Customer Experience Research Tips and Practices

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  • Lessons Learned at the Forrester Conference: “Data is the New Sexy”

    Once a year I look for an event to attend where I can learn something new and get better at what I do. This year, I attended an event hosted by customer experience research organization Forrester – the Forrester Global Council Meeting and the CXNYC2018 Forum in New York

    Usually, the big win from events like this is the opportunity to network and meet new contacts. This year, though, the Council meeting felt like school – which I loved. These are the “aha moments” I am eager to share.

    “Stop decorating. Start renovating.”

    Do not build a CX strategy that is disconnected from your business strategy, and that nobody knows. Don’t maintain a VOC program that tries to fix journeys if you never built those journeys with the customer in mind.

    And stop obsessing over NPS scores versus improving the customer experience.

    Instead, focus on your customer needs. And pa attention to what your customers perceive as value. Then, build your competitive advantage around that. Listen to your employees. Often, they have the best ideas. Create customer business value.

    Then execute, execute, execute!

    Customer Experience Research is a real thing!

    As a customer experience professional, you have a variety of tools to use to conduct customer research. Of course the tools you choose depend on your phase of discovery, and how strategic or tactical the question you are answering. Remember, the broader the question you are asking, the more qualitative your methods should be.

    At the discovery phase, when you are looking to find what problems exist, you can conduct interviews, diary studies, or ethnography. When problems are defined and you need to find the best ways to solve those problems, get more specific with surveys and usability testing.

    And, if you are looking to evaluate a solution you have built, apply A/B/multivariate testing and cognitive walkthroughs.

    “Data is the new Sexy!”

    Customer obsession is nothing more than a dream if you lack the analytics to drive it. You achieve productive customer insights only when you are able to capture and analyze data across channels. CX insight professionals need to be comfortable looking at data from online to offline channels, and they need to derive insights from known data to anonymous data.

    Customer analytics methods are interconnected. They have dependencies that must be kept in mind. It is impossible to get to customer lifetime value without a solid grasp on customer churn. Understand the sequence and educate your executives about the complexity and funding required to get end-to-end insights. Most organizations are inundated by data.

    However, they do not take the extra steps to derive insights. Unfortunately, customer experience research cannot even begin without the foundation of data strategy and execution that can inform and empower the researcher to ask the right questions.  Without data, strategy is based on opinion. But that is not enough. You need a data-led strategy to survive.

    Now start aggregating data!

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    Organizational Culture and Access to Information

    By and large, people perceive culture as an HR discipline. The most common perception is that culture covers the soft side of performance. Culture is about how you do things, not so much about what you do. This approach to culture could not be more wrong. In fact, organizational culture is about so much more than a few words in a performance review sheet.  It is about leaders expressing values, and the action guidance their cultural behaviors provide.

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    How a Personal Interaction builds Customer Loyalty

    A customer-centric methodology is key to the successful outcome of my interaction with Hello Spud. It is the reason this story appears here, and not among the CX Big Fails! The company did not send an automated response. It did not deliver a message stating “sorry we couldn’t help you, would you like something else.” Instead, the company co-founder reached out to me personally across multiple channels (a handwritten note, followed by personal emails).

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