Business Decision Making in the Experience Era
Business success in the digital age is a direct derivative of the maturity available within your data science territory. Moving from a state of "data rich-insights poor" to "clear-sightedness" seems elusive at best. Decision makers yearn for an accurate and a reliable method to be able to predict the future for every decision on the cards. Experience Management [XM] gives you access to that crystal ball.
In This Article
In the experience era, reputations are built at good speed and could be broken at even greater speeds. Fortunately most businesses have started to imbibe CX into their thinking spectrum. CX centered actions and successful case studies provide ample indication that the maturity of these programs is in fact fast evolving.
The cornerstone of CX programs is the availability of data. However the types of data and the effectiveness of data needs to be explored and mastered to be able to claim such promises and make them your own.
This article will take aim at how experience management can make this data work for you.
The “treasure chest” that businesses already have
What customers think about your business, fuels or derails business performance. These critical insights are living inside the huge stock piles of voice of customer, sentiment data coming in from sources such as listening posts, systems of record [eg. CRM], advertising platform or even your server logs. It's within these estates of bits, bytes, zeroes and ones where the treasure is, though a lot remains unconquered, namely:
- The search for the best methods to make sense of customer data.
- Connecting the insights with the roots of business at a time when it actually matters.
Let's understand what some of those missed opportunities and unmet needs could be by looking at an example from the CX lens.
The case for looking into customer experience traces
Let us look into the real story that unfolded many years ago in a bank that has hundreds of retail bank branches in different cities across the country. In a particular branch, the sales figures over the past 2 quarters had been on the decline. The banking services, staff and other common factors were pretty consistent with the other branches. As a business lead, apart from being concerned about the trend, there wasn’t much that one can do. The driver[s] behind this downward trend ought to be understood.
A few listening posts were setup and a pilot CX experiment was administered around the branch’s neighborhood. Further, surveys were sent to current and recently churned customers. The program collected sentiments and feedback for 60 days with the help of an XM. This allowed XM to have a set of words that could elicit enough information. The insight was mined from the word cloud feature of XM and was made available for management's view. Guess what was the major cause of churn? A simple vending machine and photocopier!
Apparently what brought many people to to this branch was the availability of a photocopier and vending machine in the waiting room where the aging population would have a chat when they come to bank.
In the above story, the actual driver behind the decline in sales did not have anything to do with banking. It was in fact a hidden external driver. Reinstalling these simple machines helped word of mouth publicity and normalized the sales in a quarter.
These are insights only customers can tell you. And this is the power of a CX software and program.
Experience management is a product/solution that's been around for more than a decade and is mainstream. By looking into the direction of XM, businesses can avoid investment, reduce efforts into data analytics as it pertains to CX data. Most of what's needed to manage customer experience in terms of features, dashboards, widgets are already available as out of box features giving businesses a head start.
Note: Experience management[XM], customer experience management[CEM], customer feedback management[CFM] are terms interchangeably used to identify software platforms that process, manage voice of customer feedback data.
Key features that make a good Experience Management solution mighty
When selecting XM solutions, certain features stand out. Let's look at some of those.
1. Causal models
A loyal customer gives your business a few advantages such as tolerance to price increase, increased wallet share, referral revenue etc., What's hard to find out is the influence of different facets of your brand on him/her to turn loyal. For example, the customer journey en route a visit to a healthcare center may comprise of initial enquiry, a promise/brand message in a commercial ad, the onboarding experience, doctor consultation, the ambience and facilities available within the center, the exit and a lot more micro facets such as the frontline staff greeting you, reduced wait time, honoring the appointment time without delay etc., It's hard to decouple and understand what out of those many drivers had the biggest influence on a good NPS score you received from your customer. This is where causal models in your XM can help. Causal models will untangle the relationship between drivers[E.g. wait time] and KPI's [E.g. NPS]
2. Level of predictability
Predictive analytics takes the causal model story one step further to tell you, what the impact would be on your KPI's if you choose to take action on the highlighted drivers. One of the inputs for prediction is the purchasing data which can be linked to drivers, KPI's to forecast financial impact of the change. This imparts conviction before decision making and one of the real examples of data driven decision making in action.
3. Ease of establishing operational links
Measuring and tracking customer experience without knowing the linkage to business performance is not useful. Cross correlating experience data to operational and financial info forms the holy grail of customer experience. Achieving this is not a walk in the park though. A good XM should enable bidirectional integration with other tools/data silos. Some examples could be,
- A side by side view of Net promoter score for a month/quarter/year against top-line revenue can help analyze the impact of CX scores on business performance.
- Second example could be the integration between your XM and ticketing system, if a customer shows signs of churning, the solution can open a ticket in your help desk to follow up and close the loop
4. Ability to slice and dice
XM should render the capability to see insights from data the way you want it, so cross-tabulation capabilities weigh in. There is a lot of data already assembled into your XM from operational to transactional to experiential. From here on, the XM's capability to allow you to perform slicing and dicing is the key. For example, a contact center leader may want to know what the detractors are saying. In order to know this, you can look into your word cloud to see what the top grievance is. Similarly I want to compare my business's NPS against industry benchmark to identify improvement areas. The XM should be able to show me this view.
5. Shaping your CX strategy
There is so much emphasis on designing and retuning the CX strategy and rightly so. XM is your source to shape that strategy and flesh out actions. These actions are going to bring some changes to almost every facet of your business. How does XM help you here ? Here is an example,
XM helps you analyze NPS scores and the pattern of trends compared to historical figures such as previous month, quarter, year. XM also makes recommendations for actions to course correct your CX strategy. For instance, XM can tell you that by working on prescribed actions your NPS score can go up from 83 to 89. These are the ready findings that you get just by logging into a XM dashboard. XM can even extend the customer journey to the contact center agent. The agent gets a full view and context of customer before even greeting them. This helps them to tune their approach in real time.
Brands struggle to find the right problems to solve in the experience age, that is characterized by data overload. Integrating the Customer feedback data [voice of customer] and operational data [voice of analytics] is the first step in turning this data overload into a gold mine. Experience management is hyper-focused on addressing this integration.
XM lends strength to make agile adjustments to move the needle forward on the CX dial and helps you shift your focus on the actual experience before going to the numbers. Bring your customer into the board room with Experience Management to reap the benefits of acting on customer feedback in today's experience age .