Five Essentials for a World-Class Customer Experience Programme

January 15, 20197min

Whether you chose to set New Year resolutions or not, January is a good time to reflect on the year before and grasp the opportunities of a new beginning.

I’ve been reflecting on what successful CX leaders we partner with at Medallia are doing, and have identified five key actions to ensure success in 2019…

1. Start with the end in mind – build an impact plan

Visualise where you want to be at the end of this year. What will make you say this is the best year ever for your Voice of Customer programme? If you wrote your company report now, what would you want it to say about your Customer Experience?

Clients with truly successful programmes have an impact plan. They know what outcomes they are targeting and then set programme priorities to really drive impact. For example, retailers targeting increased basket size in-store may use their programme to instil and track behaviours that link to spending, such as assisting customers and inspiring them to buy.

Companies wanting to improve and increase digital transactions can collect insight online to quickly fix site errors or identify self-serve opportunities (look into how Western Union use digital insight). Think about what your C-Suite care about. What business outcomes are you looking to drive? What three programme priorities should you implement in the next 100 days to drive these outcomes?

2. Engage your leaders with a clear list of asks

Visible leadership is the number one priority for a successful programme, but getting consistent CX leadership can be difficult. Provide them with tools to help them, and focus on the tangible things they can do to support the programme.

Ask your leaders to:

  • Schedule feedback at the start of every key meeting
  • Ensure their teams feel empowered to take action
  • Regularly recognise people based on positive customer feedback or actions they’ve taken to improve the experience
  • Participate visibly in closed loop conversations. For example, a CEO of a Telco client of ours meets with two detractors (0-6 on the NPS® scale) every fortnight. He finds this extremely rewarding and insightful, but it also sends a clear cultural message that recovering detractors and fixing their issues is of paramount importance

Usually you can find at least one leader who is absolutely committed to delivering amazing CX. Not those who are simply supportive; I mean those who really do ‘walk the walk’. They live it – they put their own reputations on the line to drive programme success. How can they help you engage other leaders in doing the same? If you’re a leader and your customers are your number one priority, then what are you waiting for?

3. Make it easy for your customers to give feedback – anytime and anywhere

Take an honest look at your programme – are you really covering all the touchpoints or journeys that are important to your customers? Do you have a comprehensive view of your Customer Experience? Have you mapped out your Customer Experience to highlight the potential gaps? And do you give your customers the flexibility to choose where and how they want to give feedback?

Whilst an email to web/mobile survey is often core to programmes, ensure you give your online customers the opportunity to tell you why they abandoned their basket or perhaps never even put something in their basket because the descriptions or photos were unclear.

Think about how you can solicit feedback through new interaction channels like mobile messaging. Place tablet surveys accessible in physical locations.

4. Encourage others to join the party

Too often I see programmes get stuck with the core CX team or one or two others analysing results, themes, and driving action. You will not drive change from what you centrally control – you have to engage and enable the whole organisation.

This shouldn’t be just operational, call centre, or sales champions. Make sure you provide tools, reports, and training to support your wider teams, e.g. HR, IT, Finance, Legal, Buying, Marketing etc. Set expectations with them about how they should contribute to CX, and make the focus about finding improvement opportunities.

5. Forget about the number and become a storyteller

In 2019, concentrate less on the numbers, and actively communicate stories across your organisation. Don’t get me wrong, numbers are important to pinpoint areas to investigate further, but an over-focus on scores is unhealthy.

We should all spend our time driving action on the things that matter to customers rather than worrying about – or worse still, challenging the numbers. Humans are motivated by stories. Communicating how one business unit saved thousands of call centre hours by implementing SMS claim status updates helped a leading global insurer energise other markets to find similar impactful improvements.

More than 10 years on, I still mention the customer from my first hotel CX programme who raved about how their child’s lost teddy was sent back to them in a makeshift bed in a box with tiny holes so that “Teddy could breathe fresh air on his journey home”. The action of this housekeeper inspired so many others to find ways to surprise and delight their customers.

Drive quick wins, work with your committed leaders to innovate and test improvements, look under every stone for success. Then build your own stories and shout about them!

Amanda Riches

Amanda Riches

Amanda Riches is Director of Professional Services at Medallia, where she helps organisations drive customer-centric strategic change. A CX expert, Amanda was Chair of Judges at the 2018 UK Customer Experience Awards.

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