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Customer experience management is listed in the top ten priorities of CEOs around the globe

Here’s why you should be making it your #1 in 2019
There is a strong reason Customer Experience (CX) management is listed in the top ten priorities of CEOs around the globe. Professor McColl-Kennedy’s recently published research in the Journal of Service Research titled ‘Gaining Customer Experience Insights that Matter’ is the first empirical study of customer experience. The research highlighted the importance of digging deep into customer feedback to understand what customers really think and feel about their experience.

Relying solely on a simple numeric can cost the business lost sales. Two of the most commonly used tools in the customer insights armoury are easy-to-quantify satisfaction scores and the Net Promoter Scores (NPS).

Our research shows that relying on these scores alone can be downright misleading and can mask serious problems with the business. It’s in the free text comments that customers express their true feelings and these turn out to be a much more reliable predictor of their behaviour than the boxes they have checked.

High overall satisfaction scores does not mean that your customers are happy with you.  We found that while a large percentage of customers gave scores of 8.5 out of 10 or more, 90 percent of them used the comments section to voice significant complaints. But their complaints were not being addressed because the high scores were lulling the firm into a false sense of security. Further analysis revealed that this lack of response resulted in lost sales. For instance, one so called “satisfied” customer reduced purchases from over $200,000 to less than $2000.

Understanding the root causes  of customer experience breakdown within an organisation can help identify problematic areas, pain points for customers  and as a result, address the impact and offer new opportunities for growth and success. Root causes can take many forms, such as, price value, process adherence, technical capabilities, service capacity, and communication.

Root Causes of Customer Experience breakdown:
Knowing what to measure and how to gain insights that matter – especially what to do with open-ended feedback – has been unclear for CEOs and Marketing Managers in the past, or has been ignored or simply categorised broadly as a complaint or a compliment.

For an organisation to truly understand their customers’ experience and acquire a holistic view, they should collect both qualitative and quantitative data from various sources such as surveys, social media, and CRM.

Customer Experience impacts on a business:
With a depth of understanding of each root cause at the various touchpoints, organisations can determine what needs to be changed to improve the customer experience. This includes: Identifying critical touchpoints from the customer’s perspective (including potentially new touchpoints that had been previously unknown), understanding what really matters to the customer about each touchpoint, mapping each touchpoint to its root cause and specific actions or strategies to influence change, and taking specific actions to improve the touchpoint and the overall customer experience.

Why organisations should take actions on Customer Experience data:
At the heart of this research, providing a meaningful customer experience is viewed by many experts as essential to achieving competitive advantage and satisfied customers. Business owners need to observe and document what their customers are actually saying in their comments, i.e a telephone survey, online survey or what they personally tell front-line workers. The key is to not ignore what customers are saying in their free text comments or verbal feedback, document and analyse feedback carefully and assess in context across your organisation’s touchpoints.

If conducted in-depth and as part of a concentrated strategy, the process can help organisations better understand their customers’ behaviours and purchasing patterns, and, most importantly, what the organisation in both the short and long term needs to do to ensure their competitive advantage.

Author: Professor of Marketing at University of Queensland Business School, Janet R. McColl-Kennedy

The online version of the paper is available for purchase here.

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