by Xavier Quenaudon & Megan Nicollerat
In my last sit-down with Xavier Quenaudon, we discussed the changes he’s seen in Customer Engagement over the past 25 years. But what is he seeing in this space today?
Xavier, if you – or one of your Burke Customer Engagement colleagues – are asked about best practices for Customer Engagement measurement programs, what are your “typical” recommendations, assuming there’s such a thing as “typical”?
Generally, our recommendation is based on what we see as the three key ingredients of a successful Customer Engagement program: research-based measurement; relevant technology; and impactful action planning.
Tell me more about research-based measurement programs.
In terms of measurement, I think the key to success is having a holistic approach when developing a Customer Engagement measurement program – where every component, every survey serves a specific business need. A program needs to start with the organization’s business objectives and market maturity in mind. For instance, is our market new and growing – in which case we’re trying to attract new customers? Or is it saturated – in which case we’re focusing on retention and/or growing customer spend? Once we know the answer to that question, we can implement a strategic research program that identifies the aspects of the customer experience that are most relevant to improve engagement and reach our business objectives. This research program, in turn, helps us identify those areas of the Customer Experience that need to be tracked on a regular basis – either continuously or with a discrete but frequent cadence (weekly, monthly). Ultimately, these more frequent measurements help us identify operational metrics that are most predictive of the Customer Experience. However, knowing what to measure on a more regular basis, as well as when (or how often) is where I still see many companies fail. We shouldn’t survey customers and ask for their feedback each time we interact with them just “because we can,” but rather survey them when we need their feedback and are committed to doing something about it. One recommendation I always suggest to my clients is, before a survey is launched, ask yourself these three questions:
And if they can’t answer those questions, that’s a sign to me that we need to discuss things further before launching the survey.
How does technology fit into the customer engagement picture?
Well, technology plays a huge role in customer engagement measurement programs, but the key is that it should be relevant – specifically when it comes to reporting platforms. The platform should fulfill three key functions: Interrogate the data further, disseminate the information throughout the organization to those who need it, and support a closed-loop system.
The interrogation of the data allows users of the platform to generate new and deeper insights – potentially sharing those insights with internal stakeholders who can provide additional context and take action. But this must be done with caution – meaning that the principles of marketing research still apply, and that conclusions should not be drawn (and changes made) from results that are based on small sample sizes, which are typically less than 30 respondents. Otherwise, there’s a chance that this inappropriate slicing and dicing of data will generate confusion rather than valuable insights!
Online reporting platforms also play an important role in the dissemination of the data deep into the organization. For instance, “power users” of the platform can typically share results they’ve created with relevant groups or individuals, or set up pre-defined reports (dashboards or scorecards) that will be updated on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis for all authorized users to see. One of the benefits is also to keep the program front and center – and remind everyone within the organization that customer engagement measurement is no longer the responsibility of a few, but rather all of us!
Finally, it is important for our clients to know when and if their customer needs more contact. This could be a follow-up to an unresolved issue, or the client organization reaching out to specific customers who meet certain thresholds, etc. Ultimately, there are many ways in which a “re-contact” can be triggered – and the technology certainly is there to accommodate every scenario. Like I mentioned earlier, just like organizations need to have objective reasons for launching a survey, they also need to ask themselves two key questions when deciding to implement a closed-loop system:
If the purpose of the call is only to appease the customer, I personally think it is a waste of resources and money. The end goal should be to collect and elevate information so that future problems can be proactively avoided. A closed-loop system tends to be a reactive Customer Experience management tool, when really it should be used as a means to proactively drive change.
You mentioned earlier that action planning was a key ingredient of a successful Customer Engagement Program. This seems fairly obvious – why would you mention it?
I usually say that measuring and reporting are the “easy” aspects of Customer Experience management, and that the “real work” begins once the results are reported. That last bit is the most difficult part. This is when people are told that a lack of action is not sustainable and that change is needed. And as we all know, most of us do not like change… In my career, I have often been seen as an “agent of change” by my clients – some embrace it and some fight it. Sometimes clients fight against change because they see change as a sign that they are failing (which is wrong) or because they are true believers in the saying “why fix something that isn’t broken?” Or sometimes, they simply fight change because change is harder than the status quo. But we all know, not evolving or adapting can kill companies. Mainly because competition does not stand still. Competitors – direct or not – continuously raise expectation levels, setting the bar a little higher each and every day.
In addition, organizations don’t always think ahead of that important phase of their customer engagement program. Instead, they wait until results have been delivered before they start to think “now what?” So early on in the project, I always encourage my clients to think about things such as who will own the data; whose input will be sought; what other information might be available; who will be responsible for taking action; and how success will be defined – and measured.
One last question – I’m dying to know…What did you do when France won the 2018 World Cup?
Ah! What a magical moment that was! I took a screenshot of the final score (on TV) and posted it on FB – with a ***special*** message to my Belgian friends who were all so upset about losing to France in the semi-final! I just love sticking it to those friendly Belgians each time I get the opportunity to do so!
Check out part 3 of my interview with Xavier Quenaudon!
With a passion for everything and anything Customer Experience, Burke SVP Xavier Quenaudon partners with companies seeking to take their CX program to the next level, by pushing them to advance their customer research, learning, and insights; making the most of the data that they have; and driving cultural and operational changes that impact Customer Loyalty and engagement.
As Marketing Manager, Megan Nicollerat oversees all of Burke’s marketing initiatives and works closely with multiple departments at Burke to increase her knowledge and expertise on research techniques.