Company culture and the attitudes within the departments responsible for collecting and sharing their customer’s voice can make a big impact on how useful these programs can be. The overarching purpose of transactional CX programs is to measure the customer’s impression with each touchpoint involved in their purchase process. These programs serve as a pulse and disaster check when accompanied by a closed loop mechanism. With closed loop transactional programs, a predetermined formula for a negative experience is defined. When a customer submits a survey response that meets this criterion, their response is flagged for follow-up. Issues can be rectified by a customer service representative, a store manager, or another designated employee of the organization.
Depending on where your organization is on the journey to CX maturity, a transactional CX survey may be your only consistent form of customer feedback, or it may be one of many tools in your voice of the customer (VOC) landscape. Most organizations are aware of the strong connection between positive customer experience, loyalty, increased spend and positive word of mouth leading to new business growth. However, most organizations have yet to get below the surface on the potential for improvement expressed through their VOC landscape.
As with any endeavor to explain human behavior, the more inputs we have, the more complete the picture we can paint (explaining more of the variance in our overall business performance). For this reason, ENGINE recommends creating a robust VOC landscape and establishing an ongoing plan to implement improvement initiatives carried out by cross-functional teams.
Gathering data from multiple sources is preferred for three reasons:
- A more complete view of the end-to-end customer experience is obtained
- Unanticipated areas of delight, disaster, or development (think whitespace) are more likely to be uncovered
- It is easier to gain consensus on which CX improvement initiatives to implement
So, what other sources are most beneficial in your quest to improve CX and positively impact your own organizational performance? Contrary to popular thought, not all additional sources come from customer surveys. A wealth of information about your customers and how they interact with your business is likely stored within your customer relationship management system (CRM). Information such as the number of times a customer has made a purchase, how frequently they purchase, their average spend, tenure with your company, and demographic characteristics (age, geographic location, preferred payment method, etc.) may already be within your grasp.
This data gains additional power when a 1:1 connection can be made with individual CX feedback. By connecting CRM and direct CX feedback, predictive analytics can be employed which guide your organization on the most cost-effective and beneficial path to improved CX and business outcomes.
As noted, the more inputs you have, the more complete your picture of CX will be. In addition to transactional CX surveys, a robust CX program will also seek out direct customer input on relationship strength, reasons for attrition/churn and reasons for selecting your brand. Exceptional programs incorporate the voice of their own employees and connect their feedback directly with customer input to dive deeper into the reasons for delight and disappointment. Connecting with employees also provides great insight as to where efforts for improvement need to be focused. Your employees navigate through the systems and processes in place daily experiencing first-hand how business rules and procedures impact customers. Who better to ask for inspiration on improvement planning than those with the most to gain?
Up to this point, we have discussed the inputs necessary to act on your top CX priority -improving the experience you are providing or keeping up your own house. However, your customers do not experience your offer/service/product in a vacuum. They are constantly comparing their experiences across the range of companies with which they do business. If your organization is not keeping up with the high standards set by experience leaders, you can bet your competition will be looking for ways to one up you. To stay in step with the industry and most importantly customer expectations, thorough organizations also gather blinded intelligence from their existing and potential customers. This allows for an apples-to-apples comparison of your organization’s performance relative to that of your key competitors.
Unsolicited customer feedback is yet another avenue for exploration depending on your business offer. If your organization operates a call center, incorporation of key metrics such as most frequent call themes, number of calls required for resolution and talk time or call duration will give insight into areas of improvement that will positively impact customer experience as well as help you reduce overall costs. Social media sites are another outlet customers use to provide unsolicited feedback. While some industries live on social media and gain a great deal of positive and negative posts, others are less likely to have a high frequency of mentions. Regardless of the frequency, it is a wise practice to monitor social media for mentions. This can help you capitalize on positive trending comments or pick-up on emerging issues and remedy them before they are experienced by a large portion of customers.
Finally, while survey data remains the clearest way to answer direct questions about CX, third party data can also be incorporated to give greater understanding to customer behavior patterns. ENGINE routinely incorporates third party behavioral data, such as web surfing patterns with CX and CRM data, to help define your organization’s most valuable target customers. This information can then be used to create targeted audiences to help you acquire new customers with similar behaviors, attitudes and characteristics as those of your loyal, valuable existing customers.
Advice in Practice – Reversing Negative CX and Declining Sales through Integration of VOC and VOE Data
In working with one of our luxury retail client’s transactional VOC programs, we noticed significant declines in overall CX among a number of previously well performing locations. After consulting with the client and a brief internal investigation, it was confirmed that these stores had also experienced a corresponding decline in sales during the same period. A thorough review of customer comments in combination with comments from the corresponding employee engagement survey we conducted for this client revealed a disconnect between staffing and traffic volumes.
In discussing the results with all impacted stakeholders, the operations team was able to connect a policy change that recalibrated staffing volumes with the declines. While the algorithm they applied had worked well for the vast majority of locations, at those highlighted in our analysis, the staffing reduction effort was not warranted. The team quickly reevaluated staffing at each of the impacted locations relative to traffic volumes and adjusted the number of associates on the floor at peak times. Within one month of the adjustment, the stores saw positive change in employee morale, CX ratings and a steady reversal toward positive sales growth.
ENGINE’s approach to CX meets you where you are. We help organizations identify and fill existing knowledge gaps to create a robust VOC landscape. Whether your program is fully executed or just getting off the ground, we are here to help you connect the necessary inputs to guide your organization toward improvements that will benefit your customers and help you achieve desired business outcomes. Let us know how we can help.
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