As I have discussed previously, the experience of a service or product is the basis on which judgements are made about future purchase. Positive customer experiences drive future loyalty, while negative customer experiences lead to dissatisfaction and defection. Unpacking this further, there are three key areas where a great CX program can impact your business.
The brand promise
What your organisation communicates to the market and customers about what to expect.
The customer experience
The actual customer experience delivered.
The brand experience
The intersection of promise and experience – where the customer forms their judgement vis-à-vis what was promised.
What is ‘impact’ in the context of CX?
A great CX program links the customer experience feedback with defined processes and application of processes to find opportunities to improve delivery to meet customer expectations.
No service or product is perfectly delivered. And more importantly, it is not always delivered to the level expected by the customer. A good CX program measures what matters to the customer and identifies how the measured experiences drive their overall judgements about future use, recommendation and value (spend).
At Evolved, we define the ‘impact’ of a CX program as the ability to drive positive change. This can be change in:
- Processes – The underlying systems that organisations create to deliver the product and experience. Bain called this ‘outer loop’ where pervasive actions can drive pervasive improvements. A good example is how rostering systems can drive significant improvements in employee satisfaction with flow on effects to customers.
- Application of processes – Even if processes are optimised, their inconsistent application can lead to variation in delivery quality, which shows up in a spectrum of customer experiences. This is Bain’s ‘inner loop’, where improvement can be sought in how frontline managers and people deliver against the desired service standards
Why existing CX programs fall short
The most common failing of CX programs is that they measure a lot but change little – that is, they have no impact. This generally happens for several reasons:
- The feedback lacks specificity to identify root causes and hence, is not actionable – this is why Conversational AI is such a brilliant breakthrough technology for CX. It clearly identifies what is happening and tells you why by using a combination of live, two-way conversations with customers and delivering answers to you with advanced text analytics.
- The feedback is presented in a way that mispresents the root cause. For example, satisfaction with call centre wait times. A 180 second wait time may be adequate for some types of enquiries but not others – with customer anxiety being the moderating factor. The impactful insight is to route calls based on issue rather than a blanket ‘reduce wait time’.
- The feedback is not timely – this is where dynamic dashboards powered by text analytics are game changers. You can literally see issues surfacing in real-time and address emerging issues before they become a crisis.
- No alignment in internal resourcing and structure. Unfortunately, not all organisations are set-up to address feedback effectively. Accountability is a key concept to ensure that any specific opportunities that arise can find an owner who has the imprimatur to take action to address it.
How to achieve impact from your CX
1) Set targets that motivate
When feedback is about application of processes, i.e. most pertinent to front-line managers and customer-facing staff, having a customer feedback KPI in place, drives behaviours. Too often people are told to focus only on financial metrics, which are lag metrics. Previous blog posts have referenced the importance of the psychological elements of CX including the impact of gamification methods such as league tables and celebrating achievements. One of my favourite methods was the ‘advocatenometer’ we created for a client. It looked like a mercury thermometer but every time someone rated as an NPS promoter, an accrued count went up with key milestones celebrated (congratulations, you have created your 1000th brand advocate).
2) Know your lead metrics
A good CX program identifies lead metrics and sets service thresholds that can set KPIs. This requires integrating operational data with CX data to model cause and effect and then identifying what is acceptable and unacceptable performance. Showing lead operational metrics with CX metrics together and understanding relationships is often a challenge, though the rewards of achieving it are significant.
3) Link actions with data
Last but not least, even when actions are taken, it is easy to rely on supposition to infer their impact and credit success. Our Action Connect tool addresses this by linking actions to specific feedback using key word analysis. This creates a direct link between an issue, its resolution, and impact on customer experience. A great CX program can show ROI by demonstrating how changes driven by the program have generated improvements.
CX & continuous optimisation
With all these issues addressed and capabilities in place, you can be confident that your CX program is going to have impact. The system itself is primed to deliver. However, there is really no end point where you can take your foot off the accelerator. Great programs reset KPIs and work the distribution – that is, focus on comparing the high and low performances to understand the reason for variation. That variation can almost always be found, and there is always some incremental way to improve. Often (and happily) this process also lowers the cost to service as increasingly efficient service delivery costs less.