Common Customer Experience Mistakes

A great customer experience has a positive impact on revenues. If you look after customers they will look after you. Avoid these customer experience mistakes and find out how to avoid them.
Customer Experience Error Page
Today’s customers expect all businesses to provide the same calibre of experience that they’d find with say, an Uber, an Amazon, or an Airbnb.
If we look back at the last decade in business, consumer preferences have been altered by startups offering standout customer experiences. These startups have since morphed into industry leaders by making customer experience a competitive advantage.
In the UK, Monzo and Revolut are raising the bar for CX in Banking. Large fintechs such as Transferwise have made sending money across the globe a dream for users. In the entertainment industry, Spotify and Netflix have been ingenious with their use of customer data to create personalised experiences and have made the customer’s experience a cornerstone of their strategy.
Much of what customer experience leaders build derives from listening to customers. It’s critical to ask customers what they want, listen carefully to their answers, and figure out a plan to provide it thoughtfully and quickly (speed matters in business!). We now live in an era where making costly mistakes when improving your customer experience can be damaging to your brand and the bottom line.
Customer experience transcends across multiple departments, touches on numerous disciplines from analytics, research, support and product. Poor performance in any one of those areas can be costly and see your brand slip into irrelevance with the customer.
In the following article, we’ll dive deep into the customer experience mistakes to avoid at all costs.
1. CX Isn’t Part of the Company Culture
True customer obsession is a principle that keeps companies relevant, competitive, and growing. Without it, companies stagnate, become irrelevant, decline and slowly fade away.
Company culture influences and projects onto everything a company does. A customer-obsessed culture creates the conditions where employees strive to design and invent to create delight for the customer.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is treating the customer experience as an external effort. Creating a customer-centric culture comes from within. A customer obsessed culture is a way to centre and align your business around the interests of the customers.
We’ve been lucky enough to work with companies like Uber, Zappos, and Spotify. One thing they all have in common is a strong emphasis on internal culture. They empower employees to make high-velocity decision making and optimise the customer experience at speed.
One key theme that emerges across all these great brands is the availability of information. In many organisations, customer data is locked in systems, silos, and storage places that are not immediately available.
Their customer experience data flow is designed to continuously collect all streams of customer information in real-time and democratise it. They are making the data accessible via any channel that’s used by those needing to make decisions. There is no need to log into a different system to view NPS, CSAT or surveys responses and email various departments for CSV files of data stored in excel.
All data collected is available in one platform, removing barriers to customer-centric data. This level of transparency is designed to allow anyone within the company to make customer-centric decisions.
Internally, there are a few things you can do to bring the customer experience inside the office walls.

Share the company vision across all teams, departments, and roles. Everyone needs to be on the same page.
Embed customer-centric goals into all company efforts from sales pitches to marketing, UX, and accounting. All departments must be in alignment–and have a clear understanding of how responsibilities connect to CX.
Train your team (regularly) on the latest CX strategies, tools, and best practices.
Provide a single platform to collect and analyse customer feedback data.

2. Poor Use of Data
Why collect data if you’re not going to use it the right way?
Companies must collect, analyse, understand — and most importantly use — customer data to learn how to make the customer experience better. If you aren’t utilising the latest technologies to analyse data you collect on customers, then you’re allowing competitors to be more customer-centric than you.
Today, companies are storing large amounts of data – terabytes and petabytes across several databases. Integrating all data sources into one platform gives brands a holistic view of the customer journey.
To unlock insights on the customer, leading brands invest in powerful analytical capabilities harnessing AI and Machine Learning to understand customer feedback at scale. Revealing the needs and wants of the consumer that would otherwise remain untapped and out of sight.
When you take advantage of the data collected, it allows you to:
Get Personal: Netflix, Spotify and Amazon have nailed the art of personalisation perfectly, suggesting books, TV shows, and songs that fit their users’ distinct tastes. None of this would be possible without analytics.
Identify what’s working: If you don’t look at the data showing what you’re doing wrong in CX and UX, customers will leave your site, store, or app. It’s no longer a question. There are too many other options available to accept a less-than-stellar experience.
Intelligent AI analysis of customer feedback using topic and sentiment analysis can help prioritise what matters to the customer the most. Is it a bug in your app? Delivery time of food being delivered? Pricing? Diving deep into customer feedback at scale can unearth key insights that help prioritise decision making.
Move Faster: Artificial Intelligence can process data in huge volumes in real time, identifying trends in the data, that is invisible to the human eye. You are unlocking the capacity to help you be more proactive to ever changing customer preferences. Top customer experience analytics platforms provide automated alerts that can notify the correct team member when a change in data or behaviour of the customer is registered.
A powerful feature that can easily fit into your team workflow, ensuring key stakeholders who own certain parts of the customer stay on top of customer satisfaction across their section of customer experience.
3. Not Understanding the Monetary Value of CX
Only a small number of companies can demonstrate in actual figures an ROI connected to Customer Experience efforts.
Many customer experience efforts stall out because leaders fail to show their team just how much value a customer-centric culture adds to your overall bottom line. The cost of inaction due to a lack of understanding of ROI can be devastating for businesses.
If you want to sell CX internally, you need to show internal stakeholders a clear link to its financial benefits. A few ideas for kicking off that initial CX conversation:
Choose the Business Metrics Most Impacted by Customer Experience
A few metrics often used to measure ROI of CX include:
Revenue: Top-line revenue is the most common business metric to consider. A recent Forrester study found that the revenue of CX leaders outgrew the revenue of their CX laggard competitors by 5 to 1.
Customer Retention: Improving customer experience has a direct impact on increasing customer retention and reducing churn. Happy customers are loyal and refer their friends regularly.
Cross-sell/Upsell: Customers who are delighted with their experience spend more with a business by buying additional products and services.
Cost-to-Serve: Improving customer experience has a direct impact on reducing the cost to serve customers as it results in streamlined processes, a reduced volume of complaints and refunds to the customer call center and greater efficiencies company wide.
__Use Customer Experience Analytics To Show Link Between Business Metrics and CX __
To show the link between CX metrics and customer experience, you have first to discover how CX drives changes in customer behaviour.
Understand how customers think and feel about their experiences by analyzing their feedback and understand the key drivers behind their experience. With text analytics, you’ll be able to identify which topics impact your CX the most across the entire customer journey. You may find that the temperature of the food on delivery is resulting in cancellations and refunds.
This insight will help you prioritize your investments and find quick wins to generate ROI from CX initiatives quickly.
Secondly, perform analysis to determine what a 1-point increase or decrease in Net Promoter Score, CSAT or your main CX metric tracked company wide is worth in terms of the business metrics you’ve chosen to measure ROI.
4. Review Customer Data by Cohort
Failure to segment your customer data is a huge opportunity missed to generate more profits. Your business may compete with different competitors for specific demographics or geographies.
Different customer segments may have different goals and pain points to solve. Look at customer data from past NPS survey responses and review the feedback by LTV for example and you’ll be able to see what matters most to Freemium users vs Highest LTV customers.

Segmentation adds a lot of context to data. As we see here in this chart, churn rate due to the negative customer service experience of Premium customers is arguably more of a problem than negative customer service experience of Freemium customers.
Gathering these insights and connecting the dots for internal stakeholders can help you get the buy-in needed to take CX to the next level.
5. Not Providing a Personalized Experience
Personalization isn’t optional in this day and age.
Given the fact that CX depends on collecting and analyzing data, there’s no excuse not to use that information to deliver a personal experience to every customer.
Amazon, for example, knows a lot about their customers based on their purchase history, so they personalize and offer their customers special offers based on the customers’ interests. This type of personalization not only increases customer satisfaction but also drives loyalty and repetitive purchases.
Netflix captures the intent of the users, continually researching the interests of its customers. Based on the user behaviour, you might find an actor that you recognize, an exciting moment like a car chase, or a dramatic scene that conveys the essence of a movie or TV show in your feed.
Personalized communication allows you to set the stage for a positive relationship, making customers feel valued while establishing a sense of trust. Brands that don’t make an effort to understand customer needs and preferences miss out on long-term loyalty and risk high rates of churn.
6. Failing to Act On Customer Feedback
Customers do not like it when you ignore them. If there is a customer complaint offering negative feedback, it’s essential to treat it like the learning experience it is.
Make sure you do the following:

Listen to your customers.
Acknowledge their concerns and offer a solution—don’t make excuses or argue with the customer.
Make the required change and follow up — in other words, close the loop to make sure that you’ve fixed the problem correctly.
Apologize and say “thanks” for the feedback.

Much of what is built at leading brands such as Amazon is based on listening to customers. If you don’t prioritise customer feedback and embed your learnings into your product roadmap, someone else will build something that meets customer needs better. Before long, you’ll see your product fall deeper into irrelevance in the mind of the customer.
Ultimately, reviewing feedback from all customers allows you to make improvements to your business and build better relationships with the people who make your organization money.
7. Asking the Wrong Questions
A mistake committed time and time again is failing to ask questions that produce insightful feedback from customers.
The whole purpose of capturing feedback is to provide data for analysis and insights that can drive ACTIONABLE change across an organisation.
It’s critical to remember your customer experience analytics system is only as good as the data you input into it. Asking the wrong questions of your customers won’t deliver actionable insights.
A good rule of thumb is to take stock of your desired outcome right from the outset: what is it that you hope to learn?
If you want to know what people think about your brand overall, then run an NPS survey. If the goal is to learn more about who your customers are and what they care about, consider asking a few direct questions.
Examples include:

What did we do that you liked best?
What could we do better?
What could we have done differently to improve the customer experience?
To what extent did X increase likelihood to recommend?
Which words would you use to describe us?
What function does our product/service fill for you?
How does our product/service solve your problem?
What questions did you have that you couldn’t find answers to?

We recommend sticking to a few questions (think three to five, max) and asking a mix of open and closed-ended questions. More importantly, the questions must be actionable, specific and attributable to a customer segment.
8. Asking Too Many Questions
It makes sense; you want to learn as much about your customers as possible. Initially, you might think it’s a good idea to ask your customers dozens of questions in one go. But customers will most likely see a long list of questions as a burden. Who wants to spend their time essentially doing work for free?
The length of your survey should be, at most, something the average user could complete in under five minutes. That means no more than ten (short) questions.
If you have a low response rate to your customer feedback surveys then that’s a leaky bucket in your CX program.
One tip we recommend is adding in a progress bar to your survey so the customer can see how close they are to completion. If the customer can see the progress, they are more likely to commit and complete all your answers.
That said, it’s unlikely that the average customer will want to read through ten questions, much less give a thoughtful response to each one. Instead, aim to ask two or three open-ended questions at a time. Fewer questions allow customers to share their experience, quickly, in their own words.
You might approach this as an NPS survey, where you first ask the customer to rate their experience with your company—and from there, include a comment box with enough space for them to explain the “why” behind their numeric score.
9. Neglecting UX and Design
Customer Experience is the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship in terms of the digitally crafted experience solely for the organization.
UX is an inevitable part of the CX. It’s important for any digital product and creates a better customer experience.
User Experience is the foundation of a good customer experience. These fields are very much intertwined and one isn’t necessarily more ‘important’ than the other. Companies might focus on necessary service improvements like response time of customer support, but neglecting UX is one of the deadliest CX sins a brand can commit.
No matter how beautifully designed your site may be, if your users don’t know how to navigate and find what they’re looking for, they simply won’t come back.
Think about what you expect when you visit a website. What impression do you get from a site that is poorly designed, full of broken links, or is too hard to navigate? You might click away in frustration. Maybe you’re worried that your computer will get a virus or that they can’t process payments securely.
Poor UX is a fatal blow to the customer experience. When UX doesn’t match up with basic design principles, you’re getting a fragmented experience.
UX touches upon your users and if they have a good experience with your brand they will refer their friends.
10. Not Connecting with Customers on Multiple Channels
One of the biggest criminal offences committed by customer experience professionals is not providing your company with the best chance of capturing customer feedback.
We recommend having an omnichannel approach to collecting feedback. You want to cast a wide net, so you capture as much insight as possible. That means enabling customers to provide feedback across all the critical touch points in the customer journey, across websites, mobile apps, emails, or in-store.
Customers need the opportunity to come to you with feedback, as well as you actively soliciting feedback from them.

Active feedback refers to actively engaging your users and asking them for their input. Most likely about their experience in one of the hotspots of your customer journey, such as the checkout experience, delivery experience, or understanding what they think of a new homepage.
Passive feedback refers to feedback a customer feels compelled to give you on their own volition without being solicited, often highlighting issues that you simply didn’t know about.

Key channels to have a presence when developing your CX program.

Customer Surveys (NPS, CSAT, CES)
Onsite Customer Surveys
Social Media
Call Transcripts
Chatbots Conversations

More feedback means more insights, which adds up to more guidance on how to improve CX.
Avoiding these mistakes is a great way to start improving the experience customers have when they interact with your brand. When a brand starts to consistently offer customers an experience, just a little above what competitors offer, they are bound to control a greater percentage of market in a short time.

6 Tips for Greater Insight Into Reputation Management

Communication and reputation departments are fixated on data: opinion scores, reputation scores, brand index pulses, media value and reach… But we re now so overwhelmed with data we can no longer see the forest for the trees. How can you employ technology to get a clear picture regarding your reputation? This article provides six tips for converting data into actionable insights that your organisation can use.
You can’t manage what you can’t measure
Social media analyses are now perfectly routine. Organisations measure NPS scores and response times. Volume graphics are used for up- or down-scaling of staff, and we have access to real-time knowledge on what topics are currently trending. We keep in touch with our web-care departments to see how our brand is performing. And yet we don’t really trust our own capacity to interpret big data. In this field, specialized expertise is necessary.
Many corporate communications departments are hunting for a knob to press that will improve their reputation. We would all like to have a magic wand to wave. But it actually isn’t so difficult to find a few key factors in the mountain of data that confronts us every day. What is vital is that you know how to connect the right factors with each other. The tips below provide skills you need to apply in your (partially automated) structural reputation analysis.
Tip 1: Look beyond quality
An increase in volume could have many underlying reasons. Someone could repeatedly send out the same tweet or receive many retweets, there may be a prize draw or your organisation could receive a mention in the context of a related topic. Always perform a smart analysis of these activity peaks; what are the trending topics? Do you perceive a change in sentiment? Were any stakeholders involved?
It’s a good idea to also look beyond just volume. An issue could have a big impact without necessarily being large in terms of volume. Reach, source category and source are other parameters you should consider in your analysis as a matter of course. Include newspapers, radio, tv, as well as high impact sources such as trade specific blogs, GeenStijl and the Correspondent.
Tip 2: Measure your core values
Your corporate communications strategy was created for good reasons. It has all the core values that you should want to show up in your report. With the help of a social media monitoring tool it is relatively simple to measure these values with a structured approach: map the keywords that are being used in relation to these values and perform your analysis on that basis. Take into account any changes in sentiment to do with your core values.
Tip 3: What impact do your press releases have?
A personal favourite: monitoring for the impact of press releases. Writing and publishing press releases is a major job component of corporate communications professionals and spokespersons. Generally you will have an idea of how something will land, and in most cases your organisation will have staff who produce an overview of press coverage. However, proper monitoring of the impact of press releases is often lacking, meaning you loose out on gaining important insights that could help you to optimise your PR strategy.

Which media pick up on which topics?
Which topics do really well?
Which press releases contribute to a shift in sentiment on social media

Tip 4: Distinguish proactive from reactive coverage
Proactive versus reactive coverage is another important parameter to look out for. Mapping this in a stractured manner will give you a clearer picture of which coverage just ‘çomes your way’ as opposed to coverage that you can control to a certain extent. This will contribute to your strategy. Pay close attention to hashtags and mentions related to your organisation and how these relate to content that was pushed out from your corporate accounts.

Tip 5: Industry expertise. What are the hot topics and what is their impact?
(Social) media monitoring is not limited to just your own organisation. Brand reputation stretches beyond the brand itself, as it could be impacted by the reputation of an entire industry. A crisis at organisation X within your industry, could lead to an increase in conversations about organisation Y (your organiation). As a communications professional, understanding which issues are impacting the industry as a whole, will help you to influence these conversations or divert attention away from them.
Tip 6: Monitor key stakeholders
As a communications professional you have mapped your key stakeholders. You generally have a good sense of the sentiment surrounding certain issues. Now try to take the next step: can you group the stakeholders? Do you discover any trends from doing that?
To illustrate, let’s take an internal issue. It doesnt’t take much for an issue like that to be picked up externally. By monitoring internal sentiment and discussions, you will be better prepared when this situation occurs. Platforms like Yammer are increasingly part of the monitoring OBI4wan performs for its clients. The intention is not to control or judge staff members’ communications, but rather to have a constant temperature check of internal issues and conversation topics.
The human aspect of monitoring will always be important, but we can make it easier. Hopefully these tips will contribute to your self-confidence and you will dare to start monitoring your online brand reputation more quickly.
Originally published here.

Ask NPS Questions Using a Storytelling Approach

cdd20 / Pixabay
When you write a story, what is the first thing you should think about? Your audience. The same holds true for your Net Promoter Score survey. Really, writing a survey question is just another type of storytelling. You can use your creative writing skills to make your NPS question more effective and increase your survey response rate.
After all, “The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon,” according to Brandon Sanderson, author of “The Way of Kings.”
What is Net Promoter Score (NPS)?
Net Promoter Score surveys are a type of customer experience survey. They are good for gathering real-time customer feedback and building customer relationships. The NPS question starts with, “How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend or colleague?” But it can also be so much more.
Remember that your NPS survey represents a valuable customer loyalty metric. Viewing customers through this lens gives customer success teams a better way to build healthy, long-lasting customer relationships. Solid customer data helps your customer success teams predict and prevent churn.

Now we’re going to tell you exactly how to write an NPS survey question to grab your customer’s attention and get the feedback you need.
Tip No. 1: make your survey personal
When you send a survey, you are trying to become part of your customer’s story. We respond best to the stories where we identify with the main character, and we feel as though we have walked in their shoes.
Your aim is for customers to see themselves reflected in your survey question. And there are some very good reasons for doing this. 73% of customers want brands to make the shopping experience more personal. Personal experiences drive loyalty.
We tend to respond very well when others use our name in their communication with us. As Dale Carnegie says, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
You have the ability to make your NPS question much more personal by using your customer’s name and other relevant details. Survey software allows you to personalize your survey greetings and language with merge fields.
For example, like this(full disclosure—this survey is not made with GetFeedback):

Image source: MyCustomer
When this technique is used sparingly, it is even more effective.
Tip No. 2: ask about the why
If you wrote a story that was all fact and no drama, it wouldn’t be very interesting at all. We naturally want to be told the why behind the characters: we crave knowing what drives them to do the things they do. The same goes for your NPS survey.
Of course, the purpose of your survey is mainly to gather quantitative data about your Detractors, Passives, and Promoters. That’s one of the main advantages of the NPS format for a survey. On the other hand, you can also ask for qualitative feedback from your customers to find out why they gave you the rating they did.

You need qualitative data—the why—from your customers to gather meaning and get actionable insights. It brings your survey responses to life so you can either a) solve any problems that arise, or b) keep doing more of the good stuff.
Here’s an example from Groove (full disclosure—this survey is not made with GetFeedback):

Tip No. 3: use the fewest number of words you can
It’s easy to add in more detail, but one of the hardest things about writing is knowing exactly what to cut out. When you spend time crafting your message, it can be hard to let go of a single word or sentence. William Faulkner put it best when he articulated how “in writing, you must kill your darlings.” The reason that this technique is so effective is when you cut the fluff, the rest becomes far more engaging.
This means that no matter how precious your NPS survey becomes to you, you must edit, edit, and edit again. Customers are much more likely to complete a short survey than a long survey, which is one of the reasons why NPS surveys are so effective. The more concise the question you come up with, the better.
That’s one of the reasons why hearing aid company Eargo saw a 20% increase in survey completion rate when they switched their survey creation to GetFeedback. Create short, engaging surveys that don’t take up too much of your customers’ valuable time.

Tip No. 4: don’t break character for any reason
In any good story, your goal is to make the characters as believable as possible. This includes the actions your characters take and the words they use. A lot of work goes into building characters, and are a big part of what makes stories so enjoyable.
Your NPS survey question should be written in character with your brand. Remember that 75% of customers want a consistent experience with your brand—regardless of the channel they use to contact you. Any interaction or touchpoint with your customer should be on brand. And all this effort in providing a consistent experience is more than worth it. According to Forbes, consistent brand presentation across all platforms increases revenue by 23%.
While staying in character, it should not be obvious that you are using survey software to gather feedback from your customers. It should feel like a natural part of their experience with your brand. Your survey should speak to your customer just like a support rep or sales rep, not a robot. Use the tone of voice and language that you would use in any brand materials or support interaction.

Choose NPS survey software that allows you to have full brand control over the surveys you create, including changing brand logos, fonts, colors, and even custom URLs.

Tip No. 5: prompt your audience to feel
Readers read stories to feel something—moving an audience is the most fundamental purpose of a story. If we don’t feel, our attention wanders and we move onto something else. Better yet, “storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today,” says renowned storyteller Robert McKee.
Your biggest chance to invoke emotion is when writing your open-ended NPS question. This is where you ask your customer for more information about the rating they gave you. Your aim is to ask your customer to expand on their experiences by tapping into their feelings. For example, instead of asking, “What was the reason for your score?” say something like, “If we could do one thing to make you happier what would you choose?”
You can also tap into the power of imagery to trigger an emotional reaction that could motivate customers to complete your survey. Carefully choose an image that is related to your products, like an outdoor adventure scene for an outdoor product company.
Here’s an example from a CSAT survey:

And remember, if you discover that your customer feels bad about your company, follow up promptly and helpfully. 52% of customers believe that companies should act on their feedback, and it just might help you turn a Detractor into a Promoter.
Tip No.6: keep it specific
We like stories that are specific, chock full of details and depicting believable people and events. It makes stories more relatable, and also makes an abstract concept—like rate our brand—more concrete, by tying it into something we can experience. In your NPS survey, reference the specific interaction that your customer has had with your brand, whether that is booking a vacation on your platform, or ordering a ride in your app.
Of course, we often want to take the temperature of how our customers feel about our company overall, since this is the main purpose of the NPS survey. But you can sometimes replace the word “company” in your survey question with a specific product or service. Referencing a specific interaction with your brand is much more powerful than sending out a generalized survey question.

Making your survey more specific also makes it seem more like it comes from a human—there should be a real person at the helm of your software. And customers are more likely to complete your NPS survey if they think their feedback will be heard.
Write the whole story
A great story is a page-turner that you just can’t put down. Here’s your chance to put your storytelling skills to good use by writing NPS survey questions that grab your customers’ attention.
At the same time, a survey can only take you so far. You have to build a picture of the whole story of your customer’s experience. Use these storytelling techniques to increase your survey response rate, and allow your customer success team to learn more about your customers—resulting in the ultimate happy ending.

Customer Experience Measurement: Which Metrics Should You Focus On?

In this article, we’ll guide you through the various customer experience metrics and how best to measure and optimise your customer experience.
customer experience metrics
We now live in a world where customers have an infinite supply of products and services to choose from, and it’s getting harder and harder to stand out from the crowd. Customers have become less responsive to the endless conveyor belt of product releases, and the countless ads and marketing campaigns pinged to their screens daily.
People now care more about relationships and experiences with brands and CEOs are starting to take notice, according to “Closing the Customer Experience Gap,” by HBR nearly three-quarters of business leaders (73%) said that delivering a relevant and reliable customer experience is critical to their company’s overall business performance today.
Think back to a time where you went to a restaurant based on a giant ad? Most likely very few times. How many times, in contrast, have you followed the recommendation of a friend or a positive review in a magazine or newspaper? Unbiased references by friends, experts and families carry tremendous power.
The most innovative companies understand that success is closely correlated with creating an end-to-end customer experience that delights customers. Happy customers have the potential to be the strongest troops in your marketing team. Satisfied customers promote your brand and can be a huge asset as their recommendations hold significant influence over potential buyers. They also buy more, stick around and cost less to serve, helping improve the bottom line in ultra-competitive markets.
When setting out to improve your customer experience, you cannot afford to drive blind when carrying out initiatives to enhance your customer experience. You need to make sure you track and measure metrics accurately so you can understand your performance in delivering outstanding experiences for your customers.
As the great management thinker Peter Drucker is often quoted as saying,
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
So it’s crucial you measure what matters.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the various customer experience metrics and how best to measure your customer experience.
Why measuring customer experience metrics matter
Focusing on metrics that are imperfect or not meaningful can have a severe negative impact on your business. Optimising for the wrong metrics and not having in-depth knowledge of your customers will lead to erroneous decisions that hurt your business.
Usually, the root cause of poor customer experience measurement is when companies use metrics defined along functional lines that only tell you part of the story. Creating misalignment between what is being measured and what is driving the underlying economics and customer experience. Choosing the wrong metric can also generate misalignment between the underlying moral purpose of the person doing the work and what is being measured. Both of these can create serious problems for your organisation.
For example, measuring the success of a support rep based on the total number of calls they respond to per day does not align their work to making the customer happy. A support agent will be conscious of their manager assessing individual performance based on the number of requests completed per day. It is within their self-interest to keep calls short and sidestep challenging customer problems. Forcing behaviour such as offloading hard to solve problems to a different team, or avert solving a problem because it will be too timely or complicated to fix. A situation where all the actors from the employee, customer and organisation lose out.
The customer loses out by receiving a miserable experience, annoyed they turn into a detractor sharing their experiences with friends, family and acquaintances taking their business elsewhere. The company now loses out on all the economic benefits of happy customers, and employee morale dips as they fail to delight customers and knowingly deliver a rubbish experience.
An overview of customer experience metrics
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
First developed in 2003 by Bain and Company, it’s now used by millions of businesses to measure and track how they’re perceived customers. Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures the loyalty of customers to a company. NPS scores are measured with a single question survey and reported with a number from 0-100, a higher rating is desirable.
The survey question gauges customer loyalty by asking a straightforward question, “On a scale of zero to ten, how likely are you to recommend X product/service to a friend?” Respondents answer with either 0-10 or “not at all likely” to “extremely likely.” Brands can come up with an aggregate score by removing the neutral responses, and subtracting the percentage of detractors from promoters.

You can measure almost anything using an NPS score – so as well as understanding the overall NPS for your organisation, you can track scores for everything from individual products, stores, web pages or even staff members.
NPS is an excellent way of understanding the overall customer perception of your brand. You should measure NPS regularly so you can continuously learn and track customer loyalty over time.
For more information on NPS read our guide to Net Promoter Score here.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
Where NPS measures a customer’s overall perception of a brand, customer satisfaction (CSAT) measures how satisfied a customer is with a specific product, service, or interaction with a brand.
CSAT targets a ‘here and now’ reaction to a specific interaction, product or event, but it is limited when it comes to measuring a customer’s ongoing relationship with a company.
CSAT is measured by one or more variation of this question that usually appears at the end of a customer feedback survey:
“How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the [goods/service] you received?’
Respondents use the following 1 to 5 scale:

Very unsatisfied
Very satisfied

The results can be averaged out to give a Composite Customer Satisfaction Score, although CSAT scores are more usually expressed as a percentage scale: 100% being total customer satisfaction, 0% total customer dissatisfaction.
Brands can gauge customer satisfaction overall by presenting surveys at various customer interaction episodes, asking customers to rate their experience or a specific product. From there, brands have an opportunity to identify problem areas and link them to a particular phase in the customer journey.

Customer Effort Score (CES)
Customer Effort Score (CES) measures a customer’s ease of an experience with a company. It’s typically measured by sending customers an automated post-interaction survey asking them to rate a specific statement on a defined scale by asking the question “on a scale of ‘very easy’ to ‘very difficult’, how easy was it to interact with [company name].” The statement will depend on the interaction they just completed.
Companies can then analyze the potential points of friction in the journey. For example, low CES scores might reveal that a website’s checkout process is too complicated. Or that their experience submitting a support ticket was confusing.
By acting on this insight and removing obstacles for the customer, companies can reduce customer service costs and attrition rates (and by extension, loyalty) by making things more convenient for the customer.
Other metrics to measure
Customer Churn Rate
Customer churn describes the rate at which a customer abandons a brand, unsubscribes, or stops visiting a website. You can calculate churn by dividing the total number of customers lost by the total number of active customers over a specific timeframe. For subscription-based companies, churn is easier to measure than it is with an online store where all items are purchased on a one-off basis. It’s essential for e-commerce brands to define what churn means within the context of their company.
Retention Rate
Customer retention rate refers to the percentage of customers that the company retains over a specific period. Retention is, in essence, the opposite of churn, meaning gathering feedback from customers who stick with you can reveal what you’re doing well.
First Response Time
First response time is the average amount of time that it takes for customers to receive an initial response to a support issue. Generally, this is measured by customer support team, it’s calculated by taking the average response rate time between a customer opening a support ticket and when a rep acknowledges their request.
Average Handling Time
Average handling time is the amount of time to resolve a support issue from start to finish. This includes every interaction from calls to emails and chat, plus time spent waiting between interactions. The “ideal” handling time varies by organization and complexity of the issue, but it’s good to get a sense of how long people are waiting, on average, for a fix. Remember, this could be a root cause for churn.
Understand the why behind the score with customer feedback
How can you turn survey results into action?
Customer feedback holds all the answers. Countless businesses fail to extract actionable insights from their unstructured data.
Customer Feedback
When trying to deliver a customer experience that your competitors can’t match, focusing on quantitative metrics alone is a huge opportunity missed for customer experience practitioners.
Collecting quantitative data is essential to benchmark customer experience performance over time but acting on quantitative metrics is ill-advised without understanding the why behind the score.
Your customer experience data needs to be actionable enough to change engineering and product roadmaps across an organisation. You should be able to understand whether a potential change in product strategy will meet the needs of a specific customer segment.
To get to the why behind the score you need to capture open-ended feedback from customers to evaluate why your NPS or CSAT is going up or going down. Customer feedback is a great way to build a continuous improvement feedback loop that encourages employee learnings and behavioural change throughout an organisation to make it more customer centric.
Today, touchpoints—and data sources—have multiplied exponentially to include mobile apps, call centers, kiosks, all kinds of social media, and pretty much anytime anyone ever interacts with a screen. It’s possible to capture customer feedback across multiple sections of the customer journey targeting different customer segments on different channels.
Customer experiences once involved was limited number of not easily tracked touchpoints, including magazine and television ads, store visits, purchases at cash registers, and communications received by mail, such as bills or claims responses.
Surveys with additional questions or adding space for verbatim responses at the end of an NPS, CSAT, or CES survey can be sent to customers. Feedback can also be found in unsolicited forms like social media mentions, App Store reviews, or long-form reviews on sites like TrustPilot, Yelp, or G2 Crowd.
Ask customers what they think, in their own words, and make it easy for them to share. The quality of insights gathered is dependant on the quality of data captured. It’s essential to ask the right questions at the right time to correct customers. The better the questions you ask, the more meaningful and richer insight data to analyse.
However, collecting data to ensure insights that can drive actions is a topic that deserves its own attention and something you can find out more about on our blog page.
Customer Experience Analytics
Which handful of actions will generate the most impact on the customer’s experience? If you had the answer to that question, you’d have a serious competitive advantage in your industry.
Customer experience improvement initiatives can comprise of multiple uncoordinated plans that emerge with good intent from different parts of an organisation. The problem is that there is little clarity which action will offer the most value for customers.
Optimising customer experiences means understanding all the possible combinations of sequential interactions that a customer can take and identifying opportunities for improvement.
To identify opportunities for improvement, you need to understand how your customer’s think and feel. Imagine if you had insight into the mind of the customer? You could quickly enhance your marketing messaging, product roadmap and support experiences.
However, the challenge of breaking down the mountain of feedback across multiple data sources can make even the most hardened executive shudder with fear. Companies today have numerous systems, databases and tools siloed across different functions all geared towards collecting feedback. Teams are sitting on colossal data sources failing to take advantage of the opportunity it presents.
Analysing these large data sets and providing insights and recommendations has, for a long time, has been a headache for customer experience practitioners. The quick and easy solution to this problem is integrating disparate data sources into one platform.
Okay, this is all well and good, but you may be wondering how do I get over the line?
Integrate data silos into one platform
What may appear as a monumental task is quite simple, and it’s a problem we can take care of for you. With our platform powered by the latest in Machine Learning, you can integrate all your feedback channels and analyse your data at scale.
We can identify topic and sentiment in each piece of customer feedback with the same level of detail as you and I reading this text right now. Breaking down that information into clear insights, so you understand the key drivers behind your customer experience metrics. Ensuring you have actionable insights to shape decision making and build experiences that delight.
For instance, from our recent analysis of the UK retail banking sector (link here), we can identify significant detraction causes include poor app security and unintuitive UI. On the upside, the variables that turn customers into promoters include helpful support and ease of use on the app. We can then dive deeper into topics such as app security and identify sub-topics such as login, auto log-out and verification/identification.
Must-win battles in the banking industry, thus often involve creating a seamless UI and improving customer pain points such as app security and contact centre accessibility. Identifying topics that matter most to customers can help improve aspects of the customer experience that you wouldn’t have had visibility of without the help of text analytics. The more data we have, the more granular insights we extract. It’s important to remember the system is only as powerful as the quality of input.

Combined with other sources of customer data, you can perform effective customer segmentation. Segmentation adds a lot of context to customer data so you can better understand how different customer groups feel about some very prominent parts of the customer journey.
You may have different competitors challenging you for different customer segments in different markets. If you could segment how different customer groups such as 16-25 think and feel you can begin to build personalised customer experiences and delight customers.
Monitor customer experience metrics in real time using dashboards
Customer experience teams need to share detailed reports on metrics both at a journey-level and at an overall level.
Create custom dashboards for different teams so they can keep track all of the feedback relating to their area of responsibility – by product, by marketing, by customer care team or agent etc. View an example dashboard here.
Custom dashboards can help multiple teams operate more collaboratively. A dashboard will be able to explain to the rest of the business the relative impact of solving a problem or making a change to the customer experience in a way that is understandable to multiple stakeholders. Set up alerts, so the right team member is notified when there is a change in the data that require recognition.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) Myths Debunked

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one of the most popular metrics being used in business today. And while NPS has many supporters to sing its praises, there seems to be an equal number of critics who have emerged to decry it, citing a number of reasons why it should be abolished. Among this debate, misconceptions have emerged from both sides. In order to truly understand this metric, these common NPS myths should be debunked.
Myth #1: NPS is not predictive
Some denouncers have claimed that NPS does not predict customer loyalty. While it may be true that NPS isn’t predictive in some cases in certain industries under particular circumstances, countless other research has shown that NPS is indeed an excellent predictor or repeat purchases, referrals, revenue, and business growth. Numerous studies have found a strong relationship between high Net Promoter Scores and revenue.
Therefore, it is inaccurate to say that NPS is unilaterally not predictive. Furthermore, predictiveness is far from the only benefit that NPS has to offer. When companies adopt NPS as a key metric, it inspires business growth, customer-centricity, and cross-functional alignment as different departments unite under the banner of decreasing detractors and increasing promoters.
It can also serve as a starting point for deeper customer research, a diagnostic tool for improving the customer experience, and an opportunity to connect with individual respondents.
Myth #2: NPS is not useful
Many NPS critics purport that the score isn’t useful. In some cases they’re correct: NPS is only as useful as you make it. When it’s not deployed correctly, only used as a vanity metric, or not leveraged properly, NPS won’t be very useful.
When done right, it’s an extremely valuable source of customer insight. Reaping the benefits of what NPS has to offer begins with setting it up thoughtfully from the start. Common mistakes in deploying NPS include:

Not sending NPS frequently enough. Some companies only measure NPS on an annual basis. With the fast pace of most businesses today, this isn’t often enough to spot shifting trends. It shouldn’t just be used as a once-in-a-while pulse check, but as part of a cycle of continuous improvement.
Sending NPS to the same people too often. This results in survey fatigue, lowered response rates, and aggravated customers who begin to select low scores because they feel overtaxed.
Surveying at the wrong time. Customers need to have been using the product for long enough to form an opinion before answering the NPS survey. At the same time, they shouldn’t be surveyed so long after their experience that they don’t remember it. A common benchmark for surveying is 30 days after getting a product or service, but this could vary. The best bet is to think through when a survey would make sense from the customer’s perspective. Long story short, sending at the wrong time can lead to vague and unactionable data.
Not asking for details. A score on its own doesn’t reveal much. But a follow-up question like “What’s the primary reason for your score?” along with a comment field will illuminate the driver behind the score, which is ultimately what will provide the insight to make improvements.

All of these mistakes can undermine the usefulness of any NPS program, but getting the most out of it doesn’t stop with the setup. The next step is to mine the data to learn from customers, follow up with them, and make improvements.
In this way, NPS is an important microphone for customer voices and a tool to drive business action. As customer experience leader Bruce Temkin has encouraged, “Instead of obsessing about the specific metric being used, companies need to obsess about the system they put in place to make changes based on what they learn from using the metric.”
As such, businesses should aim to monitor and evaluate NPS results to find the drivers of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Trends will naturally emerge, and feedback can be put into categories. Armed with this knowledge, different departments adjust their approach to do more of what customers like and less of what they don’t. After making any changes, the previous NPS score can be used as a benchmark against the new one to see if the changes had the intended result.
Reviewing NPS responses also reveals opportunities to follow up with customers based on their status as detractors, passives, or advocates. Following up with detractors can mean righting a wrong and changing a customer’s opinion on the company. Connecting with passives can turn them into promoters. And seeing as how promoters are willing to recommend a business, they should be encouraged to do so.
Myth #3: NPS is a product metric
NPS isn’t a metric for just one team. While customers may be evaluating their likelihood to recommend a product, their responses could be affected by the brand, the messaging, the product experience, the customer support, the pricing, the competition, and many other factors.
Undeniably, NPS is influenced by the work of every team within a company. No one team should be held independently responsible for something that takes entire cross-functional coordination to impact. Not only is it demoralizing to hold a team to something that’s outside of their own control, but it’s also ineffective.
That’s not to say that it’s not possible to evaluate each team’s contribution to the NPS score. One way to learn more about what actions each team can take is to give a small handful of follow up questions asking customers to rate a variety of factors that are tied to specific teams, for example, their customer support exchanges or purchasing experience.
Similarly, NPS should not be used to rate individual employees, such as after a customer support interaction. Use a Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) or Customer Effort Score (CES) metric instead, and use NPS to gather more broad-reaching insights and mobilize the entire organization toward a common goal.
Myth #4: NPS is the only metric you need
An NPS metric is only one data point, and it alone can’t tell you everything you need to know about your business and customer experience. NPS should be used as part of a suite of metrics alongside options like a Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and/or Customer Effort Score (CES). This can supplement learnings from NPS data as well as provide completely new perspectives.
And looking at metrics in combination can reveal dependencies and relationships and lead to more insights. For example, grouping customers who have answered both an NPS and a CSAT survey into buckets can further highlight opportunities for each group. Those with high NPS and high CSAT will be at the highest potential for advocacy and should be contacted as soon as possible to refer friends, provide quotes, or participate in other customer marketing activities. Those with low NPS and low CSAT will be at highest risk for churning and should be contacted immediately if there’s any chance of keeping them around. Plus, combining metrics can increase predictability.
Similarly, NPS itself can be broken out into segments, as different populations of customers may have different answers and needs. Separating NPS scores by product or platform and type of customer, for example, free versus paid or new versus established highlights nuances between groups that will allow for more specific remediation plans.
In addition, customer research shouldn’t stop at a single-question effort like NPS. More in-depth research tactics like longer-form surveys and interviews can be used to go deeper on specific topics of interest and help you get to know customers even better.
Two sides to every story
NPS is not a holy grail, as some advocates might have you believe. Nor is it an impractical frivolity, as some opponents might urge. Used correctly and as part of a rounded approach, it can be a highly useful tool in serving your customers and helping you achieve success.

CSAT vs. NPS: Similarities and Differences

CSAT vs. NPS is an inevitable comparison that surfaces whenever a company launches a Voice of the Customer (VoC) program to optimize their customer experience (CX) strategy.
A Voice of the Customer program focuses on gathering and analyzing customer insights so you can identify trends regarding your customers’ needs, wants, and expectations. In essence, VoC gives your customers a voice within your organization.
While there are many different metrics within a VoC program, two very prominent ones are Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS).
While these metrics are not difficult to calculate, they’re not always intuitive to action. They’re used in different ways to make different decisions. Understanding the differences is vital to making meaningful improvements to your business. In this article, let’s explore CSAT vs. NPS so you can use them effectively to drive more revenue through happier customers.
CSAT vs. NPS: an overview
To briefly introduce these metrics, let’s look at when to use them and how to calculate them.
The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is typically related to a specific interaction. This interaction could be a support ticket, an onboarding session, a sales process or a particular feature of the product.
It revolves around the question: “How would you rate your experience with [placeholder of brand name]?” You can also add an option for the respondent to leave a comment and explain his or her rating.
The rating scale is usually a 1-5 scale with the options ranging from very satisfied to very dissatisfied. CSAT is measured by calculating the percentage of satisfied (score 4) and very satisfied (score 5) responses. The equation being: number of satisfied customers (4 and 5)/number of survey responses x 100 = percent of satisfied customers. A CSAT score of 80 percent is a good indicator of success, although it will vary by industry.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) asks a similar question: “How likely is it that you would recommend [company] to a friend or colleague?”
It’s rated on a scale of 0-10 or 1-10. The question is about a broader experience with your organization, and overall product or services. On the rating system, people who select 9 or 10 on the NPS survey are considered Promoters, people who select 7 or 8 are Passives, and people who select 6 or below are Detractors.
To calculate the NPS score, you subtract the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters (percent Promoters – percent Detractors = NPS). An NPS rating score above 0 is considered good, an NPS score above 50 is considered excellent, and any score that is 75 and above is considered world class.
The calculation focuses on the concept of Promoter vs. Detractor. As an example, let’s use something we’ve all done—eaten at a new restaurant:

Promoters are people who will actively tell others about the restaurant. Think of when you came into the office the day after visiting a new restaurant and talked about the excellent service or great food and atmosphere without prompting. These comments are actively promoting a particular restaurant.
Passives are people who could have enjoyed the restaurant, or may have a few complaints, but aren’t swayed enough to actively speak about the experience either way. If prompted by a friend asking about a place to eat, you may or may not recommend the venue to them.
Detractors are the people who actively tell you not to visit a place. These are the people who had a bad experience, awful food, or rude service and are unlikely to visit again and will often tell others not to go.

CSAT vs. NPS: a detailed comparison
CSAT and NPS are not interchangeable. They are complementary to each other and need to be used appropriately for maximum benefit. It’s not a matter of which is better or worse. It’s about the positive impact using them correctly can have on your customers’ experience.
Who, when & where to engage with customers
CSAT is used to measure a specific interaction with a customer. It lets you know that the service or action was satisfactory. The CSAT survey should be sent to a potential respondent either directly after the action you are trying to rate, or be a part of the action itself. The respondent is always the specific person(s) involved in the action.
Examples of how to engage a user are:

When a support ticket is closed
When a CSAT survey is emailed out
After logging into a web app, etc.

Conversely, you do not want NPS to be tied to a specific event. NPS surveys should be sent out either on a cadence, for example quarterly, or tied to some seemingly random set of actions that a user may accomplish. For example, after completing one or more milestones within your product.
NPS also targets a wider audience than CSAT. The survey should be presented to all stakeholders within the organization. It is essential to understand not just the users’ opinion of your product and services, but also the decision makers and the business’ opinions.
This best practice ensures you’re getting a good overview of the entire lifecycle of your customer experience, from the sales process to implementation and usage, through to the business value you are driving.
To accomplish this outcome, you may need to have a mix of places where the survey is delivered. In-product NPS surveys are popular and made easier with survey tools, but they only target users. Surveys sent out via email can target other stakeholders.
Creating positive outcomes
One significant similarity between the two is that the metrics themselves are not directly actionable. Ratings of 75 percent CSAT or an NPS of 22 by themselves cannot be used to make a change.
As mentioned above, to drive positive outcomes, you should always include a follow-up question with your survey. For example: “What was the main reason you selected that rating?” or “What could we have done to improve your rating?”
Once you have that information, you can make a meaningful change. Even with that data, however, the expected outcomes from CSAT and NPS should be different.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) responses should be used to alter the specific experience that isn’t satisfactory or expand similar traits to other experiences if it is satisfactory. For example, if you have a lot of positive ratings and the reasons are because of the low effort to access your knowledge base, you could expand your knowledge base to include other departmental FAQs. Alternatively, if the ratings are negative because of the wait times in connecting the caller to a person, you would want to alter the phone system process.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) has less of an ability to drive specific outcomes, but it is excellent at discovering themes. Focus on correlating keywords within the follow-up question responses to the numeric rating. Trends might emerge such as, Detractors are really dissatisfied with the product quality, and Promoters love having active account management. Identify these trends and use those to create annual goals for your team or a task force to dig deeper into the results.
CSAT vs. NPS: how to use each effectively
Making the most of CSAT and NPS takes time and discipline. It’s easy to collect data; it’s hard to put it to use for your company.
Tie your responses to meaningful action
To effectively use CSAT and NPS, you need to have processes in place that allow you to assign ownership to common feedback themes. If you use a Customer Engagement Tool (CEM), you can often directly link a response to an assignable action. For example, if a particular account has two or more Detractors or has an unsatisfactory experience, send an action to the CEM which will assign it to their account manager or success manager to follow up.
Staying ahead of problems by engaging with the most at-risk customers in real-time will show you care about the customer journey. These meaningful and visible actions will also create goodwill and reflect well on your commitment to your customers.
Don’t coast on good marks
A common mistake when it comes to CSAT is assuming that everything is perfect if your rating is high. It’s really easy to see a 95 percent CSAT rating and assume you have achieved near perfection. The fallacy is that satisfaction is the same as overall happiness. For example, I can be satisfied that my support ticket was handled well, the agent was polite, and my problem was solved, but still absolutely furious that I had to talk to support in the first place. I could easily have questions such as: Why couldn’t I self-help? Why is your product quality so low? Why is the UX poor? CSAT measures a specific thing, such as in this example, satisfaction with support.
A high rating does not mean you don’t need to take any action or make any change elsewhere. To present CSAT meaningfully, you need to make sure to explicitly include the question asked so you can avoid confusion with overall sentiment about your organization.
One solution does not fit all
If your business deals with different products, verticals, and customer types, you need the ability to filter your NPS and CSAT to watch for variances between the relevant groups. The calculations for both depend highly on aggregation and can hide variances between different tiers or types of customers. Many mail merge and survey tools allow you to correlate responses to customer metadata which can make this analysis incredibly easy. Once you understand the concerns, you can start to vary your offerings based on the needs of the customer.
Driving internal outcomes
CSAT is an excellent metric on which to set goals for a team, individual, or leader. It makes a lot of sense for a customer support leader to set a goal around high Support CSAT. However, make sure your survey tool allows you to filter out non-related ratings. It isn’t fair to penalize a support team for a rating that refers to a bad product experience or vice-versa.
NPS however, should not be used as a way to set goals for a single team, individual, or leader. Because of the nature of NPS’s calculation, large amounts of effort can translate into smaller increments of change in the metric. Since NPS is a broad metric regarding the entire company, aligning a goal or variable bonus of a specific person to NPS can penalize them for something to which they have no visibility or control. It is good to strive for high NPS as a company, or at the executive level, but not at the departmental level.
CSAT vs. NPS: complementary metrics
Overall, NPS and CSAT must be used as complementary to the overall improvement of your customer experience. There is no “better” metric. Which you use, and when, will depend on what your ultimate goal is. If you want to improve a specific area of your offering, CSAT is there to help, and if you want to get a sense of the public sentiment of your organization, NPS will be more useful.
The single most vital thing you must do to succeed with NPS and CSAT is to use the data. It’s so easy to ask for information, but actually making that data work for you is the real outcome toward which all organizations should strive.

Voice of the Customer (VoC) Feedback: Everything You Need to Know

The most critical element to improving your company is not having a visionary CEO, leaders who have “been there/done that,” or teams working long hours to deliver the product: it’s actively capitalizing on the voice of the customer feedback. Voice of the customer feedback is any comment or concern given by a customer to your company. 67% of customers are willing to pay more for better customer experience and the best way to improve is to listen to your customers. Your customers know what they like and dislike better than anyone else could, so listening for and actioning this data can significantly improve your offerings.
Often this type of feedback slips through the cracks, not because employees consciously ignore it, but because no process exists to submit it for review and action. Building a cross-functional voice of customer program will give your customers a greater presence within your decision-making process and help create positive experiences, generate more referrals, and overall improve your customer satisfaction.
In this article, let’s explore how to recognize and gather Voice of the Customer (VoC) feedback, how to organize, collate, and action the feedback, and how to prove the value these programs have to your organization.
Receiving Voice of the Customer feedback
Meetings happen every day in which a group of subject matter experts gathers to make design decisions, develop release schedules, or prioritize product changes. No matter how intelligent the people in that room are, they are seldom the target audience for your product. They may have never used it in the same way as your target customers or haven’t used it in several months or years.
While they may be correctly positioned in the organization to make these choices, they need the information to make customer-driven decisions that will have the most positive impact. This data should be heavily weighted towards Voice of the Customer feedback. Companies need to capture feedback at every opportunity—everything from a sigh during a training session, to a question during a sales demo or a ticket to your support team, should be noted.
What to capture
Capturing VoC feedback has to start with agreement across all functions that are directly involved with customers. Teams such as Sales, Support, Success, Implementation, and Marketing all need to be able to submit this data into a common process. The data includes essentially any avenue the customer may use to connect with you in both positive and negative contexts.
Some examples include:

Raw customer comments and sentiment.
Ticket feedback.
Training concerns.
Social media posts.
Reasons for lost sales.
Churned accounts analysis.
Repeat customer stories.
Net Promoter Score (NPS).
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) ratings.

It is also essential that your program contains a mix of solicited and unsolicited feedback. Solicited feedback is more focused on the areas your company wants to research. For example, you could use a survey to ask about usage patterns or gauge sentiment about a specific service/interaction. Examples of feedback of this type are NPS or CSAT surveys, company questionnaires, or customer meetings set up by Product Management to discuss a potential feature. While incredibly valuable to understand the pulse of the customer, these methods typically approach customers with your needs as a company at the forefront.
Conversely, unsolicited feedback, also known as unstructured feedback, is the unfiltered or unframed requests of the customer. These comments can have a significant impact on your business because they come directly from the customer and are often suggestions about which you would never have thought or asked. Social media platforms like Twitter are full of these sentiments. If you are not openly harvesting these channels for voice of customer feedback, you are losing out on a major opportunity to improve your product and services.
There are tools that can group and perform sentiment analysis on social media posts, leading you to both the good and the bad perceptions of your offering. Unsolicited voice of customer feedback is the hardest to capture, but if you train your team correctly, the results will help you to build products and services the market is demanding, and strengthen trust along the way.
Finally, it is also crucial that all feedback is captured as part of this process. It is tempting to ignore the negative feedback, especially if there is an abundance of positive feedback, but history is littered with stories of brands that ignored negative feedback and (eventually) paid the price. Don’t fall into the trap of advertising the good, and relegating criticism to the trash can.
VoC feedback training
Train all employees how to recognize Voice of the Customer feedback. You cannot capture what you haven’t defined and, to ensure consistency, the definition has to be clear. If a customer comments off-the-cuff “That action is unintuitive” or “I would never have guessed that’s how it works,” that’s feedback! Comments like those represent a genuine view into pain points your customer’s experience.
These little complaints rarely come up through specific support tickets, quarterly business reviews or survey comments because we as consumers are trained to accept annoyances in all of our products. Give examples from all of the above mediums on what feedback looks like and then build a process for capturing it.
What to do with Voice of the Customer feedback
Your team now knows how to receive VoC feedback: excellent! Now, what do you do with it? Only 52% of customers are confident about brands acting on their feedback. That is directly due to a lack of ownership and accountability for actioning the incoming data. Typically this responsibility falls within your Customer Experience team, or if you have someone whose role involves customer journey mapping. No matter how you assign the ownership of the program, that person or team must take responsibility for making sure feedback is actioned.
Tool selection
The right tool within which to execute the feedback process can be a repurposing of your case management tool, your CRM, or a purpose-built tool—really anything as long as the tool is able to contain or link to customer information. Specifically, you can create an effective feedback workflow when the tooling has access to metadata such as the customer’s vertical, account size, location, version/model of the product, etc.
Another useful feature is the ability to aggregate like ideas. Knowing how many customers have requested the same or similar changes can help you prioritize easier and helps you expand the use cases and business needs of your customers.
You also may need a set of tools that differ by channel. Does your telephony solution allow for sentiment analysis of phone recordings? Do you need a social media management tool? It is fine to have multiple places that can receive input, as long as the goal is to consolidate all feedback into one ultimate tool for review.
Having all of the captured voice of customer feedback in one place simplifies how you monitor progress on any actions and reduces the training burden.
Assignment & ownership
Once you have the tooling in place, you need to assign stakeholders from each of the functions where feedback could be used to improve its aspect of the business: for example, support processes, product decisions, and training materials. The program owner will assess incoming voice of customer feedback regularly, group like-comments together, and assign the items to the stakeholder who needs to take some action. The program owner is responsible for monitoring progress on the actions and for any follow-up with the assigned stakeholders.
These tasks are another reason why it is absolutely vital that your program has buy-in across the company. Recognizing the importance of Voice of the Customer feedback needs to be a part of the culture at your organization. Otherwise, there is no incentive for the stakeholders to care and you remove any authority the program owner has to request updates.
Taking action
Actually doing something with the feedback is the most critical step of this program. If you fail to show meaningful action on Voice of the Customer feedback, you will find that your customers lose their voice altogether and don’t even bother to submit their feedback to you.
In fact, 81% of customers are more willing to give feedback if they know there will be a response. Actions could be different for every piece of feedback. For example, if the feedback is validation that a recent decision had a positive impact on the customer, the action could be very little or nothing at all. Alternatively, the action could result in mass change for a company, such as the overhaul of a process, the addition or removal of documentation or training, or a new feature or product.
This disparity makes it hard to timebox actions, and your process to evaluate and respond to feedback needs to take that into account. There has to be a decision on what to communicate to your customers and when. You never want your customer to think their feedback has fallen into a black hole, but you also don’t want to inundate them with meaningless updates such as “we are assessing your feedback.”
As a rough guide, a thank-you goes a long way. With positive comments or constructive criticism, a simple response of “thank you for your feedback” (and acknowledging what that specific feedback is) can show the comments have been read and that there is someone with whom to engage in a conversation if necessary. If the comments are particularly negative, the program owner or the correct stakeholder should engage with the customer through follow-up questions or training.
Remember, the goal of a VoC feedback program is to set your customers up for success by delivering actions based on their needs. A common mistake is to start to explain away the feedback. Resist that urge. It may be relevant to give context about why a decision was previously made, but to suggest it is immutable, unless it genuinely is fundamentally impossible to change, is a rejection of a pain point expressed by a customer. Instead, even when you can’t say “yes” unequivocally, use the opportunity to set an expectation.
If the expectation is that you won’t be addressing it in the short term, that is valuable information to the user. Context and expectation setting are the keys to any VoC feedback response. Always make the customer feel heard and let them know if or when they will see some action taken.
Measuring improvements
An important part of any project or initiative is to validate that your efforts are reaping value. At a minimum, every company should measure and trend key customer experience metrics such as NPS, CES, and CSAT.
However, the broad scope of VoC programs makes it harder to measure. For example, the success of implementing an improved process based on customer feedback will be measured differently than altering a design component of your product. Boiling down the success of the program to a single number is more-or-less impossible.
To prove ROI on the effort put into your programs, you should categorize the goals of the voice of customer program. Consider what is important to your company and how you would measure against those goals:

Loyalty/repeat business: Two-thirds of customers report they churn because of a bad customer experience. Renewal rates or follow-on purchases are definitely a way to show your program is working.
Promotion/word of mouth: Set up a program to monitor and even reward referrals from existing customers.
Efficient processes: Can your employees do more than they used to in less time?
Ease of product use: In software, there are tools that can measure time-to-value for given paths within your product. In hardware, you can analyze how people use your product and if it becomes easier, or more intuitive.
The number of support tickets: Measure the reduction in questions of a certain type submitted to your support team. If fewer users have a specific problem, that means you likely eliminated that problem.
Customer ROI: Are your customers more successful, more quickly? If your customers achieve their goals faster, then you are probably doing the right things.

All of these goals can be measured for improvement. While it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact change that brought about that improvement, the program itself will show positive trends in all the areas on which you focus attention.
Is Voice of the Customer right for you?
Yes! Every company needs to execute some form of a Voice of the Customer feedback program.
Customer experience differentiates you from your competitors, improves your retention rates, increases referrals, and builds a trusting relationship with your customers. Going to market with solutions that provide the value customers want, in the way they want to get it, only works when you listen to them intently. Listening to customers is the new disruption in the B2B and B2C world. It has never been easier to collect insight and use it to deliver meaningful change to your customers.
These programs do not cost a lot, and the value of them can be significant. Voice of customer feedback programs give your customers a seat at the table and help you drive better products and services based on the ever-changing swings of the market.

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