Hand turns dice and changes the word "Trust" to "Truth".
PHOTO: Shutterstock

This is a critical time for brands worldwide. We no longer live in an era where customer data on its own can produce a great impact for companies. It's not enough to survey customers and then decide for them what they want. To truly understand and provide what customers love, businesses must lead with empathy and embrace their customers’ truth.

The best business decisions are those made with customers, not for them. To be successful, companies must first understand their customers’ truth by uncovering their motivations, opinions and sentiment. Then, they need to act on these truths to deliver world-class experiences people increasingly want and expect.

Embracing the Truth

Today, many companies operate in silos and customer feedback data is dispersed across different parts of the organization, making it difficult to obtain a holistic and timely perspective of customer requirements. To thrive, companies must adopt a broader philosophy regarding customer experience (CX) as a shared service. It’s imperative that CX is centralized as a clearly articulated goal across the business and to solicit customer insights that are shared organization-wide to meet that goal.

For some, the lack of prioritization or efficacy in implementing customer centricity is not a matter of desire, but rather one of execution. Individual groups are often not empowered or focused enough to make a difference in gathering customer input independently from other business units. Rather than using duplicate customer feedback mechanisms in each department, customer centricity should be a corporate initiative like IT or HR and be sponsored by the CEO.

CX can’t just be the purview of the marketing, research or the customer care team; it needs to be a priority for the entire C-suite. Understanding customer truth and creating optimal customer experiences is an organization-wide priority. Decisions are informed by customer feedback. Information is shared across departments. Actions are taken in unity.

Putting Truth Into Action

True customer experience management (CXM) is two-pronged: a unique combination of feedback from deep insights and broad feedback, coupled with action. The power is in gathering continuous feedback, both broad and deep, and then turning that customer truth into action. These together, not only inform the “what” in creating meaningful experiences for customers, employees and partners, but also the “why.” This drives loyalty and growth.

Broad feedback is collected from direct and indirect feedback sources like surveys, online reviews and call center data. Deep insight is the exact opposite: data gleaned from a tight, profiled group of individuals invested in a brand with strong perspectives that help shape the overall customer experience.

When you combine both sources, the patterns and thematic trends that broad feedback provides with the prescriptive recommendations from digital insight communities, you’ve got a much higher quality of output that powerfully improves the customer experience.

One of our customers, a major global fashion retailer, understands this perfectly. Being in the fashion industry, it is crucial that they think seasons ahead with product and customer experience innovation to beat competition to market. Embracing a customer-centric mentality focused on finding out the “why” behind the “what” with their shoppers’ preferences, they created an ongoing mock shopping experience for thousands of members. This program has now tested more than 500 products, driving their teams to optimize and improve the experiences of their customers and reducing time to market by half.

Another customer, a major regional network of hospitals, clinics and home care services, estimates it influenced and de-risked $7 million worth of decisions, including sharpening a recent brand campaign, clarifying messaging and naming for a new retail clinic model and strengthening patient acquisition using their website.

On the other hand, when a company doesn’t pay attention to customer truth and CX, they encounter negative outcomes, such as high churn rates, customer loss, customer disloyalty and stagnant growth. During this pandemic, we have sadly seen numerous brands shut their doors. Now is the time for companies to get moving by utilizing the combination of CXM and insights to truly understand their customers’ truths and solve these big issues. Otherwise, today’s challenges will quickly become tomorrow’s crises.

Our Truth

Nine months ago, our team looked inward and felt that we needed to reinvent ourselves to build upon our successful 20-year heritage to not only help global brands uncover their customers’ truth, but act on them to deliver world-class experiences. Today we officially retired the Vision Critical brand and launched, Alida. Alida means verity, truth, reality and actuality, which is the ultimate goal for brands tapping into the real source of truth: their customers. This new identity showcases our ongoing dedication to helping brands create meaningful customer relationships. Visit us at www.alida.com to learn how you can put truth into action.