If you've ever struggled to explain why your company needs to truly transform its customer experience, then you know it’s an ongoing challenge for CX professionals. To help move the dialogue forward, we offer the following as an illustrative (and timely) holiday fable…

Think, if you will, about your typical Thanksgiving gathering. It’s a time we all know well. Family. Food. Long car rides (or long lines at the airport). Lots of conversations, talking and listening.

Now, let’s imagine you’ve entered an alternate reality.  Imagine that, instead of spending 'quality' time with your parents, you never actually see or talk to Mom & Dad. You’re in their house, but they’re hidden away upstairs managing the day’s events behind the scenes.  From preparations, cooking and serving the meal to cleaning up, coffee and desserts, Mom & Dad aren’t ‘family facing’ but instead acting through hired surrogates and generally remaining unavailable during the day’s visit.

Fast forward to the end of the day, you’re on your way home and suddenly get an email thanking you for visiting and asking you to click a link to complete a brief ‘family satisfaction’ survey. That’s unexpected and a bit odd in this context, certainly, but in this alternate reality you and the rest of the family play along and complete the survey, rating your Likelihood to Recommend this Thanksgiving experience and answering various questions telling Mom & Dad what you thought about the day, the meal and the trip.

All in all, not your typical Thanksgiving experience, clearly.  However, using this alternate reality as a backdrop to frame our discussion, let’s now review some simple CX-related issues we often grapple with:

  • Does mere participation in this ‘family satisfaction’ survey outreach help improve or rectify anything for you, as a participant in the Thanksgiving Day activities? No, not in and of itself (and absent a closed loop dialogue--see below).

  • Does participating in this outreach make you feel better or want to come back again if you're never contacted regarding the poor experiences you shared in the survey? No, and why would it?

  •  Can a single score completely inform Mom so she truly understands your experience, needs and desires for future Thanksgiving gatherings? Of course not (and God help you if you said 'yes').

  • If Mom analyzes the survey results, both metrics and qualitative responses, creates an amazing deck highlighting the key insights and shares these learnings with Dad, have they transformed the family’s Thanksgiving experience? No, collecting and reporting on CX data is no more than a critical first step.

  • At the next Thanksgiving meal, does the mere existence of a well-intentioned, cutting edge, big budget family (CX) outreach initiative equate with a 'transformed' Thanksgiving experience? No, if data driven actions aren’t taken, there’s been no experience transformation.

What, then, are the key takeaways to keep in mind whenever kicking off a new CX initiative?

  1. To transform the customer experience requires more than surveying your customers.

    • The survey process is a necessary stepping stone along the way, but does not signify the completion of your CX journey (nor does producing great reports and presentations).

  2. To transform the customer experience requires action.

    • Action can't happen if insights are held close to the vest, distributed to a privileged few locked away in an 'ivory tower'.

  3. To transform the customer experience requires business owners who can act on key insights.

    • Identify them at the outset, manage their involvement, and keep them involved moving forward. 

    • Insights minus empowered business owners equals inaction.

  4. To transform the customer experience requires more than a single metric (whatever it may be)--you need structured AND unstructured data, culled from every means available (survey, social, data warehouse, etc).

  5. To transform the customer experience requires engaging customers in a two-way dialogue.

    • Leverage software to create a two-way dialogue, empowering internal process owners to engage with customers to address service slip ups. 

    • Feedback minus two-way dialogue equals unabated attrition.

Besides getting you excited (hopefully) for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, hopefully our little fable has helped highlight why both you and your management need to be prepared to address each of the above points. That said, stay away from 'family satisfaction' surveys, and Happy Thanksgiving from duSentio!