The following is a guest blog written by Lorraine Schumacher, Customer Experience Evangelist at Clarabridge. Learn more about Clarabridge by visiting their website.
Starting a Customer Experience (CX) program is no small feat. For Justin MacDonald, Customer Experience Manager at Infusionsoft, he eats, breathes, and sleeps CX and is a passionate champion and change agent within his business. A Software-as-a Service (SaaS) company that serves small businesses, Infusionsoft needs to earn their customers’ loyalty each month. To keep pulse on the customer experience—whether it’s calling the support center, using the product, or any other interaction—the business relies on customer feedback from multiple sources.
MacDonald shared some key principles that he’s identified as critical to understand when building a CX program.
CX Impacts Everything
It’s critical for a CX team to work cross-functionally because CX impacts all areas of the business, and all areas of the business impact CX. A true omni-source program gathers customer feedback from all sources, on all areas of the customer experience, and then makes that information actionable.
“With entrepreneurs and small businesses, business is personal, and their experience with every element of their journeys with our company and product impacts their business, their customers, and ultimately their vote to continue business with us each month,” said MacDonald. “Customer retention, cost of acquisition, and monthly recurring revenue are all majorly impacted by customer experience. We believe we will hit our business goals because we deliver a great customer experience.”
A true believer that a strong CX program is worth its weight in gold, MacDonald adds, “You don’t make experiences better for customers so that your company benefits; your company benefits because you make customer experiences better.”
Don’t Just Serve Customers—Empower Them.
“Our top priorities around the customer experience are first to make sure they feel understood and valued,” continued MacDonald. “Because small businesses often feel unique and alone, we let them feel empowered and by their partnership with us – not just by our software, but by our services and relationship with them dedicated to their success.”
This principle also applies to B2C companies. Empowering customers to share their feedback on their preferred channel, and to truly impact the business is critical. And on an even more personal level, a process for engaging with customers and closing the loop goes a long way.
Make Data-driven Decisions.
“We implemented Clarabridge about a year ago to feed customer insights to key strategic recipients who have an appetite and an influence to affect positive change in the customer experience and product,” said MacDonald. “All the way from the C-suite to the support floor – we harness champions everywhere we identify them. We currently flow customer sentiment from our NPS surveys and our new customer kick-start transactional surveys.” But it doesn’t stop there. Infusionsoft also uploads its support call NPS surveys into the platform for analysis, so they have a better understanding of the call center experience. “This provides us valuable solicited customer feedback both holistically as well as at a specific touch point in their experience to give us context on that feedback.”
According to MacDonald, the insight that comes out of these listening posts allows the company to understand customer sentiment about their product and service experiences. “It’s eye-opening and game-changing for us to see our customer base in unique segments. It has confirmed our previous beliefs and data in some places and busted myths we once held to be true.”
Because a data-driven approach is so critical to Infusionsoft’s CX program, they’ve invested heavily in implementing more and more customer feedback data sources into their program. They’re growing and maturing their program by going from solicited (survey) feedback to unsolicited feedback that includes customers, end users, partners, and employees.
Tell Stories That Make an Impact
While data is essential, the key to impacting true change is making that data personal. Pulling out individual customer stories and telling those stories in a relatable language is immensely powerful when communicating customer pain points.
“Part of the art and science of CX and Voice of the Customer (VoC) is telling transformational stories tailored to a specific audience, and rooting those stories in the reality of your customers,” said MaDonald. “Our company is continuing to mature to embrace the need to truly put our customers at the center, and it is that shift that is the greatest accomplishment of our VOC program. We are playing the long game.”
To hear more about this topic and others like it, join us at Customer Response Summit Phoenix, February 23-25, 2016.