In this article, our CX star Rebecca Brown explores how to recognize the need for CX transformation. In her unique way, Rebecca will question your beliefs and motivate you to take impactful actions.
I’m a firm believer that a consistently great customer experience can’t be achieved with a one-off project that you all work hard on for six months, but that eventually comes to an end. What happens often is that all the stakeholders drift back to their main focus and the customer becomes a secondary concern.
Our customer’s needs evolve over time. The world, the technology available and the bar set for customer experience are all subject to regular change. It’s a great starting point to recognise that your customer experience strategy needs to reflect that evolution.
Instead of a quick fix, invest time in the following:
- Aim to create a more dynamic, agile approach to your customer experience.
- Ensure that you are collecting and analysing enough data to spot warning signs.
- Be ready and able to act upon them quickly when a problem presents itself.
This approach takes some advance planning but will set you up for a successful customer strategy in the long run. Before we look at how to create an award-winning strategy, let’s establish how you recognize that you need one at all.
The warning signs that you might need CX transformation
1. Avoid using NPS or CSAT alone
Whilst some businesses will rely on metrics such as NPS or CSAT to tell them when they need to work on their customer experience, I would advocate never looking at any metric alone as they won’t usually give you a full picture. You could end up chasing a number instead of fixing behaviours, processes, and the actual experience your customers have.
That begs the question, what should you look at, and how do you know when your customer journey needs some work?
2. Build you customer retention plan
First of all, you need to establish if customer retention is a relevant measurement for you, your brand and your business model. Some businesses may pride themselves on serving customers so well that they don’t even have to use them again. Services such as counselling, or estate agency may not want to look as closely at retention, but for other businesses, where multiple purchases or retainer services are on offer retention is key.
Three great questions to ask yourself to identify if customer retention is an issue for you are:
- Do you track your customer lifecycle?
- How long do customers stay with you?
- Why do they leave?
A sure-fire sign that you might need to work on your customer experience strategy is if your customer retention isn’t where you want it to be. If your customer experience isn’t consistent and seamless, it could cause your customers to look elsewhere, or make it more likely they could be tempted away by the competitor. If you don’t already track the above-mentioned areas, now is a great time to start.
3. Invest in employee retention
It’s crucial to recognise the value of well trained, knowledgeable, and happy employees to your customer experience. If you have high employee turnover, you will not have happy customers. That may seem like a sweeping statement to make but consider your own experiences.
Do you like to see the same faces, and deal with the same people each time you go somewhere? Do you like to feel confident that the employees you are dealing with know their job? Do you like to see happy, smiling humans who clearly enjoy their work? The answer to all of those questions is probably yes.
An unhappy team member is usually less motivated, less passionate about getting the job done and is more likely to leave. My suggestion is to look after your team, their well-being and ensure that they are motivated and appropriately rewarded for their hard work.
You’ll be able to build a better customer experience if your team are happy, so keep a close eye on your employee turnover and make sure that if it starts to creep up you know why, and you can address it quickly. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that your industry just has high employee turnover. If your people are happy and fulfilled, they won’t want to leave – regardless of your industry.
4. The Importance of complaint volumes
Complaints are a tricky area when comes to measuring the customer experience for several reasons. Firstly, most unhappy customers won’t report that they are unhappy, they will just leave (which is why customer retention and revenue are such good metrics). Secondly, most businesses under-report complaints.
Businesses that under-report complaints either do so because it’s not currently easy enough to raise a complaint, or because the internal culture is one that sees complaints as a negative. The trap they can then fall into is placing all the focus on reducing complaints at any cost, as opposed to making customers happy – these are not always the same thing!
The benefits of complaints in CX transformation
Complaints can be a great mechanism for not only reviewing whether you have to work on your customer experience but for giving you the vital tools you need to know what’s wrong and what needs fixing. As such, I’d always advocate that you track complaint volumes, but as part of a wider feedback strategy.
You should first dedicate time to ensuring your culture welcomes and searches out unhappy customers, your employees are trained in how to spot the signs someone might be dissatisfied with. The bar of what is classed as a complaint should be readjusted to make certain that all informal negative feedback is classified as a complaint too.
Once you know that those measures are in place, you know you can rely on the complaint data you are getting through. Be warned though, if you do this properly and genuinely achieve a cultural shift and CX transformation that makes it easy for customers to complain, you will see an initial rise in complaints before you see the longer term, permanent reduction.
Be ready for this and celebrate it as a success. You’ve just made it easier for customers to reach out for help, which is nothing but positive. Make sure your team know you see that as a win, rather than focusing on the rise in complaints as a negative.
So there you have it, just some of the metrics you can start to measure to keep an eye on your customer experience and how effective it is. Whatever you choose to measure, just know that by even doing so you are already ahead of a lot of businesses.