Are Employees Engaged?

6 Strategic Goals for Customer Experience Management - Opinionmeter

Part 7 of our series on Goals for CX Management

Employees are one of a company’s two greatest assets. They are the customer facing ‘faces’ that influence how customers behave.

Like customer experience, employee engagement has become a top priority for management. A 2013 Harvard Business Review Analytic Services Report of 558 executives found that 72% say employee engagement is very important. Those that saw employee engagement as a high priority also reported that it impacts customer satisfaction in very favorable ways.

Alfrid Lin, former COO of Zappos, notes that “Zappos was built on the simple premise that to have happy customers, we need happy employees. To have happy employees, we need a great company culture. The success of Zappos demonstrates the linkage between company culture and employee engagement to company success. Our motto of ‘Deliver Happiness’ for customers and employees was also good for our business and investors.”

Employee Engagement

Unfortunately, there is also widespread evidence that employee engagement globally is on the low side. Organizations have a significant challenge to overcome the malaise that resides in the corporate world-getting employees engaged is part of the staging for better customer experience. Fully engaged employees are those who think and feel positively about your brand and behave in a manner congruent with those thoughts and feelings. Gallup, in their annual global engagement studies found that employee engagement is a predictor of business performance, specifically on customer ratings, profitability and productivity. Engaged employees are aligned with the brand and can influence customers to spend more and become brand advocates.

Our research (the tables shown here) with a global professional organization over many years has demonstrated a significant positive correlation between employee engagement and customer satisfaction. The organization’s performance metrics—new member acquisition and new member retention—has outperformed it peers.

Customers’ demands for superior value from goods and services they purchase are unprecedented. They become more empowered and more perceptive in their judgment. We have entered a relatively new stage in the life of business where the focus on the customer is growing and necessary. And customers are demanding that attention.

The risks and uncertainties have escalated, and in many ways, so have the rewards for developing strategies that deliver superior value. In this blog series, I assert that the path to creating customer lifetime value requires a very thoughtful exploration of the six strategic imperatives to build an engine that engages customers in ways that positively influences the health of businesses. It would behoove executives to begin their customer experience strategy by first focusing on the imperatives presented above, have these in place, and then journey on a path of identifying and implementing customer experience solutions.

Best Practice Questions to Ask Your Organization

  • Are our associates engaged? How would we know?
  • Can we demonstrate the value of engagement?
  • Have we designed a customer centric culture?
  • Do associates feel empowered to make spontaneous choices to support customer recovery efforts?
  • Do we measure and track our organization’s Customer Centricity Score?

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Offline Surveys

5 Reasons to Use Offline Surveys - Opinionmeter

Data continues to be the fuel to drive this Information Age in which we are currently living. The more accurate the statistics, details and insights a company can gather, the more they can tailor products or services to suit their customers’ needs. This is why companies turn to surveys to regularly collect mission-critical data.

However, collecting data from surveys can be trickier than it first appears, especially when talking about wanting accurate data in electronic format from people in hard-to-reach areas. Survey takers are not always connected to the Internet, which can introduce complications for capturing and sending data back to the survey organizer. Smart companies look for solutions that can overcome this challenge—like the ability to use offline surveys, capturing the data at any time, but holding the results until they can be connected to the Internet and transferred safely back to the organizer’s servers.

Why is this important? Here are a few reasons why you should be using a solution with offline survey capabilities for your next campaign:

1. Collect Data Anywhere, Anytime

Regardless of where you may be or where your customers may live, offline surveys can be used. Have a trade show and not sure about Internet connectivity? Have employees in the field gathering data in locations far removed from cell towers? No problem. Offline surveys will allow you to gather the data needed from anywhere, then transmit once those survey takers are back in range of Internet connectivity.

2. Reach a Greater Audience

Pew Research Center reports that 15% of Americans still do not use Internet access. This number may be even higher when you factor in areas that do not allow one to connect. Other regions of the world have even higher percentages. With offline surveys, no one is left out; each person has a voice. And, within this otherwise unreachable niche, patterns can emerge. You might find a group that no one considered with deep needs not being met. Maybe assumptions were made about gender or a certain age group or location that offline surveys data suddenly contradicts. Offline surveys allow you to extend your reach to the complete target audience, yielding the complete response picture.

3. Get “Live” vs. “Remembered” Answers

Did you ever start writing an email then have the connection broken only to lose the entire message? Then start over, trying to recall what you wrote earlier? Ever need to write about an experience you had but when you get back to the office—only then trying to remember the details? Offline surveys eliminate such hassles, allowing the participant to write details in a steady, uninterrupted flow without racing to enter data while they have connectivity. They can capture the information at the point-of-experience (PoE) when their opinions and analysis is fresh.

4. More Accurate Answers

With the ease of use and greater flexibility of offline surveys, the opportunity for more accurate answers and thus, superior results, presents itself. They can find a number of quiet places to reflect upon questions and answers. Contrast that with an office space for example, when distractions and disturbances are common.

5. Flexible Submission

Offline surveys can be submitted any time—and typically in a variety of ways. Branching logic, for example, can help take a deep dive into reasons why a survey taker feels strongly about a certain question, uncovering much richer data than a quick live, online survey might. The possibilities for high quality information capture are there, but can only be accessed if the survey platform truly offers full-featured offline capabilities. (A word of caution here: make sure the survey platform you choose has the full spectrum of offline capabilities and not simply the standard Q&A capture functionality. Many providers talk about offline capabilities, but only a few have the right approach.)

The information gathered in a well-crafted offline survey can provide tremendous insights into customers, current and potential ones, but only when the offline capabilities are able to accommodate the needs of both survey designed and taker. The user-paced approach and drill-down branching logic found in leading survey platforms allow organizers to capture highly-accurate, actionable responses from the field that in-turn lead to more informed decision-making for the company.

The bottom line here—offline survey capabilities are a must. The potential data captured from this approach is absolutely critical. So, for your next enterprise survey project, make sure you are well-equipped with full-featured offline capabilities, and can take advantage of your survey platform to capture the data you need from the field.

To learn more about Opinionmeter’s Enterprise Survey Solution, please contact Opinionmeter at 888.676.3837 or visit www.opinionmeter.com. And please share this with any of your colleagues who might find it of interest. Thank you.

Is There an Exchange?

6 Strategic Goals for Customer Experience Management - Opinionmeter

Part 6 of our series on Goals for CX Management

The critical measure of success is whether a transaction occurred- did the customer make a purchase? A straightforward value of the transaction is measured by the amount of the purchase. Frequency and size of the exchange is a barometer of a business’s health, reflected in revenues, profits, stock price, and such proxies as advocacy, loyalty, word-of-mouth or word-of-mouse spread.

Unless there is an exchange, any type of product, service or customer engagement strategy will hold little value. Even when there is an exchange, companies must explore the quality of that exchange. Yes, customers buy and they may buy a lot, but it still begs the question- “Have customers bought exactly what they want?” They may say they are satisfied with their purchases because they have accepted what is offered. But, is what is offered the ‘best’ available?

The difference between what is offered and what customers ideally want is a measure of customer sacrifice. In any exchange, companies must always assess how much sacrifice their customers have made in the exchange, and to make every effort to reduce the magnitude of that sacrifice. While it is very difficult to gauge how much a customer is willing to sacrifice, we know that they will pay more if they have positive experiences. Kris (Peter Kris, “The Value of Customer Experience, Quantified”, HBR, August 1, 2014) notes that customers who have had positive experiences are willing to pay 143% more than those who have had poor experiences in transactional exchanges.

Best Practice Questions to Ask Your Organization

  • Can we show the relationship between our CX strategy and financial performance?
  • Do our associates know how they influence financial performance?
  • Are we measuring and analyzing annual customer spend trajectories versus customer experience scores and employee engagement scores?
  • Are we calculating ROI?

A training organization tailored to provide the on-the-go professional development in the CX discipline–and formerly of Opinionmeter, a company dedicated to helping organizations conduct effective, impactful customer experience programs for over 20 years. To learn more about CX University, please click here. To learn more about Opinionmeter’s unique mix of technology and best practice guidance, please visit Opinionmeter.com.

Is the Shopping Environment Positive?

6 Strategic Goals for Customer Experience Management - Opinionmeter

Part 5 of our series on Goals for CX Management

The environment, physical or digital, is critical to human experiences. Therefore, it is important to design or stage experiences that influence all the human senses. Those organizations that have the ability to create a ‘sensory’ environment will have greater influence on customer behavior. This is established practice in some consumer industries, such as food, cosmetics, and hospitality.

Over the past few years, much of the research has centered on “embodied cognitions” – to create better perceptions of products and services, marketers have been experimenting with appeals to our five human senses in interesting and, sometimes, surprising ways.


Even a potato chip has the properties of sound (crunching), smell, taste, sight (packaging) and touch. Creating an environment of sensory appeal is essential for staging positive experiences. Even in a digital web journey, a sense of ‘taste’ can be created with appropriate language and visuals. Online florists can create powerful emotional connections by using language such as “fresh aromas and vibrant colors…” instead of “beautiful flowers…”

Supermarkets have introduced smell in their physical stores to increase sales; the scent in Nike stores has increased the propensity to spend. The color scheme, space configuration sand furniture design in the Cleveland Metropolitan Library has created more readers. Williams and Ackerman provide ample evidence of the value of the sensory strategy. Bed Bath & Beyond, for example, designs customer journeys to “feel” their way through curtains, linens, and other home furnishings, thereby creating warmth. Whole Foods is another retailer highlighting organic feel by offering taste stations throughout their stores. Consumers touch and taste foods to build trust for their products. Williams and Ackerman further report that people would pay 43% more for a product that they felt was warm to their touch; people offered less for a car when they sat on hard chairs as opposed to soft ones.

The evidence is compelling and suggests that creating or staging a memorable experience through the senses is itself an innovative journey, and one that all customer experience professionals should adopt.

A training organization tailored to provide the on-the-go professional development in the CX discipline–and formerly of Opinionmeter, a company dedicated to helping organizations conduct effective, impactful customer experience programs for over 20 years. To learn more about CX University, please click here. To learn more about Opinionmeter’s unique mix of technology and best practice guidance, please visit Opinionmeter.com.

Are Your Offerings Congruent with Ethical principles?

6 Strategic Goals for Customer Experience Management - Opinionmeter

Part 4 of our series on Goals for CX Management

A promise is a promise! Expectations should not only be met to build loyalty, advocacy and trust, but they should be met because it creates community lifetime value. Yes, customer lifetime value is important, but can you imagine the power of a whole community advocating for or against your brand? All too easily companies get trapped by the immediacy of a transaction, rather than focus on the enduring value of a relationship.

The evidence supporting the adoption of an ethical business perspective is overwhelming. Ethical practices attract customers, make employees want to stay with the company, reduce costs, attract talent, and increase productivity. Trudel and Cotte conducted a series of experiments to test whether buyers will reward ethical practices. Indeed, they found that customers were willing to pay more when they perceived companies as ethical in their business practices (see inset).

consumers will pay a premium for ethically produced goods

Not conducting business consistent with ethical practices is simply wrong and it will create overwhelming negative publicity. Consider the case of United Airlines’ failure to respond to David Carroll’s request to stop breaking his guitars and to, at the very least, apologize for the blatant disregard of his property. Because of this disregard, David went on to create additional videos, and his videos now rank among the top 10 most viewed videos on YouTube. United Airlines failed to display ethical and professional behavior that resulted in creating a negative brand advocate with global reach. David himself is now a popular keynote speaker sharing his United experience at conferences across the globe.

A training organization tailored to provide the on-the-go professional development in the CX discipline–and formerly of Opinionmeter, a company dedicated to helping organizations conduct effective, impactful customer experience programs for over 20 years. To learn more about CX University, please click here. To learn more about Opinionmeter’s unique mix of technology and best practice guidance, please visit Opinionmeter.com.

Are Customer Expectations Met?

6 Strategic Goals for Customer Experience Management - Opinionmeter

Part 3 of our series on Goals for CX Management

Customers have ever increasing expectations when they interact with companies. The US Office of Consumer Affairs in a 1976 study of US consumer satisfaction found that expectations of many customers were not being met because of out of stock products, less than desired quality, and weak customer service. Consequently, many companies introduced increased adherence to quality customer service principles in an attempt to eliminate all of the disappointing variables. Surprisingly, in a 2013 National Customer Rage survey, customer satisfaction was even lower than in 1976.

Even though companies had invested significant resources to improve customer experiences, the increasingly higher level of expectations customers had posed daunting challenges for companies. In other words, expectations are dynamic and will shift, and therefore, companies must be observant and vigilant about them. What this means is that the shifting dynamics of expectations have to be continuously adapted to. To meet, and perhaps exceed expectations, companies must be authentic.

Nordstrom is a classic example of a retailer who exceeds expectations. They have a “no questions asked” policy for returns at any time. In their early years, Nordstrom even refunded a customer’s money for the tires that the customer did not want. And Nordstrom never sold tires! They mean it when they say “Bring it back for a full refund or replacement.” It is no wonder that they rank among the highest in many third party assessments of customer satisfaction research. They are perceived to be authentic in their promise. It is noteworthy then that authenticity has become the prevailing purchasing criterion.

Higher levels of expectations have arisen from the democratization of information. Access to information is not monopolized; all customers now have access, and they also have the power of their voices that can be “megaphoned” through social media channels. With this level of empowerment, companies have to adopt CX strategies and create a customer responsive culture as an organization engine which is fueled by continuous attention to every interaction between customers and organizations with which they do business.

“Are customer expectations being met?” should be a relentless question, followed with “Are we perceived as authentic in everything we say we do and in how we do it?”

Meeting customer expectations should be the cornerstone of a relationship-building strategy. It is the cornerstone of building trust.

Best Practice Questions to Ask Your Organization

  • Do all our associates understand our journey maps and all touch points?
  • Do we know the needs of our customers?
  • Do we understand the characteristics of the types of customers we serve?
  • Do we have explicit customer centric policies?
  • Do associates understand what it means to be authentic?
  • How would we know expectations are met?
  • Do we provide internal feedback to build trust?
  • Do we respond to customers to build trust?
  • Do we have a defined written statement on what we think our targeted customer’s experience should be?
  • How are we measuring and improving engagement with customers at an individual level?

A training organization tailored to provide the on-the-go professional development in the CX discipline–and formerly of Opinionmeter, a company dedicated to helping organizations conduct effective, impactful customer experience programs for over 20 years. To learn more about CX University, please click here. To learn more about Opinionmeter’s unique mix of technology and best practice guidance, please visit Opinionmeter.com.

Is the Customer Experience Positive?

6 Strategic Goals for Customer Experience Management - Opinionmeter

Part 2 of our series on Goals for CX Management

Experience has economic value! To create this value, every customer journey touch point has to be thoughtfully crafted. Increasingly, companies like Taco Bell, Intuit, USAA, Bank One, Apple and Kohl’s, to name a few, have made customers central to their operations. Indeed, the revenues and profits produced from this approach can amount to billions of dollars. Customer experience has become the modern competitive differentiator. In this new ‘experience economy’, Pine and Gilmore, argue that in addition to selling quality products and services, companies must “stage” experiences that are compelling. This comes from creating and implementing creative design principles so that companies can move away from a commoditized mentality of mass merchandizing.

Companies must think about what they sell and do differently than they have in the past and differently from competition. They have to dress up their ‘acts’ so that customers walk away feeling they have been affected emotionally and cognitively. Starbucks and Apple are terrific examples of companies that have staged experiences. Think about it, Starbucks has created an ‘experience’ space for one to have coffee, with an option to buy and go. Apple has created a learning environment for a cross-section of their customers, young and old. We tend to think about consumers using touch primarily because they have to — in order to examine packages and to fill shopping carts. However, touch can also create symbolic connections between people and products, and between buyers and sellers.

Physically holding products can create a sense of psychological ownership, driving must-have purchase decisions. This idea may underlie the push to move inventory from display cases into customers’ hands, a trend seen in many electronics outlets such as the Apple Store and Best Buy.

To stage experiences that are different from past routines is a challenge and the next frontier of innovation. Casper, a small new e-commerce start-up, has disrupted the mattress purchase experience, and has demonstrated that even something as boring can be transformed into an exciting journey. They go beyond selling a sleeping surface. With an ‘outrageously comfortable mattress direct to the consumer’ sales approach coupled with compressed shipping delivered to your door and a 100% 100 day return guarantee, Casper has won the hearts of customers.

Even those who return mattresses because they are not be comfortable praise Casper for the experience. They even provide simple instructions, a useful cutter to break the plastic wrap, a handwritten thank-you note, and even a book for a bedtime read.

The economics are very obvious; companies that stage positive experiences with a deep understanding of human behavior enjoy greater market share, revenue growth, higher stock price and profitability. Casper attracted $15 million in venture funding and had sales of $20 million in ten months since its launch in April, 2014.

Best Practice Questions to Ask Your Organization

  • Have we designed a customer journey map?
  • Have we included the voice of all associates who have a customer facing role?
  • Do we know the relative impact of all the touch points in customer journeys?
  • How are we measuring these touch points?
  • Will we know when touch points are not frictionless?
  • Are all our associates familiar with our journey map(s)?
  • Is the experience personalized where customers feel that their needs have been met?
  • Is the experience uniformly positive and consistent through different touch points? Are touch point measures tied to associate performance?

A training organization tailored to provide the on-the-go professional development in the CX discipline–and formerly of Opinionmeter, a company dedicated to helping organizations conduct effective, impactful customer experience programs for over 20 years. To learn more about CX University, please click here. To learn more about Opinionmeter’s unique mix of technology and best practice guidance, please visit Opinionmeter.com.

6 Strategic Goals for Customer Experience Management

6 Strategic Goals for Customer Experience Management - Opinionmeter

Part 1 of a series

This is the age of the customer! The evidence is very clear – customers along with their wallets can go where they want to. They will go where they perceive and receive the greatest value, not only from the perspective of price, but also from their belief that the people and organizations they interact with really care about them and their needs. Companies believe that focusing on customers offers competitive advantages.
6 Strategic Questions
To achieve competitive advantages from a customer experience management program or system, companies must consider and address six key strategic imperatives. Together, these imperatives, support and promote a holistic and systemic view of any customer experience management initiative, and if implemented well, will deliver competitive advantages.

Even a cursory glance across what we now refer to as the “experience economy” reveals a new landscape, one in which the customer is empowered. This landscape has spurred a whole new dynamic in the business world. Virtual shopping is becoming increasingly dominant. Amazon is an example of an e-commerce business that has grown from $14.84 billion in 2007 to $88.99 billion in 2014, and is well on its way to crossing the $100 billion mark.

Showrooming (customers who visit to see products in brick and mortar stores but buy online) is showing up the brick and mortar space. Omni-channel journeys are now the new normal. All of these changes do not portend well for those who ignore critical strategic intersections. Every interaction is an opportunity for a more deliberate, intentional experience. Even a look at language, visuals, sounds, and smells are part of the strategic mosaic to convey intent.

The landscape of customer experience is complex and must include consideration of employee experiences, channel partner experiences, web and brick and mortar journey experiences, call center interactions and overall design elements. Note that we are not speaking about tactical customer journey touch points, but rather about strategic touch points that reflect a company’s strategic positioning and intent. Let us review six strategic imperatives.

  1. Is the experience of shopping (virtual or physical) positive?
  2. Are customers’ expectations met?
  3. Are the offerings congruent with ethical principles?
  4. Is the overall environment for shopping/buying positive?
  5. Is there an exchange?
  6. Are employees engaged?

We’ll explore these six imperatives over the coming weeks in our series. Be sure to check back for each installment, and please let us know your comments and experiences in this space.

A training organization tailored to provide the on-the-go professional development in the CX discipline–and formerly of Opinionmeter, a company dedicated to helping organizations conduct effective, impactful customer experience programs for over 20 years. To learn more about CX University, please click here. To learn more about Opinionmeter’s unique mix of technology and best practice guidance, please visit Opinionmeter.com.

Let’s Discuss Your CX Program at Insight Exchange in Atlanta May 3-4

Meet us at CXPA Insight Exchange in Atlanta, May 3-4, 2016

Let’s Discuss Your CX Program at Insight Exchange in Atlanta May 3-4

Join Opinionmeter and 300 of your colleagues at this year’s CXPA Insight Exchange conference in Atlanta. With keynote speakers including Renee Cacchillo of Safelite, Curtis Kopf of Premera Blue Cross, and Doug Woodard of CapitalOne, the conference should be a fact-filled learning experience for everyone.

Opinionmeter’s parent company, Periscope IQ, will be sponsoring and on-hand to discuss customer experience best practices with you and give you insight into how leading retail organizations, financial companies, medical institutions and more are using our proven survey technology platform and data analytics back-end to drive gains across the board in customer satisfaction.

Periscope’s Mohamed Latib, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer, will be available to share his expertise and industry experience and offer guidance on how to address leading issues that you and others like you are facing in 2016 and beyond.

What is the Insight Exchange? Whether or not you’re a member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association, the 2016 Insight Exchange is the perfect opportunity to expand your knowledge and your network with more than 300 Customer Experience professionals in attendance. This May 3-4 at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia you will be exposed to world-class learning and networking with a unique approach to exchange and a focus on innovation. For more information about the conference, please visit CXPA Insight Exchange.

To learn more about Opinionmeter’s Enterprise Survey Solution, please contact Opinionmeter at 888.676.3837 or visit www.opinionmeter.com. And please share this with any of your colleagues who might find it of interest. Thank you.

Opinionmeter Just Got a Whole New Look!

Opinionmeter Survey Manager, New Release May 2016

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new streamlined Survey Manager platform! And we’re hosting an upcoming webinar to give you an up-close first-hand look!

Coming in May to a device near you–an all-new, completely redesigned and streamlined user experience driving the powerful Opinionmeter platform that you use every day. That’s right, the completely redesigned UI/UX update will be available to all Opinionmeter customers beginning in just a few weeks.

And we’re excited to show you some of the new enhancements, offering:

  • Drag & Drop to create surveys the easy way
  • Faster Workflow puts your favorite tasks just a click away
  • Admin Dashboard gives you instant insight to survey progress
  • Responsive Design lets your create surveys from your tablet device
  • Localization offers a built-in experience just for you
  • Enhanced Feedback gives you real-time intelligence from the field
  • Streamlined Menu to give you access the functions you need quickly
  • Simplified Survey Creation to get up and running in 3 easy steps:
    Author, Brand & Distribute

Reserve your seat for a closer look at this exciting new platform. Sign up now for a guided tour webinar with Morgan Strickland of Opinionmeter, on Thursday, May 5th at 2pm ET / 11am PT.


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