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Why Customer Experience Can’t All Be Data Driven

Customer experience (CX) is reshaping the way brands do business. Having a customer-centric approach is no longer a buzzword. It’s a linchpin to the success and longevity of organizations as competitive landscapes continue to evolve at breakneck speeds.

 

As more organizations begin to realize the customer must be at the center of all they do, the question then becomes: who should own the experience and what data should be used to construct it? The fact of the matter is, one person or even one department, cannot be held solely responsible for running point on CX. It must be woven into the entire company – and it can’t be built on data alone.

 

Don’t get us wrong, CX initiatives should most certainly be constructed around shared data points from across the organization, but numbers shouldn’t be the only ingredient. Leaders must remember emotion is also a key factor in effectively delivering a winning customer experience.

 

It takes a delicate balance between understanding data and keeping real emotion in mind. But if your organization doesn’t figure out how to leverage the two to create an unforgettable experience and emotional connection, customers will start looking elsewhere.

Going Beyond the Data

Yes, the data gives powerful insights into customer and prospect behavior. We can identify purchase behaviors, what messaging they responded best to, what content they engaged with, and the list goes on. But at a more fundamental level, do you know what prompted your customer to even begin their search for a solution in the first place? Or even who or what along their purchase path may have influenced their decision-making process?

 

These are questions that will only be answered through one-to-one conversations with customers and prospects. Talking with your customers enables you to dig deeper and really get to know the person behind the purchase.

 

Also consider the person making the purchase may not be the one using your product or service. It’s important to talk to both the purchaser and end user. With this insight you are better equipped to not only make more effective marketing decisions, but also know which functions, features, and updates to prioritize based on user feedback, which impacts the customer experience.

 

Also consider the person making the purchase may not be the one using your product or service. It's important to talk to both the purchaser and end user.

 

Beyond serving as an important feedback loop, conversations with customers also give you a way to test and eliminate assumptions while understanding how your product or service makes your customer feel. Forrester released a report outlining the importance of emotion as it relates to customer experience and loyalty. After interviewing 45,000 consumers, the findings revealed that emotional experience accounts for almost half of customer loyalty to the brand.

 

So while customer numbers and account activity should be part of your data collection and reporting process, what your customers feel while using your product matters and should be measured.

Building the Path

If coordinating one-to-one conversations with customers and prospects sounds like a lot of work, you’re right. It can be. There are ways to systematize and even automate to a certain to degree in order to make these conversations a much more fluid process. This approach has to be a company-wide effort and even woven into the fabric of your company culture. This is an all-hands-on-deck operation.

 

This might start with automated feedback loops – general surveys or quick Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys – but then there has to be a process for reviewing and taking action on that feedback. Who on your team will be responsible for collecting, analyzing, and acting on the data? Keep in mind, in many cases, this will not be a one-person job.

 

For instance, if the feedback is pertaining to a product issue, perhaps there’s a person on the product team who is elected to run point on customer outreach. This person can help better understand the issues the customer may be having. Or for more general feedback, it could be someone on the customer service or success team. Once the feedback is collected, it’s key to take the conversation to the next level with a direct conversation with the customer.

 

Who on your team will be responsible for collecting, analyzing, and acting on the data? Keep in mind, in many cases, this will not be a one-person job.

 

Consider nominating a CX advocate in each department as every step of the customer journey contributes to the individual experience. A recent report revealed that 75 percent of consumers expect companies to provide a consistent experience wherever they engage with them both online and offline.

 

The first step to delivering a positive customer experience on all fronts is ensuring your internal procedures are consistent company-wide. This is where things like data collection processes and procedures are paramount.

 

Remember: the decisions based on data are only as good as the data collected and the ease of data accessibility to everyone within the organization. If your data isn’t properly collected, or even if it is but it’s locked up, you’ve already lost.

Asking the Right Questions

There are plenty of specific insights that will be valuable to various individuals within your company. Your product team will want to understand feature usage. Your sales and marketing teams will want to understand what hooked them to finally sign up for a demo.

 

Uncovering a particular customer experience requires a specific set of questions. To ask the right ones, start first by making a list of the ways you think you are already delivering a good experience.

 

It’s time to cut through the norm and ask the prodding questions. If you don’t, they’ll find another product that can do similar things, and make them feel better while doing it.

 

Once you’ve identified the valuable and actionable data, it’s time to consider what changes your organization should make to improve the experience your customers are having. And remember, this is a company-wide effort. Work first on building the infrastructure for supporting a customer-driven approach, then begin the outreach.

 

Not sure where to start? We can help. Give us a call or sign up for our conversion audit service. Here, we’ll help you pinpoint where your customer experience is lacking.

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How to Brainstorm for Innovation

We’ve all heard it before: “You only have to be 10% smarter than the object you’re operating.” Simple, but surprisingly motivating. For entrepreneurs, this thought could mean the difference between just having an idea and actually having it come to fruition.

 

An idea is like a baby – You protect it and nurture it, and even before it’s born, you are in love and find yourself picking out colleges. As exciting as generating an idea can be, it’s also where the risk lies. You fall in love with the execution of an idea too soon with no plan on how to actually perform the execution.

 

Here are a few ways you can brainstorm for innovation and follow through with your ideas.

Stop and Think

Before you charge forward with executing your idea, stop and think. Seriously – spend half a day getting dirty, ideating, and iterating on all the possible permutations. You might know the end game and the value proposition, but do you know whether users want to do what you’re asking? Or if your approach to the market is the right one to achieve your goals?

 

Take this for example: Let’s say you have a product that aims at improving online searching and bookmarking. Your initial vision is a browser plugin that remembers your favorite places and recommends search results based on what you like. Could be cool, right?

 

This is where you need to stop and think. The vision has potential, but will that execution drive the highest engagement and build momentum as quickly as possible? Maybe. Before picking that route, consider brainstorming some different permutations. What if instead you created an API that worked with a bunch of existing products with large user bases? What if your product was super targeted toward a very specific demographic, like high school students? You see where this is going, right? Great.

Brainstorming 101

Brainstorming isn’t always easy. Sometimes there are too many brains in the room, other times there aren’t enough. If you’re in a room full of execs, there’s a chance you’re afraid to share your ideas for fear of being shot down. When it comes to brainstorming, everything goes.

 

A good brainstorming session should include the following:

A Goal

When your brainstorm comes to an end, what is the goal you want the group to achieve? This goal should be your main focus throughout the session. As long as this end goal is kept in mind, unconventional and outlandish ideas are always welcome – sometimes these are the ideas that lead to something tangible.

A Diverse Group of People

At Tallwave, we like to involve people from different departments in our brainstorms. Oftentimes, this group consists of both people who are involved in the day-to-day of the project and external team members. External members may have previously worked on this account or helped solve a similar problem for another client. Being heavily involved in a project can cloud your judgement. A mix of main-team and external team members bring knowledge and a fresh perspective to the brainstorming session.

A Simple Structure

Don’t overthink a brainstorming session. Too many rules and regulations will kill the vibe and might make people panic. This could lead to an unsuccessful brainstorming session. Instead, keep a simple structure. Maybe a warm up with a summary that gets sent out to everyone afterward.

Here are a couple of our favorite and simple brainstorming activities to help drive innovation.

3-12-3 Method

This method refers to the amount of time given to the three activities this session includes. Three minutes to think about the characteristics of the topic at hand and write down as many as possible. Next, take twelve minutes to develop concepts, either with a partner or in small groups. Anything goes during these 12 minutes – rough sketches, prototypes, or other media can be produced during this time. These concepts will then be presented to the rest of the group, with a maximum of three minutes per presentation.

This method is awesome for coming up with multiple variations of a concept or idea.

How-Now-Wow Matrix

The How-Now-Wow method involves some artistry. Begin by drawing a 2×2 matrix with “originality” in the x-axis, and “feasibility” on the y-axis. The top right corner of your matrix will be the “How” section. This is where you put the ideas that are original and innovative, but not feasible at the moment. The “How” section can help influence future goals or objectives.

 

The bottom left corner will be your “Now” section. Here, you’ll put ideas that are unoriginal and familiar, but also easy to implement and are known to work well.

 

The bottom right corner will house your “Wow” concepts. These are ideas that are original and also easy to implement. Forming ideas that fall into this section should be something to strive for during the brainstorming section.

 

This concept can also be great for “closing,” or ranking, some of those ideas you came up with during the 3-12-3 activity.

Wellbeing North Star Method

Projects don’t always go as planned. This is a great method for evaluating some of the flops you may experience on your projects. Begin by drawing a star in the middle of a whiteboard or large poster. In the center, write the topic your brainstorm will be focusing on. This could be a project, a daily schedule, etc. On each point of the star, you’ll write what you want to focus on and discuss with your team. This could be graphics, communications, advertisements, upcoming tasks, etc.

 

Distribute sticky notes in two different colors to everyone. For a few minutes, have your brainstormers write what they like about the aspects on each point of the star on one color. Next, have them write what they dislike about each aspect. Once everyone is done, have them present their notes and post them under their respective aspects.

 

This method is extremely helpful in determining what is and isn’t working on a project or to evaluate an idea. Sometimes we like to flip this one around by focusing outward to analyze competition. This helps us better understand where there is opportunity for disruption.

 

When it comes to innovation, a brainstorming session can be your ticket to success. Give these methods a shot. If you need more help, you can always call us.