Beat CX with a Simple Stick

Author: Jon Windley, AltitudeCX – CEO

My name is Jon Windley and I’m the founder of AltitudeCX, a consulting firm specializing in CX strategy.  Over the past decade working in this field, I have experienced both the challenges and frustrations of implementing CX strategy as well as the satisfaction of seeing a successful CX strategy fundamentally change companies for the better.  In this blog, I will cover two topics:

  1. How to kickstart your CX efforts Introduce you to a CX analytics company that is changing the way we look at customer feedback.
  2. Introduce you to a CX analytics company that is changing the way we look at customer feedback.

Once you make the decision to pursue a comprehensive CX strategy, the real fun begins. Your first stop might be Google. After typing in “customer experience” – great news! 66,600,000 results in 1.02 seconds! So that’s a bit daunting. Maybe just pick a site or two that looks promising. Site #1 has lots of questions:

“Do you have an omni-channel strategy?” (WHAT is an omni-channel?)
“Do you have a 360-degree view of the customer?” (How would I go about doing THAT?)
“Have you tied your CX results to a balance scorecard of financial/process/staff KPIs?” (WHAT is a KPI?)
“Have you chosen a survey platform?” (And I need this why?)
“Have you developed a cross-functional governance plan including Board/C-suite participation, and have you organized mid/low level cross-functional teams to drive the closed loop process as well as the six sigma efforts? (Feeling overwhelmed???)

At this point, you are probably thinking… “All this jargon, surveys, verbatims, councils, benchmarking, NPSÒ (Net Promoter Score), CSAT…my head is going to explode!  We’ve done okay so far.  Sure, there are things we could do to improve the customer experience, and we miss a few deadlines, but nothing is terribly broken, and our performance is similar to our competition…right?  So, while I know we could do better, the mountain just seems too difficult to scale, so we’ll put it on the back-burner for now.”

One of the biggest barriers to adoption and success is that the CX universe is getting exponentially more challenging and confusing.  Consultants and vendors seem to pride themselves on complexity. It’s overwhelming. There are so many theories, strategies, programs, stakeholders and moving parts.  I’m sure you feel the same way. It seems like consultancies and tech vendors are pitching that this problem is so big and complex that only they, “the chosen ones,” are qualified to help you navigate the CX terrain.  I’ve been in this industry for 15 years, and the velocity of messages that are all over the map is at an all-time high, and it’s getting worse every day.  Further, who came up with the theory that the best tech partner is one that is average at doing many things?

It’s pretty amazing, when I survey executive leaders, although many of them have invested significant financial and human resources, they are largely not satisfied with their performance.  When you ask them what their biggest challenges are, three common themes emerge:

♦ Lack of trust in the data or insights

♦ Lack of buy-in, alignment and confidence

♦ Not attaining expected results

When I hear these challenges, I ask executives three simple questions:

♦ What is your CX hypothesis (issues)?

♦ What empirical evidence do you have to support your hypothesis?

♦ Do you trust the data?

If they answer “no” to the last question, then I ask them, “How can you expect the organization to lean-in and embrace a culture of customer advocacy if you cannot trust the data?”

It’s at this point that most consultants come in and propose an enormous engagement: benchmarking, customer interviews, employee interviews, governance reviews, etc.  The problem with this approach is that the findings are often based on volume, the number of times people check a box or say specific words.  Really? Haven’t we seen enough worthless word clouds? The result is that the insights end up being abstracted to the point that they are not actionable, i.e. “our customers do not like our billing process, or they don’t like our on-boarding process.”  What does that mean? How can I improve it? Is there a certain part of the process that needs to be improved more than another part? Why didn’t they mention anything about our pricing?

Further, the survey techniques used are based on 1960s methodologies: 20 to 50+ survey questions that must be perfectly structured to capture all relevant feedback from all survey respondents…um, yeah right.  I always ask the executives I work with, “Would you take this survey?”  The resounding answer is, “hell no.”  It begs the question: why are we stuck in this rut? Isn’t this the definition of insanity?

Now, let’s beat Customer Experience with a simple stick!

Over the next several blogs and videos, I will outline a simplified CX Playbook you can use to achieve CX success. In fact, I will prove to you that you can motivate your organization to lean-in organically – without coercion.  Just imagine a world where you are not the solo CX cheerleader and you don’t have to threaten the organization to jump in the deep end of the pool with you.

Now, let’s reconsider the questions I mentioned earlier.  And let’s keep things simple.  Below I’ve compiled a handful of “new best practices” to get things rolling.

♦ Develop CX empirical evidence based on the unfiltered voice of the customer. Keep it simple – focus on 3-5 things you would like to accomplish in the first 30 – 90 days:

– Quickly baseline your CX performance – Capture the unfiltered voice of your customers by asking only 2 simple questions, and ask the questions in a way that inspires them to authentically communicate what’s most important to them by understanding the specific aspects of your CX that influences customer emotions and state of mind.

– Perform an Impact Analysis – Generate a list of topics mentioned by customers that have the most significant impact on behavior and can be correlated to changes in your NPS or CSAT metrics.

– Generate 3 “done well” inspirational stories – Create stories based on empirical evidence (Impact Analysis) that reveal the value of successful CX execution.

– Generate 3 “improvement” inspirational stories that motivate the organization to lean-in – Create stories based on empirical evidence (Impact Analysis) that expose very specific areas that can be targeted for improvement.

♦ Rally your organization around the “inspirational stories” that get the organization to lean-in and take notice.

♦ Select a data collection engine that delivers empirical evidence you trust and implement an “always on” contemporary customer feedback data collection strategy.

♦ Establish a few simple KPIs and topics to begin to track along with a discussion cadence to review results.

♦ Establish a baseline “ground truth” understanding of your customers’ true emotions and behavior drivers (More on this later…)

Ok, now you have the ball rolling.  You have a basic plan: you are talking to customers, and you have established a basic internal oversight process going forward.  However, you might be wondering how it’s possible to capture such valuable insight by asking only two questions:

  1. On a scale of 0 – 10 how likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague? 0 = Not at all likely, 10 = extremely likely
  2. Please tell us about your product or experience and tell us as though you were telling a good friend, please be as descriptive as possible.

By dramatically simplifying your customer feedback data collection methods, you will learn more about what motivates your customers, so you can zero in on what matters most.

Let me introduce you to a CX company that is changing the way we look at customer feedback.  Over the past year, I have had the pleasure of partnering with Decooda.  Decooda believes that any CX intention should really begin with simply listening to the voice of the customer, unfiltered and clear.  Essentially, Decooda can help you identify a new, clear understanding of the customer’s experience while interacting with your company.  And how do they go about this?

By utilizing Decooda’s groundbreaking text analytics capabilities, you will be able to identify precisely the emotions that customers feel when engaging your company and making decisions regarding the future.  Decooda generates unique independent variables and generates insights that can be integrated with customer enterprise data to attain a new standard of metrics that are based on advanced predictive analytics and AI.

Decooda takes the guesswork out of analyzing survey-based customer feedback.  You won’t need to spend weeks reading thousands of verbatim comments to get to the heart of what specific aspects of the customer experience matter most to your customers…and why. Decooda reduces the time to actionable analysis down to days, not weeks.

What is possible in 90 days?  I believe you can take a few simple steps and gain serious traction as you begin your CX journey.  By considering a few of the “new best practices” I discussed earlier, I believe you can make real progress quickly without becoming overwhelmed by the complexity the CX industry will thrust upon you.  And by coupling these best practices with a cutting edge CX platform (Decooda), you will be able to dramatically improve your understanding of your customers as you accelerate your CX journey!

 

© 2017 Decooda International Inc. All rights reserved. Decooda®, the Decooda logo, and the names and marks associated with Decooda’s products are trademarks of Decooda and/or its affiliates. Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score, and NPS are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld, and Satmetrix Systems, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies.

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