Implementing a successful Voice of the Customer program isn't easy, it requires a considerable amount of thought, planning, and once executed, monitoring and improving the programme is essential.
You may be well aware of the different components required to drive a successful customer experience approach, but pulling it together can be tough. In this post we're going to take a look at the 5 CX mistakes you need to avoid making at all costs...
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#1: Failing to build a framework to execute
There are very few CX leaders who lack vision, they can picture their customers going through an effortless and authentic experience but the challenge they face is turning that vision into a reality. CX programmes often fail because they focus all of their energy around the approach, channel and mechanism they're utilising. This means they fail to build the appropriate governance around the programme, allowing the business to make positive changes and execute on the behalf of the customer. This part is without doubt the most important and also the most overlooked, it’s this execution that will truly set you apart from your competitors.
Traditional organisations typically struggle to build an approach that drives action because they are often built around product and functional silos - in this instance you are going to have an uphill struggle ‘operationalising’ changes for the customer. It's important for CX professionals to think about their operations and whether the business is currently built to manage and implement any positive changes. Without the proper governance in place, a business is simply listening and nothing more, this has to change if you want to truly deliver on your customer experience strategy.
A successful Voice of the Customer programme isn't just about working out what channels you'll use or how you'll trigger feedback, a huge and often overlooked part of the program is about how businesses will take feedback and then communicate this to senior management to drive change through their business.
#2: Failing to capture the 'why'
Whether it’s NPS, CSAT or any other CX metric that's used as a lead indicator, brands often make the mistake of focusing their efforts to simply improve this one number. Customer satisfaction goes beyond the number, if you want to truly measure how your customers are feeling, then you need to understand the 'why'.
Understanding the customer experience by one score alone is wishful thinking. Often top line metrics are contradictory, hard to manage and fail to tell the business what they need to know - why are our customers feeling this way and what can we do about it? It's all too easy for brands to say that if the metric improves, it’s seen as a success, regardless of whether or not it’s had an impact on the customer's experience.
Our belief is that customers will tell you what's important to them, it's your job to identify these feedback trends and then drive positive change, that's how you truly improve the customer experience.
#3: Undervaluing the power of your people
Ensuring your organisation provides an excellent customer experience is a role that all employees must participate in. However, it is more critical on the frontline of your organisation due to the level of customer contact on a daily basis.
Often the people that are delivering on the promise of your CX programme are at the bottom of your organisation and are typically viewed as the least skilled. We need to address this thinking culturally, Frontline staff need to be empowered to do more for customers, going beyond the script and believing in the brand's customer engagement program. Go out and speak to them about the programme, involve them in it's development and you'll see engagement increase. It's all about making sure they understand what the business is trying to achieve and how they can make an impact, this will create clarity for the entire function, ensuring everyone is working to the same goal.
If you’re not recognising value in your people and you're not involving them, then your CX development, as an organisation is limited upon the ideas and engagement coming from employees several steps away from the customer. The bottom line? Customer experience initiatives that start at the executive level and cascade down through the organisation are ineffective and often have a negative impact on CX efforts.
#4: Asking too much
Low customer effort is vital especially when it comes to collecting customer feedback. Let’s look at a real example highlighting the difference between a frictionless, low effort experience from easyJet, as opposed to a more lengthy, time consuming feedback process from Expedia.
In this example, easyJet has a post-holiday customer feedback form. It’s nice and simple, you score your experience and leave a comment in your own words and hit submit. The required customer effort is low and EasyJet are asking for feedback in the moment, asking at key points along the customer journey allows you to truly understand what's important to your customers.
Expedia’s approach on the other hand is very different. It's a large survey that goes into more depth and whilst this may give them more data it's important to understand they're making a huge sacrifice with this approach.
Firstly, what's the chance of everyone filling in the whole survey? Brands should be removing the complexity from customers lives, not adding to it, from a customer effort point of view this just isn't convenient. When there’s a ‘13% completed’ bar when you're on page one, you're likely to become un-engaged very quickly resulting in poor response rates.
Secondly, the questions are largely framed by what the business views as important and these topics might simply not matter to the customer. By giving the customer the power to feedback in their own words, we can start to draw a correlation between what they're saying, and what the key drivers of satisfaction are. This is truly empowering for customers and it removes the potential for bias or constructing a survey which typically focuses around the wrong drivers.
Finally, there's nothing real-time about a lengthy survey approach, it's likely that these comments will be fed up to senior management when it's too late to take action or you have already upset a huge proportion of your customer base.
Our suggestion is to simply ask for one score and one comment, soliciting these at the appropriate touch points across the customer journey, just as easyJet do. The process is simple for the customer, leading to higher response rates and real insights for your brand.
#5: Working within silos
If you’re looking to implement your own customer experience program, one of the most challenging things to overcome are departmental and operational silos within your organisation. Even before you reach the implementation stage, you’ll have to navigate the choppy waters of data ownership.
Many companies have different data sets for every single department. Marketing has one set of data, customer service is using another, meaning they aren't sharing their information with each other. This departmental mindset can create silos, whereby the business ultimately suffers because there's no single application where employees can get a complete view of the customer.
One of the most common reasons that these silos exist is because of legacy systems. These have all been built separately, and it's tough when you're a big, established business to change those processes. It's much easier for new companies, with innovative company culture, to make sure that they get those processes right from the beginning.
If you’re not just starting out then it's key to address this problem and you'll need to engage all levels of the business for change to truly happen. If you can get alignment across the business there'll be less friction moving forward, it's about making sure everyone recognises the importance of bringing this data into one central database. Once this transformation is complete, all of your employees will have a clear picture of the journey customers are on, understanding where you're getting it right or where improvements need to be made.
So, who owns this?
In companies with good corporate culture, the CCO will be tasked with putting together teams of people that are really concerned about the customer agenda and represent the customer in the boardroom. Having someone in this role means that C-Level sponsorship is given to customer experience throughout the organisation.
The CCO can then pull the relevant people together from each department, effectively creating a Customer Experience Board and make sure that all of the information held about customers is inputted into a single system, which will then allow him or her to identify the key areas of the customer experience that can be improved and execute necessary changes.
Putting together a board of people who truly care about creating a customer experience is needed now more than ever. When your senior leadership are fully aligned, businesses will see great things happen - the brands see in 10 years time will be the one's that get this right.
CX isn't a walk in the park. Mistakes are easy to make, but by planning appropriately and having the right knowledge will help you avoid them.
Excellent customer experience comes from excellent execution, ensure you have the right governance in place and don’t be tempted to cut corners.
Link customer engagement to ‘real’ business metrics for really accurate monitoring purposes.
Metrics are important, but they're not everything. CX can be measured in a variety of different ways.
Great customer experience is everyone’s responsibility.
When collecting customer feedback, ensure that you keep customer effort low, ask in the moments that matter and allow the customer to tell you what's important to them.
Silos will hold you back, bring all of your customer data into one central database so that ever department can get a true picture of the customer.
Mastering customer experience is key to the success of your business. You won’t always get it right first time, but with awareness of these common pitfalls, you’ll be more informed to make better decisions and truly master CX.
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