Don’t be a CX April Fool (or Any Other Month, Either)

By: Lisa Sigler

April 1, 2015

CEM Programs
Customer Engagement
customer experience management

Corporate April Fools’ Day jokes and pranks have become an annual tradition, with some brands going to great lengths to trick and entertain the public every year.

But your brand can wind up as the butt of the joke if you are making these customer experience mistakes:

Not listening at all

Top-performing businesses pay close attention to the Voice of the Customer (VoC). Whether it’s through surveys, social media, online review sites, the call center, online chats or a range of other communication channels, the collective Voice of the Customer holds the key to making informed business decisions. Foolish companies ignore their customers – and pay the price through decreased loyalty, lower customer satisfaction, and churn.

Not listening to enough 

Once you’ve recognized that the customer’s voice is important, you have to decide what sources of VoC data you are going to use. Too many organizations think that one customer satisfaction survey is enough. Make no mistake, the use of well-designed surveys is critical for getting specific answers to targeted questions – but you can’t ask survey questions about issues you aren’t aware of.  Not to mention that about 95% of customer feedback comes in the form of free-form text, from social media, emails, chat transcripts, call transcripts, and online reviews. Using as many data sources as you have available (whether external or internal, text-based or structured data) helps to ensure that you aren’t missing or underestimating any problems. The more, the better – because the one issue you miss might be the one that makes a fool of you.

Not understanding what you hear

Simply collecting data from a wide range of data sources doesn’t go far enough. You need a consistent, accurate way to use all of that data to form one complete picture of the customer experience.  Text analytics and sentiment analysis give you a way to report on large volumes of text-based feedback to get to the heart of what customers are talking about, and how they feel about it. With sufficient data and meaningful analysis, you can develop customer-centric empathy – not just understanding the metrics, but understanding the real wants, needs, likes, and dislikes of your customers.

Not doing anything about it

Collecting customer feedback and then not acting on it is a terrible prank to pull on the people you rely on to keep your brand afloat. However, this is not uncommon, particularly in organizations that keep their data in strict silos. To avoid this, route analyzed data throughout the organization to the people most capable of effecting change. If customers like a certain product feature, that information must be routed to the marketing department so they can emphasize it in later campaigns. If customers are mad about your call center, that information must go to the customer care department to help adjust training and processes. If you aren’t going to use the data, it isn’t worth your time or the effort to collect it.

Not telling anyone what you’ve done

People like knowing that their time and effort is appreciated when they communicate with you; for example, the most effective way to boost the response rate to your customer satisfaction survey is to inform customers about the business decisions and actions that were taken as a result of their feedback. Similarly, people reaching out via social media expect a response. However, just 11.2% of brands in one study responded to online messages within one hour, and many brands didn’t respond at all. Closing the loop with customers boosts their loyalty and their satisfaction with you, and helps you build relationships that endure.

April 1st may be a day to celebrate trickery and silliness, but using feedback to improve the customer experience is serious business – on this day and every other.

Lisa Sigler is Sr. Manager of Content Marketing at Clarabridge. For over 16 years, Lisa has used her writing and editorial skills to bring the value and benefits of technology to life. In her current role, she works to demonstrate Clarabridge’s position as thought leader and trailblazer in the Customer Experience Management market. Lisa holds a B.A. of English from Kent State University. Read more from Lisa on Twitter @siglerLis.