By Ryan Hollenbeck, Senior VP, Verint. This post was originally published at the Forbes Communications Council.
Successful brands often have something in common: They exceed customer expectations. If you ask me, it’s this era’s most important metric — many customers want to trust you and feel valued.
Most businesses know that. They have people working on customer experience (CX). They have CX data coming in. And for almost every brand, it’s a digital-first world now. Brands can’t win on customer experience unless their approach keeps pace with the new ways people research, compare, buy and share their experiences.
With so much complexity, it can seem impossible to keep up. It’s not. I find that successful brands have usually identified the guiding principles that allow them to stand out from competitors and deliver great CX year after year:
- They listen to customers everywhere. Nothing gets left to guesswork or chance.
- They prioritize actions. They don’t chase after every red flag.
- They make CX an organization-wide concern. It’s not relegated to one department or siloed across several.
What’s so perfect about these guiding principles is that they enable success even when conditions change — when new customer needs arise, journeys change and new players enter the market. You’re prepared because you’re listening, sharing the right data, making informed decisions, identifying the signals among the noise and innovating on CX, not playing catch-up.
The digital revolution, which empowered customers, has created the insights revolution. At Verint, we offer solutions in customer experience and engagement and have seen firsthand how the insights revolution has changed the foundational elements of today’s CX strategies.
The following building blocks make up the fuel that allows companies to meet those touchstone objectives. Let’s review them.
1. Deliver On Digital
In a survey of 12,500 customers, which we conducted for the “Verint ForeSee Digital Experience Index (DXI) and NPS Rankings — Q4 2018” report, we found that 58% of customer journeys start in digital. Your websites and apps are where they get a first and lasting impression of your brand. It’s where they expect to have easy access to product details, customer support and account information. And your digital customers likely expect speed, security and personalization.
Marketers must use modern measurement and tracking methods, including opt-in and intercept data collection, session replay, behavioral heat maps and usability expertise. Improve your analysis, too, with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to help pinpoint wins, shortcomings and corrective actions — navigation, search, login, checkout, etc.
2. Listen To Customers At Scale
Whatever measure you’re using — Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer satisfaction (CSAT) or something else — you have to scale your customer listening program beyond surveys and direct feedback. There’s a big world of unstructured data out there, and it holds vital insights you need to improve customer experiences.
Your customers are talking — to contact center employees, on social media and via live online chats and chatbots. Our company, in partnership with Opinium Research, conducted interviews with 36,014 consumers for our 2018 “Defining the Human Age: A Reflection on Customer Service in 2030” report. In our research, we found that “When the inquiry is urgent, the desire for human contact increases, with 44% turning to the phone and 25% doing so in person.”
As part of a voice of the customer (VoC) program, use speech and text analytics capabilities to listen to customers at scale and mine interactions for emotion, satisfaction and competitive intelligence.
3. Operationalize And Automate
With competitors one click away, you need to respond quickly to correct poor customer experience. You have multiple teams on the CX frontlines, and each needs the right information at the right time in order to act intelligently. Acting on yesterday’s data, or data that’s unfocused or imprecise, worsens the problem.
Synthesize your VoC data from multiple inputs, and then automate alerts and insights to quickly get the information where it needs to go, such as to your location employees, contact center agents or digital touch point teams. Automated, real-time and AI-powered insights — delivered via email, text message (SMS) or in-app alerts — help reduce manual analysis, human bias and response time.
4. Prioritize And Act
Reliable cause-and-effect insight is rare, and it’s one of your most powerful decision-making tools. When you know what actions will yield real benefits, decision-making isn’t a guessing game. If data shows that a website redesign will yield almost no business improvement but expanding the capabilities of your mobile app could boost upsell opportunities or reduce call center volume, the course of action is obvious.
Correlative insight like statistical, regression or multivariate analysis isn’t enough. Use a predictive, causal data model to know that when you do X, Y will happen. Link CX improvements to business outcomes, such as likelihood to purchase, return and recommend. With a consistent model, you can prioritize at the touch point level and across the customer journey.
5. Develop A Connected View
Businesses need to stay tuned in to digital-first preferences while meeting customers where they are. Consider the omnichannel approach many customers take today. According to one study, reported on by Retail Dive, “29% said they shop online to browse for items, 25% said they shop on mobile to browse, 42% said they shop in-store to purchase, and 10% said they shop via voice to conduct research.”
Point solutions are like individual snapshots: You don’t see the big picture. Use an omnichannel VoC platform to open your perspective, providing a holistic, interconnected view of your customers across channels, devices and locations. It also enables you to create common key performance indicators (KPIs), right-size corrective actions, democratize data across the organization and overcome internal silos.
Insights: The Foundation Of Success
Businesses achieve success by obsessing over delivering excellent customer experiences. How will your organization deliver the best experiences against today’s rapid pace of change? By obsessing over the right elements and collecting the right data, analyzing it intelligently and sharing it widely. Those are the VoC program elements that will thrill customers and create organizational efficiencies. And they will create a foundation for success to carry your business forward for years to come.
To see how Verint ForeSee can help your organization leverage the five building blocks of CX success, contact us.