Customer Experience Strategies: Tips From Annette
I recently connected with Annette Franz, creator of the well-known blog CX Journey. Over the course of her career she has focused on helping companies improve both the the employee and customer experience strategies through the use of software platforms and VOC strategies. She had plenty of great insights to share with us on where CX is heading, and the technology trends driving this evolution.
The concept of delivering an exceptional customer experience (CX) is nothing new in business. So, why do industry experts believe that CX will become the “new competitive battlefield”?
That’s a great question. If the experts don’t think that people have been voting with their wallets and their feet for years, then they are sadly misguided. By the way, they’ve been calling it the “new competitive battlefield” for the last five years, if not longer!
So, let’s just be real about it. It’s not new. The purpose of a business is to create and to nurture a customer. If you’re not doing what’s right for and by the customer, why are you in business? And why would a customer do business with you?
In your opinion, what are the key performance indicators (KPI’s) that help measure the effectiveness of a CX program or initiative?
In order to measure the effectiveness or success of any strategy, you need metrics or KPIs. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, right? You can’t track success – and, hence, know when it’s time to pivot – without identifying metrics that define and measure success. Define those metrics early on so that you can pivot, if/when needed.
One of those elusive – yet most-sought-after – success metrics is ROI. ROI is important to understanding and measuring success, not just to building the business case. If, in the end, you make improvements, and there are no benefits, financial or otherwise, then the effort was wasted. No executive wants to (or will) support that.
There are a host of other KPIs that you can use: customer satisfaction, NPS, repurchase revenue, referrals, first call resolution, etc. Pick the one that best matches your initiatives and, especially, your desired outcomes.
Overcoming Customer Experience Challenges
What are the biggest challenges/obstacles to delivering a great CX program or initiative?
The list of obstacle is pretty extensive, but I’ll focus on three that come to mind quite easily and are foundational elements to the success of any CX initiative:
- Lack of executive commitment: without it, you won’t get the resources – human, financial, or other – to transform the organizational culture and the way the company does business.
- Siloed organizations and efforts: when organizations are siloed, they don’t communicate efficiently, share data, or do anything in a cohesive manner; the customer suffers as a result.
- Inside-out thinking: when leadership thinks that they know best, that they know what’s best for the customer without listening to or asking the customer, then they make decisions based on their own perspectives. This is inside-out thinking; it is faulty thinking because rarely does it take into consideration what’s best for the customer.
How Technology Is Shaping Customer Experience Strategies
What are some of the major technology trends shaping CX in 2017?
I’ve been talking lately about this particular “customer experience stack:” a VoC platform, analytics (predictive/prescriptive, text, sentiment) platform(s), a journey mapping platform, and a customer communications management system.
With these tools in your toolbox, you can listen to your customers, understand them, characterize them, and empathize with them; they also ensure that you deliver an experience that is relevant, consistent, and personalized.
Text analytics is a technology that is said to be a game-changer in CX. What’s your advice for companies looking to leverage unstructured customer feedback?
My advice: embrace it. Unstructured customer feedback is a goldmine. It is rich with not only deeper insights into what has gone right and wrong – in the customer’s own words, not in your survey lingo – but also with tone, feelings, and emotions. Customers are often candid in their writing and provide feedback without the limitations that rigid survey questions have. Unstructured feedback adds color and clarity to your structured data.
Which industries do you believe can benefit the most from integrating text analytics into their VOC and overall CX strategy?
Quite simply, all industries benefit from integrating text analytics into their CX strategies. No one is immune. Customers provide feedback through whatever channels or formats they prefer. Companies need to be prepared to mine that feedback – and if it’s unstructured, then they need the right tools to easily make sense of it.