Transforming CX Trends into Tangible Business Benefits

Are you planning to enhance your customer operations this year? It's one thing to be aware of the latest consumer trends, but the real value lies in effectively implementing them.

Fortunately, Qualtrics recently published a whitepaper outlining a three-step methodology — investigate, collaborate, and validate —to understand what these trends mean for your business and how to leverage them for transformative results in your customer operations.

For example, Qualtrics' 2024 Global Consumer Trends report has identified four key, data-driven insights for customer experience:

  • Human connection is the foundation of a winning AI strategy 
  • Great service beats low prices in retaining customer loyalty 
  • Digital support remains a critical weak point in the customer journey 
  • Consumers don’t give feedback like they used to, so companies must listen in new ways

These insights are prompts for action, not complete solutions. Effectively translating these trends into beneficial changes requires a focused, clear approach that we will dive into below! 

Step 1: Investigate what the latest customer service trends mean for you

This step is all about adding context to customer behavior.

Why Is This Step Important? 

You don't need expert-level knowledge to play chess, but understanding how the pieces move is essential. Similarly, grasping consumer trends is critical for pinpointing improvement opportunities, but it's equally important to focus on what's most relevant to your organization when taking action. Without this due diligence, there’s a risk of wasting  time, energy, and staff resources.

How Can You Do This Effectively?

To do this effectively, it's vital to delve into the specific metrics that are significant for your business. Not all metrics are equally informative; some provide deeper insights than others. Merging operational metrics with experiential data can uncover insights that isolated data points might miss. For instance, is there a correlation between customer effort score and average spending? You'll only discover this by analyzing the appropriate data.

First, start by addressing some crucial questions concerning the metrics your organization regularly tracks:

  • Do Your Stakeholders Value These Metrics?
    • If they don't, why is that the case? It could be that the metric isn't significant, or perhaps the importance of the metric hasn't been communicated effectively.
  • What Are the Key Measurements That Gain Universal Support?
    • Which KPIs are able to bridge departmental divides and bring together various teams? Are all teams using the same tools to track these KPIs?
  • How Frequently Are Metrics Discussed?
    • Regular discussions about key metrics can be an effective way to highlight what’s truly important for your organization, fostering a better understanding across different areas of your business.

Next, evaluate how current trends apply within your organization:

  • Identify Metrics That Reflect Expected Changes in Customer Behavior
    • For example, if the trend indicates that digital support is a weak point in the customer journey, how does this manifest in customer behavior metrics?
  • Conduct a Metrics Audit Within Your Organization
    • Are you already monitoring the customer behaviors likely to be influenced by these trends? If so, make sure you have proper access to this data. If not, figure out how you might approximate these behaviors. Reevaluate any metrics that do not align well with operational or financial indicators.
  • Assess the Relevance of Trends to Your Organization
    • Are you experiencing considerable customer churn due to poor service experiences? Does a large part of your support inquiries stem from ineffective digital support? Consider the potential costs these issues are imposing on your business.

This analytical approach will help pinpoint the trends that are most critical for your business and understand why consumer behavior is evolving as it is.

What Does Success Look Like?

Succeeding at this stage involves analyzing how these trends impact your organization, as reflected by your customers' behavior. It's crucial to understand why specific stakeholders use certain metrics, even if these don't seem to align perfectly with overall performance. Establishing consensus before making significant changes to your measurement systems will help garner support and build goodwill as you prepare to implement changes through your new insight-to-action framework.

Essentially, this means focusing on insights that could challenge established assumptions. For instance:

  • Customers who pay full price are x% less likely to churn compared to those who use pricing promotions.
  • Customers who experience poor customer support are x% more likely to churn than those with satisfactory encounters.
  • x% of support volume comes from customers who attempted to resolve issues through a digital support portal but were unsuccessful.

For example, an online retailer that traditionally prioritized discount promotions over investing in contact center resources might discover that enhancing customer support is a more effective strategy for boosting customer retention.

Step 2: Collaborate for organization-wide alignment and impact 

This step is all about bringing teams together to build new solutions. 

Why Is This Step Important?

Progress is limited when everyone is going in different directions. Disparate strategies and scorecards hinder sustainable change. Without broad organizational support, valuable insights go unnoticed, impacts remain confined to silos, and potential is left unfulfilled. In contrast, collective buy-in is exponentially more valuable. The larger and more inclusive the team, the greater the impact. Whether you lead a contact center, a digital experience team, or manage physical locations, it's your responsibility to unite all parties and integrate their efforts.

How Can You Do This Effectively? 

Survey the business landscape and build your ideal team. The goal is to identify team members who are invested in the key metrics identified in the initial step—those already enhancing customer experience and others whose involvement is crucial for making substantive improvements. This group should span a variety of departments and areas of expertise, including pricing & promotions, marketing, customer service, digital sectors, product teams, financial planning and analysis, sales, and account management, among others. For instance, if you're exploring whether superior customer experience outweighs aggressive pricing strategies in your business, you’ll need insights and collaborative efforts from individuals in pricing, marketing, and customer service.

The crucial next step: Once all the necessary stakeholders are convened, the objective is to reach consensus on a strategy to act upon the insights gathered.

To effectively evaluate and prioritize these approaches, concentrate on solutions that are:

  • Feasible Given the Available Resources
    • Is the solution realistically achievable within a reasonable timeframe? Does it comply with any external pressures, such as regulatory requirements?
  • Sustainable
    • While one-time actions are possible, lasting improvements typically require changes to existing processes, budgets, and effort allocations.
  • Aligned with Your Brand Values
    • For instance, if your brand is recognized as a premium provider, excessive discounting may clash with your brand identity. Conversely, if your brand targets the mass market, highly personalized and customized experiences might not align with your brand's broader strategy.

What Does Success Look Like?

When you’ve done this well, you’ll arrive at a bulletproof statement that all of your key stakeholders agree on:

Step 3: Validate Evidence for Executive Buy-In 

This step is all about building a case for CX-improving action. 

Why Is This Step Important? 

Gaining support from senior leadership is crucial, as implementing changes that enhance the customer experience often involves reallocating resources, adjusting budgets, and integrating new software and personnel. It's not a task that can be handled alone or by a single department. Senior stakeholders typically appreciate an approach that includes: 

  • Detailed action plans that specify needed resources
  • Accountability measures through Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)
  • Company-wide awareness and consistent reporting
  • Clearly defined impacts on both departmental and organizational levels
  • Concrete evidence demonstrating the potential success of the initiative

It's essential to use what you've learned so far to construct a robust case, one that convincingly demonstrates the effectiveness of the proposed solution and instills confidence in your ability to execute it.

How Can You Do This Effectively? 

An effective method for collecting compelling evidence is to conduct a controlled experiment with a hypothesis test using a control group and a treatment group. The control group will continue with the current approach, while the treatment group will experience the new changes that have been agreed upon in step 2 two. 

The insights gained from this experiment will form the basis of your argument for executive support. If conducted successfully, you'll have proven the necessity for changes and demonstrated that these modifications can have a significant impact.

What Does Success Look Like?

If your assumptions are correct, you'll end up with robust evidence to support the statement we outlined earlier:

This approach may seem straightforward, but its simplicity is powerful. If you've diligently applied your insights to create a business impact, your customer experience strategy will be compelling and difficult to overlook.

And keep in mind: Evidence is most effective when it's fresh. Build your case with the latest data and present it with your collaborators while it's still relevant.

What’s Next?

In Short: Execute, Test, Learn, Iterate, Validate, Repeat. 

The reality is that customer experience is an ever-evolving challenge—it's a continuous, iterative process that demands flexible strategies and a constant awareness of changing dynamics.


You Might Also Like

The 2024 CX Landscape: Navigating Through AI Innovation

In an era where technological advancement is relentless, the realm of CX stands on the cusp of a revolution, primarily driven by artificial intelligence (AI).

Read more →
The Power of Alignment: A Deep Dive into the CX-EX Fusion Trend

Organizations are recognizing the interconnected relationship between Customer Experience (CX) and Employee Experience (EX), integrating them into one strategy.

Read more →
How GPT-4 Is Revolutionizing Customer Service

You may have heard of GPT-4, but did you know that it's actively being used by support teams to automatically resolve customer requests?

Read more →
View All Articles