Broadly speaking, the main goal of a business is to create value. Two very different ideologies exist today to achieve that goal: the “inside-out” approach and the “outside-in” approach.
While the former claims the inner strengths of a business will lead to success, the latter is guided by the belief that optimizing the customer experience throughout the customer journey is most important. To this last point, results from a recent survey show that 83% of respondents believe that managing the entire customer journey, from acquisition to loyalty, is a top priority in 2021 — likely because great CX translates to customer loyalty, increased revenue and improvements in other top business objectives.
Of course, managing this journey requires a deep understanding of the customer, and that comes from listening to the feedback they provide across channels. Unfortunately, many organizations continue to get this part wrong. So, what can organizations do to embrace the outside-in approach and start making the customer a priority?
What’s driving the outside-in
Simply put, demand for a better customer experience, combined with the pervasive use of social media, is driving the outside-in approach. Indeed, social media has provided a number of platforms or “listening posts” from which customers can broadcast their (good and bad) experiences with a brand. With these listening posts in their arsenal, the power has shifted to the customers, who can now influence future buyer decisions based solely on their feedback.
Unfortunately, many brands still are either unable or unwilling to take the proper steps to listen to the customer and therefore improve the customer experience. According to a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Reputation (March 2021), marketing and CX professionals are leaving the lion’s share of unstructured feedback and data behind, and they’re unable to make sense of the feedback they do collect. Further, any data collected is typically stored across a number of different places, making it difficult to aggregate and analyze to get a full picture of the customer experience.
The inability for these businesses to collect both structured and unstructured data, store it centrally, and analyze it means they’re losing out on valuable customer feedback that could reshape their broader CX strategies.
Achieve CX nirvana
CX is, in theory, a simple endeavor: Listen to your customers and take action based on what you hear them say. But achieving CX nirvana can be tricky without the right approach, and that approach comes down to three steps.
The first step is to make CX — and therefore, customers — a priority. CX is just as important as developing strategy or product and deserves the kind of attention given to mission-critical objectives. Next, figure out the resources your business needs. It’s not as simple as designating a single person “CX coordinator;” rather, it may mean your business needs a dedicated CX team. Also, make sure every department embraces the customer so that CX becomes part of the fabric of your company and a priority for everyone across the business.
The next step is to collect and leverage both unstructured and structured data. This is easiest when your business uses a single platform for gathering and analyzing customer data, rather than cobbling together different solutions and funneling data into multiple silos. Data accumulated over time can be analyzed for patterns, which, in turn, show how big of a problem exists and how it’s impacting the business.
Finally — and most importantly — take action on the insights gained from the data. This means engaging with customers to highlight the positive changes you’re making that will improve their experience. Reassure them that you’re listening and that your business exists to serve them. Their positive sentiment, as a result, will impact your reputation for years to come.
Customer feedback is a goldmine of information that can yield valuable insights critical to the health of your business. By adopting an outside-in approach — and all the processes and technology that enable it — you can do CX the right way and begin to create the kinds of customer experiences that underpin a thriving business.
About the Author
Jason Grier leads Reputation‘s customer loyalty and growth initiatives as executive vice president and chief customer officer. Jason is a former senior vice president of Global Support Operations and chief customer officer at McAfee, where he spent more than 10 years.
While at McAfee, Jason built a reputation as an industry leader in customer support and operations. His teams were honored with a number of awards, including the Intel Quality Award, a prestigious honor for outstanding quality and personification of Intel’s values and the highest team honor given at Intel. His teams also won two TSIA Star Awards, two Service & Support Professionals Association Awards, and a Stevie Award for innovation in action.