The data is clear: 86% of buyers say they’re willing to pay more for a great customer experience. Yet for most of us, customer experience goals fall to the bottom of an already full priority list that’s focused on supporting hybrid and remote workers, upgrading legacy IT platforms and infrastructure, and integrating disparate platforms to support accurate reporting. After all, when it comes to customer experience, we can always run some ads or offer a new promotion, right?
Wrong. Nowadays, customers already know your products and services before they even reach out to you. And your current customers demand seamless, intuitive service at every step of their relationship with you.
It doesn’t matter if your organization uses SMART goals or OKRs to set goals — you must be clear about what you’re trying to accomplish. So, as we look forward to 2022, what are the top four CX goals we should be aiming for?
1. Start With the Business Goal in Mind
If you work in CX, you’re probably used to stringing together a series of emergency projects to make your existing customer experience less terrible. With all the emergencies, you likely don’t have time to sit down and plan a purposeful strategy to bring order to the madness. But without strategic planning, you can’t prioritize what activities will have the biggest impact on your customer experience — and your bottom-line metrics.
Forrester defines a CX strategy as “a plan that guides the activities and resource allocation required to deliver intended experiences that meet or exceed customer expectations in accordance with the goals of the organization.” There’s a misconception that customer experience is all about making customers happy and not about aligning with and supporting the strategic goals of the organization, whether that’s expansion in key markets or driving revenue from target segments. Part of that misconception can be driven by those of us working in customer experience. It’s fun to focus on activities that make customers happy. We like to surprise and delight our advocates. Thinking about how to drive revenue and diving into data is less exciting — but it needs to be done.
When you’re working on your 2022 strategy, be prepared to answer how your activities impact revenue, costs and other bottom-line metrics. Unless you’re using CX activities to push your organization forward, CX will continue to be siloed as marketing fluff — with the budget and priorities to match.
Related Article: Money and Mandates Aren’t Enough for Great Customer Experience
2. Get Familiar With Your Customer Health Metrics
Every CX professional claims to be customer obsessed. But to be customer obsessed, first you must be data obsessed. You should get familiar with sales metrics like net revenue retention (NRR) and gross revenue retention (GRR). NRR encompasses all revenue activity within your customer base, including expansions, downgrades and cancels, while GRR is a representation of your success in retaining your existing customers. Which is a better metric to judge your CX activities on?
The answer is both. NRR shows how well your upsell strategies are working. The cost of acquiring a brand-new customer is much higher than expanding on an existing account. So, this area should clearly receive a lot of focus. On the other hand, GRR shows how much churn is cutting into your revenue and reducing your expansion opportunities.
But for CX teams, revenue isn’t the only metric to focus on. Having a 360-degree view of customer health is vital to renewal and expansion success. Make sure you’re paying attention to product usage and product adoption metrics, as well as customer engagement, NPS, support tickets and financial metrics like late invoice payments to make sure you have a full picture of customer health.
Trying to quantify something as ambiguous as customer satisfaction or happiness can be difficult. But the longer you wait to streamline your data collection and usage, the harder it will be — and the harder it will be to transition your wider organization to being truly customer obsessed.
Related Article: Why Marketers Need to Obsess Over Net Revenue Retention
3. Put Improving Your CSAT at the Top of Your To-Do List
At least 72% of customers are likely to share their positive experiences with six other customers. Conversely, when customers are not satisfied with a brand, they are likely to share their feelings with 15 potential customers.
Most customers won’t complain when they’re unhappy. They’ll just leave. So you can’t take the absence of negative feedback as a positive indicator.
According to PwC, one in three customers will leave a brand they are loyal to after one bad experience. If you aren’t already, make sure you’re making customer satisfaction a key priority for your customer experience. Whether you’re focusing on proactive customer support activities like investing in e-learning or monitoring customer activity across social platforms, or you’re building trust through treating customers like humans, driving customer satisfaction is key.
Customers are looking for a personalized customer journey. If they feel that the experience isn’t tailored, they’re likely to leave. If you aren’t already blending digital and physical — or providing a consistent experience across digital channels — put that at the top of your 2022 to-do list.
Related Article: Are Your Customer Experience Metrics Setting You Up for Success?
4. But Don’t Forget Your Employee Experience
By this point, we’re all either familiar with or already experiencing the aftershocks of the Great Resignation. The pandemic has made employees realize they don’t have to put up with a less-than-ideal employee experience — and that includes unrealistic management expectations, micromanagement and a lack of respect.
Whether you’re trying to stem the tide of employees looking for opportunities in an increasingly hot job market, keeping employees engaged in digital transformation or looking to build engagement in an exhausted workforce, supporting your team is key. With senior leaders even more burned out and disengaged than ever, how do we support them so they can support others?
- Provide tech and talent resources. We’re expecting our leaders to do the impossible — achieve business results as well as create a great employee experience. Make sure you’re giving them the technology and talent resources to listen to and act on employee feedback. If you’re using NPS to gather feedback from your employees, are you actually acting on it? Or is it just another box to check?
- Make sure goals are realistic. Teams — and their leaders — are struggling with burnout. Be sure you’re working with your leaders to reassess goals and targets to make sure they’re realistic. 2020 was a race to adjust, and 2021 didn’t give anyone any breathing room. As we head into 2022, be sure you’re giving your top performers space to readjust goals, especially if you’re struggling to rebuild teams decimated by the Great Resignation.
- Encourage a culture of well-being. Your leaders have spent the last two years not just leading their teams, but having tough conversations about burnout, mental health and inclusion. Be sure you’re supporting them by leading tough conversations from the top. All the leadership training in the world doesn’t help if members of the executive team aren’t working reasonable hours, taking vacation and treating their mental and physical health as a priority.
Leaders are expected to take on a plethora of additional — and emotionally exhausting — responsibilities. Your employee experience directly translates into your customer experience. Make sure you’re not taking your leaders for granted.
As 2022 looms, we should all be focusing on setting our customer experience goals, regardless of our role in the organization. Be sure you’re staying up to date with technology, and you’re working with other teams to integrate CX applications with your CRM for a full 360-degree view of the customer. But regardless of what direction you choose, make sure whatever decisions you make have the customer, and their needs, front and center.
Melissa Henley is Director of Customer Experience at Laserfiche, an enterprise software company that has served the public and private sectors for over 30 years. As a marketer, customers are at the heart of all Melissa does, and her passion is around connecting people to content that can have a genuine positive impact on their lives.