One clear message from the recent Accenture Global Consumer Survey is this: raising customer satisfaction scores alone is not enough to keep customers from leaving. This finding might have surprised some company executives who have invested heavily in their customer feedback programs, but shouldn’t surprise those who have outgrown CSAT scores and moved into a more strategic focus on improving the customer experience.
What are the key lessons from the Accenture survey?
1. Companies need to broaden their focus beyond CSAT and identify ways of improving the Customer Experience (Cx). Strategy sessions with front line managers and senior leaders that map the customer experience help to identify gaps in the current experience and take a big picture view on how to improve it. From this framework, leaders can then address the systemic gaps that impact loyalty.
2. Don’t forget the Employee Experience (Ex) in the discussion about your customer strategy. The Accenture research states “During the buying experience, consumers are most frustrated with employees who are not knowledgeable and employees who are disrespectful of a consumer’s time.” Your front line and back office employees are the ones who are building or destroying brand loyalty every day. It’s essential to use qualitative and quantitative measures to assess the employee experience and address areas where you have deficiencies. In addition, customer feedback can be used to boost employee engagement. Sharing positive customer feedback with your teams is an easy way to improve the employee experience and build a more engaged workforce.
3. There’s no question collecting and responding to customer feedback is essential. However, while most companies are good at collecting feedback, few are effective at responding and “closing the loop” on that feedback. Closed-loop feedback involves collecting, responding to, and monitoring customer feedback in real-time (or as close to it as possible). The results of a well managed closed-loop feedback system are impressive. It not only builds accountability among managers and front line employees, it also positively impacts perceptions of your company brand among customers and employees.
Several years ago PeopleMetrics worked with a multi-billion dollar company to conduct a large strategic customer research study. Since that time their world has changed dramatically. They now face growing competitive pressures, declining customer loyalty, and CSAT scores at historic lows. What’s worse is this is a market leading company in their industry. Today this client realizes that a relentless and consistent focus on the customer experience is the route to regaining the ground they once held.
They are renewing their focus on the customer by moving beyond simply measuring and focusing on improving the experience as a whole. This involves tying the voice of the customer to improvements in people, processes, and technology and ultimately turning what has become a negative emotional experience for many customers into one that leaves a lasting positive memory.
Photo courtesy of: Sura Nualpradid