Why should you invest in CX? Experts weigh in

A recap of customer experience experts Shep Hyken and Dan Gingiss’ session at the 2nd Annual CX Impact Summit.

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Brittany Klokkenga

February 17, 2022

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Consumers have high expectations for customer service and aren’t afraid to switch brands to get it. Eighty-three percent of customers will leave a brand because of a bad customer service experience; 79% will churn because they know another company will have better service.

What’s worse, people are no longer comparing brands to their direct competition, but to the best service they've ever had with any business, regardless of industry or company type.

When retention is more challenging than ever, how can companies create experiences that differentiate their brand and make customers want to stay?

Brands must invest in customer experience programs that boost loyalty and reduce churn. That means customer experience (CX) professionals need to gain executive buy-in to secure the capital and resources necessary to execute their program initiatives. But that’s no small feat.

At GetFeedback’s 2021 virtual event, The CX Impact Summit, customer experience experts Shep Hyken and Dan Gingiss delved into how to turn skeptics into collaborators (and investors).

Here’s what we learned from their session.

How to persuade leadership to invest in your CX program 

Securing program investment for customer experience can seem daunting. But it’s not impossible. Let’s go through the key steps you should take, according to Hyken and Gingiss.

Step 1: Focus on the financial metrics essential to leadership 

The metrics investors and shareholders care most about often dictate business leaders’ priorities. “Sure, they're [executives] focused on culture, and they're focused on all the important things that we know about, but they report to shareholders. Shareholders are looking at the bottom line,” Hyken elaborated at the CX Impact Summit.

A great way to get leadership on board with your CX program is to communicate the impact of excellent customer experience. Calculate and present metrics that bridge the gap for CX across the organization, including: 

  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): how well your products or services meet your customer’s expectations

  • Customer retention: the ability to keep customers over time

  • Cross-sell: invites customers to buy related or complementary items

  • Upsell: encouraging customers to purchase a comparable higher-end product than the one in question

Step 2: Showcase how CX impacts top-line organizational goals 

When talking to executives—especially when asking for investment—you must speak their language. Often, that language is revenue. As Gingiss said, “you have to talk about dollars and cents and bring them concrete numbers.” 

“Numbers like Net Promoter Score®, are great for measuring how you're doing. What it comes down to [for executives] is the return on investment and revenue,” Gingiss explained.

Here’s a quick video on how to prove the ROI of customer experience, using the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) metric as an example.  

For a more in-depth look at how to prove return on investment on your CX efforts, you can read How to calculate the ROI of customer experience.

Step 3: Put these learnings into action 

Now, let’s put these key takeaways into action. Let’s say you’re asking the C-suite for a $50,000 investment to reduce churn and increase Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), or the total worth of a customer's business throughout their relationship with a company. 

See the two scenarios below for examples of how you should and shouldn’t ask for investment. 

Wrong: I want to talk to you about a new customer experience program that I want to start. The cost is $50,000. We're going to create so much social media content out of this that should generate some attention on Twitter and maybe even LinkedIn. I'm also hoping that we can increase our NPS scores. So, can I have $50,000?

Right:  I want to talk to you about a new customer experience program.  It's going to create some great experiences for our customers. The cost is $50,000, but let me tell you how much money we will make by doing this. First of all, our customer lifetime value is $1,000 per customer. 

We lose 5% of our customers every year to churn. Do you know that if we saved just 10% of those customers, it equates to $1 million? We will also see a 10% increase in customer spend and a 25% increase in referrals. So our existing customers will stay longer, spend more, and refer their friends. In turn, our customer lifetime value will increase above $1,000. 

Check out this playbook for more actionable insights you can use to uplevel your approach to gaining leadership buy-in for your customer experience program.

Get your customers to say, “I’ll be back”

Securing the investment is the tip of the iceberg. Now you must deliver on the expectations you’ve set. According to Hyken, “It's one thing to sell to the C-suite, but if you can't back it up with actually delivering on the customer experience, nothing's going to work.” 

Getting a customer to buy from you once is great, but getting buyers to say “I’ll be back” is the key to long-term loyalty. It also affects the bottom line. Customer retention is five to 25 times less costly than acquiring new business. 

Hyken suggests holding regular meetings with key stakeholders to remain aligned on your goals and audit the customer experience. During these meetings: 

  1. Ask, why would someone do business with our company versus the competition?

  2. Ask, why someone would do business with the competition instead of our company?

  3. Keep pace with what the competition is doing

  4. Look outside your industry

  5. Borrow from the best outside your industry

  6. Ask the original question

Rinse and repeat, over and over again. As Hyken explained, “It's bringing it all full circle. You've gone through these five questions, maybe you've implemented some of the ideas, and you ask, ‘Now that we've done this, why would a customer want to come back and do business with us?’" 

Providing an excellent customer experience can be incredibly hard for many companies. And while it’s valuable to align with your teammates, it’s also critical to survey your customers in real time across all touchpoints to bolster and guide your CX initiatives. The data you yield will reveal key moments in your customer’s journey and empower you to remedy critical pain points. 

Create remarkable experiences 

Creating remarkable experiences that people want to share requires an intentional process. As Gingiss explained, “What it really comes down to is creating experiences that people want to talk about. I use the word remarkable on purpose because remarkable means worthy of remark, worthy of discussion, worthy of posting on social media or leaving a good review.”

That’s precisely where Gingiss’ WISER method comes into play. The “S” in WISER stands for “sharable.” 

“Shareable is finding that moment where people pull out their phones, take a picture, and share it with their networks,” Gingiss explained. “One of my favorite sharable examples is from the steakhouse we went to for my son's birthday. When we walked in, they handed him a birthday card signed by the staff. After the dinner was over, the staff delivered a box of handmade chocolates on a plate that said ‘happy birthday’ with a sparkler on top.”

“It’s a great metaphor,” he continued. “Look for places in your business where you're using a candle. There’s nothing wrong with a candle, but everybody else is doing it too. Upgrade it to a sparkler to really stand out.”

Eliminate customer friction

During the live Q&A at the end of their CX Impact Summit session, Gingiss and Hyken were asked: "In terms of remarkable experiences when implementing change, how can we better serve our users to adapt to change, reduce friction, and keep them coming back?"

Hyken emphasized the importance of reducing friction: “That may be one of the most powerful places to win a customer over.” He added, “Build a consistent and predictable above average experience, all the time. Your customers will say, ‘I love doing business with them because they're always friendly, always calling me back quickly, always knowledgeable, always followed by something positive.’"

(A quick note about mitigating friction: You cannot solve a problem you don’t know exists. Gather customer feedback in real time to identify challenges and empower teams to take action.)

Gingiss cautioned not to let CX initiatives become overly daunting. “Customer experience is just a whole lot of little things. Focus on the places where you're standing in the way of the customer, and eliminate those. Then focus on the opportunities where you can create a good experience.”

That kind of effortless service will keep your customers coming back again and again.  

We had a fantastic lineup of speakers at CX Impact Summit 2021, including Serena Williams, professional athlete and businesswoman, who spoke about embracing diverse leadership, individual empowerment, creativity, and opportunity. 

To watch Serena William’s session and for more tips on how to thrive in the new era of customer experience, watch the 2021 CX Impact Summit on-demand.

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