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by Sam Frampton on 26 Jun 2019

A great customer experience has a positive impact on revenues. If you look after customers they will look after you. Avoid these customer experience mistakes and find out how to avoid them.

Customer Experience Error Page
Customer Experience Error Page

Today’s customers expect all businesses to provide the same calibre of experience that they’d find with say, an Uber, an Amazon, or an Airbnb.

If we look back at the last decade in business, consumer preferences have been altered by startups offering standout customer experiences. These startups have since morphed into industry leaders by making customer experience a competitive advantage.

In the UK, Monzo and Revolut are raising the bar for CX in Banking. Large fintechs such as Transferwise have made sending money across the globe a dream for users. In the entertainment industry, Spotify and Netflix have been ingenious with their use of customer data to create personalised experiences and have made the customer’s experience a cornerstone of their strategy.

Much of what customer experience leaders build derives from listening to customers. It’s critical to ask customers what they want, listen carefully to their answers, and figure out a plan to provide it thoughtfully and quickly (speed matters in business!). We now live in an era where making costly mistakes when improving your customer experience can be damaging to your brand and the bottom line.

Customer experience transcends across multiple departments, touches on numerous disciplines from analytics, research, support and product. Poor performance in any one of those areas can be costly and see your brand slip into irrelevance with the customer.

In the following article, we’ll dive deep into the customer experience mistakes to avoid at all costs.

1. CX Isn’t Part of the Company Culture

True customer obsession is a principle that keeps companies relevant, competitive, and growing. Without it, companies stagnate, become irrelevant, decline and slowly fade away.

Company culture influences and projects onto everything a company does. A customer-obsessed culture creates the conditions where employees strive to design and invent to create delight for the customer.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is treating the customer experience as an external effort. Creating a customer-centric culture comes from within. A customer obsessed culture is a way to centre and align your business around the interests of the customers.

We’ve been lucky enough to work with companies like Uber, Zappos, and Spotify. One thing they all have in common is a strong emphasis on internal culture. They empower employees to make high-velocity decision making and optimise the customer experience at speed.

One key theme that emerges across all these great brands is the availability of information. In many organisations, customer data is locked in systems, silos, and storage places that are not immediately available.

Their customer experience data flow is designed to continuously collect all streams of customer information in real-time and democratise it. They are making the data accessible via any channel that’s used by those needing to make decisions. There is no need to log into a different system to view NPS, CSAT or surveys responses and email various departments for CSV files of data stored in excel.

All data collected is available in one platform, removing barriers to customer-centric data. This level of transparency is designed to allow anyone within the company to make customer-centric decisions.

Internally, there are a few things you can do to bring the customer experience inside the office walls.

  1. Share the company vision across all teams, departments, and roles. Everyone needs to be on the same page.
  2. Embed customer-centric goals into all company efforts from sales pitches to marketing, UX, and accounting. All departments must be in alignment–and have a clear understanding of how responsibilities connect to CX.
  3. Train your team (regularly) on the latest CX strategies, tools, and best practices.
  4. Provide a single platform to collect and analyse customer feedback data.

2. Poor Use of Data

Why collect data if you’re not going to use it the right way?

Companies must collect, analyse, understand — and most importantly use — customer data to learn how to make the customer experience better. If you aren’t utilising the latest technologies to analyse data you collect on customers, then you’re allowing competitors to be more customer-centric than you.

Today, companies are storing large amounts of data – terabytes and petabytes across several databases. Integrating all data sources into one platform gives brands a holistic view of the customer journey.

To unlock insights on the customer, leading brands invest in powerful analytical capabilities harnessing AI and Machine Learning to understand customer feedback at scale. Revealing the needs and wants of the consumer that would otherwise remain untapped and out of sight.

When you take advantage of the data collected, it allows you to:

Get Personal: Netflix, Spotify and Amazon have nailed the art of personalisation perfectly, suggesting books, TV shows, and songs that fit their users’ distinct tastes. None of this would be possible without analytics.

Identify what’s working: If you don’t look at the data showing what you’re doing wrong in CX and UX, customers will leave your site, store, or app. It’s no longer a question. There are too many other options available to accept a less-than-stellar experience.

Intelligent AI analysis of customer feedback using topic and sentiment analysis can help prioritise what matters to the customer the most. Is it a bug in your app? Delivery time of food being delivered? Pricing? Diving deep into customer feedback at scale can unearth key insights that help prioritise decision making.

Move Faster: Artificial Intelligence can process data in huge volumes in real time, identifying trends in the data, that is invisible to the human eye. You are unlocking the capacity to help you be more proactive to ever changing customer preferences. Top customer experience analytics platforms provide automated alerts that can notify the correct team member when a change in data or behaviour of the customer is registered.

A powerful feature that can easily fit into your team workflow, ensuring key stakeholders who own certain parts of the customer stay on top of customer satisfaction across their section of customer experience.

3. Not Understanding the Monetary Value of CX

Only a small number of companies can demonstrate in actual figures an ROI connected to Customer Experience efforts.

Many customer experience efforts stall out because leaders fail to show their team just how much value a customer-centric culture adds to your overall bottom line. The cost of inaction due to a lack of understanding of ROI can be devastating for businesses.

If you want to sell CX internally, you need to show internal stakeholders a clear link to its financial benefits. A few ideas for kicking off that initial CX conversation:

Choose the Business Metrics Most Impacted by Customer Experience

A few metrics often used to measure ROI of CX include:

Revenue: Top-line revenue is the most common business metric to consider. A recent Forrester study found that the revenue of CX leaders outgrew the revenue of their CX laggard competitors by 5 to 1.

Customer Retention: Improving customer experience has a direct impact on increasing customer retention and reducing churn. Happy customers are loyal and refer their friends regularly.

Cross-sell/Upsell: Customers who are delighted with their experience spend more with a business by buying additional products and services.

Cost-to-Serve: Improving customer experience has a direct impact on reducing the cost to serve customers as it results in streamlined processes, a reduced volume of complaints and refunds to the customer call center and greater efficiencies company wide.

__Use Customer Experience Analytics To Show Link Between Business Metrics and CX __

To show the link between CX metrics and customer experience, you have first to discover how CX drives changes in customer behaviour.

Understand how customers think and feel about their experiences by analyzing their feedback and understand the key drivers behind their experience. With text analytics, you’ll be able to identify which topics impact your CX the most across the entire customer journey. You may find that the temperature of the food on delivery is resulting in cancellations and refunds.

This insight will help you prioritize your investments and find quick wins to generate ROI from CX initiatives quickly.

Secondly, perform analysis to determine what a 1-point increase or decrease in Net Promoter Score, CSAT or your main CX metric tracked company wide is worth in terms of the business metrics you’ve chosen to measure ROI.

4. Review Customer Data by Cohort

Failure to segment your customer data is a huge opportunity missed to generate more profits. Your business may compete with different competitors for specific demographics or geographies.

Different customer segments may have different goals and pain points to solve. Look at customer data from past NPS survey responses and review the feedback by LTV for example and you’ll be able to see what matters most to Freemium users vs Highest LTV customers.

segmentation of users

Segmentation adds a lot of context to data. As we see here in this chart, churn rate due to the negative customer service experience of Premium customers is arguably more of a problem than negative customer service experience of Freemium customers.

Gathering these insights and connecting the dots for internal stakeholders can help you get the buy-in needed to take CX to the next level.

5. Not Providing a Personalized Experience

Personalization isn’t optional in this day and age.

Given the fact that CX depends on collecting and analyzing data, there’s no excuse not to use that information to deliver a personal experience to every customer.

Amazon, for example, knows a lot about their customers based on their purchase history, so they personalize and offer their customers special offers based on the customers’ interests. This type of personalization not only increases customer satisfaction but also drives loyalty and repetitive purchases.

Netflix captures the intent of the users, continually researching the interests of its customers. Based on the user behaviour, you might find an actor that you recognize, an exciting moment like a car chase, or a dramatic scene that conveys the essence of a movie or TV show in your feed.

Personalized communication allows you to set the stage for a positive relationship, making customers feel valued while establishing a sense of trust. Brands that don’t make an effort to understand customer needs and preferences miss out on long-term loyalty and risk high rates of churn.

6. Failing to Act On Customer Feedback

Customers do not like it when you ignore them. If there is a customer complaint offering negative feedback, it’s essential to treat it like the learning experience it is.

Make sure you do the following:

  • Listen to your customers.
  • Acknowledge their concerns and offer a solution—don’t make excuses or argue with the customer.
  • Make the required change and follow up — in other words, close the loop to make sure that you’ve fixed the problem correctly.
  • Apologize and say “thanks” for the feedback.

Much of what is built at leading brands such as Amazon is based on listening to customers. If you don’t prioritise customer feedback and embed your learnings into your product roadmap, someone else will build something that meets customer needs better. Before long, you’ll see your product fall deeper into irrelevance in the mind of the customer.

Ultimately, reviewing feedback from all customers allows you to make improvements to your business and build better relationships with the people who make your organization money.

7. Asking the Wrong Questions

A mistake committed time and time again is failing to ask questions that produce insightful feedback from customers.

The whole purpose of capturing feedback is to provide data for analysis and insights that can drive ACTIONABLE change across an organisation.

It’s critical to remember your customer experience analytics system is only as good as the data you input into it. Asking the wrong questions of your customers won’t deliver actionable insights.

A good rule of thumb is to take stock of your desired outcome right from the outset: what is it that you hope to learn?

If you want to know what people think about your brand overall, then run an NPS survey. If the goal is to learn more about who your customers are and what they care about, consider asking a few direct questions.

Examples include:

  • What did we do that you liked best?
  • What could we do better?
  • What could we have done differently to improve the customer experience?
  • To what extent did X increase likelihood to recommend?
  • Which words would you use to describe us?
  • What function does our product/service fill for you?
  • How does our product/service solve your problem?
  • What questions did you have that you couldn’t find answers to?

We recommend sticking to a few questions (think three to five, max) and asking a mix of open and closed-ended questions. More importantly, the questions must be actionable, specific and attributable to a customer segment.

8. Asking Too Many Questions

It makes sense; you want to learn as much about your customers as possible. Initially, you might think it’s a good idea to ask your customers dozens of questions in one go. But customers will most likely see a long list of questions as a burden. Who wants to spend their time essentially doing work for free?

The length of your survey should be, at most, something the average user could complete in under five minutes. That means no more than ten (short) questions.

If you have a low response rate to your customer feedback surveys then that’s a leaky bucket in your CX program.

One tip we recommend is adding in a progress bar to your survey so the customer can see how close they are to completion. If the customer can see the progress, they are more likely to commit and complete all your answers.

That said, it’s unlikely that the average customer will want to read through ten questions, much less give a thoughtful response to each one. Instead, aim to ask two or three open-ended questions at a time. Fewer questions allow customers to share their experience, quickly, in their own words.

You might approach this as an NPS survey, where you first ask the customer to rate their experience with your company—and from there, include a comment box with enough space for them to explain the “why” behind their numeric score.

9. Neglecting UX and Design

Customer Experience is the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship in terms of the digitally crafted experience solely for the organization.

UX is an inevitable part of the CX. It’s important for any digital product and creates a better customer experience.

User Experience is the foundation of a good customer experience. These fields are very much intertwined and one isn’t necessarily more ‘important’ than the other. Companies might focus on necessary service improvements like response time of customer support, but neglecting UX is one of the deadliest CX sins a brand can commit.

No matter how beautifully designed your site may be, if your users don’t know how to navigate and find what they’re looking for, they simply won’t come back.

Think about what you expect when you visit a website. What impression do you get from a site that is poorly designed, full of broken links, or is too hard to navigate? You might click away in frustration. Maybe you’re worried that your computer will get a virus or that they can’t process payments securely.

Poor UX is a fatal blow to the customer experience. When UX doesn’t match up with basic design principles, you’re getting a fragmented experience.

UX touches upon your users and if they have a good experience with your brand they will refer their friends.

10. Not Connecting with Customers on Multiple Channels

One of the biggest criminal offences committed by customer experience professionals is not providing your company with the best chance of capturing customer feedback.

We recommend having an omnichannel approach to collecting feedback. You want to cast a wide net, so you capture as much insight as possible. That means enabling customers to provide feedback across all the critical touch points in the customer journey, across websites, mobile apps, emails, or in-store.

Customers need the opportunity to come to you with feedback, as well as you actively soliciting feedback from them.

  • Active feedback refers to actively engaging your users and asking them for their input. Most likely about their experience in one of the hotspots of your customer journey, such as the checkout experience, delivery experience, or understanding what they think of a new homepage.
  • Passive feedback refers to feedback a customer feels compelled to give you on their own volition without being solicited, often highlighting issues that you simply didn’t know about.

Key channels to have a presence when developing your CX program.

  • Customer Surveys (NPS, CSAT, CES)
  • Onsite Customer Surveys
  • SMS
  • Social Media
  • Call Transcripts
  • Chatbots Conversations

More feedback means more insights, which adds up to more guidance on how to improve CX.

Conclusion

Avoiding these mistakes is a great way to start improving the experience customers have when they interact with your brand. When a brand starts to consistently offer customers an experience, just a little above what competitors offer, they are bound to control a greater percentage of market in a short time.


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    Sam Frampton

    Growth Marketing at Chattermill - A.I for better customer experience