I was fortunate enough to attend Next Generation CX in Carsbad, CA a few weeks back. It’s a small event with around 200 attendees but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in quality – both in terms of content and the high concentration of CX leaders from the biggest and brightest brands in attendance.
As customers continue to cross channels throughout their journeys, omnichannel continued to be a big focus for discussion – and with good reason. Providing seamless and rewarding omnichannel experiences is a huge challenge but – if you can get it right – potentially extremely lucrative. According to these stats, however, it’s one many companies are struggling to succeed at.
So, how can you meet this considerable challenge head on? Most companies agree about the importance of harnessing VoC to drive CX improvement. However, few do this effectively with the same consistency across each and every channel. In other words, they listen but in a disconnected way. To provide enriching omnichannel CX, you need to listen to your customers consistently across all channels and act on what they say.
Anyway, back to the event – I found sessions from Luxottica (led by Kristen Zavo, Director – Strategic Project and Affiliate Partnerships) and Verizon (led by Justin Reilly, Head of Customer Experience Innovation), both of which coincidentally are OpinionLab customers, particularly informative. These five takeaways from what they said gives a great overview of where the CX profession is at right now and also the importance of connected VoC listening and a seamless and rewarding omnichannel experience:
1: You need to incorporate your customers’ perspective
The speaker from Verizon stressed the importance of “co-creating” with customers and speaking to them regularly. How can you do this? Well, the beauty of the CX and the VoC space at this moment in time is that you have a number of options open to you.
However, providing your customers with the opportunity to talk to you on their terms whenever, wherever and however they want is crucial to identifying their main concerns and – ergo – understanding and prioritizing your CX activities.
Empowered customers – after all – are the key to improved CX. A recent Forrester report implores CMOs to “thrive in the age of the customer by understanding how your customers are evolving and prioritizing changes to match”.
To tap into the considerable value of feedback from your empowered customers, you need to listen across channels in a connected, joined-up way. Only then can you deliver the insight that drives the omnichannel CX improvements you need to make a discernable business impact.
2: Digital is key but how exactly will continue to evolve
Digital has been at the very heart of customer experience for a long time now. At Verizon, for example, onboarding starts digitally – regardless of the specific onboarding method. So, while a customer could sign up for a contract in store the onboarding process takes place through email and various other touchpoints. This in itself is an interesting way to think about how digital can combine with other channels to deliver an enhanced CX overall to your customers. As we look to the future, CX leaders will continue to leverage digital channels in different and innovative ways.
How can you understand whether digital fits with the rest of your customer experience in an effective and seamless way? The first step is a connected VoC listening strategy across all channels.
3: Every touchpoint matters
For Verizon, every touchpoint is now a product. This is a fascinating way to think about CX: in commodifying and breaking down the customer journey in this way, the company is highlighting how every interaction across every interaction point really matters. If just one of these is off, you risk losing a customer – potentially forever.
How can you find out about your weak spots and the exact points in your omnichannel customer journey that you’re vulnerable? Effective and connected VoC listening enables you to diagnose exactly this sort of information, which – once acted upon – can deliver considerable and extensive improvements.
4: CX is about nailing the why
According to the speaker from Luxottica, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Think about it: the why permeates everything you do. What drives the service rep in your contact center? The manager in your store or branch? The web and app optimization teams? They may not know it and they certainly won’t think about it in such defined and rigid terms but your reason for doing what you do dictates everything about how your staff behave. For the best businesses with the clearest brand identities, this is self perpetuating.
By the same token, your customers’ “why” is equally important. Put in simpler terms, you need to understand what motivates them, how and why they make the decisions they do and so on. To understand how your customers tick, provide them with the opportunity to let you know exactly what they think about you across every channel.
5: People don’t even know why they end up buying
This may sound like a strange statement and at face value isn’t particularly helpful when thinking about how you can drive growth in your business. But understanding that your customers are unlikely to be able to specifically articulate their motivations is absolutely crucial to delivering a customer experience that results in success. As the speaker from Luxottica mentioned, most purchase decisions are based on unconscious cues.
Bringing this back to CX and the customer journey, this again highlights the importance of every single interaction and touchpoint across every channel – and, in turn, why connected cross channel listening is so vital.
Are you guilty of disconnected customer listening? Find out with the OpinionLab Strategy Guide: 10 signs you’re guilty of disconnected customer listening.