Customer Experience Is More Than Just a Survey. It’s a State of Mind.

By: Max Kenkel
State of mind conceptual image

Ever stop to think about whether your brand has a customer experience program, or whether you simply have a survey? Just 12% of CX pros rated their VoC maturity as high or very high, according to Forrester’s recent “How to Build Your Voice-of-the-Customer (VoC) Program” report.

That intel stopped me in my tracks and got me thinking. With today’s emphasis on customer centricity and the efforts and investments in customer experience, what defines mature? More than that, how can brands move toward maturity en route to customer centricity? And where can they focus their efforts to get there faster?

Why Maturity Matters (& What It Has to Do With Your Survey)

If you send customers a post-interaction feedback survey, that doesn’t mean you have a CX program. It means you have a survey. What you do with resulting feedback defines maturity. A mature VoC program takes action on feedback to spur continuous improvement and build momentum inside your organization.

Related: The power of VoC surveys shouldn’t be discounted. See how one financial services brand leaned into expert survey design and generated a double-digit Net Promoter Score gain.

8 Steps to Mature Your VoC Initiatives  

If you’re in the majority of self-proclaimed immature VoC brands or know your brand’s CX could grow, look at the eight below concepts for maturing your solution and propelling your brand forward.

The strategies aren’t monumental. They’re real-world actions you can take today to start a transformation. The best part: they’ll likely cost you nothing. Ready to start making CX a state of mind?

1. Start with gradual changes.

Once a groundswell of change occurs, then work to formalize (i.e. until you need initiative funding, there’s no reason to spend time in meetings).

2. Prioritize questions with a definitive next step or action.

And, omit the other questions—at least for the short term. If you can’t identify how you’ll make an improvement or aren’t set up to fix an issue, focusing on areas in which you can make an impact allows you to create momentum for the long term.

3. Pause survey distribution until you can act on the feedback. 

If addressing customer feedback in real (or near real) time isn’t possible, reinstate the survey once it becomes possible. Though the idea might give you pause, it’s better to avoid investing in sourcing the information until you’re positioned to fix the problem. If the approach causes attrition, learn more about infusing customer appreciation tactics into your customer loyalty strategy.

4. Empower customer-centricity champions to tell their stories. 

Work to identify individuals in your organization and channel who deliver excellent customer experiences.

  • Encourage them to share their ideas with peers
  • Ask them to pilot any changes you want to make
  • Eventually, ask them to help tell your story to build internal advocacy

5. Act on existing intel. 

Instead of doing loads of additional customer research, identify customer feedback data you feel confident in today, and isolate the pieces that allow you to act now.

6. Delineate between goals and key performance indicators (KPIs). 

This is key once you begin measuring. Sales numbers are goals. Well-trained reps, well-enabled channel partners and good customer service scores are key performance indicators and the building blocks to sales. Clear understanding of the building blocks to your goals helps the entire brand focus on what matters to the customer and makes goal achievement a reality.

7. Test the value proposition. 

Before you launch any new initiative, it’s crucial to understand exactly what customers value. How else can you position the brand to exceed expectations? The takeaway here is, think critically. Before you launch that new spreadsheet tracker or new 10-step process, ask yourself how it helps the brand deliver value. If it doesn’t or is unclear, consider eliminating. Do the same for existing processes, too!

8. Seek out value-based inclusions. 

Once you identify and eliminate efforts that aren’t delivering value, fill the void with things that do. Change can be hard for internal stakeholders. But if you transition low-customer-value work and replace the time investment with meaningful work that creates customer value, you’ll have happier customers and employees.

Make CX a State of Mind Starting Today

You can take no-cost, meaningful actions yet this week, enabling you to start your brand’s maturation of customer experience. Eliminate friction and identify ways to act using the concepts above, and you’ll be well on your way.

Ready to tackle some of the more complex components? Contact ITA Group experts. When you do, you’ll be positioned to secure internal buy-in for a more mature CX program.

Max Kenkel
Max Kenkel

As Customer Solutions Manager, Max leads our Customer Solutions line, ensuring all six components of a successful loyalty program deliver for our clients. With more than ten years of experience in strategy across customer, channel and employee loyalty programs, he’s seen a lot. You’ll often hear him talk about how important data is to brands. In his words, “It’s easy to make decisions on intuition, but it’s a lot easier to justify to shareholders when you can back it up with data.” Beyond his professional passions, Max plays bass in a pop punk band, visits as many national parks as he can and is an aspiring poet, publishing his first book in 2023.