Why Business Leaders Must Focus on Experience Improvement
Author: Brian Clark, EVP, Customers & Solutions, InMoment
Contributing Authors: Stephan Thun, President & Managing Director, EMEA, David Blakers, Managing Director, APAC, InMoment
There is an old adage that what gets measured gets improved. While we understand the sentiment around this statement, the unfortunate reality is this isn’t necessarily the case. As Forrester has pointed out, today’s experience management and measurement methodologies are not helping companies move the needle on either improved experiences or real business outcomes. Rather, they provide a set of metrics that at best is like looking in the rearview mirror. Measurement is informative in and of itself because it tells you where you are compared to where you have been, but unless there is a systematic approach and a passion for taking action, no true improvement can be achieved.
Why CX Programs Aren’t Moving The Needle and How Experience Improvement Can Change That
What do we mean when we say that managing experiences isn’t helping companies and that measuring doesn’t make you taller? There are a few factors at play here—first, measurement and management cannot deliver transformative success for the business on their own.
There are three critical factors required to move from measurement to improvement: determining business objectives (what problem are you trying to solve?), gathering or collecting the right data (what information do you need to know in order to address the problems?), and taking intelligent action (what are you going to do about what you learn and who will own it?).
Beginning with The End in Mind
Brands can achieve real business outcomes and deliver a better experience by building programs around their customers and employees. There is not a better signal than experience data that stems directly from those sources.
Cutting through mountains of data and honing in on the moments that matter—those special instances in which customer, employee, and business needs meet— isn’t easy, but learning to focus and act upon the right signal instead of just accruing them makes the difference between experience management and experience improvement.
Experience Improvement ™ (XI) emphasizes designing experiences with the end in mind. Listening isn’t the first step to take, here— businesses need to begin by considering what they want to accomplish. What problem are they trying to solve? Goals like these may include improving retention or increasing share of wallet and new customer acquisition.
Whatever a brand’s goals, it’s vital that they get established at the very beginning. Businesses that bypass setting these goals and jump immediately into listening are much less likely to get meaningful results, especially transformational success, out of their experience program.
The Right Data & Technology Lead to Better Intelligence
Many firms believe that data alone can drive business progress and decisions. Typically, this data exists in siloes dedicated to sales, operations, finance, HR, and so on. However, when data is divvied up like this, it can’t accurately inform business decisions. Each data set tells its own story and sees things through its own lens. Without the proper lens, data can send the wrong signals.
Additionally, what’s interesting about data is that even though companies have mountains of it, the reality is only about five percent of firms admit to incorporating experience data into their business decisions at all! If that’s the case, why bother collecting it in the first place? Rather than keep data cooped up, brands should desilo it and connect the dots. Putting the right data together is the first step toward achieving a holistic view of all of your experience efforts (and keeping departments from feeling like they’re working in vacuums).
Actually achieving that holistic vision, though, requires another, more meaningful step: taking action. Human action is what allows data to actually activate every part of a brand from the boardroom to the break room. If you don’t have human energy, all the tech and data in the world can only offer up suggestions, not improvement.
Intelligence Should Always Lead to Action
Taking action means aligning, democratizing, dissecting, and activating feedback across the business, not leaving it siloed up with a department or team. Taking action means changing up feedback methods to be closer to customer and employee intent, not merely reacting to their complaints and tastes.
Finally, taking action means being willing to shake things up when long-standing programs or approaches are not providing the experience they need to provide to impact a stronger bottom line. A lot of companies don’t take any or all of these actions, which is why their programs fail to move the needle.
Just as the quality movement decades ago transformed global manufacturing by changing entire supply chain processes, experience improvement will do the same for businesses now and in decades to come. Experience improvement compels leaders and organizations to be proactively focused on eliminating experience issues’ root causes. This capability doesn’t exist today because current solutions just aren’t designed for it.
Experience Improvement: Attaining Transformational Success
Companies that design customer-driven listening, democratize feedback, utilize human expertise, and take action will transcend experience management and achieve experience improvement. Brands can apply this process to not only create a more meaningful experience and solve problems, but also to acquire new customers, retain existing ones, cross-sell/upsell to the latter, and lower the cost to serve.
Experience management can be achieved through mere measurement; experience improvement, by contrast, allows for both continuous listening and continuous action. It can help guide business decisions while also delighting customers and employees. It serves as a repository of both intelligence and empathy. All told, the brands that achieve experience improvement can and will attain meaningful change and transformational success for themselves and their customers.
Measuring may not make you taller, but meaningful improvement will.
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