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The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

How your brand benefits from the customer experience revolution

The revolution in customer experience has made it possible to turn to specific metrics to get a better handle on what your business should do.

How your brand benefits from the customer experience revolution
[nirutft / Adobe Stock]

Trying to figure out how to satisfy the needs of the customer has always been a centerpiece of business metrics. You use every number available to figure out what to deliver and how to do it better. Now, though, a whole slew of macro factors like inflation, stagnant wages, and the shift to digital are changing what both customers and employees experience. This evolution doesn’t have to hold you back; in fact, it can work in your company’s favor.

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THE NEW SITUATION

Thanks to the unique, interconnected challenges we are facing, people don’t necessarily have the same purchasing power they used to. That money pinch has made customers much more vocal and intolerant of error because they want to make sure they’re getting good value if they spend the little money they do have. At the same time, even as they don’t want to lower or change their standards, they can be forced to buy differently, which can taint how they feel about the products, services, or the business in general right out of the gate.

Companies can get a flood of negative feedback from customers who have the ability to publish their opinion for the world to see with a single click. Businesses are under a lot more pressure to perform. They end up investing billions of dollars in research and development to devise solutions that will make customers happier.

MEASURING WHAT COUNTS

The revolution in customer experience has made it possible to turn to specific metrics to get a better handle on what your business should do. The first metric that can help most companies is the pricing survey. This metric, when analyzed in the context of other data, can often help you recognize how to evolve and make your offerings workable for new budgets. For instance, let’s say you look at your inventory and you see that you have a surplus of a given item in your warehouse. If your brand doesn’t currently sell a smaller unit of that item, and if people can’t afford or don’t have the space to stash it, then packaging the item in a smaller quantity could encourage people to continue buying the product.

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Next, focus on metrics that assess customer expectations and brand perception. Your customer satisfaction score is an example. These types of metrics will show you if there’s any gap between what the customer wants you to do and what you’re actually doing, and how that gap influences the customer-business relationship.

It’s important to gather these pieces of data about expectation and perception through the entire customer journey through as many touchpoints as possible so you know exactly what happened and where the bottleneck is. But the prepurchase metrics are especially important, because if you know early on what customers are expecting, you actually can work to deliver, rather than shooting an arrow in the dark and hoping for the best.

USE THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE REVOLUTION TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

Shifts like digital transformation and reduced purchasing power probably aren’t going to disappear any time soon. Therefore, the changes you see in customer buying and interactions are probably here for the long haul. People will continue to be more demanding about quality and service, and they will be highly vocal across many more touchpoints. This can seem negative on the surface, but it means you have more information than ever about what your customers want and how they are experiencing your brand. That’s a very positive thing, and you can absolutely capitalize on it.

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Your task is to be proactive about listening. Get on top of the feedback loop and manage it well. The more you monitor and the more aware you are, the better you can respond in the moment, and the more competitive you’ll be.


Sumit Aneja is CEO of Voxco, an omnichannel software survey platform and a global market leader in the multi-modal survey software sector.

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