Good customer experience or CX spans across the entire customer journey. To do that, a product leader needs to try to bring together the technology side and the human side. How can product managers utilize CX at every part of product iteration? CX thought leader Lorraine Schumacher shares how CX adds value to product teams and listening to customer voice brings success.
On Success Benchmarks of a CX leader
Lorraine shared that it’s important to think about customer experience (CX) “from cradle to grave”, the whole journey from the moment a customer is investigating for purchase to the purchase itself, and how you sell and go to market.
“As a CX leader, you look at who your customer is. It’s not really the same as marketing and putting them into personas, but it’s the individual customer and how they’re using that product. If you’re a formal product developer, or you do formal PMO type work, or your Six Sigma, you’ve always got go to Gemba, do your ethnographic research. That’s great but if you’re trying to build a great product, talk to somebody at the barbecue and get their idea on it.
One of the companies that I was with had this great idea for a product. It was for the CEO of the household. In other words, it was for the working mom. I walked into the boardroom, I was the only woman. There were a lot of middle-aged men in there. It was a great idea for a product, a phenomenal product. I said, You know what? The number one thing you need to do is sync all the calendars for the kids playing soccer for when the husband has meetings. They said, Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s fine. But look, we can get the sports scores, and the weather reports right on this thing that sits on your kitchen counter.”
On Voice of the Customer in Product Development
The voice of the customer and CX become something that’s so pivotal in design, but also in execution during product development. Lorraine shares how product leaders can make sure they are bringing the continuous voice of the customer into every iteration of product.
“There was a trend probably 10 years ago where people used to do videos of unboxing. These are customers and people that are giving you unsolicited feedback. When we talk about voice of the customer, there are all kinds of technologies and ways to get to it, but there’s really what a customer says, what a customer does, and then how a customer feels. Having been in this business for a very long time, what they tell you solicited in feedback scores or surveys, or if you bring them into just do a face-to-face with it with a group of customers, what they tell you there and what they actually do, don’t always line up.
In previous conversations, I talked about a grocery store chain over in the UK. They had terrible problems with their queues, with their checkouts. The lines were way, way too long. That was an annoyance to the customers, and the customers complained about it. But their true root cause issue was the parking lot. They were losing customers because they didn’t have enough parking, and so people would bypass their location. You couldn’t find that unless you truly started talking to your customers and got that voice to the customer. You didn’t know they weren’t buying from you and you had no idea why.”
On New Technology and the CX Experience
Many companies are making digital transformations as the product space evolves. Some older companies are thinking about the longevity of CX and what that means as their products and tools change. Lorraine explores the change in connection with customers.
“We use the word relationship a lot, especially in CX. Think about your own relationships and miscommunications. That’s a big deal with your spouse or your significant other and your friends. So communication is key. To get to longevity, technology helps. Technology is huge, because it’s near real-time, so it gives you the ability to adjust. Also, a lot of us are drowning in VOC [voice of customer] and customer behavioral data but it’s real-time.
The great thing about real-time is you can be more nimble. Part of a relationship with a customer is to get as much information as possible. Be nimble with that information, but communicate back out. One of the biggest things that is a source of angst for customers is if they give you feedback and you do nothing with it.
There’s been this big trend about the closed-loop process, and you have to call customers back. If they call a contact center, and they put on their CSAT score, ‘I rate you a 2’, this was terrible. I’m a detractor. If you’re a detractor to that particular transaction or detractor to that product. If they give you that feedback, and there’s no acknowledgment of it, or there’s no change in the product, then the effort you’re putting into improving customer experience is worthless.”