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Using Customer Experience to Prepare for the Future

Learning to Adapt in a Changing Industry

Industries across the entire business landscape are in a state of perpetual change and development. The products and services are changing, the methods of delivering those products and services are changing, the way we market to our customers is changing, even the customers themselves and their expectations are changing. And of course, in today’s environment dealing with a pandemic and trying to adapt to the needs of customers is even more challenging then ever.

As we progress through this modern age, it’s imperative we keep our eyes on our customers so we can better understand, anticipate, and predict the expectations our customers have of our businesses.

By doing our best to be empathetic and listen to our customers more than ever, we can anticipate how they will react to the changes our businesses are going through and will inevitably undergo and provide a more valuable experience to them.

So, how do we ensure our customers have a great experience with our companies? How can we ever forecast how they will react to our business in this ever-changing landscape?

The answer lies in the data, specifically in listening to what our customers are telling us.

In this blog we’re doing to delve into how we can better understand our customers’ past behaviors to measure and forecast the future of our customers’ experiences.

Stop Shredding Customer Feedback

These days, feedback surveys are being thrown at customers in droves. More companies growing increasingly interested in collecting information from their customers. Many are simply sending out surveys to everyone and anyone, but not truly acting on what’s being written.

It’s important for our businesses to take action on what our customers are saying. We need to let our customers know how much value they provide to our organizations.

We need to act on their feedback to ensure we create the best experience possible for them.

Dan Ariely, a professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke, conducted a study to learn more about motivation. In his study he separated his participants into three groups and offered them each the same nominal amount of money to complete a simple task.

The task was to review a collection of random letters on a sheet of paper. Whenever they found a pair of the same letters placed next to each other, the participants were tasked to circle it. For each page they completed, they would be compensated with a sum of money.

Each group were given different conditions to complete the project. The first group would sign the document with their names. Upon completion they would bring their work to the proctor for examination. The proctor would read over the sheet of paper, review their work, make a comment about how well they did, place the paper in a pile, pay the participants, and offer them another worksheet.

The second group had different guidelines. They were not to write their name on the document. Upon completion, they would turn in their paper to the proctor for review. Unlike the first group, the proctor would not review their work, but would immediately place the document into a pile, cash out the participant, and offer them another worksheet.

The third group had a yet another set of guidelines. Similarly to the second group, they were not supposed to write their names on the document. Upon completion they would bring the document to the proctor for review.

This time, however, the proctor would not review the paper and would not place the document in the stack, but would immediately shred the sheet of paper, cash out the participant, and offer them another worksheet.

We can guess that the level of motivation for completing each worksheet would vary between groups. People who had their work reviewed and discussed would be more likely to want to complete a second, third, or even fourth worksheet; whereas the third group would be much less likely to proceed very far into the experiment.

As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what Dr. Ariely found. On average, group 1 completed 10 pages where group 3 completed half as many.

This may not be much of a surprise to you. If your work was being shredded before your very eyes, you would probably not be inclined to complete more work.

What about group 2? Were they more like group 1, group 3, or were they somewhere in the middle? As it turns out, group 2, on average, completed about as many worksheets as group 3.

From Dr. Ariely’s experiment, it appears that by not reviewing someone’s hard work, you might as well be shredding it before their eyes.

Listen To What’s Being Said

When we talk about providing our customers with great experiences, it was mentioned that the answer lies within data. What does that mean exactly? It means that we need to listen to our customers. We need to listen to and understand what they have told us in the past, what they’re telling us now, and try to forecast what they will be telling us in the future.

There is a valuable lesson to be learned from Dr. Ariely’s study which we can apply in creating a better customer experience in our businesses. Particularly when it comes to learning about our customers’ satisfaction.

There are many ways to learn about our customers and understand their needs. By far the most effective way, which you have undoubtedly heard before, is to go to customers directly.

This seems so simple, yet it needs to be constantly repeated to get the message across. Customer satisfaction surveys are one of the easiest, straightforward ways companies and organizations can get into the minds of their customers.

We can utilize data collected through customer surveys like Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT) to thoroughly analyze and truly understand what our customers want from our organizations.

Unfortunately, collecting surveys from your customers is not all it takes to provide a great experience. Unbiased feedback for our companies is a precious gift generously given to us from our customers. We want to show them that we value what they have to tell us.

As mentioned, customers are being bombarded with surveys left and right. With so much incoming mail, it’s hard to catch the customers’ attention, let alone get them to continuously provide our companies with valuable feedback. The more survey requests a customer receives, the less likely they are to respond.

To provide some insight on how to keep your customers responding, MaritzCX, An InMoment Company, conducted a little research to understand the real motivations for customers to participate in multiple customer feedback surveys.

It may not be a shock that a monetary compensation topped the list of reasons to participate in multiple feedback surveys; however, it may surprise you to know that a company taking action directly based on feedback was a close second place and even outranked other forms of compensation.

Additionally, a personalized thank you note and communicating with the customer were among the top-5 reasons for a customer to continue responding to feedback surveys.

Communication, a personalized thank you, and action are three of the top ways to make our customers feel like we are listening to what they have to say. In turn, this will lead to a greater likelihood of them continuing to give us feedback.

Tying It All Together

As we learned in Dr. Ariely’s study, without properly addressing our customers, their comments, and their concerns, we might as well be shredding their feedback in front of them.

We need to act like the proctor for group 1 of Ariely’s experiment. We need to acknowledge the customer, thanking them personally for sharing their thoughts with us.

Furthermore, we need to do more than just collect the information we gather from our customer surveys. We need to learn from them.

Our businesses and the landscape of doing business are bound to go through changes, there is no question about that. It’s our job to not only ensure those changes are best for our customers and organizations, but to also predict how our customers will react to those changes so we can continue to provide a positive experience for them and retain their loyalty. Now, and beyond the throws of the Coronavirus.

The voices of our customers can provide immense value to our businesses. We need to let our customers feel valued and let them know that we feel lucky to receive their feedback. Let them know we’re with them now and in the future.

If you start with listening to the customer, being grateful and empathetic, and taking action on what they are saying, you will establish a line of meaningful communication with your customers where they know their voices are heard and appreciated.

Businesses that will succeed are those that learn to adapt in a changing industry and business landscape.