Power User Exchange in review: Powering an insights culture

Will Mariner | Sep 23, 2016 Will Mariner 09/23/16

There’s nothing easy about putting together a best-in-class customer experience (CX) measurement program. From a technology standpoint alone, it takes back-end systems built to handle hundreds of millions of surveys each year, real-time reporting tools tailored to different roles, and a data integrity mechanism that enables brands to act with confidence.

As complicated as all of that is—and it is complicated—that’s really just the starting point. Because if the data you collect doesn’t tell you where to focus and how to act, the program isn’t built to succeed. So what else do you need?

Not just data—insights
SMG works exclusively with multi-unit organizations, many of whom have hundreds, if not thousands, of locations across the globe. In other words, they’re already among the best in the world at what they do.

SMG’s role is to help them understand where to take the next step. While it’s not uncommon for providers to take a SaaS role, where they deliver mountains of data but no direction on how to act on it, SMG takes a different path. Our core differentiator is that we uniquely combine technology and insights under one roof.

SMG’s client insights teams, supported by their advanced degree researchers, have a singular goal of getting the client all the way to action. By helping them hear from millions of customers, it’s easy to understand where they differentiate in the customer’s eyes. And by combing through that information in detail, it’s possible to pinpoint specific areas where they can drive incremental improvement to increase loyalty and sales.

A persistent insights culture
To sustain that focus on actionable insights, we started a tradition in 2013 of celebrating the partnership between SMG teams and their clients with Top Partnership Insight awards. Twice a year, we review hundreds of insights, seeking to highlight strong collaboration and real impact.

We just wrapped up our annual Power User Exchange event, which appropriately enough, was centered on helping our client partners inspire innovation and power an insights culture. On Tuesday, I had the honor of getting on stage with SMG Associate Director Emily Gates to present a whole new group of clients with their Top Partnership Insight awards.  

Top Partnership Insights_PUX 2016

A passion to know more and do better

With the winners coming from the retail, restaurant, c-store, and grocery industries, there was a lot of diversity, not just among the recipients but among the insights themselves. Whether it was using text analytics to mine customer comments or key driver analyses to better understand new touchpoints, the awards covered the full spectrum of the customer experience.

The diversity was impressive, but possibly the biggest takeaway was just how applicable the insights were to each attendee. When you bring together a group of people whose careers center around finding new and innovative ways to resonate with customers, it’s no surprise when you see how eager they are to learn from each other. It’s exciting to be around that kind of cross-pollination, and I think every year, both clients and SMG teams come away feeling re-energized by the passion of everyone in the room.

That impetus to action is a huge bonus of the Top Partnership Insight tradition. After all, the impact of any insight ultimately relies on the client acting on it. But beyond celebrating the client’s achievements, it’s also been instrumental in powering our own insights culture and keeping the organization aligned on what truly matters. We’re naturally a competitive group, and that incentive of peer recognition and client appreciation has only served as fuel to that fire.

In fact, it seems like after every Top Partnership Insight award ceremony, a client insights team will come to me and report that, together with their client, they’ve made it their goal to win the next round. I’m already looking forward to The Forum, our annual spring event, where we’ll celebrate a whole new round of insights that have successfully driven action.

I hope to see you there.

Will Mariner

   Will Mariner
   VP, Client Insights

If you’d like to learn more about how SMG helps clients get all the way to action, visit smg.com/contact-us. 

Customer Experience Update