A good customer experience depends upon cross-departmental collaboration and accountability.
It’s easy to point fingers when something’s not going well. Take, for example, negative customer feedback about a product or service. When it comes in, who’s responsible? Is it Marketing’s fault for overpromising, or does the fault lie with Sales for under-delivering? Is Product Management to blame, or should the Customer Support have stepped in to mediate the issue?
Truth is, bad — or good — CX is developed over a series of touchpoints along the customer journey. And while no one is solely to blame, it often makes sense for everyone to see how he or she can take responsibility for fixing the problem.
CX matters — but who’s in charge?
According to PWC’s recent Digital-IQ report, 65% of folks surveyed said they think customer experience is critical to advancing business performance. And 40% ranked a lack of CX ownership as one of the top reasons for CX problems. While teams within organizations continue to pass the buck on CX, customers are feeling the fallout. Everyone loses when teams waste time quibbling over who’s at fault instead of owning up to their shortcomings and taking action to fix the problem.
Perhaps it’s a matter of misplaced priorities — or, more likely, a difference of opinion about what CX means. Marketers often think of good CX in terms of delivering relevant content to the right people at the right time, and proof of success is clickthroughs and conversions. To Sales, good CX is evident when a deal closes and the customer is pleased with the price and the process. To Product teams, CX hinges on creating and delivering innovative products with features that wow users and make competing products look less-than. And to Service and Support teams, good CX means a productive and friendly conversation that helps customers solve a problem and results in continued business.
But customers don’t make these distinctions. When a customer has a bad experience at any point along their journey, they blame the brand — not the marketers or product managers or service staff, but the organization as a whole. They go on Facebook or Google and leave a bad review, saying they’ll never use the product or service again. They may call out some unseemly behavior of call center staff or a pushy sales person but, ultimately, the brand suffers the consequences. That 1-star review means lower rankings and a damaged online reputation, and the resulting loss of influence over the consumer’s decision-making process.
Accountability requires insights
So why aren’t organizations approaching CX as a joint effort? One reason could be a lack of actionable insights into the ever-expanding amount of data coming from a growing number feedback sources. An average rating of 3.6 stars on Google is an indication that something’s wrong, but without the ability to dig into the data and understand the “why,” there’s no accountability. An organization may be excelling in one area, but lagging in another and never even know it. And that can lead to resources being misallocated to fixing the wrong problems, and the real issue never being addressed.
Tesla’s a good example. Reputation.com just released its preliminary analysis of global automotive OEM brands, dealer groups and dealerships in its 2020 Automotive Reputation Report, and looked at performance across sales and service categories. In the overall rankings, Tesla is at the bottom for Reputation Score. Tesla’s customer sentiment score was also the lowest of all brands at -2%. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? If you talk to Tesla drivers, they’ll all tell you how much they love their cars. But when you drill down into the data, the scores start to make sense.
Turns out Tesla’s service centers are impacting the company’s overall reputation. Tesla’s low scores could improve substantially by simply training staff at their service centers on ways to elevate the experience when customers bring their vehicles in for service. Or perhaps they could encourage service center staff to respond to reviews and bring up engagement scores. The point is, having granular insight into what’s impacting reputation and customer sentiment can help companies decide where to focus their efforts and make targeted CX improvements.
It’s important to keep in mind that CX isn’t constant. Evolving consumer expectations will change what makes a good experience over time. For example, Gartner reports that in 2020, 85% of all customer interactions with brands will happen without human interaction — via self service digital interfaces, chatbots and virtual assistants. Only a short time ago, this type of interaction was annoying to consumers; today, Millenials in particular are extremely comfortable with it. In fact, they prefer it. In the U.S., Millennials report a 70% satisfaction rate with chatbots. Winning organizations will need to constantly tap into and analyze customer feedback to keep pace with changing expectations and respond accordingly.
Make CX #1 to everyone
To the customer, it doesn’t matter who owns CX; what matters is whether everyone in the organization is aligned around delivering exceptional CX and does their part to make that happen. But without insight into how customers are interacting with and experiencing the brand at different touchpoints, there’s no way to know how to do that. And it should be a critical priority for each and every employee in your organization. Dimension Data found that 84% of companies that focus on improving CX report an increase in annual revenue. And don’t we all want that? A unified CX front is essential to the success of an organization and everyone in it.