What do you expect will have to change in your CX program a year from now?
In your company in the next year, the following will assuredly happen:
- Customer needs will not change at all
- Operations will not implement any process improvements
- Customers will not encounter any meaningful issues that you are not aware of today
- No new products or services will be launched
- No new competitive threats will arise
- No stakeholder will ask for you to do something differently with you CX program
- Customer intelligence needs will remain static
Ok. This is an alternative universe. If your company is like most of the companies we work with, few if any of these things will happen. In fact, we live in a business climate of constant change. Furthermore, the most successful customer feedback and CX management programs are not just responsive to these kinds of changes, they themselves drive change in the form of continuous improvement to the customer experience.
Is your program built only for today’s realities or is your program built to last? Is it built to evolve with your business needs and an ever evolving customer experience?
These 5 elements are key to the long term success of a CX management program:
- Always have a bias toward action
- Flexible and nimble CX Software Platform
- Journey map as an ongoing navigation tool, not a static, high level roadmap
- Analytics that prioritize activity and use of resources
- Connect CX activity to business impact
Always Have a Bias Toward Action
We impact our customers’ experience and the business by taking two kinds of action:
- One-to-one customer response that is geared toward retaining customers and building loyalty. Often this is referred to as customer recovery and uses case management as a primary action tool. More advanced companies use these tools not just for recovery but for addressing proactive opportunities to expand the customer relationship.
- Strategic improvement to channels, processes, policies and other business strategies that improve the customer experience and drive business growth. Often these strategic improvements can be driven by journey mapping efforts as well as advanced analytics. Action planning tools are critical for getting cross functional teams to address these opportunities.
Many programs do one-to-one customer response, however many don’t fully commit to this opportunity, often because the cost/benefit equation has not been clearly understood by senior management. Some companies try to do strategic improvement, but these efforts tend to be less well-developed and less successful due to a variety of organizational issues. Achieving continuous improvement from CX improvement efforts is what differentiates companies that enjoy perennial success driven by their customer efforts.
Flexible and Nimble CX Software Platform
A healthy CX management program is continually changing in a number of ways. If you are not doing many of the following, your program is likely in some level of decay. It is imperative to have a software platform that is flexible to make changes when needed and nimble in that it enables these changes to made quickly, efficiently, and cost effectively.
- Optimizing your feedback instruments; adding/removing diagnostic measures; optimizing to improve response rates; etc.
- Responding to new imperatives in your customers’ journey by adding new measures or a new listening post
- Creating new dashboards and reports to meet the changing needs of end users
- Adding/updating the kinds of alerts you are doing with one-to-one action tools such as case management and marketing automation
- Updating journey analytics, text analytics and pattern recognition that will identify improvement opportunities that can be driven through an action planning tool.
- Adding new VOC sources as they are identified to achieve a true integration of VOC insights and resulting action
- Integrating internal customer data with feedback data such as transactional, usage data, support records, demographics and other customer level syndicated data.
Journey Map as an Ongoing Navigation Tool, Not a Static, High Level Roadmap
We are only a few weeks away from Christmas and inevitably there is a discussion of what is the must-have toy for this season. Well, in our industry the must-have solution this year is journey mapping. Demand for journey mapping has been growing at a steady pace for the last several years. However, like the must-have toy, there is a lot of hype and bandwagon behavior about journey mapping. Journey mapping IS a must-have, but perhaps not in the exact forms that many companies are employing today.
There are several pitfalls that companies fall into when doing journey mapping. A few to avoid are:
- Always have a business outcome in mind when starting journey mapping. Is it just a measurement effort? Are loyalty and retention expected to increase as a result? Will strategic improvements across the journey that drive broad scale business growth? Will company advocates be created as a result? Know what success looks like before you get started. Make sure all participants are on the same page.
- Don’t boil the ocean. Too often, companies try to journey map the entire customer journey and the effort takes too long and finishes with a product that is too complex and hard to consume.
- It is not a one time or once in a while effort. The customer journey is not static and nor should your journey map be. Plan to evolve your journey maps as services and customer needs change.
Journey mapping is a tool for creating organizational alignment behind customer opportunities. When addressed, it will improve the customers’ experience and drive business outcomes for the company. Journey mapping should be about creating a portfolio of opportunities. Each opportunity has a challenge that needs to be addressed, a cost for not doing anything, a benefit for taking action and an assessment of the effort involved to achieve the desired improvement. In this sense, improvements can have an expected ROI and the team can pick and choose where it should place its bets.
Ultimately journey mapping should be the center point and catalyst for your CX management program.
Analytics That Prioritize Activity and Use of Resources
Just as we look at journey mapping as a portfolio of opportunities, we can think of almost all actions of both types listed above as “options”. Frequently, clients will say, “We don’t have the resources to do customer recovery.” Also, we’ll hear things such as, “My NPS score isn’t moving even though I am working on the most negative root causes identified through case management.”
These issues are not dead ends, but rather situations that need strong data analytics. Top notch analytics comes from having advanced analytics tools built right into software and that enable data scientists to generate high quality solutions. Whether it is identifying key drivers to figure out what to work on, determining customer segments who are more likely to have poor experiences, or finding the difference between unhappy customers that shout the loudest and those who are more likely to simply vote with their feet, solid analytics ensures resources are being used efficiently and effectively.
Top notch analytics comes from having advanced analytics tools built right into your software that enable speed and efficiency and smart, experienced data scientists that ensure you have come up with high quality solutions.
Connect CX Activity to Business Impact
There is nothing that drives alignment behind CX initiatives quite like understanding the business impact of these programs. Some current software platforms allow companies to easily import and integrate transactional, usage, support and demographic data into the CX management platform. Having this data integrated allows companies to track the impact of initiatives like customer recovery through case management. Impact on the loyalty of customers across the customer base through strategic improvements.
Increasingly the C-Suite is concerned with customer experience management. Speak their language and that of business leaders across the organization by being able to estimate the ROI of your past and prospective efforts.
Create a Living Program
Don’t let your CX management program become a depreciating asset. Turn it into a living program that grows, matures and becomes more productive with time.
To learn more, join me tomorrow in our webinar called, “When it comes to your CX management program, are you planting an annual or are you planting a perennial? Register for it here.