How do you know when to invest in Customer Experience? What does such an investment look like? Is it training or measuring or just paying attention to the customer? And then, the million-dollar question, how do you know your investment in customer experience has actually worked? AND, is there a time you can stop investing in this valuable resource?
At insight6, our team of 24 customer experience experts (CXD’s) work across the UK and Ireland, with more than 1,000 businesses. We asked them how they would answer these questions.
Our CXD team have very impressive senior management experience in customer-centric companies from Tesler to Tescos, from Costa to Coke, Apple to Heineken.
What we discovered from our team of CXD’s can be summed up in six key findings:
1. One size does not fit all
The first step with any new client is to gain an understanding of the needs of the organisation. Some clients know exactly what is needed, for example, a team training programme or a competitor analysis. Other clients may need to gain an objective view of whether there is a customer experience issue to address. When a client does not know if there is an issue, the only way to find out is by asking either customers, the team or both! Whatever the client issue, whether it be high team turnover or low customer retention, the results of asking the right questions will always illuminate a path of action that will solve the problem. Simply having an open discussion with an expert will open up the world of CX and allow exploration into what can be achieved.
2. The time is right when you are ready for change
The only time to invest in Customer Experience is when you are prepared to take action. How many times have you decided to undertake research and used the report to fill a bookshelf, or attended a training course and, within a week, forgotten what you learnt? We all do it.
The truth is that you will know when it is time to invest in customer experience; it’s when you know you are ready and are open-minded enough to embrace what comes next, and then make it happen.
3. Investment in Customer Experience is everything to do with the Customer
Take a look at your business through the lens of your customer, and you will see everything that needs to change! Keep the customer as a metaphoric ‘horse whisperer’ by having a continuous ‘feed-in’ of how they see your business, from focus groups to CX reviews (mystery shopping), on-line immediate feedback, to Video mystery visits. The only thing that is vital, is that you listen to the ‘whispers’, and elevate their status in your business to the most important voice in your management team. One of our clients has an ‘empty’ chair at their board table, that represents the customer, so the customer’s perception can never be forgotten. This makes the point to the whole management team that the person in that chair is the one that needs to be most impressed with the decisions made in the meeting.#
4. Investing in the Catalysts to Customer Experience
Customer experience is not something that can be ‘given’ by a business. Customer experience is a subjective feeling that the customer has, which results from a series of events and encounters which leave an impression. This is called the Customer Journey. In order to create the blank canvas so that a customer journey can be identified, everyone in the organisation needs to see themselves as a catalyst to great customer experience – from the leaders to the front-line team.
5. ROI on Customer Experience is exponential
How do you measure the impact of making your team happier? What do you ask your customers to find out if they had a good experience? And how do you know if all your investment in your customers and team really did increase your sales?
Part of any customer experience project is to put ROI at the core of the work. It is vital that you can quantify the impact of the work and the money invested. The only place to start is by asking the business questions about where you are and where you would like to go and what would ‘great’ look like. Over 25 years, insight6 has developed robust tools to measure and quantify the impact of investing in customer experience for businesses, so you can know what works and what does not.
6. The magic sauce for customer experience is objectivity and expertise
The journey to being ‘great’ is continuous, especially as we live in a world where expectations from customers increase every single moment. Keeping up with customer expectations, knowing how to respond and being aware of what is the priority in your business, is a difficult task when you are ‘looking out’ from your business, as opposed to having the benefit of looking from outside in. Finding a trusted, objective and expert human adviser/partner is the magic sauce for knowing when and how to act with customer experience. Have you ever tried being your own therapist or coach? It does work, but only to the limit of what you have already experienced in your life. Gaining the insight of an expert will always allow you to step outside the boundaries of your own thinking, and experience a fresh, new way of looking at your business, inspiring you to go boldly into your future.
So, is investing in Customer Experience a choice? The answer is not binary – the business needs to commit to changing and you need to find the expertise to rocket fuel your customer experience.