Extract more juice from your startup’s customer experience data

As a global business development manager and self-proclaimed data geek, I’m used to leveraging user feedback and insights from customer experience data to attract, engage and retain more customers.

My experience has taught me that customers will give you a roadmap to success – all you have to do is listen and take action. One of the best ways to uncover this juicy customer information is to use a proactive customer listening program.

While most companies monitor a variety of KPIs, collecting routine insight into data is very different from rigorous monitoring and exploration of the real customer experience (CX).

The purpose of a customer listening program is to observe how your customers use your products or services to identify missed opportunities, friction, and other information that could help drive innovation and growth.

The most important ROI in CX listening isn’t fixing bugs or revealing customer service issues, although you will undoubtedly discover some of them. The real value is in generating completely new ideas that could help your business stay ahead of the competition by making product improvements, lowering costs, improving adoption, and lowering churn.

If your organization still relies on old-fashioned feedback forms and post-purchase surveys as the primary tools for gathering customer information, you only get part of the story. Here are seven ways to improve your customer focus program and gain a competitive advantage in 2022:

1) Focus on actionable insights with maximum impact

Customer listening programs require a strategic lens. A focused and forward thinking approach yields information that answers burning questions such as: How can we beat the competition? What can we do to retain our customers? What behaviors and actions consistently predict user success? And most importantly, how can we maintain customer engagement and success while innovating?

As you scan the horizon for smart ideas, don’t forget to look for common frustrations, service gaps, and other patterns you can tackle head-on to show customers you care. For example, if your data reveals three key actions that increase the risk of customer churn by 80%, it’s time to do some more in-depth listening to determine the best churn prevention steps.

2) Listen with intention to act, then respond

It’s no surprise that customers prefer brands that are ethical, empathetic, and responsive. However, just listening to your customers is not enough. If you don’t take action on what you learn, you are losing a golden opportunity to build a deeper relationship with users by showing how much you value their feedback.

Recent CX research by Alida reveals that 95% of consumers are willing to help brands improve their Customer Experience (CX), but 75% believe brands just aren’t listening. Don’t be one of those companies. Establish a clear internal process to follow up on feedback and take action in a timely and meaningful way. Being proactive and responsive is a simple and effective way to build trust and brand loyalty and, in the long run, create a more resilient customer base.

3) be comfortable with the conversation

Technology has forever changed the way people interact with brands, and during the pandemic, the desire for in-app and live chat support has skyrocketed. Instant gratification from real-time chat and social media has replaced asynchronous email exchanges, especially while on the go. Your customers communicate with (and about) your business 24/7. Facilitating these two-way conversations is a “must” for every business.

Written and synchronous communication is both easier to monitor and what your customers want. A recent Simplified study found that the number of mainstream brands offering online chat as a customer service channel jumped 16% in less than six months, from 35% in January 2021 to 51% in May 2021. If you don’t don’t accept conversational commerce tactics to grow taller you miss. These one-on-one conversations are perfect for making personalized recommendations and offers to people who regularly find and connect with your brand.

4) Free products and services offer invaluable data insight

Top performing digital businesses closely monitor KPIs to drive revenue and growth, but surprisingly few exploit the depth of information provided by day-to-day interactions within a given tool or application. Every time a customer goes online, they reveal something important about their goals, habits, preferences and interests. Monitoring how prospects or customers use and personalize your tools gives you insight into their understanding and appreciation of their functionality.

Reduced, free and “freemium” trial periods for online services also offer a wealth of CX information, and customers are more likely to agree to be monitored at this level in exchange for access to your services. There is also a rich opportunity to inspire customers to provide more granular information by offering them higher levels of service in exchange for additional feedback.

5) Superusers give you superpowers

Superusers are essential to identify and monitor, as they often expand and test your products in ways you never even considered. For example, instead of paying a higher fee for a more feature-rich experience, many companies in Latin America choose to have a full-time employee customize the lowest level of a software service. Understanding what customers are trying to emulate is invaluable in establishing a local pricing strategy and meeting hidden customer needs. Imagine the power of super-users paving the way for future features and integration options. Or what you could create or fix for super users that would lead to greater satisfaction for all customers.

Superusers are ripe for cross-selling, upselling, and other tailored offers, and listening to them drives innovation. They are also ideal sources to tap into for in-depth customer interviews and focus groups when you want even more information to help make future product improvements.

6) search for gold nuggets using research data

Most executives don’t check what customers are looking for on their site or in the product itself. Research logs are a treasure trove of opportunities to refine your content and sales pitch. This holds true for all of your global customer base and can help you optimize your performance while providing a roadmap for a better customer experience.

Research logs are also a valuable way to determine what your customers want you don’t have – or, worse, what you have but haven’t surfaced. For example, an American consumer looking for sunglasses on Amazon might start their search using the word “sunglasses”. In contrast, a Colombian buyer on Amazon is more likely to search for sunglasses using the brand name “Ray-Ban”, and the result will be an entirely different experience.

7) Emerging markets offer even more opportunities to listen to customers

If you dream of internationalizing your business someday, technologically advanced emerging markets such as India and Latin America can be a great place to test your digital customer experience while learning about local currencies, languages. and preferences relevant to launching your business on the global stage.

Latin America is now the fastest growing e-commerce region globally, and Brazil offers a highly conversational and price sensitive market full of sophisticated buyers eager to buy from international brands and services. Their behaviors and buying habits closely mimic US-based Millennials. Global companies that invest in engaging and listening to Latin American customers will surely gain valuable local insights that can deliver phenomenal ROI for their operations across the planet.

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