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Reducing Customer Effort: A Good Place to Start!

By: Karen Sweeney, Vice President, and Member Experience, Bethpage Federal Credit Union

Karen Sweeney, Vice President, and Member Experience, Bethpage Federal Credit Union

As the focus on customer experience continues to gain momentum within both large and small organizations, the executives tasked with “owning” customer experience must consider how best to understand their customers’ interactions to help inform their CX strategy. It is important to understand the available data, and figure out the best way to tell the customers’ story and their journeys in the context of your business’ strategic focus and what is important to those stakeholders you need to help execute on the CX strategy!

An excellent place to start is to identify those journeys and the associated pain points that are of high impact and could potentially diminish your customers’ loyalty. Find the data or metrics that will help you identify where your customers’ interactions require greater than expected effort, as well as high emotional engagement with your brand. The data you need could be hiding in several places, so you should leverage multiple listening posts and your employees to help isolate your focus areas.

What are the most common listening posts?

• Voice of Customer (VOC) data: If you have a survey program in place, a great place to start is with a deep dive into your current feedback directly from customers. In our program, we ask for an effort rating on our transactional-based surveys. Typically, customers will rate you low on whatever your primary measurement is (how satisfied were you? How likely are you to recommend? X made it easy for me to complete my transaction today?) when their expectations have not been met. Upon more in-depth investigation, expectations were not met because the interaction required so much time and energy – in other words, high effort! Trending this data and associating it with your top segments/most valuable customer data can help you inform the overall CX strategy and hopefully get buy-in from those who you will need to help you improve interactions for your top customers.

"When the voice of the customer is loud and clear, there is no better way to get your stakeholders to co-create new experiences with you to help improve the customer experience"

• Social Media: For better or worse, the most irate customers who are comfortable with social media will leverage this channel to air their grievances. Many companies are still figuring out who is best to monitor this channel (Marketing? Customer Service?) Regardless of who is handling; it is important to keep tabs on what your customers are saying! Sometimes trend analysis here can help you identify early on an issue that is bubbling up, and perhaps get ahead of it!

• Escalations / Letters to Executives: For those more old school, complaining about a high effort transaction can come in via a letter (or maybe an email!) to the organization. Similar to social media, understanding the trends here can also provide valuable insights to you and your organization.

• Employees: Do not underestimate the power of talking to your employees and getting feedback on your customer experience(s). Often, employees do know where the most effort lies; they assume that someone already knows about it and is addressing it! Or they are just used to doing the workaround to make it better for the customer. Make sure you solicit employee feedback – formally or informally – regularly.

These are the listening posts leveraged within my organization – and I have found it most powerful when the same issue or trend is identified across all the listening posts. When the voice of the customer is loud and clear, there is no better way to get your stakeholders to co-create new experiences with you to help improve the customer experience. And as you work to improve that experience, higher loyalty is built amongst your most valuable customers who will encourage others to try your product or service and/or who will return to you again and again because your experience(s) are effortless!

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