Companies have realized that working on improving customer experience leads to good business.
With this increased focus, the number of surveys in the various departments of the organization is on the rise. At the same time, local departments have an increasing number of tools available. They now have the ability to study the specific part of the customer experience that they are responsible for.
This often ends up with the organization having many different perceptions on the customer experience.
The challenge with these isolated surveys is that departments:
- structure, categorize, and report data differently
- use different evaluation methods and KPIs
- only optimize the small part of the customer experience that they are working with
- have different outlooks on customer experience
- submit different and sometimes contradictory reviews of customer experience to top management
The problem is widespread.
Only one quarter of the largest Nordic companies believe that they have a high degree of coherent customer insight. This was shown in an Ennova survey from 2017.
The customer evaluates the entire organization
From the customer’s perspective, this is also a problem.
Customers are bombarded with questions concerning their experience. They have to determine if they would recommend the company to others. They are called up by a customer service representative or perhaps even by an automated phone.
Customers like to be heard, but there are limits to how often they want to answer the same questions from the same company.
There is also the risk that the customer’s experience with your brand is inconsistent and incoherent. In one situation, you win the customer over with a fantastic customer experience. In the next, everything comes crashing down because a different department has other goals.
The salespersons promise customers 14 days delivery, to which the customers react positively.
However, the goods are only delivered a month later. This disappoints the customers, and they now rate their experience much lower.
The delivery went perfectly when measured according to the parameters of the logistics department, which focus on providing good updates along the way. However, the customer is left with a bad experience because of the unfulfilled expectation created by the salesperson.
Your customers experiences the organization as a whole, so you have to consider the combined customer initiatives in the company.
Synchronize your customer insights
If this seems familiar to you, you need to synchronize the customer insights in your company across the entire organization.
This does not mean that you must obtain the same kind of data at all contact points.
Different types of data add invaluable nuances to your perception of the customer experience. This generates a far better foundation for prioritizing your initiatives.
Synchronized customer insights are characterized by:
- using the same evaluation methods for central KPIs
- grouping insights across data sources into the same main themes
- reporting with a uniform structure and always based on the customer experience
Establish a central customer insight unit
Unfortunately, it is not always that easy to synchronize customer insights.
After all, different departments have their own idea of what is most important to the customer. If they were responsible for the general decisions, their focus would be unbalanced.
To overcome this, you need a central unit in the organization.
In smaller organizations, this unit could in principle consist of one person. The important thing here is for customer insights to be drawn across organizational functions.
Obtain deeper and broader insights
The primary role of the customer insight unit is to synchronize all the customer insights across the organization. However, it will also be able to provide relevant insights to the organization. Therefore, the local departments do not lose insights. They gain a deeper and broader understanding of the customer, as the unit can draw from several sources.
It is easier to personalize the customer experience for the organization. It will increase the likelihood that the company, as a whole, will provide a consistent customer experience.
Yet another advantage is that the budget for things like studies, surveys, analyses, systems and tools can be reduced. One centralized unit can exploit economies of scale. The organization may also find that it needs fewer external suppliers and partners.
Identify the most important focus areas
One of the biggest advantages of synchronizing customer insights is that it is far easier to identify the reasons for a poor customer experience.
It also increases the likelihood that the organization’s initiatives actually improve customer experience.
This is in contrast to many local initiatives, which only yield sporadic improvements on local scorecards. Yet the customer – who is the key figure in this matter – does not feel a big difference.
Back to the salespersons and the logistics department, which now have a central unit.
The salespersons are no longer motivated by scoring high at the expense of the organizations overall score. The new KPIs do not encourage this.
Instead, they submit their insights to the central unit. The unit synchronizes with the other insights from the organization. They can now see that the customer’s top priority is quick delivery.
The administrative resources used to provide ongoing updates to the customer are no longer necessary. The logistics department can then focus on shortening the delivery time.
The result is that the company can provide a better customer experience.
Create a customer-centric organization
Read more about how we can help your organization become more customer-centric.
This article is an abbreviated and edited version of Chapter 3 in the Danish book titled "Professionel Kundeindsigt - Forskellen mellem økonomisk succes og fiasko" by Søren Smit. (Professional customer insight – the difference between financial success and failure)