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The Five Keys to Seeing How You’re Performing in the Eyes of the Customer

Your customers know you better than you know yourself.
It can be tough to hear this — but as customers have been empowered by information, it’s increasingly true, even for the world’s top brands. You have market research dating from weeks or even months ago; they have the Internet. You have customer data stuck in organizational silos; they have five senses and rapidly increasing expectations. You have multiple (and multiplying) channels through which to engage with your brand — they each have a customer journey.
It wasn’t always like this. The relationships used to be simpler. Easier for brands to fully understand. Manage. And, ultimately, control. But now, the old world of marketing, advertising, products, services, and word of mouth has been replaced by a complex network of multi-channel interactions, mobile, and unsolicited social media conversations.
It’s not that companies in this new world lack stakeholders concerned about the customer experience. The problem is, these stakeholders are typically focused on only one part of the experience — and they’re doing so in an ever-increasing number of organizational silos. The data that’s then being collected on the customer experience is a reflection of this — rather than a mirror, reflecting a complete view of the customer journey, all there is is snapshots of various touchpoints.
As a result, there’s no longer one place that people within companies can go to see how the entire company is performing in the eyes of the customer — data that can show a company its reflection. And those “mirrors” that have been put in place? Well, they’re better described as “shards.” The data is fragmented across multiple systems and silos, it’s stale, and only shows a small part of the total story. Think about what these shards typically take the form of:

  • Market research — Reports that provide only a sample of customers and don’t track individual customer journeys. They’re provided in aggregate to select teams inside an organization, are typically informative but not actionable, and is frequently dated by the time the information is shared.
  • ERP systems — Incredibly powerful systems of management, tracking inventory with incredible precision and revenues down to the cent. But where’s the customer in this?
  • CRM systems — A common proxy for truly understanding the customer experience, these important systems are really your view of the customer. What they ordered. Where they live. They have nothing to do with how the customer sees you.

None of this constitutes a proper reflection.
The result is a growing gap between customer expectations and the ability for brands to create and maintain a unified, consistent customer experience across and between channels and organizational silos. A customer experience that delivers on a company’s brand promise — and differentiates the company from its competitors.
So what do you need to do to get the reflection that enables you to do this — to see how you’re performing in the eyes of the customer? Well, there are five primary things that need to happen to give you that clear picture:

  1. It needs to be easy for customers to provide feedback, wherever and however they’re engaging with your company. A Medallia Institute study looking at CX practices across over 150 unique CX programs in 11 different industries found that when companies use 2 or more modes of communication to collect feedback, they see significantly higher Net Promoter Scores — on average about 12 points higher.
  2. It needs to be across the entire customer journey — not just within silos. McKinsey & Company found that companies that manage to customer journeys make decisions that are 30-40% better at driving value than those that just focus on touchpoints.  
  3. You need to gather feedback from all customer segments.
  4. This means going far beyond solicited feedback and pulling in unsolicited feedback from anywhere customers are talking about you — from social media to call centers.
  5. And it needs to happen in real time. Whether you’re trying to rescue upset customers or plan strategic initiatives at the corporate level, an old picture isn’t a real picture of today’s customer experience.

Not surprisingly, there are big benefits to getting it right:

More feedback, Higher NPS

If you’re able to unify the above five elements into a single source of information, that provides both the big picture and the details, then you’re actually generating real, actionable and timely data on your customers’ experiences. You’ll be on your way to seeing yourself as customers do — a critical first step in leveraging customer experience as a competitive differentiator and driver of positive business outcomes.

Photo Credit: Donna_0622


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