Guest Blogger

Phil Durand, Director Customer Experience Management, Confirmit

Customer experience (CX), Voice of the Customer (VoC) programmes, Chief Customer Officer (CCO), Chief Insight Officer (CIO) – these are all terms and acronyms that we are now more than familiar with – and for good reason. Solutions, services and professionals facilitating and delivering CX have hit the mainstream, delivering the actionable insights that help B2C and B2B companies differentiate themselves from the competition.

There has been a natural evolution of best practices over the years but as 2017 progresses, what are the innovations and trends we should watch out for? We’ve picked our Top 4. Each of these ideas deserve a blog in their own right, so this is really just a whirlwind introduction – brace yourselves!

  1. Predicting the future

The ability to look forward, to predict the next big thing, and to drive change across an organisation is going to become increasingly important. Metrics such as Net Promoter Score® or repurchase propensity have served the CX community well – and will continue to do so – but there needs to be increased focus on ‘what we are doing now’ and ‘how we can meet the next six month objective’. This will require a much tighter link between CX metrics and financial business metrics that the C-suite reference on a daily basis.

The need to replace hard-to-digest and often lengthy reports that increase ‘analysis paralysis’ with actionable insight and alerts will undoubtedly be addressed by the juggernaut that is predictive analytics. As will dashboards that can provide either high level or deep dive views of the data, manipulated to suit, as required. Instead of worrying about what a customer’s NPS® was last week, the board will be better equipped to strategise on leading indicators deep within the experience that will predict the impact upon customer, operational and financial metrics.

  1. ‘Script-free’

Instead of taking a ‘command and control’ approach to managing employees at the frontline, releasing staff from prescribed answers, solutions and interactions is also expected to gain more traction.

Organisations that are prepared to provide their employees with autonomy and permission to ‘fail fast’ are more likely to motivate them to deliver better experiences because they are free to ‘think for themselves.’ Employees are able to create authentic experiences and to truly make a difference to the customer and the business, from the bottom up.

Sharing best practice examples of ‘what has worked’ without obligating employees to take a ‘copy cat’ approach to customer experience is far more likely to encourage employees to be creative and to take ownership when it matters most.

  1. Elevating the conversation

Much has been written about the rise of the Chatbot but whilst some might be reticent to consider the virtual approach to customer support, it’s worth remembering that the question and answer format provided can actually help to elevate conversations between contact centre staff and customers when they are connected. Solving or removing low level questions and forwarding more complex requests to a live expert will enable staff to spend more quality time delivering an innovative solution. It should increase the value of the interaction to the customer and result in greater satisfaction and loyalty as a result. It should also provide a much more engaging and fulfilling experience for the contact centre agent, improving their job satisfaction and also raising the role of the contact centre beyond that of cost centre to value centre.

Similarly harnessing predictive and behavioural analytics in real time does not mean a more clinical approach to customer experience. Instead it will provide vital feedback about a customer’s emotional response to a question or a problem enabling the contact centre agent to provide a much more human response.

  1. Reducing the silos

In order to drive action and change within an organisation, we also expect 2017 to feature continued reduction in data silos which can hamper the ability to gather the holistic, real-time insights needed to improve customer experience.

An effective customer journey map relies on cross-functional collaboration, sharing and communication, and continual refinement. It will no longer be good enough to simply gather customer feedback, analyse and report on it, then drive tactical action.

We have to move beyond the hygiene factors – something that helps businesses improve, but doesn’t drive transformational change – if we want to add value and provide employees with ‘freedom in the moment’ to deliver a great experience.

*All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score, and NPS are trademarks of Satmetrix, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

About the author:

Phil has worked in customer experience measurement for twenty years. In his role at Confirmit, he works closely with customers to help define and design global Voice of the Customer programmes that deliver business change. He firmly believes that insight is only important when a business focuses on what it means, why it matters – and crucially – what they’re going to do about it.

His real enthusiasm has always been for the creation of engaging programmes that motivate a business to improve.  This is about creating a competitive advantage while staying true to the customer voices heard. He has taken roles on both the agency and client-side, developing and managing large, multi-national programmes across a range of industries including travel & tourism, automotive, utilities, finance and telecoms.

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