“Connected Learnings” Approach to Customer Experience Research #2

CXThe Latest CX Data Builds An Even Stronger Case For A ‘Connected Learnings’ Approach

A guest left waiting in line to check in at a hotel for a prolonged period takes out her phone and begins complaining about it on Twitter. Upon discovering his table hadn’t been cleaned properly, another guest takes a picture he can add to his Instagram story. The argument between a customer and a store employee not only gets heard by others passing by, but by everyone on the guest’s Facebook account when she offers all the details later.

These aren’t isolated incidents in the hospitality, QSR or retail sectors, of course. They can happen every day, multiple times a day. Social media has given consumers a channel to capture and broadcast their experiences in real-time to as large an audience, or sometimes larger, than a brand might have once reached through paid advertising. And social is only one of the channels where organizations need to monitor and measure the quality of their customer experience (CX) efforts.

In a previous post, we talked about using the concept of “Connected Learnings” to understand what’s important to customers, the reasons why and how to develop the right strategy in response. Some recent research from the CMO Council underscores just now vital it has become for organizations to get started.

In The State of Engagement: Bridging the Customer Journey Across Every Last Mile, the CMO Council shows that 47% of those polled admit they are failing to deliver on the customer expectation of personalisation and contextual engagements across the customer journey. Forty-one percent say that systems that fail to connect or deliver a unified view of the CX across all touchpoints have done the most to threaten the execution of the CX strategy.

“Most (80%) are unable to, or can only sometimes, connect channels of engagement back to business impact, while an additional 10% are only able to measure against business goals using time-consuming, manual processes that only involve select channels,” the report said.

This has real consequences for the leaders involved. Nearly half of the CMO Council members who participated in the study said their jobs could be on the line if they don’t deliver on their CX strategy.

Connected Learnings: Working Outward From The Centre

A story on CMO.com that covered a recent keynote from Forrester Research Director Michael Barnes, meanwhile, suggested that dealing with disparate data from customers and making the right decisions at corporate and strategic levels will place increased demands on business leaders.

“(CX) going to impact all of the organisational levers within firms: Structure, talent, culture, metrics, processes and technology. It is a massive change. And to move these levers in a positive and more consistent direction towards a more customer-centric approach requires strong leadership,” Barnes told delegates at Forrester CX Sydney 2018. “How can you step up? How can you spread the gospel of CX across your organisation? How can you spread the importance of a customer-centric focus through different groups of the organisation, who may not feel particularly close to customer engagement or customer facing responsibilities?”

Here’s how:

Create A Hub And Spoke Model Of The CX Landscape: Connected Learnings literally starts by looking at customers (or guests, in the case of the hospitality sector) as the hub to which all the spokes (sources) of information flow in and are integrated. This could include corporate- and property or store-level data, operations and strategy reports, branded and unbranded sites, among other sources. For all the talk about being “customer centric,” Connected Learnings is a way to illuminate customer data and interactions from every possible angle, all pointing back to how it impacts the customer’s experience.

Prepare For Unprompted Feedback: Traditional CX in sectors like hospitality have often included a number of occasions where staff might prompt guests for information. This could include when they check out, for instance, or in feedback forms offered in print or electronically. Connected Learnings means looking more holistically at the unprompted feedback organizations will now inevitability receive on travel web sites, review portals and of course social media. The most successful organizations in the future will not only be those what can quickly respond to unprompted feedback but integrate it directly into CX design and strategy.

Bring Analytics to Authenticity: So many brands preach the idea of being “authentic” now that the term may almost seem meaningless. Connected Learnings is a way of looking at how well organizations are delivering on their brand promise on a daily basis. It means even those not on the front lines with guests or customers can begin to see how they are contributing to CX – good or bad – and contribute to continuous improvement efforts.

Conclusion

Although many sectors like hospitality, QSR or retail may continue to develop and run a customer management system of some kind, the reality is that consumers are increasingly self-managing. They research and book their own rooms, customize the activities and other elements of their stay and even see themselves as influencers to their friends and family when they share their experiences online through multiple channels.

Connected Learnings is the only way to ensure organizations can strike the right balance between creating empowering CX journeys while also arming those behind the scenes with the information necessary to meet the higher expectations this ‘digital first’ era places on them. It’s not likely something that most firms will be able to do on their own. We’re here to help.

Written by Stephan Sigaud

Stephan Sigaud, MBA, is Phase 5’s EVP of Marketing. Stephan is passionate about partnering with clients to address their challenges and opportunities around customer centricity. With more than 25 years’ experience in Market Research and Customer Loyalty and Experience, Stephan has been volunteering with both the Customer Experience Professionals Association (as Board member and past Chair of the CXPA Toronto Network) and the Canadian Marketing Association's (as member of the Leaders Network and past co-Chair of the CMA CX Council).