Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a simple and highly effective way to determine the happiness of your customers. This one rating — how likely are you to recommend <company> — gives you valuable business insights from the need to fix specific issues quickly, to long-term trends. But what about the NPS follow-up question?
That’s where the more actionable insight comes from, because the customer is able to explain the “why” behind their rating with an open-text answer that gives you the good, bad, and the ugly of their experience.
A customer journey map is a diagram of all the places customers come into contact with your brand, online or off. Each of these touchpoints influences the customer, and by analyzing customer behavior, feelings, and motivations around each touchpoint, you can begin to identify opportunities to establish more positive relationships by giving customers what they need at any given stage of their journey.
The goal of a customer journey map is to gain a deeper understanding of your customer, how they interact with your brand, and how each interaction affects your relationship. It’s also a way to ensure that the brand experience remains consistent for each customer across touchpoints.
“With the number of touchpoints a customer has with a brand increasing with the proliferation of technologies and channels, the need to create a consistent experience is critically important.” – McKinsey & Company
But the big picture goal is why there is so much buzz around customer journey maps now:
A Customer journey map can move you towards more conversions, greater customer loyalty, and improved customer experience from end to end (or from end to forever, if you are subscription-based and there’s no bottom to your sales funnel).
But a customer journey map can be complicated to create, and the results can be difficult to track and interpret from end to end. Many businesses are tempted to ignore it altogether in favor of lower-hanging fruit to increase conversions.
However, that hesitancy to use customer journey maps is quickly disappearing as more companies are seeing the results from properly customer journey mapping.
And, if your company is struggling with the question: “Why aren’t customers completing (or repeating) purchases?” – there is no better time to create a customer journey map that will lead you to that answer.
Customer Cartography: Where to Begin on a Customer Journey Map
“We found that a company’s performance on journeys is 35 percent more predictive of customer satisfaction and 32 percent more predictive of customer churn than performance on individual touchpoints. Since a customer journey often touches different parts of the organization, companies need to rewire themselves to create teams that are responsible for the end-to-end customer journey across functions.” – McKinsey & Company
What’s Included in the Customer Journey Map?
Before getting started on a customer journey map with the steps below, here’s an overview of some of the key components that make up the map. Be sure to weave these key components into your customer journey mapping process.
The Buying Process: The customer buying process includes milestones from start to end with their purchasing journey. You’ll want to draft the path you intend the customer to take by listing the buying process stages.
User Actions: This explains in detail what a customer may do before initiating a transaction such as seeing the ad of the product and hearing about it from their social circle.
Emotions: Adding emotions into the process helps to understand how the customer feels when they’re searching for solutions to solve their pain points.
Pain Points: This element gives insights into where a customer might encounter a negative experience and helps us understand why.
Solutions: This last part of the customer journey map is for your team to brainstorm where to improve based on the customer journey.
Gather Your Customer Journey Map Cross-Functional Team
As customers go through the various stages in the sales funnel, they cross departments from marketing to sales to product to customer success and customer service.
So it only makes sense that, when choosing your team for your customer journey mapping project, you have a representative from each of these departments involved. Having a cross-departmental team is vital to gaining the kind of understanding that is the whole point of the customer journey management exercise.
“When a manager takes the lead to form a cohesive, customer-centric, interdepartmental team, it not only facilitates learning and accountability throughout the whole company, it can even change company culture for the better.” – Jessica Pfeifer, VP & General Manager, InMoment.
Defining Customer Segments for a Customer Journey Map
Once your team is assembled, ask marketing to list out each key customer segment for the customer journey map.
It’s extremely likely that each customer segment’s journey will be different. They’re likely finding you, and communicating with you, in different ways depending on demographic and psychographic variables.
That means, unless you only have one ideal customer persona, that you’ll actually be creating several customer journey maps, one for each segment.
Plotting Touchpoints for a Customer Journey Map
Once you have your customer journey map segments identified, it’s time to plot out your touchpoints for each one. How and when does your customer interact with your brand, your product, your team?
You can decide whether you will tackle the pre-acquisition journey, post-acquisition journey, or the whole customer journey map.
With touchpoints, there are the ones you have control over, and the ones you don’t. There are the ones you can track easily, and those you can’t. If your company advertises via billboard, for example, that can be hard to track, even if you survey customers.
Of the ones you can control and track, online touchpoints are the easiest. So start there. Ask your marketing team members to fill you in on what the top of the funnel looks like, what links are bringing people to your website, and how those people first heard of you. In the post-acquisition phase, Customer Success and Support own certain customer touchpoints, and are likely already gathering feedback about them from customers. These touchpoints may include the end of the onboarding cycle in SaaS, order delivery in ecommerce, and customer support interaction. The Product team may articulate customer journey map points that are driven by behavior, such as feature adoption in SaaS or a purchase threshold in e-commerce.
And, if the team doesn’t know already, don’t be afraid to ask the customers themselves – every step of this customer journey map should be grounded in real customer data. At the same time, don’t let the exercise become overwhelming. You and your team may already have an intuitive sense of the customer journey map. Get something documented and work to refine it over time.
Gathering Customer Data for a Customer Journey Map
You need more than touchpoints for your customer journey map. You need to know what’s happening at and around each touchpoint. You have to get inside the minds and hearts of the customers at every juncture to find out what they’re thinking, feeling, and needing to do.
Of these three, understanding customers’ emotions shouldn’t be given short shrift: 69% of consumers say that emotions count for over half their experiences. Consider adding emotions into your customer journey map.
Unless you have robust research from marketing and customer success departments already, you may want to gather all of this data, asking members of each segment – around every identified touchpoint – these questions:
Questions to Ask for a Customer Journey Map
What they’re thinking at that touchpoint
What they’re feeling at that touchpoint
What they need most at that touchpoint (use this as an indicator of buyer stage – awareness, research, choice reduction, purchase)
What their ultimate goal is (why are they here?)
What they do/did at that touchpoint (or use a session recording program to see exactly what they did, like hitting the “back” button when they land in the cart, etc.)
You may also need to conduct analytical research for a customer journey map, taking a deep dive into your website/product analytics to find what users are doing and where they might be experiencing difficulty.
And don’t discount the data your customers volunteer on social media and review sites. You can gather valuable anecdotal evidence for your customer journey map from a social media listening tool – as well as from the stories of your own customer success and customer service managers.
With this data, you can start to build a customer journey map for each segment persona, for each purchase stage, and each touchpoint, with an overlay for what they are thinking, feeling, wanting, doing, and most importantly, what they’re hoping to achieve.
The Customer Success Component of a Customer Journey Map
This is where we add Customer Success to the mix, ensuring that at each step, we have a crystal-clear understanding of each customer segment’s success milestones and ideal outcomes, so we can bridge any gaps between them.
Including customer success metrics, (particularly success milestones) in your customer journey map isn’t often. This is likely because customer journey mapping has been traditionally focused on the top end of the funnel – Acquisition, Decision, and Purchase phases.
But SaaS is different. The funnel doesn’t end with the purchase. The goal isn’t to sell once or twice, but to retain customers via subscription, which requires continually providing and increasing value.
SaaS businesses – you need to chart much more than any other industry and make each post-purchase touchpoint count towards getting your customers closer to their desired outcome.
And that focus turns touchpoints into stepping stones towards success milestones.
In practice, this means you’ll need to consider how touchpoints, especially after purchase, can be used to help your users make real, tangible progress.
Customer Journey Mapping Examples for SaaS, eCommerce, and Brick-and-Mortar Stores
There are so many ways to create a customer journey map, and it can be difficult to decide what has to be in, and what may be less important to you depending on your type of business and your goals. Here are a few customer journey mapping examples from different types of industries that are mapping their customer journeys effectively.
First, let’s look at two of the main ways you can organize your customer journey map data: Linear or chart.
Linear: Works best when customers have fewer options for how they interact with you, or when you want to create a customer journey map along a timeline.
Chart: Works best when you have touchpoints that meander in a nonlinear fashion.
Clearly, both types of charts can hold a lot of widely-varying information. And there are many more ways to create a customer journey map too, like with emotion-centered maps.
Improving Customer Experience (CX): Start with a Simple Customer Journey Map
As you can see, there are many, many valid ways to approach a customer journey map. The customer journey map examples above reflect deep thinking and research — the result of intensive project work by these companies. Use them for inspiration. Don’t let them stop you and your team from drafting a simple journey flow to get the ball rolling.
By dedicating even an afternoon to a cross-functional knowledge-sharing session you will likely come away with:
a more robust understanding of how your customers interact with and “experience” your company.
a basic journey map
3-5 “low hanging fruit” opportunities for improvement
Your goal with all of this is to improve customer experience. Remember, there is a good reason for that. As Jake Sorofman, Research VP, Gartner says, “As competition and buyer empowerment compounds, customer experience itself is proving to be the only truly durable competitive advantage.”
You’ve been using Net Promoter Score in all the right ways, and now you’re looking to advance your CX program. Fear not, you’ve come to the right place!
The next level of CX for Growth Stage companies focuses on a few key things:
Taking a more holistic view of the entire customer journey
Leveraging technology to listen to hundreds and thousands of customer comments
Employing robust analytics
We’ve previously explained how to quickly build your first customer feedback program with a single survey like Net Promoter Score in a single channel. Now we’ll combine surveys with behaviors and concrete numbers to see how CX impacts metrics like product use, retention, and sales.
We’re sticking with the 3-step Listen, Learn, and Act model but upgrading each step’s activities from Early Stage to Growth Stage CX programs.
Step 1: Listen
In this step, you’ll gather information across the customer journey. Many people at the Growth Stage have already identified critical touchpoints in the customer journey that drive success, including:
Achieving first value
Using a new product or service
The Listen step focuses on asking the right questions at these touchpoints to help you optimize your CX. During the Early Stage, you offered up the Net Promoter Score survey. Now it’s time to move on to two other important CX metrics.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
The CSAT asks customers how satisfied they were with a recent interaction, like a support call. CSAT is the most popular CX metric for transactional interactions, and you use it to gauge how well these interactions are being handled.
How might you use CSAT? If you’re with an e-commerce company, you likely use it to get post-delivery feedback on a purchase. At SaaS companies, product teams use a CSAT variation called a Product Satisfaction survey (PSAT). It’s often triggered in-app to get feedback that helps product teams optimize the user experience.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
The CES survey asks, “How easy was it to _________?” CES is used to improve systems that may frustrate customers. It allows you to capture early feedback and discover ways to make sure the path to the all-important first value is smooth.
Use CES surveys to measure how customers feel about their onboarding, which is the critical first step of the customer journey. It’s much easier to retain a customer who has had an excellent first experience with your product than win over a customer reeling from poor onboarding that missed the mark.
When you combine the information gathered from NPS, CSAT/PSAT, and CES, you can uncover previously hidden areas of the customer journey and understand how those affect overall CX.
Step 2: Learn
You now have a plethora of customer feedback from your three surveys, and it’s time to extract actionable insights. The important thing to realize here is you’re collecting feedback from thousands of surveys. That amount of data quickly becomes hard to address at scale, and text-match tags won’t capture the wealth of information available. You’re going to need more advanced tools than what you used at the Early Stage.
Customer insights through machine learning
The most insightful input from customers comes in the free-text portion of your surveys. To mine that rich data, you’ll need a tool that uses Natural Language Processing (NLP), a form of AI for real-time text categorization and sentiment analysis.
For many businesses, the wealth of customer experience data has become overwhelming. Artificial intelligence gives us the means to retake the initiative.
– Jessica Pfeifer CCO, Wootric
Advanced tools for the Growth Stage Learn step share two essential elements:
Categorization in real-time
One of the reasons you’re not manually analyzing the text is you don’t want to wait weeks for insights, and your customers certainly don’t want to wait that long for action. Natural Language Processing allows computers to auto-tag, interpret, and analyze text data as new topics arise, highlighting any issues immediately so you can take timely actions.
Simply put, sentiment analysis tells you why your customers do or don’t love you. NLP performs sentiment analysis on your customer and user feedback, taking you way beyond the traditional text-match tagging. Not only is every topic tracked over time, but NLP also tracks the positive and negative tone and tenor of the customer voice. In a quick review, you can instantly gauge whether a specific product touchpoint performs well for your customers. This lets you see how your business initiatives are affecting your users in real-time.
Auto-categorizing feedback is a powerful step in VoC, taken with the help of new technologies like Natural Language Processing.
Link CX metrics to business outcomes
You can tie CX directly to business outcomes by linking customer survey data to business-focused metrics like purchases, conversions, churn, and sales.
Say you want to tie CX to churn through your mobile app. No problem!
Look at your post-survey 90-day churn metrics and see at what scores you begin to lose customers rapidly.
Compare that with your NPS. Let’s say your NPS shows you can tolerate some Passives and maybe even some Detractors scoring you at a 5 or 6. Cool, you can let those ride a bit if you’re resource light.
Detractors scoring you at a 0 or 4, however, could be at serious risk of leaving if they don’t receive the support they need to succeed. Put your resources there ASAP!
How else can you monitor the risk of churn? Well, if you’re a B2B business, you’re probably already looking at your Customer Health Score. Factor NPS and other CX metrics into your Customer Health Score and get even more insight with a system that takes into account behavioral metrics like the number of support tickets per user, usage of product features, and other engagement metrics.
Step 3: Act
You’ve listened, you’ve learned a lot, and now you’re ready to make an impact. But here’s the thing: CX is built by and affected by more than just one team at a company. So there are two critical parts to the Act step.
Get CX data into everyone’s workflow
A customer-centric organization relies on everyone having access to VoC data, so no individual or team at your company should ever have to search for it. All functions can drive better customer experiences and benefit from having CX data and analytics at their fingertips.
Sales needs CX metrics at the account level in Salesforce to prepare for an upsell conversation.
Customer Success uses Gainsight or other platforms for regular communications with customers.
Customer Support is in Intercom or ZenDesk.
Product may want data in their analytics platform like Tableau.
Analysts will want to pull CX data into their relational database.
By connecting your CX program to the applications and software used by other teams, you can destroy silos and create powerful interactions that delight your customers. Look for CX platforms with native integrations and open APIs to make these connections seamless.
Optimize your product with CX
It’s all good and well to gather and distribute essential data and insights, but a CX program’s real power comes from making your product and services better.
Use your CX data to rank and address the things that matter most to your customers and thus to your business’ success. We recommend creating a dual-axis plan of attack to prioritize what you optimize.
Look at the number of impacted customers and their average score for each issue.
Combine that number with a qualitative measure of the engineering and operational effort required to address the issue.
Close the loop at scale
Once you’ve taken actions to improve CX, don’t forget to communicate back to your customers who gave you the feedback to make those changes. Let them know you appreciate their input and that it made an impact.
You now have hundreds and thousands of customers giving your feedback, and you won’t have enough resources to call each one personally. Thus you’ll need a hybrid model to close the customer feedback loop.
High touch. A customer success agent or account manager can reach out to their customers when they respond, even if just to say “Thanks!” This connection lets customers know you’re listening and appreciate their feedback. For a B2B business, this is the way to go if you have the resources.
Medium touch.Segment the list by survey scores. Sync with a platform like Intercom to trigger automated messages or schedule a weekly email campaign to each group.
Thank Promoters and possibly offer them an incentive to be brand advocates, perhaps by sharing their positive feedback on social media.
Route Detractors to Customer Success or Customer Support. That team can devote time to understanding why the customer’s not happy — especially those who didn’t leave feedback — and make the CX and relationship better.
Automate a reply to Passives who didn’t leave feedback, spurring a “What would make you LOVE us?” conversation.
Low touch. Respond with information-sharing and transparency, such as a blog post or newsletter at the end of the month, summarizing the feedback you’ve received and stating your plans to address issues customers have raised.
A growing company needs to grow its CX program. By expanding your view to the full customer journey, expanding the feedback you’re requesting, and then using more advanced tools to pull insights from the feedback, you’ll be ready to optimize the customer experience you provide and enjoy the success it brings.
While so many companies are pondering how to grow their customer experience (CX) programs, there are plenty of CX champions looking to start a CX program. We talk with plenty of companies that are just starting up, or as we prefer to call it: Early Stage.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not at all hard to get your Early Stage CX program started. With a little guidance, you can quickly build and implement a quality program that helps you:
Listen to your customers.
Learn from your data.
Act to optimize the customer experience.
As your business grows, you can expand your CX program with it. For now, however, you’re primed for the Early Stage option. So listen up; we’re going to get you started!
CX program fundamentals
CX programs center on Voice of the Customer (VoC) data — your customers’ feedback about their experiences and expectations for your products or services.
The key to a successful program lies in how you gather that feedback, how you process and learn from it, and then act on it.
This 3-step CX model is easy to understand, simple to get started and offers quick time to value.
Start by defining the goal of your CX program. Maybe your priority is to optimize your software product or to improve the support experience. Knowing what you want to learn will inform your listening strategy.
For your first customer survey, we recommend you begin with NPS. Net Promoter Score is the gold standard for measuring customer loyalty and will give you immediate insight into your customers’ stories.
Once you and your CX program have grown, you’ll likely need other survey types. But Early Stage programs can find out what they need to know with these three.
Choose Your First Survey Channel
Alright, your question is at the ready. Now you need to decide how you will survey your customers. Each segment of your customer base probably has a preferred method of communication. Common options include:
in-app surveys inside a web or mobile product
If you’re unsure where to start, ask yourself this: Where here are our most important customers interacting with us?
E-commerce business: transactional approach like sending an email survey a few days after delivery
Airline or utility (or other business already using texts or phone calls to communicate on customer mobile devices): SMS
Next comes the question of when to survey. Keep it simple. Ask NPS 30 days after a customer onboards, or whenever they will have had enough time to form an opinion about the experience you offer. The surveys are something you can “set and forget” and then just let the feedback roll in. A CX platform will survey a few users every day, so you have constant feedback coming in. Some platforms (like Wootric) offer a free plan for early stage businesses.
Step 2: Learn
Here’s where things get exciting because your customer feedback is coming in!
The great thing about Early Stage is you can read and respond to every survey response. This will help you stay closer to the customer and develop a holistic view of your customer experience.
There are an art and a science to the Learn step that will allow you to take hundreds of pieces of feedback and make it actionable. To do that, you need to get busy.
Segment Your CX Data
Even if your company provides only one service or product, your customers are not all the same. Categories of users have different needs and are bound to experience your company in slightly different ways.
You’ve given the same NPS survey to all your customers. Your overall NPS score will let you know how you’re doing across every customer. However, your customers aren’t just one block of users. Our marketplace customers like GrubHub and Deliveroo have both consumers and restaurant owners using their app, and those two groups have different needs. By segmenting NPS, you’ll receive more actionable insights to optimize your product for the various user groups.
Take our customer Homebase. They have two user groups for their SaaS product that streamlines employee scheduling: those who create schedules and those who receive schedules. Per CEO John Waldmann, “NPS has allowed us to segment out the feedback and look at how happy restaurant managers are with the product after the recent changes versus how happy the wait staff is. Are we skewing too heavily toward one side or the other? Do we need to spend some more product cycles to improve the employee experience?”
You can take a constant pulse of your CX program by reviewing the performance of your overall business and customer segment NPS scores over time. Tracking and metricizing customer sentiment over time is very helpful when you’re looking to make improvements. The bonus is you never miss a trend.
Identify Themes in Customer Comments
While it’s interesting to read and respond to individual feedback, at some point, you will get more qualitative feedback than you can easily digest. Lots of feedback is a good thing — it means you’re growing!
Now’s the time to filter your text responses to understand the “why” behind the numerical scores. You’ll filter these responses for specific topics by using tags. Tags are associated with particular keywords you want to monitor, and they allow you to easily track the Share of Voice (SoV) of a topic. How much are people talking about price, performance, delivery, or a new feature?
Setting up this categorization does a lot of things:
It helps you follow long-term trends.
It gives you insight into a topic’s trajectory.
It lets you know if you’re addressing your customer’s concerns effectively — or you still need to do more.
Step 3: Act
You’ve listened, you’ve learned, and now it’s time to make a difference by acting externally and internally!
Close the loop with customers
Every piece of feedback is valuable. While you’re hoping for promoters telling you what a great job you’re doing, it’s the detractors who care enough to let you know what needs improvement that can help you make the most significant business gains through your CX program.
Reach out via email or phone and address their concerns promptly. Passing your CX data to the system, you use to communicate with customers — like Intercom or Hubspot — can make this easy. Customers will appreciate that you took the time to listen and respond. You may even turn a detractor into a happy customer.
Activate your brand promoters. When someone gives you praise in a survey response, ask them to write a review or give you a quote. These testimonials can be great ways to distinguish your brand from the competition.
If you don’t have the resources to respond individually, write a blog post that summarizes what you’ve heard and the actions you’re taking and share it with your customers.
Loop closing in practice
You may be thinking, “this sounds great in theory, but that’s a lot to expect from a new program.” Understood. Many people in the Early Stage of CX programs are also in their company’s early stage, with too much work and too few people. Our customer Albacross, a lead-gen software startup, automated closing the loop with its customers, which achieved program goals without taxing their resources.
Here’s what they do based on the individual NPS score:
Detractors (who rate their app low with a 0-6): They send two messages via Intercom asking for additional feedback. The goal here is to start a conversation and better understand why the customer is frustrated.
They send an email:
They send an in-app message that appears immediately after the user completes the survey:
Passives (who rate 7-8) receive an in-app email of gratitude, letting them know they appreciate the feedback.
Promoters (who rate 9-10) receive an email from the CEO offering gratitude and asking them to please review the company on a 3rd party review site:
Evangelize CX data
You are trying to build a customer-first culture at your company. To do that, you need to communicate, communicate, communicate.
Make sure everyone has easy access to CX information! From Customer Success and Customer Support to Product to Marketing and beyond, every person in your company has a part in creating your customer experience. Create a CX Slack channel and encourage the entire company to join. Put up wall-mounted dashboards that put CX metrics front and center with the newest feedback and the latest scores — report it right next to other critical business metrics at the next company-wide meeting.
A single survey on a single channel offers significant customer insights. Like any new program, you want to start simply, optimize, and then expand. Once you have mastered the Early Stage program, it’s easy to move on to the Growth Stage and Expert Stage.
Customer expectations drive the value of CX. Continuously meet or exceed expectations, and delighted customers will return and even become vocal advocates for your product and brand.
Don’t let the terms B2C (Business to Consumer) and B2B (Business to Business) confuse you. Your end-user is a human who spends a lot of time on Amazon. They’ve come to expect consumer-level digital experiences at work and play.
Welcome to the consumerization of B2B; your customers have been expecting you.
Whether your company’s releasing an app as part of its digital transformation or it’s a digital-native SaaS company, CX pros need to understand the evolution of the B2B customer experience and make sure their products meet their B2B consumers’ expectations.
The B2B focus: from customer to end-user
B2B encompasses many types of different companies with varying levels of digital experiences. They’re all still dealing with some legacy ideas of B2B as they innovate and strive to keep one foot ahead of customer expectations.
In the not-so-distant past, B2B tech was big. Big machines, big decision-makers, big purchase prices, big buying time, and big onboarding. Tech salespeople wined and dined the VP and C-level buyers through the months-long decision process. Procurement got involved in making sure the tech worked at least “close enough” for the largest number of people at the company. Once the systems were in, they were in for the long-term, and user experience be damned.
Today, the tech is in the cloud, and it’s the little things that are important. Tech choices are researched and made by individuals and teams. Procurement may still get involved, but they come in to find so many people already happily using the software they just need to negotiate contracts vs. deciding “are we going to use Slack or not?” It’s one tech-savvy end-user after another replacing the big buying teams, and the app just needs to let that one person do their specific job faster and better. The sales process is digital, set up is easy, and customer service is a click away.
The newer SaaS companies practicing Product Led Growth (PLG) have grown up in this digital age where everyone’s a consumer. If you are a workhorse platform, how can your digital experiences compete with these disruptors?
12 ways to “consumerize” B2B customer experience
Think of your week’s worth of online consumer experience, and there are some overarching elements of a good CX. From Netflix to Uber, there are elements you need to pull into the B2B experience.
Freemium or trial access. Appcues found 90% of users want to try a product for free. Can you design a lite but still valuable-to-the-user version of your product? If so, this can be a great lead generation channel. Give marketing adequate development resources and let them run it.
Fully digital. There’s no need for interaction with a live person to access and use the product. Users expect the app to understand their goals and take them step-by-step through the process to meet their goals.
Intuitive setup and use. No user wants to have to read an essay on how to get started; it should be one step clicks without confusion. There’s no need to look for what they need, no need to be trained by an admin — it’s right there.
Quick time to value. The user wants to do their job faster, easier, and better — make that happen quickly before they find another option.
Easy connections to existing tech. While you’re focused on the individual end-user, don’t forget your app needs to fit into the organization’s workflow, speeding time to value and allowing your power user to advocate for your app. Also, realize that while one user may need everything your app does, others just need to know the results. Make sure your app links to the app others work in the most. If others need the data from your app to work in Slack, then offer a single-click integration to send the data from your app to Slack.
Simple vs. feature-laden. Keep the interface as decluttered as possible, so it’s easy for users to find what they need. Visual clarity poses a challenge for feature-ladened platforms, so design with a bias toward simplicity. And remember, there will be light users who don’t want to have to figure out, once again, how to run a report. You still need all the features for those power-user admins, but you must also prioritize the light user’s experience.
Mobile. The more people who adopt your app, the more mobile users you’ll have. While you don’t have to design to be mobile-first, you can offer a simplified version of your desktop platform, keeping all the features someone on the go will need when they’re away from their office.
Easy to share. People work on teams for the most part, and shared apps help complete shared work. Make it easy for your power user to evangelize and share your product within the organization with a one-click invitation.
Real-time issue resolution. Digital is fast, and users expect to solve any problems encountered in real-time. Offer help right in the product through a chat function. No one minds AI if it resolves their issue — they just want it handled now.
Easy to review. Purchase decisions today reflect the power of the end-user. Decisions are made based on word of mouth and 3rd party review sites, so make it easy for your promoters to evangelize for you. Use in-app surveys to identify your happiest customers and then automate the review to link to AppStore or G2 once the survey is completed.
Seamless upgrade to paid. The freemium or trial offer will demonstrate value. When more functionality is required, make it an easy click to the premium product version.
Customer feedback. Build improvement and growth into your product by asking for feedback right in the platform and mobile app. Your buyers and end-users expect you to be optimizing your product, so make it easy for end-users to give feedback in the moment through simple NPS, CSAT, and CESmicro-surveys.
Designing your digital CX for the modern B2B customer means taking a B2C mindset. Your product isn’t serving a faceless company; it’s serving the individual people who use it. Where are your people? What are their expectations? How can you connect them to value most easily? By designing to help end-users meet their goals, you create a partnership with individuals whose success is based on your product. They will tell you how to improve your product and evangelize its use to develop new customers. Once in, they want to help you make your product better, and their feedback will light the way for your company’s success.
You hear the term tossed around in most any meeting focused on customers: “What’s the NPS? How many Promoters do we have? How many Detractors?” You may be asking yourself “What is NPS and what should we be doing with it?”
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a simple, powerful measure of customer loyalty. By asking customers to rate their likelihood to recommend a product or service on a 1-10 scale, you can gain actionable insights to guide decisions across your business.
Let’s break down NPS calculation and see how it works.
The survey then logs the response and gives the responder a chance to explain their answer in an open-text format.
That’s it! Because the survey is short, sweet, and to the point, customers are more likely to respond. And you’ve just gained valuable information ready to be turned into insights and used to improve your offerings.
Many NPS surveys offer this text box at the bottom of the questionnaire asking for reasoning behind their responses. This is also a valuable tool to gain better insight into your customer’s specific experiences.
Collect NPS Data with a Survey
Make sure that during the process of NPS calculation you are determining what specific information you are looking for from your audience. Make sure you know what you need feedback on, where you have the bandwidth to improve, and how you want to segment your customers in order to get the most specific results.
InMoment can help you get instant NPS analytics when you download the NPS software. Want to try it out? Get a free 30-day trial here.
How to Calculate NPS: The NPS Calculation Process
Once you have the customer feedback (step one), the fun part begins with NPS calculation.
Respondents are classified into three groups based on their answers:
Promoters: Rating 9 or 10. Loyal customers who are a great source of referrals.
Passives: Rating 7 or 8. Customers who are satisfied with the service but are susceptible to competitors.
Detractors: Rating 0 – 6. Unhappy customers who can damage your brand.
What is the NPS Formula, and How Does it Work NPS Calculations?
NPS Calculation gives you a clear indication from one moment to the next of how happy your customers are. Real-time tracking can alert you to threats to your business, allowing you to take quick action. Tracked over time, it gives you insight into which of the company’s actions have resulted in the most customer value. Step three is to find the percentage of promoters and detractors. Lastly, step four is to calculate the NPS score using the information you have acquired so far.
To do the actual NPS calculation, subtract the % of respondents who are Detractors from the % of respondents who are Promoters.
NPS = ((# of Promoters – # of Detractors)/Total Survey Participants) x 100
Interpreting Your NPS Score
Now that you’ve calculated your net promoter score, of course you want to know what the number you ended up with actually means. Net promoter scores are expressed as a number ranging from -100 to +100. Any score above 50 is typically a good NPS. This would be because at least 50% of your company is a promoter, while less than 50% would fall under detractor. The most important thing you can do with your net promoter score is acknowledge it, and try to improve it.
Utilizing Customer Feedback
The answer to the open-ended NPS follow-up question tells you the “why” behind the rating. Mining this text for insights is what makes NPS calculation so powerful – because it gives you rich information on the customer experience you’re providing. Analyze the text answers and use them to guide the actions you take.
Don’t forget to follow up with the customer and close the feedback loop. Imagine immediately responding to a Detractor’s complaint, targeting your Passives with an information campaign, or asking a Promoter to review your product online.
Creating Additional Questions for Your NPS Survey
When you create an NPS survey, you typically do so with the sole purpose of measuring NPS. However, sometimes you need to measure NPS and acquire additional information that can help you to improve after you’ve learned your NPS score. This is where you need some key driver analysis. While it’s usually used for Customer Acquisition, key driver analysis can help you identify what your strengths and weaknesses are specifically and how you should address them in the future.
Ongoing Voice of the Customer
Repeat the NPS survey at regular intervals. Segment your NPS by types of customers to understand the “why” behind your score and how your decisions impact customer loyalty.
Once you have NPS calculation down, you’ll be ready to add in additional metrics over time at key customer journey touchpoints. When you combine the feedback from your NPS survey with feedback from CSAT (customer satisfaction) and CES (customer effort) surveys, these 3 core CX metrics give you a great foundation for making business decisions based on the authentic voice of the customer feedback.
Build end-user loyalty. Sign up today for free in-app NPS calculation feedback with InMoment.
A good customer experience improvement program depends on two-way conversations between companies and their customers. It has been reported that nearly half (43%) of customers don’t bother complaining because they don’t believe companies care. Get ahead of that stat by demonstrating your company not only wants the feedback, you act on it. The three-tiered approach to customer follow-up (high touch, medium touch, and low touch) allows every company to effectively respond to customers, even if they can’t commit a lot of resources.
Treat customer feedback like a gift. It’s not enough to just gather Net Promoter Scores (NPS), you need to follow up with responders to let them know that 1) you appreciate their effort, and 2) their feedback has impact. Even if you can’t deliver everything customers ask for, they will remember that they were heard and appreciated. Closing the feedback loop will help you retain customers, increase response rates, and hopefully create loyal brand advocates.
Ready to respond? Good! Consider your resources and choose from three levels of engagement:
High Touch. This more resource-intensive approach has proven very effective for B2B companies. Every time a customer gives feedback, a Customer Success Manager or Account Manager contacts them. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be an in-depth correspondence. Sometimes a simple “thank you” is all that’s needed. Other times, you can dig deeper into their response (and deeper into the relationship) in order to make the feedback even more actionable.
Medium Touch. We get it — not every business has the headcount to personally respond to every piece of feedback they receive. Automating the feedback loop is a time and resource saver. Segment your customer responses by the rating each customer gives and you can still have a personalized impact where it counts most. Your follow up plan could look something like this:
Promoter. Send a “thank you” and possibly offer an incentive for the customer to share your product.
Detractor. Route the response to Customer Success or Customer Support to uncover why that responder isn’t happy, especially if they didn’t leave further feedback explaining their rating.
Passive. Deliver a message to passive raters who didn’t leave feedback, engaging them in a “What would make you LOVE us?” conversation.
Low Touch. If you have too many users to provide individual responses, or you don’t have contact information, you can still close the loop! Develop blanket communications that offer transparency and information sharing:
A monthly blog post or newsletter. Summarize the feedback you’ve received, and detail the actions you’ll be taking in response to issues customers have raised.
Product updates or release notes. CX champions in product or UX can use these to communicate “We heard you! Today we <fixed X or launched Z>.”
All three levels of engagement deliver impact, so choose the one that best fits your needs. InMoment customer Albacross chose a medium touch model, which resulted in 2X the NPS scores and a 2X ratings increase on Capterra.
By closing the loop with customers, you show them that you’re not only listening to their feedback, you consider it so important that you’re using it to make their experiences better. This simple step can turn ambivalent customers into vocal fans.
As we begin this new year, we want to share some great news.
Today we’re excited to announce that Wootric is joining InMoment, a market leader in customer and employee experience. InMoment serves many of the largest, most sophisticated global organizations from Starbucks to Ford to VMWare.
This next step in our evolution means great things for our customers and other businesses seeking a modern approach to CX improvement.
We will continue to deliver the world-class product experience you expect from us. In addition, our pace of innovation and our ability to support our customers around the globe will accelerate as we leverage the considerable resources and expertise of InMoment.
Our customers will also be able to tap into InMoment’s expertise and enterprise solutions as their CX needs evolve beyond our turnkey approach.
Seven years ago, we founded Wootric with a mission to empower customer-centricity in every organization through modern, always-on CX improvement. We launched with a high-response in-app microsurvey and quickly disrupted a dated approach to gathering and responding to Net Promoter Score feedback.
Guided by input from our customers, we invested in omni-channel feedback collection, AI-driven customer journey analytics, and native integrations with the modern tech stack — all the while staying true to the flexible, lightweight, user-centric approach to CX improvement that businesses expect from Wootric.
Customer comments are the lifeblood of any CX program, giving you the “why” behind customers’ NPS, CES, and CSAT scores. But until recently, it’s been nearly impossible to make sense of feedback from hundreds of customers at a time. Using artificial intelligence (AI) to automate text analysis gives you the consistent and fast insights you need, at scale.
That said, automated text analysis isn’t just about technology. Humans need to put in the time upfront to teach the machine, by providing an accurately tagged set of feedback for AI to work from. The quality of that training data sets up the quality of your text analytics results, or as the old saying goes “garbage in, garbage out”.
Let’s look at what you need to be successful with automated text analytics. We’ll dig into the basics of text analytics, the inconsistencies of manual tagging, and how to create good training data and models.
A quick primer on AI training sets
Analyzing customer feedback from unstructured text can be complex. In one sentence a customer may talk about a variety of topics, offering negative, neutral, or positive feedback (sentiment) about each of them. It’s the job of machine learning to recognize what the customer is talking about and identify how they are feeling about those topics. With text analytics, it only takes an instant to:
Tag comments / categorize themes
Assign sentiment to each of the tags and the comment overall
Aggregate results to find insights
Text analyzed for sentiment and themes
Again, machine learning is only as good and accurate as the data set you (the humans) provide to train the algorithm. So you need to do it right.
At Wootric, we have a lot of experience helping teams create training datasets. While we have sets of tags that are specific to various industry verticals, we also build custom machine learning models for many customers. Custom models are helpful for companies that are in a new vertical or a unique business.
Training model process
For the most part, companies have a good feel for what their users/customers are talking about and the topic tags they need. If they’re not sure, we can analyze their data and work with them to help them think through a set of tags to get them started. Once they have a set of agreed tags, they start creating the training data.
The process for creating this training dataset goes something like this.
Decide what tags are important to your business
Create definitions for those tags so everyone knows exactly what the tags mean
Pull 100-200 customer comments
Our customer assembles a team of at least 3-5 people who independently review each comment and determine:
If the comment sentiment is overall positive, neutral, or negative
Which tags apply to that comment
That last point is where things get interesting for a data analyst like me.
Manual tagging: an inconsistent truth
Many companies still believe having human tagging and analysis is superior to AI. We’ve seen one employee hired full-time to pour over spreadsheets, organizing data and pulling insights, which takes A LOT of time. Other companies bring in a team of people (the interns!), which introduces inconsistencies. Not only is it expensive and time-intensive, manual tagging isn’t necessarily accurate.
These same inconsistencies appear when creating training datasets because the process starts with manual tagging. Customer teams creating training data are always surprised by the level of disagreements on “defined” tags. It can take a few rounds of work to iron these out.
Tag definitions vary
Not all tags carry the same level of complexity. Some tags make it easy for people to agree upon a definition, while others may be more ill-defined. Vague tags tend to invite more disagreement between human labelers who label the same dataset independently.
Let’s look at a couple of examples from the software industry:
“MOBILE” — applied to any feedback containing references to a mobile app or website functionality. This should be straightforward for a group of human labelers to apply similarly, and would most likely only result in a few disagreements between them.
“USER EXPERIENCE” — a more complex phrase with many different definitions of what could be included in a user’s experience. When a comment mentions search functionality, is that UX? How about when they say something like “While using the search bar, I found information on…“? Or even “Great product”? Because there is so little clarity on what fits in this category, the training team will surely disagree, leading to more rounds of tagging and defining.
The good news is that at the end of the process, after a few rounds of defining the tags and applying them, the team REALLY knows what is meant by a given tag. The definition is sharper and less open to interpretation. This makes the machine learning categorization more meaningful, and more actionable for your company, which leads to an improved customer experience.
Getting to a good training model
Let’s look at a real-world example of creating a training set, and the level of label agreement between the people creating those labels.
A recent enterprise customer used 8 human labelers on the same initial set of 100 comments, and we then evaluated the labeler-agreement of each tag. During this exercise, each labeler worked independently , and we charted the agreement scores.
In the following two charts, the number in each cell represents the strength of the agreement from 0 – 1 between two labelers (F1-Score calculated from Precision and Recall values).
1.0 would be the ideal labeler agreement value.
0 means no agreement.
The lower row of the chart contains the average agreement across all cells for that labeler.
In Figure 1, it’s clear that the tag is fairly well-defined, which results in an overall average labeler agreement of ~0.83. This is on the higher end of what we typically see.
Figure 1 – agreement on a well-defined tag
In other words, even a well-defined tag doesn’t garner complete agreement between labelers. Labeler 5, our most effective labeler, only scored a 0.85 average. Labeler 1 and 8, with an F-1 score of .75, didn’t apply the tag, in the same way, a significant portion of the time. But it’s still considered successful.
Now, look at Figure 2, which shows the first-round results of the team’s effort to consistently apply a more complex tag. It resulted in an overall average labeler agreement of only ~0.43.
Figure 2 – disagreement on a vague tag
For the same group of labelers tagging at the same time, two different tags demonstrate nearly 2x difference in overall agreement — showing again that even we humans aren’t as good at manually categorizing comments as we would like to think.
Even when teams agree on 1) what tags to use and 2) the definition of each tag, they don’t necessarily wind up applying tags in the same way. It takes a few rounds for teams to come close enough to consensus to be useful for machine learning.
Ready for autocategorization
Text analytics is not a perfect science. When are the label agreement results ready for prime time? Typically, we consider a model good enough to deploy once the F-1 score is around 0.6 (give or take a bit based on other factors). Like most things in life, when you invest more time upfront — in this case boosting F-1s with additional rounds of tagging/defining — you typically end up with better results.
The potential for machine learning to elevate the customer experience has everyone buzzing. AI-powered text and sentiment analysis can be an incredible solution for specific problems that CX pros face.
But how do you know when the time is right to move to the next level of CX? Are there new tools you can purchase to step your game up? How do you know they’ll be worth it?
There are clear signs that your CX program is ready for, and your company could quickly benefit from, text and sentiment analysis. And we’ll delve into them here.
Before we get going, some definitions:
Text analysis takes qualitative customer comments and determines relevant themes. Software companies might see themes such as ‘feature request’, ‘bug’, or ‘pricing’. This allows you to quickly see what your customers are focusing on, and then dive in to see what they’re specifically saying about each topic.
Sentiment analysis offers micro and macro insights into how your customers are feeling about your company and products. It determines whether the text received for each text theme is positive, negative, or neutral. It also analyzes the comment as a whole, assigning sentiment to the entire verbatim text.
Let’s look at the 7 signs text and sentiment analytics will be worth the investment for your company.
1. You have a mature or quickly-maturing CX program.
Those of you considering text and sentiment analytics probably already have a few key elements in place:
A customer experience strategy and a Voice of Customer listening system
A C-suite sponsor who has been fostering a customer-centric culture across the whole company with NPS as the guiding star
Now that you have a relatively mature CX program, you’re wondering how to extract even more value out of it.
2. You receive 500+ comments per month (or you’re headed there.)
Ideally, you want to listen to all of your customers – not just a sample or the first to respond. In reality, at a certain point the sheer volume of incoming customer feedback is more than a CX program can handle without an upgrade. You know this is the case when:
You feel excitement and dread regarding the amount of feedback you receive.
You’re anticipating a whole lot more comments soon.
You’ve even had to cap the number of comments you receive in a day to avoid being overwhelmed with the task of organizing and responding to everyone.
Overwhelming amounts of feedback is an amazing problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. Using text and sentiment analytics, you can turn unstructured qualitative feedback, like NPS comments, into organized insight in a matter of minutes.
Text and sentiment analytics allow you to analyze customer feedback using Natural Language Processing, looking something like this:
By combining text and sentiment analytics, you can search negative comments and quickly assess, for example, that 80% of your negative comments are about pricing. Or 45% of your customers in the Northeast region are talking about slow delivery times. That summary lets you know where to focus resources, and how quickly you need to make the change relative to other company priorities.
3. You’re sitting on a goldmine of feedback, but unable to get actionable insights.
Do you have a backlog of comments waiting to be read and sorted? Or maybe you’ve skimmed a few comments to answer the urgent ones, but you keep putting off the others.
One of our clients came to us with NPS survey comments from thousands of users. But rather than mining that information, they were running focus groups to prioritize feature requests because it was easier. They were duplicating efforts to get information they already had but couldn’t access and act on.
“The two biggest mistakes [in CX] are not doing qualitative research in the first place and then not putting it to use.” –Morgan Brown, Product Manager at Facebook and coauthor of ‘Hacking Growth’
If you’re feeling this pain, it’s time to automatically mine the insight from that pile of comments you’ve been sitting on. Turn anecdotes and hunches that you’ve got about your customer experience into evidence-backed insight by using. And do it quickly with text and sentiment analytics.
Source: CXInsight™ Dashboard
Sliced and diced organized feedback is easily available with many platforms that offer text and sentiment analytics. Doing this can help you understand the root cause of trends – like the needs of different customer personas or geographic regions – more comprehensively.
4. Manual feedback organization & categorization is insightful, but painfully slow.
While some customers duplicate efforts between data gathering and focus groups to get insight, other CX pros just bite the bullet and spend hours reading customer comments, labeling them, and funneling them into an unwieldy spreadsheet. They’re understandably frustrated by how difficult it is to get actionable insight.
By using text and sentiment analytics, humans can get huge quantities of customer feedback sorted and analyzed at the push of a button. Better yet, computers don’t have bad days or lose focus.
Once organized with tags, your time is freed up to look at the themes and trends that arise from the noise, then create actionable strategies based on those insights.
Now you can jump straight into action and the interns can work on more interesting, valuable projects!
PRO TIP: To get high quality insights at the push of a button, algorithms need to be trained. Be sure your feedback management software vendor has a team that will work with your data to ensure you get valuable insight from the start. With more data and occasional human guidance, you’ll get better and faster insight over time.
5. Your CX program lacks a real-time issue detection system.
An important element to providing a good customer experience is making sure any issues are handled quickly and efficiently. If you can detect and address them before your customer has a real issue, your CX program has paid for itself.
One of the benefits of having text and sentiment analysis is that your data and insights are updated in real-time. This means you have a new issue detection system.
Source: CXInsight™ Dashboard
This works best for a more mature customer feedback program with an established baseline, or status quo. For example, you know that on any given day, in any given geographic region, about 10% of your comments are tagged with ‘out of stock’ as an issue. When you check in and see that in Texas, 25% of comments coming in are tagged ‘out of stock’, that raises a red flag. You can immediately dig into specifics, read through the verbatims, and send those comments to the right people for follow up before the issue blows out of proportion.
The CX dream of being proactive in solving issues can be achieved with the help of automated organization of qualitative feedback.
6. Your internal teams aren’t agreeing on CX priorities.
It’s a given that successful companies focus on customer needs and experiences. The question is: is everyone at your company seeing the same information in the same way? If not, you’re wasting time and costly resources with competing priorities, and it is definitely time to invest in tools to fix it.
By having your CX tech parse the text and sentiment of your 1K+ daily inputs of customer feedback, you can democratize the information and insights across every team at your company. And that will ensure team leaders can quickly align to address the right priorities. So product development and customer support will be on the same page, and features will get developed (or possibly de-bugged) to meet the most important needs of the customer.
How does that happen? Feedback from every customer touchpoint is analyzed, from in-product surveys to emails. In this example, support ticket subject lines are auto-categorized and everyone from support to service to product to the c-level can see what issues are hot items to address.
Source: CXInsight™ Dashboard
Looking at the text analytics, it quickly becomes apparent that 15% of the support tickets are related to bugs that need to be addressed. On the proactive front, product could also delve into comments tagged “feature request” and focus on user concerns about UX/UI.
7. You need to demonstrate the ROI of your CX program.
Companies are eager to hop on the CX bandwagon, but it can still be a fight to get the proper resources to make a CX program thrive. You’ve probably already shown the C-suite the correlation between CX and revenue growth, but there’s pressure to squeeze a little more ROI out of what you’ve established.
Investing in a tool that pulls ROI from data is an expense. But it’s a more strategic spend than, and offers more immediate follow-up and action, than performing passive data review and organization. It’s also a moredirect value-add and much less expensive than hiring a third party human operation.
The cascading effects throughout the organization will increase ROI in the long-term as well.
Product teams can prioritize and build with evidence-based confidence.
Marketing teams will gain an understanding of different personas and see customers excited to spread the word about your business.
Support and operations teams will have early warning of potential issues and have more context when dealing with problems.
In the end, qualitative data is crucial to extracting value out of CX initiatives. Having more data from engaged customers should not be an obstacle.
Is this the point?
Are you seeing any of these 7 signs when you look at your company’s CX program? If so, do a cost benefit analysis. Typically, once your program has matured, the cost of tools that create actionable insights out of customer feedback are far cheaper than the cost of misaligned resources and long delivery times. Text and sentiment analytics make the resources you put into CX initiatives efficient, and turn the large quantity of unstructured data into an advantage by mining insight that would otherwise sit in limbo. Move this tipping point in your favor.
(Editor’s Note: this post is an update of a 2018 post)
Wootric, the CX management platform for maximizing customer lifetime value (CLV), has been recognized as a High Performer in the G2 Crowd Grid Report for Experience Management for Fall 2020 and Winter 2021. Wootric also outperforms the category on all satisfaction measures including ease of use.
Notably, Wootric, which seeks to drive business outcomes from customer experience efforts, has the fastest payback in the category.
Wootric is ranked #1 in ROI (Return on Investment)
“Companies should expect a financial outcome for their investment in CX,” said Jessica Pfeifer, Chief Customer Officer of Wootric, “Our turnkey approach means that our customers quickly understand user sentiment at the moments that matter, and analytics surface ways to immediately improve retention and engagement. It is gratifying to see our customers’ success reflected in our ranking.” In the G2 report, Wootric averages 9 months to return on investment, versus an average of 19 months for others in the experience management category, including Qualtrics and Medallia.
Experience management platforms help businesses bridge the gap between the experiences they believe they are delivering to customers and the experiences customers are actually receiving. They enable organizations to collect feedback from their customers with surveys that measure net promoter scores (NPS), customer satisfaction (CSAT), and customer effort scores (CES). By combining and analyzing customer feedback from multiple channels, experience management software offers companies a holistic view of their customers’ experiences and how those experiences are impacting the business.
Wootric specializes in customer experience management for high growth B2B and B2C software-as-service and companies in digital transformation. Over 1200 brands worldwide are understanding and improving the post-acquisition customer journey with Wootric’s CLV-focused approach.
Enterprise users also gave Wootric the top rank for usability and easiest admin
“We understand that in order to have an impact, CX champions must engage stakeholders, democratize insights, and ensure data is at the fingertips of frontline teams in real-time,” says Prabhat Jha, CTO of Wootric. “Their needs drive our roadmap — whether we are talking about our native integrations with modern tech stack players like Salesforce, Intercom, Hubspot, and Segment or our flexible Voice of Customer analytics hub that can be customized to meet the needs of numerous stakeholder teams like Product, Support, Success, and Customer Insights.”
The G2 Crowd Grid Report for Experience Management (Fall 2020) is a quarterly report that shows how the leading customer experience management solutions stack up to one another based on customer satisfaction and market presence. G2 Crowd’s scoring methodology blends data from user reviews and a vendor’s market presence, taking into account their social impact and market share, to generate the results for their Grid Report. Once scored, a vendor falls into one of four categories: Leader, High Performer, Contender, or Niche player.
This robust piece of research material should be read by CX practitioners and anyone evaluating a customer experience management solution. Learn exactly how each of the 26 companies included in the report received their score, their highest and lowest-rated features, satisfaction ratings, and more. Sign in and view this research on G2 to see:
Additional Data. Compare payback period (ROI) by vendor.
The G2 Crowd Grid visual
The Grid scores that determined each vendor’s placement
In the modern consumer-led environment, the customer experience is of paramount importance. Whether you’re offering omnichannel contact center solutions like we do at RingCentral or work in online retail, you must go the extra mile to ensure that your customers enjoy the best possible client experience. Because if you don’t improve customer experience, you can rest assured that your competitors will.
Where once the emphasis might have been on clever publicity schemes or B2B affiliate marketing, now businesses recognize that these methods – though they remain hugely important and valuable—need to be complemented by a laser-like focus on customer experience. Without that focus, you’ll find that consumers explore other options, and take their business where they feel it’s more valued.
Delivering exceptional customer experiences requires a wholehearted commitment across your company. That’s from the most senior management at the top, to the staff dealing directly with customers on the shop floor (or in the call center). It also requires a willingness to ask awkward questions about your own business, and a preparedness to confront – and address – any failings you might identify.
To improve customer experience and make your client encounters the best they can possibly be, you need to ensure that each interaction a consumer has with your business is smooth, consistent, and straightforward. You must also attend to their needs and concerns. Whether you’re showing customers how to record a webinar or helping them find the right furniture for their home, the same fundamental principles apply.
With all this in mind, then, it should be apparent that customer experience is vitally important to scaling a business. But what particular customer experience competencies can boost your business’s growth? This is what we’ll discuss in this guide, but first, we’ll look in more detail at exactly why the customer experience is of such overwhelming importance.
Furthermore, it is important to note that these expectations have changed quite dramatically in a relatively short period of time. The sheer choice available online has made it easier for consumers to shop around and explore alternative options. It’s no longer a matter of competing with businesses in your local vicinity, as there is (almost literally) a world of options out there for people to choose from.
Offering an exceptional customer experience, then, can have all sorts of welcome consequences. As we’ve discussed, it’s essential to ensuring long-term customer loyalty, thereby putting your whole business on a firmer footing. In addition, it also encourages positive word of mouth. Customers promoting your business to their friends and colleagues, and thereby (hopefully) bringing more custom your way.
The most important thing to remember with regard to customer experience is that the power these days lies with the consumer. No longer is it possible to pull the wool over their eyes with sub-standard products and services. The bar has been substantially raised, and this is the reality you must adapt yourself to.
So, now that we’ve clarified just why customer experience is so vital, we need to discuss the competencies that can transform your business for the better and send its growth soaring into the stratosphere, as well as creating a healthier business environment for everybody involved.
Here are five customer experience competencies which you must be continually focused upon:
1) Prioritize the Customer
It might seem like an obvious point to make, but to deliver the best possible customer experience, you need to genuinely prioritize the needs of the customer. This is of the utmost importance whether you’re promoting a video hosting platform or trying to tempt people to try a new restaurant.
The exact experiences that people expect differ from sector to sector, of course, but prioritizing the customer must remain constant across the board.
Customers need to feel that they are the focus of your attention at all times. They need to feel valued at all times. This needs to involve more than just rhetoric or platitudes. Your plan to improve customer experience must be backed with a plan for action, including the resources necessary to back it up. Set clear metrics and use hard data to measure customer experience management.
2) Be Prepared to Engage
Another point that needs to be kept in mind is that customer engagement is an integral part of delivering exceptional experiences. Consumers these days love to give their opinions, and most of the time they don’t require much prompting to do so. This is something your business has to be properly prepared for. Customer engagement, therefore, needs to be a leading priority for your business.
It’s best to take the initiative yourself. Be proactive in your efforts to seek customers’ opinions, and provide your own outlets where clients can offer them. Of course, people will use social media too, so be alert to any discussion of your business there. Also, when customers provide feedback, listen to it. They may highlight issues of which you were previously unaware, and it’s always frustrating for customers to feel their views aren’t taken seriously.
3) Demonstrate Firm and Open Leadership
Much is often made of the importance of purposeful and strong leadership in business, and there’s little doubt that this can make a huge difference. The value of entrepreneurialism has been proven over many years, from the largest multinational corporations to the smallest mom-and-pop retail outlets. But when it comes to customer experience, business leaders themselves must be prepared to be led by customers.
Business leadership must, therefore, accept the necessity of customer-centric growth. This involves heeding the views of consumers and maintaining an intimate understanding of exactly what they’re looking for. This doesn’t mean following the whims of customers blindly, however. It’s a question of distinguishing the good ideas, ones that can genuinely advance your business, from the fly-by-night suggestions.
4) Get Employee Buy-in
Following on from the previous point, leadership isn’t about dictating from on high and then leaving everybody else to make sense of the latest diktat. If we’re working to improve customer experience, we need to make sure that an ethos of prioritizing the consumer’s needs saturates the whole business. This means that the entire team, from top to bottom, needs to buy into the idea.
Employees must be provided with the resources, tools, and training they need to provide customers with outstanding experiences. They could be helping a customer find the perfect holiday gift or undertaking a Google Analytics health check for a client. Either way, they need to be supported and encouraged in their efforts to enhance customer experiences.
5) Build Strong Brand Values
We’ve touched upon the importance of having a clear and compelling ethos. This also needs to inform the general values of your brand. You have to remember that customers will hold you accountable if your business, its products, and services don’t live up to the various values you espouse. Whether it be a commitment to attentive customer service, unbeatable value for money, or simply a pledge of consistent quality in all areas.
Also, it’s crucial that your values aren’t just hot air. They have to relate in a concrete way to what your business is doing. Your team must understand how the work they do ties into the broader values your business has articulated. It’s not enough to reel off some superficial platitudes and then try to present these as a mission statement. They have to actually mean something, and what’s more, they have to be seen to mean something by customers.
It’s very easy to tell customers how important they are and how concerned you are to ensure their happiness. There’s scarcely a business in the world that doesn’t tell its customers how important they are, and how valued their opinions are, and so on. But far fewer businesses actually uphold standards like these. The crucial test for your business is to prove to customers that their welfare and satisfaction is your number one concern.
That said, if you can prove your sincerity, then improving the customer experience is the natural result. After all, when clients know that you are on their side, then they’re likely to be much more willing to work with you to optimize all aspects of your business.
In this guide, we’ve listed some of the core competencies which your business will need if it is to make these commitments into an everyday reality. Of course, the exact steps your business has to take to improve customer experience will vary according to a number of factors. They include the resources at its disposal, what competitors are offering, the sector it’s competing in, and so on.
You should also remember that your focus will inevitably change as your business prospers and expands. Nevertheless, you must redouble your efforts to ensure that your customers remain at the heart of what you do, and that you don’t lose sight of your original mission and purpose.
John Allen is Director, Global SEO at RingCentral, a global UCaaS, VoIP, and cti software provider. He has over 14 years of experience and an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs. RingCentral is a Wootric customer.
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