Today, 95% of companies fail to exceed customer expectations because they have not evolved their customer experience management programmes in step with new market realities. Subscription-based business models are stealing customers from established leaders, growth hacking companies disrupt entire industries on the basis of improved customer experience (CX) and the social media soapbox has made activating promoters and recovering detractors even more critical to business success.
Empowered by access to information and lower switching costs, customers now sit in the driver seat, pushing businesses to find new ways to differentiate beyond price.
The numbers supporting the value of CX programs as a key differentiator don’t lie. On average, promoters create an additional four leads for businesses through direct recommendations, and peer-recommended leads are 2.5 times more responsive than any other marketing source. Moreover, loyal customers are worth 10 times more than first-time purchasers, and returning customers spend 67% more than first-time customers. CX programs also drive higher margins, higher annual spend, greater cost efficiencies, higher retention rate and more positive word of mouth.
With so much to gain, it’s no wonder nearly nine in ten businesses expect to compete mainly on CX in 2016. Unfortunately, most companies (63%) don’t have a strategic approach for delivering CX. Of those that do, most get it wrong; approaching CX from a transactional perspective, only reaching out to their customers after a purchase or customer service interaction, rather than maintaining contact throughout the entire customer journey.
With this in mind, businesses need to maintain seven core practices to ensure their CX programme stays on track:
- Map the customer journey first: Then you can measure and optimise the experience at every step along the customer journey. Manage your program to with an eye on increasing customer lifetime value, not focused solely on individual transactions.
- Move beyond the survey: Measure the full customer journey using the right metrics, involving the right people and at the right times. Integrate both relationship and transactional data to gain a meaningful picture of the broader customer experience.
- Continuous improvement necessitates continuous measurement: Your relationship with your customers is in a constant state of flux. In order to influence continuous improvement in the customer experience you need to make customer data part of a daily flow of information that drives business decisions.
- Get beyond detractor recovery: Gain insight into root causes that create and inflame detractors, then do something about it. But don’t just focus on detractors – many times moving passives is how you win game.
- Customers don’t care about siloes: Bring cross-functional teams together to address interdependencies that may impact the customer’s journey. For example – you can improve the call centre experience, but if the real issue is the product, you are back at square one.
- Stop talking, start doing: Shift the energy spent thinking about data collection to putting that data to work. Make sure the insights from frontline employees, managers and executives are shared with the right people across the organisation who can affect change.
- Don’t let promoters languish: Promoters are your most powerful asset and resource. Create effective ways to activate them.
To get CX right, you must implement a model that focuses on the customer journey. Take advantage of powerful new technologies that can help you to continuously measure and manage the customer experience to help you achieve your CX goals, and drive customer-centricity throughout your entire organisation.
Net Promoter first proved the real business value of focusing on the customer experience more than a decade ago. But times have changed, and just getting the basics of CX right is no longer sufficient. Those organisations that can develop a truly customer-focused culture and take advantage of powerful new technologies will thrive. Those that don’t will continue to get left behind.
Deborah Eastman is the chief customer officer for Satmetrix. Take the first step towards reimagining your CX programme by visiting the new Net Promoter Network and becoming a member.