Head of Customer Experience GemSeek
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Why you should plan your CX programme for acceleration, not survival

CX professionals are being led to believe it's time to brace for the storm, but is there an alternative option?

22nd Jul 2020
Head of Customer Experience GemSeek
Blogger
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Growth projection
istock/CSA

If in the past few weeks or months you have been contemplating what are the right steps to prepare your CX programme for an uncertain future, you are probably prone to scale down your plans and go into survival mode.

But if you take a step back and think about it, it all boils down to the same systematic challenges you have been facing before the current changes of customer behaviour and preferences. So instead of only bearing down to brace the storm, you could take an alternative approach.

A couple of months ago we came up with what we call the “CX maturity framework” which outlines the main stages a company goes through while gradually building and expanding their customer experience management programme.

While businesses may take slightly different routes to creating and maintaining a fully functional CX programme, sooner or later they'll meet the same challenges and how they overcome them defines if they are on the right track to transforming customer service from just an organisational function into a complete philosophy. 

If you take a step back and think about it, it all boils down to the same systematic challenges you have been facing before the current changes of customer behaviour and preferences.

The CX framework identifies five stages of organisational maturity – Explore, Initiate, Build, Transform, Lead. Each stage of development comes with its unique challenges and their solution is the key to growing and transforming not only your CX programme, but your business in general - even in these hard times.

What stage is your programme in - and what are the challenges?

1. Explore and initiate stages: Lack of visibility and resources 

At the beginning of every company’s journey to customer-centricity, managers often face similar challenges. They have a clear view of the customer journey and how people experience each step of it.

Nobody has seriously done this job before in the organisation and there is scepticism about whether it will make a difference. There is no coordinated view of customer experience and what needs to be done. The company has limited knowledge, skills and often initially plans to spend minimal resources on customer experience (people and funding).

Your main challenge: The initial investment in developing a full-scaled customer experience programme is daunting and probably is the first to go if company management is looking to cut costs.

How to overcome it: Don’t deprioritise customer experience. In the upcoming economic downturn customers will think twice about each cent they spend, but are also more likely to stick with businesses that give them a certain sense of comfort and security. But instead of making big investments, start small and scale progressively. Treat CX implementation just like a startup:

  • Start with a small scope – a single market, business unit or touchpoint
  • Just because you are starting small, doesn’t mean you mustn’t think long-term. A newly started CX programme will grow quicker if you start thinking about its potential impact from the start. Define your long-term strategy – what and why do you want to do and devise each initiative with a clear plan of how it links to business metrics, such as increased retention, decreased number of calls to customer service agents, etc. Being able to prove financial impact will increase internal buy-in and will help you secure the sustainable growth of your programme.
  • Collect customer feedback and implement improvement actions quickly – in 6 to 8 weeks
  • Measure the impact of improvements and their ROI – if you have improved the user guidelines and support pages for mobile devices, has this decreased the calls to customer centre on these topics.
  • Extract learnings from the pilot programmes.
  • Slowly scale the programme and benchmark against the initial ROI. 

2. Build stage: Low quality of insights and Ineffective prioritisation

After you have your CX programme basics in place, the time comes to scale it up. You might be struggling with covering the omnichannel customer journey. The experience per touchpoint varies, not to mention the inconsistencies per market, business line and even within the same city. You already gather plenty of data but don’t have the time to generate high-quality insights and distribute them to prove value to other departments.

Your main challenge: Getting to the bottom of customer feedback and prioritisation of possible improvements

How to overcome it: Making sense of customer behaviour, especially if you have tons of customer feedback (from open text questions, social media, call centre, etc.) can be hard, but advanced analytics models will come to your help.

  • Root cause analysis will help you get to the bottom of things that oft remain at a very high level – for example a lot of broadband Internet subscribers may share that the plan prices are too high. But when you dig deeper it turns out that price is relative to Internet reliability and speed. If you can’t deliver on your promise for a quick and reliable connection, then the fees you are asking for indeed seem too high for the customer.
  • Classify topics into hygienic, must-have, nice-to-have factors with advanced KANO analysis and prioritise the topics that will bring the highest improvements to customer satisfaction

3. Transform and lead Stages: Losing C-suite support and limited impact

You worked hard and managed to achieve tremendous results. At the same time, your CX programme is stalling. The C-suite start to question the programme impact and look for clear financial impact of the program as the CX vibe is down.  You infuse insights into operational, tactical and strategic decisions but the transformation is partial. You need a program revamp and enhancement.

Your main challenge: Connecting CX KPIs to financial and operational ones will be crucial to secure your programme existence. You are not alone - a majority of CX leaders reported that they commonly use CSAT and NPS to gauge CX programme success (74% and 73% respectively), but only about 33% measure its business value with financial metrics, according Mycustomer.com research.

How to overcome it: There are two main reasons why business impact is hard to measure. In the first place, strategic improvements have long-term overarching effects that are hard to measure. Secondly, direct customer impact – what do you do to improve the individual customer's experience – is limited by the response rates you manage to achieve (not more than 20% in the best case). If you know only 20% of your possible Detractors, how will you be able to get in touch with the other 80%, resolve their issues and save them from churning?

CX leadership report

That’s why we created Predictive NPS for one of our telecommunications clients. It accurately predicts satisfaction scores for the whole of your customer base at any moment of time, not just after a key interaction when you send a touchpoint survey.​ Once you are able to predict likely Detractors, you can take proactive measures to improve their experience with the company and most importantly – prevent some of them from churning. And the best part is that you can directly measure the impact in terms of saved customers and retained revenue.

Here is an example how it works in practice:

Imagine John – a mobile operator’s client, who pays his bills on time and based on his transactional data is perceived as a loyal customer. But because John is a frequent business traveller, every now and then he gets shock invoices and is unable to resolve his problem by calling customer service. He is very unhappy, but doesn’t fill in any surveys and the company doesn’t suspect he is a possible churner until they run Predictive NPS and actually find out he is a SuperDetractor. A single call with a personalised offer for him allows the company to retain 2000 EUR anniually in revenue from John and most importantly – gain a loyal customer.

Where are you?

At which stage of customer experience management maturity are you? Take our CX maturity assessment to find out. Get a better understanding where you programme stands on the maturity curve and also get a personalised benchmark against your industry peers in Europe  - an invaluable source of inspiration for best practices and professional standards.

Each questionnaire is adapted to the industry specifics of telecommunications, medical device or other types of companies.

What do you get when you fill in the questionnaire?

  • An assessment of where your programme is positioned on the maturity curve in key areas, such as strategic management, feedback collection, analysing the data and using the insights to improve experience.
  • Your detailed results in your inbox and personalised recommendations for next steps.
  • A summary benchmark report – prepared specially for you, by our team.

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