As we enter 2017, what trends are shaping how companies are treating Customer Experience (CX)? What obstacles, challenges or blind spots will Customer Success, Marketing and Customer Support leaders likely run into when trying to improve CX? And, how can they do CX better?
These are big, important questions and thoughtful answers are paramount to developing an effective strategy for your Customer Success team – and for CS at your organization as a whole – in 2017. Luckily this thoughtful post by Wootric, has you covered!
We highly recommend reading the full post but here are a few predictions, emerging challenges and pieces of advice that we found interesting:
- Prediction: Emotion emerges as dominant trend – According to Rick Parrish, Principal Analyst at Forrester, “The single most important thing that companies that are already well along on their CX transformations can do is to understand and embrace the importance of emotion in CX. You can create the easiest, most effective experience in the world, but unless it has the right emotional quotient — unless it leaves customers feeling the way they need to feel — customers won’t walk away saying the experience was great.” In Episode 73 of Forrester’s CX podcast, they recapped the highlights of Forrester’s annual CXSF forum, in which a key theme was how CX pros are using technology more and more to deliver emotionally engaging experiences. Don’t underestimate the link between emotion and customer loyalty.
- Prediction: Customer Support agents shift to Customer Success – In UserIQ’s The State of Customer Success and Trends for 2017 webinar, they predicted that Customer Success teams will get a better handle on being proactive (versus reactive) as they improve their customer health data-gathering and analysis. Karthik Kalyanasundaram, Director, Product Management at FreshDesk predicts that the companies who are already on top of being proactive this year will push it even further next year: “Reactive and proactive will evolve to preemptive. For example, with preemptive tech, companies will be able to predict the problems that a customer might have and solve it even before he raises it as an issue. As bots and machine learning make life easier for support reps, they will get to spend more time solving customer issues with empathy, ultimately delivering a superior CX. Quality and impact of human agents will make a bigger difference in CX in turning around customer experiences — rather than sending link to FAQs, or looking up data that should already be available to the user.” This handily solves the current problem Chakravarthy Srinivasan – Global Support Manager, Freshdesk – sees, that “agents are sometimes focused so much on the problem-solving that we forget constant communication/updates and human connection.” Could the bots actually help us improve human connection? Looks like it.
- Challenge: Hero-Dependent CX is not sustainable – Rick Parrish at Forrester says companies can expect a few challenges that come along with advancing technology in the coming year. He cautions that CX efforts can go wrong in three ways, the first being Hero-Dependent CX. This is when a company has no discipline around the way it manages CX but does have some employees who have great empathy for customers. These employees will work their fingers to the bone and battle their own companies to provide great CX. This is totally unsustainable, very inefficient, and burns out your best employees. If this sounds like you, the time to start make adjustments is now.
- Advice: Focus on discipline and empathy – According to Parish, “The single most important thing that companies that are just starting their CX transformation can do is to understand that they need to improve their CX systematically along two main variables: discipline and empathy. For customer experience management, discipline is all about making great CX standard operating procedure. And companies must do this in ways that also deepen customer empathy.” Empathy and emotion on one end, AI-driven “bots” on the other – they seem like they couldn’t be more different. But all serve one common purpose, improving the customer’s experience. Giving customers the tools to do more for themselves, but supporting them with genuine, empathetic human interaction when they run into trouble. We’re far from perfecting human interaction, but 2017 will evolve our ability to grow and retain customers through seamless customer experience.
Customer Success Around the Web
- Why churn should be a sales rep problem: Churn should be a whole-company issue, not just the domain of your customer success or account management team. That includes – nay, starts with – your sales reps. The potential of churn starts with your sales reps, before trickling down to your account managers, your customer service team, your marketers and every other department. This excellent post dives into what it really means to make sales reps responsible for churn, from teaching sales reps the value of a good relationship from day 1 to helping sales managers track churn, isolate problematic reps and and correct issues. An important read for anyone working to make churn a company-wide focus in 2017.
- Tricks of the upselling and cross-selling trade: Turning customers into loyal brand supporters requires the establishment of long-term relationships. In fact, the probability of selling to an existing customer, either through upselling or cross-selling, is 60-70% versus a 5-20% probability of selling to a new prospect. Up-selling involves offering your client a higher-end version of the product they are already interested in whereas cross-selling is offering additional products that can be beneficial to them. To help you achieve this, this helpful post offers five useful tricks of up-selling and cross-selling that will help you keep your customers happy and your revenue high.
- The seeds of customer churn: Fact: the seeds of churn are sown early. Customers who leave you don’t do so on a whim; they leave because their expectations have not been met – often for quite some time – and so they finally decide to cancel. While the specific reasons customers churn can vary greatly, this interesting post suggests that there is a set of key issues that are most likely to sew seeds of discontent early on with your customers. From poor onboarding and/or service, to not delivering on perceived value, to being too slow to achieve the customer’s first value, understanding these critical factors is paramount in your fight to avoid churn. A great read as you consider your CS team’s strategy in 2017.
Word to the Wise
This week’s wisdom is a re-share of a favorite video, one that we felt was appropriate to revisit as we all embark on a new year. In this video, the brilliant Malcolm Gladwell, author of the best selling book “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference”, offers fascinating stories that provide a glimpse into the developing world of Customer Success and – you guessed it – the tipping point for Customer Success. Bringing in various historical examples, he discusses the power of directing your company’s focus on the customer and leaving it there: “You’ve got to transition from a transaction model to a relationship model and it’s very easy to talk about but it’s really hard to do.”
If you do nothing else with your Friday, take 30 minutes to watch this video. It can definitely benefit every CS pro out there, no matter how experienced or inexperienced.