Most companies are talking about delivering transformational experiences across sales, service and marketing—for both the customer and the employee—as a way to set themselves apart from their competitors. Marketers have long understood that experience is the lens through which their prospects and customers perceive them.
That perception is formed by all interactions, whether online through an ad or company site, in person, via chat or any other channel. All these interactions affect what a person thinks and says about a company. Experience is what drives a person’s decision to become a customer or walk away.
Exemplary experiences also have a distinct financial impact. An analysis by Forrester found that leading customer experience (CX) companies not only outperformed the CX laggards but also the S&P 500 in stock price and ROI.
Yet, delivering a consistent, seamless experience that brings a brand’s promise to life across all channels and important moments of interaction is extremely hard. More than half of consumers in our global consumer research want to be able to move seamlessly from one channel to the next but find that the quality of service varies from channel to channel.
“Digital technologies” are certainly part of the overall solution here, though the phrase has less impact that it did even a couple years ago. Today, in what Accenture has termed the “post-digital era,” digital is now simply the price of admission for doing business, especially as technologies and data collection have raised customer expectations. Everyone’s got digital services and products, but what else have you got?
Are you delivering across all the “moments that matter”?
For financial services companies, investments in digital transformation have, in some cases, created seamless web and mobile experiences allowing existing and potential customers to engage effectively with brands. The fact that I can apply and be approved for, receive, and make a purchase with a digital credit card all within 30 minutes is transformative. It’s truly bringing the company’s brand promise of “ease and simplicity” to life during a critical moment that matters.
Yet, not all moments that matter necessarily receive the same attention. The experience I had applying for a new credit card may not be matched during other relevant moments. Imagine needing to add someone to your account, dispute a charge or inquire about opening a different type of financial product. In these situations, you can start online or in the mobile app but, for more complex issues, you may eventually need to call into a contact center or use a chatbot. When you call, the brand needs to authenticate you (even though the system recognized your number) and you need to explain the situation from the beginning. The agent is likely to have no idea what you were trying to do before you called. If he did, the call would likely have been shorter and the customer experience more delightful.
Improving CX through better measurement
The first step most brands take is deploying “voice of the customer” (VoC) research—a terrific tool for capturing feedback from customers at critical touchpoints to understand their experience with the interaction they just had. These reports are just “snapshots,” but they can help identify where experiences may be broken.
Some companies stumble, however, even while taking this first basic step into the world of CX metrics.
First, they may see it more as a box to check off than something to dramatically improve the customer experience. Once the information is collected, what do you do with it? Some collect the data as unstructured text, which then means someone must work manually to identify patterns, draw insights and translate those into improvement opportunities. Data collection without analysis and insights is just that—data. Not especially impactful.
Second, voice of the customer data is often not collected for all the moments that matter. Instead, many VoC programs are deployed for select moments or select channels. That approach provides an incomplete picture of the quality of experiences delivered by your brand. Brands that take the time to deploy a comprehensive VoC across all the moments that matter, and corresponding channels, are better armed to see the whole picture and make appropriate prioritization decisions.
Finally, even the best voice-of-the-customer results must be augmented by other types of data:
- Internal/transaction data. This data can help you understand the size and magnitude of the experience break points (where are things going wrong?) and how changing the experience can improve bottom- and top-line results. Analytics will point out where you need to close your other data gaps as people move from one channel to the next.
- Financial data: Costs, sales and revenue information can help brands understand the impact of their CX programs as well as informing investment prioritization decisions for future changes.
Developing and delivering extraordinary experiences requires insight and multiple data points —voice of the customer, transaction and financial data. And, the data is needed for all the moments that matter across all the channels. Without this holistic approach, brands will continue to strive for, but not achieve, delivery of experiences that they promise their customers, employees and other stakeholders.