Top 5 CX habits for 2019: Listen to more voices, combine more sources

By Claire Sporton, SVP, Customer Experience Innovation, Confirmit

Did the recent burst of unseasonal sunny weather trick you into thinking that it was already summer? Did you wonder where the year was racing away to and how you were going to find the time to put your Customer Experience Resolutions into practice?

Never fear – it was a mere meteorological fluke! It’s only March and there is still plenty of time to embrace the five CX habits that CX Leaders have proven to be the most effective route to CX success.

We’ve already talked about defining goals and business outcomes and urged greater focus on innovation and action.

Now, I’d like to emphasise the importance of capturing more than one voice and integrating it with data from different sources.

Habit #3 – Listen to more voices, combine with more sources

As you would expect from our research into the ‘Habits of highly effective CX professionals’, the overwhelming majority (87%) of respondents actively capture the Voice of the Customer. Those who don’t capture VoC do capture the Voice of the Employee or, at the very least, ask their employees for feedback on the Customer Experience.

You won’t be surprised to hear, then, that the most commonly collected two voices are customer and employee (42%). For us, this is all great news! But the million-dollar question is whether companies are able to integrate the resulting analysis.

In our experience, organisations that do capture feedback from both customers and employees often struggle with integration. This is particularly true with more mature programmes where entirely different methodologies have been used by the HR and CX teams, and where data has been gathered into separate, departmental silos.

Now, I’m not suggesting that all forms of feedback collection must be owned by the same team but I would encourage CX Leaders to ensure that these teams work together and that goals are aligned. We’ve found that great CX is only delivered when ownership is shared across the business and is not seen as the responsibility of a single – usually small – CX team.

It’s for this reason that we were particularly impressed to find out that while the majority of respondents were only listening to one voice, a significant minority were listening to four stakeholder groups – such as partners and supplier. The groups all form part of the overall customer experience ecosystem so it’s great to see them being included.

I think this marks a very promising move towards a more comprehensive approach to CX where listening to multiple voices increasingly becomes the norm. It confirms what we know to be true: to build a truly 360° view of the customer experience, you need to connect feedback from multiple sources.

While our research found that CX Leaders are likely to be confident that they have the customer or employee journey fully covered by their programmes, many of those interviewed admitted that they were still struggling to capture certain CX touchpoints. Specifically, in-store and in-app feedback, as well as non-purchase and exit surveys to capture the experiences of noncustomers.

Multiple voices enriched with operational insights is the most effective way to provide the depth and context to your business understanding, and to deliver the comprehensive approach to CX that I mentioned earlier. It’s for this reason that 48% of respondents currently bring in some sort of financial data to their analysis, while 70% include some form of operational data.

The search is quite rightly for nuggets of gold hiding in stacks of Big Data numbers but, as with the different voices, it’s the integration of different sources that causes issues.

The research showed that overall only around a quarter of respondents were able to effectively integrate multiple sources of data. However, for those classed as CX Leaders, this number jumped to 56%. There’s no way around it – data integration is at the heart of a successful and comprehensive approach to CX.

This undeniable truth begs the question that if multiple data sources and effective integration are so important – why are companies still failing to do this?

The key issues that CX teams and CX Laggards must battle in order to capture and integrate data sources are:

Budget: this is something we would hope to see change as actions – no matter how small – are taken and help to prove the value of the programme.

Lack of a clear view: often CX teams believe that are the only team collecting feedback. In most cases, they are wrong! A company-wide listening audit is a useful way to understand all the surveys and sources out there so you can begin to rationalise and align.

Cross-team buy-in: There’s a danger with CX that the rest of the company thinks that the customer experience as a whole is “someone else’s job”. CX teams need to become a CX coach to the rest of the business, supplying insight and support, but not trying to own everything.

Legacy systems: Something technology exacerbates silos. Mapping data sources, understanding how and where information is stored, and working closely with cross-functional teams can help to untangle that chaos.

It’s something of a chicken and egg situation but, in our view, the answer must surely lie in driving change to ensure that ROI is realised and investment increased. My top tip – connect, don’t collect. Gathering more data is fine, but connecting what you have will uncover more that you imagine.

Join the conversation: How many voices are you listening to? What about other sources?  What tips can you share that will help CX professionals ‘Listen to more voices, combine more sources? Tweet me at @ClaireSporton