Getting Behind The Customer Experience Wheel

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1 Getting Behind The Customer Experience Wheel Create a Voice of the Customer Program for your Organization In any business, serving your customers well is critical to success, loyalty and growth. But do you really know how to give your customers that great experience that has them rating your products or services ahead of the competition time and again? Research reveals that having a centralized customer experience team and appointing a single executive to be in charge of customer experience helps knock down barriers to success. According to Forrester Research almost 89% of businesses believe that customer experience is very important or critical to their business. But only 21% of North American executives agreed with the statement, Employees across the company share a vivid image of target customers. The good news is that more than two-thirds of the companies surveyed for a 2011 Forrester report on the state of customer experience indicated that their firms plan to differentiate based on customer experience this year. Yet less than half of these organizations actually had a companywide program to improve customer experience across channels. Only 30% had a dedicated budget to fund their efforts. So clearly many organizations understand the importance of an excellent customer experience but not quite as many are able to dedicate resources and budget to the effort. At Vovici we understand the importance of engaging with your customers to increase loyalty and influence business decisions. Every day we help organizations implement voice of the customer (VOC) programs. And, like the organizations we help, we are committed to providing the best experience for our customers. Therefore, two years ago we set out to formalize our efforts and build the Vovici Customer Experience program. Our end goal was not only to implement a VOC program at Vovici but to create a methodology that could be deployed in any organization. The Customer Experience Wheel A customer experience map is a graphical representation of the customer journey and is unique to each organization. The view is from the outside in and shows the customer perspective from the beginning, middle and end as they engage with a company to achieve their business goals. The range of tangible and quantitative interactions, triggers and touch points are shown in sequence. Some mapping extends the experience to include the intangible and qualitative motivations and emotions.

2 As we developed the tool for Vovici s Voice of the Customer program we added a few more requirements. It needed to be flexible enough to use for different customer segments, representing the flow of customer interactions and indicating which were the most important to our customers. The final product would indicate how we were receiving customer feedback and where we were placing our listening posts. And, of course, the tool would show our progress to becoming a customer-centric organization. Ultimately, the Vovici Customer Experience Wheel was born! The Vovici Customer Experience Wheel is a series of graphics and a great tool to present our Voice of the Customer program to internal audiences. At the same time, our customers were developing Voice of the Customer programs and interested in learning how we developed our program. The Vovici Customer Experience Wheel has been valuable in describing how we built our program and how the methodology can be used for creating a Voice of the Customer program for other businesses. The 5 steps used in developing our program and the Vovici Customer Experience Wheel include: 1. Segmentation of customer groups 2. Mapping customer interactions 3. Creating listening posts 4. Identifying Moments of Truth 5. Monitoring progress towards customer-centricity 2

3 Segmentation of Customer Groups Knowing the different types of customers you have is important to creating your own Customer Experience Wheel. Every organization s process and, ultimately, the detail of the wheel is unique; however, the process of developing the wheel can be applied across various industries and organizations. The first step in developing your own customer experience wheel is to define the different types of customers you have. Did you think that customer segmentation was only for marketing departments as they build campaigns to attract new customers? As it turns out, understanding the different types of customers already served by an organization is important for many reasons. And it is vital for developing an experience wheel for each of those segments. Each customer group may interact differently with your organization. So if you are serious about looking at the experience from the customer s viewpoint, the more you know the better. By understanding the motivations and needs of each customer group, effective customer programs and customer retention strategies can be developed, resulting in greater profitability of each segment. Customer segmentation begins with database analysis. Scrutiny of CRM data will result in defining clusters of customers with similar behavior. Groups can be defined in a number of ways, including geographic (country, state, type of neighborhood), behavioral (product purchased, frequency of purchase), demographic (age, gender, income, occupation) or psychographic (lifestyle, life cycle, activities, interests). Once the groups have been defined by the data, you can confirm effective segmentation by performing surveys. By taking a random sample of each customer group and asking them about preferences and behavior you will accomplish two things. First, you will confirm that the characteristics are different among the groups you have defined (confirming that you have defined the groups correctly). Second, you will start learning about how each group interacts with your organization. This is classic market research and there is plenty of available literature on the subject. You may even consider hiring an expert for this step. So, looking at CRM data can tell you what they do survey results can tell you who they are. Now it gets exciting! You are beginning to learn about the motivations and needs of each customer group. More importantly, you are getting to know your customers. They are moving from segments to personalities. Some organizations (including ours) choose to create personas for each client, giving them names and associating them with particular behavioral traits and demographics. For example, Olivia could an Enterprise customer in a Fortune 100 company. She leads a customer experience group of 20 and is responsible for customer surveys, reporting, analytics and process improvement. Her challenges include managing the workload with a small team, establishing ROI for the customer experience effort and gaining advocates at all levels of the organization for customer experience initiatives. Each organization will have different segments and personas for their specific business but the concept of segmenting is the same. 3

4 Mapping Customer Interactions Once the segments are defined, the next step in developing your customer experience wheel is to understand the interactions customers have as they do business with your organization. Have you ever walked into a large home improvement store, armed with a quick list of items and just a few minutes to get them? It can be a bit overwhelming. Usually the store will have everything labeled with huge banners hung from the ceiling and shelves labeled with item names, sizes, brand names and prices. But often this is totally NOT helpful! Why? Because we have no idea which department would contain what we need. Is it plumbing? Electrical? Paint? The Garden Center? There are lots of labels, but no actual answers. Isn t this what our customers go through when they come to us for products and services? A new customer may want to add a user to their online account. Do they go to their Sales Rep? Account Management? Customer Support? Or can they accomplish this online? One of the biggest challenges facing companies when they want to become customer focused is that their own organization is built around functional silos. This is not only noticeable to customers as they are passed from department to department looking for service, but to companies themselves especially when they want to implement change based on customer feedback. 4

5 With organizations based around departments, the ability to make effective decisions and push through change is fundamentally opposite to how a customer wants to experience dealing with them. A customer wants to experience an organization that provides a single seamless journey across all touch points from initial marketing campaign through purchase, post-sales and, if all goes well, repurchase. Organizations aren t going to rid themselves of departments any time soon though. So, the next best thing is to understand the steps that a customer takes and make sure the experience goes smoothly. To do this it is helpful to map touch points or interactions for each customer segment. Plot out the steps, including customer thoughts, feelings and reactions. Identify key needs, likes and dislikes of each experience. For each interaction answer questions like How is the product/service delivered?, How quickly is it expected to be delivered?, What type of communication is expected before, during and after the interaction? Remember that as you map these experiences, you are mapping a typical customer s journey. As you work with others in the organization, they will tell you about 101 exceptions to each experience that you map. This can be daunting as you try to capture every nuance. However, the task is not to document every exception. It s to create a map that reflects the experience that most of your customers will take. The key to this stage is to survey and/or interview front-line employees and customers to identify and document the interactions for each customer group. Take the time to design your questionnaires ahead of time. This will help standardize your interviews and make sure you have captured all the information on the first interview. Once you have all of your interview and/or survey results, you will have the first draft of your organization s customer experience wheel! Establishing Listening Posts and the Moments of Truth Now, once you understand the customer lifecycle of experiences and map their interactions then you can define listening posts. This is where you map specific points in your customers journey to monitor feedback. Some of the most common ways to listen are through surveys. This is direct feedback and, certainly, one of the most actionable. Many organizations are also listening through social media, recorded support interactions, focus groups, web site feedback. Look around your organization when designing listening posts you will be surprised how much customer feedback is at your fingertips! Once the critical listening posts are established, the moments of truth can be defined. These are moments that are the most important to your customer. It might be the initial account set up, it might be when they first 5

6 contact customer support, and it might be at the time of renewal or all of the above. No matter what they are, these moments will make or break your relationship. It s sort of like a first date or buying a house. If he or she doesn t have a sense of humor or the house doesn t have enough bedrooms then the deal is off, right? So, in establishing a Voice of the Customer program and developing your customer experience wheel use all the results of your interviews and/or surveys to define these moments of truth for your organization. Some organizations define their moments of truth as those that greatly impact corporate branding. Other organizations look to their survey data and analytic tools to understand which interactions are the most important to their loyal customers. However you decide to define them, these moments become the priorities for the final steps in the customer experience wheel methodology action and monitoring. As you monitor and report improvements in customer satisfaction, you will develop a culture of continuous improvement and customer-centricity. 6

7 Monitoring Your Progress Now it s time to see how you are doing! The last step of developing a Voice of the Customer program is to measure, analyze and take action on your progress toward customer-centricity. Through our efforts at Vovici we heard customers saying I m a new customer, who can help me be more successful? So we instituted a program that improved new customer onboarding. We heard, Basic product training doesn t meet my needs. So we created new training and service options. And on it goes! Analyze what you learn through your efforts and become empowered to take action, improve processes and truly become and customer-centric organization. To create actionable insights we created a Customer Insight Team. This is a cross-departmental team where each member understands the basics of data interpretation and is committed to improving the customer experience. The team reviews data from all channels, quantifies its impact and recommends cross-departmental initiatives to the Executive team. The Executive team prioritizes the initiatives and approves resources. Then the team is empowered to execute on its plan and monitor progress on all initiatives. In this way we make sure to follow through on our initial Voice of the Customer program goals and keep track of our progress on a regular basis. 7

8 Now Get Behind the Wheel! Creating your own customer experience wheel is a valuable endeavor that enables your organization to track customers through each stage of their journey with your organization. It enables you to better measure, manage and improve customer experience and differentiate your organization. It all starts here with a customer experience team, executive sponsorship and a methodology for creating your own Voice of the Customer program. Give your customers that great experience that meets and exceeds their expectations and drives loyalty and profitability upward! About Vovici Vovici is the leading provider of intelligent online survey management and feedback solutions. Powerful, scalable and easy to use, Vovici s solutions help companies engage customers, employees and partners to increase loyalty, facilitate innovation, and influence critical business decisions. More than a thousand organizations worldwide, including more than half of the Fortune 500, rely on Vovici to turn information into action. Visit for more information. 8

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