Engaging employees in Customer Experience (CX) processes can be challenging for companies with leading-edge CX programs and those that are evolving their CX processes.
Defining an effective internal stakeholder engagement strategy is an important—and easily overlooked—element of a successful CX program. One of the most effective internal engagement approaches eTouchPoint has witnessed was the innovation of a CX leader in the communication industry. Their engagement process centered on four key steps, resulting in a CX program that involves every employee by creating a connection with customers and their experience.
Step 1: Seek the Meaning Behind the Metrics
CX surveys provide a wealth of quantitative and qualitative feedback from customers—but companies can find it difficult to make sense of all the information they collect.
Often, companies focus on a single metric such as likelihood to recommend, customer effort, or overall satisfaction. All of these are important metrics—and valuable to track. However, innovators look for the meaning behind the metrics by focusing on underlying CX processes that affect CX results.
By examining these underlying processes, companies can focus their stakeholder engagement on areas that will have the biggest impact on strategy and operations.
For example, one CX leader in the telecommunications industry chose to focus on customers who reported that their services were not working to their satisfaction after the install or repair. Executive leadership understood that this group of customers was:
- More likely to require a subsequent service call at the company’s expense
- Less likely to recommend or be satisfied based on the negative experience
- Less likely to purchase additional services in the future
- Potentially more likely to churn
In this instance, the company didn’t just monitor survey scores and accept that a certain level of low responses was a fact of doing business. Instead, it heightened attention on a specific, identifiable group of customers that were at high risk of harboring negative sentiment or defecting to competitors. That way, the company could restore relationships with less satisfied customers and improve its understanding of how to make future service visits successful.
Step 2: Articulate Clear Objectives
Defining an effective engagement strategy begins with articulating a clear vision detailing the specific objectives you are trying to achieve. Once the objectives have been defined, you can then identify which stakeholder groups will be impacted and what level of engagement will be required.
In the example above, the objectives were to respond to customer concerns in a timely manner. To support that goal, the company set a target of contacting 95% of dissatisfied customers within 24 hours and resolving any issues identified within 5 days.
Why was that first benchmark valuable? Why not simply set the goal to resolve customer concerns within 5 days?
The reason is that by focusing on the percentage of customers contacted within 24 hours, the company can proactively address concerns before customers approach the company or take to social media to voice dissatisfaction.
Step 3: Identify Stakeholders to Engage
Effective engagement relies upon identifying each level of organization that has a stake in CX success and determining their role or contribution in realizing the defined objectives.
Continuing with our example above, the company recognized that everyone from customer-facing employees up to senior executives should be in engaged in their CX processes. While supervisors of the frontline employees were tasked with following up with customers, their managers and directors were also instrumental in realizing the goal.
From the Vice President level down, the company increased focus on key metrics such as:
- Percentage of Dissatisfied Customers
- Percentage of Customers Touched <24 Hours
- Total Number of Days to Action
- Total Number of Days to Close Out Issues
By using a common set of metrics to assess performance across multiple organizational layers, the company kept all its stakeholders focused on its defined objectives. This created a sense of personal and organizational ownership of ensuring the company maintained a strong customer focus.
Step 4: Engage CX Stakeholders with Weekly Report
Successful internal CX engagement can only happen with proactive and consistent communication. In our experience, a weekly stakeholder report is one of the best ways to keep a team focused on delivering CX excellence.
The CX leader in our example used a weekly stakeholder report to draw attention to how each supervisor, area manager, regional director, and the company as a whole was critical to the success of its CX objectives. Every week employees could clearly see their performance over time to see if they were improving and compared to their peers to see how they compared to other areas of the company.
These reports became standard agenda items for weekly team meetings. Those team members that did not meet the objective for the prior week were held accountable for the reasons why and what they would be doing differently in the future.
Through the weekly report, the company could identify and motivate those that did not see the importance of timely customer follow up as a priority. It was also an effective tool in creating healthy competition among groups to ensure that their teams met the goal.
Creating Change through Stakeholder Reporting
When the company in this example began this CX initiative, only about a third of dissatisfied customers were contacted within 24 hours. One month after announcing this initiative approximately two-thirds of customers were contacted within 24 hours. And after implementing the weekly reporting process for 2 months, 96% of customers were contacted within 24 hours.
What was even more impressive was that customer issues were closed within 3 days on average—exceeding the objective of 5 days to close issues.
CX Leaders recognize the value of identifying key metrics to drive improvement. They also recognize the significance of developing an effective internal engagement strategy to highlight the importance of CX processes throughout the organization. Using a weekly stakeholder report is an effective way to focus attention on individual and group performance towards a company-wide goal.
Author: David Farschon
David Farschon is Senior Manager – Customer Experience at eTouchPoint where he works with Fortune 2000 clients on the development of Customer Experience (CX) programs and the implementation of eTouchPoint’s CX software solutions. In this role, he leads the definition and implementation of client CX and feedback gathering programs and works closely with client stakeholders to identify opportunities for improvement and operational change based on customer perceptions. He is a subject matter expert in transactional survey design, IVR, SMS, and email feedback gathering, and CX analytics.