Social Media is a proven, valuable tactic to increase brand awareness, product interest, and website traffic. Having managed campaigns for top brands as well as leveraging social platforms for my blog, I can unequivocally say that social media marketing works. While the benefits may be common knowledge, many leaders don’t realize and capitalize on social media as a useful source of “voice of customer” (VOC) data. Continue Reading →
Originally posted by Bombbomb.com
How do you truly differentiate yourself as a business?
If your thinking goes straight to your product, features, or pricing, you need to dig a little deeper.
True differentiation occurs far beyond that.
It involves a marriage between the employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX). And it all begins with gathering employee feedback alongside customer feedback.
The old way of going to market involved designing a product, throwing it out there, putting some sales and marketing muscle behind it, and hoping it sticks. The new approach is to start with the customer by doing a concept validation before investing in a big idea. But you need to take the concept to your employees, too.
Stacy is the Head of Customer Experience and Employee Engagement at Schindler Elevator and the Founder at DoingCXRight. With a background in account management and years of customer experience coaching, she talks about using the EX/CX intersection to market.
• How Stacy views customer experience
• How employee experience relates to employee engagement
• What effective co-creation looks like
• How video promotes engagement
• Why video delivers heart and feeling better
Differentiating Far Beyond Product, Features, or Price
Listen to the entire conversation with Stacy Sherman below. Please comment below and share your views.
Video Highlights: Differentiating Far Beyond Product, Features, or Price
1. Definition of CX
2. Employee Experience and Employee Engagement
3. The New Way: Co-Creation
4. Why Video for EX and CX
5. Heart and Feeling with Video
Voice of the Customer, commonly referred to as VOC, can be YOUR company game-changer WHEN DONE RIGHT! I speak a lot on podcasts about VOC and the art and science of getting feedback from customers to inform business decisions, and employees (VOE) too. This is the theme of my recent Customer Experience book.
Getting customer feedback and applying VOC best practices is essential especially during a pandemic because people’s expectations are constantly changing. MyCustomer asked a variety of experts, including me, about how to enhance customer experiences through a VOC program during tough times. Below is a summary of our conversations and tips about making VOC surveys more compelling.
Research Tells Us:
In 2016, in what was possibly the most meta consumer survey of all time, a 2016 OpinionLabs study revealed that 72% of consumers didn’t like being surveyed by brands.
More explicitly – respondents felt surveys interfered with their experience with a brand, while the same study found that 80% of customers had abandoned a survey halfway through because it was soporific.
It’s long been a catch-22 situation for businesses seeking to gauge the opinion of their customers – how to survey in a manner that’s not intrusive or damaging to the relationship they’ve fostered whilst also gleaning enough information to make the process worthwhile.
“To know how satisfied your customers are, you need them to tell you. The trouble is, customers aren’t playing ball with surveys anymore,” explains Sophie Leaver, marketing operations for Customer Thermometer.
Voice of the Customer (VOC)
In recent years Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs have helped apply science to the art of surveying customers.
By asking for feedback at different points in a customer journey, and then applying some real-time thinking and a closed-loop system, VoC is aimed at removing some of the more painful or unnecessary elements of other longer-form surveys, which are often pushed to customers at the point of transaction.
“A VoC program enables leaders to understand customers and target audience perceptions and expectations,” explains Stacy Sherman, Head of Customer Experience for Schindler Elevator Corp. in North America, and the founder of DoingCXRight.
“It’s essential when building new products and developing market messaging or service processes.
“Developing the right questions to validate peoples’ needs are what I call ‘heart and science’. For example, if customers say that ‘communication’ is important and it turns out to be a key factor for dissatisfaction, then surveys need to incorporate reasons WHY communication is a pain point. You may start with high-level themes but then need to revise surveys to dig deeper so that feedback is actionable.”
Surveying During Coronavirus
This need for making surveys actionable is what drives VoC programs, and has taken on a renewed purpose since the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe at the start of 2020.
One organization that has felt the weight of COVID-19 as heavily as most is Stagecoach, which, as a provider of buses, coaches, and trams across the UK and other parts of the world, saw its customer base slashed almost overnight, as the result of the pandemic.
Keith Gait, who heads up the company’s customer service operations, was overseeing a trial of a new VoC program for Stagecoach which was due to be rolled out the week the UK went into lockdown in March. The company decided to hold back on the rollout, and despite an “almost total drop-off in passenger numbers for 2 to 3 months”, discovered something new about their customers that fed back into their VoC program design.
“We were still getting interactions from our previous feedback program at this time and we found that whilst our customer base was diminished, those people that were still traveling really, really valued the service, and our NPS went up a further 13 points during a lockdown,” Gait explains.
“It made me realized that we needed to re-evaluate the VoC program we were about to roll out, and so during a lockdown, I spent a lot of time talking to people about how to improve it and make it more actionable.
“The view was we needed to make it more human, so that’s where we have focused. The feedback requests needed to be much more personable, much more about the human characteristics – of the driver, of the cleaners, of the welcome, of the safety – and generally less corporate. But whilst trying to still keep it very short. Our VOC program is all customer-led, it’s proactive on their part, delivered to them while they are actually on a bus, so we need to be mindful of the short attention frame we have with them.”
“The feedback requests needed to be much more personable, much more about the human characteristics.”
Stacy Sherman’s team at Schindler also took a similar approach to their VoC program during the COVID-19 lockdown, acknowledging that a much more ‘human’ approach was necessary to stay in contact with customers during a period of unprecedented uncertainty, and gauge their thoughts and feelings in a more direct manner:
“My survey team pivoted to “peace of mind” phone calls. Instead of asking traditional questions that don’t apply right now, we contacted customers to express empathy and inform them that we’re here for them. We authentically asked customers how we can be of help, which has fuelled loyalty. As Maya Angelou says, ‘people will forget what you did and said, but never forget how you made them feel’.”
In a recent post for MyCustomer, Claire Sporton, customer experience innovation lead at VoC specialists Confirmit, believes the pandemic should reset the way every business thinks about surveying customers, and their Voice of the Customer program:
“People have changed. The research and insight you gathered six months ago is out of date; it relates to a whole different world. What is important to us has changed. The things that mattered before have been replaced by new concerns and this impacts our perceptions, expectations, and priorities. We need to ensure our insights reflect this new reality.
“This surely means it’s time for a raft of new surveys! Hurrah! Or does it? What insight do you hope to gather and what exactly do you think you will be measuring? Have a well-defined plan before you open up your feedback tool and start hammering out a new survey.”
Whilst the pandemic may be an opportunity to reset and refine VoC programs, it also offers an opportunity to ask yourself what makes for an interesting survey that can glean insight above and beyond the data being fed into your VoC program before COVID-19.
As an author of The Grid and founder of experience design agency Methodical, Matt Watkinson quipped in a post on LinkedIn in late-July: “I recently received a customer/brand survey that included these questions:
– You’re invited to take the first manned flight to mars but there is no guarantee of return. Do you take the flight?
– You can take a pill that guarantees you’ll live for a hundred years. Do you take it?
– Do you think you’d be better equipped to survive if you travelled 50,000 years into the past, or 50,000 years into the future?
“It was totally engrossing. I completed the entire thing — sixty questions or so. And it really got me thinking…why are surveys in general so f***ing boring? Is there an unwritten rule I’m not aware of? Don’t we want customers to engage with us and share interesting stuff?
“Why can’t we ask questions like, ‘If you were CEO for a day what one thing would you change?’ Or ‘If our brand was a band, who would we be and why?’”
Watkinson makes a valid point, and one which taps into Keith Gait’s ascertain that customer surveys need to be more human, and tap directly into how a customer might be able to elicit actual change as a result of completing a VoC survey.
“It’s been so striking how much has changed about the feedback we’ve received since [the start of the coronavirus pandemic].
“It has been much more personal from customers, valuing the drivers and the key role they have played in keeping them moving. They have also been generally more understanding about delays and factors outside the company’s control. But we need to keep asking them relevant questions and making sure we resolve issues that arise as we move out of lockdown and customers’ tolerance levels change.”
And this is where the true challenge lies – can you start asking more interesting questions of your customers, and can you facilitate action? Stacy Sherman says this is where the benefits of VoC will become most apparent for businesses.
“I believe customers are actually starting to expect surveys more than ever, because the focus on customer experience has exponentially increased across industries.
“Boredom is not the issue but rather knowing what companies do with their information is what drives their actions to share feedback. The magic happens when companies “close the loop” and tell customers about improvements made because of their responses. People are then more motivated to spend their precious time to help your brand in those instances.”
What does it mean to humanize business?
How do you differentiate brands beyond price?
What are ways to ensure employee happiness so that they deliver customer excellence every day?
What does great leadership look like to build a customer-centric business culture?
Transcription shared from Engati’s Business Blog:
What role does the employee experience play in relation to fostering a great customer experience?
According to Stacy, it’s everything. Everything starts with the employees. Without motivated, engaged employees, there is no happy customer. At the end of the day, people buy from people, and people trust brands based on people.
She believes that we have to start from the inside. We have to provide our employees with the right training, the right coaching, and support. Only then will they service the customers and do the right thing.
What can a business do to make sure that their employees are more motivated and engaged?
There are a lot of different approaches so let’s start with the basics. As leaders, we have to take time and have a one-to-one with our employees. There shouldn’t ever be a reason why we can’t make time for our people. We really have to listen, empathize, and be there. We have to hear what they’re saying and what they’re not saying.
There’s no cookie cutter approach. We have to remember that celebrating successes is important. And it doesn’t have to be huge gigantic wins. These small acts add up. It’s important to recognize our employees and to say “thank you.”
It’s all about humanizing business, it really helps. Even though we have technology, we have to use it to enhance employee experience. After all, to deliver great customer experience, we can’t forget the human element of it all.
How crucial is it to build personas for the target audience? How can building personas lead to mass customization, increased sales, and better CX?
According to Stacy, it’s essential for customer experience, marketing, communications department, etc., Can’t create messages when we don’t know who we’re creating it for.
Persona development is the first step of the CX practice.
After that, we’re able to create journey maps of the ideal experience for specific segments. We can’t be everything for everyone so it’s crucial to identify personas.
We have to encourage our teams to learn how to do it. Developing personas helps in determining if a company’s profitable or not. It starts with going to the right people and understanding their needs.
And that’s the key.
We have to know who our audience is before we market and develop products. We have to know who they’re for, and what problems they face. Whether it’s selling, marketing, or communicating, we have to figure out the who, and that’s what humanizing business is really about. It’s about knowing people.
The coronavirus outbreak has changed the way we live. It’s impacting people very differently, which fascinates me. I decided to take my passion for understanding and studying human behaviors to the next level for a greater purpose. As the pandemic spreads, I’ve been interviewing people around the world to learn about their experiences and strategy to cope, stay calm, and productive. My goal for publishing a collection of stories is to spread great ideas and inspire others to achieve happiness at a time we need it most.
My first article was about silver linings and what people are personally accomplishing that they may not have if the pandemic never happened. My second article was more business strategy focussed, which featured a Doctor who transitioned his NY psychiatric practice from in-person therapy to ONLINE in ONE WEEK! We spoke about how technology has helped him pivot while still humanizing business, and much more.
Today, I’m featuring another successful entrepreneur who is surviving the economic downturn by shifting his strategy while sustaining a customer-first company culture.