Read More The Agile Brand Blog – Greg Kihlström Customer Experience & Digital Transformation
The following was transcribed from a recent interview on The Agile Brand with Greg Kihlström podcast.
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Today we’re going to talk about Customer Experience measurement, and the value of utilizing both new and existing measurements to better understand your customers.
To help me discuss this topic, I’d like to welcome Judy Bloch, Principal CX Advisor, Medallia.
[Greg Kihlstrom] Let’s start out by talking about digital experience programs and the value behind listening to what your customers say and do. There are many ways to track and measure customer experience, including survey-based tools such as Net Promoter Score, or NPS, as well as tools that measure CX metrics in real time. What are some of the benefits of a digital experience program that can take your CX listening beyond a survey-based approach and into things like real-time insights and data?
[Judy Bloch, Principal CX Advisor, Medallia] There’s so many different elements and dimensions to this. But you’re absolutely right. Digital experience management really needs to include both what your customers are saying and what your customers are doing. As we know, digital is the reality of how customers are doing business today, particularly in this post-COVID world. And customer loyalty has changed significantly. We’ve seen a lot of research telling us and indicating how customers are much more likely to switch brands, and how digital has really become just table stakes for any company. We also know the cost of poor digital experiences have never been higher. There’s some research that I’ve read that indicates, after just one poor experience, 60 percent of customers will delete the app and 88 percent will buy elsewhere. So those are some staggering facts, some staggering numbers that should catch the attention of all digital executives, I would imagine.
How can these methods work hand in hand with an existing CX measurement program effectively?
Combining what customers do with what customers say, like a traditional voice of customer program, can be really powerful. Let me give you an example. When I was at a financial services company that I was supporting, we were really pushing digital account opening during COVID, of course; branches were closed. The online journey technically worked, but the field name had a character limit. And if a customer had a longer legal name, this could cause a problem – not ever going to be a problem for me, Judy Bloch, right, with an eight-character name, but for somebody else that has a much longer name, or perhaps uses a hyphenated name, or their middle name as part of their legal name, you can see how this could become an issue.
Well, there wasn’t a whole lot of complaints about this, or voice of customer feedback – very, very few comments, very few calls, not a whole lot of that traditional voice of customer feedback about this. People would simply abandon the digital journey and go along their merry way, maybe find another bank where they didn’t have this problem in opening the account online. Again, not an issue for most users, but using behavioral data, we could see that customers are struggling with this field, ultimately giving up and walking away. Of course the bank doesn’t want to lose the account, and there’s always the possibility that the customer doesn’t give the bank a second chance, right? They may not come into a branch. They may not call us to tell us about the problem with the website.
There’s a real risk here to the business that no feedback is provided, and the brand simply loses the customer; they walk. So using digital experience data to get to know what customers are doing online really helps complement and supplement traditional voice-of-customer feedback; also helps eliminate that sample bias, to give us insights about the full population. That’s what I think is so powerful, pairing that with the feedback, where possible. You just have the ability to create some really emotional storytelling, connections about what your customer is going through to, you know, get those wins, ultimately, and win the hearts and minds of your executives, to drive change.
I think that’s a good way to tie some of that more real-time stuff, the legacy data, all of that stuff, together effectively. So, as platforms and methods are continually evolving, you know, some of the things that you just mentioned, banks evolving through the pandemic out of necessity and things like that, in addition to just technology changes, as well as customer preferences evolving, how does an organization begin to create a CX program that effectively manages change and continuously improves?
It’s a really big question, right? I’ll give two different perspectives on this. What to do? Perhaps if you’re brand new to digital experience and looking to grow your CX program into digital, and then if you’re a little more mature, some ideas on how you might evolve. So first of all, if you are new to managing a digital experience or perhaps you’ve historically ran primarily a voice of customer program and looking to expand to digital, the first thing I would do is think about what are those most important digital experiences or journeys to your business?
For the bank, we were just talking about account opening. Obviously that would be one for them. But thinking through that, understanding what’s your digital strategy; what’s the key metrics; is it driving sales? Is it to contain or prevent calls into your call center? Picking that specific element of the holistic digital journey really gives you something tangible to focus on, versus boiling the whole ocean. I think another really good place to start is with unsolicited feedback, thinking about app reviews, Google Places, Yelp, social, et cetera.
And then the third thing I would offer here, if you’re new to digital experience, is I’d always recommend meeting with your digital and technology teams directly. Now, perhaps this sounds obvious, but I think, if you start a conversation with them, sometimes they can be unlikely allies and partners with your CX team. And it might just turn out that they already have tools and technology in place to help monitor system performance from an IT perspective that can also be leveraged to help understand the customer experience as well, so really creating some synergy there.
What about for those organizations that are a little more mature?
So once you’re capturing some digital signals, you’re understanding what your customers are saying and doing, now comes the fun part. It’s time to take action and really start quantifying the impact and driving that change. Closed loop looks different in digital.You still have the same inner loop. You still have the same outer loop that we’re used to with traditional CX programs. But in the digital world, there tends to be less emphasis on the one-on-one customer follow-up. Not to say it’s impossible. Certainly some brands do it. But we tend to focus more on outer loop and continuous improvement. So it becomes about how quickly can you adjust and resolve that customer friction to prevent the next customer from having a similar problem. Partnership, again, with your agile development teams here, so critical to feed the backlog and get into that development process.
With both the examples, a common thread that I see in what you’re saying is definitely collaboration. There’s definitely data integration and things that need to be shared, but it’s also teams and people working together and really kind of understanding not only the need but the benefits. How have you seen that work well in organizations where they may even have a CX department, but, as we all know, CX takes a village, or it takes a whole company to, kind of, do. What do you see that works well there to get everybody on the same page?
Sure, and I think it’s such an important point here. Yes, your organizations have CX departments, but, as we all know, CX is both a little art and science, and a lot of influence, right? So how do we influence other parts of the organization to drive change, ultimately, to empathize with what the customer’s going through, to just want to take action, feel compelled to do so? So influencing right is a key element of what we need to do as CX practitioners. And I think you see this every day across brands, as they make those little wins, right, is you can influence the training department to become a little more customer-centric, as we can work with our call center agents on their scripting and the messaging, and even the KPIs that we use to measure and monitor the teams. At the end of the day, you know, influence is one of those almost core CX practitioner skills that I think is vital to what we do.
Let’s talk specifically about customer experience for B2B companies. What makes customer experience, strategies and approaches different for B2B focused companies?
Simply put, what makes B2B focused companies different, when you’re running a CX organization and a B2B company, is just there’s more complexity, everything from questions around who owns the customer to different types of end users. So, for example, is this feedback from a decision-maker or a day-to-day user? There’s just more complexity to work through, right, how work gets done. And then, if you consider a B2B2C environment, I mean, it even continues to amplify. I think one of the great examples, or one of the best examples of this in play is if you think about, again, survey responses. It’s entirely possible for the feedback from the day-to-day working team to be overwhelmingly positive. But your decision-maker is unengaged or uninformed, and therefore you might have a risk that the customer might churn, despite receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback on a day-to-day basis.
What can B2B companies do in order to improve their CX?
I think the number one thing here I would say is know your customer. And certainly this applies to all CX teams but particularly in the B2B world. Know your customer, who is on each account and the role they play. Ensure your CRM systems or other data sources are accurate so that, when you get that feedback, or behavioral data, as the case may be, it can be sliced and diced through those various lenses. Connecting back to our previous conversation about digital, this means being really thoughtful about the custom parameters or metadata that you collect and append to digital feedback or behavioral analytics, things like user ID, session ID, purchase amount, all different metadata, right, that can be appended, that can help you see and know your customer a little bit better.
So what do you think is the biggest opportunity for B2B and CX?
Yes, well, as you might guess, I’m gonna go with driving change here, right, at the biggest opportunity. Clearly, you hear that theme from me throughout this. I mean, ultimately I think that’s why we run CX programs, is to be our customers’ champion and to advocate on their behalf, to create seamless, effortless experiences. So to me the biggest opportunity, regardless of if you’re talking about a B2C or B2B program, is driving change, and to continually improve. Specifically for B2B clients, for B2B customers, for B2B brands, your clients need to know that you hear them and that you’re actively working to make things better for them.
I really love “You spoke; We listened” programs. I think they’re key here. I hear a lot of concerns from fellow B2B practitioners about low survey response rates. This tactic, with “You spoke; We listened” programs, can help here as well; and then, kind of, speaking of response rates, getting into that a little bit more. I think one of the biggest mistakes that B2B programs can make is to ignore non-respondents. We talked about the example earlier of different feedback from day-to-day users versus decision-makers. If your decision makers in particular are not responding, you can’t forget about them, right? Don’t ignore them. If you’re not 100 percent sure where they stand, then you need to reach out. So don’t forget about your non-responders. This is one of the biggest differences in B2B inner loop programs versus B2C.
About the Guest
Judy Bloch is Principal CX Advisor at Medallia.
I have a passion for customers and driving positive brand experiences across all channels & touchpoints. I also have a keen ability to see opportunity. Opportunity to design better processes & experiences, for customers and for employees. I see it everywhere – in my personal life from PTA meetings, to visiting friends in the hospital – and professionally from cross-channel servicing operations, to brand awareness & product value proposition. Opportunity to drive improved customer loyalty, lower costs, and deliver higher quality by cutting through the noise and creating a laser focus on the critical issues.
I am skilled at designing programs & structured problem solving frameworks to identify and solution challenging business opportunities with measurable results. Leveraging my 15+ years of business process improvement experience and leadership, I champion a culture of customer advocacy. I am knowledgeable on a variety of methodologies including Six Sigma/Root Cause Analysis, Customer Experience Management (CEM) and Journey Mapping/Management. I coach and mentor others to apply these rigorous methodologies and deliver results.
About the Host, Greg Kihlström
Greg Kihlstrom is a best selling author, speaker, and entrepreneur and host of The Agile Brand podcast. He has worked with some of the world’s leading organizations on customer experience, employee experience, and digital transformation initiatives, both before and after selling his award-winning digital experience agency, Carousel30, in 2017. Currently, he is Principal and Chief Strategist at GK5A. He has worked with some of the world’s top brands, including AOL, Choice Hotels, Coca-Cola, Dell, FedEx, GEICO, Marriott, MTV, Starbucks, Toyota and VMware. He currently serves on the University of Richmond’s Customer Experience Advisory Board, was the founding Chair of the American Advertising Federation’s National Innovation Committee, and served on the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Marketing Mentorship Advisory Board. Greg is Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certified, and holds a certification in Business Agility from ICP-BAF.