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Why customer experience management matters

By Vicky Katsabaris

Customer experience (CX) management is a key differentiator for today’s top brands. As customers interact with businesses over a variety of touchpoints and channels, it has become essential to offer a consistently seamless experience.

But while everyone is rushing to launch CX programs, it’s not easy to know where to focus to drive the most value and change.

A well designed CX program should deliver real-time, actionable feedback from customers about their experiences and expectations, as well as their future intentions to recommend or purchase.

It should connect multiple types of feedback across all customer touchpoints, and help organisations to focus on the areas of greatest impact.

Using appropriate customer measures, both lead and lag, organisations can then understand their performance by leveraging real-time stakeholder dashboards and comprehensive reports, that need to be fully adaptable as customer priorities and business needs change.

Employees drive experience

Many organisations forget about the impact employee engagement has on the customer experience. At the end of the day it’s people who drive change and an engaged workforce is essential for long term success of a customer-centric brand.

As employees become more engaged, they naturally produce the customer experiences critical to loyalty and retention. Leading brands understand this connection and manage employee engagement. They understand and remove the barriers for their people to improve customer experience delivery.

Customer feedback is key

Managing the customer experience depends on the ability to build a stable, repeatable process for capturing customer feedback and helping people learn from that feedback so that it is embedded into the way teams work and make decisions every day.

In today’s digitally connected world customers expect to be able to give feedback wherever they interact with an organisation. Doing so at the time of the experience and through the right channel leads to better response rates and overall response quality.

Map the journey, not the moments

Retailers who map the customer journey by segment better understand the unique paths their customers take. This lets them measure things like barriers in the journey, what drives satisfaction, what drives purchase decisions, the relative importance of each stage in the customer journey and more.

Retailers that can tie journey performance metrics to actions can deliver customer experiences that are tailor-made to encourage loyalty and repeat purchases. So it’s important to measure journeys, not just one-off interactions.

According to McKinsey & Company, measuring satisfaction on customer journeys is 30 per cent more predictive of overall customer satisfaction than measuring happiness for each individual interaction.

Furthermore, maximising satisfaction with journeys can increase customer satisfaction by 20 per cent and lift revenue by up to 15 per cent, while reducing the cost of serving customers by as much as 20 per cent.

Organising teams around key journeys allows retailers to join up their functional siloed teams and enable them to work together to innovate and deliver customer value and find ways to improve efficiency which reduces cost.

There are three ideal ways to capture in-the-moment customer feedback:

1. Timing is everything

Understanding when to capture feedback is critical, so that the business can learn about the entire experience and make adjustments quickly. This includes mapping the ‘moments that matter’, which requires asking about the experience after the customer has been through the entire process so they can get a fuller picture of the customer’s perceptions.

2. Get the right feedback to make the best decisions

Just asking the customer for their opinion is not enough. Retailers could be asking the wrong questions, which means they are collecting and measuring data that does not lead to the best decisions. It’s important to ask for more than just whether the customer is satisfied or not. Going deeper with the questions, pulling out a customer’s expectations, drivers and perceptions, will help the business learn how to do things better.

3. Prioritise closing the loop at scale

The faster the business can get customer feedback to the right teams for action, the quicker it can make adjustments to meet the needs of many customers at scale. Making adjustments faster lets customers clearly see the company listened to their opinion. This preserves and deepens trust in the brand, especially if the business identifies problems it can resolve for the customer.

These are just a few tips. I recommend any organisation who is looking to build or start a CX program to read, Customer Experience Management: 5 Competencies for CX Success. The competencies outlined in this Qualtrics e-book detail how organisations large or small can focus on customer needs, inject that view into the company, and use those customer insights to drive business results.

Vicky Katsabaris is a customer experience subject matter expert at Qualtrics

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