Customer Experience is Not the Problem Insights Teams Need to Address

Customer Experience is Not the Problem
Insights Teams Need to Address

Here is what sales leaders should be demanding from their insights teams

How do we create a step change in CX, to make its contribution to business-wide outcomes significantly better?

An analogy may be appropriate. Imagine that you are the captain of a cruise ship. Your job is to guide your ship through an archipelago the best you can. ‘Best’ here means effective crew, happy passengers, profitable bottom line.

To succeed, you and your crew need information. You need it when you need it, not later, and it must be the best you can get.

My own experience in CX is not as a captain, but as a Sales leader. Does the following sound familiar to you? For the end of every quarter, there’s the rush to compile results. In particular, the CEO needs stats for the year end. The CX responses we compile put us into fire-fighting mode. Messages rain down on the sales team. We push them to resolve issues which, often, they cannot resolve.

It is rare that I learn anything new in this process. There are a few anecdotes. There’s the eternal “We need to be easier to do business with.” We knew that – every business knows that. I may contact a customer or two on the basis of the CX feedback, a potential plus. And the pattern repeats. The ports of call are once a quarter, and the horizon is the year-end reckoning.

I was not surprised. Nor was I happy. So much data had so little to offer.

When did I realize there was a problem?

We were selling a SaaS company. In the later stages of the due diligence process, I had to say what the business would look like over a 12- and 24-month timeframe. We had large data assets. I tasked my analyst team to take all our CX data and all of my sales data (win / loss / upsell / downsell). They were to tell me (a) the key drivers of retention; and (b) what common themes emerged. Seven years of data and a very strong analyst team – and yet there wasn’t a single coherent analytic that I knew would stand up before the diligence team.

I was not surprised. Nor was I happy. So much data had so little to offer. If a business cannot present a credible future to outsiders, it can’t do so to itself. Like a captain with no info, that business has a problem.

In short, I want data organized in a fashion that is actionable

What would I demand of my insights team now?

The exercise in due diligence brought into focus issues of which I was well aware. But – to continue the travel analogy – a business is like a car that is always in motion. It’s hard to upgrade the engine as you hurtle along.

What insights would I want now? I need the real-time CX status of clients. Once a quarter, or worse, once a year, is not acceptable.

I want sound predictions of their status, if we have no very recent feedback. What does CX health look like for my entire account base? I want to know by region, tenure, segment, rep, time to renewal, and more! I want to know trends over time. Which parts of the organization are impacting, positively or negatively, on my CX? Give me metrics I can act on, not ‘ease of doing business’ or data too processed to be acted on. What accounts are most likely to grow?

In short, I want data organised in a fashion that is actionable.


Make information systemic

It is not every day that a business is sold. But when the day comes, it is a time of reckoning, literally and figuratively.

Businesses are different shapes. Most are not simple pipes – demand and raw materials in, product out. Instead, there are loops and recurring actions and shifts in business model. There is the rise and fall of external challengers and challenges. If we see a business through the lens of due process, we see to what extent each function, or staff member, or client, and so on, feeds into CX and into financial outcomes. If we have a system model of the key components, we can steer the ship according to real-time information. More knowledge, less gut feeling – for everyone, not just CX. That is diligent navigation.


In the wheelhouse

CX teams should be owned by the Sales leader. Not all would agree. Some say CX belongs with Support, others put it with Marketing. But when a customer leaves, who gets fired? Someone in Sales. You want CX at the point of consequence, and that, in terms of customer outcomes, is Sales.

When there is systemic modelling, CX is a vital information feed. This is the promise of Spectrum NPS. Placing CX in Sales creates the strongest causal chain between customer and financial outcomes.

When CX is in Sales, it is also at the officers’ table, and in the wheelhouse.


OCX Cognition delivers the future of NPS. We ensure customer experience success by combining technology and data science with programmatic consulting. In our Insights section, we present a comprehensive and evolving collection of resources based on our research and expertise, collected for CX leaders committed to delivering business outcomes.