Guest Blogger

By Claire Sporton, SVP, Customer Experience Innovation, Confirmit

Have you been invigorated by the 2020 Kick Off season? Are you starting the new year and new decade with a fresh outlook and positive ‘can do’ attitude? I hope so because the findings of the CX State of the Nation survey released at the end of last year indicated that we really do need to embrace change if we are to convince customers that we are determined to improve customer experience, and not simply pay lip service to CX as a buzzword.

Just as importantly, we need to prove to our organisations that CX pays its way.

In my recent blog, I stressed that we must focus on earning the trust of everyone inside and outside of the organisation if we are to survive and thrive in ‘the age of trust’. How we motivate and build trust is different for each of the different stakeholder groups.

What can we learn about trust from the 2019 global survey of over 800 CX professionals? The research showed that Leaders – respondents that expect to see a significant increase in CX budget in the next 12 months – are more likely to be delivering value – financial, cultural and operational. Their ability to prove the impact of CX clearly plays a central role in securing investment but it also proves that their CX programmes can be trusted to make a difference on multiple levels.

The survey also highlighted three key issues where Leaders are outperforming Laggards that we can all benefit from this year. The first of which is the ability to harness the power of one voice.

#1 Create one source of the truth

The survey confirmed the need for a ‘rallying cry’ for CX in the form of a single source of the truth that can be heard across the business. Unfortunately, the ability to speak with a single voice is still proving to be a stumbling block for many businesses because the organisational and data silos that have dogged CX since its inception are still causing huge problems.

Collecting data is not enough. It has to reach the right people at the right time in the right format to empower – and inspire – them to take action. And you can only do that if you can connect data to provide a single view that can then be articulated or shared more readily.

Part of the solution lies in using technology to pull data together from across the organisation so that customer feedback can be married to employee feedback and tied to operational, financial and market data.

This isn’t easy, but CX professionals are ideally placed to cut across historical silos to help organisations to see the impact of inconsistency across the customer journey. We can draw data together to prove how setting – then failing to meet – customer expectations, is a company-wide problem. In order to do this, we must master the data lake. Grab your goggles!

The research found that Leaders are much more likely to be integrating operational and financial data into their CX programmes, but the figure is still low (only 28%). What’s blocking things? Lack of executive commitment, lack of IT priority, and mapping issues are common problems. All are understandable, but none should be terminal.

Make some noise!

Now it gets interesting. If you can take steps to improve data integration, the next challenge is to spread the word.

It might seem obvious but there is no point investing in CX if teams across the business don’t understand how to use customer insight to change their behaviour and make improvements. You must communicate successes to encourage the adoption of new processes and approaches.

Internal communication strategies are key to the success of CX programmes but disappointingly this is an area that the research suggests is going backwards.

I suspect that this is because some companies may feel that CX has become sufficiently embedded, that an internal communication strategy isn’t required. Or that some businesses have fallen into the trap of thinking that by buying a CX platform and setting up some data collection means that the job is done.

Embrace the Skills Revolution

This is obviously not the case. To spread the word and drive real change, CX professionals need to develop and utilise a range of skills that will enable them to bring insights to life. Fortunately, communication, influencing and storytelling skills were regarded as critical to the future success of CX by 52% of Laggards and a whopping 78% of Leaders.

Clearly to ensure that the rallying cry is heard above all else, CX professionals have accepted that using a more personable, storytelling approach is the key to guiding, advising and supporting everyone to play a role in the wider CX team

No one person can ‘do’ CX for an organisation so this is hugely reassuring. However, I’d still recommend that a formal communication strategy is put in place to make sure everyone is speaking with one voice. Using those storytelling skills is critical. Data is fine but find the person in your team who can bring it to life. Telling the story of a real customer as a way of putting a face to a generic problem is much more compelling than a pie chart to show where the problems lie.

Final Thoughts…

Understanding where you are now and what you can do to improve your CX programme can be a challenge. There are two approaches you can take to keep things moving forward:

You need an evolution if you are already integrating additional data sets and collecting the Voice of the Customer at several key Moments of Truth. Here, you need to build on what you have, step by step, to build as complete a picture of the experiences across the customer journey as possible. Make sure you are sharing insight in engaging ways across the business and tying your results back to hard financial data. Customer satisfaction metrics like NPS are really useful, but business outcomes like revenue increase and cost reduction will secure programme success in the long term.

You need to start a revolution if you are not yet bringing in data from elsewhere. Not only are you probably asking too many questions in your surveys, potentially impacting response rates, but you are limiting your ability to take action on feedback at anything more that the most tactical level. Identify an executive sponsor who will support you and help move CX up the agenda for IT.

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