Why Customer Feedback is the Key to a Successful Customer Experience Program

A customer experience team collaborates around a conference table

Here’s why a successful customer experience program needs customer feedback at the center of its operation, according to Dan Gingiss, who’s worked with top-tier brands including Discover and McDonald’s.

Your customers are your biggest asset. Without them, there is no business. When customers speak, companies must listen.

An unexpected outcome of the Covid-19 pandemic was an even stronger focus on customer experience and employee experience. During the past two years, customers learned which companies were there for them when times got tough. Likewise, employees learned which companies had their backs and were willing to support them through massive upheaval in everyone’s lives.

Customers switched brands in record numbers. Employees left their jobs in record numbers. And today, the impact of being a customer experience leader has never been greater.

Research from the Medallia Institute found that CX leaders are 26 times more likely than laggards to experience revenue growth of 20% or more over the past fiscal year. CX leaders are also 2.8 times more likely than laggards to meet financial targets and be viewed as a great place to work.

There is no longer any question: customer experience directly impacts a company’s bottom line, and thus a customer experience program is more vital than ever to succeed.

Customer Feedback: The Key Differentiator Between CX Leaders & Laggards

One of the biggest differences in a successful customer experience program? The desire to collect continuous customer feedback, and the dedication to analyzing and taking action on it.

CX leaders treat customer feedback as a gift. Laggards treat it as a nuisance.

CX leaders want more customer feedback, spending time and resources to fully analyze and understand it. They understand that positive feedback indicates what they should be doing more of, and negative feedback provides the opportunity to correct and improve the experience instead of losing a customer unnecessarily.

According to the Medallia Institute, CX leaders are 2.5 times more likely than laggards to say that they have enough data to understand the experience of customers in key segments.

Laggards may send out occasional customer satisfaction surveys, but mostly to check a box and say they did it.

CX leaders take action on customer feedback, engaging colleagues in other departments who are responsible for the experience, and sharing data rather than hoarding it. They work together with their peers to enhance individual parts of the customer journey based on customer feedback, understanding how each touchpoint complements the rest of the overall experience. They also close the proverbial feedback loop by reconnecting with customers once issues are resolved.

Laggards believe that a customer satisfaction report on an executive’s desk is a significant accomplishment. They track metrics like customer satisfaction score, customer effort score, and Net Promoter Score®, but they don’t understand what they really mean, why they go up or down each month, or what to do about it. They just report the facts and move on.

Not surprisingly, technology plays a big role in collecting, analyzing, and taking action on customer feedback. We’ve learned that CX leaders plan to invest two to three times as much in customer-related technology across the board compared to laggards. This allows them to synthesize feedback from multiple channels in multiple formats, quickly identify urgent issues, correct customer pain points, and tie results to the bottom line.

After all, that executive is far more likely to read that report if it talks about dollars and cents.

Employee Experience as Part of a Customer Experience Program

While the linkage between customer experience and employee experience is still evolving, it is an established fact that happy employees equal happy customers. We’ve all (hopefully) benefitted from a truly engaged employee who really cared about us, and we’ve all (probably) encountered a fast food cashier who looks like we’re interrupting their otherwise pleasant day to place an order.

Employees, whether on the front line or behind the scenes, are absolutely essential to providing a simple, fast, convenient, and enjoyable customer experience. But it’s hard to expect employees to provide a remarkable experience if they don’t know what one looks like, which is why their own experience is also essential.

The inverse of that equation is also true: Happy customers equal happy employees. When customers are happy and loyal, it makes every employee’s job easier and more fulfilling.

61% of CX leaders stated that improving employee experience and loyalty is a strategic priority for investment within the next 12 months. For laggards, this number was only 20%.

CX leaders understand that customer experience and employee experience aren’t projects or departments; they are philosophies that underpin every decision a company makes.

Laggards? Well, they haven’t yet figured out that they have fallen well behind the competition in what is becoming the ultimate differentiator in almost every industry. In fact, they’re probably facing high turnover and losing employees at a rapid pace.

What You Need to Run a Successful Customer Experience Program

In order to create a culture where exceptional experiences are the norm, companies must:

  • Invest in the customer and employee experience
  • Continually solicit feedback from both customers and employees
  • Take action on that feedback by doing more of what people love and less of what annoys them
  • Empower employees to be customer-centric in everything they do

Feedback is integral. It’s what allows a company to leverage the key elements of a successful customer experience program — Signals, Insight, Engagement, and Action. Without feedback, you’re left in the dark and unable to effectively serve customers and employees alike. But even if you’ve just recently decided to launch a customer experience program or are seeking to overhaul ongoing efforts, it’s always the right time to start collecting, analyzing, and acting on feedback to make a large impact on the entire business.

Looking for a deeper dive into the differences between CX leaders and laggards? Check out the Medallia Institute report, Uncovering the Secrets Behind a Successful Customer Experience Program.