This week, alongside industry experts from Mastercard, AlienVault, and OpenWater, SurveyGizmo hosted an hour-long webinar that discussed the details of building an integrated customer experience program in a modern organization.
- To lay a solid foundation for a successful customer experience program, it needs to be integrated into the business strategy and considered the strategy’s backbone.
- There are five key criteria to look at when examining customer interaction to determine what comprises a good or bad experience: active listening, clear communication, critical thinking, curiosity, and empathy.
- Develop and hone meaningful relationships with your customers through regular check-in’s, face-to-face meetings (try a video meeting!), and establish a connection through small talk.
- Maximize the customer experience by measuring and observing, finding the root cause, fixing the root cause, and measuring and observing again.
- Foster a feedback culture where all and any feedback is welcome and encouraged. The age-old “help us to help you” mentality should not be scoffed at, but honestly embraced across the organization.
Start by Laying a Solid Foundation for CX Success
“Having a great consumer experience isn’t just about having a defined CX program. What sets apart organizations that have great customer experience programs is successfully integrating that into who they are as a business,” said Emilie Kroner, North America Solutions Director, Merchants at Mastercard.
“What is fundamental is that it can’t be a single initiative that’s performed by one group or a single person within an organization. It needs to be an integrated part of the who the business is, and the fabric of how the business makes decisions. And then, ultimately, what customers experience as part of that brand,” said Kroner.
Kroner left us with a handful of great tips on how to lay a foundation that an integrated CX program rests and operates on. Integration throughout the organization is key to the success of the program. When CX exists in silos, the program risks becoming short-sighted, inaccessible, and inefficient.
- Establish an “Army of Customer Advocates” to manage CX by designating a CX champion in each department. This designation will help cultivate a customer-first culture while breaking down silos.
- Implement the right digital technologies to reach target consumers at the right time in the right place and with the right message all in the name of experience.
- To ensure a customer-centric culture stays intact throughout the maturity of an organization, regularly measure employees on their ability to deliver against the customer strategy.
When using data to improve CX, it’s not about quantity; it’s about the insights you draw from what you have and how you put those insights into action.
“It’s about taking all of that data and turning it into something, rather than letting it sit in a vast data warehouse that you rarely touch,” says Kroner.
Making sense of the vast amount of data collected on consumers from clickstream data, browsing data, Net Promoter Score, and survey data — to name a few of the many different data collection points throughout the customer journey — is about being smart with that data, not the amount of data you have.
Keep Your Finger on The Pulse of Internal Interactions with Customers to Continuously Refine CX
“We’ve all had good and bad experiences personally and professionally when we’ve called into a customer support line, for example,” says Theresa Delgado, CX Director at OpenWater. “When I’m evaluating my team, there are five key criteria that I take a look at when I’m taking a look at their interactions with our customers.”
- Empathy: You want to have compassion and understanding for the customers that you are talking to, not output the feeling of interacting with a bot or a computer, but foster a human-to-human experience.
- Active Listening: We have seen the rise of more online chat interactions instead of phone calls. With chat, for example, the intonation of the person’s voice is lost, and it’s not clear as to precisely what the person is trying to say.
- Clear Communication: Being clear with the words that you are typing during the chat conversation is key.
- Critical Thinking: Strategically evaluate what the problem is the customer is experiencing. Throw out judgment and preconceived notions and analyze the issue at hand objectively. Using clear communication and empathy, thinking critically during customer interactions can not only improve the experience and your customer relationship, but it will help you ask the necessary questions that will help formulate a well-reasoned solution.
- Curiosity: Sometimes when you are working with customers, you have to play detective and read between the lines as to exactly what’s going on and what the root cause of the situation and the problem is that they’re having.
Maximize Experience Throughout The Customer Journey
After integrating CX into the core business strategy and evaluating customer interactions from an internal team perspective, it’s worth noting that the refinement process is not done. In fact, one key takeaway I learned from these experts, is that perfecting CX is ongoing and never done. If you consider your experience as “perfect” or an area of your business that doesn’t need investment because the company is retaining customers and making repeat sales, think again.
Don’t settle for good enough and get comfortable with offering static experiences. Your consumer’s needs and desires and expectations change regularly. The experience you provide should mold to those changes, and that means continually tweaking and refining it.
“The general way that we look at customer experience is to measure, be really observant, and find the root cause of issues that are causing our customers to not have a great experience with us, fix those root causes and then go right back to measuring and observing,” said Don Field, VP of Customer Experience at AlienVault.
If you only look at CX survey results, you might just see a happy customer. As Field explained, there always is more that can be done to improve the experience. While you may have delighted and satisfied customers who return to purchase your product or service and speak highly of your company, there is always something more you can offer them.
By always putting the customer first, you will find yourself asking, “How is this going to better for the customer?” With this proactive mindset, while sometimes could end up being costlier for the business initially, can be a cost saving in the long-term.
Foster a “We Love Feedback” Culture
From marketing to sales and partners, everyone in your organization should know that you’re an organization that not only embraces feedback of all shapes and sizes, but that uses that input for the betterment of the company, it’s experience, and the products or services it offers.
“We’re not going to be sad that you told us something didn’t work right,” says Field “Instead, we’re going to thank you because by giving us feedback about the issues that you’re seeing, you’re helping us improve what it is that we do.”