Man and woman dressed in business attire standing on the steps of a legal or municipal building conversing.
PHOTO: DW labs Incorporated

If you are to be successful with your customer experience program, it comes down to constantly demonstrating the value. Following these six recommendations below will help you to maintain a customer experience strategy that goes beyond the Voice of the Customer (VoC) and into supporting the business broadly.

1. Understand the Customer Journey

The most common mistake I see a company make is in failing to truly map the customer journey and keep it up to date. How often?

How about:

  • Each time you add communications or advertising channels
  • With every update to your product or service in which an announcement is made
  • For every new competitor that enters or leaves your space

It may seem like it could be a full-time job, especially if it is the first time (or the first time in a long time). However, if you keep it up to date on an ongoing basis, you’ll just be making small adjustments and reviewing the downstream impacts.

Related Article: 8 Tips to Build a Winning Customer Experience Strategy

2. Measure CX Beyond Standard Touchpoints

This should seem obvious but having one listening post is not enough. Two? Three? Still probably not enough.

We often get so hung up on rolling out the “big CX program” that we forget that there are dozens of customer experience touchpoints — or just choose not to measure them to make our jobs easier. If you are focused on only measuring the two or three larger touchpoints, you are not listening to all your customers.

Considering the listening posts you have in place today — just 10 years ago, most companies barely used social media and now most use them for bi-directional communications with customers for service concerns and promotions.

3. Go Beyond Measurement, Forget Statistical CX Outliers

When looking at customer experience dashboards and reporting, the last term I want to hear is “statistically significant difference.” That term is usually brought up to deflect blame or avoid work.

Can you imagine telling a customer that we aren’t going to respond to their complaint because they were a “statistical outlier”? If you are worried about statistical significance, then your customer experience program is too focused on attaining a number — not the goal of improving operations and service for increasing the value of the offer to the customer.

How often do you worry about statistical significance in your sentiment analysis? When the CEO asks about decreased scores, they want to hear if there are some actions that can be taken to improve them, not “important information about statistical significance.”

Related Article: Be a 'Method Customer' to Improve Customer Experience

4. Respond to Customers With Authenticity

I am shocked when I hear “we don’t need closed-loop feedback tools” (often related to saving a few budget dollars), yet I hear it enough that I am compelled to write about it. The reasons can be plentiful for why a company does not do it, but I’ll give you the one reason you should: if you do not respond to a complaint, you will likely lose the customer.

I am not suggesting that you need to buy off every customer that complains, but you do need to let them know that they’ve been heard with an authentic response.

5. Consider 'Outer Loop' of Closed-Loop Feedback (CLF)

There are many providers out there that will push you into a “score, comment, CLF” system because that is what they built. You may see some fancy charts, a cool mobile app and the next wave of their artificial intelligence offer, but is their system designed to go beyond the numbers? If you keep up with this space, the key to progressing beyond one-off fixes through CLF is to consider the more strategic approach of what we call the “Outer Loop” of CLF.

Beyond just measurement in a silo, you bring together department leaders from across the organization to fix the root causes of systemic issues. An Outer Loop system allows you to look across touchpoint feedbacks, identify those root causes, build plans and responsibilities to correct the action(s) and directly measure the impact. Instead of meeting with the CEO to talk about “statistical significance,” showing up with an active working team will impress her more.

Related Article: The Long Tail Effect and What It Means for Customer Experience

6. Include Your Employees

Ensure that the employees responsible for the customer service experience are also engaged. One way is to give them the information they need to properly service the customer.

If you can entrust your employees with serving your customer, you should entrust them with the data that helps them understand the customer. The second part of this engagement is in ensuring that they are satisfied.

It can be frightening at times to measure employee satisfaction, but it’s critical, and there are tools that allow you to get the entire view of the employee with standard employee experience measurement, pulse, ongoing measurement and 360° reviews.

Like everything in life, keeping the customer happy goes beyond just these six tips. But as a customer experience practitioner, these recommendations will help you keep your program relevant, dependable and free from budget cuts.