LAS VEGAS — A customer’s experience with your business can be complex and move across many channels. Understanding the complexities of that journey, building customer loyalty and driving revenue can be just as daunting.

During his keynote address to customer experiences professionals at the C3 2016 Conference here this week, Reston, Va.-based Clarabridge Founder and Executive Chair Sid Banerjee said customer experience (CX) has changed the way companies do business and communicate with their customers.

Clarabridge provides customer experience management through sentiment and text analytics.

The Trending CX Landscape

CX is becoming a strategic initiative for many companies because of its an undeniable link to business growth.

Focusing on making haters hate you less can ultimately be very good for your bottom line, he explained, adding that studies have shown that there is a direct connection between happy, loyal customers and driving revenue.

But there are caveats: A concentrated effort on CX has to be a companywide initiative. Learning from the bottom up and from the top down keeps everyone dedicated to the same initiatives.

If you have a focus and a culture that’s always striving to do better, your customers will reward you with loyalty.

Customer Driven Strategies

Additionally, companies must remember that customers drive CX.

You have to look at the customer’s journey through their eyes – whether they’re a retired baby boomer or millennial just entering the market.

And, you have to meet them where they are and look at every step of the customer experience from the social platform to talking to them on the phone or having them walk into your store.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

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Clarabridge believes navigating the CX journey takes a holistic approach, yet common pitfalls can hamper your success.

Surveys, noted Clarabridge CEO Yuchun Lee, are a great place to start but are not the end all to be all. Customers also suffer from survey fatigue, and even if you get a large response, questions are geared to what the company wants to hear, not what the customer wants to say.

Furthermore, you’re limited in how much information you're collecting.

Another snag is either ignoring social media or having a social program that is totally disconnected from your company. Millennials are driving the bus and how you engage these clients is key.

Social dominates the touchpoints and its paramount this medium is incorporated into the heart of CX, Lee said. He also pointed out that a lot of companies are confused between measuring CX and optimizing CX.

Learning Opportunities

Listen, Analyze & Act

The keys to a strategic journey map include listening, analyzing and acting. That means collecting feedback about your customer through various means including surveys, social media and interaction.  

Once collected, it’s important to have an analytics engine in place to interpret the data correctly. That connects feedback to action. Finally, it’s critical to have the steps in place to pump the feedback as fast as possible back to your front line people.

Featured speaker Dave Leasure, United Airlines Senior Manager of Customer Insight, said his company’s success starts with listening to all sources of customer and employee feedback.

“A large part of our strategy is taking care of our employees so they take care of our customers. We listen to our employees; they are our greatest advocate,” Leasure said.

He added that businesses should pick up the littlest of tidbits from employees that can make a huge difference in your customer’s experience.

Moreover, software enhancements have made it possible to dig deeper into data than ever before, which helps a company measure in depth every step of a customer’s journey.

And it’s all about the bottom line. When every penny counts and capital expenditures have to have a payoff, correctly gathering, analyzing and implementing CX data is crucial to a company’s future success.

Worlds of CX Opportunities

It’s a great time to be a CX professional, Lee said.

More and more businesses are realizing they need to have a connected focus on understanding their customers so they can deliver experiences that exceed expectations. The key is customer-centricity, he said — and commitment to optimized, engaged experiences at every customer touchpoint.

Title image "The Venetian Las Vegas" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by dzhingarov