Tesco Chairman Sir Richard Broadbent recently told The Sunday Times that "The company that provides the best relationship with the customer will win — not through product, but through the best experience."
It is no longer controversial to state that excellent customer experiences generate competitive advantage, and 2014 will see more and more companies attempt to prioritise the Voice of the Customer.
This should be great news for customers, but many companies will get CX wrong. In 2013 too many CEM programs failed to realise their potential.
Here are three recommendations to keep your programme on track in 2014:
1. Make the Voice of the Customer heard in the boardroom
With 27% of PLCs now reporting customer satisfaction to the markets it is essential the board is in touch with the process. Escalating customer experience to the board level with clear reporting and ownership sends a clear message to employees and customers alike.
Plenty of companies gather customer feedback but suffer from siloed data and uncertainty about how this feedback should be used. Sponsorship of senior executives will keep the programme on track, and ensure that customer feedback is not only gathered, but is acted upon by the right people
2. Look beyond the score
Metrics such as Net Promoter Score, Customer Satisfaction and Customer Effort Score have become more widely understood, but companies must take a broader view to measure the success of their customer experience programme and excel in 2014.
Understanding and correlating the links between CX, financial and operational measures enables you to take the right strategic actions to improve the areas that matter most to your customers and prioritise responses based on a real insight into the financial risk an unhappy account of customer segment represents.
Grounding customer feedback scores and comments in detailed and up to date financial, industry and operational information provides allows for the most crucial measure of progress – demonstrable ROI.
3. Keep it simple for your customers
Feedback is a valuable resource, given freely by your customers and this investment must be respected. Asking dozens of questions will damage your relationships and ultimately not provide the actionable insight needed to fuel a successful CEM programme.
Recognising customer contributions and giving them feedback reassures customers that their feedback hasn’t just vanished into an electronic void and so helps keep up the flow of information.
If customers feel your commitment to them is real, this in itself is positive. On the other hand, the companies who ask for feedback but don’t engage with customers as a result risk losing trust – damaged by a customer experience programme that tarnishes the customer experience.
As Sir Richard Broadbent suggests, customer experience is the next great business battleground but it’s important to get the basics right. If you follow these three recommendations your programme will have company-wide buy-in, be fuelled by demonstrable ROI and sustained by high quality feedback well into the future.