Turn Customer Experience (CX) into an Insights Machine: Four Stages to Connect Customer Feedback with Company Revenue

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CX Professionals will be in a stronger position by aligning CX initiatives with business results. Use these four steps to mature your process and turn your customer feedback channels into insight and action generators.

One of the stickiest challenges facing department heads these days is incorporating the Voice of the Customer (VoC) into their daily business and how to report that value back to the business. Most business leaders know that Customer Experience (CX) programs require constant oversight and evolution. But it is less clear how to tie the improvements CX programs make on the customer to the bottom line of the business.

According to a 2021 commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Alchemer, 86% of organizations say that improving CX is a high or critical priority, followed by 80% of organizations saying that connecting insights to action is a high or critical priority.

Business leaders tend to understand the importance of CX; but they often do not know how to initiate and grow a CX program. We know that CX is critical to business success, but a key component of any CX role is communicating that value out to the rest of the organization.
This article helps you prepare for that conversation with your C-Suite. This groundwork will be useful if you are considering implementing CX or VoC program, or evolving the program you already have in place. Each CX program is in a constant state of evolution. I intend to make that evolution easier for you by showing you how to prove ROI from the most basic level to the most complex.

Start with a Beacon Metric

Forrester recommends establishing a CX beacon metric — the CX metric that serves as an organization’s key performance indicator for CX success. The beacon metric should not just help you gauge overall success and align employees, but serve as a starting point for a measurement architecture.

At the beginning, do not overthink it. NPS is the most popular beacon metric because it is simple and easy for everyone to understand. If you are just starting (or re-starting) your CX program, you need to establish a link between CX and the core business. The CX beacon metric can help you make that connection in the minds of the C-Suite.

Forrester Data: How To Select The Right CX Beacon Metric, Aug 2, 2021 (US)

Leaders of nascent CX programs need to establish a beachhead. NPS is not perfect, but it is a great place to start the journey.

NPS can work in the absence of better options but be flexible. Forrester acknowledges the success of NPS, but notes in the same report that executive usage was down 5% in one year. I concur with the Forrester report, which states that: “CX professionals shouldn’t automatically default to metrics like NPS or CSAT just because they’re popular. Instead, they should find the beacon metric that’s most effective for their organization.”

Remember: It is better to choose an imperfect metric now than to be without data later. NPS, CSAT, or a custom metric — choose the one that works for your organization and implement it as soon as possible. Over time the data collected through these metrics will be foundational for how your CX program will evolve over time.

Iterate on Your Beacon Metrics to Take Action

NPS is not perfect. It allows CX professionals to understand nuance and enable action. But NPS is simply a number; one indicator at a moment in time.
NPS can be directionally accurate and precisely wrong. Start with NPS, but plan to iterate on your beacon metric too. At the very least, add an open text box to your NPS survey question in order to initiate an action. An open text box empowers you to fix the problems the customer may be raising. The most powerful information you may receive across your CX program is the direct feedback you receive when asking your customer directly what you can do to improve their experience.

For instance, we have many customers who integrate Alchemer with Slack, giving them the ability to broadcast NPS survey results to the company. As companies evolve, they add places to drive action from their NPS survey— for instance, a company could use certain NPS results to trigger customer support tickets ensuring the loop is closed with the customer providing the feedback. The best CX companies route feedback to the departments and individuals who can address the customer’s feedback. Integrations with your CRM, case management, and enterprise communication tools can make this process effortless.

If the first step is simply tracking a key metric, the next step is about taking action on that key metric. Set up a more advanced Beacon Metric, like NPS + open text, to enable your team to distribute and act on customer feedback.

Run Correlation Analysis to Take Smarter Actions with Specific Segments

An NPS survey with an open text field allows teams to collect enough data to perform a correlation analysis — a measurement of the degree to which a pair of variables are linearly related. This involves taking a strategic step back to determine where the patterns lie within the business in order to capitalize on efficiencies or make other process improvements.

For instance, Alchemer does more than just track our NPS score. We analyze segments like Promoter, Detractor, and Passive to determine their conversion and re-subscribe rates, and to make more informed business decisions.

Correlation analysis may lead to interesting patterns you would not have thought would emerge. For example, would you be surprised to learn that the customers with passive scores are most likely to churn? Understanding who the data correlates to in your business operation may lead to new and insightful approaches to engaging your customers that, at first, may not have been obvious.

Correlation analysis has given our business a unique view of our specific customer segments and this has allowed our Service, Support, and even Marketing teams to respond in ways customized to better serve that customer.

Combine Data for a Fuller Picture of Customer Feedback

The next evolution of CX programs is to incorporate VoC across the enterprise. Combining and analyzing this data along with other critical business data can be done within Business Intelligence (BI) or customer data platforms.

I have seen survey data fused with operational and transactional data at a customer level in action, and it is indeed powerful. For example, combining your CX data with your customer data from your CRM really provides the platform to start taking your business decision making processes to the next level.

By combining customer feedback with operational and transactional data, you are enabling a correlation between CX metrics (like your beacon metric) and key business and financial results. This effort will continue to prove the organizational value of CX, which will help you secure resources and internal support for your program.

True Success Measured Over Time

The value of your CX program only becomes apparent when you measure key metrics over time and close the loop with your customers. Your challenge is to select the best metric for your business, add complimentary metrics to develop context, leverage your customer feedback to drive customer action, evolve your CX program to run more complex analysis, and feed the expectations for data you are creating in your C-Suite.

Build your CX program over time by baselining and tracking the metrics that matter to your business, as outlined in a recent Forrester report, The ROI of CX Transformation:

“Models predict success (or failure), while measurement programs prove success or failure. To determine whether your CX transformation achieved the ROI you predicted, pick the metrics you’ll use to gauge success — like increased satisfaction and reduced customer churn — and record your current baseline or starting point…If reality falls short of your original forecast, adjust the model with new assumptions based on what you observe.”
Forrester Data: The ROI Of CX Transformation, Jan 22, 2021 (US)

Use these four stages to gauge your current performance and determine your next steps to achieve a higher state of CX evolution. The rewards of a successful CX program will be felt by both your customers and the success of your business.

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