The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t just resulted in changing consumer behaviors and a new economic environment. It has also pressured businesses to question how they interact with customers and respond to their needs.
Customer retention in normal times was always a primary focus for businesses. However, in this new normal, it’s more important than ever for businesses to figure out how they can position customers at the heart of both their marketing strategy and their business model.

Adapting Your Customer Retention Strategy
With fewer chances to personally interact with your customer base, you may wonder how you can possibly maintain your relationship with them and continue to build their confidence in your brand. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to innovate and improve during these uncertain times.
Below, we describe the most important areas you should be focusing on when it comes to navigating the realm of customer retention in this new and unfamiliar business environment.

Build Relationships Using the HEART Framework
The Harvard Business Review offers guidelines for building relationships with consumers during a crisis through its HEART framework of communication. These guidelines call for business owners to

• Humanize their companies
• Educate customers about changes in their operations
• Assure stability to inspire consumer confidence
• Revolutionize their offerings by adapting to the new environment
• Tackle the future by determining a timeline for reevaluating and updating changes as needed

Above all, the HEART framework emphasizes the need to reach out to customers not with new marketing efforts but with information and support, providing them with much-needed value and building relationships in the process.

Make Targeted Changes to Customer Experience
Chances are your customer experience has been dramatically altered over the course of the pandemic, for better or for worse. You may have had to make spur-of-the-moment decisions regarding how customers interact with your business and receive your products and services without fully thinking through how these changes would affect customers’ overall impression of your company.
Now is the time to take stock of changes that have already been made and those that still need to be made in the face of long-term shifts in consumer behaviors. Throughout this decision-making process, focus on meeting customers where they are through innovations in online interactions and expanded home delivery options or contactless operations.
One of the easiest ways to assess customer feedback is through surveys. You can gather a significant amount of information with questions as simple as:

• How likely are you to recommend our service?
• What did you like about our services?

Additionally, now is an excellent time to survey your customers about their feelings regarding the reopening of your business. Find out where their concerns lie. Are they interested in seeing your staff wearing masks? Do they expect to see hand sanitizer at multiple locations within your store? Are they anticipating special business hours for seniors or those compromised immune systems?
At this critical time, it’s also important to listen to employees who have the closest interaction with customers, as they’ll have particularly valuable insight into how changes are being implemented and received.

Understand What’s Most Important to Customers
Customers’ priorities are changing—fast. Since the pandemic has altered their lives seemingly overnight, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that what they’re looking for in brands has changed significantly as well.
In order to gain a better understanding of how these changes have impacted consumers’ trust in brands, a recent survey reached out to more than a thousand consumers in the U.S. to learn more about these new priorities.
The results showed that this crisis has led consumers to take on a more community-focused mindset. Consumers are most concerned with how brands are making the well-being of their employees and customers their focus, rather than taking advantage of the situation to maximize profits.
In other words, consumers aren’t looking for empty words of hope and optimism. What they want is for brands to demonstrate more concrete support for their customers and employees—not their bottom line.
These factors are likely to have an impact on customer loyalty and brand reputation for as long as the pandemic is an influential part of Americans’ lives, and should thus be a major consideration as you make changes to your business going forward.

Many companies fail to take the time to understand the true needs and feelings of their customers, especially during periods of major upheaval. Before investing in product development or altering services in a way that could completely change the customer experience, it’s important for innovators to ensure any adjustments they make accurately reflect the voice of the customer (VOC).
The VOC process is a form of marketing research that aims to understand customer expectations as well as their likes and dislikes. This process offers insight into customers’ needs and desires—both the ones they consciously speak about and those they’ve yet to even identify themselves.
The VOC technique also makes it possible for brands to learn how customers make decisions and the specific “pain points” that may stop them from making a purchase. In addition, it offers information about how customer preferences change over time.

Changing Approaches to VOC During the Pandemic

In 2020, companies have seen customer preferences change drastically. From a sudden decline in income to new regulations that dictate their daily interactions, there have been a number of influential factors causing the pendulum of customer preferences to swing wildly.
Some of the changes have been lasting, while others haven’t. Keeping up with these shifts has given many businesses whiplash. But others have proven to be stronger than ever. The key to success in this situation is knowing exactly what customers are thinking and feeling and using that information to dictate key decisions for your company.

While many VOC collection techniques have typically been conducted in person, such as interviews, focus groups, and observations, this is no longer a safe option in the wake of COVID-19. Thus, having an effective digital feedback collection method has become more crucial than ever.
At Listen360, we’ve seen many of our brands succeed in implementing changes to how they gather and analyze customer feedback during the pandemic. Below, we’ve listed a few of the different ways they’ve adjusted their digital feedback collection strategies to understand customers’ changing preferences and respond in a way that strengthens customer relations and promotes brand loyalty.

Keeping an Ear to the Ground

With customer engagement software that allows you to analyze customer feedback in real time, you can quickly get a handle on your customers’ current needs and frame of mind. While in the past you may have only checked customer feedback on a casual basis, now is the time to increase the frequency with which you gather, monitor, and respond to customer opinions and reviews.
Not only will doing so ensure you keep your finger on the pulse of a changing situation, but it will also enable you to make quick changes based on customer reactions. For example, if you receive a comment expressing disappointment about your company’s approach to COVID-19 safety measures, you can immediately look into the problem and resolve it so no other customers have the same negative experience. The most dynamic software packages alert you of such feedback right away, giving you the chance to quickly fix the problem and retain customers you may otherwise have lost.

Adjusting Text Analytics

Once upon a time, your text analytics may have been tuned to identify issues regarding customer service or specific aspects of your products. Now, depending on the types of services you offer, you should most likely be tuning your analytics to seek out words such as “PPE,” “COVID,” “masks,” “social distancing,” “pandemic,” and any other phrases that customers may be using to express their feelings and observations about the current situation.
With the right customer engagement software, you can easily adjust your text analytics at any time to include these words. With this proactive approach, you can find and address COVID-related feedback as quickly as possible. Remember, this feedback won’t always be negative. You’re also looking out for positive customer experiences that show you’re on the right track to providing customers with a purchase process that helps them feel safe.

Assessing the Needs of Different Demographics

At this point in time, customer sentiment may vary drastically depending on where they live. Rather than looking at your customer base as a whole, you’ll likely get a better understanding of what’s going on by segmenting feedback data to pinpoint certain states, regions, or demographics.
Using a customer listening solution, like Listen360, brands can take a detailed look at how different segments feel about their products and services as well as their approach to health and safety. Region, location, customer age, and customer tenure are some of the categories that can be used to filter data and highlight important patterns. Thanks to this tool, segments of your customer base that require extra attention won’t go overlooked.
During volatile times, your customers’ voices should lead the way. When you realize your customers only want to be heard and feel safe, you can work to meet these needs in real-time and build relationships that endure beyond this challenging era.

Keeping the “Non-Essential” Essential

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis may feel like anything but an opportunity for small businesses. Nonetheless, changes in purchasing patterns and consumer behaviors offer businesses a golden moment to stand out.
By taking the initiative to innovate as you navigate this uncharted territory, you can help ensure your business is in a stronger position to compete against other well-known brands as consumers develop new habits and the world enters a new normal.
In these difficult times having a solid digital marketing strategy is key to keeping business afloat. So, how can you use digital marketing to integrate into consumers’ purchasing patterns and make a strong comeback as social distancing guidelines are loosened?
Read on for our tips to help keep your business relevant in an ever-changing environment.

Tip #1: Offer a Solution
Attracting the attention of customers set in their ways once required a tough, and often costly, fight with big-name brands. However, in this day and age, it’s obvious that customers are willing to forgo brand loyalty and change their habits.
The population is shopping in new ways, trying out new brands, and venturing out to unfamiliar shops to purchase essentials. And this isn’t just anecdotal information. In fact, a study presented by MIT Sloan Management Review reports new brands accounted for over 30% of surveyed shoppers’ purchases.
As shelves are emptied of many sought-after items, what consumers are searching for is not necessarily brand recognition, but the particular features of a product. Instead of delaying purchases to wait for a preferred brand to arrive on the shelves, customers are now willing to stock up on something new as long as the unfamiliar product performs the same function as the familiar one. In this context, it’s not so important for brands to focus on why their product is the ideal version, but rather how it offers a solution to the customer’s needs.

Tip #2: Stay Visible
It’s easy to get a customer to try your product if it’s the only one of its kind left on the shelf. But what about online, where the options can often feel limitless? That’s where digital marketing comes in.
Now especially, it’s crucial you invest in a digital marketing strategy that helps build your brand’s virtual presence and facilitates familiarity and trust among your audience. Here are some of the main components of a well-rounded digital marketing strategy:

SEO Marketing
Engaging in Search Engine Optimization, known as SEO, is one of the best ways to ensure your website appears on the results pages for relevant searches. Since SEO is a long-term strategy, it’s important to understand that any efforts you put in now to optimize your website are going to pay dividends in the future. Using keyword optimization, improving the format of sitemaps, and using structured data are a few of the ways you can improve search engine rankings and help position your product or service as a solution to consumers’ queries.

Social Media
With physical social distancing a must in many communities, people are turning to social media for both social interaction and information. This offers a great opportunity for brands to engage with their audience in a way that feels natural and helps bolster their presence online.
Remember that many people use social media as a form of escape, meaning they’re more open to humorous or uplifting content on these platforms. This isn’t the place for strictly promotional content, but it is a space where you can organically build a community around your brand without blowing your marketing budget.

Online Ad Campaigns
If your company has always relied on word-of-mouth marketing, how can it survive in a world where people are increasingly isolated from one another? Running an online advertising campaign is one way to spread the word about your brand as consumers spend more time in front of their phones and computers.
PPC ads allow you to insert ads in search engine results based on specific keywords. This kind of strategy is accessible to almost all businesses and makes it possible to target the right audience for a better return on your investment.

Tip #3: Adapt, Innovate, and Evolve
Now’s the time to show just how agile you can be. As you take your business online and reach out to a more open customer base who is willing to try new things, it’s important you’re ready to roll with the punches. Government guidelines and consumer preferences will change and the market will always evolve, but one thing will stay the same: businesses that choose to innovate in the face of uncertain circumstances will continue to thrive.

Social media campaigns can be tough for businesses to get right even in good times. In the era of COVID-19, it’s especially difficult to know how to use your social media presence in the most productive manner.

Ignoring the pandemic will make your brand seem either oblivious or tone deaf. On the other hand, posting too much COVID-19-related material will only overwhelm your audience and drown out the broader message your brand wants to promote.

With so many questions surrounding the use of social media during COVID-19, you may be tempted to step away from your social media campaign altogether. However, that’s not really a solution, either. Even with all that’s going on in the world, there’s still room for your brand to play a role on social media.

By this point in the pandemic, it’s much clearer how companies can use social media in a way that is mutually beneficial for both brands and consumers. Read on to gain a better understanding of what you can do to help your business’s social media campaign change with the times.

Reevaluate Your Audience:
You may think you know your target audience. After all, you’ve probably already invested time into analyzing the demographics of your customer base. While you may know who your customer is in normal times, do you know the types of challenges they are facing due to the pandemic? How have their lives changed? What are they thinking and feeling?
Reevaluating your audience’s current needs will help you strike the right tone and ensure you are marketing your product or service in a way that is relevant to their current needs and lifestyle. Some changes that may have occurred over the past few months include:

  • Time management. Lockdowns have left some individuals with more time on their hands, while others are busy simultaneously working, parenting, and schooling.
  • Health. Most people’s approach to health has changed, extending to both their hygiene practices and their fitness routines.
  • Budget. Many families are reigning in frivolous spending to make more room in their budget for essentials.
    This is also the time to assess whether your target audience has grown during the pandemic. Has the current situation made your product relevant for different needs or a different segment altogether? There may be new opportunities to tap into and new needs to meet that you’ve yet to consider.

Look at Data Differently:
Currently, purchasing patterns are in a constant state of flux, and you simply may not see the ROI you would have expected in the past. Nonetheless, there are many valuable metrics to consider at the moment other than conversions. Overall, your engagement metrics, including likes, shares, and comments, are going to show consumers’ interest in your brand even if they’re not able to make a purchase right now.

This means you should emphasize developing and maintaining relationships with customers, both old and new. Instead of focusing only on ROI, aim for better engagement so you can be at the front of customers’ minds when their buying behaviors return to a more normal pattern.

In order to gain a big-picture understanding of what’s actually going on with the metrics, you’ll also need to change your timeframe for looking at data. Although year-over-year reporting and analysis may have made sense before, these types of measurements aren’t going to hold the same level of insight in the current climate of change. You may need to shorten your time frames to quarterly comparisons or even month-over-month.

Forget What You Knew:
What were once standard patterns of social media use as far as timing and frequency of use have gone out the window. Many people’s routines have changed drastically as they shift to working from home, caring for school-aged children, and more regularly dining in. This means the best times to post on social media have changed as well.

Fluctuations in lockdown regulations have meant these changes aren’t necessarily the new norm, but there is definitely an overall pattern being formed. For example, as people skip their commute and work from home, they’re also waking up a little later and are less likely to engage on social media in the early mornings. While before Sunday was once the worst day to post, this day now sees a high level of activity on social media as people look to connect with loved ones they may not be able to see in person.

Explore New Avenues:
If you’ve always been curious about how a new content type or channel would go over with your audience, now is the time to shake things up. Whether the experiment is successful or not is almost less important than the insights to be gained by trying something different.

Here are some avenues to explore:

  • Posting more frequently
  • Using videos to inform or entertain
  • Trying out a new platform such as Snapchat or TikTok
  • Encouraging user-generated content
  • Soliciting feedback through polls

Whatever you try, chances are it’s not going to be perfect. There’s no rulebook for these uncertain times, and you’re not alone in fearing a misstep. Rather than being paralyzed by uncertainty, focus on moving forward, even if that means making mistakes along the way. Both your successes and failures will guide and inform your future decisions and strategies. So get engaged, get posting, and get social!

The lines between the offline and online experience are becoming blurred. As consumers’ interactions with businesses are increasingly multi-faceted, it’s important to maintain a digital marketing strategy that also helps improve the customer experience as a whole. For franchise brands, this often means taking a localized approach to digital marketing that allows franchisees to claim their own space online with the overall support and backing of the corporate brand.

Understanding the Digital Customer Experience in Context
Whether we use a phone or a laptop, an app or a website, has an effect on our experience with a brand’s digital touchpoints. Our experiences are also influenced by our intention; are we just browsing, looking to purchase, or seeing a way to communicate?

But our interactions with businesses aren’t always restricted to either the digital or the “real world.” Technology is such an integral part of our lives that there is no “switch” between digital and analog, but rather a fluid integration.

As a result, there’s also no one “digital” customer experience. The true customer experience is the total sum of experiences a customer has with a brand across all points of contact. This can make it hard to close the gap between how you perceive your customers’ experience and how they actually feel about interacting with your business in the digital arena.

It’s not always possible to put yourself in their shoes when you’re also running a franchise with multiple locations. That’s why it’s crucial to have a strategy in place for improving the overall customer experience, including the digital aspect of that experience, without losing sight of your brand’s end goal.

By using the right digital marketing tactics, you can ensure customers have a smooth journey from the initial search all the way through to conversion.

Reinforcing Customer Experience Through Digital Marketing
These issues are often compounded when it comes to digital marketing for franchise brands. While the franchise model allows brands to increase their footprint quickly, it can be tough to implement a digital marketing campaign at the local level that is totally in sync with the brand as a whole. Since brand marketers often have limited control over the local marketing efforts of franchisees, they can’t prevent local marketing campaigns from being executed in a way that clashes with the brand’s ultimate aims or even its specific style preferences.

The only way forward is for brands to make communication with franchisees a priority while also laying out clear goals and guidelines. In addition, franchisors must ensure franchisees have the resources they require to succeed in their marketing campaigns, whether financial in nature or related to training and ad creative. In return, franchisees should commit to running local campaigns that align with the brand’s overall goals and preferred message. After all, it’s a win-win for both brands and franchisees when any marketing campaign, whether local or national, delivers results.

The next step is to implement specific digital marketing strategies that have been proven to work for franchise brands. Below is a brief overview of the types of initiatives that help franchise businesses stand out on a local level.

Websites, Channels, and Pages Under the Brand’s Control
Consumers tend to prefer to engage with businesses on the local level rather than reaching out to the corporate brand. That’s why it’s important to make all opportunities for owned media location specific. Here’s how:

  • Local business listings. Local business data from aggregators, search engines, social media, and other places where these details appear should always be available and up to date.
  • Unique landing pages. Optimized landing pages for each franchise location boost local SEO results and offer more relevant content for consumers.
  • Content marketing. Franchise locations can maintain blogs of their own or share content from the corporate level to inform and engage consumers.
  • Social media profiles. Maintaining active social media profiles for each franchise location encourages customers to interact with the brand and keeps it relevant at the local level.

Advertising on Third-Party Sites
Localized ads provide an opportunity to geo-target consumers in a specific radius in each franchise location’s service area. These types of ads can easily supplement a national paid search campaign, and their hyper-local nature ensures any advertising dollars spent are being used in the right places.
Google AdWords offers a series of ad types and features that are great for franchise brands looking to target specific locations:

  • Local bid adjustments increase bids when a consumer in the area of a franchise location searches for specific keywords.
  • Location extensions help consumers find a franchise location when using a search engine.
  • Local inventory ads display real-time inventory at nearby franchise locations.

Voluntary Mentions by Consumers
This category is all about consumer engagement through word-of-mouth marketing and online reviews. Some of the best advertising money can’t buy includes positive words from a current customer. Franchise brands should manage earned media in the following ways:

  • Responding to reviews. This is often easier said than done, as reviews can end up on countless sites and platforms. However, there are many tools available to help manage and process reviews to ensure they’re all seen and responded to.
  • Promoting positive feedback. Nudging consumers to leave a positive review if they’ve had a positive experience is an art that’s worth spending time on.
  • Direct interactions on social media. Maintaining a social media presence isn’t only about posting regularly. It’s also important to engage with your audience by responding to comments and direct messages to build relationships and keep an eye on mentions.

During the earlier stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of Google’s basic reviews functionality took a backseat to critical GMB listing updates for essential businesses. In addition to focusing Google’s resources on where it mattered most, Google also likely wanted to avoid the spread of misinformation and unwarranted negativity during the onset of COVID-19.

As we reported in our previous blog, Google temporarily stopped publishing new reviews, review replies, and Q&A. Customers were still able to write and view their own reviews, but these reviews were not verified or posted for the general public to see.

We are happy to report that customer reviews are coming back to Google. This is an important development as businesses begin to reopen and consumers start searching for various services online.

On Google’s support page, they specifically stated:

“Review replies are now available. New user reviews, new user photos, new short names, and Q&A will gradually return by country and business category.”

In addition to announcing that reviews are coming back, Google also noted that businesses can add a “COVID-19 update” to their Business Profile. You can learn about how to create a COVID-19 post here. Businesses can upload media and add things such as:

  • Hours of operation and temporary closures.
  • Changes to how the business operates, such as takeout or delivery only, call for details, or others.
  • Updates to how the location is being managed as it relates to safety and hygiene.
  • Requests for support.

We hope you found this information helpful. As always, Listen360 will continue to share updates and tips as we learn more. Connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter for live updates.

Businesses are struggling to keep up with the impact of COVID-19 and Google is no exception. As organizations work to maintain the accuracy of their Google My Business Listings, Google is also focusing their resources on verifying the quality and reliability of information on Google Search and Maps. 

In addition to publishing information on how to keep consumers informed during these unprecedented times, Google also announced some temporary limitations to Google My Business functionality, including a short-term change to reviews.

Here are the highlights:

New reviews, new review replies, and Q&A are temporarily unavailable

Google will not publish any new reviews, review replies, or Q&A until further notice. Customers can still write a review (and view it), however, the review will not be verified or posted for the general public to see.

Google hasn’t specified whether or not the reviews will be visible at some point, however, based on Google’s new post-review confirmation, it looks there is simply a delay and it’s safe to assume the reviews will eventually appear.If this is a concern for your business, you may want to consider asking for reviews on other sites such as Facebook. Listen360 allows you to customize the sites listed on your review request, as well as the order in which they display.

Maintaining the Accuracy of Google My Business Listings is Critical

Keeping consumers informed during this difficult time is just one way your business can continue to provide standout levels of service. Google announced that they are prioritizing critical updates for health-related businesses so you may see a delay, but we still recommend updating your listings.

Here are some helpful tips:

Our hearts go out to all the businesses and individuals that have been impacted by COVID-19. Listen360 will continue to share updates and tips as we learn more. Connect with us on Facebook, Linkedin, or Twitter for live updates.

When your business is entering people’s homes to provide a service, they’re going to watch you like a hawk. Even tiny mistakes are amplified when you’re in somebody’s house. When those mistakes end up amplified across reviews sites and word of mouth, it can have big consequences. But even if you do everything by the book and provide great service, you might still get a bad review. The truth is, you may be doing or missing something that you didn’t even know your customers cared about. It seems impossible to prepare for everything; you can’t read minds… Or can you?

Maybe with a little help. We analyzed surveys from 1,500 customers of the home services industry to see what makes them tick. And what ticks them off. Retaining a new client is entirely dependent on exceptional customer experience. In fact, companies that make customer experience a priority generate 60% greater profits than competitors. On that note, you may want to take a look at what we found.

Pain Points

We looked at each stage of the service process to find out what sort of things drove customers away during those periods. Here’s what they said.

Notice how many problems have nothing to do with the actual performance of the service itself. Front and backend details will get you.  Communication in some form pops up in almost every category, so it’s not just about getting the job done. The days of customer service are over; customer experience is the new name of the game. That game starts the second they see your brand name and continues long after a service provider leaves the home. Understanding and training for all of the instances surrounding the actual date of service will increase retention.

Delighters

Preparing for the worst will make you a good business, but knowing what wows customers will make you a great one. Here’s what they said about making a delightful, exceptional experience.

 

Once again, communication, honesty, and helpfulness are themes throughout the process. This shows that it’s important to create a dialogue and consistently collect feedback from your customers. The more insight you have into how they’re thinking and feeling, the more you’ll be able to provide an experience that will delight them. When you exceed customers’ expectations, they’ll become loyal fans of your business. Increasing retention by even 5% has been shown to increase profits anywhere from 25-95%. The numbers don’t lie; acting on feedback pays off.

If you’d like to keep learning about customer feedback and best practices, we’ve got a great resource for you. Listen360 recently published a comprehensive customer loyalty benchmark. In the report, you’ll learn the strategies of top-performing brands, business growth priorities, applications for your own business, and much more. Check out the free 2019 Customer Loyalty Benchmark here.

The Y knows better than most that communication is crucial to strengthening a community and a business. It’s impossible to work with one another towards change without maintaining an open dialogue. But the YMCA family is now a global community. Even on an individual location level, neighborhoods are bigger than ever. How can you be sure that your member experience strategy is growing to match the increasing needs of your community?

Ys across the nation have been implementing the Net Promoter System to be absolutely sure they’re providing the experience they promise. Not only does NPS capture how loyal members are the brand or location, but it also provides insights that increase retention and help with training. All of that value starts with one question: “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend your Y?”

It seems like pretty basic stuff, right? But once you use the formula and analyze the responses, you start to learn a few things. NPS scoring allows Ys to categorize types of members. Examining these groups creates a better understanding of their relationship with the brand. Members break down into three groups: detractors, passives, and promoters.


Knowing your score lets you benchmark your progress as a Y. Just as with exercising or studying, you can’t set goals if you don’t know how to quantify the results. That’s all well and good, but what is a successful score? It turns out that it’s drastically different from industry to industry. That’s why we surveyed Ys using the NPS system to get an idea of how they’re doing.

If you’re looking for a path to growth, these scores are a pretty good place to start. It’s certainly not the whole picture, though. We know that YMCA provides communities with all kinds of services. So we went a step further with NPS. We dug into how members felt about different types of programs.


This is just a glimpse of how NPS can help a YMCA or any business for that matter. We recently released a comprehensive benchmark report detailing how top performers are beefing up their member retention for 2020. It’ll give you best practices, tips and tricks, and ideas for your own strategy that you can use right now.

We’d love for you to check it out here and come learn with Listen360 and the 2019 Customer Loyalty Report.

So, by now you’ve probably read our long-awaited customer loyalty benchmark! Pretty good stuff, right?

If not, that’s OK. If you haven’t had a chance to take a look, or if you did and it was just a lot to take in, here are some CX appetizers for you. We’re serving up some bite-sized lessons, and maybe after a taste, you’ll go for the whole benchmark entrée.

2020 Trends in Customer Loyalty Strategy

Business Priorities – What do companies value most this year?

More than half of our respondents indicated that “happy customer” is a top driver of business growth. It was no surprise then that nearly 3 out of 5 reported being “extremely committed” to providing a superior CX  with 92% overall committed to at least “highly committed.”

Higher performing brands displayed stronger commitments to a superior CX overall, and they put more emphasis on brand reputation. Oddly enough, a whopping 40% of businesses reported having NO formal CX strategy whatsoever. That’s odd… Pretty much everyone said they were dedicated to it, but only about half put their money where their mouths were. 

Guess who was most likely to have a firm strategy in place? The highest performing brands, of course.

CX Strategy – What are they doing about those priorities?

Those top brands are benchmarking CX. They know where they stand, who they’re beating, and how they can improve. The number one benchmarking tool used by high performers was the Net Promoter System followed by loyalty metrics and CSAT. Consistent customer feedback collection and analysis trended highly with top brands.

Operations and marketing departments are typically responsible for managing and using customer feedback data. Most companies are integrating this data into their operations and leveraging it for brand reputation purposes. 

Corporate, regional, and local managers have access to customer feedback data with senior managers most commonly dealing with reports and action. 

Higher performing brands are monitoring and analyzing customer feedback in real-time or at least on a daily basis. 

Taking Action – What are they doing with the data?

Customer feedback analysis is primarily used to improve CX on an operational level and follow up with dissatisfied customers. The results of these reports are discussed on a weekly to monthly basis, and goals based on this data are set at a brand level. Businesses are also using reports from individual locations or service areas to improve frontline behavior and interaction.

Higher performing brands are more likely to use feedback in their marketing and PR communications. They share and discuss trending issues in feedback on an ad-hoc basis to keep with the real-time mentality. Top brands try to make sure that employees understand the results of customer feedback and are equipped to take action in response. 

There’s More – How much more?

A lot more. I couldn’t spoil your appetite before the main course, could I? The gist of this sampler platter was: highest-performing brands are collecting customer feedback, they’re collecting it regularly, and they’re using it in multiple strategies across their networks. 

The full report has tons of valuable data and some tips and tricks about best practices to help you get started at your business. We hope you’ll check it out and learn more with us about how to increase your customer loyalty!

Click here to download the full report.