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A whopping 98% of Fortune 500 companies leverage SurveyMonkey to take a pulse on customer feedback. But while fairly simple and inexpensive to roll out, Forrester reports surveys only capture between 2% and 7.5% of customer interactions. Instead of relying on survey data alone, businesses need to refine their foundational customer experience programs, and analyze data that is more reflective of the voice of the customer (VoC). This will enhance customer loyalty and drive the business’ bottom line. 

In order to achieve a state of the art customer experience program, businesses need to analyze digital communication channels and calls, reduce customer effort through alleviating burdensome surveys, and operationalize insights across their organizations.  

Don’t Ask, Just Listen

Businesses already have access to a wealth of customer feedback that extends far beyond what surveys –– usually only answered by individuals who have either very positive or negative experiences –– can provide. To modernize feedback collection and get a more accurate representation of VoC, businesses should tap into those channels where customers are already talking to them. Channels like call centers, chat, email, messaging and social media. This is a crucial step in generating a more advanced customer experience program. 

Surveys cannot give businesses answers to the questions that go unasked. This means that a survey-only approach is likely to miss critical aspects of the customer experience. Since customers have complete, unguided control over the feedback they share on digital platforms and calls, these channels are especially helpful in detecting true customer struggles, emotions, sentiments and preferences. By tapping into more open-ended sources of customer feedback, businesses will unlock insights that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Better yet, with sophisticated text analytics combined with this omni-channel strategy, businesses can track interactions, identify common patterns and even monitor for quality assurance via customer conversations. A mature CX program takes into account all communication channels and forms, and utilizes insights gleaned from them in unison in order to make impactful change. 

Related Article: Not Another @#$&! Survey ...

Create Better Solicited Customer Feedback Experiences 

Surveys in and of themselves are time- and effort-intensive for customers. Research suggests only 4% of customers repurchase from a brand following high-effort interactions, making it a key driver of churn. It's important that brands unburden customers and either avoid surveys completely or evolve them in order to enhance loyalty and keep customers coming back.

While analyzing call transcripts and digital communication channels are common alternatives, companies without access to these capabilities can start by revamping their surveys. For example, Uber and Lyft still rely on survey data for collecting feedback, but they have created a convenient in-app experience to minimize customer effort. It is seamless, in that consumers are asked immediately, how they'd rate their experience based on a number of factors. Uber and Lyft could further improve this process to gain richer insights by leveraging their other communication channels — call centers, chats, social, etc. — to understand the full customer experience, beyond the pick-ups and drop offs.

Businesses need to do more to create conversational, choice-driven experiences. Mature customer experience programs mine existing customer conversations to identify common complaints, emotions and preferences to better understand and predict behavior — without placing the burden on the customer.

Related Article: Voice of the Customer Strategies: Effectively Turning Feedback Into Action

Operationalize Customer Journey Data

The final step in creating a state of the art customer experience program is sharing insights across company departments. When the VoC is heard beyond the customer service team and shared with departments like marketing, product and sales, the business is able to grow in line with customer preferences and needs. For example, marketing teams can utilize data on customer preferences to inform an influencer campaign or create more engaging ad experiences. Product teams can translate common complaints into product enhancements and new offerings that directly address existing problems. The opportunities are endless when the customer voice permeates an organization. 

Operationalizing crucial insights across all areas of the business will also develop a culture that embraces and centers itself around the customer. This allows different areas of the businesses to collectively transform consumer insights into revenue, enhance loyalty and provide better brand experiences.  

Too many businesses still rely purely on survey data to inform their understanding of CX. They are unfortunately ignoring vital customer information that has the potential to transform their business. Instead, analyzing feedback from various touch points within the customer journey paints a more accurate picture and drives tangible value for the business. The time is now to move beyond surveys and towards a more mature, state of the art customer experience program.