Defining a path for your company’s customer experience (CX) strategy is daunting, but customer demands are only getting more extensive as consumer technology touches all aspects of life – truth be told, that CX journey is now 100% necessary to distinguish your company from the competition.
Guneet Singh leads customer experience programs at DocuSign, starting in the process improvement space 20 years ago, which led to a natural fit for CX.
From start-ups to Fortune 50 companies, spanning multiple industries, Singh has built up a broad view of how customer expectations are evolving alongside technology, and shares his thoughts and advice for approaching CX in this interview.
Nearshore Americas: What kind of skills should people develop to lead a CX initiative and make better use of the information gathered within the practice?
Guneet Singh: The biggest trait is the ability to be empathetic. People treat empathy as something that is easy to understand, but applying that empathy to a business environment is more difficult, and the most necessary skill as a CX leader – it has to be your core capability.
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to CX use cases, so people must be able to fit themselves into all kinds of environments. For example, people in a B2B environment are not the same as B2C customers, and their needs are not being addressed in the same way. In the last three to five years, there has been a significant shift toward understanding the different personas in the B2B space, especially in Silicon Valley. This is a direct result of those companies being more empathetic.
Nearshore Americas: Accurately measuring CX and leveraging that data successfully is one of the biggest challenges for any business. What advice would you give for approaching that challenge?
Guneet Singh: That’s a question that every company should ask before going on their CX journey – what are they going to do with the data they collect? Two things really matter when it comes to measuring CX. One, understanding what is the “moment of truth” you are going to measure? Two, how are you going to measure it?
One common starting point is Net Promoter Score (NPS), which in the last fifteen years has become quite prevalent. People often feel they are doing a CX measurement with these short NPS surveys, which are great, but don’t always provide the complete story. You need to ask if you want to use NPS from a relationship standpoint, a brand perspective, or on a transactional basis. The answers to these questions will give you that “moment of truth”, which is a critical first step to starting a CX measurement, as the sum of all of those interactions define the overall experience with your brand.
The next thing to work out is what to do with that information. Will you look at the overall CX journey from a customer perspective? Perhaps you’ll want to take the feedback, put it back into your product management cycle, and understand if that is aligned with what is already mapped out. If customers are unhappy with an experience, are you already addressing it, and if not what need to be done to react to that feedback?
Classify what the customer experience problem is, then take it back to the leaders or managers of that specific area, such as policies, products, or website design, and check that the issue is on the roadmap for correction. Then create an action plan and close the loop with the customer – this is the single biggest failure point that most companies have. Once you fix it, or even if you are planning to fix it, you should return to the customer and inform them that you have received their feedback and will act upon it.
Nearshore Americas: There are a lot of manual steps in that process, so how can technology be used to address those challenges? Have things like automation actually been successful in helping in the CX process?
Guneet Singh: A lot of CX automation has taken place in the last five to seven years, especially in terms of capturing feedback. It used to be an email driven service, but the use of automation and AI has led to in-product feedback, which is giving feedback on an experience as soon as you have finished a particular task. As a result of automation, companies can now monitor behaviour and actions and then ask feedback questions in the same place once that customer has finished their activity. Earlier, it was more of a manual process, because customers were emailed once a month asking for feedback, for example.
There are now tools that can track each and every user activity on your website or product, so you pipe that data into your internal data warehouse, combine it with your customer experience feedback using algorithms, and then make a model to determine the “help score” of the customer, which helps to profile them. Companies can use that profile as a playbook to help ensure customers either buy more products, or don’t lose brand loyalty.
Nearshore Americas: Considering the volume of data that this is creating and the resources required to analyse it, how are businesses able turn their CX efforts into tangible business results?
Guneet Singh: The data helps to predict actions of each customer, based on factors like usage of the product, the complaints he has made, or the bugs he has reported, which helps to understand if the customer would be a detractor in the future – a good CX strategy can flag this up front.
As soon as that flag is made, an account manager can reach out to ask what’s up, not having to wait for a renewal date, for example, but immediately helping the customer. This element of CX is eliminating the problems or questions that arise when a renewal date arises, and reducing churn.
You have to drive through the journey with the customer, throughout the entire product lifecycle, combining customer data and customer feedback in order to predict their actions and deal with them in real time, rather than after the fact.
Nearshore Americas: So how should companies with minimal resources start implementing their own customer experience strategy?
Guneet Singh: Start with small pilots. Take a control group and a test group and start applying a new CX process on the test group. Once the positive results come in, start scaling it up.
CX fails because of aspirations of big investments that never happen, so you have to prove small to build a larger case into why it is important, showing the magnitude of impact it can have.
Disclaimer: The comments in this interview are solely the opinions of Guneet Singh and do not represent the position of DocuSign or its affiliates.