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Proving CX program value: More than the bottom line

Kelcey Curtis | Oct 17, 2017 Kelcey Curtis 10/17/17

Being a customer experience (CX) professional can be tough at times. Native to the world of big data and tasked with thinking big picture, you walk a fine line between the granular and the grandiose, constantly looking for ways to translate terabytes to insights.

In an ideal world, those insights have a clear, visible impact on business results—and if you’re looking for ways to articulate that impact, you can check out our blog on that topic here. But in the real world, things aren’t always that simple. And when bottom-line linkage gets blurry—whether it’s due to internal factors like low sample at the unit level or external factors outside your control—you still have to find ways to show your program is effective and the data is reliable. We’ve got some ideas to get you started.

Cross-check your CX data with employee engagement measures

Our research methodology is rooted in The Service Profit Chain, which states that engaged employees lead to happy customers, and happy customers lead to higher sales. Even if the sales component gets a little unclear from time to time, linking your employee engagement to customer satisfaction is a powerful way to validate both programs.

For instance, it’s no surprise that high employee turnover corresponds with lower CX scores, particularly for service attributes like Staff Knowledge and Availability of Assistance. It’s also no surprise that less engaged employees are more likely to leave. By comparing the least engaged locations to the most engaged, one of our clients saw that guest Overall Satisfaction was 2 percentage points higher and turnover was 18 percentage points lower at the most engaged locations. Getting that kind of front-line view from both sides of the register shows the programs are related and enables you to make a stronger case for continued investment.

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Investigate location attributes to put the numbers in context

When scores vary across locations, it’s easy to chalk it up to employee performance—but that’s not always the case. Sometimes there are larger factors at play. Linking location attributes to CX scores can pinpoint those factors and help you fine-tune your brand’s ongoing strategies.

For example, one SMG client focused on changes in scores following location remodels and broke out improvements by different areas (restroom, fitting room, store, and ease of locating departments). When you’re allocating resources to large-scale projects like remodels, it’s a lot easier to get buy-in and justify decisions by basing them on specific data points like that.

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Pair CX results with social channels to ensure they tell a cohesive story

Once upon a time, consumer word of mouth could make or break your brand reputation. That’s actually still true, but now it’s more about word of web. With 90% of typical US consumers reading online reviews before making a purchase decision, the customer voice is traveling further and faster than ever. To make sure those public-facing reviews tell the true story, pair the data with your CX survey results.

If the star ratings and reviews line up with how location CX scores, like in the example below, you know your program is producing valid results and customers are getting an accurate read when they search your brand online. Combining ratings and review data with your CX scores can also:

  • Add another layer of feedback for a more comprehensive close-the-loop process
  • Enable you to search reviews + comments for common operational themes
  • Demonstrate to the front lines that their performance impacts public perception

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Bottom line:

An effective CX program absolutely should drive financial results—but when outside factors complicate that connection, there are other ways to demonstrate program value. To learn a few more methods, download our white paper: 7 ways to validate your CX program (that will also drive your bottom line).

Kelcey Curtis, MA
Research Manager