Customer Experience Truth #9 – Data Is Critical To A Successful Customer Experience Program

In my overview of CXP Bootcamp, I noted that there are 5 core criteria to a successful Customer Experience program. Each of those aspects is heavily rooted in data, so I’d like to focus this post on the data points you’ll want to focus on.

Effectively Represent, Interpret, And React To Your Customers’ Needs.

In order to understand and project customer need, you need information from your customers. The best way to gather this data is with a mix of activity:

  • Listening Posts:  Listening posts give your customers the opportunity to push feedback to you when they want to. Depending on your business, you may want to have your own internal feedback community (check out Communispace as an example). Within your online products, feedback communities like UserVoice and Get Satisfaction are popular for a good reason. Wherever you set up your listening posts, make sure you are focusing on the right places. From Customer Experience Truth #3, “If you’re not listening in the right places, then you’re listening to the wrong people – the background noise – that can potentially drive you to focus on the wrong projects.”
  • Analytics: You should be pulling in click data from your product as well as from the corporate web site and online help center. This will give you information not only on where things may be going wrong, but also what your customers are most interested in. You may find that your customers are most interested in a product feature that you have no information in your help center about.
  • Support Center: Information that comes from the support center is critical to understanding what triggers customer dissatisfaction, as well as where you can improve your self-service features.
  • Communications: You are pushing communications to your customers regularly. Do you review the report data and evolve your programs based on what customers respond to?

Create A Network Of Customer Evangelists Throughout Your Organization.

The critical piece to having this network of Customer Evangelists is that they are a persistent driving force when it comes to maintaining a focus on customer centricity in product and process design. In order to do this, your Customer Evangelists need to have data to back their statements. The data captured from your listening posts will help in building cases and prioritizing projects.

  • Product: Designers and developers want to understand which aspects of your products and services generate the most revenue, and which have the potential to generate even more revenue if x, y, and z happen.
  • Sales: If Sales doesn’t understand what triggers a customer to be satisfied or dissatisfied, then how will they know how to position your product or services to future buyers?
  • Marketing: Marketing will benefit a great deal from knowing what types of information customers want to receive, as well as the kinds of offers that will resonate the most with existing customers.
  • Support: As support organizations continue to be faced with limited resources, it will be increasingly important to make sure the self-service options provide the right kind of information, organized in a way that your customers can find help when they want it.
  • Finance: Finance needs to understand where to best invest their budgetary resources. Customers will let them know where the company performs poorly.

Focus On Company Culture.

Your employees carry an equal amount of weight when it comes to delivery of your experience promise. If your employees are unhappy, do you think they will live and breathe the company’s core values? If your employees believe that the company does not follow through on its promises to them, will they believe and act as if the company follows through on its promises to their customers?

Dissatisfied Employees = Dissatisfied Customers, period.

If your company doesn’t have a bottomless pit of funds to make every employee esctatic, that’s ok. In Customer Experience Truth #5 I stated: “Continued investment in ensuring your employees are happy and motivated will go a long way when it comes to your company’s ability to deliver on your experience promise.” You’ll also find some suggestions for ways to show your employees you care.

Use A Mix Of Quantitative And Qualitative Data.

Make sure you inject a survey program into your Customer Experience Initiatives. There is a key difference between a listening post and a customer survey: listening posts give customers the chance to submit feedback when they feel compelled to, whereas customer surveys solicit feedback from customers who otherwise may not have voiced their opinion. {See 6 Reasons Why You Should Survey Your Customers.}

The caveat with this kind of data is that you need to make sure that you’re not saying “how high” when a customer asks you to jump. Qualitative data should be used to back up quantitative metrics, add color and context, and make the information you have come to life for those you are trying to persuade.

Maintain Executive Buy-In To Drive Change.

As stated in Customer Experience Truth #1, it’s critical to make sure everyone understands what can and cannot be measured. You need access to the right kind of data in order to do this. In order to obtain and maintain Executive Buy-in, you will need to make sure that you are able to capture metrics that impact each person and can speak to the work their parts of the organization are doing. Remember, Everyone needs to agree that this set of metrics is what will be used to measure return. {{{ link to customer experience truth #6 }}}

Next, we’ll discuss Customer Experience Truth #10 – It Is Possible To Create A Globally Consistent, Yet Culturally Refined Customer Experience.

This post is 10 of 16 in a Series on CXP Fundamentals. Read more about CXP Bootcamp here.

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