear goal? If you feel like it’s more of the former for your team, we may have the guiding light you need: Experience Improvement (XI).

For so long, experience initiatives have focused on managing and measuring customer and employee experiences. But the truth is, that approach does nothing to actually move the needle for the business as whole. That’s why InMoment started setting a new goal for experience programs, one that focuses on not just understanding where things are and where they have been, but what brands need to do to move onward and upward.

Sound like something you’d like to employ for your business? We’ve put together a list of our top XI content from our experts to start you on the right foot. Keep reading for the scoop!

Top 5 Pieces for Your XI Journey

  1. Measuring Alone Doesn’t Make You Taller: Why Business Leaders Must Focus on Experience Improvement
  2. Achieving Continuous Improvement: A Framework for Success
  3. How You Listen Matters: Modernizing Your Methods & Approach to Customer Feedback
  4. Understanding to Improve: Getting the Most Out of Customer & Employee Data with World-Class Text Analytics
  5. The Four Pillars of Customer Experience ROI

Measuring Alone Doesn’t Make You Taller: Why Business Leaders Must Focus on Experience Improvement

As we mentioned above, focusing on measuring experience alone will not actually do anything to improve experiences (or your bottom line at that). That’s why business leaders looking to have a positive impact through experience need to shift their focus to an Experience Improvement initiative.

This point of view article explains the difference in-depth to help you change your mindset. Check it out here!

Achieving Continuous Improvement: A Framework for Success

Once you have the mindset down, how do you steer your program (and organization) toward Experience Improvement? Enter the Continuous Improvement Framework.

This success framework consists of five steps that we use to guide clients toward their goals: design, listen, understand, transform, and realize. The best part? This framework doesn’t just set you up for one time success, it is meant to be used cyclically, so that as the world and your business evolve, your experience is constantly improving. For more on the framework, read the full piece by Eric Smuda here.

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

Listening to customers and employees is a foundational function of any experience program. Brands have been doing it for decades, but decades old methods and approaches aren’t the way to go in our technology-driven age.

That’s why it’s so vital to understand what a truly modern listening program looks like today—and to get a clear idea of how to create one. That’s why we created this eBook; you can access it for free here.

(Quick tip: Check out page five!)

Understanding to Improve: Getting the Most Out of Customer & Employee Data with World-Class Text Analytics

Once you’ve listened to customers and employees, you need the right tools to understand all that feedback. That’s why powerful text analytics are so important. Without them, you’re left with a mountain of data and no way to identify action items (much less, which items will have the most impact on the experience).

If you’re looking for a primer on analytics and which solutions offer the most for your program, this eBook is your go to! Find it here.

The Four Pillars of Customer Experience ROI

Ah, the age-old experience problem: proving return on investment. Business know that improving experiences is helpful, but it seems like they have struggled to show the link between experience initiatives and business success for decades.

At InMoment, we believe that every experience effort you pour resources into should be linked to tangible value in four specific areas we call the economic pillars of experience. This infographic will tell you more!

Hungry for more on Experience Improvement? We’ve got some big plans for how-to content in 2021! We can’t wait to share.

Top 5 Game-Changing Experience Improvement Blogs from 2020

2020 asked us to step up our game—a lot. In fact, it seems as if the last year actually consisted of multiple years, with January and February feeling like they were light-years ago. Organizations have had to pivot multiple times since March in order to navigate the Coronavirus, but savvy brands have found a secret weapon: Experience Improvement (XI) initiatives.

XI initiatives provide a pathway for brands to not only listen to how customers are feeling about specific experiences (like COVID-19 specific policies, curbside pickup, etc.), but also to understand what actions they need to take to improve those experiences in a timely manner. In a way, a well-designed program serves as a roadmap in uncharted territory.

But how do you successfully set up such a program? Well, you’ve come to the right place for the answer. The InMoment XI Blog is your go-to place for everything Experience Improvement, from how-to’s, to what’s next, and even stories of rockstar brands.

Here are a few of our favorite blogs from 2020 at a glance:

Top Five 2020 Blogs for Experience Improvement

  1. What Does Customer Experience Look Like in the World of Coronavirus
  2. How to Ensure Successful Survey Design during a Pandemic
  3. 3 Powerful Ways to Create Engaging Transactional Customer Surveys
  4. How to Truly Understand Customer Needs, Wants, and Expectations
  5. Why Market Research is Vital to Your CX Program in Times of Crisis (and Beyond!)

What Does Customer Experience Look Like in the World of Coronavirus

This was our flagship piece of thought leadership on Coronavirus best practices. Though our experts Jim Katzman and Eric Smuda authored this piece in March, these best practices are still incredibly vital for brands going into 2021. After all, we still have a few more months until the vaccine can be distributed widely enough!

Click here to get the low-down on the top five ways brands can leverage their experience programs in their COVI-19 strategy.

How to Ensure Successful Survey Design during a Pandemic

One of the most common questions clients asked our expert practitioners in 2020 was, “should we alter our survey because of Coronavirus precautions?”

Their answer: it depends. More specifically, there are three factors brands should consider before making changes to their survey. You can read about them here.

3 Powerful Ways to Create Engaging Transactional Customer Surveys

A successful listening approach has multiple surveys with specific purposes. One of the most necessary for understanding the experience at different touchpoints is the transactional survey.

But as it goes with everything, there are best practices, and there are practices that can stop productivity in its tracks. In this blog, we have three specific strategies you can employ for engaging, intelligence-gathering, action-inspiring transactional surveys. Check it out here!

How to Truly Understand Customer Needs, Wants, and Expectations

How do you deliver incredible experiences that make customers eager to come back for more? You first need to understand what customers expect from your brand. This is one of the fundamental functions of an Experience Improvement initiative; it is also one of the most powerful ways your program can positively impact your bottom line.

In this article on the XI InMoment Blog, strategist Eric Smuda walks you through the process he employs to help our clients understand their customers. Read more here.

Why Market Research is Vital to Your CX Program in Times of Crisis (and Beyond!)

The thing about unprecedented situations is that the information you need to guide your efforts will not be in your existing data. That means that times of crisis are the best time to turn to a market research solution.

In this article, Strategic Insights Team expert Radi Hindawi discusses the power of market research and three rules for brands looking to weave it into their strategy. You can find it here.

We hope you have enjoyed the content on the XI InMoment Blog this year, and our team is looking forward to bringing you even more thought leadership, best practices, and customer stories in 2021!

5 Steps to Improve—Not Just Manage—Your Experience

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

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

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

Five Steps to Improve Experiences

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

Step #1: Design

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

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

Step #2: Listen

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

Step #3: Understand

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

Step #4: Transform

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

Step #5: Realize

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

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

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

Take Action on Customer Feedback in 4 Simple Steps

Over the last decade or so, countless companies have fired up their own experience initiatives. These companies set out to create happier customers and employees, as well as a stronger bottom line—all through the power of experience programs! However, even after a brand’s CX practitioner(s) has gained program sponsorship, launched listening posts, and gathered data, it’s not uncommon for them to hit a wall when it comes to taking action on customer feedback

Gathering metrics is all well and good, but executing an action plan is what makes the difference between measuring and transforming your experience. Today’s conversation covers how to take action on your experience program feedback in four steps.

Four Steps to Taking Action on Customer Feedback

  1. Define Your Plan’s Stages
  2. Identify Collaborators
  3. Define Actions
  4. Create a Timeline

Step #1: Define Your Plan’s Stages

Every CX practitioner knows that taking action isn’t as simple as A-to-B. That’s why it’s important to hammer out the concrete steps you need to take toward experience improvement and brand transformation. It’s important to first consider where you are and remind yourself of the program’s end goal. Then, collaborate closely with your team to figure out which actions you need to take. This process empowers your team to prioritize what to execute on first.

Step #2: Identify Collaborators

Once your team has mapped out action plan stages, it’s time to decide who else in the organization may be needed. This isn’t necessarily the same as returning to the execs or other stakeholders and sponsors—you may need to reach out to other teams who own processes that impact the experience, such as IT or user experience. Including individuals before you take action will make the transformation process smoother.

Step #3: Define Actions

You’ve drawn a line from feedback to improvement and have the collaborators you need at the table. Now it’s time to work together to define specific actions. This step is why it’s so important to reach out to collaborators whose teams or departments you see improvement opportunities for. You’re going to need their help to figure out the best way to solve a problem in their respective parts of the organization. You can share your experience data, they can share their perspectives, and meaningful action will soon follow.

Step #4: Create a Timeline

A timeline helps ensure that the actions become reality. It’s also a great way to hold your team accountable as they begin putting those actions into motion. Creating a timeline helps ground program expectations in reality and gives your team a firm timestamp at which to start monitoring implemented changes. Indeed, all of this makes creating a timeline perhaps the most important part of an action plan.

Following these four steps will allow your organization to leverage what you’ve learned from your experience program. You can put those learnings to great effect creating a more emotional experience for customers, greater meaning for your employees’ work, and, consequently, a more robust market position for your organization.

Click here to read my full article on the importance of taking action to transform your business. I take a deeper dive into this vital process and provide additional tooltips on how to revolutionize your brand through the power of Experience Improvement (XI).

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

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

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

All Data, No Decisions

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

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

Finding The “Why”

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

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

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

The Next Step

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

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

3 Ways an Improvement Success Framework Can Supercharge Your Experience Program

These days, it’s not uncommon for brands to take the term “listening program” to mean a series of listening posts set up across multiple channels.

Yes, those posts are an important part of listening, but experience programs can be so much more (and do so much more for your business). They can go far beyond listening in across channels and reacting to customer comments only as they come in.

Listening for, reacting to, and measuring customer sentiment in this manner is what’s commonly known as experience management. And honestly, it rarely moves the needle for brands or creates a better experience for customers. Experience improvement (XI), by contrast, allows companies to achieve both of those goals by connecting to customers in a very human way. Essentially, it pays for brands to have an experience improvement success framework.

Today, we’re going to touch on three ways a success framework can add unbridled power to any improvement effort:

  1. Proving ROI
  2. Listening Purposefully
  3. Owning The Moments That Matter

Key #1: Proving ROI

ROI has been a notoriously fickle element of experience programs for years—but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, the difficulty of proving ROI stems less from experience programs being a financially elusive unicorn than many companies not tying their program to a quantifiable objective.

This is why it is crucial that brands establish hard, specific goals for their experience program. An objective like “be more customer-centric” isn’t going to cut it, especially when it comes to proving ROI. Rather, experience practitioners and stakeholders need to work together to hash out program objectives that can be tied to financial goals.

Whether it’s acquiring X amount of new customers or lowering cost to serve by Y percent, creating goals like these and gearing your program toward them will make establishing ROI much, much easier.

Key #2: Listening Purposefully

ROI isn’t the only area a success framework can help companies stencil in. This setup can also help brands better identify who to listen to and why.

Conventional wisdom holds that companies should listen for feedback from anyone, but that isn’t necessarily true. Callous as it may sound to some, the truth is that some audiences are just more worth listening to than others. A success framework can help companies identify which audiences they need to listen to to achieve program goals.

This approach is also handy for cutting through the mountains and mountains of data that experience programs inevitably rake in. They also help programs get to the heart of providing a great experience, which leads us to our final topic:

Key #3: Owning The Moments That Matter

The moments that matter are the instances in which the needs of customers, employees, and businesses all connect. They’re the moments in which a customer journey transcends a transaction and becomes a profound emotional connection. Owning the moments that matter is vital to creating connections and inspiring transformational success across your business.

This final key is a culmination of establishing financial goals, listening purposefully, and taking action—ultimately creating meaning for customers. That capacity to create meaning is what sets the best brands apart from the competition and carries them to the top of their verticals. And it all starts with building an experience improvement success framework.

Click here to learn more about how to create a success framework and why doing so at the very start of your experience improvement journey will guarantee success for you, your customers, and your employees.

The Most Important Conversation You Can Have About Your Customer & Employee Experience

One of the most important pieces of advice we give our clients as they dig into their customer or employee experience strategy is to “design with the end in mind.”

This is really just our way of saying that when you map out your listening posts, choose your text analytics approach, or designate internal teams to lead program governance initiatives, you need to know what you are working toward. 

And that brings us to the most important conversation you can have with your customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) stakeholders. It starts with this one question:

What business challenges are we trying to solve with our experience initiatives?

Because that’s really the goal, isn’t it? It’s not just to measure the state of your experience. Not just to deliver insights from your data (regardless of if they’re actionable or not). The point of a CX or EX program is to improve your experience to improve your business!

For some, that might mean acquiring new customers or retaining existing customers. For others, it might look like reducing costs and increasing cross-sell and upsell efforts. Whether you fall into one or all four of these areas, your experience program can help you deliver value. 

Solving for X with Experience Improvement

This principle, what we call Experience Improvement (XI), is why InMoment exists. 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, achieving better results for the business and better experiences for their customers and employees.

And it all starts with one conversation: What is the “X” your business is trying to solve for?

If you want to learn more about how your experience programs can solve for X, you can learn more here. You can also reach out to our knowledgeable experts to see how experience improvement can benefit your business today! Reach out and talk to us here.

The Case for Moving Your Experience Program Beyond Metrics

For a lot of companies, the phrase “experience programs” brings careful management and lots of metrics to mind. Both of those things are important components of any experience effort, but they can’t bring about meaningful change and improvement. Experience programs can revolve around so much more than scoreboard-watching and reacting to challenges only as they arise—we’re going to go over how much more these programs can be and why brands should adjust their ambitions accordingly.

Movement Over Metrics

Conventional wisdom holds that if an experience program is returning great measurements, that must mean it’s really working for a brand. However, this isn’t necessarily true. Metrics are effective for highlighting a brand’s high points and weak spots, but that’s about it. A true experience program’s job doesn’t end with better metrics—that’s actually where the work begins.

Companies can create a fundamentally better experience for their customers (and thus a stronger bottom line for themselves) by taking action on their program’s findings. This means sharing intelligence throughout an organization rather than leaving it siloed, as well as encouraging all stakeholders to own their part of the process. In short, taking action is what makes the difference between being really good at watching scores roll in and actually fixing problems that might be muddying up the customer journey.

Narratives Over Numbers

The phrase “program findings” from the preceding paragraph can also mean more than just numbers. It can also denote customer stories, employee reports, and other, more abstract forms of feedback. Many experience programs pick this information up as a matter of course, but it can be difficult to take action on that intel without a concrete action plan.

One reason why many companies encounter this difficulty is because their programs don’t acknowledge a simple truth: some customer segments are worth more to listen to than others. It doesn’t make much sense to try to listen to every segment for feedback on a loyalty program that only long-term customers use or know about. This is why it’s important for brands to consider which audiences they want to gather feedback from before even turning any listening posts on.

Once brands have matched the audiences they want to listen to to the goals they want to achieve, that’s when they can turn their ears on and start gathering that feedback. Companies that take this approach will find feedback significantly more relevant (and helpful) than intelligence gathered through a more catchall approach. They can then perform a key driver analysis on those customers and put their feedback against a backdrop of operational and financial data for further context, which goes a long way toward the goal of all of this: meaningful improvement.

Experience Improvement Over Experience Management

Experience improvement is not a goal that can be reached just by reading metrics. It demands more than turning listening posts on and hoping that a good piece of customer intel comes down the wire. Rather, experience improvement demands action. Much like water molecules, the forces that drive customer expectations, acquisition, churn, and other factors are in constant motion, and thus demand constant action to stay on top of it all.

Desiloing intelligence, motivating stakeholders, and expanding program awareness to customer stories instead of just higher scores and stats is what makes the difference between an industry-leading experience and everyone else’s. These actions create better experiences for customers, compel employees to become more invested in providing those experiences, and creates a marketplace-changing impact for the brand.

Click here to learn more about how to take your program from simple metric-watching to meaningful improvement for all.

3 Ways COVID-19 Has Already Changed Wealth Management

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on many working- and middle-class families’ finances. However, these are not the only groups whose income, savings, and assets have come under threat from this crisis. As I discussed in my recent Point of View article on this subject, many affluent families and audiences have also seen their own financial ecosystems gravely affected. 

Based on a recent poll conducted by InMoment, most affluent consumers expect the market to be quite volatile throughout 2021.  While most are not planning to change their investment style or their firms, COVID-19 has influenced or changed what wealth management clients expect of their advisers, as well as how their financial institutions must manage their business and relationships for the foreseeable future.

Here are the three biggest changes I’ve seen COVID-19 force upon the world of wealth management, as well as some advice and insights on how these firms and consultancies can rise above them.

  1. Hungry for Advice
  2. More Frequent and Proactive Interaction
  3. A Heightened Need for Protection

Change #1: Hungry for Advice

This tip may seem gratuitous, especially since every wealth adviser has that client who talks their ear off after hours, but COVID-19’s impact on these customers’ desire for financial advice cannot be understated. If the data I’ve studied is any indication, the Coronavirus’s penchant for disrupting normalcy has worked its way into affluent clients’ financial fears. So, wealth management firms should be prepared for an ongoing influx of questions about everything from investments to retirement.

Because of this, wealth advisers should tune their experience programs toward opportunities for providing more advice on these and other topics. Unfortunately, it seems the pandemic will be with us for quite some time, and so wealth management firms can count on this influx to sustain itself for about as long. Advisers who continuously focus their listening efforts on the topics customers have questions on and why, though, will be able to keep their heads above water.

Change #2: More Frequent and Proactive Interaction

Because COVID-19 has brought about rapid, large-scale change, wealth management clients have come to expect their advisers to react to new developments with 2008-level speed. This means that wealth advisers can expect their customers to both demand quick responsive action and to be proactive before new changes can adversely affect them.

This demand for faster action has manifested itself in two ways already—first, COVID has made clients much more hawkish when it comes to demanding fast, flexible account management. Additionally, these clients now expect wealth management firms to be much quicker when it comes to business and financial reviews, among other advice. Wealth management companies can rise to these challenges by making fast, proactive action a hallmark of their overall brand experience. Getting to and maintaining that level of reactiveness is no small task, but COVID-19 has made that responsiveness a dealbreaker for many clients.

Change #3: A Heightened Need for Protection

Coronavirus has thrown massive uncertainty into our society, which has many wealth management clients keen to protect their assets against any additional loss. This point meshes with both of the changes I talked about earlier, but the need to aggressively protect assets is worthy of its own mention—as is clients’ expectation that that be front-and-center in any wealth management firm they do business with.

Wealth advisers have always protected their clients’ assets and sought to minimize losses. That’s a given. What hasn’t been a given until COVID, though, is clients’ strong desire for more direct access to their managed wealth than ever before, as well as a relatively newfound need for any resources that make them feel more self-reliant. This is why wealth management advisers must make asset protection as prominent a cornerstone of their provided experience as possible, lest clients think that the competition offers stronger defenses and is thus worth going to instead.

The common theme that threads all of these changes together is clients’ urgently heightened need for a wealth management firm that is both proactive and reactive. Whether it’s speedy account management or ambitious loss prevention, the consultancies that can act fast and make that quick action the bedrock of their customer experience will win out against their peers. More than that, though, clients are seeking reassurance on a human level, which means that those aforementioned late nights on the phone have taken on a renewed importance not just as a source of wealth management expertise, but of meaningful connection in uncertain times.

Want to learn more about how COVID-19 has changed and will continue to change financial services? Click here to read my in-depth Point of View article on the subject.

3 Simple Steps That Make Your CX Program Actually Move The Needle

It’s no secret that many companies’ experience initiatives aren’t delivering the results that those brands expect and, frankly, need. Too many customer experience (CX) programs are stuck solely on giving companies metrics, which by themselves cannot deliver a meaningfully improved experience and thus a stronger bottom line.

However, there is a solution. Companies don’t have to stay stuck merely “managing” their experiences. We’ve put together three proven steps that companies can follow to take their program, and thus their brand, to the top:

  1. Determining Business Objectives
  2. Gathering The Right Data
  3. Taking Intelligent Action

Step #1: Determining Business Objectives

Traditionally, many firms have been in such a hurry to start listening in on their customers’ tastes and preferences. And while this eagerness is admirable, it often results in wantonly turning listening posts on everywhere and waiting for insights to roll in. Listening is important, yes, but listening passively is worlds different than listening intently. The former focuses on gathering metrics, feeding those metrics into a piece-by-piece reactive strategy, and calling it a day. The latter calls for businesses to firmly establish what they want to achieve with their experience program before turning any ears on.

There are several merits to determining business objectives before listening to customers, and they all have to do with looking before leaping. First, companies need to decide what business problems they want their experience program to solve. Foregoing this step and listening for the sake of listening is why so many programs either fail or provide ROI that’s murky at best.

Additionally, companies can take considering objectives as an opportunity to tie their experience programs to financial goals. Like we just said, it’s hard to prove a CX initiative’s ROI if it has no clear objective beyond just listening to customers. Spelling your program’s goals out in financial terms gives CX teams a hard number to work toward—then, when that number is achieved, those teams will have a much easier time using that achievement to leverage additional funding in the boardroom.

Step #2: Gathering The Right Data

There’s another reason why it pays to stop and think before turning listening posts on in every channel: some customer segments are more worth listening to than others. This idea may sound a bit callous, but think about it—a listening program geared toward evaluating a loyalty program is going to be much more useful if it hones in on long-term customers instead of casting a net all over the place.

This notion is also known as the concept of gathering the right data. It’s okay for brands to use different listening posts for different audiences—in fact, this strategy is much more likely to garner useful intelligence. Thus, it’s just as important for companies to consider their audiences as it is concrete financial goals when it comes to experience programs. The right data can yield the right intelligence, which can enable brands to take the right steps toward transformational success.

Step #3: Taking Intelligent Action

Much of the work in this step will already have been done if companies follow the previous two steps correctly. Like we said, it’s a good idea for brands to look before they leap and carefully consider what they hope to accomplish with a listening program. Yes, the goal of “listening” is all well and good, but the problem with experience management is that the buck stops there. Take your CX aspirations further than gathering metrics and decide what that listening is meant to accomplish. More customer acquisition? Retention? Lowering cost to serve? Set those goals and attach dollar amounts to them.

Then, take some time to consider which audiences you need to listen to in order to achieve those goals. Arming yourself with concrete goals and intelligence from the right audiences will enable your organization to take the meaningful action it needs to reach the top of its vertical, make a stronger bottom line, and create an emotional, connective experience for both customers and employees. Companies can use these steps to move the needle and take their program from experience management to something far more profound: experience improvement.

Want to learn more about how CX programs can move the needle and create lasting success for businesses, customers, and employees? Check out our new POV article on the subject, written by EVP Brian Clark, here.

InMoment Addresses Head On What Continues To Plague CX Programs

This post was originally published on Forrester.com, written by Senior Analyst Faith Adams. You can find the original post here.

This morning, customer feedback management (CFM) vendor InMoment announced an array of new product and service offerings focused on improving experiences, not just measuring and reporting on them. The vendor is calling this Experience Improvement (XI).

This is an aggressive move by InMoment: Customer experience (CX) technology buyers struggle to find differentiation among technology vendors and often forget that technology is just one piece of the puzzle. It takes people, process, and technology to transform and improve CX. The new offerings also highlight the fact that when it comes to measuring CX, surveys are not enough. Today’s environment requires a different approach, one that my colleague Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian and I discuss a lot in our research.

InMoment has been establishing the foundation for this over the past few years. And the merger of InMoment and MaritzCX earlier this year better equips the vendor to deliver on this promise through a blend of technology and services. It even introduced new technology and data products like XI Workflow for complex data management and services like XI Transformation and XI Outcome Linkage.

That said, companies must be willing to change their approach to CX in fundamental ways, which continues to be a major challenge at many firms. I encourage CX pros to take a step back and to assess what is and is not working with their current approach — and consider what it takes to drive real improvements.

Read InMoment’s announcement here.

Stop Managing Experiences—Start Improving Them

InMoment® today announced its mission to challenge the customer experience industry and offer an elevated approach focused on Experience Improvement (XI)™ for the world’s customers, employees, and top brands. This involves dramatically increasing the results from experience programs through a new class of software and services specifically designed to help leaders detect and ‘own’ the important moments in customer and employee journeys. Read more in the full press release here.

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