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Be a Translator for Your Customer

Be a Translator for Your Customer

No matter what organization you find yourself in, you probably will have to deal with customers at some point in your career. The needs of these customers will vary depending on the industry but the experience these customers wish to have with you will always be the exact same.

They want it to be seamless and easy. They want things to be friendly and they want to be heard when they talk to you. When feedback is given, they want to see improvement in future interactions.

This sounds obvious, but it is harder to consistently do. The reality is that the playground for customer experience (CX) is rapidly changing. Customers are more demanding than ever and expect the best, or else they will leave. According to a Zendesk survey, 95% of consumers have taken action as a result of a bad customer experience. Poor customer service is one of the major reasons for the increasing churn rate of customers. Your competition is desperate for their attention and loyalty, and will steal it away if you are not creating unique and engaging customer experience.

Due to a rise in competition across all verticals, the need to maintain stellar customer relationships is just as important as delivering innovative products. According to a MarketsandMarkets analysis, The global customer experience management market is expected to grow from an estimated $5.98 billion in 2017 to $16.91 billion by 2022 (that’s a Compounded Annual Gross Rate of 23.1%!!!). To ensure that you aren’t left behind, you must guarantee that your organization will be in stride with your customers expectations.

Netflix, Spotify, and Amazon are companies that customers latch onto because of the connection that is created through the complete experience. Whatever the touchpoint, the user’s experience is always seamless and personalized. According to Business Reporter, more than half of customers state that they would be more likely to use a retailer if they offered personalized services. In order for someone to spend their hard earned cash, they need to be convinced that their ever changing expectations will be met.

It is nearly impossible to meet those expectations without advanced analytics.

CHOOSE HOW TO LISTEN

You and your competition are most likely already collecting, analyzing, and attempting to understand customer data. There’s many creative ways to get data about your customers. You can ask them to fill out a survey, monitor their social media behavior, or pluck their head hair so you can test their DNA (For legality reasons, I’d recommend the first two data sources over the third).

Before you dive head first into the pool of technology solutions, you must first address the employee engagement in your organization. The employee is your most important customer experience management solution. A recent Gallup study reported that disengaged employees cause harm to interactions with one out of every 10 customers, deterring their continued business. One solution to this employee disengagement is allowing them to be the change makers in the organization. Giving them the power to translate the customer’s experience creates a desire to be an active participant in the company’s growth.

So instead of craving that hot new voice or text analytics technology, evaluate the personal interactions that take place between you and your customer. According to the same MarketsandMarkets analysis, the call center is the largest part (20.8% share) of the customer experience management market, and that it will continue to grow.

I work for an innovative company called Zacoustic that allows employees to become the translator for the customers they interact with. Employees using our tool predict customer sentiment for every interaction. Employee prediction accuracy is improved upon thorough comparison to actual customer feedback for the same interaction when customers respond to the organization’s existing surveys. We create real-time data that allows the employees to be active participants without hindering the customer’s experience.

Collecting and creating the data is vital to your data-driven CX strategy, but it is only the start.

UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

Data is complex and there is a lot of noise to sift through. It’s difficult to collect and combine all of the data from different touchpoints and categorize it based on customers needs and expectations. It’s critical for organizations to invest time and money into analyzing and synthesizing the data. By understanding how to predict, identify, and prioritize improvements with the structured and unstructured data, you can begin to tell a story that generates a high Return on Investment.

Even if you have people in your organization that know how to analyze and synthesize data, some decision makers will believe they need to wait until the data is perfect. It’s your job to convince them to not wait and act before it’s too late. There will always be data that is missing and usually an absolute mess. This can cause hesitation but it is crucial to roll up your sleeves and do your best to pull the data together so that you can derive insights into your customer’s behavior as soon as possible.

Big Data might be the secret sauce, but you still need people and their analytical skills to cook up the perfect dish. You might already have people that can interpret the data, but the true power lies in how you share those insights with the decision makers in the organization.

TRANSLATE WHAT YOU HEAR

Whatever data source you choose to listen and interpret your customers through, it doesn’t mean anything until you can create actionable (and repeatable) steps that help improve CX and your bottom line. It’s not about what the customer is telling you, it’s about how often you listen and react to what is said. This is often not easy for companies to do. In a recent study by SAS, only 23% of companies are able to integrate customer insights in real-time.

In order to actually change as an organization, you must convince the decision makers to focus on the ugly findings that bubble up to the surface. If you’d like to start generating value as a team member, ensure that you are able to translate those findings into opportunities and actions.

Be someone who is able to understand your customer and tell their story quickly and accurately. Becoming the source of your customer’s voice will have every department in your organization intently listening every time you speak. Many people can stop and listen to the data, make sure you are one of the few that can actually translate it into innovative CX for your company.

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on June 3, 2018.

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