15 Results Your CX Program Should Deliver
Customer experience (CX) or loyalty programs are commonplace, but how should you judge a program’s success? At Primary Intelligence, we believe there are common characteristics of a successful Customer Experience program. Here are 15 results your program needs to deliver to win the race.
This, in our viewpoint, is the most important result from any Customer Experience program. CX should teach you how to retain the revenue from a customer each year. This is more than measuring loyalty or customer retention; it’s a look at how much each customer is spending with you annually and if that number is increasing, decreasing, or stagnant. You must tie your Customer Experience program to this result to drive the needed focus and accountability to produce meaningful change.
Retaining revenue is vital, but if that is your only focus, to grow as a company your only choice is to add more customers. Isn’t it great, instead, when you can expand within your current customers? Your Customer Experience program should teach you which additional products or services your customers need. You should know where to cross-sell, how to expand into new divisions, and what type of sales approach would be most successful.
Reduced Customer Leakage
“Customer leakage” describes revenue that customers intended to spend with you, but different. Perhaps implementation ran longer, causing you to miss out on the full-service revenue you had planned on. Or maybe customer spend was contingent on hitting certain outcomes and you fell short. In either case, Customer Experience Analysis should teach you what caused the leakage and how to avoid it in the future.
In addition to helping your top line, Customer Experience programs will enable basic customer retention, often called “customer loyalty.” While this may be less important than the first three results outlined, it is a great first metric to check the success of your product, processes, and support teams. Do you have more customers this year than you did last year? What’s the attrition rate each year? This number helps your sales and marketing teams understand how many prospects they need to target to sustain your revenue year over year.
Real Customer Communication
Nearly every company understands the importance of customer communication and makes efforts to “improve” communication. It might be through weekly meetings, newsletters, alerts, or customer events. Your Customer Experience program should deliver a new form of communication: unfiltered communication. It’s unfiltered because (hopefully) you are collecting the information via a disinterested third-party or internal group, and you are asking pointed questions that are more than “How’s it going?”
Faster Issue Resolution
Customers tend to have high tolerance for issues and mistakes, as long as the problems are resolved quickly and with transparency. However, they are not always great about telling you when there is an issue. Often, it’s a matter of proactively asking about their questions or concerns. Your Customer Experience program should teach about your customer’s issues, including emerging issues that could escalate if not addressed. It should also help you build steps, processes, and best practices to resolve or prevent similar issues in the future.
Better Understanding of Customer Needs
It’s not uncommon to meet an account manager who is confident they understand exactly what their accounts wants, only to have the customer tell a different story. It’s also not uncommon for account manager to only feel responsible for delivering on the line items spelled out in the contract. To really understand a customer’s needs, you must know what benefits the customer expects to get, and how well you are delivering on those benefits. A strong CX program will tell you both.
Smarter Sales Leaders
Sure, Customer Experience focuses on current customers, but your sales team should benefit from the insights just as much as the account team. Your CX program should explain which benefits your product actually delivers, serving up stories and better pitch decks the sales group can use with prospects. It should also teach your sales leaders if deals are commonly over or under sold, or if there is information missing during the sales process that would have delivered a better experience for your customer.
Stronger Case Studies
“Social proof” is the latest buzzword to explain why it’s important to have strong case studies and stories. Social proof is third-party validation about your product or social signals about its success. Buyers are very responsive to social proof. A strong Customer Experience program should absolutely be able to serve up stories and numbers to create strong case studies and social proof indicators.
Precise Marketing Messaging
Using the words and scenarios your potential buyers are likely to use is the key to strong marketing messaging. There is no better place to learn what those should be than by speaking with current customers. These customers already did what you want prospects to do: buy from you. So, why not mirror how they are talking about and using your product?
Fewer “Bad” Customers
While it’s easy to say anyone willing to pay is a good customer, that’s not a sustainable model focused on revenue retention and growth. Customer Experience Analysis should help you pinpoint customers who are not a good fit for your company. You won’t be able to grow or sustain those accounts, so spending resources or doing cartwheels to make those customers fit into your sweet spot doesn’t lead to long-term success. (Of course, you may find a new product or process you can create to make them ideal customers. The point is to be strategic about who you are targeting as customers and why.)
More “Good” Customers
On the flip side, Customer Experience Analysis should also help you really understand who your best customers really are. You’ll no longer need to gauge this by how engaged they appear or how often they recommend you to others. You can base it on revenue retention and growth indicators, devoting the needed time and resources to help those accounts reach their potential. In turn, you’ll have a profile for what the ideal customer looks like and can focus your marketing, sales, and account management efforts on prospects with similar characteristics.
Impactful Customer Engagement Models
How you engage with customers at major milestones drives revenue success. But when you learn an account is struggling during implementation, how do you know what, exactly, to fix? Customer Experience Analysis gives you a road map by showing you customers who flew through implementation with success. You can turn to both successful and less successful accounts to identify root causes, developing best practices to employ and worst practices to avoid with every account.
Productive and Engaged Employees
No one likes playing firefighter, fielding endless questions, or watching their customers walk out the door to a competitor. Everyone wants to be part of a winning team. When you improve the experience customers have with your product or process, you also improve the daily experience of your most important asset: your employees. Get your employees engaged in solving the real needs of customers and everyone wins in the end.
When you uncover your customer’s true experience, you also start to understand what’s working well and not so well in your organization. Internal departments, teams, and individuals emerge as exceptional contributors to the experience (or, perhaps, detractors). Was the contracting and invoicing process noted as seamless? Your finance/accounting department must be doing something well. Does one account manager have higher revenue retention rates than the others? Figure out what they are doing differently and quickly identify ways to build that into a repeatable process. And make sure to thank and reward these rock stars!