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TDWI Upside - Where Data Means Business

Making Your CX Investment Pay Off

Collecting quality data depends in part on how your customer interacts with your enterprise. This is why the customer experience (CX) is so important. Confirmit's Claire Sporton explains what you can do to enhance your CX and make the most of your CX investment.

Good quality data depends on good customer data, and that's why a strong, positive customer experience (CX) is so important to your bottom line. How do you measure the seemingly intangible benefits of an investment in CX? Claire Sporton, senior vice president of customer experience innovation at Confirmit, explains.

For Further Reading:

It's All About Trust: The Importance of CX in 2020

5 Ways to Make Better Business Decisions with CX

Data Quality and the Single Customer View

Upside: Why do you believe executives and C-suite personnel are losing faith in customer experience programs?

Claire Sporton: The proof is in the pudding, as they say. Leaders need results -- tangible results to give them confidence that the customer experience (CX) strategy is the right approach for their business.

As CX leaders we might roll our eyes (look at all the generic research and say this is just common sense), but we need to make it real for our executives and the C-suite. Research has shown that fewer business programs are able to demonstrate ROI today than in 2017, and a mere 8 percent of frontline staff (and 17 percent of middle managers) are even using CX insights to aid their decision making -- not necessarily by choice but from lack of access, awareness, or direction. Whatever the reason, it's worrisome.

There is a disconnect we need to address now because Forrester is predicting that one out of four CX professionals will lose their jobs. A recent survey from Confirmit revealed that only 16 percent of organizations expect a significant increase in investment this year. These stats alone should inspire enough action for change!

Although it's not easy, CX teams are feeling more pressure than ever to prove business value -- and pointing to an increase in Net Promoter Score (NPS) isn't cutting it anymore. CX professionals who can bring insights to life, inspire action, empower employees across the organization to drive change, and demonstrate ROI will find success in 2020.

You've told me that customers are not really feeling they're being paid attention to by enterprises they deal with. How do we know? Is this result from a survey of customers or based on actual behavior on enterprise websites?

According to Customer Contact Week's 2019 Market Study: Trends in Customer Experience Design & Strategy, consumers are questioning whether businesses are really taking their feedback seriously -- with just 11 percent believing they do. Meanwhile, only 12 percent of people feel that brands have made significant improvements to the customer experience in recent years. Furthermore, Forrester's U.S. Customer Experience Index, 2019shows that most brands are only achieving the dizzy heights of "OK" at the moment. It's safe to say consumers are increasingly unimpressed, and their standards are only getting higher. A lot of this comes down to trust. Consumers want to deal with companies they trust and that they feel share their values. If they don't even believe their feedback is being heard, we're off to a pretty poor start!

If CX isn't improving the enterprise's bottom-line, how do you measure the benefits of CX programs? What metrics are most effective?

The bottom line is that CX must improve the bottom-line! If you cannot find a link between your CX program and your current core business objectives, your leadership will (rightly) lose interest and invest in alternate programs that are aligned to their business objectives. Thankfully in the vast majority of cases we can make this link, so think business metric first, CX metric second. Here are some examples:

In your drive to increase revenue, consider metrics that indicate reduced churn, improved win rates, increased cross/up sale with existing customers, or delivering advocacy pipeline, reference clients, or case studies.

If your goal is to manage cost to serve, look at measurements that indicate a reduction in complaints, improved first-call resolution, reduced regulatory risk, or reduced client "time to value" by identifying customer challenge points.

If you want to deliver a culture change (not a financial measure but key to long term sustainable growth), look for ways to ensure achievement of corporate "values," support better (i.e., customer-focused) decisions across the enterprise, and monitor the level of innovation and change across the organization.

Once you have identified your business metric, you still need a CX metric to serve as a leading indicator. There is no cookie-cutter approach. The "right" metric is different for every organization and every touchpoint. To determine the optimum metric, identify the outcome(s) that are the most important to your business, link those outcomes to customer survey and behavioral data, and test which metric does the best job of explaining those outcomes.

Simply put, the best CX metric is that which best explains the customer behaviors you are trying to motivate and the business outcomes you want to drive. Once your team has determined the right metrics, CX professionals can draw insights, inspire action, and help employees make better informed decisions that result in better business outcomes.

What CX investments pay off? What are some best practices for those looking to combat the odds and succeed in CX?

Let's think positively and assume we have secured investment. Just to reiterate, to get the investment your CX program must deliver value -- financial, cultural, and operational -- then you're onto a winner. Unfortunately, only 16 percent of CX teams expect a significant increase in investment this year, down from 22 percent in 2018 -- according to Confirmit research. This decrease only underscores the need to prove value and ROI.

With regard to which CX investments pay off -- the short answer is the ones pragmatically aligned to your business priorities. Make sure your CX program will combat the odds in 2020 and excel in a challenging environment by:

  • Shifting from "insight" team to "change" team: Executives and the C-suite are losing faith in CX because many teams are unable to demonstrate and move the needle on metrics that align with business objectives. Companies will look to senior level staff with a strong business acumen and a track record of delivering results. Survivors will shift their skill set from monitoring and measuring to influence, execution, and change.

  • Driving a change in behavior and internal culture: It may come as a surprise to some, but many employees do not understand how their specific role impacts the customer. C-level executives in particular make decisions daily but never see a customer and become detached over time. Employees across the enterprise need to be both educated and motivated to truly inspire a customer-centric culture.

  • Underpinning and driving trust across the board: Customers are getting both savvier and more selective when it comes to brand loyalty; 41 percent of consumers want to do business with companies that share similar beliefs and values. Businesses need to avoid tricking customers to boost loyalty in the short term because it will negatively impact a business in the long run.


About the Author

Claire Sporton is SVP, customer experience innovation for Confirmit, a leading SaaS vendor for multichannel customer experience, employee engagement, and market research solutions. Claire is responsible for ensuring Confirmit delivers the expertise and technology businesses need. You can contact the author via email or on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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