Being a CXO, you are aware of the importance of improving customer experience (CX) for business growth. Happy customers eventually may turn into loyal customers, make repeat purchases, and also become your brand ambassadors by recommending it to others. But how can you ensure that your CX is top-notch? The answer lies in the verbatim.
Verbatims i.e., customer feedback/ comments/ reviews, are a treasure trove of information for improving your CX and Net Promoter (NP) scores. The challenge most companies face is in making sense of the massive amount of data received from different mediums.
Expert insights on how to overcome this challenge and boost customer experience –
Read on for actionable tips for CXOs, Heads of Digital and eCommerce, Brand/Marketing Officers, Customer Experience Officers, and Product Managers for using verbatims to boost customer experience and NPS scores.
Why Verbatims Matter
According to a study by CX Index, 90 percent of businesses from different verticals have made CX their primary focus. To understand customers’ experiences, preferences, pain points, and needs, verbatims play a key role. They provide direct feedback straight from the customers that can help you work on areas of improvement based on suggestions, and monitor success over time.
Given below are examples of how companies can leverage verbatims:
- A retail company could use verbatims (customers’ comments) from customers to identify their complaints about having to wait for too long at checkout. They can use this information to address the issue by adding more checkout lanes and using better technology to fast-track checkout
- An online retailer could use verbatims (customer reviews on e-commerce sites) to identify complaints about the quality of their products. With this information on low-quality products, the retailer can make investments to improve the quality of their product by employing a better product testing process, which would thereby lead to fewer returns.
- A healthcare company could use verbatims (customer feedback) to track concurrent complaints from patients about the quality of communication with their doctors, nurses, or hospital staff. They would address this communication problem by conducting communication training for their medical staff, thereby improving patient-provider interactions.
- Leading Banks analyze over one lakh comments they receive from branches, emails, tele service, and ATMs. Some of this feedback is in the local lingua, with inputs provided on 1000+ touchpoints related to Brand Image, Price, Channel, Process, People, and Product. Banks can employ analytic tools to make use of this feedback and make improvements in various areas aligned to the touchpoints.
Benefits of Verbatims for CXOs in improving customer experience
- Gain insights directly from customers: Verbatims provide direct and unedited feedback from customers. This allows CXOs to improve their understanding of the needs customers may have, the challenges they face, and the desires they have with regard to a product or service. For example, a leading washing machine brand got negative feedback that their products were “noiseless.” Consumers deemed that the lack of noise implied a lack of cleaning by the machine. The washing machine brand can leverage this information to either improve its product or communicate the features of the brand that make the machine noiseless.
- Identify specific areas for improvement: CXOs can analyze verbatims for granular insights on key areas that need improvement and prioritize actions to maximize impact. For example, an HNI lady customer complained that the bank was not Shariah-compliant for lack of women to answer their queries at the branch. The branch can use this information to make lagging areas Shariah-compliant.
- Improve customer retention: By making improvements in various areas of customer experience, CXOs can achieve their goals of retaining customers. For instance, a leading eCommerce retailer had most customers returning their product due to “expired product”, prompting them to fix their supply chain. If the retailer does not take action despite these prompts, the customers are bound to leave.
- Increase customer satisfaction: Addressing customer feedback through verbatims can lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction, resulting in improved NPS scores and increased revenue.
Parking was a big issue for a retailer’s customers. They had to walk their heavy purchases for a significant distance toward their parked car. Valet service ensured that CX scores improved in the subsequent quarter.
- Foster customer-centricity: By using verbatims, CXOs can commit to customer-centricity for all their business decisions, leading to a more customer-focused culture. A leading FMCG client had Brand Health scores across different touch points extracted from surveys, and social media mentions as part of their performance scorecard. It allowed them to appreciate areas that are performing well and improve those that are not.
- Stay ahead of the competition: By leveraging verbatims for continuously improving customer experience, CXOs can differentiate their business from competitors and stay ahead in a crowded market. For example, “Easy to deal with people” was a differentiating factor for a leading financial institution, which was difficult to imitate by competition.
- Drive innovation: Verbatims can also provide insights into new product or service opportunities based on customer needs and preferences, driving innovation and growth for the business. An ice cream brand could optimize its product lines by analyzing which flavors were liked, disliked, and missing from its portfolio.
The Art of Using Verbatims
Approach verbatim strategically to make the most of it. Here are some tips:
Listen for the emotional tone: CXOs should pay attention to the tone and the feelings of the customer’s feedback. Are they delighted, frustrated, or indifferent? By identifying the emotional tone, CXOs can comprehend how customers truly feel about their products or services. For instance, consumers tend to talk in double negatives. “I don’t dislike the service”. Here it’s important to analyze what the consumer actually means.
Look for patterns: CXOs should also look for patterns in customer feedback. Are customers consistently mentioning common themes or issues? Recognizing these patterns can help CXOs identify the root cause of any problem and make targeted enhancements to customer experience.
In Oats online review category, consumers across the brand consistently gave feedback that Oats was “salty” and “sandy”. This intel became a source to test the root of this perception in follow-up survey studies.
Consider the context: It’s important for CXOs to not only look at the content (Verbatims) but also at the context of the content. For example, feedback was given during a specific time period or related to a particular product or service. By understanding the context, CXOs can gain a deeper understanding of the feedback and how it relates to the overall customer experience. Responses depend on the question – Likes, Dislikes, General reviews, and Areas of improvement.
Leverage artificial intelligence: CXOs can leverage AI-powered tools to sift through large volumes of customer comments and identify key themes and sentiments in real-time. This can help businesses respond to customer needs and concerns quickly and effectively. The biggest power of AI is to cut down response time – to near real-time, instead of days or months.
Involve the entire organization: Customer feedback is not just the responsibility of the support or customer service teams. CXOs should encourage all departments, from product development to marketing, to listen to customer feedback and use it to inform their decisions. Ensure that the CX goals are on every stakeholder’s goal sheet.
Prioritize action over analysis: CXOs should prioritize taking action on feedback, even if it’s just minor changes, rather than analyzing the data endlessly. The biggest barrier to outsourcing is data confidentiality. In today’s technology environment, it is possible to set up a remote environment to outsource and maintain data confidentiality at the same time.
Use verbatims to drive innovation: Customer feedback can inspire CXOs and business development teams to work on new product or service ideas. CXOs should encourage their teams to think creatively about how they can address customer pain points and improve the overall customer experience. Surveys and social media are not the only sources of feedback. CXO can conduct experiments or analyze clickstream, sensor data.
Share insights with stakeholders: From the board of directors to front-line employees, CXOs should share customer feedback insights with key stakeholders across the organization. This can help everyone in the organization to understand the importance of customer experience and feel empowered to make changes that will improve it. Interactive dashboards are the right asset to encourage usage by stakeholders within the organization.
Monitor progress over time: CXOs should monitor key customer experience metrics, such as customer satisfaction ratings or NP scores to analyze how their efforts are impacting customer experience. This can help identify areas for improvement and track progress toward CX goals.
Utilizing verbatim analysis can help CXOs gain a better understanding of their customer’s needs, preferences, challenges, and desires, enabling them to make data-driven decisions that improve customer experience and drive business growth. CXOs can unlock the power of verbatims and take their NPS scores to the next level by following the tips outlined in this article.
If you are interested in learning more about making the most of verbatims, we invite you to attend our upcoming webinar, ‘Bridging the insight gap from CX touchpoints to brand health and sales.’ Register now to gain valuable insights and actionable tips.