One of the biggest challenges leaders face is evaluating the success of their customer experience efforts.

There are believers and non-believers when it comes to customer experience as a successful business driver. Those non-believers? They lack one important bit of information: the connection between CX and business value and outcomes.

It’s hard to ask to be taken seriously if we don’t talk strategically.

And at key points throughout the calendar or fiscal year, asking key questions can drive understanding and outcomes to be more successful. Don’t wait until a leader who thinks CX is “soft” asks about these outcomes. Use these questions to provoke better outcomes proactively.

Questions to Ask Today for Better Outcomes Tomorrow

Some questions might lead to robust discussions. That’s great, as long as you use those discussions to drive action. What actions do you need to take to achieve the desired outcomes for the business?

1. What’s the Top Goal We Have, and Are We on the Path to Achieving it?

This is a key question because it sometimes shines a light on how there isn’t really a goal. Sounds crazy, right? But without a clear goal and strategy, the efforts around customer experience can never really pay off.

If the answer to this question is something vague like “a better customer journey,” then it’s time to get real. What does that mean? What are realistic outcomes that are measurable in achieving that goal?

And if you do have a clear, well-defined goal, it’s a good chance to evaluate what needs to be done to achieve it by the end of the timeline. That means staying realistic about where you’ve been and what’s coming up.

It’s great to have a goal around improving delivery speed, for example. It’s measurable and definitely impacts the customer experience. But what if supply chain disruptions are impacting these timelines? Get real about what you can do. Update or revise the goal if there are real-life scenarios that are out of your control.

Maybe the updated goal needs to be about the accuracy of the communication around shipment delays.

Now, ensure those goals are connected to the overall business results. Improved communication will most likely decrease canceled orders and ultimately retain more revenue for the company. What will that additional revenue mean for your organizational outcomes?

Connect those dots as you reevaluate your CX efforts.

Related Article: It's 2022: Do You Know Your Customer Experience Goals?

2. What’s the Best Thing We Heard From Customers, and What’s the Worst Thing?

It’s easy to overlook the results worth celebrating. But this is about more than celebrations.

Take time to find where customers are providing praise. Are there patterns around what processes, people or tools are involved? Look for patterns and use these positive moments to not just celebrate what happened but create more ways to earn that praise.

Employees are often mentioned by name in positive reviews. Of course, it’s worth celebrating and recognizing that individual employee. It’s also an opportunity to find out what they are doing that could be turned into a best practice for other workers. Many top employees develop workarounds for cumbersome processes or language that’s well outside of the typical “script” when serving customers. If they have tools or ideas that could help others, now is the time to turn their individual brilliance into universal best practices.

And what was it that made those customers so happy? Look for specific patterns around how expectations were set, how communication was handled and how products were delivered. Those patterns can be turned into standard operating procedures as long as they’re recognized.

Learning Opportunities

And now flip the script. What was the WORST complaint customers shared? How was that criticism earned? Be honest here. Dig in for some root cause analysis as necessary. If there are issues that led to complaints, now is the chance to address them.

Take a hard look at what happened and what needs to change. Then make a case for what needs to be done to learn and act.

Connect those improvements to business value. What will SOLVING these issues create? More time? Better efficiencies? Happier employees? Those results mean something to the organization. Make the case for how addressing complaint-causing issues will lead to better business outcomes.

Speaking of outcomes…

3. What’s the Best Business Outcome We Achieved Due to Our CX Efforts?

Great customer experience leads to better business outcomes. CX leaders often spend time reporting metrics but not providing this context. Those metrics are meaningful because they show progress. Customer experience leaders report “leadership buy-in” as a key factor to their professional success. That buy-in is created by helping other leaders see how CX efforts lead to their success.

  • Did a higher Net Promoter Score (NPS) lead to an increase in retention?
  • Did a digital experience lead to delivering to more customers than last year at this time?
  • Did better customer onboarding materials lead to reduced call center costs?

It’s up to CX leaders to connect these dots and communicate just how customer experience is driving success throughout the organization.

If you are struggling to make the connection to business results, it’s a good chance to ask why not? Do you need access to better data insights? Are your goals too limited to measuring CX scores instead of impacting real change? Assess your progress as a way to seek what you need to be successful.

Customer experience is so much more than just questions. But these questions can guide you to achieve more simply by checking in and being realistic. Focus your efforts on achieving your goals for yourself, your customers and your organization.

Related Article: When Marketing Plans and Customer Experience Collide

Have You Assessed Your CX Efforts Lately?

Quick recap: These questions will help guide your activities toward achieving the most important goals you have for your customer experience efforts. 

It’s up to CX leadership to gain buy-in from leaders throughout the organization. These questions and their answers can help build a case for that buy-in and celebrate the many successful outcomes customer experience brings.