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Companies often ask questions that they want answers to instead of letting the customer freely talk about their experience. Without updated, real-time information on what customers think about your company, you are forced to base your questions on “old” feedback, or worse, guess what the customers think. By deciding what your customers might think with regard to, for example, price or service, you naturally run the risk of missing what’s really important to your customers. Maybe the problem lies with the product selection?
It’s common practice to define customer satisfaction through statistics, for example via NPS surveys (Net Promoter Scores). What you end up with is a number such as “7.3 of 10 recommend your company”. This may seem like a positive result, but what does the number really tell you? What is it that makes the customers satisfied or dissatisfied? With relatively simple methods —in this case by activating a function where the customer can provide open feedback in your NPS-survey —you can get valuable information along with the numbers.
It’s natural to react to the loudest complaints instead of objectively reviewing a larger amount of data on customer experience within a specific issue. A problem that a few persistent, dissatisfied customers complain about —particularly if those customers take the time to call the CEO or head of marketing —can be interpreted as being much bigger than it really is, and lead to changes that are misdirected or even unnecessary.
A surprising number of companies are missing explicit processes for identifying exactly what’s gone wrong when the customer experience is poor. This leads you to act on the symptom rather than the underlying cause of the problem. A typical example of this is a company that planned to spend a substantial amount to remedy their “customer service problem” because the customer service function had recently received numerous complaints. When the situation was more closely analyzed, it was found that the customers were generally very satisfied with the company’s customer service. The real problem was a campaign that had made the customers feel deceived. This led to a flood of calls from unhappy customers to customer service, which couldn’t handle all the issues as quickly as usual. The right solution would have been to change the campaign, not customer service.
The collection of CX data is sometimes viewed as an isolated task that isn’t necessarily expected to lead to specific measures. You may have an item in your calendar that says, “carry out customer survey,” but no followup item to identify measures to improve the customer experience based on the feedback from the survey. You measure for the sake of measuring, entirely missing the objective to actually improve your processes. This can be the biggest mistake of them all.
Make sure that you are getting the most out of your CX initiatives by taking them all the way to access truly actionable information. It’s only then that you can use that data to improve the customer experience and make a difference in your results.
According to The Economist, companies are most successful with CX when senior management is engaged. Rydgren emphasizes this and says companies should let the CX work be a strategic issue that runs through the entire business. He likens it to how a company manages its logistics; the solutions need to cover the long term, but also the short term.
“Imagine a grocery store that runs out of a product,” says Rydgren. “With the right logistics solution, the central warehouse can find out before the fact and a shipment be sent out as soon as possible. There is no reason not to act similarly with CX — by continuously following customers’ experiences, we can pick up changes and act on them with the required efforts.”
Going in-depth with CX work and continuously gaining actionable customer insights that guide your company to the right measures obviously sounds good. But how does it work in practice? Dun & Bradstreet already enables real-time monitoring in multiple channels, in terms of both rating and automated text analysis. This way, companies can merge customer input from apps, surveys, social media, customer support, staff reports, comments on the company’s website and so on. It’s then a question of following and actually acting on the input that emerges.
“It’s an ongoing work where we find links between financial results and customer satisfaction in a particular store together with how the store performs in terms of service, product offerings, cleanliness and the like,” says Rydgren. “You can see directly when any area begins to fail and then take counter-measures. By following the development of customer experiences in stores where action has been taken, the method becomes more accurate as well.”
With this kind of CX work, companies see customer experience changes in real time, both in specific stores and in the online shop. You can also refer the change to a specific reason and track how it affects sales volume and profitability. Those who want to make the measures even more powerful can use the option to build a predictive segmentation model.
“Here Dun & Bradstreet’s segmentation and target group solution based on preferences, life stages and purchase opportunities comes into the picture,” says Rydgren. “With an insightful segmentation, we can see which groups have a certain experience and target specific actions to them. All so that the money invested on measures will have as much effect as possible.”
Nicke Rydgren believes that most companies have a lot to gain from taking their CX work to the next level, regardless of the current degree of maturity — there’s always room to become more cutting-edge.
“If you don’t have endless resources, you have to invest in the right initiatives, and the CX work concerns both efficiency and growth.”