The discussion about the best way to evaluate and improve CX values has gained momentum, yet many businesses are still not sure if it is all just a well crafted spiel. This is not to say they don’t believe that customer experiences matter or have value. It just means they’re not sure how to measure it, or which team should be given the responsibility to evaluate and improve it.
This post by Made My Day blog aims to examine the complexities in determining CX values and explores the various steps businesses can take to improve them.
What makes evaluating CX so complex?
The very essence of CX makes it difficult to measure using data from one single point or metric. CX is the sum of all of a customer’s experiences with a business, and cannot be whittled down to the value of any one interaction that your customers have with your business. CX scores reflect the overarching value of your customers’ relationship with your business and all businesses are aware of how important customer relationships are.
This is why every business, even within the SaaS fold, spends a good deal of time and money developing and shoring up their CRM applications. It’s no secret that effectively managing your customers’ relationship with your business translates to revenue and growth. So while businesses everywhere understand that CRM is critical for business, not all of them believe that CX is crucial for success.
Assigning a value to CX is mystifying because it involves attributing values to subjective qualities, like how a customer feels about a business or their perceptions about the business’s advertising and marketing. It also has to do with their comfort levels in accessing or navigating through your website, the purchase process, and after-sales service, which is all relative.
People are unique, and as such every customer feels differently about things. So what is excellent in one customer’s opinion could be a total disappointment for another. Then comes the fact that CX is susceptible to moods, current events, locations, peers, and pure need—not to mention wants and expectations. In a phrase, CX is more about the whole composition of the business, while CRM is the element that measures business operations and growth.
Fixing responsibility for CX is difficult when marketing, sales, and support teams all take credit and responsibility forthe customer. Ideally this should make for a more united front. But when people and teams work in dedicated silos and share data sparingly, every request and interaction can lead to a debate or worse, a critique of function, operations, and the business process. Though technology has made it possible to integrate relevant data from all teams with affordable data management tools, few businesses actually use the opportunity it presents.
So how exactly can businesses improve their CX values?
Understand the role of customer service
Customer service is ideally positioned to make customers happy. After all, they are the team that customers call when they are not happy with your product or service. Therefore, the savvy business will focus on listening to understand their customer service teams. This move will give your business a better understanding of your customers and what they need. It will also help you find out what your customer service team needs in terms of data to deliver better service to your customers and make their day. This means more happy customers and better CX in the same smile.
As more and more customers leave delighted with your customer service, you will begin to see an increase in sales and better interactions that can help with valuable product development. It also means that endorsements become more forthcoming and marketing efforts gain better traction. Not to mention that customer service teams can forge ahead with better customer satisfaction scores.
Invest in customers for brand loyalty.
All business—despite the advancements in technology—is about people. Whether it’s B2B or B2C, it’s about people, or what some in the marketing world are beginning to call the fifth P. (Funnily enough, early day marketers always had people in their sights and knew people were the quintessential P in the marketing mix. But even as you read this piece, the marketing world is busy creating new Ps. There is payment, personalization, positioning and packaging, to name just a few that are being touted. This list will quite likely keep growing until the marketing mix is a long list of Ps. But back to P for people.) On any given day, people have feelings that can be hurt or assuaged, and the effective communicator knows how important it is to reach out, respond, and address people so they feel acknowledged and appreciated.
Once again, the savvy business follows a simple communication strategy of constant and cogent communication across all channels: social media, mass media, internal and external correspondence, advertising, and marketing collateral. Though the approach to communication via each channel may be different, the message needs to be consistent. It must also echo the culture of the business, be relevant, and be believable. There is also the benefit of being prompt with responses to discrepancies in service. Even the best business can have a bad day, and people, even more so. Address these adversities promptly and honestly, and it will pay back in brand loyalty that is more enduring than any campaign.
Make all your teams responsible for growth.
Rather than relegating your teams to work in their silos, create opportunities for them to work with each other and grow to be your agents or partners. Provide them with the time to learn more about your products and services so they can market and sell your brand whenever they can.
Some business processes mandate service agents must up-sell or cross-sell to every customer that reaches out. Most customers calling for support would prefer to be helped than be marketed to. However, if your agents are made fully aware of what your business offers, and are equipped with the right skills and training, they could be effective at doing some relevant marketing or sales to customers who call in. If you can extend the opportunity for teams to interact and understand more about what they each do, soon every employee will be a sales and marketing agent who can generate viable leads.
Welcome the complaint as a learning opportunity
Many businesses prefer to forget about bad customer reviews or misunderstandings by leads and customers, and put it down to it either being the customer’s fault, the vendor’s mistake, or even the competition’s smear campaign. The savvy business, on the other hand, knows that every complaint is a likely source of information about how to get better at our jobs. It could be as simple as the language we use, the process we follow, a fail-safe we could introduce, and yes, sometimes remembering to follow up.
With new technology and service automation, we rely on the data to inform us every step of the way. Yet data needs analysts to read and measure it so managers can understand these metrics. The prudent manager needs to go through the data each quarter to get to know their customers, seek out the highs and lows of every data point in the metrics, and match it to customer requests and calls. Analysts can interpret the data and identify trends about where business is falling short or doing well. But it is managers that decide what direction marketing, sales, and support needs to take to either correct or optimize CX based on this understanding.
To improve your CX values, let customer service take the lead, but not before you set up a core group with representation from all teams, including office administration and facilities management. Be patient and practice empathy with teams and customers. Integrate customer data and make it accessible to teams via managers where necessary, especially at service where customers call in to you. Make sure your C-suite recognizes that it is your customer service team that can be the much-needed bridge between your product development, sales, and marketing teams. After all, when all is said and done, it is customer service that your customers are calling for help. If your customer service team is good enough to help your customer, they’re certainly good enough to help you improve your customers’ experience.