The current state of customer experience is unacceptable, and it's time for transformation. As someone with 25 years of experience in CX program management, I am passionate about CX, but I have concerns about some of the practices used today.
Two real life examples highlight the need for change:
Example 1: Pushing survey completions and begging for scores
I recently rented a car from one of the biggest rental car companies in the US. When I returned my rental car, the agent asked me to fill out a survey for customer satisfaction, saying they only succeed if they get a 5-star score. I felt pressured and did not want to give a score that could affect the agent's compensation. I also wondered if the agency truly values feedback and uses it to improve.
Instead of pressuring customers to fill out surveys and begging for scores, companies should invite honest feedback and focus on learning and growth.
Example 2: Mindless, repetitive NPS surveying
Every six weeks I visit a certain well-known haircut franchise location, and they keep sending me the same NPS survey about my experience. This seems like a check-the-box program, and I wonder why they don't use my account information and history to personalize the survey. Why ask NPS versus reaching out to a loyal customer if I don’t show up and determining why?
Also, NPS (Net Promoter Score) does not reflect the full customer experience and may not be relevant for all customers and situations (e.g. we may not recommend but still have an amazing experience).
4 Major Problems in CX Today (and Some Solutions)
In recent years, CX programs have become focused on surveys, touchpoints, and data, while missing the larger picture of creating amazing experiences for customers. Many software companies providing CX solutions have pushed for NPS and persistent surveying, leading to survey fatigue and overwhelming customers with emails. Gen Z and Millennials prefer conversational approaches and personalized feedback. CX is about much more than just surveys–it's about creating a positive impact on customers that keeps them coming back.
Below are 4 Major Things I Hate About the Current State of CX. And so that this isn’t just a rant, I’m also offering some solutions for how we can do these things better.
Problem Number 1: Rethink NPS
NPS is not useful for predicting customer behavior, and it can be impersonal and irrelevant. Instead, companies should use questions that elicit feedback and align with their brand's CX purpose.
Questions companies can ask:
- Do you trust XYZ brand?
- If you had a choice, how likely would you be to do business with XYZ?
- How did purchasing XYZ impact your life?
- What was the change in emotional state?
- How easy or hard was it to do business with our brand?
- Use ZMET pictures to allow someone to select their emotional state based on the brand experience.
Follow up with “Why do you say that?” or ask them to tell a story about their experience. Focus particularly on the feedback provided in response to the open-ended question.
Problem Number 2: Rethink Surveys and Touchpoints
People aren't fond of receiving email or SMS questionnaires for every single experience, and response rates have plummeted, leading to non-representative data. Companies should use conversational approaches that demonstrate they care, listen, and value their customers' feedback.
- Have someone in Senior Leadership send a personal video asking for feedback on their experience.
- Use conversational-based SMS reach-outs.
- Ask consumers to be part of your community and value their feedback via periodic reach outs.
- Use on-site QR codes or other mechanisms for in-the-moment feedback.
- Have on-site team members record information about the experience and capture operational metrics for a 360-degree view of the experience.
Problem Number 3: Rethink CX Score Compensation
Compensating employees based on CX scores has led to score-begging and a focus on achieving high scores, rather than improving the feedback itself. Front-line team members may not have control over operational issues that affect ratings.
Compensate instead on operational metrics that are a result of providing an amazing customer experience, such as:
- Repeat business
- Earned Growth
Focus on the feedback, not the score. Also, hire employees who are excited about delivering an exceptional customer experience and align with your brand’s CX purpose. They will intuitively want to serve and know that by doing so, business outcomes will follow.
Problem Number 4: Stop Democratizing the Data and Using Dashboards
CX solution providers have coined the term ‘democratize your data’ and created very fancy and designed dashboards. The theory is to put data into the hands of front line team members so they can see the data and have ready access.
The problem is, front line people are not data analysts. Their amazing skills and talents are often people-oriented vs. data-oriented. We have them focused on the numbers again, not the feedback or the stories.
There are other limitations too. Some businesses get a lot of feedback coming in, while others with lower volume or higher purchase prices may get substantially less feedback. Dashboards tend to be siloed and focused solely on survey data. And they quickly become unwieldy and unusable with no guidance and strategy.
Provide front line employees with key themes from open-ended feedback and the sentiment of the comments, rather than just scores. You can use a platform like Kapiche to quickly analyze your open-ended feedback and automatically get themes and sentiment to share with staff.
Additionally, bring customer stories to life by talking through their experiences. Discuss what worked well, what didn't work well, and how issues were resolved or escalated. Use negative feedback as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Time to Rethink and Transform
CX has lost sight of its mission and it's time for a change. Brands that want to set themselves apart with their customer experience need to start listening to what customers are saying, not to the score. Solutions like Kapiche exist to make this a straightforward endeavor.
CX leaders are pushing for a new approach that puts the customer first, so it's time to break away from outdated methods and find better ways to solicit feedback that creates real value. Your customers (and the rest of your business) will thank you.
Jason Jacobson is the Director of Consumer Insights for Sekisui House USA. You can follow Jason on LinkedIn.
Sign in or become a Kapiche Insights Hub member to join the conversation.
Just enter your email below to get a log in link.