As the saying goes, "It takes a village," and improving your company's customer experience to grow your business is no exception.
These days, customers expect a unified experience from your brand, regardless of what internal team might be responsible for a particular interaction.
Michal Maimaran, Clinical Associate Professor of Marketing from the Kellogg School says, “When customers give their information to a company, they expect everyone from that company to have that information. Anything less falls short of the standard.”
In short, creating a fantastic brand experience that inspires loyalty and advocacy requires an underlying network of workflows and data integrations that bring your entire company together behind one unifying interest: the customer.
As businesses have turned to digital transformation to streamline operations and capture customer data, simply updating your tech stack is not enough to improve the final customer experience. And yet, an improved experience is precisely the key to growing revenue and expanding the business. Sixty-two percent of customers would be willing to pay more for effortless brand interactions.
What companies of all sizes need to keep in mind is the end goal: creating a seamless experience that their customers love.
To achieve this, businesses need to integrate data sets between their tools and break down the walls between business silos. Since customer experience (CX) spans all departments, CX management is uniquely poised to bring all the silos together so they can create a holistic experience that drives business growth.
|TIP: Pay attention to the Voice of the Customer (VoC) in order to better deliver through your brand.|
Customer experience is the sum of every interaction someone has with your brand, such as your website experience, the sales process, onboarding, the service experience, and more.
For your customer experience strategy to bear fruit, the findings of your program must be integrated into your existing toolset, so all teams can easily take action on customer insights.
So without further ado, let’s get into the six types of software you’ll need to integrate in order to provide a consistently stellar experience for your customers, along with examples of how customer experience feedback enriches the quality of each customer journey touchpoint.
Let’s start off by looking at enterprise feedback management software, also known as customer experience management software, which you’ll use to manage the customer experience.
To achieve the goal of improving the customer experience, what you’ll need first and foremost is a platform that allows you to gather input from your market, so you understand what they need and want from you.
Customers are your most vocal critics, your strongest supporters, and the key to ongoing success. By asking them for feedback, you’ll understand where you can improve, what new products or features they’d like you to build, and even what other competitors they may be considering.
If you’re constantly monitoring customer sentiment, you’ll also know when customers are unsatisfied before their frustration builds to the point of churn, so you can try to improve their experience and keep their business.
On the other hand, you can also figure out who your happiest customers are and ask them to advocate on your behalf to others via testimonials, reviews, and references.
Features to look for in a CEM platform:
|Simple survey creator with pre-optimized Net Promoter Score (NPS) and customer satisfaction survey templates so your teams can easily customize and create customer feedback surveys|
|Automated survey distribution so you can send surveys to customers at the right time through the preferred channel|
|Results analysis and scoring, so you can monitor trends in customer sentiment over time and see what aspects of your brand experience are satisfying or disappointing|
|Workflows for closing the loop with customers, (i.e. responding to the feedback provided, whether it’s positive or negative)|
|Easy integrations. Hook your customer experience platform to the rest of your tech stack to trigger surveys based on interaction|
Depending on the maturity of your customer experience program, you may also want market research services to learn about the expectations of the overall market, as opposed to just your customer base.
Now that you have a primer on what to look for in a CEM platform to accomplish your goals, let’s go through the necessary integrations for all of the gathered feedback to reach your marketing, sales, product, customer care, and human resources teams so they can all work together to act on that feedback.
If you’re currently on the hunt for new marketing tech tools, just be sure to evaluate tools with your marketing strategy (and the customer and employee experience) in mind.
While all of these tools help marketers understand and speak to customers, success measurement generally involves tracking the number of conversion actions completed. These actions could be clicks, sign-ups, subscribes, downloads, and purchases, or more passive metrics like number of pages viewed in a session or time spent on page.
Conversion metrics illuminate which strategies work, and which need to be tested and improved. However, with customer experience feedback in the mix, marketers can ask customers why they may be bouncing around the site, or what they’re looking for when they spend an extended amount of time on a page.
That way, you don’t need to speculate at user intent; you’ll know. More importantly, marketers will also be able to get feedback on how well the content provided fulfills that intent, and ask why it misses the mark.
In addition to uncovering the “why” behind on-site customer behavior, customer feedback data can also be the key to hyper-personalization and customized messaging for email marketers and loyalty program managers.
Tailor campaigns based on how customers feel about the brand. For example, you could send special incentives to those who had a poor experience, or ask satisfied customers to join a referral rewards program. By segmenting customers by sentiment, you’ll strike the right tone with them for each interaction.
Now, let’s move onto how customer experience feedback can help the marketing team’s partner in crime: sales.
CRM software is a vital way for businesses of all sizes to strengthen customer relationships, so they can efficiently turn marketing leads into sales, and win upsells and renewals from existing customers. By simplifying the management and analysis of customer data, CRMs drive initiatives that grow revenue.
Customer experience feedback and CRMs go hand in hand. While CRMs document sales milestones with interaction records and hard revenue numbers, customer experience programs provide context for those customer decisions.
When that experience feedback gets ported back into your CRM, your team will be able to make that data part of their strategic and tactical plans. Overall, customer experience surveys give you one more way to segment customers in your CRM, so you can see how customer behavior and sentiment change as you make improvements based on customer feedback insights.
TIP: View the latest CRM software statistics to help guide your company in the right direction.
Use the repository of information in your CRM to trigger customer experience surveys to send at certain milestones, whether that’s after a sales call, post-transaction, or post-churn. You’ll be able to automate survey distribution and fold all that feedback into your CRM system for immediate action.
You can also use customer experience platforms to send win-loss surveys to understand if something during the sales process turned the customer off.
By asking leads and existing customers to give feedback on your sales processes, you can learn how well your team is listening to and fulfilling customer needs. Is all the information gathered in your CRM effectively personalizing your customer interactions? Is the operational data you’re tracking in your CRM a strong indicator of ongoing customer loyalty, or is a piece of the puzzle missing?
Sales managers can then dig into agent performance from a customer satisfaction perspective to identify if further training or more robust sales materials may be necessary to increase win rates.
Keeping tabs on customer sentiment post-purchase and integrating that feedback into your CRM will pay dividends as well, especially when upsells and renewals take center stage.
That being said, after a customer goes through the marketing and sales cycle, it’s time to get into the actual product experience.
In 1997, Steve Jobs said, “You've got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.”
Product analytics software tracks how customers navigate through your product, so you can focus on improving features that provide the most engaging, helpful experience. This focus results in higher product retention and a lowered likelihood of churn.
When you integrate your CX platform with your product analytics data, you’ll be able to fire off feedback surveys at just the right moment to capture a product impression while the experience is still fresh.
As with the marketing and sales experience discussed above, customer feedback provides valuable context around why customers behave a certain way. Here’s how you can use customer feedback to improve the product experience.
When customers take your product for a test run, you have one shot to impress them with the ease of your platform. Product analytics show you which features these prospects are most interested in right off the bat, as well as how far customers get in your platform before dropping off.
With feedback surveys in the mix, customers can tell you what’s most likely to sway them in your favor, as well as what core functionality you might be missing. You can even ask what competitors they’re considering and why for some extra intel.
Find the best survey software to get started.
Even after a round of beta testing, it’s likely a larger section of your customer base will identify feature functionalities that were a lower priority during development, but are make-or-break in terms of adoption. Use feedback surveys to drum up these ideas and add them to the list for v2.
If product analytics show that customers aren’t using a feature, but feedback surveys contain comments asking for a tool with similar functionality, feature discoverability may be what’s at fault. Asking customers if they’re even aware of what the platform offers, or what they wish the product offered, can help identify areas where you can improve onboarding workflows, add tooltips, and coordinate with the marketing and customer success teams to increase awareness of where features live and how they work.
Follow-up surveys sent after customers perform key actions in your app can help you catch buggy experiences, or interactions that fall short of effortless. These could be as simple (but vital) as making sure the password reset process works well, or that billing and upgrade processing goes smoothly.
Addressing these issues with continual improvements creates a stickier product experience and more feature upgrade opportunities in the future, since customers know the product is constantly maintained and updated.
Whichever product experience you choose to improve, you’ll no doubt end up with product ideas to add to your product management tool. The beauty of having those ideas come from customers is that you’ll be able to prioritize more easily, since you already know your customers need them to continue to grow with your business.
When customers have questions about your product, they’ll inevitably turn to the next department on our list: customer service.
Oftentimes, when people think “customer experience," they actually think customer service and help desk software. After all, if you’ve invested time and money with a company, but feel that company can’t go to the trouble of helping you solve problems post-purchase, it’s going to leave a bad taste in your mouth.
Unsure of what kind of help desk software is out there? We've got you covered.
Needless to say, the stakes are high.
The customer service statistics prove it out:
Let’s dig into how you can improve the service and support experience with customer feedback.
Whether you’re using a help desk, live chat, self-serve solution, or all of the above, you can use customer satisfaction surveys to monitor how well each interaction goes.
Ask customers to rate and explain how satisfied they are with the resolution of their issue, so you can identify and resolve problem areas in your own operational processes.
The standard metrics used to evaluate the service experience fall prey to the same pitfalls as all the other operational data we’ve mentioned earlier: they lack context. The documented call resolution time could have been quick, but how completely was that issue resolved? And was that the first time the customer had reached out, or the last in a litany?
One of the more frustrating experiences a customer can have is to go to a help center article hoping to fix a problem themselves, only to find that they need to email customer service, who then schedules a call to chat through the issue with you. Using a Customer Effort Score (CES) survey, which measures the ease of an interaction, your team can identify where process hiccups come into play, so resources can be built out to improve each channel.
Customer service and success teams are on the front lines of the company, speaking directly to customers more often than most. Ears to the ground, these teams often get first-hand feedback on new product feature needs through surveys, and can become the strongest customer advocates in the company.
With data backed by feedback surveys with open-ended comments, the customer care team can more easily make a case for product changes to improve the overall experience, closing the loop on customer feedback by integrating it into the rest of the company.
Setting your agents up for success is one of the most effective ways to boost morale. Help your service agents provide a better experience by asking customers to rate their conversations based on agent knowledge, friendliness, and efficiency to see if more training or resources might be necessary.
Morale brings us to our final software integration on the list: employee engagement software for an improved employee experience.
At the end of the day, the people who are providing services to your customers are...people. And when you’re focusing on data metrics and back-end tools, it’s easy to forget that.
Treating employees as well as you strive to treat your customers pays off. MIT performed a study in 2017 showing that companies with a great employee experience end up being 25% more profitable than competitors without.
Similar to how you can’t improve the customer experience without talking to your customers, you can’t improve the employee experience without involving your employees.
Employee engagement software offers many ways to improve the overall employee experience. Similar to customer experience software, it works by gathering feedback that measures job satisfaction, employee engagement, and motivation.
Related: Want to find out if employees are as engaged as HR teams think they are? Find out by downloading our free report.
Here are the two main ways focusing on employee experience can help your business grow:
Happy employees want to help the company meet its goals, and pass that enthusiasm onto the customers they help. For example, 70% of engaged employees are confident in their understanding of how to meet customer expectations, while only 17% of non-engaged employees believe the same.
Bain & Company has also linked higher employee engagement to increased revenue, cementing the intuitive connection between the ROI of customer experience and employee experience.
Hiring is costly, in terms of time spent on recruiting as well as onboarding. Keeping a pulse on employee sentiment helps ensure employees are able to find fulfillment and stay engaged in the workplace, reducing attrition rates. Employee surveys also help identify where there might be a culture gap at your company, and how to close it for higher retention.
These six types of software, when integrated within a holistic, people-centered strategy, can help you outpace your competitors and exceed customer expectations for a future-proof business.
As you take your organization through a digital transformation, or as you re-evaluate your tech stack, keep these use cases (and the ease with which employees can adopt these tools) in mind. Need help monitoring the software you and your team use on a daily basis? See where you're overspending and how to track it all with G2 Track.
As a content marketer, Lucia enjoys writing articles that educate, inform, and entertain. She is currently the Head of Content at Delighted, a customer experience management platform that helps companies improve their brand experience with real-time customer feedback. When she’s not writing or editing, she’s usually baking bread, cakes, cookies, and pies.
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