“What is measured is managed,” said renowned administrative theorist Peter Drucker. And that is the basic principle behind traditional experience management programs, which focus on measuring customer experiences using metrics like the Net Promoter Score (NPS).
As many frustrated marketers have discovered, measuring experience, or event management, is very different from improving it.
Measurement is not enough to define business goals, such as increasing customer retention and increasing participation in the portfolio. Measuring is like looking in the rearview mirror: it shows you where you were, but not where you should have gone.
To drive improvement in the real experience (XI), companies need to go beyond measurement and start translating empirical data into actions.
An XI approach focuses the entire organization, from frontline employees to top management, on eliminating the root causes of experience problems, rather than just treating their symptoms. This focus on improvement generates real business results and leads to successful transformation.
Three steps to improve the customer experience
To move from managing the customer experience to improving the experience, you need to change the way you view your experience program. As the experience improves, feedback is not a goal, but a way to achieve a specific business outcome. This desired result should focus your listening efforts and allow for intelligent action based on the collected data.
Define your business goals
The best experience data comes directly from your customers and employees. Building your program around them is the key to improving business experiences and success.
However, you must not intervene and listen without first developing a plan. If you collect a lot of data before you know what you’re looking for, it will be difficult to focus on the important moments, the precious points where the needs of customers, employees, and companies intersect.
Bringing transformational change requires a focused approach. Before you start listening, ask yourself what business problem you’re trying to solve – it could be improving customer retention, increasing portfolio share, acquiring customers, or some other business goal.
So, create your program with the goal in mind and carefully choose whom you want to hear, where, and when. A careful approach to listening will help you find the right signal in the midst of all the noise and lay the foundation for significant change.
Democratize your data
Data is at the heart of Approach XI, but it will not deliver business results if it remains isolated across departments. The fragmentation of data makes it impossible to get a complete picture of how each department contributes to the experience, making it difficult to collect and apply data-based insights. Only about 5% of companies consider empirical data in decision making, and isolated data is the main reason for this.
To get the most out of customer experience data, remove it so that data sets are accessible to all departments – that is, democratize them – but don’t let teams work on their own without guidance or focus. To drive the kind of action that drives organizational change, you need the right data for the right internal audience.
For example, salespeople have access to information that helps them improve their earnings, and account managers need to review customer and account information to help them predict revenue or growth.
Careful democratization of data leads to decision making and action, improves functional performance, and, ultimately, leads to transformation into an organization.
At the same time, it is necessary to understand the unique story that each data set tells and the lenses through which it sees the world; otherwise, it is easy to misinterpret what the data shows. From there, encourage your teams to work together to build connections and generate insights that can guide decisions.
Think about the business problem you identified in Step 1. Having a complete picture of your data makes it easier to see if you have all the data you need or need to add new listening stations.
Don’t lose sight of your business goals, even when you democratize your departmental data.
Promote smart actions
Once you have the data you need, the last and most important step is to put it into action.
By eliminating the silo and democratizing data, you have already laid the foundation for feedback in your organization, from the board to breaks. Now, all you need is human energy and passion to realize your vision.
It should not be the responsibility of the department or the team, but respect for executive management is especially important. High-level leadership will enrich actions across the company.
Taking action also means accepting change immediately. Focus your feedback processes on setting goals for customers and employees, rather than responding to complaints. Don’t be afraid to throw out old programs and listen to messages that no longer work for your new goals.
Many organizations are reluctant to make the necessary changes and stop programs that don’t work.
Measuring customer experience is not improving customer experience
Companies that focus their customer experience management programs on measurement have discovered a harsh truth: measurement no longer makes you.
To really move the needle in operating results, you have to go beyond experience management. This is true whether your business objectives include acquiring new customers, selling / cross-selling, reducing service costs, or anything else.
If you start with your business goals, democratize data, implement customer-focused listening and enjoy the human experience, your business will enhance the real-world experience.
You get more accurate and informed information to guide business decisions while offering experiences that will surprise and delight your customers.