Ready to Tackle Customer Churn? Here’s How.

Is there a business that hasn’t lost a single customer? Doubtful. Customer churn is inevitable. For this reason, maintaining superior customer experience in a world of insurmountable choice and lagging brand loyalty is of utmost importance. Now I’m no mind reader, but since you’re still here, I’ll assume that you’re struggling with generating new demand for your business and keeping existing customers around at the same time.

For starters, let’s define customer churn.

Also known as customer attrition, churn refers to the rate at which your customers stop purchasing your product or service, signaling the end of their relationship with you. These customers stop bringing in revenue for your business. 

Customer Churn Rate Equation

Let’s say that you started this quarter with 500 customers but lost 25; this means your churn rate is 5%. 

Other measurable ways for customer churn include:

  1. Number of customers dropped
  2. Percentage of customers lost
  3. Amount of monthly recurring revenue (MRR) lost
  4. Percentage of MRR lost

What Causes Customer Churn?

  • Value Pricing is tricky because customers are always looking for the most cost-effective solution to the problem they wish to solve. Customers need to feel like their purchase was worth the cost, so it’s crucial to establish value early on, through customer onboarding and education. Otherwise, they’re at risk for churn. 
  • Product Fit – Another common reason for customer churn is an inferior fit. If you have a sales team that’s hustling to hit quota but isn’t incentivized to sell to good-fit customers, your company will face consequences. Soon after their purchase, customers will realize they can’t achieve their goals with your product and will churn.
  • User Experience – If you have a product that’s not very intuitive or your software is glitchy, chances are customers will be less likely to use it on a regular basis and build expertise with it. They may not stick around for long. 
  • Competitors – Even if you believe you’re assisting customers to achieve their desired outcomes, they’ll still churn if they firmly believe that a competitor can do a better job. Competition is fierce these days, so you need to work hard to set yourself apart from your competition.
  • Missing Features/deliverables – Let’s say you fail to fulfill a goal that was initially agreed on while getting a client on board. When you fail to provide services as promised, you’re bound to lose a customer.

What Are Some Churn Indicators to Watch Out For?

1. Weak CX metrics – When thinking about churn, there are two CX metrics, in particular, that you should pay close attention to:

    • Net Promoter Score.  The grand-daddy of customer experience metrics, a detractor or passive NPS survey response is a leading indicator of churn. 
    • Customer Effort Score. Many software companies have adopted CES to measure the ease of getting started with your company or product. If this critical phase, often known as onboarding, is too difficult, churn can follow. 

2. Usage levelCustomer churn is often preceded by a period of decreased usage level, so keep a close eye on users’ login activity. This will help you to identify at-risk customers right before they churn. Also, if a customer downgrades to a lower tier of your product, this should be worrisome news – there’s a good chance that this customer will soon stop using your product altogether.

3. Customer’s KPI’sIf your product or service isn’t helping customers achieve their KPIs, then the chance of them churning is much higher. If you notice that a valued customer isn’t reaching their desired goals, it’s crucial that you reach out to them and find out what you can do to better help them achieve those goals.

4. Customer HealthWhile measured definitively when a customer renews or doesn’t, customer success teams look at a number of factors to assign a customer health score to an account. Take a look at the kinds of customer support interactions you’re seeing from the customer. After using your service, do you think the customer is getting what they’re paying for? How does the account manager feel about the customer’s state of mind about the services they’re buying from you? Factor in the account’s CX metrics. As soon as you have an idea of who might leave, you’ll be able to take all the relevant steps to define the problem, fix it, and retain their business. Eventually, you can start to implement a systematic approach to measuring customer health, uncovering at-risk customers, and reaching out to them.

5. Feature AdoptionEvery product or service has some key feature that makes it stand out from competitors. If a valued customer isn’t using these features, this is an indicator that they might churn soon.

6. SupportThis point refers to the number of support issues raised, the severity of the issues, the time it took to resolve them, and the customer’s satisfaction with the interaction (often measured with a CSAT survey). These factors can have a significant impact on a customer’s health, so they’re important to pay attention to. If a customer hasn’t reported any issues or asked any questions, this could also be a red flag – a silent customer doesn’t mean they are happy with your product. 

What Needs to Be Done?

1. Engage with your customers.

This might sound obvious, but engaging with your customers is the best way to make them stay. Proactively inquire about how they are doing using CX surveys at key journey points. This will help you identify who is happy and who is at risk. Armed with this information, follow up with a conversation if warranted. Get them on the phone and show that your company genuinely cares. But don’t stop there – keep engaging. Depending on the size of the customer, you may want to schedule a quarterly check-in, and certainly one in advance of renewal. 

In addition to talking directly to customers, provide ample and educational content about the key functional benefits of your product. Offer regular news updates, to communicate your commitment to innovation in service of their success.
With this kind of communication, you can get customers to keep coming back by showing them the value of using your product and how they can make your product a part of their daily workflow. 

Last but not least, I’d like to recommend social listening – the process of finding and contributing to conversations about your company online by seeking out brand mentions, specific keywords or phrases, and comments. 

By doing these things, you’ll be able to keep tabs on what’s going on in terms of customer satisfaction.

2. Educate Your Customers

Another churn-prevention trick: provide plenty of quality educational or support materials. Try offering free trainings, webinars, video tutorials, and product demos. Do whatever it takes to make your customers feel comfortable and informed. Put simply, you must not only give customers tools that work but also offer training on how to best use these tools. In this way, you’ll also be able to demonstrate the full potential of your product or service.

3. Set realistic expectations

As I mentioned before, failing to deliver on services as promised can result in a very unhappy customer that is at high risk of churning. One of the common practices I have seen across several industries is to over promise and under deliver. Why would a salesperson want to do this? There could be numerous reasons: 

    • They fear they might lose a potential customer
    • They’re facing pressure from their boss
    • They desire to come across as the “deal maker”  
    • They’re desperate to close the deal
    • They’re unwilling to tell the customer what they don’t want to hear

4. Keep a keen eye on competitors

It’s a bad sign when your customers perceive your competition to be better. As you work on reducing customer churn, pay close attention to how your customers might perceive your competitors’ products, and don’t forget to benchmark your overall performance and customer satisfaction against your competitors. 

Lastly, remember, the stakes are higher than ever. It’s time to make smart moves!

Author Bio:
Vikash Kumar works as a manager in the offshore software development company Tatvasoft.com. In his free time, Kumar enjoys writing and exploring new technical trends and topics. You can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Article Topics

Uncategorized

Customer Experience Enablement: What it is and How it Can Help Your Business Bottom Line

Since you’re here on the Wootric blog, you probably already know that providing a high-quality experience to your customers is vital to your business.

You’ve heard people talk about CX becoming the key differentiator for brands in the coming years.

Stats on how customers values CX

(Source)

You’ve watched brands in a variety of industries revamp their customer-facing operations to improve the consumer’s experience.

You may have even begun investing in improving your brand’s customer experience in a variety of different ways.

But, when it comes down to it, you still aren’t exactly sure if your efforts are paying off for the customer—or for your business.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone: According to a 2018 report from CustomerThink, only 30% of brands report experiencing enhanced differentiation or any other tangible benefit from their CX-related initiatives. Moreover, Oracle reports that only 43% of CX executives are highly confident in their organization’s preparedness and ability to provide an enhanced CX as time goes on.

While there are a number of reasons this is (which we’ll get to), the overarching takeaway is that improving the overall customer experience requires much more from an organization than most realize. In order for a company to make sustainable improvements to its CX—improvements that lead to tangible benefits for the business—a fundamental shift within the organization must occur.

This is where customer experience enablement comes in.

What is Customer Experience Enablement?

Customer experience enablement is an holistic approach to improving CX by making foundational changes to both customer-facing and internal processes within a company. It is worth noting that approach is sometimes known as customer experience management (CXM or CEM). So many acronyms!

Breaking that down a bit more, customer experience enablement (CXE) is all about:

  1. Providing a branded experience that aligns with both the customer’s expectations and the experience the company intended the customer to have
  2. Enabling teams and individual employees within an organization to provide this experience to the customer effectively and efficiently—so that the customer’s experience is equally as efficient throughout their buyer’s journey

As we mentioned above, it’s the second part of our breakdown that organizations often overlook. Unfortunately, this leads said companies into a situation in which they have a pretty good idea of what needs to be done to improve their CX—but are unable to actually put these initiatives into action in ways that benefit both the customer and the business.

That being said, let’s now dig into the key components of customer experience enablement—and why becoming more aligned with these components is essential to the growth of your business.

3 Key Components of Customer Experience Enablement

In the previous section, we broke down customer experience enablement into the customer-facing and internal sides of the same coin.

As you’ll see as you read through the rest of this article, the key components of CXE can touch on either side of this coin—and can sometimes touch on both at the same time, as well.

(If this is a bit confusing, don’t worry: It will start to make sense right away. We promise.)

Without further ado, let’s dig into the three key components of customer experience enablement.

1. Organizational Alignment

In order for an organization to become truly able to enhance the experience they provide their customers, everyone within the organization needs to be on board with the initiative.

Instill Ownership of CX Throughout Your Organization

In some cases, this is pretty obvious. Of course your marketing, sales, and support staff will be involved in CX-related initiatives; they do engage directly with the customer, after all.

In other cases, though, it can be a bit difficult to get certain team members on board. That is, it’s not exactly uncommon for teams that don’t interact with the customer (e.g., accounting, logistics, etc.) to overlook the role they play in the customer experience.

The thing is:

Your team needs to be willing to put in the effort required to improve your CX before they are able to do so. Or, more accurately, if your various teams aren’t willing to work toward improving your brand’s CX, it won’t matter if they’re able to or not: it’s just not going to happen.

Unfortunately, data collected by Adobe shows that a “lack of clear ownership of the customer…holds companies back from a true customer focus,” with nearly half of responding organizations denoting this as a problem.

Furthermore, Kapost’s 2016 B2B Benchmark report found that only 12% of B2B marketers believe that they’re “very effective at delivering a consistent customer experience.”

Only 12% of B2B marketers say they are delivering consistent CX

(Source)

The silver lining of all this is that, if you can instill ownership of the customer throughout your organization, you’ll be a step ahead of half of your competitors.

Communicate the Benefits of CX Ownership

Another area in which generating buy-in is vital to your CX-related initiatives is in proving the value of doing so to your company’s various stakeholders.

At this point, it’s important to frame the benefits of CXE in ways that matter to a specific team or individual. For example, marketing managers will likely care more about engagement metrics, while executives will be focused on revenues and profit margins of the potential initiative. For teams responsible for internal processes, this value likely comes in an ability to be more efficient in their duties, overall.

(Keep this all in mind, as we’ll talk a bit more about it toward the end of this post.)

Enabling Your Teams and Facilitating Ownership

Once you’ve generated buy-in throughout your organization, the next step is enabling all of your teams to actually play a more active role in creating a top-notch experience for your customers.

As CXE specialist Melissa Madian explains in an interview with Vision Critical, CXE is about enabling “revenue-generating and customer-facing teams with the processes, tools and training they need to help close business faster and deliver a superior customer experience.”

While “playing a more active role” can mean different things to different team members (and different organizations), the key to being able to do so is active, intentional, cross-team communication throughout a given organization.

For one thing, this means building avenues of communication between all teams—and breaking down any barriers to communication that may exist within your organization. In a literal sense, this may mean making it easier for your various teams to interact with each other (whether physically or via technology). More symbolically, this means breaking down silos and cutting through any red tape that may hinder communication between certain teams.

Secondly, you’ll need to actively facilitate and systematize internal communication processes (as opposed to just hoping it occurs organically simply because you’ve “enabled it”).

This may mean restructuring processes to include more of your team members as needed—with the focus remaining on the customer experience at all times. Again, even if a certain internal process doesn’t seem to impact CX all that much, your marketing, sales, and support teams might discover otherwise when an internal decision ends up causing chaos for your customers.

Going along with this, another way to facilitate and enhance internal communications is via knowledge management, specifically by making use of knowledge sharing and knowledge transferring systems. Doing so will allow various teams to stay apprised of the goings-on throughout your organization, and can also easily communicate vital information from their department to other teams as necessary.

To reiterate, the goal of this initial step toward customer experience enablement is to get your team members on board with your initiative—and to begin putting structures in place that allow all of your team members to pursue this initiative both individually and as a company.

Bluntly speaking, without this piece of the puzzle in place, it’s nearly impossible to accomplish what we’ll be discussing next.

2. Focus on Customer Intelligence and Other Valuable Data

The second key component of customer experience enablement revolves around the collection, assessment, and analysis of audience-related data.

To be sure, most modern organizations already know that big data plays a huge role in their CX-related initiatives and efforts. According to data collected by MarketingProfs, 40% of marketers say data is “critical to improved decision making,” while 36% say data “drives the ability to provide personalized experiences.”

importance of big data to executing customer centric programs

(Source)

The problem, though, is that most organizations don’t feel fully equipped to actually put the data they collect to good use. Case in point, 61% of CMOs admit to shortcomings when it comes to using big data to make improvements to CX.

While Adobe’s data shows companies are adept at data hygiene-related processes (i.e., ensuring data is accurate and reliable), this is only a part of the equation. It’s in understanding the contextual meaning behind the data that causes issues for most companies. And, when it comes to data relating to the customer experience, context is key.

Collecting Customer Data that Matters

With the above in mind, your first order of business is to focus on uncovering the data that provides the most valuable and accurate insight into your customers’ expectations. This is where Voice of the Customer is huge: it’s all about digging into the specifics of what your customers want from your brand—and minimizing the potential for your customer-facing data to be taken completely out of context in the future.

It’s important to note, here, that customer experience—and, by extension, CXE—refers to all engagements that occur between your organization and your customers, whether pre-, post-, or during a given purchase.

By looking at a specific data point, metric, or piece of customer feedback with the customer’s journey in mind, you’ll add an extra layer of context to the data you collect and analyze. In turn, you’ll be able to tailor their experience with your company even further—making them more likely to stay loyal to your brand for some time to come.

(Again, we’ll get to that momentarily.)

Collecting Internal Data that Matters

Another data-related part of CXE is prioritizing customer-facing info that provides the most value to your company.

Essentially, this means focusing on data that refers to your most valuable and loyal customers, as well as your highest potential prospects. This will enable your team to start making CX-related improvements to get your high-value customers even more engaged with your brand. Needless to say, this will lead to nothing but good things for your business moving forward.

Speaking of making improvements to your customer experience…

3. Improvements to CX that Matter—and Last

Before we get too far into this last section, let’s quickly go over the aspects of CXE we’ve discussed thus far:

Now, to be clear, all of these initiatives are done for one main reason:

To be able to make impactful and lasting improvements to your brand’s processes—in turn enhancing your brand’s overall customer experience.

As we said earlier, these improvements can manifest in any number of ways, such as:

  • Streamlining transactional processes, making it easier for customers to receive the product or service they require quicker and with less downtime
  • Improving onboarding processes, allowing customers to “hit the ground running” with your product or service—and maximizing the value they get out of it, as well
  • Making iterative changes to your product or service based on customer feedback, ensuring your customers continue to receive more and more value from your brand over time

Notice that each hypothetical improvement listed above is tied to a specific target outcome focusing directly on the customer’s experience. At the risk of being redundant, that’s literally the point of customer experience enablement: to enable your team to provide a better experience to your customers.

CXE is also about making sustainable and long-lasting improvements to your processes, ensuring that you’ll be able to provide an enhanced experience to your customers not just once or twice, but from here on out.

This is why it’s essential for CXE to start at the foundational and systemic level of your organization: Skipping this crucial step could cause your team to revert back to the “old way” of doing things—rendering any gains you may have experienced in the meantime moot.

But, with a deep-seeded, evidence-backed understanding of all that goes into enhancing CX, your organization will understand the importance of adopting and integrating new CX-related processes into their daily operations.

While any temporary or superficial improvements made will likely not lead to any long-lasting benefits for your organization, those more systemic and strategic improvements can only lead to great things for your business.

First of all, the more enjoyable and valuable your CX in the eyes of your customer, the higher your customer satisfaction rate will climb. Of course, with this increase in customer satisfaction, you’ll also likely experience a boost in retention, advocacy, and acquisition, as well.

Additionally, as your organization becomes more acclimated with your CXE-related initiatives, your teams will become more proficient and efficient in completing their individual duties. More efficiency means less wasted resources—which, in turn, means more resources on-hand to reinvest into improving your CX even further.

Finally, we’d be remiss if we ignored the fact that effective customer experience enablement leads to massive profits for companies of all sizes.

The more value your customers receive from your brand, and the easier it is for your company to provide this value to them, the more money your company will make as time goes on.

It’s that simple.

Josh BrownAbout the Author: Josh Brown is a Customer Success Engineer and part of the marketing team at Helpjuice. Helpjuice provides easy-to-use knowledge base software that guarantees less support emails and more happy customers.

Learn how Wootric can help you measure and improve customer experience. Book a consultative demo today.

Article Topics

Uncategorized

CX Experts We Love

Why do we love whom we love? It’s a question for the ages, unanswerable by poets, philosophers or songwriters. And yet, for some people, there are so many reasons why we love them. They make our lives better, share their expertise, uplift our spirits, and show profound generosity. This is a Valentine to those people, and more specifically those people who work in CX.

These authors, speakers, thought-leaders and dedicated customer experience professionals have all helped contribute to the widespread adoption of CX, not just as a strategy, but as a higher goal. They’re here, tirelessly working in every industry to make people’s lives just a bit easier, and a lot more joyful.

These are the CX experts we love, and we are happy to introduce you to them all.

If you’re on this list and you’d like for us to update your details, please send us a note.

Amy Etheridge

Why we love Amy: She’s head of Customer Advocacy at MindTouch. She was tapped to look after the customer experience as a whole as company growth accelerated. Her She is a customer journey expert whose analysis of customer feedback at key touchpoints has led to product and service enhancements that have delighted customers.

Angus Yang

Why we love Angus: He’s the Customer Experience Manager at Sendoso and prides himself in “helping people connect the old fashion way.” His responsibilities change on any given day but you’ll usually find him deep in conversation with a client, answering questions in the support queue, helping explain a new product feature they released, or onboarding clients for success. He’s a big believer in building relationships and is proud dad of Owen the corgi.

Annette Franz

Why we love Annette: She’s the Founder and CEO of CX Journey Inc. She has experience in both helping companies understand their employees and customers and identifying what drives retention, satisfaction, engagement, and the overall experience – so that, together, they can design a better experience for all constituents. She co-hosts the weekly #CXChat on Twitter, serves as an executive officer on the Board of Directors of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), mentors other professionals in this field to help them advance their careers, and is a speaker and an avid writer.

Augie Ray

Why we love Augie: He’s the Sr. Director Analyst: Senior research analyst & executive advisor on Customer Experience at Gartner. He has had a rewarding career as both a thought and people leader. He has implemented successful CX, VoC, social media and marketing programs and led highly-engaged teams, both co-located and remote around the globe. People refer to him as an iconoclast, skeptic, and change agent for his desire to bypass hype, solve business issues, and exploit customer opportunities with speed, creativity, and collaboration. Plus, his Twitter feed!

Blake Morgan

Why we love Blake: She’s a self-described “customer experience futurist”, keynote speaker, author of More Is More: How the Best Companies Go Farther and Work Harder to Create Knock-Your-Socks-Off Customer Experiences, and host of The Modern Customer Podcast. She’s also a contributor to Forbes, the Harvard Business Review and Hemispheres Magazine.

Clare Muscutt

Why we love Clare: She’s a digital nomad, keynote speaker, Founder of CMXperience, and shares her personal thoughts and experiences on The CX Nomad. Having held a number of senior CX leadership roles in Marketing and Retail, across a number of sectors, working for and with some of the UK’s best known brands, Clare has finely tuned her expertise to educate and engage internal teams to design and deliver industry leading services, and create innovative solutions that deliver the desired results for her clients at pace.

Colin Shaw

Why we love Colin: He’s a keynote speaker, best-selling author of several books such as The Intuitive Customer: 7 Imperatives For Moving Your Customer Experience to the Next Level, the CEO of Beyond Philosophy, and Co-Host of The Intuitive Customer Podcast. Also, LinkedIn has recognized him as one of the world’s Top 150 Business Influencers.

David Yin

Why we love David:  He’s VP of Customer Insights at Ancestry.com. A seasoned CX pro, David was with the Global Consumer Insights team at Clorox and Head of Global Research and Brand Strategy at Fitbit before joining the venerable family history and genomics company. He took a crawl, walk, run approach to building out his function at Ancestry, delivering early wins that built momentum and respect for the Voice of the Customer across the company.

Ellie Wu

Why we love Ellie: She’s a speaker, writer, and Senior Director of Customer Success at SAP Concur. Through hyper-growth SaaS companies, Ellie developed a fascination with the customer. Realizing the impact and the translated value for an organization, she created PictureCS (CliffsNotes for Customer Success Best Practices). She counsels leaders and teams responsible for customer outcomes by designing stronger organizations and guide cross-functional teams to leverage mutually beneficial opportunities with an advanced understanding of the customer journey, sales, product marketing, and operations.

Guneet Singh

Why we love Guneet: He’s Director of Customer Experience & Advocacy at Docusign where he leads the company’s NPS, customer advocacy, customer labs & customer research.  He uses state-of-the-art technology to retrieve and analyze customer data to boost the likelihood of delivering meaningful improvement in customer experience. Sharing this data is key to garnering support for change, he says: “There are journey points that need to be addressed. But if you don’t have hard facts attached to them … then your management team will [ignore these points].”

Jeanne Bliss

 Why we love Jeanne: She’s a speaker, best-selling author, most notably for Would You Do That to Your Mother?: The “Make Mom Proud” Standard for How to Treat Your Customers, a coach for Chief Customer Officers, host of the podcast The Human Duct Tape Show, and frequently writes articles on her site, Customer Bliss. And we probably haven’t even got everything covered.

Jeannie Walters

Why we love Jeannie: She’s a TEDx speaker, CEO and Chief Customer Experience Investigator at 360 Connext, trainer, workshop leader, consultant, and podcaster. Her specialty is connecting with audiences to help them emotionally connect with those they serve. It’s not as easy as we think and our brains work against us! Using humor, stories and her experience as a customer experience consultant, she uncovers what’s stopping your organization or association from really delivering great experiences.

Jessica Pfeifer

Why we love Jessica: We might be biased because she was Chief Customer Officer at Wootric, but she’d make our list even if she wasn’t. At InMoment, Jessica works with our phenomenal team to build a modern approach to enterprise customer feedback management. She guides our mid-market and enterprise customers by helping to solve complex problems and execute Voice of Customer strategy using machine learning. Her expert, consultative approach to customer experience gives her customers a competitive edge in the CX space. 

Joey Coleman

Why we love Joey: As a keynote speaker, workshop leader, and consultant, Joey helps businesses design creative ways to engage customers – especially in the crucial first 100 days of the customer lifecycle. As a professional speaker who has given thousands of speeches all over the world, he also works with a small number of private coaching clients to develop and hone their speaking skills. His book Never Lose a Customer Again discusses the 8 phases your customer has the potential to travel through as part of their customer journey and the 6 tools you can use during that journey to create remarkable experiences for your customers.

Kia Puhm

Why we love Kia: She’s the Founder and CEO of K!A CX Consulting. She has held chief positions in customer success, services, account management and support at companies such as: Oracle, Eloqua, Day Software (Adobe), Intelex Technologies, and Blueprint Software Systems. Kia has pioneered the art of Customer Experience by leading businesses through the transition to customer-centric organizations. Her methodology provides clients with a disciplined and sustainable approach to increasing customer lifetime value and loyalty. She also holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Engineering.

Maxie Schmidt

Why we love Maxie: She’s a keynote speaker, author, Principal Analyst at Forrester, and has a PhD in Business Management on Customer Care. She helps clients achieve smart profit growth through product and price optimization based on deep customer insights and has managed engagements and projects in a wide range of industries like telecommunication, retail, software, transportation, and high-tech.

Melinda Gonzalez

Why we love Melinda: She’s a Customer Experience Strategist with experience in Customer Success Management, Customer Experience Design, Voice of the Customer, and Customer Retention/Loyalty/Advocacy practices. She spent a decade at Salesforce and is now part of the incredible team at WeWork, bringing the Powered by We vision to life.

Rachel English

Why we love Rachel: She’s the Director of Customer Experience at Zuora. Rachel has built and led high-performing, thought-leading customer-focused teams. Through those experiences, and as a regular customer herself, she has developed a proven philosophy and methodology for creating Customer Success and honing an end-to-end Customer Experience. Rachel believes that companies and their customers are only truly successful together, and she understands the building blocks and the details needed to compound that effect.

Sandra Mathis

Why we love Sandra: She’s the Customer Experience Director and thought leader for Strong-Bridge Envision Consulting. She helps organizations and clients develop customer experience strategies, measurement programming, actioning of insights, and facilitate workshops focused on: customer journey mapping, employee engagement, to enable organizations to move the needle with customer experience adoption for higher customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Sarang Bhatt

Why we love Sarang: Sarang is an Account Executive at InMoment. His big heart, quick wit, and eye for process have made him besties with many a customer. “I learn a customer’s goals and what motivates them – why do they want implement a Voice of Customer Program? To reduce churn? Optimize their product or service? Knowing that enables me to anticipate their needs and present them with a plan that will give them success. The real transformative customer experience comes when you can answer the questions they don’t know they have. It’s in that moment that you win a customer for life.” His specialties are NPS, CES, CSAT and text analytics.

Shep Hyken

Why we love Shep: He’s the CAO (Chief Amazement Officer) of Shepard Presentations. He’s also a keynote speaker, Customer Service trainer, and the author of The Convenience Revolution: How to Deliver a Customer Service Experience that Disrupts the Competition and Creates Fierce Loyalty, among other best-selling books. In 2008 Shep was inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame speaker for lifetime achievement in the professional speaking industry.

Steven Van Belleghem

 Why we love Steven: He’s a keynote speaker, entrepreneur, author of four best-selling books, one of his most popular being Customers the Day After Tomorrow: How to Attract Customers in a World of AIs, Bots, and Automation. He is also Co-Founder of consultancy firm Nexxworks and the Co-Founder of content creation company Snackbytes. He is an investor in the AI startup Hello Customer and the fast-growing digital agency Intracto.

Sue Duris

Why we love Sue: She’s a speaker, writer, mentor, Director of Marketing at M4 Communications, and co-host of #CXChat, a weekly Twitter chat on customer experience and employee experience. She’s passionate about helping organizations differentiate and grow by coaching them to be customer-centric, advising them on their digital transformation initiatives, and collaborating with them to design omnichannel experiences that engage employees and deliver customer value. She’s also a diversity and inclusion advocate.

Venk Chandran

 Why we love Venk: He’s a customer-obsessed Director, Product Management at Salesforce.com who is an evangelist for the use of Customer Effort Score metric at SFDC and in the broader SaaS technology space. Venk uses CES and other customer metrics to monitor and improve the self-service customer experience at Salesforce. Bottomline, customers are his playbook.

6 Tips to Make Your Customer Service Emails More Effective

When you work in customer service you deal with hundreds of emails in a day. So, it can be easy to lose sight of just how important each one is. A single negative interaction can be enough to turn a person off your business.

People like to feel as if their problem matters to the person on the other end. Giving your emails a personal feel can be very helpful in facilitating positive and effective interactions between customer support and clients.

Use their name

Start by greeting them with a friendly hello before you dive into solving their issue. Use their name. The way you greet the customer sets the tone for the rest of the interaction, so it’s important. Don’t be weird and address them as ‘customer,’ or goodness forbid, by their case number. People like to feel as if they’re having an interaction with an actual human and not a machine. There’s no quicker way to make a customer feel like they’re dealing with a soulless robot than to address as their case number.

Get everyone on the same page

“Summarize what is happening currently with their issue to ensure everyone is on the same page. Don’t be afraid to ask the customer for confirmation if you think they might be misunderstanding,” advises Brian Sorensen, email marketer at BigAssignments. It’s much better to sort things out sooner than later. If you’re dealing with an ongoing situation or one that is complicated, then it’s never a bad idea to review what is happening. Rephrasing things back to the customer is a great way to make sure you are understanding each other.

Promise them a solution

Conduct your customer service interactions in a way that minimizes the number of customers checking in to see how things are progressing. Keep your customer updated on how things are going; this should happen at least once a day. Give them expectations. Let them know when you will be contacting them again with an update. You can’t guarantee them a solution in that timeframe, but you can guarantee them a check-in. You’ll find this makes your customers a lot less anxious, people like to know what to expect, especially when something isn’t working for them.

Be realistic about the situation

Be honest with your customers about what you’ll be able to help them with. When you overpromise you just create more headaches for both you and the customer. When you mess something up, own it, and apologize to the customer. If the product fails, apologize. Making excuses for failing or the product failing will only make the customer angrier. Focus on fixing the problem and being transparent. People appreciate honesty, and even if they are upset, they will still appreciate you owning the situation.

Canned replies work

Yes, you read that correctly. Used properly, canned replies can be very effective and save you a ton of time. The trick is to know when it is appropriate to send out a canned reply. In customer service you’ll find that a lot of interactions start repeating themselves, and for those common situations, a canned reply is fine. You can still write canned replies that feel personal and not as if they came from a robot. Automating the basic replies leaves you with more time to deal with more complicated situations that arise. Ensure your sending these  at the most suitable times for your customers by using an email scheduling tool.

Write better emails with these online resources

Writing is a skill that requires regular practice and fine-tuning. Punctuation, spelling, using the correct word — it all matters. If English is your second language, or you slept through English class, here are some resources to help you nail your text and avoid coming off as sloppy.

Grammarly and Grammar Guide – Check out these grammar resources. They are perfect for simplifying grammar and making it easy for you to understand and use English correctly.

WritingExplained – Is it “#001D30” or “gray”? This blog covers these common mistakes. Don’t let errors ruin your otherwise great emails.

Conclusion

An email will never be as personal as a face to face interaction, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make it as personal and pleasant as possible for the customer. Small things make a huge difference when it comes to customer service emails. Each positive interaction counts and helps build a relationship between the brand and the customer. Use these six tips to make your customer service emails feel personal.

Grace Carter is a content manager at BoomEssays services. She creates business presentations, teaches interns and curates support communications.

Measure and improve customer experience. Sign up today for free Net Promoter Score, CSAT or Customer Effort Score feedback with InMoment.

How Sentiment Analysis Improves Employee Engagement in Healthcare

Employers know that hiring individuals who are a good fit is important to the company’s ultimate success, but not everyone recognizes that hiring is just the beginning. In the healthcare industry in particular, where burnout rates have been increasing at alarming rates, monitoring employee sentiment and getting feedback to improve their engagement is crucial to retaining staff and delivering superior patient experience.

Understanding employee sentiment is a critical responsibility of HR, especially in healthcare

Engaged employees feel internal motivation to go above and beyond the call of duty for patients. For example, an engaged food service worker in a hospital will feel motivated to make sure food is delivered hot. When employees feel more connected to their jobs, they will go the extra mile to provide great quality care and research backs that up.

Keeping health professionals engaged has been shown to have positive impact on:

  • Patient satisfaction
  • Employee Turnover and Absenteeism
  • Patient Loyalty and Advocacy
  • Revenue

Monitoring employee sentiment and making use of feedback

Employee engagement is a challenge no matter what size an organization is, but it is especially difficult and important when you’re a large healthcare company. With most large enterprise organizations, human resources has systems for gathering and monitoring employee feedback channels. But you miss out on an opportunity to improve their employee happiness and engagement if you sit on all the open-ended feedback you receive from employee surveys.

Qualitative feedback can be organized into themes using machine learning

A Fortune 100 healthcare company approached Wootric for help making their voice of employee survey program actionable. This company’s employees already respond to engagement surveys on a regular basis. This provides a score to track over time and rich open-ended feedback, ripe for analysis.

But with thousands of feedback comments waiting to be analyzed, understanding the “why” behind their employee engagement scores was difficult. In addition to that feedback, the company was seeing relevant feedback on review websites like Glassdoor and Indeed. They were interested in this data because it offered a perspective that might not be shared on their internal pulse surveys.

This is a lot of feedback to process.

The good news is, employee feedback typically clusters into topic areas. Wootric text analytics algorithms are trained to recognize, including these themes:

  • Benefits & Compensation
  • Training
  • Systems
  • Workload
  • Management (direct management and overall leadership)
  • Health/wellness

Sentiment & text analytics provide insight into survey comments

The healthcare company now receives themes and uncovered valuable insight in their Wootric dashboard. Each comment is tagging with relevant themes and each tag is assigned a sentiment (positive, negative, neutral). 

In this fictional example dashboard, the human resources team can dig into the bucket of comments associated with “systems”, which covers new technology and hardware.

The algorithms do all the tedious, normally time-consuming, work of reading qualitative feedback and organizing each comment into different buckets with tags. Our data scientists and customer success team then conduct a review of the newly structured data to ensure our client received quality, actionable insights out of the gate.  

Benefits of real-time sentiment analysis of employee feedback

We work with human resource professionals to accomplish these goals:

  • Understand what impacts employee morale

For example, sentiment analysis can help you understand the impact of a roll-out of a new software system or benefit plan. When you have the data, you can move beyond anecdotes and hunches and measure the overall impact.

  • Understand engagement issue by employee role, e.g. doctors, staff

Nurses and surgeons both care for patients, but their responsibilities and goals will be very different from a pharmacist or receptionist. Different roles all have different concerns and enabling employees is much easier when you know who needs what. Segmenting your data by roles helps human resources teams to identify role-specific problems and address different concerns.

  • Use data to guide strategic plans to improve employee satisfaction

You may be hearing feedback from people all the time about how you can improve processes, the working environment, etc, but until you’ve quantified all of that feedback, it’s just anecdotal. Human resources teams are able to prioritize projects to most effectively improve employee satisfaction. There are impactful, strategic wins that you can make hidden in the comments you receive. Be sure not to miss them!

  • Risk management & incident detection

One benefit of analyzing online reviews is that you’ll understand what influences your company’s reputation as an employer. You’ll know how you’re perceived as well as why you’re perceived that way. In addition, anonymity on these kinds of forums means that current employees may be more honest about something serious–including sexual harassment or discrimination.

For our customer, it’s not enough to be on the cutting edge of technology when it comes to medical equipment and methodology. To provide quality care, they have made employee engagement a priority. Taking a modern approach to employee feedback with text and sentiment analytics makes improving employee happiness less about sorting through a flood of data, and all about taking action.

Unlock insight about employee engagement.
Book an InMoment demo.

How to Tackle the #1 Problem Product Teams Face: Customer Feedback

What’s your biggest problem as a Product Dev professional? Too many demands and not enough time? Limited resources? Oddly enough, none of those topped the list for Hiten Shah’s crowd.

Hiten Shah (of KISSmetrics, Crazy Egg, and Quick Sprout fame) recently wrote in his newsletter that “the problems people have on Product teams fall into two main categories: Customer Feedback and Alignment.” This conclusion came after Hiten asked his readers to share their biggest product problems, and in more than 100 replies, those two themes emerged as the leaders.

Wootric helps customers gather, organize, categorize and analyze customer feedback – at volume – every day. And we’ve got a few insights into how Product teams can solve the issues that come with customer-centricity – while improving alignment at the same time.

Let’s go through the problems real Product professionals sent Hiten Shah point by point.

“Fast/Effective ways to quickly recap and synthesize qualitative research”

Qualitative data – ie. freeform responses versus ratings or multiple choice answers – are notoriously difficult to sift through and analyze. It’s only recently that, with advanced technology and machine learning, it’s become much easier to tag, sort, and assign sentiment to qualitative feedback at scale.

CXInsight™ Dashboard tagging segmentation screenshot
Source: CXInsight™ Dashboard

Tagging, in particular, is a huge time-saver when you switch from just manual tagging to auto-tagging. Tagging comments with their major themes is the first step towards conducting frequency analysis to identify trending topics – or find relevant feedback with a click.

Using an NPS survey with an open-ended comments section, for example, you might find that your ‘detractors’ (low scorers) comments tend to be tagged with “slow loading time” or you may see a specific feature request recurring.

Yep, modern customer feedback software should be able to deliver every comment with a feature request, for example, tagged and prioritized by frequency, from the highest-value customers, in about a second.

You can even use tags to route specifically tagged feedback straight to the appropriate department for follow-up. No need to hunt for bugs – the bugs will come to you! (Don’t they always?)

“It’s [customer feedback] very subjective and sometimes doesn’t have context, therefore I take it with a grain of salt, but engineers may not see it that way and want to address the feedback immediately.”

When your customer feedback comes primarily through surveys that *don’t* include open-ended responses (to gather all of that golden qualitative data), it’s impossible to get the context you need to evaluate the issue and possibly solve it.

But understanding the why behind NPS, CES and CSAT scores (to name a few) isn’t all the context you need to decide where to allot your time and resources.

You literally have to consider the source.

Is the feedback coming from a high-value, ideal client? Is your existing survey solution capable of identifying those markers?

Did you know that it’s even possible to target specific customer segments with survey campaigns?

And for even more context – you can target customer surveys based on product milestones. For example, you can set a CES survey to deploy after new feature use to find out how easy (or difficult) new customers think it is to use.

“Feedback overwhelm – how to prioritize what users want/need the most.”

An overwhelming number of customer comments can leave you feeling like you are trying to drink from a fire hydrant. It’s time to talk about the wonders of machine learning.

Historically, extracting insights from piles of unstructured feedback has been difficult, expensive and time-consuming. That is not the case today. When you need insight from feedback at scale, it is time to invest in text and sentiment analysis using software with natural language processing.

Machine learning has come a loooong way. Yes, algorithms must be trained to understand your company and customers, so chose a software vendor that will keep their team in the loop and ensure you’re getting good insights right off the bat. Then the software just gets better and better at telling you what is most important to your customers.

Feedback categorized by theme with sentiment breakdown
Source: Wootric CXInsight™ Dashboard

Wootric CXInsight™ combines natural language processing with sentiment analysis to categorize feedback based on what matters most for your customers. When you know why your customers love you — or don’t — prioritization becomes a much easier task.

“Having a regular cadence of customer interaction to develop insights and product intuition.”

Okay, there’s no excuse – this is so easily doable. You can set any CX survey you want to deploy on a regular basis, or, deploy after customers complete specific milestones. Having to go get customer feedback shouldn’t be something you have to think about. It should be automatic! Part of your daily, weekly, or monthly routine.

But, it’s only that easy if you’ve got software that makes it that easy – let’s be honest here. Modern customer feedback software can integrate with Slack, Intercom, or whatever you use, as well as deliver surveys to customers while they’re in your app, and deliver it to you tagged, sorted, and prioritized.

Regularly!

You can have your finger on the pulse of customer satisfaction and will know immediately if there’s any fluctuation. As an added bonus, give a pat on the back to whoever built an update or solution for customers so they can see the results in action!

“My main problem is to get to know our audience and talk directly to them.”

Surveys are great – we love them. But you know what? Even with a qualitative feedback field, a survey can’t take the place of a real, person-to-person conversation. And usually, the biggest barrier to having those conversations is making the time.

We can’t pick up the phone for you, but we can save you time. Enough time to schedule interviews with your customers and get even deeper insights that they may never tell you in writing.

“In Product we’re expected to be customer-centric. We’re supposed to get feedback and talk to customers all the time. It’s literally our day job. But that’s on top of making sure we’re focused on building the right things and helping our teams ship too.”

Here’s the thing, Product friends. You aren’t the only department that has to be “customer-centric” and talk to customers all the time and review steady streams of feedback. So to make this part of your job easier, you might have to reach out to other departments and make customer-centricity a multi-team effort.

If you have a Customer Success department, start there – you might find that the Customer Success Manager is your new BFF. They’re also talking to customers every day, and in many ways, they’re closer to the problems customers face than you are. Most CSMs would be delighted to build better relationships with their Product Dev departments, working together to answer the question “What can we do to help our customers achieve success?”

“It’s not easy and it isn’t getting easier. Customer feedback can come from anywhere: Customer support requests, live chats, social media, the sales team, customer reviews, competitor research, and more. Adding to the pile are the endless opinions about what to do with the feedback from people on our teams.”

It’s not easy – true. But it is getting easier to solve qualitative feedback issues with modern customer feedback software!

Sorry, we can’t help with the ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ problem – that’s right up there with finding the cure for the common cold. We find that if you have to pick one source to guide product, NPS feedback is the going to be the most actionable.  That said, when it comes to gathering customer feedback from many sources into one, easily searchable place, modern technology comes to the rescue again.

What you want to look for is a customer feedback program that can pull all of customer comment sources together, like NPS or CSAT feedback, user interviews, support tickets, app store reviews, social and analyze those comments in a way that lets you see the big picture and slice & dice by theme, sentiment, survey date, and data source.

Tackle your unstructured, qualitative feedback with InMoment CXInsight™.

How to Learn from Bad Net Promoter Scores

This guest post was written by Martin Ceisel, the lead Content Strategist at MindTouch. His hobbies include writing, writing, and writing some more. MindTouch is a self-service platform that helps companies improve support agent productivity, increase ticket deflection, and fuel self-service support.

A quick look at some Net Promoter Score benchmarks will quickly reveal a painful truth: bad NPS scores happen. It’s inevitable.NPS Calculation

The worst response to your company’s detractors, though, is no response at all. So, how to best learn from bad Net Promoter Scores and use them to improve the customer experience?

Here are a few strategies to consider:

Do your research

Look at all of the support tickets your detractor customer has put in and read all the notes that your agents have written about these interactions. Review the goals they had when they initially became a customer. Check which help articles they may have read. This will give you important context when you close the loop with the customer.

Respond promptly and personally

Though the customers behind bad Net Promoter Scores might still be feeling the sting of their negative experience, receiving a prompt response to their NPS survey might help turn the tide. If nothing else, a personal response is an opportunity to take the NPS survey beyond a transactional call and response to an ongoing (and honest!) conversation. You’ll be surprised how much constructive feedback a simple “What can we do to improve your experience?” might unlock.

Segment response types

What customer group or business segment is driving the bulk of your bad Net Promoter Scores? One way to find out is to segment NPS scores to identify hotspots. You might find that a particular point in the customer journey, such as onboarding or renewal, is creating an inordinate number of detractors. Or maybe your NPS from product A is higher or lower than product B. Ask yourself why one group of customers is more successful than others. By categorizing responses, you can drill down and identify actionable takeaways. One way to see themes is to create reason codes, a method of categorizing responses so they can be organized and analyzed.

Don’t get tunnel vision

Remember that NPS is just one measure of customer sentiment. Don’t forget key metrics like customer effort (CES) and customer satisfaction score (CSAT). These, too, are important metrics that can lead you to the root cause of negative customer experiences. Regarding NPS specifically, consider trends in your industry. What are the NPS benchmarks you should be aiming for? This will help you decide how urgent an action to take—which bad Net Promoter Scores to prioritize first.

Because it’s about the whole customer experience

Tunnel vision makes for a good segue to my close: remember the reason we pay such close attention to customer sentiment. Perusing, parsing, and responding to bad Net Promoter Scores is about more than improving your company’s own internal metrics. It’s about improving the customer experience. If we can’t deliver low-effort customer experiences throughout the customer journey—if we don’t demonstrate a commitment to reading and responding to what our customers are telling us—we risk losing those customers entirely.

Make follow up on Net Promoter Score feedback convenient with InMoment’s many integrations.

Using Net Promoter Score Benchmarks to Set a Good NPS Goal

“What grade did you get?”

Do you remember getting asked that question in grade school? Or maybe you were the one asking it? Humans like to know how they’re doing compared to everyone else.

This carries over into customer experience as well. At Wootric, we advise companies on setting up an effective Net Promoter Score (NPS) program. We get asked questions about NPS industry benchmarks all the time.

In general, we believe focusing on an external NPS benchmark is not incredibly helpful.

The Net Promoter System is the quantification of customer loyalty and the process for improving it over time. The power of this system lies in the analysis of feedback and the action taken based on that analysis.

However, net promoter score benchmarks are still useful in certain cases, which is what this article is all about.

If you’re unfamiliar with NPS, here’s a quick rundown:

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a customer loyalty metric between -100 and 100 that captures the propensity of a company’s customers to attract and refer new business or/and repeat business.

NPS also stands for the Net Promoter System®, which was built around the Net Promoter Score. It is a model that ties a corporation’s bottom line to customer happiness and loyalty.

Get the ebook, The Modern Guide to Winning Customers with Net Promoter Score. Learn how to modernize your NPS program for growth and higher loyalty.

In the NPS survey, customers rate their likelihood to recommend your company on a scale of 0-10. To get your Net Promoter Score, take the percentage of people who are happy and willing to recommend your product or service (those who respond with a 9 or 10) — “promoters”– and subtract the percentage of people who would not be willing to recommend your product or service — (score of 0-6) “detractors.”

NPS Calculation

For example, a +50 NPS means that the company has more than 50% promoters and less than 50% detractors, so generally an NPS score of +50 is, indeed, great! You may see scales out there that say +30 is a decent score, and that +80 or greater is the ultimate dream score.

To learn more about NPS, get the ebook, The Modern Guide to Winning Customers with Net Promoter Score, which teaches how to modernize your NPS program for growth and higher loyalty.

Net Promoter Score industry benchmarks

There are two different types of NPS: absolute and relative. Absolute NPS refers to the NPS in and of itself, and comparing the score with what is generally considered a “good” or “bad” score. Relative NPS is taking into account the average NPS within an industry, which takes into account the factors that could affect an average Net Promoter Score, and can change the NPS benchmarks you set.

While an absolute NPS goal is nice and simple, it can be helpful to take a look at what others in your industry have been able to achieve, since every industry is different and has unique relative NPS results. The relative Net Promoter Scores generally achieved in each industry help construct what are called the NPS industry benchmarks. NPS Industry benchmarks give you a way to evaluate your NPS relative to your competitors. They help control for factors that often create major differences in what is considered a good NPS score.

Oftentimes, other companies in your industry have established an average NPS for you to use as a net promoter score benchmark. If you make smartphones or other tech hardware, for example, companies like Apple have been tracking NPS for years.

To get averages and examples from your industry, try reports from the Fortune 500.

NPS Benchmark variance between industries

Let’s take a look at some examples of net promoter score benchmarks according to your industry.

Let’s say you have an NPS of +50. As we explained, that’s already pretty good! But if you’re a department store or specialty store, you are actually below the NPS benchmark (+62) for the industry.

Walmart pharmacies have an NPS score of +32. Considering the highest score is +100, you’d guess that they’d be lukewarm with this score, but I’m sure that the folks in charge of customer experience there are actually ecstatic. Walmart pharmacies have one of the highest NPS scores within the drug store & pharmacy industry.

Compare this number to the software industry, where +34 is the average. Becoming a leader in the software industry would mean having an NPS in the +60 range, like Salesforce (+66) and Adobe (+62).

If I tell you that the industry average NPS for laptop computer manufacturers is +43, can you guess what Apple’s NPS is? Consider their brand reputation and customer loyalty…

In 2018, Apple’s laptop product team reported an NPS of +63. You probably got pretty close, since you knew the industry average! This is why relative score comparison by industry is more useful than evaluation based on an absolute scale.

Caveats for using NPS industry benchmarks

Unfortunately, NPS benchmark programs aren’t always as helpful as you’d hope. This comes down to the nature of surveying for feedback. There are so many contributing factors to an NPS benchmark, such as:

  • Which channels you use to survey customers
  • Demographics and habits of your customer base
  • Customer tolerance levels
  • The size of your competition
  • The difficulty of building brand loyalty
  • External circumstances (such as a global pandemic)
  • When and how often you ask
  • Whether you have enough data to be statistically significant or not

All of these factors can have varying effects on your overall NPS score. For example, your competitor may ask the NPS question within the context of a longer annual brand survey, while you survey using just the NPS question after a transaction. These will have different consequences for the feedback you gather. If you don’t have enough feedback coming in, your NPS may vary significantly from quarter to quarter or month to month.

Bear in mind, a ‘good NPS score’ doesn’t just depend on your industry, since it’s not difficult to game the system. It’s not always fair to compare your NPS score to another company’s NPS score because you don’t know their survey methods, or their employee compensation plans.

When competitive individuals are incentivized based on NPS score, things can get ugly.

A motivated person or company could improve their numbers by letting their customers know that positive feedback would mean a lot to them or by only showing the survey to customers who are positively inclined. They might offer incentives to customers to complete the survey. Clearly, the feedback received from these methods will lead to an inflated NPS score that is not a useful comparison for those using a more objective survey process.  

Setting an NPS goal if you don’t have a benchmark

If no Net Promoter Score benchmark exists for your industry, benchmark against yourself.

The great thing about NPS is that it is an actionable metric. It’s a number that you can rally the company around as a north star to guide improvement efforts.

“A good NPS score is one that is better than the last.”
– Jessica Pfeifer, CCO & Co-founder of Wootric

Remember, NPS isn’t just a score. It’s a system that’s meant to drive business improvement in product and customer experience. It helps you identify and close the loop with unhappy customers and solve their specific problems in real time.

Your goal is to boost customer loyalty and retention, and that happens by reading verbatim comments to understand the why behind the scores you receive. By making changes based on customer feedback, and responding quickly to detractors, you will naturally see your NPS improve. And gains in NPS correlate with revenue growth.

How to report NPS

After all this, you will want to report numbers to the rest of the team on a regular basis. NPS should be shared along with other monthly or quarterly metrics like revenue, new customers and customer churn.

We understand that, so here’s what we recommend:

  • Instead of fixating on your score in the absolute sense, we recommend focusing on improving your score over time. Understand NPS as a trend over several periods, like if you were looking at a stock’s price.Trends-NPS-with-SaaS-segmentation
  • Determine the business goals of your NPS program, then report NPS in relation to the goals. For instance, if you are trying to improve retention, report NPS alongside churn data.
  • Pay attention to trending topics in your verbatim responses. Reporting these topics will help everyone understand what’s important to your customers, and the pain points they experience. Share what customers love and what they don’t love about your company with internal stakeholders. Then you can work to make those points as frictionless as possible. 

Note: For startups, be sure to read and respond to every single comment. As you grow, you’ll start needing aggregate and to pull themes from customer comments. To automate that process, check out AI-powered text and sentiment analysis.

  • Segment your Net Promoter Score by relevant customer groups. For example, this could be by user role (in the SaaS example above), geography, or size/frequency of purchase–whatever drives your business. This will help you pay close attention to groups that are critical to your business success. Learn more about segmentation here.
  • If you want to compare your score to a competitor, choose a company in your industry that you admire and use their score as an aspirational benchmark. Many companies have volunteered their NPS scores to research and reports such as this one by the Fortune 500.

Measure NPS and work to improve it over time.  Dig into customer comments and close the loop with customers. You will learn their needs, and their pain points, and have plenty of guidance to make those improvements. Both your NPS and your customer retention rates are sure to improve. 

Sign up today for free Net Promoter Score feedback with InMoment.

Top CX Survey Use Cases for Integrating Wootric and Intercom

In case you missed it, customers’ expectations have changed.

The way we communicate with them has changed, and Intercom users are leading the way. Customers and prospects like communicating via Intercom chat. It’s efficient, modern, and conversational.

Integrating a customer feedback program with Intercom takes customer experience to the next level. Having all your customer experience data gathered, viewed, and managed in Intercom sets you up to build high-quality relationships with your customers.

Easy, breezy, and code-free option: Surveys in Intercom chat & email

Wootric gives Intercom users two code-free ways to survey customers – in Intercom chat and via email. The survey responses then flow back into Intercom records to view for follow-up.

Wootric Surveys is an Intercom Messenger app, available now in the Intercom App Store, that lets you send surveys within the Intercom Messenger chat bubble. From your customers’ point of view, sending Wootric surveys through Intercom makes sense — that is where they are used to getting communication from you.

Alternatively, you can survey your customers via email. Download the free Wootric email survey template (you’ll find it in Wootric settings) and upload it into Intercom.

Whether you are surveying in Intercom chat or via email, you can create auto-messages based on Intercom rules and attributes, or send a survey out to individual customers manually.

Here are the top 5 use cases for the Wootric-Intercom integration to unify your customer feedback program.

Target a specific customer segment with an NPS survey campaign

To better understand the sentiment for each your customer personas, set up a campaign-style auto message with a Net Promoter Score survey in Intercom.

For example, you may choose to target all of your enterprise customers, or all of your self-service customers. Perhaps you want insight into customers in the EU, Asia, or South America. You could also choose to survey customers who have been with you for 6 months.

With Intercom and Wootric, you can send a survey can be based on any group of customers that you can define in Intercom.

Target customer surveys based on a product or service milestone

Gather feedback after product or service milestones. The feedback you gather at customer journey points can help you prioritize improvements that will increase customer retention. Here are two popular examples:

  • Deploy a Customer Effort Score (CES) survey after a product milestone is achieved

If you are trying to understand customer sentiment around installation processes, onboarding, or other product milestones, the Customer Effort Score is the survey for you. Measuring customer effort gives you insight into pain points or friction that customers may experience while using your product or service. Asking “how easy was it to __” will help you quantify ease and give you wide-ranging feedback. You may find that your processes (e.g. installation, getting started, etc.) are easy enough, but documentation is difficult to find. Customers may end up going to Customer Support because they are frustrated about finding answers and instructions on their own.

 As for when to send a CES survey, you may choose to send a survey via auto message for folks who have logged into your platform after completing onboarding. You could choose to send an email survey to users who have exported their data to another platform to see if the process is easy enough. Surveys can be triggered based on any event you are tracking in Intercom, giving you a plethora of options.

  • Send a Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) survey to ask about product features

Customer Success and Support aren’t the only teams that will benefit from surveys via Intercom.

This channel is a great way to survey customers about different product features as they use them. For example, you can choose to deploy a CSAT or “PSAT” survey to all users who have used a feature X number of times or 30 days after upgrading to a new feature set.

The feedback you get from asking the Customer Satisfaction question can be valuable to your product development team and product managers.

Make sure everyone is covered

  • Send a survey in a live conversation

“Oops, I didn’t mean to score you a 2!”  Sometimes a customer will make a mistake or get distracted and fail to click “submit” when they see your survey.

Now, you can manually insert a fresh survey into the conversation. This lets you fill in the gaps that automated campaign-style messages may leave.

  • Hear from more customers by sending an in-app survey to people who don’t respond to email surveys

If you’ve been surveying your customers via email, you may find that a good portion of them go unopened. Other email surveys may be opened and the surveys don’t get filled out because folks think “Oh, I’ll get to that after I finish up this other thing!”, then get distracted and forget about your survey.

Cover your bases and reach customers where they’re already working by sending these users another survey via Intercom messenger.

The set & forget option: Wootric in-app surveys

One challenge with Intercom auto-messages is that they are not recurring. If you want to survey your customers say, every 90 days, the best way is to install the Wootric code snippet on your web application (or use the SDK for you mobile app). Then you can easily configure your sampling requirements and survey cadence in your Wootric settings.  The best part is that survey responses collected this way will still flow into Intercom records for follow-up action.

See survey feedback & respond to customers in Intercom

Consolidating all of your customer experience data in one platform isn’t just efficient. It provides your customer-facing agents with vital context as they interact with users without having to shift from one platform to another.

For example, your Customer Success Managers will be able to see each company’s survey responses, including user comments.

Your Support and Success agents can manage the follow up with customers in the same platform that they view users’ survey responses. The Wootric integration can be configured to automatically open a conversation when a survey response is received. This can prompt team members to reach out to personally to thank the customer or follow up on any issues. Or, set up auto-messages to response to customers based on their score. For example, trigger an email that asks happy customers to write a review of your product. 

With Intercom, customers know where to expect communication from you and know exactly where to reach out for help. Using Wootric and Intercom together is a convenient way to close the loop with customers, letting them know you value their feedback.

Get started with the InMoment-Intercom integration today!

5 Ways to Break Down the Data Silos that Hurt Customer Experience

Do you have a data silo problem?

  • Do customers complain of having to explain everything about their business to sales, and then to customer success, and then again to customer support?
  • Is customer support hearing about the same issues, over and over again, that aren’t being addressed by product?

Those are just two of the most frequent symptoms of data silos. Here are some more, reported to us by our friends at Segment.

  • Inability to answer complex questions about your customer journey.
  • Inability to quantify the impact of a given campaign against down-funnel, often offline conversations (like Salesforce lead status updates).
  • Inability to affect targeting criteria in a given channel based on interactions that occurred in another (ie. you’re spamming users across channels when they’ve already converted or signaled their preferences in another.

What do all of these silo symptoms have in common? They all damage customer experience, and they all result from data not being shared between teams and departments.

Three main causes of data silos

Data silos are isolated islands where information sits, visible to just one or a few people. Usually, the cause of data silos isn’t some greedy information hog, unwilling to let anyone see his or her hoard of numbers. It’s nothing so Dickensian. Here are the main reasons they exist.

  1. Structural

Businesses that have been around through multiple owners, leaders and ideologies typically have incompatible systems in place from various eras and incarnations. Older software or apps that haven’t been updated or replaced probably don’t play well with others. Whereas newer data collection and analysis programs have built-in capacities to share information with other apps, older systems don’t. Or, they don’t do it automatically. If no one is tasked with disseminating the information, it doesn’t get shared.

  1. Social

Maybe teams aren’t rewarded for sharing, or required to share information. Or, maybe there is a data hoarding person or group who keep data to themselves to maintain a sense of power and control. But usually, it’s a case of ‘this is the way we’ve always done it’ resistance to change. Having a ‘silo mentality’ in your business makes it difficult or impossible to quickly spot opportunities and take advantage of them, because when information isn’t shared, you can’t make fast, informed, data-driven decisions.

  1. Vendor lock-in

Maybe it’s not you, it’s them. The software vendors. Yes, even software-as-a-service applications can effectively ‘trap’ businesses within their platforms by requiring heavy investments in special training, or they may lack native integrations or an open API. In either case, they make it difficult to switch information over to other apps.

Breaking down these data silos requires a lot of effort and commitment. Structural causes require an overhaul of all or most of your existing systems; social causes may take a company-wide initiative to improve company culture; and vendor lock-in-related causes are, by nature, tricky to remedy.

So before we get into how to break down data silos, let’s look at why it’s worth all of the time, effort, and investment.

What you stand to gain by breaking silos down

One of the biggest threats data silos pose to companies is blocking customer success. Customer success depends on everyone in the company being aligned behind the same data-informed vision of the target customer – their needs, wants, challenges and desired outcomes.

But that alignment depends entirely on sharing information across the entire organization, not just once, but continuously, to facilitate collaboration between sales, marketing, customer success and customer service (at minimum). When customer-facing departments run entirely separately from each other, it’s the customers who pay the price.

When customers run into trouble, they have to repeat themselves as they’re bounced around from agent to agent.

If a loyal customer was unhappy with the last order, s/he will feel pestered and aggravated when a clueless sales rep tries to upsell them.

Of course, it’s not only customers who suffer – nobody benefits from data silos! A 2016 brief from Forrester observed the high rates of “misaligned performance metrics, lack of clarity around lead scoring (and definitions)” and other misunderstandings between marketing and sales that leaves “sales ops in the middle to make sense of the chaos.”

Another Forrester statistic is “less than 1% of leads in B2B ever become customers,” which means businesses are wasting money on marketing that doesn’t work, salespeople are wasting time on leads that will never convert, and – when you have data silos, marketers might not even know what they’re doing wrong.

With some types of data, sharing is even more important because so many departments stand to benefit from having easy access to it. Voice-of-customer data, for example, is a must-have for marketing (for testimonials, ad/sales page/email copy, content ideas), sales (for upsells), and product (to optimize features).

The bottom line is: Breaking down data silos is an absolute requirement of creating the customer-centric culture customers want and companies need.

How to break those silos

“A customer-centric culture should be the North Star and guiding principle for tearing down the silos [between marketing, sales, and customer service]… Before joining Salesforce, I spent 12 years running global engineering and also serving as a [chief marketing officer]. Silo busting was how I spent most of my time. I realized that I had to try to align different areas of the business, and the only way to do that was to silo-bust.”

– Vala Afshar, chief digital strategist at Salesforce

First, diagnose what is causing your silo problem using the 5 Whys cause and effect analysis.

5 Whys ExerciseThe idea is to find the root cause of the surface problem. The surface problem, for example, might be that marketing isn’t qualifying leads before passing them on to sales. The reason for that might be that marketing isn’t sure what the success indicators are for leads who convert. The reason for that might be because that data is stopped up – it’s kept by sales.

We’re already at the third ‘why’ question and we’ve just gotten to the middle problem of the data silo.

The answers to ‘why’ #4 and ‘why’ #5 will reveal the core cause that’s creating the silo in the first place.

Why use the 5 Whys? Because you might find that a data silo isn’t the root of the problem, or that the reason for the silo isn’t what you think it is. There may, in fact, be an underlying issue that runs deeper than investing in a new data gathering and analysis program can fix.

Second, get management buy-in.

Once you’re armed with the problems the data silo creates, as well as a thorough understanding of the underlying issues contributing to those problems, take your findings to management. You’ll need total buy-in from the top to address those deeper issues and find a data-busting solution that works perfectly for your company.

To get that buy-in, you’ve got to present a strong case that freely shared information will help each individual department, and the entire organization, essentially offering them a unified vision. In addition to bringing up current problems free-flowing information can fix, also consider how it can aid your company’s long-term goals and department objectives.

Third, align behind your North Star (the customer)

It’s not going to be easy to change long-standing habits in your organization, so to do it successfully, you’ve got to have whole-company alignment behind the real purpose of your proposed changes: The customer.

Your customers will tell you what impact your changes are really having. But, you need a metric to track, so everyone can see that breaking down silos (and all the work and training that go into it) are worth the effort.

We call this a “North Star metric,” like Net Promoter Score (NPS). When you see NPS scores rise, proving that customers are indeed happier (so happy they’re willing to recommend you to a friend or colleague), it’s proof positive that what you’re doing makes a difference.

Fourth, find the right tools.

Better tools lead to better collaboration, and what you’ll want to look for are data gathering and analysis tools that integrate with your CRM software (which will also solve the vendor lock-in problem, if that’s the source of your silo).

This is going to be your “single source of truth” database. Salesforce is a perfect example.

It’s key to make sure that data is shared with various functional systems of record so everyone has what they need at their fingertips. At Wootric, for example, we sync customer/prospect data from our product, Intercom (for Success) and HubSpot (for Marketing) to Salesforce – and from the Wootric survey platform, we integrate with Slack, Intercom, Salesforce, and HubSpot.

For us, this means:

  • The way we put NPS into Intercom so that if a customer reaches out about a conversation, someone can see the entire history of that customer.
  • You could have a different conversation with a promoter than someone who ‘dinged you’ the last time – having that context shifts the conversation.

Segment Product Manager Chris Sperandio says customers come to his company for better alignment through data.

The key is the desire to align all of their departments around a shared customer context. The way they achieve this is ensuring each department’s tools are running on a common data set. This way, they can run more cohesive campaigns and they can operationalize their insights and predictions.

Fifth: Invest in cross-functional training – together.

Once you have diagnosed your core problems, obtained management buy-in, and choose a metric that measures progress, and have the right tools – it’s time to bring everyone together for training.

Not only will everyone need training on how to use the new tools, they’ll also need training on how they can best work together to create better customer experiences through sharing information. Silo-busting is a multi-team effort, but when teams have traditionally been kept separate and sovereign, it can be a challenge to build bridges and relationships.

Try hosting a meeting with everyone to establish a shared understanding of each team’s goals, challenges and pain points.

Then, have everyone get together to find areas where insights and abilities from one person can help another person with their challenges and goals.

Finally, have everyone fill out a “communication builder” questionnaire that asks:

  • Basic contact information: phone/email/Slack etc.
  • What is their job title/function?
  • When and how do they prefer being contacted (ie. by phone before noon, or via email – but not available on weekends for immediate response).

This step sets up co-workers for success by setting expectations and letting everyone receive requests and information in the way that works best for them.

Alternately, you might consider creating a cross-functional “tiger team” who ‘owns’ the progress of the North Star metric (like NPS) and has a C-suite sponsor who helps them get things done.

Collaborative training is a good start, but will need to be nurtured over time as the human tendency is to fall back into familiar behavior patterns. To help break those patterns, you might even consider physically moving people so employees from different teams work next to each other, building relationships.

Measure and improve customer experience at scale.

Get auto-tagging with InMoment customer feedback software. Sign up for a free trial.

Article Topics

Uncategorized

9 Empathy Exercises that Help Product Teams Improve CX

What is Empathy?

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. For Product Managers looking to improve customer experience (CX), that definition translates to doing more than understanding the user’s pain points, but also looking at the emotional landscape of what it’s like to use the product – when it is working, and when it isn’t working.

Empathetic Product Managers ask themselves:

  • How does using the product make the customer feel?
  • How does the customer want to feel when using your product? What would be the best possible emotional outcome for them?
  • How do I ensure the product developers understand and take the customers’ needs into consideration in their process?

The answers to those questions affect every facet of business, from acquisition to retention. It’s how, through CX, you can generate rapid growth through word-of-mouth recommendations, and sustain your success with customers who never want to leave.

Tying Empathy into CX

Empathy is a soft skill, and while those are typically difficult to measure, the effects of empathetic product development can be seen in every CX metric: Customer satisfaction (CSAT), Customer Effort Score (CES) and Net Promoter Score (NPS).

Sinead Cochrane, Senior Product Researcher at Intercom, wrote “For product teams, empathy building activities such as observing research or doing customer support is often not considered ‘real work’. However, product teams that consistently keep customer needs in mind are able to maintain and evolve their products in ways that won’t negatively impact the user experience.”

For her, empathy for product departments means “When a customer tells you something is broken, you are able to imagine the impact it’s having on the job they’re trying to get done,” and, “you realize the emotional impact the problem is having on that person.”

But I think we can go further than just recognizing the emotional impact of problems. That’s scratching the surface of what having empathy for customers can mean for producing superior customer experience.

Because empathy shouldn’t be reduced to realizing customers feel bad when a product isn’t working for them. A whole new world opens up when you also consider how you can design your product, updates, and expansions to enhance positive emotions as well.

Here are the questions that lie at the heart of empathetic product management:

  • How can you get more emotionally in sync with your customers?
  • Which are the most important negative emotional outcomes to manage?
  • Which emotions should you seek to heighten (and how?)

To answer these questions, try these empathy building exercises.

Empathy Building Exercises for Product Managers and their Teams

  1. Listen actively to discover underlying needs and emotional motivations

Often relegated to customer service and customer success departments, ‘active listening’ to find out why your customers use your product and what they really want to achieve is very important. You can’t get the depth and honesty of answers by just sending out a survey – this works much better if you do phone, Zoom or in-person interviews. In fact, Roman Pichler recommends product managers meet real users on a regular basis. You may find that your assumptions of why customers use your product aren’t accurate, or don’t tell nearly enough of the story.

“At first, our assumption was that they wanted to make more money. That often was true, but frequently we heard something different. Many simply wanted to maintain the business but run it more efficiently so they could have more free time (we heard about golfing on Fridays more than once). Others wanted to build a sustainable business they could pass on to their son or daughter.” – Jim Semick, Founder & Chief Strategist at ProductPlan

To get down to customers’ real motivations, ask open-ended questions beginning with “why” and “how.” Then make sure to record their answers in their own words (you can hand those assets to your copywriters for later use).

  1. Use your own product

Empathy is often described as ‘putting yourself in someone else’s shoes’ – and there’s no better way to do this for a product manager than to actually use the product, just like any user would. You’ll empathize with users’ frustrations as you experience your own product’s shortcomings and hopefully find moments where it’s possible to create more delight.

But always keep in mind – you are not the average user. You’ll still need to listen to your users to get a complete picture of how they feel, and what problems they perceive as being severely aggravating.

  1. Share verbatim comments

Someone, somewhere, is tracking customer experience metrics, sending out surveys, and collecting the answers. That someone might even be you. When reading users’ written responses, don’t just look for problems to solve and ignore the positive comments. Read them for emotion and see what conclusions you can draw about what people are feeling, and want to feel.

Pick a few relevant verbatim comments to bring to the rest of the product team. Reading these comments often helps engineers and designers feel the same joy or frustration as their users. This new emotional understanding will help you evangelize CX as a priority with everyone.

  1. Mine your qualitative data and quantify customer sentiment

Those open-ended response answers are a goldmine for user research that can alert you to problems – and give you hints into the customer’s emotional state of mind. However, once you are getting more than a hundred comments a month, seeing the forest for the trees can be a difficult exercise. Qualitative feedback is notoriously tough to quantify, but it is now possible and easy to quantify sentiment with the help of machine learning.

AI-powered platforms, like InMoment CXInsight™, automatically sort your customer comments into themes while simultaneously assigning positive or negative sentiment. This provides you with a big picture understanding of how customers feel about your product and why. Categories of feedback vary by business sector and business model–payment processes & delivery for e-commerce, perhaps, while UX and usability may surface for SaaS products. Quantifying the sentiment of what your customers are talking about can help you track emotional trends over time. Presenting this kind of data alongside verbatim comments connects customer emotion with real business consequence.  

Feedback categorized by theme with sentiment breakdown
Example of auto-categorized NPS comments with sentiment assigned in a dashboard. Source: Wootric

  1. Set empathy KPIs

What gets measured gets done, and adding empathy into your product development work is no different. The KPIs for empathy may look a little different than your typical performance indicators, but the good news is: They’re not difficult to get. You’ll find key performance indicators like NPS, CES and CSAT are a good start, and comments in the open-ended questions can give you insight into the metric. Start identifying what kinds of ratings and qualitative answers correlate to genuinely happy customers – and frustrated customers likely to churn.

  1. Chart out an empathy map

You’ve done your user journey, but even though it’s part of the buyer persona building process, you may not have done an empathy map.

  • What your user sees – on competitors’ websites, common visuals in their industries, maybe what they enjoy watching or reading
  • What your user says – how they measure success, what they say they want, what they say about your product
  • What your user hears – what their influencers are saying, not just about your product, but about their jobs and what constitutes success, what they enjoy, what they don’t like about their experiences with your competitors, etc.
  • What your users think and feel – worries, aspirations, what they really want, what really annoys them

Notice how the empathy map includes business/industry-specific observations, but also branches out into the user’s personal life and larger environment. People are not their jobs – or even their ‘jobs to be done.’ For true empathy, you have to look at the whole person.

This is a great activity to get other teams involved in – consider hosting a meeting with Customer Success, Sales, Marketing and Customer Service for a wider scope of insights.

Activities involving multiple teams help to build a shared understanding of your customers’ experiences that can strengthen the whole company.

  1. Add happy moments to your Customer Journey Map

You’ve probably mapped out your customer/user journey, but you probably didn’t include this: Happy moments. See if you can take your old customer journey map and mark the points where positive, fun, delightful things happen. Can’t think of any? Then you have some serious CX work to do!

And of course, also note points where you’ve observed friction, difficulties, and problems, and address those in the order of biggest impact + easiest to implement.

  1. Work in Customer Support for an afternoon

Whether that means answering the live chat questions, picking up the phone, or monitoring your product’s customer Slack channel, try out being the Customer Support agent for an afternoon to and put yourself on the front lines! There’s no better way to find problems than to let customers tell you exactly – and in great detail – what they are. And they’ll likely throw in how frustrated it makes them feel too.

  1. Build a prototype to test your emotional hypotheses

By now, you probably have a few ideas on how you can improve the customer experience, and it might be time to test those theories. Create a prototype for a select group of qualified users to try (and react to). And, if possible, have them test the prototype in a testing facility that allows you to observe their reactions as they use your product.

If there is a Golden Rule for empathy, it’s a simple one: Forget your assumptions and be genuinely interested and curious about what people are feeling (not just what they’re doing) while using your product. Empathy is a learned skill that needs practice so don’t forget to try out these empathy exercises on a frequent basis for enhanced customer experience.  

To quote Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Be the customer experience champion at your company. Sign up today for free Net Promoter Score, CSAT or Customer Effort Score feedback with InMoment.

5 Sneaky Biases That May Affect Your Customer Insight Analysis

Data is the beating pulse of business, but customer data is more like DNA. Customer data, if we’re using it right, directs how we grow and what we develop. But what happens if that customer data becomes corrupted by our own bias?

We can’t grow or develop in the ways we need to.

But what is bias exactly? Where does it come from?

The most prevalent bias is, perhaps, confirmation bias – seeking out data that confirms our existing beliefs.

In an early study of confirmation bias, young children were asked what features in a sports ball are important to the quality of a player’s serve. Some said size, others said material, some dismissed color as a factor – but once they’d made up their minds, they failed to acknowledge evidence that was contrary to their theory – or explained away evidence that didn’t fit.

But what’s worse, especially for those of us using data to steer our businesses, is that confirmation bias caused them to not generate alternate theories unless someone asked them to. They missed exploring and finding other possibilities.

There are other types of bias too, including:

Algorithmic bias – When the data used to teach an AI machine learning system reflects the implicit values of the humans involved in collecting, selecting and using that data. You might remember the 2015 uproar around Google’s image recognition AI algorithm that auto-tagged photos of black people as gorillas? Yes, that happened. And in 2009, Nikon’s image recognition algorithms consistently asked Asian users if they were blinking.

Survivorship bias – When the data analyzed only comes from success stories.

Sample bias – When the population you collect data from doesn’t accurately reflect the population you’re trying to learn about.

Avoiding bias when gathering, analyzing and acting on data is impossible. Bias creeps in with assumptions, instincts, guesses, and ‘logical’ conclusions – and mostly, we don’t even know they exist until someone without those particular biases point them out.

But, while we can’t escape biases, we can try our best to account for them when we collect, analyze and interpret data.

“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge.” – Daniel J. Boorstin

How to fight bias in your data

In Forrester’s The illusion of insights recording, Forrester Vice President and Research Director Sri Sridharan makes three recommendations to reduce bias in data.

She says to “triangulate insight” by using multiple methods of arriving at an insight, and cross-validation. For example, pairing behavioral data with feedback from customer surveys to see if you arrive at the same or similar answers.

Her second piece of advice is to create a “self-correcting system of insights” that connects customer data with an effective action to create a closed loop of action, learning, and optimization. Essentially, this means testing the data by taking action and iterating based on how well you succeed in addressing the issue.

Tracking a ‘North Star’ metric like NPS or CSAT over time can be very helpful in confirming whether the changes you make are having the desired effect.

Sri’s third piece of advice is to “show your work to build trust” both internally and with customers. Your customers will be quick to correct you if your insights don’t hold true for them – and you have the bonus of showing them how hard you’re working to make sure they have what they need to succeed.

But there is also the potential for bias to happen before any of these fixes can be made – especially in Customer Discovery.

Bias in Customer Discovery, Before You’ve Even Gotten to the Data

Bias in whom you ask

Who you survey, interview or meet with can bias your results. This is called “sample bias” – but it can also turn into confirmation bias. Sample bias happens when some members of the intended population are less likely to be included than others. Think of all of the different segments of users you have – what would happen if you only surveyed one of those segments? You would get responses that don’t work equally well for all of your customers.

This can slide into confirmation bias if the population you select is more likely to give you the answers you want to hear.

And, there’s also the risk of “survivorship bias,” if the people you’re surveying are the customers who are still with you, rather than the users who have churned. Current users are much easier to collect data from, and while they can give you important insights, they can’t tell you why your churned customers left.

Bias in how you ask

How you frame questions can have a dramatic effect on the responses. In fact, by the wording you use in a survey, or even your tone of voice in a phone interview or facial expressions in an in-person interview, you can effectively steer the conversation to deliver exactly the answers you’re hoping to hear. Many of the words we use have positive or negative associations that cause people to react accordingly.

Biased question: How much do you like the color blue? (This presupposes they like the color blue at all)

Unbiased question: How does the color blue make you feel? (A much more neutral phrasing)

Or, if you aren’t specific enough about the information you want, you risk confusing your respondent and getting answers that aren’t at all helpful. Unless you have a professional market researcher on staff, you may want to stick with established questions like NPS and CSAT.

Bias in what you ask first – and last

The order of the questions you ask can also bias your results, and you’ll need to review your question order carefully to make sure the sequence doesn’t cause biased responses. Typically, you should ask general questions before specific ones, ask positive questions before negative ones, and ask questions about behavior before questions about attitude.

Bias in when you ask

Holidays and the summer months, when families often take their vacations, can be problematic for both response rates and sample bias. For example, if you send a survey during religious holidays, you’ll likely get different responses rates from different groups of people, who may or may not be taking that time off.  Be aware of your timing, including if you’re sending surveys during deadline rushes, before or after holidays, or other significant patterns that may affect who responds and how they respond. To be on the safe side, don’t send your survey at the same time every year – send a few, at different times, to get the most accurate feedback.

Objective Data Leads to More Accurate, More Valuable Insight

Sherlock Holmes famously tells Dr. Watson that he never forms a theory before he gathers all of the facts. But he’s much better at disassociating himself from the results than most of us are (and he’s fictional). Bias has a way of seeping into our results, and how we view and react to our results. But, when we put bias-countering measures in place, like gathering data from different sources, using different types of data, and checking our work through a process of action and iteration, we can get to the truth in the end.

Get immediate insight from comments using text and sentiment analytics.
Learn about Wootric CXInsight™

Article Topics

Uncategorized

Change Region

Selecting a different region will change the language and content of inmoment.com

North America
United States/Canada (English)
Europe
DACH (Deutsch) United Kingdom (English) France (français) Italy (Italian)
Asia Pacific
Australia (English) New Zealand (English) Singapore (English)