As the weather warms into Spring, many are gripped by a feeling of renewal and the urge to declutter and tidy. There is, in fact, a biological reason for this. Although we do not hibernate in winter months, the decrease in sunlit hours triggers the release of melatonin in our brains, which is the hormone that causes sleepiness. We literally do not have the energy to tackle cleaning. However, as Spring brings longer days, we have more energy, and we are wired to want to start the season afresh. Historically, winter left homes covered in soot from fires, triggering the need to wash the grit off the walls once the blossoms opened in the garden. As CX managers, you may not have soot on the walls, but the urge to start anew may still grip you. Here are some of our top areas to focus on when wanting to declutter your customer experience strategy.
Take stock of your initiatives.
Studies have found that many households are drowning in clutter, and the same is true for many organizations. Thanks to the rise of importance of Customer Experience, many organizations find themselves trying to support a plethora of CX initiatives, with varying levels of impact. Initiative after initiative are conceptualized and implemented, creating a strain on resources, and often leaving businesses, and customers alike, more confused than delighted. In the ethos of Maria Kondo, decluttering guru and author, if something does not spark joy, let it go. As you take stock of your CX initiatives, ask yourself these key questions:
1. What are CX initiatives exist in my organization? Do the efforts work together? Can we measure their combined impact? Have we created unnecessary complexity?
2. Is each initiative actually contributing to Customer Delight? Do we know if each initiative works? Have we really listened to our customers?
3. Do initiatives need to be combined, streamlined or culled?
Our top tip: Focus directs action. The more focused your CX efforts are, the more likely you are to succeed.
Tackle the silo’s
Despite best efforts, many organizations continue to struggle with siloed operations, and while this poses challenges throughout the business, for CX programmes, it is particularly tricky. Regardless of internal machinations, customers view organizations as one brand and thus judge experience from the whole. A siloed approach to CX creates dissonance and inherent conflict, with each silo vigorously defending their own results and projects. Accurate insight into customer experience, however, can only be garnered when results are combined to identify drivers of experience across the organization. For example, consider a banking environment operating both a contact center and branch network. A client has an unresolved query after dealing with the contact center, leading them to visit the branch. In the branch, the client leaves negative brand feedback. The branch reacts by implementing programmes to improve customer experience but continues to receive poor ratings. In this simplistic example, a siloed approach to CX creates an environment where one department is impacted by another. The customer with a poor experience in the contact center is predisposed to a negative brand rating in the branch, regardless of actual service received. Without a holistic view of the experience over the customer journey, improvement initiatives are introduced at the incorrect touchpoint, with limited results. Key questions here are:
1. Do we understand key drivers of experience across our entire customer journey? Do we know which touchpoints are interconnected?
2. Do we have a holistic view of our customer experience?
3. Are silo’s measuring and reacting to conflicting, or converging, metrics?
Our top tip: Holistic views matter. Make sure that your VOC or CX programme is at each key touchpoint and that your data and insights take the entire customer journey into account
Revamp the Tech
One of the essential parts of customer experience is the technology deployed in managing such programmes. This may seem obvious, but too often, organizations fail to leverage technology, and the insights they provide, to their fullest. Many technology platforms offer various CX tools; however, the trick lies in finding a solution that not only integrates into existing infrastructures but also provides the full end-to-end functionality required for an effective programme. The power of a technologically driven CX programme lies in the ability to aggregate feedback across a variety of channels, overlay secondary data such as financials and then integrate findings back into systems such as CRM platforms. Furthermore, agility in technology is paramount, in that the ideal solution should be able to evolve with changing customer and business needs. When considering your CX technology, consider the following:
1. Does my CX technology fully support each department’s customer interaction?
2. Am I able to gather feedback across channels and aggregate findings into unified insights?
3. Am I able to overlay data from other systems into my CX technology in order to gain a deeper understanding of my business?
As the urge to Spring clean grabs you, bear in mind that a CX programme’s sole function should be to deepen customer loyalty and generate customer delight. If any part of your programme is counter to these objectives, it may be time to reassess in order to face the coming year with a fresh slate.
If you need insight or assistance with any of the above, contact us.