Customer Experience News & Trends

6 steps to set (and meet) better customer experience goals

Everyone wants to improve the customer experience, but many don’t know where to start. This guide will help. 

More than 80% of companies expect to compete in their market mostly on the basis of the customer experience, according to Gartner research. Nearly every company thinks its experience must be better if it wants to win and keep more customers.

It can’t be done without a solid plan to improve (and the execution of the plan, of course).

Here’s what to do:

1. Define your destination

What does your success look like? Higher customer satisfaction ratings (whether that’s NPS, CSAT, CSE or anything else you rate). Increased customer loyalty. Bump in business. More customers. More online or personal interactions.

Start the journey with the end in sight.

Then get as specific as possible. Use your current metrics to see where you are and define the percentage you want to change. For instance, raise customer satisfaction ratings 9%, increase sales to existing customers 12%, obtain 200 new contracts, reduce touches by 11% or double online engagement.

Keep it in line with the company vision. Your plan will need to align with financials, sales and corporate forecasts.

2. Choose your measurement

Determine how you’ll measure success – and make sure everyone involved understands the metrics and the reason they’re the focus.

If, for example, you want to improve your NPS, talk with everyone involved in the customer experience about where it sits, how long it’s been there and what it has taken to increase it in the past. As another example, if you want to reduce customer touches, you’ll want to measure repeat contacts (calls, email, social media interactions). Then do the overview of where you sit, plus how and when it’s increased or decreased.

The more people understand about the goal and the needles you want to move, the more likely they’ll make decisions every day to meet the improvement goals.

3. Determine your tools

Improvements won’t happen doing the same thing you’ve always done with the same tools you’ve always had. You will need to change and acquire.

Improvements will involve more training, resources and/or tools. To determine what you need to improve, ask yourself and your team:

  • What is the gap between our existing experience and what we want customers to experience?
  • How well do our current processes and resources support customers?
  • Which existing tools can we use to improve the customer experience?
  • What technology, people and/or processes do we need to hit our objectives?

4. Set course

Create an action plan for hitting your success. It might involve implementing new technology, reaching out to customers more, realigning teams and/or changing processes.

Regardless of the changes you’ll need to make, people will need to be trained. Include ample time for training and re-training and ramp-up.

4. Break it down

To create buy-in and focus on the goal, break down the work into increments – achievable, manageable, measurable work within your strategy. Also allow time and flexibility to make adjustments to the strategy.

Ask these questions to determine what each increment will look like:

  • Where are we now and what did we do that contributed most to the progress?
  • What must we achieve this month to get us closer to the goal?
  • What level of involvement does each person need to have to reach the goal?
  • What actions do we need to take this month?
  • What one extra thing can we do this month to take us closer to reaching success?

5. Review regularly

You want to regularly measure yourself against the increments you’ve set to make sure you’re on the right path. If they’re monthly goals, methodically check progress weekly. Check your indicators:

  • Are numbers rising or dropping as you expected?
  • Are you moving toward full implementation in the time frame you established?
  • Are employees making and adapting to changes?
  • Are customers navigating your changes/improvements?
  • What do employees and customers think of the changes?

6. Adjust and overcome

No customer experience improvement plan will go as planned. You’ll find flaws. Some things won’t work the way you thought they would. You’ll get feedback that suggests you aren’t headed in the right direction.

That’s why it’s most important to keep track of numbers and expectations that indicate success or failure. If you consistently miss goals set for the increments, something’s not right. If customers aren’t reacting as you expected, something’s not right. Use data to determine a change in course.

Then adjust and overcome until you meet the improvement goals.

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