A single tweet from an unhappy customer is enough to bring down your business. On the other hand, positive online reviews from happy and satisfied customers could lead you to stellar success. This makes customer experiences the new competitive battlefront.
The survival and success of your company depend on the customer experiences you provide. This is something people working in customer service understand well. They also know that people in operations, sales, marketing, and finance are surprisingly resistant when you ask them for the data needed to drive up the business’ Net Promoter Score (NPS). This is not a good sign and one of the reasons an integrated CX/VX solution is needed.
The Problem with CX and Over-Reliance on Metrics
One of the biggest challenges faced by customer experience (CX) personnel is getting the data they need from the rest of the organization for the things they want to change. As the CX program matures and we move from one stage to another, the priority of certain matters also shifts.
When you begin the program, industry metrics are the only measures you have. Soon, you start to think about how an investment would cut costs, improve revenue, increase profitability, and accomplish other important things.
Since you are just starting out, you don’t know for certain what will happen. Therefore, you start to make predictions based on what the industry claims to be true. This makes sense and it resonates with people because they understand intuitively that there is value in customer experience. However, there is a possible trap here.
As a customer service leader, you may tell yourself that you have justified the program’s investment and that you want to track those metrics to ensure what you predicted half a year ago is coming true. Slowly but surely, you’re trapped into proving that those metrics apply specifically to your company.
The above-mentioned scenario points out a trap and you need to move away from it. Often, we are led astray by our corporate obsession with metrics. We focus completely on improving efficiency in order to just ‘prove’ the ROI, losing sight of the actual customer experience.
Too Many Confounding Variables
Since there are ‘too many’ confounding variables, claiming that a program or area of focus had a specific impact on one of the top-level metrics is virtually impossible. All sorts of things that are not related to the customer experience program such as a change in price, a change in market demands, or a change in customer usage could all be happening at the same time or not at all.
Therefore, it is virtually impossible to prove that the reason for the lowered costs, improved revenue, or improved profitability is due to a program or area of focus.
Even if you could do the above, you will go into a defensive state if other stakeholders claim that the observed change is due to their contributions. Since everybody gets it, making the initial business case is enough. People believe in you, give you money, tell you to hire people and programmers, and ask you to bring the thing onboard.
Things are fine until you get to Phase 2. This is when you realize that you can’t figure out how ‘X’ directly impacts revenue, profitability or the bottom line. Additionally, you can’t act, and you can’t get finances to support your endeavors. So, what can you do? You start the fact that you improved NPS, loyalty, or CSI. Again, this only works for a limited time and you eventually return to square one.
The Problem with Focusing on Customer Loyalty Metrics
Since NPS and loyalty scores are their metrics, you should expect the customer loyalty personnel to get all the plaudits. In the beginning, everyone gets behind the customer loyalty people, asking them to make ‘X’ successful. Additionally, VPs talk up the metrics of the customer loyalty people as the best thing since sliced bread.
All goes well in the beginning but things start to change in two to three years’ time. At this point, when you go up to the customer loyalty team members and ask them to try and improve customer satisfaction, they come back complaining they aren’t getting any credit even though they’re doing all the work.
So, while customer loyalty metrics are important, they cannot be the be-all-end-all for your customer experience. Your program needs to be impactful as well as sustainable and this cannot be achieved by focusing solely on customer loyalty metrics.
Focusing on Areas and Metrics Important to Your Customers
Each department or functional team has their own unique goals that are handed down to them year after year. For this reason, a good thing to do would be focusing on areas and metrics that are important to customers. It is no secret that teams have limited resources. Therefore, you need to get everyone in your company on the same page.
You can do this by identifying and communicating what’s important to customers. This is where functional teams should focus their limited resources. Not only will help to improve performance numbers, but it will also help to deploy resources to areas that matter the most to your customers.
Chasing the Right Customer at the Right Time
How do you make your referral program robust to help salespersons close deals faster? What you are seeing now is a bit scattered and the reason for this is confusion about the sentiment. You are unsure about which customers are most likely to provide the best referrals.
To find this out, you need to understand the emotions and sentiments of the customers, how loyal they are, how likely they are to recommend, and other similar factors. In short, you need the information that allows you to systematically pursue the right customers at the right time. From both a marketing and sales perspective, this has a real impact on the business.
Improving Employee Engagement
Highly engaged employees are less likely to leave the company. For this reason, partnering with HR on employee engagement is important. Partnering with HR is important because when you connect them to the customer, they can leverage the data from the entire organization to get the job done. This can be applied to virtually every functional team. You help the program to evolve by dealing with finance on pricing, HR on employee engagement, marketing on leads, and sales on revenue.
The Importance of Integrated CX/VX Solution
The above provides enough reasons to have an integrated CX/VX solution. By leveraging the data or information obtained from the CX/VX program, you can allow your employees to act.
Now, the question is why we don’t design such a program from the outset when we know it has an immediate impact on the business as opposed to going the traditional way? The main resistance is from people who aren’t even sure what this means and why there is a need to do it. You need to overcome this challenge and get other functional teams to buy into your vision and how you, as the person in charge of customer experience, can help them.
If you’re setting up a new customer experience unit within your organization, start by going to all those other folks, find out what they measure, what’s important to them, and how you can help them while also ultimately helping your customer experience metrics. After all, the end game is Customer Experience!
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