Is your CX program relevant post-pandemic?
When was the last time you reviewed and assessed your Customer Experience (CX) or Voice of the Customer (VoC) program? If your answer is “never” or “I don’t know,” you’re not alone. However, it’s time to change your mindset. Otherwise, your CX program may be outdated and could lead to unhappy customers rather than loyal and satisfied customers.
While CX programs are more involved in nature due to program requirements that span people, process, data, and technology, which also involve cultural and operational changes across the organization, they shouldn’t remain static. The future of CX requires a mind shift and perspective change regarding the long-term sustainability and success of these programs, and the time for this shift is now.
Setting VoC as Your 2021 Business Priority
According to a 2021 Forrester CX Study, 86% of organizations say that improving CX is a high priority over the next 12 months, followed by 80% of organizations saying that connecting insights to action is a critical point.
This is a good sign. Finally, many organizations have recognized that CX programs are not “set it and forget it” frameworks. Now, businesses are planning to take the time to assess their current strategies and make improvements accordingly.
Here are three considerations when assessing your current CX program today and looking for immediate areas of improvement.
Moving from Static to Agile CX Programs
In the last 18 months, the ways customers and companies interact has had to transform dramatically. If your relationship with buyers has changed, then shouldn’t your CX program evolve too?
CX programs should be architected with agility. If an established program takes too long or too much effort to change, then it will stay static. This lack of agility results in an organization no longer meeting the needs of their customers and missing the mark on customer experience.
According to this above mentioned Forrester CX Study, 53% of organizations said that data collection processes have damaged their CX strategy more than they’ve helped. Forrester recommends to “regularly assess your approach to VoC with a willingness to evolve and innovate.”
Consider developing an iterative approach where changes are made in some areas, the program is assessed again, and changes are made in other areas. The agility this iterative approach provides allows results to be quickly reviewed and measured, and more iterations can be made in a shorter timeframe.
Develop CX Programs for the Customer Journey
CX programs should meet the needs of the customer by engaging with them throughout their journey with your organization. While this may seem like common sense, it is often left out of CX strategies. Customers won’t have just one touch point with your organization pre- or post-purchase.
The way in which a retail brand today interacts with a buyer is a good example of an ever-evolving customer journey. In-person retail experiences evolved into online shopping, which then become a hybrid model whereby a customer shifts between e-commerce to retail and back to e-commerce when they buy online and pickup in store. COVID safety measures then led to the introduction of buy online pickup in store by having a store representative deliver directly to your car. The customer’s journey has now evolved beyond a fully in-person or online experience.
Using this example, you can identify several touch points for feedback collection. For example, pre-purchase online shopping experience, check out, buy online pickup in store, and experience using the purchased product. Capture feedback at these points to identify a specific moment in the journey ripe for improvement and make changes to impact the customer’s experience at that juncture. Then observe how feedback changes over time at that point while continuing to look for the next signal that it’s time to improve another moment in the journey.
A successful and impactful program requires automation, regardless of the size of your customer base or the volume of customer feedback. Automation plays a significant role in an organization’s ability to collect, analyse, and act upon both individual and aggregate feedback.
There are two important goals to keep in mind when prioritizing automation. The first is to give employees more time to engage with the customer and improve their experience by responding personally and in a timely manner. A second goal is to review insights more quickly so the aggregated data can be capitalized upon immediately. However, according to the same Forrester CX Study, only 11% of organizations have fully automated data analysis and only 6% have fully automated communication processes for internal teams to be able to act upon customer data.
These are troubling stats with negative impacts. The relevance of timing is essential for customer experience and customer feedback. Asking buyers for feedback and not letting them know that they’ve been heard and are valued can lead to even more unhappy customers that switch to competitors. Acting upon feedback and communicating the data across the organization cannot wait weeks or months, it needs to be immediate and more automated.
When assessing your CX program, look for areas where automation can be added. Where can workflows be built to direct feedback immediately to the right person who can respond quickly? If data were automatically integrated into the systems already used, how much time would that free up for teams to spend more time taking action on feedback?
Conducting regular assessments is a key exercise for ensuring that your customers and their journey haven’t evolved beyond your program and their voices are being left behind. A sustainable program should meet the needs of your organization and customers and bring value, which requires constant review and iteration.