A strong focus on customer experience is crucial for any business looking to grow in today's marketplace. So why is it that businesses leave this crucial component in the hands of a single department, customer service? If you are truly focused on improving your organisation's customer experience, it’s important to understand the two approaches to NPS, operational and strategic, and how these affect your ability to respond to your customers and improve your organisation's customer experience.
Operational vs Strategic
When we consider the customer experience framework, an operational approach looks at individual customer interactions, such as responding to negative feedback in the ‘why’ question of your NPS, also known as ‘closing the loop’. Usually handled by a customer service representative, this may take the form of a call-back to get more detailed information about what went wrong and then recommendations to ensure the customer has a positive experience the next time. The customer service representative then moves on to the next complaint and so on.
On the other hand, a strategic approach takes a higher-level view, looking at trends across multiple interactions and multiple touchpoints. The upside of this approach is the ability to identify issues affecting your customers - before they become systemic. Given that this provides much better ROI than addressing the same concern over and over again, why is it that most businesses are not focussing on strategic analysis?
Strategic review and investigation is inherently more difficult, as it involves looking at a larger pool of data, often in the form of unstructured responses and comments. Done manually, this is a daunting task and one that can fall foul of subjective views. As a result, many organisations ignore the analysis of this data. However, with the introduction of machine learning text analytics tools, organisations now have a way around this time consuming and expensive process.
Ensure customer experience is everyone's business
Simply shifting to a strategic analysis on customer feedback isn't enough. Your organisation must ensure the findings from the analysis goes to the right people. Whilst your customer service teams respond to customer feedback at the operational level, customer experience or voice of customer analysts can start to focus on the bigger picture, getting the right information to the right people and working with them to identify ways to improve the organisation’s CX at the strategic level.
With detailed insights available, it is much easier to create the business case for CX for the resistant pockets across the entire organisation by highlighting the issues and identifying possible solutions with the relevant people to enable the organisation to move towards a more customer-centric approach.
By highlighting to the whole business where your CX focus is, you can get non-customer facing departments to come with you on the journey. This ensures that separate business units are not operating independently of each other, causing a disjointed, siloed approach to customer experience and instead, aligning your business to what is critical to the organisation’s success; customers.
Your CX strategy must be agile
As with any project, once recommendations have been implemented it is important to monitor and review your progress and iterate until you see improvements in customer experience and satisfaction. This brings the process full circle as you return to customer surveys. With a long-term view of your themes, you can identify trends that will tell you how effective your changes have been. Ideally, you’ll see an increase in customer satisfaction or, at worst, a change in the issues customers are raising. If you aren’t seeing improvements, consider diving deeper into the context around why your customers are giving you the scores they are, using the text data from the ‘why’ question.
Getting started on your CX journey
If you are just getting started on analysing your customer feedback, the easiest way to start is via an operational approach to NPS. However, what you will soon notice is that a purely operational approach will leave you with additional questions around what issues are occurring most frequently and taking up the most customer service resources.
Answering these additional questions can be achieved by focusing on the strategic approach, and is the key to improving your customer experience over the long term, ensuring that the same issues don’t keep happening, preventing churn and increasing customer loyalty.