Susan GaneshanSusan GaneshanAugust 10, 2017


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.

Interesting Links:

Susan GaneshanSusan GaneshanSeptember 13, 2016


Customer journey maps are more than just diagrams. Sure, they illustrate (in a very visual and easy-to-digest way) the steps customers go through when engaging with a company. But there’s a lot more to it than that.

Customer journey maps act as the foundation on which customer experience strategies should be built. They allow brands to dig into customer experience at every touchpoint and identify pain points along the way. That’s hugely important, as companies look to improve the customer experience in order to increase revenue, build loyalty and stay competitive in crowded markets.

However, the majority of companies are incorrectly mapping the customer journey — rendering the very foundation of their customer experience strategies inaccurate.

According to customer experience expert Esteban Kolsky, 24 percent of companies have undertaken customer journey mapping, but only 2 percent of those companies reported success with the process. Additionally, when customers are shown a customer journey map, 72 percent say it doesn’t describe their needs or their relationship with the brand.

For journey maps to be successful, they need to be representative of the experiences customers are actually having. So forget what you think you know about your customers. Here are five tips for creating an accurate customer journey map:

1. Define What You’re Mapping

Start the journey mapping process by creating a clear scope and establishing goals. Think about what you want to accomplish with the customer journey mapping effort and what you’ll need to do to get there. Hint: your number one goal should be to improve customer experience, but it’s important to set specific goals, too. For example, a brand may want to gain insight into the unique pain points of millennial customers. Identifying specific goals in advance of mapping allows you to take a more strategic approach right off the bat.

Along the same vein, you’ll need to determine what your journey map will cover. Journey maps can look at one specific line of business or segment of customers, while some maps take on the entire business model. Either method will work — pick whichever makes most sense for your brand — but be sure to make the distinction before you start. That way there’s no confusion about what part of the journey you’re mapping and which customers are represented.

2. Let Customer Feedback Drive the Mapping Process

If you want to create an accurate journey map that represents real-life customer experiences, you need to take on an outside-in perspective. Gather and analyze customer feedback, and allow those customer insights to drive the mapping process. Your map should focus on the things that your customers want — not what you think they need.

The more feedback you can collect, the better. Pull insights from call centers, surveys, social channels, forums and beyond. Make sure you are looking at solicited and organic feedback. This ensures that your journey map is as closely aligned with your customers as possible.

Equipped with customer feedback data, you’re ready to start the mapping process.

3. Take on the Customer’s Voice

A good journey map will describe experiences using the customer’s voice. Start by defining the various stages of the customer journey, then identify moments in which the customer interacts with your brand. Define key expectations customers have throughout the journey and highlight moments that could make or break the customer experience.

As you go through the customer journey, remember to include the emotional state of customers at each stage. What are they feeling and why? This allows for a deeper understanding of the customer experience and will help you down the road when it comes time to alleviate pain points and improve the experience with tangible changes.

4. Show Don’t Tell

It’s important to support each point on the customer journey map with customer quotes or feedback data. This brings the map to life and acts as a reminder that the customer journey map is generated entirely based off of real customer sentiments. Showing how customers feel as they interact with your brand is far more powerful than telling.

5. Audit Your Findings

Make sure you’re double checking your work and updating journey maps on a regular basis. A good way to make sure you’re accurately tracking the customer journey is to identify listening points that indicate when and where you are capturing customer feedback. This ensures that listening points are aligned with critical moments and pain points.

Additionally, consider setting up internal interviews, workshops and surveys with employees who regularly interact with customers. It’s also helpful to interview and (when possible) observe customers throughout the customer journey. This will give added context about each interaction and can help support findings or identify areas where your map needs updating.

Interesting links:

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