If there’s one thing 2020 has taught us, it’s that agility is key. Agile businesses are able to think and move fast in response to rapidly changing external circumstances—and there’s been no shortage of those this past year.
Of course, it’s not enough to just move quickly. You also need to be sure you’re pivoting your business in the right direction. To do this successfully, you have to keep a pulse on your customers by listening and taking action in response to their feedback.
In a recent study of 1,777 customer experience professionals, we learned that 87% say customer feedback has become more important since COVID-19. And senior leadership is taking notice as well—over half agree there’s been an increased focus on their CX program from the C-suite.
With all eyes on CX programs today, it’s key to start the year with a solid CX strategy—one that will help your business make critical decisions with confidence, grounded in customer insights. Watch this 5-minute video or read on for 3 steps to adapt your CX strategy in 2021 using people, process, and technology.
The 3 factors that enable agility and transformation
Our study found that companies seeing financial growth since the pandemic are nearly 3 times more likely to be agile—meaning, they’re able to adapt quickly to changing customer needs.
We know agility enables businesses to pivot successfully and move at the speed of their customers. So what’s holding organizations back?
There are 3 key factors that help your business transform successfully in response to changing customer needs:
PEOPLE: The headcount and expertise needed
PROCESS: The actions and steps required to make changes
TECHNOLOGY: Access to the right tools.
To adapt quickly to whatever changes come our way in 2021, you’ll need to make sure you have the right people, process, and technology in place to support your business.
Leverage your most important assets: People
Building a culture of customer centricity starts with hiring and assembling the right folks. Your hiring practices should reflect your priorities.
I recommend including customer empathy in your company’s core values. Then, hire employees who share this value. It’s also important to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in your hiring practices. Striving for a workforce that reflects the community you do business in is key to creating products and services that are accessible to all.
A few suggestions:
If your organization is in the early stages with your CX program, start by assembling a cross-functional CX team, where everyone has a stake in customer experience. After all, when you need to move quickly to keep pace with your customers, it takes a team effort.
Make sure to meet at a regular cadence to share insights and decide on next steps. Our study found companies that collaborate on a regular basis are 67% more likely to report financial gains since the pandemic.
If your organization has a mature CX program, it may be time to appoint a holistic CX leader. Whether they report to the C-suite or work within a functional department, having a point person to manage the end-to-end customer experience is correlated with success since COVID-19.
2020 CX Research: Learn how to leverage agile, collaborative CX to boost your company's recovery post-COVID-19Download report
Build processes to keep a pulse on your customers
In our study, we found that “process” is the #1 challenge stopping organizations from pivoting quickly enough based on new customer insights, with 49% of surveyed CX professionals claiming it’s the most significant barrier slowing down their ability to adapt.
Once you’ve got your cross-functional team assembled, you’ll want to put some processes in place to ensure you’re prepared to listen to customers in the right places and mobilize your team into action in response to what you’re hearing.
Here are 3 tips to keep in mind:
Start by making sure you have a process for surveying customers regularly. Try to add listening posts anywhere your customers are interacting with your business.
Next, put a system in place for mobilizing your team into action in response to customer feedback. Ask yourself: How will you follow up with your customers? Do complaints get escalated to the right person?
And finally, share customer insights regularly with the broader organization. This is crucial to breaking down silos and building a collaborative workplace, where everyone is accountable for delivering a great experience.
Adapt your tech stack to stay competitive
Technology is the critical 3rd piece that enables people to carry out or automate the processes they’ve established. And as your customers’ needs evolve, so must your technology if you’re going to stay competitive.
During lockdown, businesses saw traffic to their websites skyrocket as customers headed online to shop and interact with brands. In fact, 80% say their organizations’ online interactions with customers have increased since COVID-19.
To keep up with this massive shift online, I recommend:
Gathering feedback via your digital channels, such as websites, mobile apps, and in-product, to make sure you’re delivering the best digital experience possible.
Reviewing your digital transformation plan for revisions. The multi-year projects you’ve been planning may no longer be relevant in the new normal—or, they may need to be accelerated. According to our research, 75% of businesses are accelerating new or planned digital transformation initiatives today. Make sure to gather feedback from your customers to drive transformation projects that support how customers want to do business now and in the future.
In summary, with the right tools, people, and processes in place, you’ll feel confident in your ability to pivot based on customer feedback—and ready to take on whatever 2021 brings.
Check out the complete report, which includes commentary from senior CX leaders at Box, Salesforce, and Golden State Warriors.