2015 saw increased budget diverted to customer experience with more and more companies adopting CX as a primary business model. We anticipate 2016 will see further senior executives and CEO’s taking a closer look to understand just how customer experience can be a more profitable competitive differentiator.
With this in mind, as independent customer experience consultants we’ve captured our CX predictions for 2016 below;
1.The CEO discovers a reliable measure linking CX to profit
2016 will be a wake up year for CX. We are already finding CEO’s questioning the value of chasing NPS Promoters and top box Customer Satisfaction. Our evidence shows these outcomes do not correlate to profit. In fact, according to Measuring Customer Experience by Professor Dr Phil Klaus less than 1% of profit can be attributed back to these performance measures.
When discovered, for some this will mean the CX Programme is shut down, for others who continue with these measures it means potentially investing profits in initiatives which will drive very little if any ROI. in his book Phil, who is also a Lexden Director explains the value of pursuing behavioral based CX measurement which accounts for over 80% of profit. For those considering this option it could mean smarter profits, effective investment and meaningful focus on the CX improvements which keep the business ahead of the rest.
2. Brand to finally join the CX party
Too much operational focus is on the ‘fix’ in CX or digital migration where there are no net new gains. Companies focussing on self-serve apps and online systems might reduce processing costs – but at what price? We’ve seen stats highlighting the unsurprising knock on effect of customer engagement and brand consideration levels dropping and with it comms effectiveness reducing. One of the main reason is that these are designed functionally and without consideration of baking in the brand difference.
We hope 2016 sees more emphasis on making the brand difference in to improvements to create sustainable advantage rather than just short term (and easy to copy) efficiency drives.
There are few in this space we find, but Virgin Money, Standard Life and Direct Line in FS are forging the way with CX becoming a key consideration factor for their customer’s preference. Direct Line in particular apply CX principles beyond promotions and propositions, they are connected to pricing. That’s when you really start to pull away from the competition because you are competing on a different playing field altogether.
We anticipate more will start to differentiate on their CX but it’s like any other point of difference, it needs to be just that, not just the basics done well. It will only be those with sound CX strategies focussed on meaningful measurement which will reap the harvest of their CX investment. Watch companies like The Co-op Bank, The One Savings Bank and Nutmeg leverage CX more in 2016.
3. From personalisation to proactive engagement
Data held (big or small) can be used to predict future eventualities for customers, using this more smartly can really help customers, a service which the brand can be remembered for. For instance a customer who goes overdrawn several months on the trot does not need a ‘when it happens’ notice when their options are limited. The patterns are there for the bank to tell the customers days, weeks in advance of the likely outcome if they sustain their rate of spend. Delivery services are improving on this, as are bus and train companies.
So helping consumers manage time to have more of it to consider more options is to become more important and delivered through a great experience will help companies stand apart.
4. Employee experience will get tangible
Maybe 2016 will be the year of the employee. Companies who help their employees understand the value of CX reap the benefits sooner. Those who ‘push it on to’ colleagues to be done to customers, have themselves to blame. We have seen an increasing number of requests moving from customer experience delivery to employee experience engagement. Brands such as USAA and Zappos highlight the importance of this first stage. But recruiting the right skill set to help employees is key. Conventional training techniques wont cut it so assuming clients engage CX transformation specialists employees will get it and be able to deliver it better – a big focus in 2016 we anticipate.
5. Feedback Fatigue
We often get asked how to 1) increase respondent numbers and 2) reach a more representative cross-section of my customer base with feedback. It’s true, numbers are dropping inversely proportionate to the increase in feedback requests it would seem. There are now more companies requesting feedback overall than ever before and those who have been for some time are drilling deeper and asking for more from their customers.
We sat in a series of research groups last year looking at customer behaviour towards feedback surveys. There is much contamination and conditional completing of feedback forms going on it seems. Consumers are wary, citing being asked for irrelevant and duplicated insights as well as seeing little improvement related to their feedback, as reasons for skimming, spoiling or ignoring feedback requests.
A gear shift will be needed otherwise the quality of feedback will become increasingly impaired. A more worrying trend is the professional survey completers who will complete forms on behalf of others (we haven’t figured out why yet) or bill the company requesting their feedback for their time (similar to focus groups).
So perhaps nothing seismic, but the relatively embryonic world of CX will need to find its feet in 2016 if it is to survive the most harshest of judges; the rising expectations of consumers and the CEO’s budget.
Posted by Christopher Brooks, Customer Experience Consultant, Lexden
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