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 Improvement Framework You Need in 2022

Every holiday season, 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. And let’s be honest, that refresher is exactly what we all need after the holiday break.

So, are you looking for some inspiration to start your experience mindset off on the right foot in 2022? You’ve come to the right place!

The Continuous Improvement Framework

Your Path to Employee & Customer Experience Improvement Success

The key to a successful experience program 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 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 on the subject:

“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 on the path to employee and customer Experience Improvement. 

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 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.

Three Elements That Make Traditional Market Research Inadequate for Experience Improvement

What do you think of when you hear the term “market research”? For many brands, it brings to mind putting together scorecards, reporting numbers, and a heavy emphasis on looking to the past. Those things are certainly important, but they’re insufficient for creating true Experience Improvement (XI) and getting your organization to the top of your market. Let’s get into greater detail about why those three elements alone don’t cut it for modern market research.

  1. Numbers
  2. Scorecard Reporting
  3. Living in the Past

Element 1: Numbers

Right up top, I don’t want to give you the impression that numbers are unimportant. They fuel your data and, of course, quantify shifts in the trends most important to your experience initiative. However, that’s about the only story numbers can tell. They can reveal whether a trend has fluctuated and in what direction… but they can’t tell you why. Therefore, relying solely on numbers means that your research is only telling part of the story. Identifying the root causes of the trends you’re seeing is the only way to actually make a difference with your experience program.

Element 2: Scorecard Reporting

This element dovetails somewhat with focusing solely on numbers, but it speaks to the importance of how you present your research findings to other teams and the C-suite. Scorecards can be a  handy way to quickly present your findings (especially to an executive with a more quantitative thinking style), but what about the C-suite members who are qualitative? What about the chance to present the impact of your research and your program in a more connective, human light? Illustrating your program with this kind of storytelling, not just scorecards, makes a huge difference.

Element 3: Living in the Past

Ideally, market research should be a GPS, not a rearview mirror. Unfortunately, a lot of research teams view their work solely in the context of the past. Being mindful of the challenges your organization has endured is helpful for looking to the future, but what if there was a way for research to be proactive about the future in real time? That sort of research process is incredibly powerful, and it can help you create the bolder, more human experiences you need to stay on top of your market.

The Path to Modern Market Research

If the elements I’ve discussed are insufficient for tapping into the true power of market research, what can brands do to supercharge their research efforts and make it an invaluable part of their overall experience strategy? Click here to read a full-length point of view document on the subject, where I discuss how to modernize your market research program for the Experience Improvement age. I challenge you to read on even if your research initiative differs from what I’ve discussed—some of my insights may still surprise you!

4 Reads That Will Help You Prove CX ROI

At the end of the day, investing in customer experience (CX) is about more than just the score. Sure, it’s great to see a boost in CX metrics like NPS, CSAT, and CES, but what really drives impact? Creating tangible value for your business—and that means proving that sometimes elusive CX ROI. 

Historically, CX practitioners have struggled to assign a dollar amount to the value of their programs. And if that sounds familiar to you, that’s okay! Throughout our decades of experience helping the world’s top brands craft memorable, business-powering Experience Improvement (XI) programs, We like to call them the four economic pillars of customer experience (or the four pillars of CX ROI for short).

Curious about the pillars and how they support a foundation of bottom-line value? Look no further! We’ve packed this blog with information on each pillar, examples of programs who have found success in that area, and assets you can leverage to mirror that success in your own program. Let’s dive in!

Four Ways to Prove CX ROI (and Assets That Show You How)

  1. Customer Acquisition
  2. Customer Retention
  3. Cross-sell & Upsell
  4. Cost Reduction

#1: Customer Acquisition

A well-built voice of customer (VoC) program enables organizations to anticipate what new customers are seeking in a brand and thus be ahead of the curve. 

For example, a major athletic company sought to capitalize on acquisitions by optimizing its surveys to find new types of customers. By targeting respondents between the ages of 18 and 35 with specific questions, the company was able to understand this demographic and expand to new cities and demographics.The practitioners who ran this initiative were able to prove CX ROI by tracking the new customer acquisition, increases in unique customers, and market share growth that it generated.

In “Four Customer Experience Tools That Fuel Your Customer Acquisition Strategy,” we highlight four CX solutions you can add to your tool box that will help you bring new customers through your doors. They include Key Driver Analysis, Competitive Benchmarking, Microsurveys, and Multimedia Feedback. You can read the full piece here!

#2: Customer Retention

Organizations should never underestimate the power of service recovery—70 percent of customers who have a situation resolved in their favor will return to a brand, while a 10 percent increase in customer retention can grow a company’s value by 30 percent. Truly customer-centric companies can easily reach and maintain these percentages.

For example, America’s largest cable and home internet provider leverages VoC technology in their regional customer care centers (and are able to prove millions in CX ROI). They discovered that 3% of all respondents requested callbacks, meaning the brand had 1,000 customer recovery opportunities a month (or a whopping 12,000 per year). By combining this insight with customer lifetime value, the company was able to identify $23 million in recoverable revenue—directly resulting from customer retention! 

Our eBook, “How to Improve Customer Retention & Generate Revenue with Your CX Program” is an all inclusive guide to everything you need to know to make your program a customer-keeping machine. Read it here!

#3: Cross-sell and Upsell

Given that it costs 25 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, brands stand to gain a lot from finding new cross-selling and upselling opportunities.

Organizations can leverage CX listening tools to identify what about a brand spurs trust and loyalty from its customers and take action to make those offerings even stronger. After all, nearly 50 percent of customers are willing to spend anywhere from 11 to 50 percent more with a brand they feel they can trust.

An example of this is a large cafe group that was able to capture feedback from its existing customer base, analyze their sentiments, and make fundamental menu changes accordingly. As a result, the cafe group saw a noticeable revenue bump that it was able to link directly to their program insights and subsequent menu changes.

Curious how your CX program can help you identify opportunities for cross-sell and upsell? Check out our white paper, “Understand and Predict Your Customers’ Needs with Customer Journey Analytics,” you’ll learn more about understanding your customer journey, identifying what matters most to your customers, predicting customer concerns and behaviors, and how that information helps you to drive business growth. Get your copy here!

#4: Cost Reduction 

Organizations can use CX feedback and employee feedback to both save money within operations and to simplify their provided experience. Are there ineffective processes that are costing more than they’re worth? Eliminating such costs can save companies time, resources, and revenue. (After all, training one employee can cost an average of almost $1,100!)

A top-tier mattress retailer used CX tools to install an exit survey for departing employees, giving them a greater understanding of employee sentiment. After implementing the necessary changes to reduce turnover and new hire training costs, the company was able to establish a clear link between its CX strategy and the ROI it helped to generate.
This infographic, “3 Ways Your CX Program Can Save You Money” lays out three areas where you can cut costs, lower cost to serve, and still deliver the same great experiences. You can access it here!

How to Humanize Customer Experience & Drive Meaningful Customer Relationships

There’s a problem with how many businesses view customer experience (CX) data: human beings cannot (and should not) be distilled down to numbers. For many years, experience programs have hailed numbers as a sort of holy grail, but the reality is that numbers are no substitute for genuine human connection.

None of this is to say that metrics aren’t important, but companies should remember that they can only reveal so much about why customers may be experiencing an issue or even why they remain loyal to the brand. With that in mind, we’re going to dive into a few things to bear in mind while creating more human and more connective customer relationships!

Numbers Alone Can’t Tell a Story

Before we get into how to humanize and improve customer experiences, we first need to understand why structured data can’t give us all the answers. For instance, it’s common to send out Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT/OSAT), or Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys after a customer interacts with a brand, but what do these scores actually tell us? A higher ease-of-use score, for example, doesn’t necessarily mean you made the customer happier or that you improved that customer relationship. You can speculate about numbers, but they don’t reveal the exact, organic reason why customers feel one way or another.

So, how can companies compensate for this lack of context? The answer lies in unstructured data and the Experience Improvement (XI) solutions that can turn it into actionable intelligence. That actionable intelligence, in turn, gives brands the chance to create a more organic, more connective, and more human customer experience.

How to Humanize and Improve Customer Experiences

Only when a business listens to human feedback can it respond with a more human customer experience. This means tapping into the voice of the customer by allowing customers to express feedback in their own words. 

Consider platforms like Instagram, Yelp, and YouTube. People can use these platforms to freely (and frankly) express themselves in a way that numbers cannot allow. The result is a form of unstructured feedback that your brand can not only use to trace the root causes of experience breakages, but also to empathize with your customers.

After accumulating enough unstructured data, the next step is to analyze and act on what you’ve learned. However, that’s easier said than done, especially if your CX resources are limited. That’s why it’s important to desilo data and share customer intelligence with your entire company. Then, you can get multiple departments to collaborate and act on their role in humanizing the customer experience (this approach also creates a single, holistic view of the customer for your organization).

If your brand can offer experiences that are far more human, that’s far more valuable than achieving any high metric score. And it goes hand in hand with customer loyalty. When a customer feels empathized with and known as a person, that customer will return to your brand—even if there’s a lot of competition—because their relationship with you has transcended mere transactions. This is the heart of Experience Improvement—answering customers’ search for meaning while strengthening both your bottom line and your marketplace leadership!
To learn more about what makes doing business so dehumanizing and why brands need to challenge themselves to humanize and improve customer experiences, watch this video!

How to Improve Contact Center Experiences in 5 Easy Steps

A lot of customer experiences hinge on your contact center’s effectiveness, which is why it’s important to ensure it’s a resource your customers find helpful, professional, and expedient. We’ve learned a lot about how to create and maintain a highly effective contact center over the 17 years we’ve been in the customer experience (CX) biz, and we’ve distilled those learnings into five simple steps you can follow to make sure your own contact center experiences are up to scratch:

  1. Utilize Automation
  2. Explore Customer Issues to Create Self-Serve Content
  3. Engage and Enable Employees
  4. Data Is a Gold Mine
  5. Closing the Loop

Step #1: Utilize Automation

The term ‘automation’ gets a bad rep because a lot of folks associate it with navigating phone trees and having to repeat yourself to a robot listener, but the truth is that automation is incredibly useful when contact centers leverage it correctly. Using automation within online chats or survey feedback, for example, allows your brand to direct customers to solutions for smaller problems. This frees your call center agents up to deal with more complicated problems while also reducing call volumes, saving your brand both time and money.

Step #2: Explore Customer Issues to Create Self-Serve Content

Using feedback to direct customers to solutions is one thing; analyzing that feedback is another, especially if you can leverage a data platform that turns unstructured feedback into actionable intel. This method is extremely helpful for finding recurring problems that your customers might be having, forwarding those issues to a dev team, and creating appropriate self-serve resources that can empower customers to look after themselves. This approach is also helpful for future-proofing your experience before customers may even have an issue.

Step #3: Engage and Enable Employees

This is a big one. It’s not uncommon for brands to “merely” train their employees to handle customers, but organizations can accomplish much more by encouraging employees to share their perspectives on customer problems. In this way, brands can become aware of problems that customers may not have been reporting, while also empowering employees to take Experience Improvement (XI) into their own hands. This is also a great way to demonstrate to your contact center employees that you care about them and the customer experience, turning detractors into promoters.

Step #4: Data Is a Gold Mine

Your brand probably generates mountains of data every day. Having a lot of information is great, but in this day and age, having so much of it can make figuring out where to start difficult. We’ve found that contact center improvement hinges on three kinds of data: customer feedback, social media data, and web analytics. You can complete the puzzle of Experience Improvement by using this information as a backdrop for your organization’s view of your customer. Having all of this data in one place gives your brand a united, holistic perception of the customer, which is vital to knowing how you might make some fixes and refinements to your contact center.

Step #5: Closing the Loop

This step is crucial to making your customers feel cared about. It’s not actually enough to stop at solving the problem; following up with your customers afterward goes a long way toward making them feel cared about as people. In other words, a follow-up lets customers know you’re as interested in the relationship they have with your brand as the transaction. Follow up with employees, too! Gathering intel and opinions from all these folks will give you chances to improve both your contact center and your overall customer experience, strengthening human connections and your bottom line.

Click here to learn even more about these processes in our full-length contact center eBook. We take a deep dive into additional methods and best practices you can leverage to begin improving your contact center, customer experience, and employee experiences today!

Creating Customer-Centric Cultures for Medical Device Brands

The trick that comes with creating customer-centric cultures (and something many brands miss when planning these projects) is that it’s not a one-and-done process. It’s a cyclical, continuous effort that every company, including medical device and supply brands, need to pay constant attention to as they create improved experiences.

If you’re worried that your organization might need to brush up on a more customer-centric culture, don’t be! We’ve been in the business of Experience Improvement (XI) for a long time, and while there’s always more to learn, we’ve put together a few tips that we’ve seen create great customer-centric cultures time and again.

  1. Create Cross-Functional Teams
  2. Leverage Advocacy and Meetings
  3. Tweak Hiring and Messaging

Tip# 1: Create Cross-Functional Teams

One reason a lot of medical device, or other, brands struggle with creating customer-centric cultures is because they try to have teams do so from within siloes. The problem with this approach is that it makes every team work off of their own idea of the customer, which creates highly inconsistent experiences and, ultimately, customer churn.

Fortunately, this problem has a relatively simple fix: let your teams mingle! Creating a cross-functional team is a great way to bring isolated views of the customer together, resulting in a 360-degree view that is both something all teams can work off of and, at the end of the day, more accurate. An accurate and whole picture of the customer works wonders for Experience Improvement!

Tip #2: Leverage Advocacy and Meetings

The next step in this process is to take your synergy beyond customer experience (CX) meetings… and advocate for customers across the organization! Let even the employees who aren’t near the front lines know how their work helps build a better experience. A lot of companies think that employees might not care to know how customers feel if they’re “too” behind-the-scenes; the truth is that no team is unattached from Experience Improvement, and letting them know that boosts morale.

What’s funny about customer-centric culture is that some folks take the term to mean things only getting better for customers. From what we’ve seen, employees who have a chance to become more invested in customers’ experiences end up creating a better employee experience (EX) for themselves, which creates a continuous improvement feedback loop.

Tip #3: Tweak Hiring and Messaging

Once organizations create a unified view of that customer and then spread it to all of their employees, it’s time to extend that passion outward. Brands that infuse this new perspective into their hiring techniques will stand a far better chance of finding employees who are not only genuinely interested in Experience Improvement, but also a great fit for such a customer-centric organization.

Messaging also plays a key role here; you want to let new and prospective customers know that they too can benefit from a meaningfully improved experience that your brand re-dedicates itself too. More fundamentally, this approach lets both new and existing customers know that you value them as people, not just price points, which will keep them coming to you instead of the competition, strengthen mutual relationships, and create a stronger bottom line for your organization.

Interested in learning more about how your medical device brand can create customer-centric culture? Click here to read our full-length eBook on the subject and to gain more intel on meaningfully improving all of your experiences!

Four Goals for Your Program That Go Beyond Customer Experience Metrics

When it comes to customer experience (CX), a single moment can mean all the difference. And that can be easy to forget when your brand is interacting with countless customers over multiple channels every day. When it comes down to it, however, a moment can mean the difference between a positive or a negative experience—and a boost or a dent in your core customer experience metrics.

For many experience programs, those metrics are the end-all-be-all. Every move they make is with the express purpose of driving those numbers up. At InMoment, we believe that experience leaders should aim higher at goals that go above and beyond typical customer experience metrics. More specifically, we help our clients design programs that target four economic pillars to help them not only improve experiences for customers, boost metrics, and build loyalty, but also to benefit the business where it counts: the bottom line.

Today, we’ll walk you through each of those four pillars and tell the stories of brands who have leveraged their experience programs to achieve those goals. Let’s get to work!

The Four Economic Pillars of CX

  1. Customer Acquisition
  2. Customer Retention
  3. Cross Sell & Upsell
  4. Cost Reduction

Pillar #1: Customer Acquisition

A well-built CX program enables organizations to anticipate what new customers are looking for in a brand—and therefore they’ll be able to leverage that information in their efforts to boost acquisition numbers.

For example, a major athletic company sought to capitalize on acquisitions by optimizing its surveys to find new types of customers. By targeting respondents between the ages of 18 and 35 with specific questions, the company was able understand this demographic and expand to new cities and demographics. 

The practitioners who ran this initiative were able to prove its worth by tracking the new customer acquisition, increases in unique customers, and market share growth that it generated.

Pillar #2: Customer Retention

Organizations should never underestimate the power of service recovery—70 percent of customers who have a situation resolved in their favor will return to a brand, while a 10 percent increase in customer retention can grow a company’s value by 30 percent. Truly customer-centric companies leverage their CX programs to identify disgruntled customers, reach out to close the loop with them, and ultimately prevent customer churn.

For example, America’s largest cable and home internet provider leverages VoC technology in their regional customer care centers. They discovered that 3% of all respondents requested callbacks, totaling 1,000 customer recovery opportunities a month (or a whopping 12,000 per year). By combining this insight with customer lifetime value, the company was able to identify $23 million in recoverable revenue—directly resulting from customer retention!    

Pillar #3: Cross-Selling/ Upselling

Given that it costs 25 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, brands stand to gain a lot from finding new cross-selling and upselling opportunities.

Organizations can leverage CX listening tools to identify what about a brand spurs trust and loyalty from its customers and then take action to make those offerings even stronger. After all, nearly 50 percent of customers are willing to spend anywhere from 11 to 50 percent more with a brand they feel they can trust. Additionally, predictive analytics can be tuned to identify which customer segments are more open to new offerings. This allows marketing teams to target those customers with campaigns that will encourage them to spend more with the brand.

An example of a brand leveraging their experience program to grow share of wallet comes from a large cafe group that was able to capture feedback from its existing customer base, analyze their sentiments, and make fundamental menu changes accordingly. As a result, the cafe group saw a noticeable revenue bump that it was able to link directly to their program insights and subsequent menu changes.

Pillar #4: Cost Reduction/ Elimination

Finally, organizations can use CX feedback and employee feedback to both save money within operations and to simplify their provided experience. Are there ineffective processes that are costing more than they’re worth? Eliminating such costs can save companies time, resources, and revenue. (After all, training one employee can cost an average of almost $1,100!)

A top-tier mattress retailer used CX tools to install an exit survey for departing employees, giving them a greater understanding of employee sentiment. After implementing the necessary changes to reduce turnover and new hire training costs, the company was able to establish a clear link between its CX strategy and the ROI it helped to generate.

Don’t Stop at Customer Experience Metrics

In the simplest of terms, what we do as CX professionals is create interactions that inspire attitudes in our customers than, in turn, produce desired outcomes. One of your desired outcomes can be to simply improve your CX metrics, but don’t let your goals stop at the numbers! 

Instead, create a strategy for your experience program that aims to benefit the business as a whole by increasing customer acquisition and retention, growing wallet share, and decreasing unnecessary costs. You have the power to help your business thrive, so aim big, go beyond the metrics, and inspire meaningful outcomes!


Want to learn more about how your experience program can produce desired outcomes? Check out this eBook that explains how to use the power of social science and your experience ecosystem to leverage the power of a single moment and meet your goals.

Three Ways to Create a Successful Linkage Analysis Strategy

Linkage analysis is a key part of any customer experience (CX) program. It’s a process that allows companies to dig deep into the experiences they provide to ask the big CX questions: what could the business do better, what are customers seeing, what is impacting finances, and how to create and sustain true Experience Improvement (XI).

Today, we’re going to run through three elements we’ve seen companies use to create amazing linkage analysis strategies, enabling practitioners like you to meaningfully improve customers’ experiences, create a strong bottom line, and point back to all of this when going back for more funding!

Three Elements of Successful Linkage Analysis Strategies

  1. Business Insights
  2. Customer-Specific Details
  3. What If” Scenarios

Key #1: Business Insights

Business insights are one of customer relationships’ biggest building blocks. Diving into this element of your CX program empowers your team to better understand the relationship between retention, loyalty, and profitability. Once you’ve got that intel handy, your program’s ties to overall business wins and drivers become clear as day! Such drivers might include how customer experience relates to loyalty, how business ops are affecting retention, and the financial impact that comes with Experience Improvement. That last one is especially important for proving ROI and making the case for the positive impact your program has on customer relationships!

Key #2: Customer-Specific Details

While on the subject of customers, let’s get into how linkage analysis can cover details unique to the people who keep your brand trucking. Specifically, you want to look at the mechanics of specific transactions and behaviors. How intuitive is your contact center menu? Can customers jump between channels en route to getting a single issue resolved? How effective does your customer service have to be for your organization to maintain its market position, and how far might you rise if that service was improved? Questions like these vary from brand to brand, but knowing the answers makes all the difference.

Key #3: “What If” Scenarios

Our third and final tip for making linkage analysis valuable to your company is integrating it into as many simulations as possible. Organizational success comes from future-proofing your experience, which means knowing about customer preferences and potential obstacles before they even fully form. This foresight is where linkage analysis can be very useful, because brands can use it to envision, say, the revenue that could be gained by shortening the claims process, or the retention boost from a more engaged workforce.

The Next Step

CX programs can get a big boost from applying linkage analysis toward these ends, but how else might linkage analysis boost Experience Improvement? Click here to read our full report on everything linkage analysis can do for your brand, your customer relationships, and your bottom line!

Digital Experience Strategy: What Drives Your Customers’ Behaviors?

As customer demands have grown more complex, so too has the idea of what to do about the customer experience (CX), especially when it comes to digital experience strategy. It was never enough to scoreboard-watch numbers and react to situations only as they occurred in real-time; if you want to forge meaningful connections with customers while strengthening your bottom line, you need to constantly be aware of what drives their digital behavior. This is one of the first steps toward Experience Improvement (XI), and it’s something brands need to implement if they want to not only retain customers, but make a difference with them.

The following are three quick methods brands can leverage to learn what drives customers’ online behavior, enabling them to begin or continue a cycle of continuous improvement:

  1. Challenge Your Assumptions
  2. Know Your Drivers
  3. Leverage All Your Data

Method #1: Challenge Your Assumptions

This is an important step to take no matter how well you know your customers. Like we said earlier, CX expectations are changing, which means that it never hurts to reevaluate your brand journey through your customers’ eyes. So, with that goal in mind, create some surveys, interview your customers, and map out your current journey. You might be surprised what you learn!

Once you’ve got your customers’ current expectations in mind, leverage those to get to know your clientele better as people. Being personable is its own reward, but customers will always prefer an organization where everybody knows their name. Besides, better knowing the people who sustain your brand causes employees to become more invested in the mission and vision.

Method #2: Know Your Drivers

It’s always a good idea to take a hard look at your customers’ behaviors; especially the ones that seem to correlate with growth, retention, and finding the moments that matter. When you find those behaviors, you’ve found the things that have the largest impact on both customers’ interactions with your brand and your business as a whole.

Knowing what these behaviors are can provide a ton of intel and context on how to brush up your customer touchpoints, map new segments of your customer journey, and how to reach those individuals for new products and services that you know they’ll love. This ties into the notion of future-proofing, i.e., knowing what your customers may want before they themselves even know, a foresight that will make your brand even more competitive.

Method #3: Leverage All Your Data

Knowing how your customers behave is great, but it’s only half the battle. The final step toward understanding what drives your customers’ digital activities is putting their behavior against a backdrop of other metrics. Financial data, operational information, and other contextual information belong in that backdrop. So too do sources like social, VoC, CRM data, and website/app data.

The Power of a Well-Executed Digital Experience Strategy

Pulling all of this information together can take time, especially if it’s siloed with multiple teams, but if you can pull it off, you’ll have a 360-degree view of your customer that goes beyond ‘just’ digital drivers. This holistic understanding allows your organization to not only build a hyper-accurate profile of your customer, but also unites your entire organization around it, enabling you to create meaningfully improved experiences that bring customers back, create a stronger bottom line, and boost your organization to the top of your vertical.

Looking to add to your digital experience strategy? Our latest eBook lays out four quick wins that will put some points on the board for you customer experience team in the best way possible! Check it out here.

Three Pitfalls to Avoid When Benchmarking Your Customer Experience Program

When it comes to customer experience (CX), it’s obvious that solicited customer feedback is vital. But what if we told you that, on its own, that feedback is not sufficient to give you a thorough understanding of how your brand is delivering on experience? In fact you need a lot more. You need to understand how your employees view the experience. You need unsolicited feedback from social media and other sources. Finally,, you need to understand the greater market’s perception by benchmarking your customer experience program against competitors.

In the latest episode of InMoment’s “XI Expert Take” series, InMoment VP of Customer Experience Consulting and Insights Jeremy Griffiths takes a deep dive into benchmarking and why it’s so important for customer experience initiatives. We’ll be providing a few of the best takeaways in our article today.

Thinking About Benchmarking Your Customer Experience Program?

Before we get into pitfalls and best practices, let’s talk about why you should be benchmarking your CX program in the first place. Primarily, those of us who lead and leverage experience programs have two overarching questions to answer: 

  • How am I doing?
  • What do I need to improve to drive successful business outcomes?

So, we search for the answers in our customer and employee data. But to answer these questions fully, we can’t just look at our own strengths and weaknesses. We need to be able to see the wider context of the market to get a sense of how we compare. Only when we have that big-picture view can we be certain that we have all the necessary information to make effective, strategic decisions.

However, you don’t want to set out on a benchmarking journey just to get it done. To do it well and get the intelligence you need, there are a few pitfalls you need to avoid along the way. Here are the three benchmarking pitfalls Jeremy has seen most often in his career:

Pitfall #1: Using Benchmarks as a “Big Stick”

When Jeremy works with brands to start up or refresh their benchmarking initiatives, he often has to help leaders shift their perspective about their benchmarking scores. He says one of the most common challenges he’s seen is leaders who use their results as “a big stick to tell their team to ‘do better.’” 

The imagery here is especially effective and accurate. It’s easy to imagine that if a brand’s scores are low in comparison to competitors, a leader might use those benchmarks as a weapon to spur their employees into action. However, this can be incredibly harmful to morale in the moment and to long-term success. 

How? Let’s take a look from the employee perspective. Let’s say that your leader has just given you a talking to, assuming that you and your team are doing something  to negatively impact the experience. But what if you feel as though you’re doing the best you can? What if the real issue is something beyond your control, yet you’re still being made to feel responsible? You’d feel incredibly frustrated, devalued, and helpless. 

This is just one example of how the wrong perspective on benchmarks can negatively affect your business. As we all know, disengaged employees can lead to an increase in employee churn, and therefore, additional costs in the millions!

Pitfall #2:  Using Experience Benchmarks as an Excuse

The next pitfall Jeremy describes is directly related to the first. In fact, it’s the other extreme in terms of leadership perspective: leaders who use their benchmarks as an excuse to do nothing.

In contrast to our previous example, let’s consider a brand whose benchmarking scores are good relative to its competitors. If the leadership sees the numbers and thinks, “well, we’re obviously doing well. Why would we need to do anything differently?” there’s potential for harm to the greater business.

The reason why is quite simple: you shouldn’t let success make you complacent. In our fast-paced world, you can be ahead of the pack one second, and fall behind the next. If there’s one thing we can promise you, it’s that your competitors are competing on experience. If you’re not actively working to provide your customers with the next greatest, more convenient, more memorable experience, then the competition will surpass you—and your customers will flock to the brand with the best experience.

Pitfall #3: Being Too Focused on the Number

The third pitfall is really a cause (and effect) of the first two. Leaders either use benchmarks as a big stick or a comfort blanket because they are too focused on the number. And at the same time, they are causing their employees to focus on the number. 

The issue with this number-based focus is that it only allows you to measure or manage your experience. It does not open the door to actually improving your experiences and boosting your bottom line. To inspire these major benefits, you have to look beyond metric scores and instead focus on the “why.” Why are you performing this way? Why are competitors performing well? Why do customers choose your brand over others?

When you shift your focus from the numbers to the context, you create a proactive, inspired, and positive Experience Improvement (XI) culture that is always pushing forward. This culture inspires your employees to be problem solvers, to strive for better experiences, and to keep your customers coming back. And isn’t that why you’re benchmarking in the first place?

Moving Forward

Now that we’ve chatted about what to avoid when benchmarking, are you curious about how you should execute your initiative? Click here to watch the full episode, “How to Win with Experience Improvement in Your Marketplace,” to learn how you should design your benchmarks (from the samples to take to the questions you should ask), popular use cases, and more directly from the experts!

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