2020 CX: ‘The age of trust’
By Claire Sporton, SVP, Customer Experience Innovation, Confirmit
Another year’s over and… if you’re like me, it has flown by! Hopefully you’ve achieved some of last year’s New Year’s resolutions. As our attention turns to a new year and a new decade, it’s clear to me that we are going to have to ‘do better’ in 2020.
Why? Because in spite of all our efforts and regardless of investment made in CX programmes, only 12% of consumers feel brands have made significant CX improvements in recent years and only 11% of consumers feel like brands are even doing anything with the feedback they receive.
Clearly something is wrong! We all know that people increasingly want to do business with companies that they trust but we’ll have to put far greater emphasis on the level of trust that our customers and partners have in our brands, products and services if we’re going to differentiate ourselves from our competitors and continue thrive.
Not only will we need to move away from chasing metrics and simply gathering more data. We need to drive business change by carrying out detailed planning, embracing myriad skills and improving our ability to prove ROI so that business leaders ‘trust’ CX to deliver.
If we don’t, we’ll continue to experience the problems highlighted in this year’s CX State of the Nation survey of over 800 CX professionals which found that fewer companies are planning to significantly increase their CX spend.
And from the customers’ perspective, people are becoming increasingly fed up with surveys, so there really can be no more excuses for asking for the same information, over and over again. Gaining their trust will be increasingly dependent on our ability to demonstrate the action we took based on their feedback.
If we are going to thrive in 2020 – the ‘age of trust’, there are three key resolutions that we will all need to embrace if we’re going to clamber out of the current CX investment slump and empower employees to use insight as a catalyst for real change.
Creating one source of the truth
The survey highlighted the need for a ‘rallying cry’, a single source of the truth that can be heard across the business. It found that even amongst Leaders in the CX space, only 28% of firms are integrating other data sets into their programmes. Ouch. We really need to liberate data, overcome organisational silos and make sure CX dashboards provide insights that teams across the company can use. It means providing the right information to the right people at the right time in a format they can understand. And it means actually empowering them to make a decision and take action. A graph won’t appeal to everyone. Become a CX coach for the rest of the business, using practical, storytelling skills to bring insights to life, guiding, advising and supporting everyone to be a part of the wider CX team.
Focus on better decisions
CX professionals and executive teams regularly make decisions about initiatives using CX insights. Which is lovely. But it’s not enough. To motivate and mobilise middle managers and frontline staff to use their initiative, you need to increase their ability to make good choices. The survey found that only 17% of middle managers and just 8% of frontline staff are using insights to aid decision making!
The relevant insight must obviously be shared with these employees to support their decision making. But it takes more than that. It is vital that the outcomes of decisions made are monitored in order to build trust in the process, and to use results to define outcomes. What worked? What boosted revenue or reduced costs? This is the most effective way avoid missteps, replicate successes, improve business outcomes and demonstrate ROI. In 2020, CX teams who do not drive action, will struggle to secure investment.
Prove your worth
Move beyond your expertise in CX and insight and make use of all your business skills. Identify one or two areas where you can most effectively prove ROI and focus on them. CX professionals of the future won’t be side lined as ‘the insight person’, tinkering with dashboards. They will be in the boardroom, driving action that delivers results. To realise more investment in your programme, demonstrate a return on what you have now. Focus on tactical activities, not just on strategic challenges. Find out what decisions you are enabling and map them back to reduced costs, increased revenue and retention, and improved employee engagement. The survey found leaders in CX (those programmes that expect to see a significant increase in budget in the next year) are more than twice as likely to demonstrate ROI over laggards. It’s no coincidence that those that can prove their worth can increase investment and secure future programme growth.
Looking ahead, there’s no doubt the role of CX executives will change, with far greater focus on change and execution. If we can think about trust at every turn, we’ll be in a good place to benefit from this change. After all, if you can earn the trust of your team by empowering them to make customer-centric decisions, and earn the trust of your partners by providing a consistent, coordinated experience to mutual customers, you will be in a much stronger position to earn the trust of your customers by delivering the high quality experiences they demand.