CX data only tells part of the story—get the whole picture with true insights

Todd Leach | Sep 17, 2019 Todd Leach 09/17/19

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about true CX insights: what they are, why you need them, and how to make sure you’re getting them. Because the truth is, if you’re measuring the customer experience, you likely don’t have a shortage of CX data—but that data doesn’t do anything on its own. In order to really understand your business and drive customer loyalty, you have to be able to translate that data into actionable insights.

In the last of this blog series, we’re taking this concept out of the abstract and applying it to the real world—to show you what a true CX insight looks like in practice and how it has the power to drive meaningful change.


What’s the problem?

For fast-casual restaurants, Speed of Service is a critical part of the customer experience and a key driver of Overall Satisfaction. So when one of our restaurant clients discovered they were underperforming on Speed of Service—they were near the bottom of SMG’s benchmark database for fast-casual concepts—they knew they had to take action. But before they could fix the problem, they had to know what was causing the slowing service.


Aha! Actionable insight uncovered

To identify the source, we used our advanced text analytics engine to analyze open-ended responses to the client's guest satisfaction survey—looking at 2,000 guest comments about Speed of Service and related subcategories and analyzing the sentiment. We found the most negative aspect of speed—in the eyes of the guest—was the time it took to pay, with 28% of guests saying something negative about the payment process.

On top of that, when guests mentioned issues with the payment process, loyalty scores were 15 percentage points lower than when guests didn’t mention it. This was significantly lower than scores when guests mentioned other subcategories related to speed. These findings told us that improving the payment process was the best way to improve on guest perceptions of speed and other loyalty measures.

To address the problem, our client tested a new process: instead of guests ordering and paying after receiving their meal, guests would now order, pay, then receive their food.


Taking it to the bank

Restaurants that implemented the new payment process quickly saw higher scores in Speed of Service, Overall Satisfaction, Likelihood to Return, and Likelihood to Recommend—without seeing a decrease in Taste of Food, which is another key driver for the client.

But it’s not just about increasing scores; it’s also about comp sales. By making this change to the payment process, the client was able to serve guests more quickly, going from four minutes per order to less than one minute per order. As a result, restaurants using the new system saw a 3% increase in sales from one quarter to the next. To top it off, the client improved in SMG’s benchmark database—moving from the bottom in Speed of Service to the top five.


The bottom line

A lot of customer experience management (CEM) vendors simply collect data and dedicate minimal resources to insight delivery. If this restaurant client only had CX data, they likely would have gathered enough information to uncover their issue with Speed of Service—but would have wasted precious time and resources trying to find the root of the problem and what to do to fix it.

A true CX insight isn’t some lofty, abstract goal. It’s a tangible deliverable—and one you should hold your CEM provider accountable for. At SMG, our mission is to provide actionable customer insights that produce results that boost loyalty and improve business performance. We don’t simply offload data onto our clients. We provide true CX insights that are:

  • Specific
  • Understandable
  • Prescriptive
  • Measurable
  • Worthwhile

For more examples of CX insights driving meaningful change, check out the interactive graphic: Insights vs. data points.


Todd Leach | Chief Client Officer

Customer Experience Update