Optimized CXTM

The Next Generation of Customer Experience

Walker has developed a new and better approach. One that leverages what currently works and overcomes the inadequacies that exist. It is more forward-focused and designed to optimize key customer experiences.

Download the report, browse the site, and learn more about the next generation of CX.

WHY THIS? WHY NOW?

Profound changes are creating many shortcomings that customer experience professionals can no longer ignore.

CONSIDER….

  • Companies haven’t figured out how to leverage a tsunami of information to create value for customers.
  • Advanced analytics are rapidly improving, enabling companies to better anticipate behaviors and perceptions.
  • Do-it-yourself surveys are overused, creating survey fatigue and declining response rates.
  • Customer surveys have become bloated because too many people are trying to use a single survey for all customer input.
  • B-to-B companies have become more complex while customers desire a simplified experience.

Years of hard work from customer experience professionals have advanced the profession and advanced the attention on the customer. However, it’s clear that today’s approaches are still too reactive. It’s time for a change. It’s time to optimize CX.

TRANSFORMING CX

What will it take to transform and meet the higher expectations of our customers and the increased demand of our stakeholders? Here are a few of the transformations that must occur:

  • From tracking scores to measuring impact.
  • From relying on a single source of customer insight (such as surveys) to multiple streams of business intelligence.
  • From over-surveying to using surveys more strategically, optimizing sampling, frequency, length, and content.
  • From focusing on the use of technology tools to generating action.
  • From standardized, repetitive routines to a tailored approach to improving customer experiences.
  • From merely reacting to customer feedback to anticipating customer issues.
  • From recommended action plans to embedding insights into the systems employees and customer use to make decisions.
  • From disparate surveys and initiatives to a comprehensive approach.

We believe these are just a few of the transformations that must occur. Download the report to learn more about how you can transform your CX initiatives.

COMMON QUESTIONS

A shift in thinking requires time to fully comprehend the new approach. So naturally, there are plenty of questions.

Q: DO I NEED TO IMPLEMENT ALL OF THE COMPONENTS MENTIONED IN THE THREE PHASES OF OPTIMIZED CX?
A: No. One of the important notes about this approach is that it is not one-size-fits-all. It is intended to be a highly tailored approach which requires customer experience professionals to carefully design their strategy and program to meet the specific needs of their business. This means that we select and implement the activities that will do the best job of helping discover, validate, and optimize the customer experience.
Q: IS THIS DESIGNED ONLY FOR COMPANIES THAT ARE JUST BEGINNING THEIR CX INITIATIVE?
A: No. This is designed to work for any company at any stage of their customer experience initiatives. In fact, Optimized CX is particularly useful for companies that need to refresh their program. Given the changes taking place and the need for advancements we believe all companies should re-evaluate their current approach to update their programs.
Q: IF A COMPANY ALREADY HAS A CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE STRATEGY IN PLACE, HOW WOULD THEY TRANSITION TO Optimized CX?
A: The Discover stage is designed to facilitate this transition as it incorporates assessments and an evaluation of the current strategy and program. Throughout the process, if particular elements have been completed there is no need to perform them again. For instance, if a journey mapping program was recently conducted, that will be valuable in the Discover stage. And, if a relationship assessment was recently conducted, it will be used during the Validation stage.
Q: WE CONSISTENTLY CONDUCT RELATIONSHIP SURVEYS THAT PROVIDE A GREAT DEAL OF CUSTOMER INSIGHT. DOES THIS APPROACH DO AWAY WITH THEM?
A: Not necessarily. A deep-dive relationship survey can be a valuable component during the Validation stage. However, it is strongly recommended they be used sparingly. An ongoing assessment of the relationship with your customers is useful and important, but we recommend a short pulse survey with a minimum base size to represent your customer population. After the Validation stage we recommend techniques such as short pulse surveys which are focused on key areas targeted for improvement.
Q: DO WE NEED TO ATTEMPT A CENSUS (SEND SURVEYS TO ALL CUSTOMERS) WHEN CONDUCTING A RELATIONSHIP OR PULSE SURVEY?
A: No. In most cases statistical sampling approaches can be used to collect the necessary information to validate hypotheses and develop algorithms that can be embedded in your systems. Survey fatigue is a function of both the length of surveys and the number of surveys sent.
Q: HOW DO I GET CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE INFORMATION AT THE ACCOUNT LEVEL TO SUPPORT SALES AND ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT FUNCTIONS?
A: Customer insights at an account level are a valuable resource in B-to-B companies and we think it is critically important to frequently provide such insights to account teams. However, commonly used relationship surveys are not necessarily the best or most efficient method. We recommend using a combination of executive interviews and a pre-emptive alerting system with close-the-loop processes to provide more relevant and actionable customer insights to a broader set of accounts.
Q: DO WE EVER REPEAT THE DISCOVERY AND VALIDATION STAGES?
A: Yes. While those stages are designed to essentially have a beginning and end, it is important to recognize the constant change in business and the need to refresh our approach. While the optimize stage is ongoing, it will be necessary to circle back to other stages when the metrics that are being monitored stabilize or when business objectives change.
Q: THIS SOUNDS LIKE MORE WORK. IS IT?
A: Not really. It is different work and incorporates a broader range of tools and processes. However, it is designed to more quickly focus on the right activities, drive action, and make an impact. And, by the way, it is less work for your customers.
Q: THIS SOUND MORE COMPLEX. IS IT?
A: This approach is certainly more comprehensive and requires a broader range of activities to identify, prioritize, monitor, and embed action to improve the customer experience. If that means it is more complex, then yes. However, this approach greatly reduces the focus on surveys and scores and is designed to more quickly optimize customer experiences.
Q: DOES THIS CHANGE THE SKILLS REQUIRED OF THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE LEADER?
A: Yes, most likely. If your current role is based largely on coordinating planning and action based on a constant rotation of relationship surveys, then this approach will be a new adventure. While it might change the skills required, Optimized CX will help customer experience leaders prepare for the emerging expectations of the customer and more demanding needs of your internal stakeholders.
Q: HOW DO I GET STARTED?
A: How you start depends on what you’ve done and where you are. A first step for everyone is to make sure your program is aligned with the business objectives and active leadership is established. That is quickly followed by an understanding of access. Does the customer experience team have access to the relevant data and the relevant relationships (both internal and external)? Building relationships to gain access to non-survey data is essential.

For B-to-B companies who are sophisticated and committed to their customer experience strategy, getting started will be an easy transition. For those starting from scratch, it’s the perfect time to implement, starting with Discover.

At Walker we have always been focused on business outcomes and impact, which is why we believe it’s time to adopt this next generation approach. We have deep experience in consulting, technology, research, and analytics to help any B-to-B company implement and execute Optimized CX creating tangible, measureable, and meaningful business impact.
LET’S TALK ABOUT SURVEYS

At Walker we feel a discussion about optimizing customer experience initiatives cannot be held without addressing a key issue: surveys.

So let’s talk about surveys.

POSITIVE ASPECTS OF SURVEYS
First, let’s consider positive aspects of surveys. Among the many benefits:

  • Surveys are an efficient way to get feedback, ratings, and insights directly from customers and other stakeholders.
  • Surveys provide a quantitative approach that can be analyzed to provide excellent direction for company initiatives.
  • Surveys are an effective method to understand customer perceptions and sentiment.
  • Surveys can provide the “why” that drives customer behaviors and future plans.
  • The evolution of internet-based surveys has made it easy to develop and issue surveys.
  • Surveys can be conducted over time and can be used to establish benchmarks, trends, and other comparisons.
LIMITATIONS
And yet, surveys have limitations:

  • The ease of issuing surveys has caused a glut among customers. Surveys are everywhere and people have become less interested in providing their opinion unless it is something that really matters to them.
  • Closely related, response rates have are generally low and have been steadily declining which means CX leaders are only getting input from a small portion of their customers.
  • Other methods have evolved – social media, text analytics, predictive analytics, complaint systems and other sources which provide rich customer insights that can’t be achieved from surveys alone.
  • Because survey development has become so easy surveys have been misused by those lacking professional experience.
SOME THINGS MUST STOP!
So, are survey going away? No. Surveys have a logical place in customer experience programs. However, there are several survey practices that we believe must stop:

  • Overdependence on surveys must stop. Over the past decade the Internet has enable too many surveys that are too long and sent out too often. This has created a “survey-first” mentality and is harming our own ability to create actionable insights.
  • Repetitive relationship surveys must stop. Too many companies feel the need to send bloated relationship surveys to customers every year. Relationship surveys are great for establishing a baseline but do not need to be constantly repeated.
  • Gaming participation must stop. To increase response rates customer-facing employees are often required and even incented to recruit customers to respond. This results in non-representative sample and inaccurate data.
  • Asking questions we already know the answer to must stop. Too often companies ask a series of questions when should already know the answer. This only makes surveys longer and makes customer’s wonder, “Do they really know what they are doing?”
  • Asking the customer about things they don’t care about must stop. Too many CX surveys are designed with a “one-size-fits-all” approach where every customer receives the same question set, regardless of whether their individual and unique, experiences with the company.
  • Asking questions that will not prompt action must stop. If your company is not going to take action on information then don’t ask it. Again, this makes for long surveys and frustrates customers.
  • Always seeking a census must stop. Except in very specific instances, we do not need to send survey invites to every customer in the database. Using statistical sampling methodology, we can get a representative view of your customer base from a relatively small group of customers.
KEY RECOMMENDATIONS
Here are several key recommendations for survey use.

  • Use relationship surveys sparingly. Only for a baseline where a small response rate is acceptable for validation purposes. Don’t repeat them annually. Every other year at best.
  • Use pulse surveys and transaction surveys to target key areas of focus.
  • Use an adaptive design approach (different questions for different respondents) to create customer engagement by increasing topic relevancy while reducing survey length.
  • Leverage existing internal data to create highly targeted surveys while lowering the burden on customers.
  • Reduce volume of surveys by implementing sample optimization techniques and deploying predictive analytics.

 

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