Mikhail Dubov is the co-founder and CEO of Unified Customer Intelligence platform,Chattermill.
The case for investing in customer experience is irrefutable. Many statistics, including 50 listed in a Forbes article, prove this fact. Among these statistics is one showing that "companies that lead in customer experience outperform laggards by nearly 80%." The article also states that better customer service can help bring up to 5.7 times more revenue.
The importance of understanding customers and building businesses around customer experience then is crystal clear. And yet, despite this, I see customer experience programs in many organizations being deprioritized; in some cases, they’re being shelved altogether. Baffling though this may be, there is a reason why this might be happening, but I would argue it’s not a reason leaders should accept.
Companies Flying Blind When It Comes To CX
Data from a recent McKinsey survey of more than 260 customer experience (CX) leaders from U.S. companies tell us much about why customer experience programs are being deprioritized. In short, most CX programs fail to understand customers desires and the value of investing in customer experience. The four flaws the report finds categorize most companies as limited, reactive, ambiguous and unfocused in how they utilize CX.
In their hearts, leaders know that focusing on customer experience is the right thing to do for growth as the research suggests. But if there’s often no direct proof to confirm this within their organization, there’s no alignment around the customer and there’s very little visibility of the process. Because of this, it becomes very easy for leaders to shelve ailing CX activities—especially as we collectively tighten our belts and evaluate budgets across our organizations.
So, what’s the solution? How can business leaders refocus their efforts around their customers and achieve better results?
Need For Leaders To See Their Customer Reality
Let’s take a closer look at McKinsey’s Future of CX data and how you might solve some of the primary challenges and get a tighter grip on your organization’s customer reality.
According to McKinsey, only 16% of leaders conclude that surveys allow them to address the root causes of performance. What does this tell us? We either can’t understand what customers are telling us in their survey feedback or we’re collecting so much survey data that it becomes nearly impossible to mine any meaningful intelligence from it. I believe the key to solving this problem is reconsidering how we handle customer feedback.
The number of tools used to collect feedback is increasing in most organizations. We’re in a situation where we have many different products and millions of pieces of unstructured data. And there’s little wonder that so many leaders can make neither head nor tail of their customer data when there are so many sources to analyze and no single source of customer truth.
Rather than rushing to cancel our plans for these technologies, however, I think it's better to make the most of what you've got (after all, the majority of these technologies were built to provide value in some shape or form) and unify them to create a single source of customer truth. Because if you can do this, there’s a far better chance you'll see the benefit of your CX investments.
Then there’s the issue of analyzing thousands, if not millions, of pieces of unstructured customer feedback. Unstructured feedback is hard to process and analyze effectively. Every leader knows this. No team, no matter how sizable, can work their way through these levels of customer feedback without some assistance. That doesn’t mean you should collect fewer customer data. It means you need a better way to analyze it effectively.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is critical here, and these tools can analyze your unstructured customer feedback data at a scale that humans, no matter how talented, are capable of. As a result, you can, with a high degree of accuracy, analyze data at speed and access real-time intelligence based on what your customers tell you, highlighting critical CX gaps that need to be addressed across the entire customer journey—whether that’s concerning your products, experiences or logistics and operations. There are many tools available for this.
Using these tools can help you double down on what’s working and understand what ultimately drives customer retention and growth. This intelligence isn’t just helpful in ensuring your CX programs succeed; it’s valuable business intelligence, full stop.
• Businesses need to make sure they have the technology in place so that they can listen to their customers through survey tools, public reviews, app store reviews, customer support tickets, social media, etc.
• Find ways to analyze data in a meaningful way through technology that can unify this data and handle the analysis at scale both accurately and with speed.
• While I believe AI platforms are the best solution, you could also potentially hire a team of analysts and taggers to do this work. Just understand that manually tagging customer feedback can introduce bias.
If you want to be a company that leads in customer experience and outperforms others that lack in customer experience, you need to start investing in the tools and strategies that help your CX programs succeed.
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