Customer experience and employee experience management tools you need in 2021 + beyond

Todd Leach | Feb 24, 2021 Todd Leach 02/24/21

As we near the one-year mark of COVID-19 being declared a global pandemic, brands are still adjusting to the new landscape ushered in by the virus. Given COVID’s economic toll and the long-term psychological impact shaping customer + employee behaviors and expectations, brands must continue to use their experience management (XM) programs to react accordingly.

But not every XM program is created equal. To determine if yours is providing the agile, future-focused approach necessary to collect feedback, surface insights, and identify the right actions to inspire loyalty and drive bottom-line results, verify you have access to the following tools + capabilities:


Text analytics technology to highlight where expectations are lagging

There’s no such thing as a uniform brand experience. Whether it’s an influx of cleanliness-related comments due to customers’ heightened expectations of health + safety or supplier issues causing regional drops in item availability of popular pandemic products, topics vary across markets. And it can be hard to balance striving for consistency with pinpointing those specific areas of opportunity.

With a text analytics solution that provides regional views and interactive maps, you can quickly pinpoint and investigate areas of concern across your geographical footprint.

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Benchmarks to set + track brand- and location-level performance goals

If you don’t know where you stand, how can you begin to get better? Benchmarks reveal what’s really important to consumers, where your brand falls behind the competition, and where you should focus your efforts to move up.

These 3 types of benchmarks will help you put performance in perspective, get to insights faster, and make better business decisions: 

1. Quantitative survey benchmark | With access to a library of billions of data points—spanning categories, regions, and consumer demographics—you can see how you rank on different measures compared to the industry average and others in your category. This will give you a clear picture of where you are and what you’re up against.

2. Text analytics benchmark | To give you much-needed perspective on customer comments, you need a text benchmark on the data behind customers’ open-ended comments. After using text analytics to make the quantitative data qualitative, text benchmarks let you see what customers are mentioning as well as the sentiment behind their words, and how that compares to others in your industry.

3. Branded + industry benchmark | Real-time branded benchmarks give you the dynamic info you need to get ahead of the competition. With just a few clicks, you can sort the data to get insights based on demographics, regions, or time of visit. And you can learn what motivates consumers so you can see exactly where you stand among your competitors.


Employee feedback to identify + triage areas of concern

Customers aren’t the only ones with helpful feedback about your brand. Your employees are the heart and soul of your organization—and their level of engagement is directly related to the success of your company.

With a comprehensive employee experience (EX) program—one that listens across multiple touchpoints and ties results back to business outcomes—organizations can truly move the needle on engagement by identifying what matters most to employees and providing them with the continued dialogue and follow-through they need to feel heard and supported.


Action-planning tools to help managers develop, facilitate, + track action strategies

The clearer you can be with employee expectations, the better. Action-planning tools based on each location’s performance will help managers increase employee performance, customer satisfaction, and brand loyalty through solutions created from best practices for your brand.

Digital and dynamic action-planning tools help you build a program based on your brand’s needs, assign detailed actions to team members, track performance, and celebrate success. Look for these 3 functions in an action-planning tool:

1. Key driver analysis | Aligning action plans with key drivers allows your locations to focus efforts where they matter most. Every location’s current and past-quarter performance should be measured in tandem with weighted, brand-level key drivers—illuminating Areas for Focus or Areas of Success based on whether the issue directly influences overall satisfaction, measures noticeable changes from the previous quarter, or attains lower or higher scores than the national brand average.

2. Plan development | By identifying each location’s top two Areas for Focus, managers have key areas to address each quarter. By accessing the automated planning tool, managers can then turn this data into a customized plan with time-bound, measurable goals and clear responsibilities.

3. Plan execution | As the direct line to your front line, managers implement a plan and engage teams to complete assigned actions within the specified timeline. With access to an intuitive reporting dashboard, they can view progress at a glance and gain tips for motivating the team.


Take the next step to future-proof your brand

As organizations continue to adjust to the changed landscape and heightened expectations of consumers amid COVID-19, one of the most crucial next steps is implementing a future-focused strategy to managing customer + employee experiences.

SMG's exclusive Interactive XM Playbook, which features a 3-phased strategy map + personal status tracker, helps brands keep pace with evolving customer + employee expectations—optimizing your experience management program to navigate uncertainty with precision and emerge a stronger brand.

Download your complimentary copy here.


Todd Leach | Chief Client Officer

Customer Experience Update