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Gino participates in Lenati’s Foundations Training (Pictured Center)

At Lenati we value passion, inspiration, authenticity, innovation, and camaraderie. These ideals are something all Lenatians are encouraged to strive towards.  At the first company meeting of 2018 we presented five Lenatians with value awards, representing each of these values. Learn about these outstanding Lenatians who uphold these values and truly represent what it means to be a Lenatian:

Chris dresses up for Halloween (Pictured Center)

Consultant Gino Alberto received the spirit of passion award because of his commitment to Lenati and ability to think beyond the now. Gino has worked on a variety of projects focusing on high-tech software, entrepreneurship, and sales enablement. But beyond his day-to-day work, he has been committed to improving Lenati internally from recruiting and business enablement to workplace culture.

To be inspiring is to cause people to want to do or create something or lead better lives. Manager Chris Sullivan lives this out every day at Lenati, which is why he received the spirit of inspiration award. He is known for the positive attitude and humor he brings to everyday work along with his ability to stay cool under pressure. Anyone who works under Chris will tell you that having him as your leader will make even the most mundane tasks exciting and relevant.

Esther at the most recent Lenati Happy Hour (Pictured Left)

Senior Consultant Esther Edney always brings her most authentic and true self to her work. Though she came to us from down under, Esther has fit right in (and not just because she provides the Tim Tams). With her bright attitude and honesty, Esther brings her best self to work. She is unafraid to ask difficult questions and brings meaningful solutions to the table.

Digital Experience Manager Allison Forrester was presented with the spirit of innovation award. Driven by a life-long curiosity to understand why and how, Allison puts people at the center of everything she does. Innovation requires a willingness to challenge what is and imagine what could be, Allison does exactly this. At Lenati, you must be prepared to experiment, and potentially fail, Allison is always prepared to learn, take risks, and embrace curiosity and diversity.

Can you guess who Allison is dressed as for Halloween?

Erin and Mary brought this cake into the office to celebrate their year at Lenati.

Senior Consultant Erin Popelka and Manager Mary Fritz both started at Lenati in January of 2017 and have been two peas in a pod ever since. Because of this they were presented with the spirit of camaraderie award. Beyond their work at T-Mobile and Microsoft, they keep Lenati exciting by playing pranks on their fellow Lenatians and designing elaborate treats. They are an example of what it means to truly enjoy your colleagues, Mary and Erin are great ambassadors of the Lenati spirit.

We are proud of the talent and heart Gino, Chris, Esther, Allison, Mary, and Erin bring to Lenati. Thank you for being a part of our amazing team and truly embodying the spirit of passion, inspiration, authenticity, innovation, and camaraderie.

The post Lenati Value Awards appeared first on Lenati.

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Recently, a major retailer asked Lenati to assess its loyalty rewards program, which had first launched in the late 1990’s. By one metric—retention rate—the retailer’s program was still successful. But the program was failing to drive a large share of wallet, and execs wanted to know why.

Because the program had existed for so long, reports didn’t incorporate new data sets captured by more modern loyalty programs (for example, customer profiles or browsing behavior). However, even basic transactional data dating back to the 90’s revealed major opportunities to increase share of wallet and improve customer lifetime value. The answer to the problem lied within the data the retailer already had.

Even with large, sophisticated brands, we see a failure to feed data from existing rewards programs back into the design of the program itself. Even a few simple data analyses can multiply the effects of successful incentives, and reveal otherwise unnoticed places to respond to customer needs.

Answering the following questions will reveal several quick ways to use data for a rewards program refresh—and the right analysis to help you get there.

Are you driving the right behaviors? Well-designed rewards programs can incentivize behaviors like frequency and shopping across channels, but is your program targeting the behaviors that can best influence profit? Which behaviors correlate to your top spenders? Where are your biggest moments of attrition?

In the retail example above, a “survival curve” of members showed many first purchasers never returned to make a second purchase—an expected “one and done” problem. More interestingly, still fewer customers made a third purchase, which was new information. But after the third purchase, customers would remain loyal shoppers. For this retailer, refreshing the program with incentives to visit the store again after the second purchase has the potential to further reduce churn.

Are you rewarding the right people? Tiered loyalty programs often reward an extremely small group of their very best customers while ignoring the very good customers. For example, another company’s tier structure was rewarding the 3% of customers who represent 10% of their revenue. By analyzing the customer spend distribution over possible alternate tier structures, we discovered they could shift their approach to instead reward the 30% of customers who represent 55% of their revenue, making a major profit impact for a relatively small added cost.

What’s the customer experience like? Even before you survey rewards program members for their opinions, transactional data from loyalty programs can reveal gaps in the program experience. For example, how many customers stay within your loyalty program tiers? Analyzing transaction data at the customer level revealed churn rates out of the top tier: Almost two- thirds of members who earned top-tier status failed to achieve the same status the following year—and nearly 10% of the top tier members (and biggest spenders) never returned to shop at all. Program design can address this issue by lowering the tier spend threshold, or by specifying different requirements to maintain a tier status than those needed to earn it.

What’s the financial impact of changing the program? Refreshing or redesigning an existing rewards program offers a more predictable ROI than designing a program from scratch. Existing member transaction data can help you predict how real customers will react to benefits more effectively than just making assumptions with personas. And you can adjust program response rates and costs by customer segment, since customer groups will take advantage of benefits in different ways and at different frequencies. We’ve developed an ROI Simulator to test the financial impacts of various program adjustments and quickly compare several program options side-by-side, revealing the optimal combination of benefits for real-world customers.

Finally, are you getting the right data? A program refresh is a great time to review the way you are collecting data. Which key business questions can’t you answer right now? What information is missing that you wish you had? Do you have a database that maps to other databases? Now is the time to build data capabilities in IT for the next round of improvements.

Re-designing a customer loyalty program? Be sure to check out Lenati’s New Methodology for Predicting ROI of a Loyalty Program: Using customer and data-driven simulation to more accurately project how a loyalty program will perform in the future.

The post Mine Your Data Before You Change Your Loyalty Program   appeared first on Lenati.

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This is the first in our series on Emotion Design in CX. Read the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in this series next.

Designing for emotion is becoming an increasingly important element of customer experience. Whether conscious or not, customers make many of their decisions based on how they feel, by their emotions. In fact, over 50% of the customer experience involves emotion.* According to Harvard Business Review, emotion is a key driver of the most profitable customer behavior, influencing customer spend, loyalty, advocacy and customer lifetime value more than any other single driver. Emotion can also be a predictor of business results. For example, an increase in customer fees may cause a temporary uptick in revenue, but uncovering customer’s emotions at the time will likely predict a fall-off in the next business cycle.

In the past, organizations believed emotion to be subjective and unpredictable, making it too difficult to measure and harness as a way to design experiences. However, customer research has proved this to be a myth. In fact, Forrester notes that emotional responses are predictable, just governed differently than traditional business metrics. Companies are now realizing the powerful influence of emotions within customer experience, and using emotional connection to attract and retain their most valuable customers. Emotional connection is the level at which a customer fully connects with a brand. According to HBR, fully connected customers are 52% more valuable than satisfied ones because they spend more money, more often, and advocate for the brand at much higher rates than average customers.

Emotion is an impactful undercurrent of customer experience that businesses should not only design for, but also incorporate into their CX strategy to grow customer connection and loyalty. Emotion-based experience design is fairly nascent, presenting an opportunity to test and learn, and tap into an under-served area as a new source of competitive advantage. By focusing on emotion as a key element of CX (how interactions make customers feel), your business can better understand customer needs, improve brand interactions, and ultimately increase customer value.

For a comprehensive view on the value of customer connection, download The Ultimate Guide to Customer Engagement.

*Source: DNA of Customer Experience, Colin Shaw

The post The Case for Emotion in CX appeared first on Lenati.

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The dreaded customer satisfaction survey.

Designed as a tool for organizations to test customer brand loyalty, the satisfaction survey has morphed into a completely different beast. Ironically—in the drive to understand the customer’s experience—there has been great oversight in creating a positive experience in how that customer feedback is captured. Customers are asked for feedback on almost every brand touchpoint. The consequence is that customers become tired and irritated by the brands they want to love and that fragile relationship hovers on the verge of permanent damage. That begs the question: How do you assess and measure customer health over time—while also creating a positive experience for your customers now?

Lenati recently facilitated a workshop with CX research analysts from Forrester Research and senior-level marketing leaders across travel, retail, healthcare, and tech industries. Here are some common themes discussed in the session:

 Creating a CX Focused Culture: Respect the Metrics

For CX metrics to have real meaning, there needs to be understanding of and respect for what the metrics are trying to measure. This mindset begins with leadership defining the intended customer experience, making the necessary investments in the business to maintain and grow its CX, and then to evangelize this mindset throughout the organization.

One number doesn’t fully communicate an experience and chasing a perfect score is meaningless if employees are not incentivized to create great experiences. If you’re not getting the results you want from your CX program, talk to your customers and find out why.

Voice of the Customer Programs: Evolve or Destroy Your Customer Relationship

Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs have been used for years to help brands collect customer feedback about their experiences, products, services, and expectations. However, without proper consideration, a VoC program is not always effective and can often miss the point, as described earlier with customer satisfaction surveys. Instead of generating engagement between the brand and the customer, the ubiquity of these programs places demands on the customer which harm the delicate customer/brand relationship. As these VoC programs mature, they need to evolve. There’s no easy fix and challenges remain in all phases of CX, ranging from collecting and analyzing data, to reporting and acting on customer feedback. However, a successful company must face these challenges, integrate these data views, and act. Organizations that can create stellar customer experiences using their data will continue to thrive despite heavy competition.

What are the Right Metrics?

An effective customer measurement approach gives companies insight into the quality of their customer experience and direction on how to improve it. It is important to choose the right metrics to measure the right parts of your customer experience.

  • Specific customer interaction metrics reveal opportunities for improving end-to-end customer experience and reducing pain points.
  • Customer journey metrics show companies how to integrate touch points across their customer journey.
  • Customer relationship metrics help predict customer behavior.

The danger in metrics is that they can easily become singular points of reference. Customers experience your brand as a whole, so CX initiatives should not be a siloed effort in any organization. Similarly, the metrics and KPIs that support these efforts should not be siloed. Often individual departments use their own KPIs to view the customer, but these department-level KPIs can cause conflicting priorities within an organization. As different departments see different slices of data, perspectives of the customer can emerge that are overlapping, or even in conflict, but still correct. This leads to our next point.

A Successful CX Program Requires Involvement from the Whole Company

It is the primary role of the CX executive to distribute the customer experience responsibility and establish a customer centric mindset throughout the company. CX programs are often designed by one team (e.g. Marketing) and executed by another (e.g. Operations)—but instead of a continuous feedback loop to advance a CX program based on data and learnings from the implemented program, it becomes siloed and improvement stalls. It is critical to engage all employees in developing a great customer experience – both customer facing and non-customer facing.

For example, digital experiences are different than physical experiences, and putting engineers in direct contact with your customers to get feedback can create a different kind of empathy and build a better customer experience from an engineering perspective than giving them indirect feedback based on survey data. Companies that have employed this kind of customer research have made great strides in developing customer centric products.

Don’t Bombard Customers: Use Indirect Approaches to Listen to Your Customers

There are tools available to organizations to better understand their customer’s experience outside of traditional customer feedback surveys. Social listening studies monitoring brand properties and non-brand properties (like message boards) can help companies understand what customers are saying about them as well as their competition. Brands can index advocacy/detractor statements and people’s real behaviors vs. market share. These assessments are a non-invasive way to “listen to” your customers.

Customer Experience is inherently complex. There is no single metric that fully communicates an experience and there is no single person at a company who can be fully responsible for all customer experiences. But, if brands keep the experience of the customer at the forefront of their thinking, use VoC programs to capture real information and the right metrics, use social listening to understand what their customers are really saying, and create a CX focused company culture, they will thrive amidst heavy competition.

The post From Voice of the Customer to Customer Health appeared first on Lenati.

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As brands seek to remain relevant and deliver value to their customers in the digital age, customer engagement has become a focal point on the agenda. Marketers now know that engaged customers buy more, spread more word of mouth, and are more satisfied and loyal. A recent Loyalty Driver Modeling Poll conducted by Lenati found that 96% of marketers agree that customer engagement drives business performance.

Highly engaged customers gain more value from your core offering and will devote their own time and effort to creating value on behalf of your brand. Brands that invest in a well-thought-out customer engagement program are seeing meaningful business results through co-designed products or services, user-generated content, grassroots publicity, and broad brand reach.

To get to these kinds of results, you need a well-designed and managed engagement strategy—not just a collection of ad-hoc tactics.

In our experience working with clients, we have identified five key steps to developing an effective customer engagement program:

1. Align The Organization

The strongest customer engagement programs don’t rely only on individual marketing touch points. They leverage the entire customer experience as a continuum for customers to deepen their relationship with the brand.

This “continuum of engagement” will require a cross-functional team across the company—marketing, product, customer service, etc.—to develop and execute a seamless customer engagement program regardless of channel or stage in the customer life cycle.

Executive support is critical at the early stages—helping secure resources, selecting members of the cross-functional team, and establishing a chain of command. An effective practice when selecting program sponsors is to find an executive champion outside of marketing who will co-sponsor the initiative along with the CMO.

Furthermore, a critical step in this phase is to define what “engagement” means for your brand. In the same Loyalty Driver Modeling Poll, Lenati found that only four out of 10 marketers believe that their organizations have an agreed-upon definition of “engagement.”

2. Design Your Strategy

After gaining executive support and buy-in from key teams, you’ll want to develop an overarching strategy for your customer engagement program. Not only should this strategy be aligned to key organizational objectives, it should provide a guide for the relationship your brand wants with customers. It should outline the value your customers will get from engaging with you, identify your business goals for the program, establish measures of success, and present a plan for tapping customers’ key motivations to engage.

In this phase, you’ll hypothesize a “theory of engagement” for your program: which types of engagement activities deliver the most results and which emotions these activities should tap into to drive customer behavior. This ideation process is a valuable part of aligning the team around the objectives of the engagement program. You should validate and refine your hypotheses using data, insights, and driver modeling.

The outcome of the strategy phase will be a customer engagement ladder that depicts a customer’s journey toward high levels of engagement with your brand. Your ladder should be designed to realize increasing value for your customers. A well-designed engagement ladder becomes the architecture that supports tactics and campaigns.

3. Develop Tactics


A customer engagement program needs to operate seamlessly across channels. To maximize value, it should be consistent and synced, regardless of where a customer engages. Since today’s customer expects always-on, personalized, and unified experiences from brands, it’s critical to offer the right engagement opportunities—tailored to each customer—across all channels: mobile, web, social, and physical.

Of particular importance, mobile is one of the most powerful platforms available to brands. Even very simple mobile engagement produces strong impacts on both web and physical engagement, as well as on sales. In addition, depending on your industry or business, social media offers multiple opportunities to facilitate and encourage customer engagement.

Online and traditional advertising, loyalty programs, brick and mortar locations, and customer service also offer engagement opportunities. They should be optimized to put customers on the engagement path and help them move up the ladder over time. These programs can act as feedback loops to help route customers back onto the engagement ladder over and over, regardless of where they interact with the brand.

4. Pilot And Scale

When preparing to introduce new components of an engagement program, build in the discipline to filter ideas and test them with customers to prove their value. Testing techniques that have been effective for our clients include agile pilots, A/B testing, and cohort analysis.

Once a new program has been validated and optimized through piloting, it’s time to scale. Scale requires putting the right processes and systems in place to offer and manage each new program for the broader market.

5. Measure And Manage

The measurement strategy should provide leaders and teams the information needed to make smart business decisions and optimize the engagement program. When determining what to measure, it’s important to identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter most and find ways to streamline information so the critical insights come clearly to the surface in actionable ways.

A challenging but valuable exercise is to develop a customer engagement score—combining multiple behavioral measures of engagement into one KPI. Increases in this score can be linked to improved sales and other business results, helping quantify the ROI and value of your engagement program. Furthermore, customer engagement scores can also contribute to predictive customer lifetime value models.

Other sophisticated methods of customer engagement measurement can produce what we call “magic numbers:” flags that call out critical behaviors requiring action, such as flags that indicate “at risk” customers who are likely to churn and need reactivation or “ready to advocate” individuals who should be recruited into advocacy programs or provided with special referral offers.

Customers today decide when and how to interact with brands or whether to ignore a brand entirely. A customer engagement program is essential to capture and retain customers—not just their dollars, but also their respect, affinity, excitement, and willingness to spread word of mouth.

Now is the time to think through this process and deepen your relationship with customers—and in return your brand will increase satisfaction, loyalty, reach, and sales.

For tips on how to drive revenue, retention, and reach through customer engagement, download “The Ultimate Guide to Customer Engagement”.

The post 5 Musts For A Successful Customer Engagement Program appeared first on Lenati.

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Can a Data Management Platform (DMP) Accelerate Your Digital Marketing?

E-commerce has replaced store openings at the center of retail growth strategy. According to PWC, almost 75% of all retail growth since 2000 has occurred online. As more commercial traffic moves online and more of that online traffic moves to mobile devices like phones and tablets (or phablets for the hopelessly indecisive), retailers are failing to fulfill the promise of big data. They are often unable provide a more personalized experience to their online shoppers.

For brands that obsess about the customer experience and make it a cornerstone of their in-store differentiation, efficient digital marketing tactics seem worlds away. All the accumulated personal, tribal, and institutional knowledge of a retail sales engine isn’t worth much when the records are disparate, uncoordinated and removed from other marketing functions. This doesn’t even take into account that many retailers see between 50-90% of their website traffic as anonymous users. Marketo estimates that up to 98% of all internet traffic is anonymous.

A DMP can begin to unwind some of the anonymity and, with other processes and tools, create a better experience for digital shoppers and visitors.

How do I translate the customer-centric values of the store to the digital landscape?

First, make better use of the data you already have. The information you collect about your customers from transactions, loyalty programs, and even customer service interactions like returns, can be used to build a detailed data set of your current customers. Their demographics, customer lifetime value (assuming you’ve defined CLV for your business) and product preferences can help you go beyond segments to find audiences for your marketing.

This information isn’t just about improving your own lifecycle marketing and activating customers who aren’t shopping as much as they should, but also about finding more prospective customers who resemble your current stable of high value deciles and who would respond to your brand. In other words, don’t just acquire any old customer – get the ones most likely to be loyal, high value customers.

Locating such prospects requires you to access the vast pool of third party data available in online marketplaces. Companies like Experian, Nielsen and many retailers have all compiled anonymized (but individual) data points on millions of shoppers. Like the old Dewey Decimal System, once you know where to look and how customer attributes are categorized, you can find well matched audiences for your marketing.

How do DMPs help?

DMPs attack both the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of digital marketing by organizing your own data and third party data into attributes and building audiences, which can be controlled and syndicated to online media publishers. This puts you in control and the customer at the center of your campaigns.

The cost savings from DMPs, especially at volume, can be enormous*. Even organizations running modern digital marketing tactics, like retargeting, can see a 20-30% savings in their spending, depending on their willingness to align data sources and enforce the discipline the DMP enables.

For example, retargeting, a common digital marketing tactic designed to expose shoppers to a curated selection of items they viewed on a brand’s website, is driven by coarse targeting mechanisms and shows little restraint when it comes to frequency. Woe to the shopper who clicks on the pair of avant-garde platform boots out of artistic curiosity. You’ll have fifty or a hundred impressions all across your web browser to help you contemplate their aesthetic quality.

Those wasted impressions are expensive mistakes. While the average cost of a thousand impressions online (their so-called “CPM” or cost per thousand) is relatively inexpensive for many retailers $2.50-$3.00 is a fair rate. The cost is only going to rise as more premium inventory, such as frequently accessed news and sports websites, transition their purchasing agreements from direct buys with brands to digital ad marketplaces. Including services like retargeting can double the cost. Having an agency perform these functions can quadruple it.

DMPs attack the problem in two ways. First, they will control the frequency and timing of retargeting campaigns. If retargeting is most effective in the hours and minutes after viewing a product, the DMP will promote individuals with that profile into a higher value audience, which, when identified, will be aggressively bid for corresponding inventory. After a certain number of impressions, the retargeting will retreat, becoming less frequent and, eventually, ceasing. These rules are all set by the marketer and enforced through the audience control in the DMP.

Second, the DMP will work carefully to evaluate the value of the retargeting itself. If a product has already been purchased (something the DMP will learn as it syncs with a CRM or POS system), it will eliminate individuals from the eligible audiences. More impressively, the DMP will learn over time which types of retargeting are most effective at reaching certain types of audiences. As new prospective buyers enter those audiences, the DMP will apply those rules. This machine learning, or automation, increases the return on ad spend (ROAS) for retargeting.

Are DMPs the right move?

If this control and leverage seems like a good fit for your retail marketing organization, consider looking into a DMP. But bear in mind that DMPs are neither bulletproof nor entirely self-sufficient. Garbage in will always produce garbage out and creating and controlling audiences alone doesn’t get you the best bids on inventory or enable retargeting. DMPs are the core of customer-centric digital marketing strategies, but only a part of the much wider programmatic ecosystem.

*If you are interested in learning more about the business case for a DMP and where the inefficiencies within your marketing organization can be improved, please contact info@lenati.com

The post How a DMP can Transform Your Customer-Centric Marketing appeared first on Lenati.

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In parts 1 and 2 of this blog series, we discussed how to develop a VoC strategy and build the business case for adopting a technology platform. In this final post of the series, we outline key steps for making sure that your voice of the customer (VoC) program has the business impact your organization desires.

  1. Transform your organization to embrace and demand VoC data

Every employee touches the customer in some way – sales speaks directly to customers, marketing decides what stories to tell, finance helps prioritize investment in future products and services, and so forth. Because many employees don’t interface directly with customers, CX leaders invest in training and education so that employees understand how they impact the customer and how they can use VoC insights to improve the customer experience. Your VoC program should make it easy to inform business decisions via customer insights by providing employees at all levels throughout the organization with relevant data and role-based reporting. Furthermore, make it as effortless as possible for employees to integrate the voice of the customer in their day-to-day by allowing employees to pull their own data.

  1. Make business changes based on customer data

The intent behind a VoC program is not to show an organization that customers love their products and services so that executives can give themselves a pat on the back. A VoC program is meant to drive optimization at every level, from day-to-day customer care interactions to upstream product and service design. You must set up a formal process for closing the loop with customers in the short-term. Moreover, you must put a process in place to systematically act on customer data to drive financial results.

Use business value calculations to determine which changes have been most beneficial to justify further investment, and prioritization frameworks to decide which improvement projects to embark on first. We recently advised a retailer to form a cross-departmental “customer focus team” charged with reviewing customer data and insights, identifying and prioritizing opportunities, and developing and tracking initiatives to act on these opportunities. This is one example of an operating model that – especially in organizations without a formal CX role – propels action.

  1. Measure and report results

In a Forrester survey on VoC, 69% of respondents didn’t track the impact of VoC initiatives on revenue, and 72% didn’t track the cost savings resulting from their efforts. Tracking KPIs related to revenue, cost savings, and customer retention is imperative to understanding your VoC program’s performance. Work with stakeholders to define KPIs that demonstrate success to them and their teams. Report insights to employees at all levels throughout the organization, and bring in the actual voice of the customer by sharing feedback verbatim too.

Alaska Airlines shares positive feedback in the form of “customer-grams” displayed for all employees to read, as a way of showing appreciation and motivating staff to do their best every day. The airline’s focus on delivering great customer experience is what prompts business travelers to say, “with Alaska I feel like I’m actually a customer, not just a dollar figure.”

  1. Connect additional data

If you can’t connect every data stream in your VoC program out of the gate, keep pushing after go-live to integrate more data, both structured and unstructured. Use early successes as validation for why the program is important, and demonstrate how much more useful it can be with additional data connected. Often, companies will not integrate unstructured social data with other customer data, which means they miss out on insights. In contrast, Cisco’s listening centers monitor and prioritize 5,000 – 7,000 online mentions per day including sales inquiries, support requests, product ideas, and brand advocacy. This gives Cisco real-time insight into moment-to-moment customer needs, behaviors, and attitudes, and access to its full audience of decision-makers, influencers, and end users.

VoC programs can have a huge positive impact on customer experience and a company’s revenue and profit. However, to realize the benefits and see the outcomes companies are hoping for, they have to go beyond buying a piece of technology. Companies need to develop and implement a VoC strategy that effectively integrates customer feedback into their business to drive action and results.

To learn more about Lenati’s POV on Voice of the Customer (VoC) and our approach to Customer Experience Design & Management, please visit our website or contact Senior Manager of Customer Experience Antje Helfrich at CX@Lenati.com. 

The post The Case for VoC Strategy: Driving Outcomes appeared first on Lenati.

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VoC programs add a customer-centric lens to product and service development and uncover new business opportunities. VoC technology solutions, commonly referred to as customer feedback management (CFM) platforms, offer a number of capabilities, most notably:

  • Customer feedback collection and analysis
  • Integration with other data sources
  • Closed-loop action management
  • Reporting and dashboards

As we outlined in part 1 of this blog series on The Case for VoC Strategy, a CFM platform does not offer a shortcut to a VoC strategy that outlines how to effectively integrate customer feedback into the business and drive action and results. However, once that strategy is in place and the organization is set up to act on the data that gets collected, implementing a CFM often marks a pivotal point in an organization’s customer-centricity maturation. In part 2 if our series we dive more deeply into the considerations for researching technology vendors and making the business case for investing in a customer feedback management (CFM) platform.

What is a CFM platform?

A CFM platform automates and centralizes VoC activities across an entire organization. It is the technology foundation enabling your VoC program. Core capabilities of a CFM platform include:

  • Automatically requests feedback from all transaction channels and service center interactions to calculate touchpoint NPS
  • Sends regular surveys to predefined or randomly sampled cohorts to calculate relationship NPS
  • Monitors change in NPS over time, and measures success of VoC activities to evolve and enhance the program
  • Flags detractors in real-time
  • Enables end-to-end management of closed-loop follow up within a single tool
  • Uses text analytics to analyze qualitative and quantitative data
  • Provides dashboards and reports with real-time data, robust filtering, and role-based views

Why implement a CFM platform?

We see organizations implement CFM platforms when they have VoC programs they want to evolve, expand, and standardize across an organization. CFM platforms collect, analyze, and report large magnitudes of cross-channel customer data without expanding VoC team size, providing a scalable approach. CFM platforms also increase the speed of an organization’s response to service issues, giving them the ability to respond, pinpoint, and analyze trends in customer comments all in real-time. Additionally, VoC teams can connect customer-level data to insights in segments, category, and lifecycle.

CFM platforms create reporting that is relevant across the whole company and accessible to frontline employees and executives alike, propelling action as a result of the common view. Most significantly, a CFM platform centralizes and automates solicited and unsolicited feedback collection across stores, website, social media apps, and the service center to provide insight into the entire customer journey.

During our work with a North American outdoor retailer, one of the most significant benefits of a CFM platform to them was consistency in the data collection and avoidance of sample bias, as in-store feedback was previously gathered manually by retail staff. The team also gained a shared view of positive and negative member feedback across the organization. Previously, executives only heard the voice of the customer selectively through the escalation of service center comments, and frontline employees through inconsistent in-person interactions. The CFM platform allowed these employees to listen and respond to the customer voice systematically and in real time, and gave them an efficient tool to quickly close the loop with detractors.

How do you build a business case for CFM?

Sell your executives on the return on investment of a CFM platform by creating a business case. Most of the cost drivers of a CFM platform are the initial implementation fees and the recurring software costs. Regardless of which vendor you choose, these are both are significant investments and will require consideration. Fortunately, there are significant benefit drivers of a CFM platform that should rapidly account for the costs. Improved customer experience drives customer retention, enrichment, and advocacy loyalty, which leads to revenue growth. Operational efficiencies – like improved service recovery and company-wide alignment to prioritize business decisions based on customer preferences – reduce cost and grow revenue. You will also see cost savings from technology that will be replaced by a CFM platform, as well as from any resources you currently put towards sending out or conducting customer surveys via outdated, labor intensive methods.

How do you select a vendor?

Exploring CFM platform tech vendors can be daunting due to the sheer number of providers in the market, but is crucial to find the best match for your organization. Look for the platform with the relevant capabilities for your organization, whether that be unstructured data analysis, easy reporting, or great data visualizations. Determine if your VoC team would want to customize a platform and how much program support they need. For example, would they author their own surveys? Would they get value out of a self-service platform without much support? Another differentiating factor of some CFM platforms is their additional expertise in CRM and market research capabilities, which may impact your decision if your organization is interested in several offerings from one vendor.

Feel ready to implement your CFM platform? Our next blog will cover structuring your program to ensure it drives outcomes. This step is crucial to make sure your VoC program creates desirable business impact, so tune in for the last in our series on The Case for VoC.

The post The Case for VoC Strategy: Selecting a Platform appeared first on Lenati.

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Most companies don’t have a robust voice of the customer (VoC) program. Only 42% use technology to support a VoC program, which means they either don’t have a program at all, or the program is ad-hoc and limited in its reach. When companies do adopt a technology platform (commonly referred to as a customer feedback management (CFM) platform), they often underutilize it and don’t reap maximum value from it. We have examined the reasons companies aren’t satisfied with the return on their VoC technology investment and found that in many cases, the reason is a lack of strategy.

A lack of VoC strategy represents the difference between collecting data and using data to drive CX improvements that positively affect customer engagement and retention. A CFM platform helps scale the customer data collection, analysis and reporting; it does not, however, offer a shortcut to a VoC strategy that outlines how to effectively integrate customer feedback into the business and drive action and results.

In this blog series, we lay out a plan for getting more out of your VoC program through developing a strategy, efficiently utilizing technology, and driving outcomes. First, we will address the need for a strong foundation and strategy before implementing technology.

As you think about starting (or evolving) a voice of the customer (VoC) program within your organization, it’s tempting to begin by finding a technology partner and implementing a customer feedback management (CFM) platform. Instead, we recommend embarking with these four steps:

  1. Get executive support

For a VoC program to be successful, the entire organization must be bought in, and customer-centric organizations are led by customer-centric leaders. If your executives aren’t already focused on the customer, present them with data and insights, and depict pieces of the customer journey to help them understand how customers are experiencing your products, services, and brand touchpoints. You’ll likely be able to demonstrate that many customer needs and expectations are not met. Win the executive team over by communicating the business impact you will drive with a VoC program, including increased revenue, decreased cost, and stronger customer retention.

In our experience working with clients across industries, having clearly articulated executive support for a VoC program dramatically accelerates program implementation and adoption across the company. CX leaders in industries ranging from retail and telecommunications to healthcare and airlines consistently tell us that securing C-level support increases the success rate of their VoC efforts dramatically.

  1. Develop a blueprint for taking action based on customer data

Customer feedback is only useful if you act on it, and you need a strategy and processes in place for organizing employees around that goal. Plan how you will respond to customer feedback in the short-term by closing the loop with individuals and problem solving one-on-one. Furthermore, plan for how to act on customer feedback by driving systematic improvements in your business mid-term and long-term. Loop in key stakeholders to make sure they understand why and how their teams should use VoC data and how it will help them optimize the experiences they create for customers and the ecosystem of internal processes behind those experiences.

  1. Tie VoC program measures to business results

The primary reason companies implement VoC programs is to drive business results. When setting up your program, make sure you gather feedback that will propel you towards your business goals and allow you to measure if you are successful. Define the metrics you will report out to your organization, and create a dashboard and reporting framework. Most importantly, when defining this measurement framework, involve key stakeholders including frontline employees, as they are the individuals who need to use this data to make business decisions.

  1. Prepare to integrate (all) your customer data

The more data points you connect, the better you understand how customers interact with your organization. Work with stakeholders who own data sources and design a strategy and process for collecting and integrating data across channels and departments. Ideally you will integrate CRM data from multiple sources including:

  • Call, email, and chat
  • Structured and unstructured feedback
  • Loyalty programs
  • Social network platforms

It is especially powerful to integrate transactional data from in-store, online, and app interactions and purchases. Nike’s retail employees save customer data and preferences to a centralized customer profile. When a customer contacts the Customer Service Center or visits a store, relevant data is surfaced, and the frontline employee can serve the customer more efficiently and in a more personalized manner.

Once these steps are accomplished you will have built a strong foundation for establishing your VoC program. Come back tomorrow to read our tips for selecting a CFM platform for your VoC Program.

The post The Case for VoC Strategy: Building a strong foundation appeared first on Lenati.

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ABM has been the most over-used acronym in B2B marketing over the past year. Vendors in this space have been busy racing to publish content on the subject in an effort to control the general perception. With this proliferation of biased content, marketing leaders are challenged with understanding if ABM is a strategy they should be considering.

In an effort to set the record straight, Lenati set out to address the realities of ABM from the CMO perspective. Read the full article on Business 2 Community.

The post What CMOs Should Know About Account Based Marketing appeared first on Lenati.

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