Not long ago, a travel website ran an ad that caught my attention. It starts with a lovely image of sun-dappled waves lapping softly against pristine, powdery sand – the kind of scene of which vacation dreams are made. Then, the camera pulls back and as the view widens it reveals mounds of trash, crowds of people, and a clamor of car horns and jackhammers. The obvious point is that you need all the information you can get before you choose a vacation destination.
Whether booking a trip, buying a laptop, relocating to a new city, or taking a new job, most of us gather all information possible. We’re not going to spend thousands and trust the outcome to a single input such as a photo of a beach. That makes sense, right?
Yet when an executive looks at, for example, a low CSAT score for their call agents, it is all too common to assume that there is an agent problem or coaching shortfall to address. What if the underlying issue lies outside the boundaries of that particular snapshot? Maybe the agent did a great job solving the customer’s problem, but the customer used the survey to vent their residual frustration with a troubling website experience.
Leaders can only make decisions based on the information presented to them. They, in turn, rely on people to prepare that information – people who have an incentive to offer the most accurate, and possibly favorable, metrics to describe their particular slice of the business. They provide answers to pertinent questions such as: How is the website performing? How is the mobile app performing? Is the IVR getting the job done?
Those are useful questions for improving each of those channels individually, but not for understanding the entire, unified picture of the customer experience. Which is a problem because customers don’t care how channels are organized or measured within your business. They increasingly expect a perfect customer experience, regardless of who or what they are interacting with within your brand.
When information is incomplete, decision makers find themselves in a catch-22, making a decision based on the information they have. With more comprehensive data, their decisions would be better informed and, ultimately, different.
To their credit, more companies recognize that providing a good experience is as essential, and in some cases more important, than any particular product or service offer. If a low-cost IVR service is irritating customers, the hit to customer experience is not worth the savings. At the same time, building an award-winning mobile app might improve the KPI for a particular channel, but it doesn’t mean customers are actually satisfied.
The best decisions for improving customer experience, or choosing a travel destination for that matter, are reached when the decision maker takes into account the most comprehensive, related, contextualized information available. This ensures that decision makers have the perspective they need: a broad view that takes in the entire breadth of what customer’s experience with a brand. This big picture makes it possible to see optimization opportunities, which might not be visible from an up-close, channel-level point of view.
Why does this matter? When it comes to measuring success, corporate objectives don’t get more fundamental than growing revenue and reducing costs. Today’s most successful businesses embrace the relationship between these measures and customer experience. Improved customer experience can lead to revenue growth through loyalty and increased sales. Costs can be reduced by eliminating broken processes that drive customers out of digital channels into more costly channels (not to mention preventing churn), which also improves customer experience.
Improving customer experience represents tremendous bottom-line opportunities. Incremental improvements positively move the needle on the holy trinity of business objectives: revenue growth, customer satisfaction and cost reduction. That’s why it is essential that decision makers truly have the best available information – a wide lens that considers all relevant interactions across channels – to lead their companies to the perfect beach that aligns with their vision and goals.