Every business and CEO likes to think that they always put the customer first, but the hard truth is that there is a huge disconnect between what businesses believe they are offering and what customers feel they are actually receiving. Good customer service no longer makes a business stand out. Modern consumers expect the best. They benchmark a business against their best customer experience overall, not just against the business’s direct competitors.

Bain reported that while 80% of CEO’s believe they are doing a great job with CX, only 8% of customers agree. Clearly, a CX Revolution is needed. Brands need to constantly take action to drive the best possible outcomes, especially when one interaction or tweet has the potential to break a business and bring its brand values crashing down. The result can be humiliating and extremely costly, damaging the brand’s reputation, customer retention and bottom line. There needs to be a constant, consistent focus on customer experience across every area of the organisation in order to avoid this.

Monitoring Your Social Media

If your business relies on attracting and maintaining a strong customer base, what could be more powerful to you than credible, timely customer information? Businesses need to raise the bar and drive technology to the next level. Leaders need to equip themselves with the tools to integrate data-driven customer experience into the fabric of the business. CEOs and even Presidents of organisations are taking to Twitter in an effort to communicate directly with their customers or scroll through self-selected Twitter feeds. But being connected to a few select customers isn’t enough. Businesses need an informed, data-driven approach to truly understand and be able to act on customer sentiment across the board.

Most CEOs and leaders have teams of people dedicated to monitoring their social media profiles, reviewing relevant customer surveys, and studying customer feedback. But being informed is about more than just analysing the top topics discussed on Twitter; businesses must look at the sentiments behind those topics.

Sentiment-based analysis is vital to understanding how and why customers make decisions when they interact with your brand – these are complex, emotionally-driven choices. And, sentiment needs to be measured alongside volume and KPI metrics. Doing so offers invaluable insight every day, not simply during a crisis. It will also help to prevent further company leaders from falling unwittingly into the Bain statistic.

Understanding Your Customers

So, how can CEOs and business leaders ensure they are informed, not just connected, to their customers? The information they need is readily available; there just needs to be a more scientific approach to obtain it. Robust analytics, including natural language processing and machine learning, allow teams to drill down into the data and understand what the customer actually means and why they rated you a 5 out of 10. It will allow business leaders to understand their customers by the thousands or millions, not just by a select handful. This goes much further than just collecting sentiment scores on a customer survey. The level of insight that sophisticated text analytics allows, enables leaders to make meaningful changes at every step of the customer journey. It also drives efficiency, provides huge cost savings and increases revenue down the line.

There are three key steps to ensure your business leaders are informed, not just connected.

  • Listen Everywhere: You need to establish a two-way, dynamic dialogue with customers on their preferred channels and establish a warmer, genuine relationship to strengthen brand loyalty. Gain a real-time, holistic understanding of your customers by connecting to and aggregating every possible source of customer data – from adapters, APIs and voice transcriptions to live chat and social posts and AI-driven surveys.
  • Analyse Everything: Move beyond simple satisfaction metrics to enterprise-wide customer connection. Robust text analytics draws on natural language processing (NLP), machine learning, predictive and outcome analysis to provide your business with extensive, accurate, and trusted insight. It’s simple to integrate your own algorithms for clarity and context within your business environment. You can provide your team with a deeper understanding of the customer experience, while driving down costs and improving company metrics.
  • Engage Everyone: Departmental silos will only hold you back – disjointed customer experiences belong in the past and you need your whole business on board to ensure smooth operation. Omni-channel Case Management, Dashboarding, Reporting, Alerts, and BOT APIs mean that you can detect changes in sentiment, uncover the facts that drive innovation and develop an environment that encourages customer-aware engagement. They also mean that your employees have all relevant information at their fingertips and can confidently deal with customer interactions and issues that arise. Every employee should be tuned into customer desire and sentiment, and feel inspired and empowered to meet their expectations.

Being connected is vital, but being informed provides an edge that will mark out the best leaders and brands, and help their companies to deliver consistent, outstanding customer experiences.

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About The Author

Chief Marketing Officer at Clarabridge

Susan Ganeshan is Chief Marketing Officer of Clarabridge, which provides intelligent customer experience management solutions for some of the world's top brands.