The product manager’s CX handbook

Ten essential elements product managers need to build an agile customer feedback program.

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Editor’s Note: This guide was written in partnership with Annette Franz, CCXP, founder and CEO, CX Journey Inc.

Customer feedback is essential for product teams who want to create products their customers love. But too often, product and CX teams work in silos. A customer experience plan brings the voice of the customer into everyday decisions for product teams, ensuring their final results are customer-centric. But how can product teams capture customer feedback and integrate it into their everyday work? The key is to listen to customers, at scale.

In this guide, product teams will learn what they need to do in order to run an agile customer experience program, from choosing which metrics to track to proving the ROI of your efforts. We'll cover the key problems product managers face and how they can leverage customer feedback to solve them.

Part 1

Understanding the customer’s product experience

We all suffer from “groupthink” and bias when we design the products we work with every day. How do the people using them actually see their customer journey? Take the time to map both customer touchpoints and customer journeys, identify listening gaps, and survey critical touchpoints for a holistic understanding of the customer’s product experience.

There are a couple of important tools to help you understand the experience that your customers are having with your products: (1) touchpoint maps, (2) journey maps, and (3) feedback and data.

A touchpoint map is a master map that outlines all of the stages of the experience or of the lifecycle with the brand, and then captures every touchpoint (i.e., every way the brand touches the customer and vice versa) and interaction the customer has within each stage. 

You interview customers and stakeholders to identify all of the points of contact that the customer has with the brand within each stage. Touchpoint maps are also great vehicles to capture and inventory your current listening posts, identify painful touchpoints based on customer feedback, diagnose friction and leakage points, and find listening gaps at a high level. Based on this information, the next step is to map the journey to and through the painful or problematic touchpoints.

A journey map is a visual representation of the steps customers take for some interaction they had with your company, some journey they were taking to complete a task and to achieve the desired outcome. It’s a timeline of what customers are doing, thinking, and feeling throughout the experience. 

The map tells the story of the customer’s journey as she interacts with your brand, all the while building empathy for her. Once companies understand how they make the customer feel, they can identify gaps in the journey and areas for improvement, fix the pain points, and ensure they keep delivering on the delighters.

And finally, you know quite well that listening to customers through surveys across the journey, especially at those touchpoints identified as clear customer pain points,and combining that with tracking the breadcrumbs of data they leave behind as they interact or transact with your brand is another way to learn about the experience they are having. 

Another example from Bandwidth shows how beneficial this is. By capturing feedback at multiple points across the customer journey, they can pinpoint the exact moments in the journey that cause friction for the customer. 

The ability to listen and track the customer’s experience helps Bandwidth drill down and determine exactly what needs fixing. For example, when they received a significant amount of negative feedback on a support article, they learned the problem wasn’t with the article but with the product feature itself. 

Knowing this allowed them to allocate time and resources to changing the product so that customers no longer require support for that issue. Every interaction on Bandwidth’s platform is a transaction; therefore, it's extremely important for Bandwidth to react to support tickets quickly. If someone can’t perform a task on the platform, it means they can’t buy something they need and typically, they need it quickly. 

GetFeedback is the most direct way for Bandwidth’s customers to reach out and let them know what’s going well and what’s not. And it’s the quickest way to go from feedback to fixes. Feedback tagged for support goes immediately into the Zendesk queue. Feedback tagged as an enhancement is automatically sent to Trello and Jira, where it is prioritized accordingly on the roadmap.

Part 2

Measuring product satisfaction and NPS

You need to understand customer sentiment to identify where to take action and improve the product. Before you embark on a customer experience program, identify which metric(s) you’ll be gathering and tracking. Determine which metric best meets the needs of your stakeholders.

There are a lot of different metrics that product teams can capture, but one of the most popular ones is Net Promoter Score (NPS®), which is not just a metric but also a survey methodology and a system of action.

The Net Promoter Score is gleaned from a single question in the survey—“How likely are you to recommend X to a friend or colleague?”—with a scale that ranges from 0 to 10, where 0 = Not At All Likely and 10 = Extremely Likely.

Respondents are grouped and classified as follows:

  • Promoters rate their likelihood as a 9 or 10; 

  • Passives rate their likelihood as a 7 or 8; and 

  • Detractors rate their likelihood to recommend as 0 through 6.

 To calculate the score, subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. Your score will range from -100 to 100. Obviously, the higher the number the better, as that means you’ve got far more promoters than detractors.

While the score is great to track, remember that NPS is a survey methodology and a system of action. As a survey methodology, it’s really important that you ask at least one follow-up question that helps you understand the reason behind the score. 

Typically, it’s as simple as adding an open-ended question, “What is the reason for that rating?” You can also modify the question to adapt it to the rating given. In other words, if someone rated their likelihood as a 9 or 10, you could ask, “Is there something particular that we did to earn your referral?” or “Is there an employee that you’d like to acknowledge as the reason behind your score?” On the other hand,  if they rated their likelihood low, for example, a 3, you could ask, “What did we do to disappoint you?” or “What can we do better to earn your recommendation in the future?”

NPS as a system of action is rooted in asking and analyzing follow-up questions and attributes about the customer for a greater understanding of what’s going well and what isn’t. And then, more importantly, it’s about the closed-loop processes that you’ve developed to ensure that NPS doesn’t just remain a number but becomes a way of doing business.

In its purest form, NPS is an overall relationship metric, but it can be—and is often—used on a transactional basis to understand the impact of the particular transaction, the product, etc. on the customer’s likelihood to recommend the brand. It’s important to view NPS in that lens because you’ll often find that the transactional NPS differs from the overall relationship NPS that you may ask for once or twice a year. 

The key is to make that comparison—rather than viewing the transactional metric in a vacuum—and then highlight where (which transactions or interactions) things are going well and where they aren’t so that you can focus improvement efforts on the right touchpoint.

Part 3

Engaging with customers

Many teams use outdated methods for customer engagement, such as long surveys once or twice a year or individual customer interviews. These have value but are not scalable. 

Begin by capturing continuous feedback. Using micro-surveys, or small slide-out surveys, throughout the customer’s journey, you will receive a continuous stream of customer insights.

In addition to surveys, there are many ways to listen to customers and to gather their feedback. Product teams often engage in direct conversations with customers. Whether through interviews, tag-teaming with sales, customer success or support on their calls with customers, doing ethnographic research, utilizing customer immersion programs, or showcasing their products at Customer Advisory Board meetings. These are all powerful tools in the customer understanding toolbox and absolutely must be used. But they are not scalable, and they take time to coordinate. 

In order to be more agile, product teams need to supplement those qualitative approaches with continuous and/or in-the-moment feedback. 

They need data about what’s working and what’s not to inform their decisions and next steps. To improve the customer experience, that feedback needs to be received on an ongoing basis. 

Remember back in the day when product upgrades were done quarterly or even less frequently? Oftentimes, it was because that’s how frequently they got feedback from customers through surveys. Those days are long behind us; now product teams can make updates on the fly because they have real-time data from micro-surveys or modals that can help drive real-time fixes and updates. The ability to collect in-the-moment feedback and deploy small, micro-surveys across your platform allows you to scale your feedback program and capture feedback in real-time. 

Consider this example. Before implementing GetFeedback, the product team at Bandwidth, a SaaS leader in cloud communication, collected feedback through customer interviews by jumping from support calls to sales calls, asking which features their clients wanted to see. 

Instead of scheduling 10 interviews throughout the week, which was time-consuming, they now pull a report from GetFeedback and in 10 minutes have instant insight into customer preferences. 

Collecting direct customer feedback advanced Bandwidth’s product roadmap prioritization process forward from improvised guesswork to a strategy driven by real-time data. 

As you think about these micro-surveys or modals and what you should ask, think of the goal. What do you want to know and how will you use what you learn? Consider how you can get feedback in a short, succinct survey. A couple of key metrics that you can gather include:

  • Customer Effort Score (CES): Use this question to identify how much effort has gone into the user’s experience, i.e., how easy or how difficult was it to accomplish what the user was trying to do? This customer effort question is asked on a seven-point agreement scale (strongly agree, agree, somewhat agree, neither agree nor disagree, somewhat disagree, disagree, strongly disagree), and the wording is as follows (and can be adapted to the specific scenario you are asking about):

    • The company made it easy for me to handle my issue.

    • It took less time than I expected to handle this issue.

  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): You can’t go wrong by asking customers how satisfied they are with the product, a feature, a use case, etc. It’s a go-to metric for measuring the success of your customer experience. How satisfied the customer is with the user experience of your product or website—down to features and functionality—will certainly affect their overall satisfaction with the brand.

  • Goal Completion Rate (GCR): Use this question to understand whether the user was able to achieve what she was trying to achieve by using your site, app, or product. This is as simple as asking two questions (or variations thereof): (1) What were you trying to do/achieve today? (2) Were you able to achieve that? This is a great set of questions to ask in conjunction with CES, too.

  • Usability: Having an understanding of ease of use or some type of usability metric is essential for the product team. Questions can be asked as agree or disagree and could range from:

    • The app is unnecessarily complex.

    • The product is easy to use.

    • There are too many inconsistencies across the platform.

    • It was quick and easy to learn how to use this product.

One thing that you cannot forget to ask is an open-ended question, the “Why?” behind the rating. Without this, all you have is a score. It’s important to capture further details about the score in order to understand what to fix or what to keep doing.

Part 4

Bug reporting

As product managers, bugs are a part of everyday life. But they can affect customer satisfaction and may even lead to churn. Think of our customers as the best QA analysts for anything that slips through the cracks in development. Keep tabs on your “unknown unknowns” with a feedback button that allows customers to alert you about bugs right away. 

In the same vein as micro-surveys and modals, the feedback button on your site, in your app, or on your platform is a great tool for real-time data and notifications about broken links, site latencies, missing information, and other product issues. 

The feedback button sits on your site or app across all pages and acts as an avenue of communication for customers to report bugs, ask questions, and even leave compliments. It’s your canary in the coalmine, becoming an early warning siren alerting you to friction and glitches before they become bigger problems that could hurt your brand reputation and/or lead to churn.

Think about the impact on the contact center if you can fix bugs in real-time or near real-time because of the bug reports you’re getting from your customers through the feedback button. There’s power, as well, in being able to spot trends and patterns in the feedback that allows you to get at the root cause of larger, perhaps structural, issues. 

With GetFeedback’s digital feedback button, Bandwidth decreased the number of support tickets from customers and improved ticket resolution time by optimizing their platform to become more self-service. 

Before GetFeedback, Bandwidth was pouring time and resources into support, redesigning their support sites, and optimizing support articles. A simple feedback breakdown revealed that only 6% of feedback concerned a support issue, while 31% was about interface-related issues. Resources were being wasted on support when they should’ve been allocated for interface optimization and training. 

This feedback inspired Bandwidth’s team direction as they moved to hire more interface employees to tackle the major pain points they uncovered through feedback. They focused their efforts on getting customers to understand the user interface, how to self-serve, and self-troubleshoot. Bandwidth effectively reduced its support ticket backlog by improving its interface and empowering customers to be more self-sufficient

There are many ways to use the feedback button. Here are some tips on how to optimize the feedback button on your website or app:  

  • The feedback button can be placed anywhere on your website, but it is recommended to place it on the right side of the page as the eye naturally moves from left to right while digesting site or app content. This way, the feedback doesn’t interfere with any pertinent information and is easily accessible to the user. 

  • The button should be persistent throughout your digital platform. Bugs can pop up at any touchpoint, so it’s important to allow users to leave feedback wherever they come across a bug (homepage, checkout page, FAQ page, etc.).

  • Offer the user the choice to leave generic feedback or specific feedback. Specific feedback allows them to provide a screenshot of the issue when they take the survey. 

  • You can also offer a custom third option, for example, the option to talk to a representative via live chat.

  • When a user wants to give feedback, it will generally be polarized as very positive or very negative. The button survey should include an emotional rating question so that you can easily identify and filter the feedback in the back-end. Companies will often want to filter their feedback to look at all 1-star or very dissatisfied feedback to tackle these issues first.

  • The feedback button should also contain a subject drop-down menu (ex: bug, compliment, suggestion, question, or other) so you can filter feedback by subject in the back end, as well as an open text field for qualitative insight.

  • Customize the feedback button and form to match your brand and tone. 

  • Use branching logic to collect more context and include any other common CX metrics you think are relevant.

It’s important that you set up a closed-loop process, both internally and externally, for this type of feedback. Externally, you should follow up with customers to let them know their feedback has been received and used. Internally, you should have a system in place to receive and follow up on the feedback so that it doesn’t become a check-the-box kind of option, i.e., “We offer a feedback button on our site. Check.” Take this example as a reason to establish—and to test—that internal process first:

Josh Gibbs, platform product manager at Bandwidth, discovered a series of feedback items in the GetFeedback dashboard containing the same customer complaint: post-trial prospects were trying to get in contact with a Bandwidth sales employee to sign up full time and become paying customers. Their collective requests to talk to a salesperson went unanswered. 

Gibbs realized there was only one channel for post-trial prospects to communicate with a Bandwidth employee, and it was failing. He spoke to the sales director in charge of following up with post-trial prospects. Sales quickly looked into the issue and found a bug in their post-trial workflow. It was promptly fixed, and the sales team began following up with post-trial prospects. 

Several of these prospects upgraded to become full-time customers. Now the trial upgrade requests are streamlined immediately to a salesperson. If it wasn’t for feedback, they would’ve lost several customers who were ready to buy, missing out on an available stream of new revenue. 

As you can see, not only is it important to have that internal process in place but also to test it to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

To learn more, check out our bug tracking guide.

Part 5

Collecting in-app and mobile feedback

Mobile product managers and anyone involved in mobile development know the app or mobile browser experience is different than the desktop experience. How do you design for customers to fit their unique needs on mobile? The answer: ask them. 

As mobile continues to grow in popularity, the higher the customer’s expectations become for the mobile experience. In fact, Oberlo reports that in 2020 there are 3.5 billion smartphone users worldwide and US adults spend an average of 2 hours and 55 minutes on their smartphones every day.

The travel industry has leaned heavily into improving the mobile experience for travelers.  Travel apps put information and power at the fingertips of every traveler. Whenever travelers are in trouble because a plane is delayed or the customer is delayed, the app provides solutions to help overcome these problems. 

The Dutch flag airline, KLM, found that on average, app users fly between 8 and 12 times per year. The mobile product team at KLM wanted to give customers full control when it mattered the most throughout their journey. 

In order to do this, they needed to know exactly what it was that these users wanted. That’s where customer feedback came in. By combining qualitative feedback and quantitative analytics, KLM received actionable insights into what their users were missing from the app. 

It appeared that people with Silver or Gold memberships who tried to change their seats on a European flight were unable to do so. Thanks to this information, KLM was able to find out which changes had to be made in the backend to resolve the issue. As a result, the company immediately saw an increase in seat sales, which equated to approximately 30 seats per day. 

Gathering in-app feedback is mission-critical. So many people rely on their apps while traveling or just living day-to-day life. If your app isn’t working as it should or as customers expect, it becomes a pain point in the customer experience. In-app feedback is a way to gather a steady stream of input about the experience so that developers can ensure that the app is always performing optimally.

There are other benefits to asking for in-app feedback. You can capture in-app feedback to test and validate new features, ask for ideas for new features (i.e., understand problems to be solved), and get help prioritizing your roadmap. Among the outcomes of asking for and using this feedback include increased customer satisfaction, usage, and retention.

Part 6

Mapping design decisions to metrics

Mapping design decisions to metrics like key performance indicators (KPIs) is important to support the work that you’re doing. Use KPIs to monitor the success (or failure) of your product design decisions in order to clearly communicate progress. 

First and foremost, though, you’ve got to select the right KPIs. In doing that, consider these questions: What are the metrics that matter to you as the product owner, to the various stakeholders, and ultimately, to the business? While KPIs track the success or failure of the product, they should also be linked to business outcomes that really matter to your executives. In other words, how does the success of your product contribute to the objectives and key results of the organization?

Some important KPIs for you as the product manager might be usage, engagement/activity, feature adoption, retention (continue using app), product referrals, CSAT, NPS, and CES. At the same time, executives will care about how all of that translates to growth, new customer acquisition, retention, cost savings, increased revenue, and customer lifetime value (CLV). 

In order to capture these metrics, you’ll use both in-app or in-product feedback as well as product surveys specific to the details and data you’re trying to gather. 

Let’s say that you just upgraded your product and added a major new feature. Now you want to gauge both the usefulness of and satisfaction with that feature. 

You can set up an in-product survey to learn from customers how they feel about it. In that survey, you’ll be sure to ask how satisfied customers are with the feature, but you’ll also want to ask about their likelihood to continue using it or how likely they are to recommend the product as a result of this new feature. 

Again, establish your KPIs, and then be sure to ask the questions that will allow you to link the design decisions and product changes to those KPIs. Also, be sure to ask open-ended questions to get more details about how they feel about the feature.

Or, let’s say that you’ve been tracking product feedback received through a feedback button in your mobile app, and you see a trend in lower CSAT scores. You dig deeper and find that the negative feedback is submitted when users are on a specific page of the app. You also see that this is a point in the app where usage has dwindled down to almost zero. You then take that feedback to the team that built that app, and they immediately use it to make modifications that will address the issue.

Once you start tracking the feedback again, you see that usage is up, as is CSAT. You also notice a spike in new users signing up for the app. The message is out, the app is awesome, and users are spreading the word. For the business, this translates to increased retention and revenue numbers.

Use the feedback you capture in-product or via other types of product surveys and listening posts to inform your design decisions. Once you’ve implemented design changes, use the feedback to capture and track the KPIs that indicate whether your changes were successful or not.

Part 7

Establishing a customer-centric mindset

When it comes to developing your product roadmap and prioritizing customer feedback, it’s normal for a CEO to claim exactly what to build without consideration for customers and what problems they need to be solved. Take the time to listen to  and learn from  your customers to understand exactly what they want and need from your product 

Consider this common product development dilemma: Should we develop Product A or B? Should we update, add, or enhance A or B for this product? Product Manager A needs feature A; Product Manager B needs feature B. What should the developers tackle first? 

In the case of Bandwidth, disjointed feedback and last-minute conversations with sales and support meant that when deciding the future of the product, the person with the loudest voice or the most-compelling argument received their preferred feature or adjustment. There was no real broad-reaching customer data to support these decisions and debates ensued. 

Since everyone was making best guesses on how to improve the product with little evidence or data, this led to tough conversations about which features to prioritize. But, once the team started listening to customers using GetFeedback, all feature prioritization conversations have been informed by customer feedback and data. 

Priorities are set based on the amount of feedback that customers give per feature request. Bandwidth prioritizes features based on clear data from the most important person: the customer. Whoever has the most feedback on their issue gets their feature built first. Then they use feedback to validate any changes and measure the impact of their work.

Listening to customers on an ongoing basis, hearing what problems they need to solve, and learning how they are using your products to solve those problems are all critical to prioritizing product enhancements and new product design. 

Customers buy and use your products thinking they will solve a specific problem for them. If it doesn’t, they will go elsewhere. It’s critical to take the time to listen to customers, learn about your customers (develop personas), and always put the customer at the heart of your product development decisions.

Product-centric organizations focus on building and bringing products to the market rather than focusing on the customers that purchase their products. They develop new products using the latest tools, technology, and processes with consideration for the customer. 

Product-centric companies are defined by the products they develop, and those products may or may not meet customers’ needs. In other words, they find customers for their products rather than products for their customers. They aren’t looking to solve problems or add value, they are looking to extend their product reach to anyone and everyone.

In customer-centric organizations, the customer is at the heart of everything a company does. No discussions, decisions, or designs happen without bringing the customer's voice into it. Without asking: How will this impact the customer? How will it make her feel? How will it help her solve her problem or do the job she’s trying to do? How will it add value for her? It means the business does all of these things with the customer’s best interests in mind

Product-centric decisions are based on product teams or company executives thinking they know what’s best for customers. On the other hand, customer-centric decisions are made based on what employees hear from and learn about their customers. 

Consider this example from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. At KLM, feedback is fully integrated into the development process. The company is not only using feedback to find bugs but also for feature requests. Feedback is used for the longer-term planning of the product roadmap. KLM also uses the feedback to identify features that customers desire because they already exist on the KLM website or on other travel providers’ apps. Their own app then provides a basis for cross-channel homogeneity.

You can never go wrong by informing your product development and your customer experience strategy with ongoing customer feedback by putting the customer at the center of all of your product or business decisions.

Part 8

Aggregate a single view of customer feedback

Product managers want to view the entire customer journey and feedback across all touchpoints in one place. A single, centralized feedback solution allows you to see an aggregated view of the customer experience. 

Most organizations have multiple streams of customer feedback and data gathered from various departments that are positioned both locally and globally. Unfortunately, many of these companies capture this feedback and other customer data in disparate systems, making it that much more difficult to get not only a single, aggregated view of customer feedback, insights, and requests but also a cohesive picture of the experience along the entire customer journey.

It also creates pain for the customer. Remember that your surveys are another touchpoint in the customer experience; as such, they need to be engaging and delightful. When surveys are too frequent, overlap in their scope, and/or are not timely to the experience the customer is evaluating, frustration ensues for the customer. 

Having a single feedback platform to centralize all customer feedback brings with it many benefits, not the least of which is a coordinated approach out of your “office of the customer” team about surveys and data and how they will be coordinated, designed, deployed, analyzed, shared, and acted upon. 

That central platform allows you to apply quality control and consistency measures across all of your surveys. It puts all of the data in one place to allow you to create dashboards with role-based permissions, providing the right access for the right people across the organization. (A more-focused view of their own relevant data curbs the overwhelming nature of data overload.) And, of course, it affords you the ability to create that single customer view across the entire customer journey.

So, the first step in obtaining that single, aggregated view of your customer feedback is to license a platform that allows you to create just that. Then, you’ve got to bring together all of your cross-functional teams and align on a voice of the customer program strategy and process. 

That may prove a bit more challenging, as people like to “own” their surveys. But once you present the business case (using the points in the previous paragraph) and put it in terms of the customer’s experience, too, the teams will be happy to work together. Oftentimes, they are struggling to find ways to easily analyze, report, and share what they are hearing, and invariably they are challenged to put it all into context with the bigger picture customer experience across the board.

More than likely, various teams are collecting feedback at different touchpoints in your users' journey, but are not sharing the wealth of information that they are all gathering. The ability to have a holistic approach to feedback analysis provides your organization insight into how your customers feel online and offline. 

Behavioral and transactional feedback analyzed together allows for a fuller understanding of your users' sentiments. GetFeedback connects both types of feedback and allows for a 360-degree view of your customer.

In the analytics layer, you can analyze and act upon feedback collected across multiple channels. This fosters a collaborative environment to democratize data. With customizable visualizations, you can create an overview of what matters to you and your organization. The ability to analyze your feedback at a granular level as well as provide the visualizations of your company’s key metrics to share with your directors within one solution is invaluable. 

Part 9

Sharing data with the wider organization 

As mentioned before, customer data is ineffective if it sits in silos. How do you share customer insights with the wider organization in a digestible way? There are many different ways to share customer insights. The key is to know and understand your audience.

In the previous section, we wrote about having a centralized platform for your voice of the customer program. That platform is an important tool for sharing customer insights across the organization, especially when access permissions are role-based, allowing for relevant insights to get to the right people. 

There are a lot of other ways to share insights with the wider organization, but be sure to tailor the delivery method and the insights to the audience and the expected and desired outcome.

  • As part of your governance structure, you’ve established a committee of CX Champions. They can help to get the insights out to their respective departments; they’ll know how to best communicate, socialize, and operationalize within their teams.

  • Present at your executive team’s weekly staff meeting, and brief them on your learnings; they won’t necessarily be the ones to act on the feedback, but they must be in the know on what customers are saying, and they’ll need to assign resources within their departments to make any changes and to incorporate the feedback into existing processes or initiatives. 

  • During team or department meetings, tell customer stories sourced from both verbatim comments and survey responses. Don’t make it all about charts and graphs, people learn best when information is presented in a story format, especially when it delivers on the impact to the customer.

  • Hold department, cross-department, or company town halls to share insights, tell customer stories, answer questions, brainstorm on how to use the insights, etc.

  • Create a customer room and share information there. These rooms often house personas and journey maps, but you can/should also post customer quotes, customer interviews, and survey insights.

  • Incorporate customer insights into onboarding, training, and coaching so that employees understand their customers and know what they expect, as well as what is expected of them (in delivering the experience or in helping to design a better experience).

  • Develop storyboards (or use journey maps) to depict the before and after, to tell the story of the data and of the new, desired outcome/experience.

  • Post feedback and customer comments on posters and/or monitors around the office. Be sure to provide context for employee clarification and understanding.

  • Develop a video series to share and to explain what you’ve learned from and about customers, what it means for the company, what needs to be done, and by whom. Share the videos in meetings, on monitors, via email communications, in the customer room, during onboarding, and more.

Don’t forget to create a communication plan that includes ways to best communicate within your organization. Not all methods work the same in every company; figure out what works best for yours, i.e., what gets employees to pay attention and, ultimately and most importantly, to take action.

Part 10

Showing the ROI of customer feedback

How do you prove the ROI of a design decision as well as the overall ROI of customer feedback?

You need to build the business case and link improvements to the outcomes that matter most to your executives.

The Ask, Analyze, Act framework is a continuous, never-ending cycle. You listen to customers through your various survey and non-survey mechanisms. You identify what’s going well and what isn’t. You then share the insights with the departments that need to act on and fix the pain points. And then you listen and measure again to ensure you’ve made a difference for your customers. 

It sounds simple, and yet it’s not always as easy as that to get the resources—human, financial, capital, time—that you need to effect change as a result of the feedback. There are two critical points in this voice of the customer process where you’ve got to prove that it’s all worth it: at the outset and after you’ve implemented changes.

Let’s start with at the outset. Oftentimes, before you’ll even get the funds you need to license that centralized platform mentioned earlier, you’ll need to build the business case for listening to customers and for using an enterprise-wide platform. In order to do that, you’ll need to build a business case. Typically, we start with a project in one department or area of the organization – and traditionally, that department is customer service. If you can show an impact there, you are a rockstar! Executives are always looking for ways to eliminate inefficiencies, reduce call volumes, and save money in the contact center. 

And as a product manager, you should be interested in the impact of the product and the product experience on the contact center. Is the product a pain point? Is it faulty? Are there bugs? What are service reps hearing about the product? How is the product affecting call volume?  

So, take a look at the key metrics that executives are monitoring today, e.g., call volume, hold time, first call resolution, etc. This will be important to building your case. Start gathering feedback from customers reaching out to customer service. There are many channels to choose from to start but, to keep it simple, you might want to focus on customers who are calling in for support (versus email, web, social media, chat, etc.). Once you’ve gotten feedback for a few months (three to four, so that you can start to see trends, patterns, etc.), you can start to build your business case. 

  • How many calls did you receive during that time? 

  • What’s the cost per call? 

  • What is the CSAT or CES? 

  • What are the biggest pain points for the customer? What needs to be improved? 

  • What are the estimated costs for fixing the pain points?

  • If we make those improvements, what are the estimated cost savings for the business? How will it impact other key KPIs? 

  • What is the estimated impact on customers?

Be sure to check out our Simplifying CX video Prove the ROI of Customer Experience, and then download our corresponding guide, as well. Both of these resources contain detailed calculations for helping you determine your ROI.

Once you’ve got approval to move forward with an enterprise-wide platform, the heavier lifting begins because now you’re going to be listening and identifying pain points across the organization. Now you’ve got to prove the ROI for other aspects of the business.. You’ll use the same approach, but it’s important early on to build that business case so that you have the tools and the resources (and the support from your executives) to continue down this path.

Here’s the typical flow for showing the linkage between your CX program and outcomes for the business, i.e., showing ROI. 

  • Listen to customers

  • Analyze the feedback

  • Identify pain points for customers and for the business

  • Define improvement initiatives

  • Highlight the impact of making (or not) the improvements – on employees and the employee experience

  • Outline the impact of making (or not) the improvements – on customers and the customer experience

  • Estimate the cost for making the improvements

  • Identify both experience and business metrics that are impacted as a result

  • Calculate and demonstrate the linkage between the improvements, the metrics, and the outcomes for the business

  • Make the improvements

  • Gather the exact cost for making the improvements

  • Identify the benefits (customer and business) of making the changes in both financial and non-financial terms

  • Calculate the actual ROI

Lather, rinse, repeat. Continue to do this in order to stay front and center by showing the importance of listening to customers and putting customers at the center of all you do.


Product management and CX

The product is a vital part of the customer experience. As such, product teams must work closely with CX teams to ensure that they understand the bigger picture of the experience and the impact the product has on the customer. 

These two teams share similar processes to gather, analyze, and act on customer data, including the work they do to understand the customer and her needs, pain points, and problems to solve. But that work is often done in silos, with the CX team focusing on the broader customer experience, and the product team focusing on the product and the user experience, never sharing what they know with each other. Instead, they become possessive about what they do and what they know. It’s time to change that.

Your chief product officer and your chief customer officer must both champion the customer. As such, they must lock arms and ensure their teams work together, sharing data and designing a great end-to-end customer experience, and transforming the business from one that is product-centric to one that is customer-centric. 

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