Improving your customers’ experience and satisfaction of your company, its brands and products is a goal of any growth business.
Working with colleagues in product development or marketing, CTOs play a key role in developing and delivering technology solutions that help the business understand how its customers use and interact with the company’s products.
Understand your customers
The ideal is to have a single metric that represents how your customers feel about your business, services and products. You can then track this metric and understand how best to tackle problem areas to improve the metric but, importantly, to improve customer experience.
Any business can always improve its understanding of its customers and there are plenty of technology solutions to help you track, measure and analyse customer feedback and satisfaction. Some of the most agile businesses put customer metrics at their heart — so you can often find ecommerce and SaaS companies integrate customer metrics into their entire product development and technology stack.
Implementing a solution
Doing this well means setting up a way to gather customer feedback, measure interactions, analyse comments and then route these around their business using custom workflows. Although this benefits the marketing and product development teams, the implementation is almost entirely done on the technology side — so it’s over to the CTO.
If feedback tools are considered when planning your data architecture then you can build data structures in such a way to enhance the feedback at every point. For example, if all you have are user comments, with an email address of the customer or user, then this offers a very basic level of understanding to the marketing teams. However, if you can include metadata to enrich the feedback comments, perhaps with the products bought on an ecommerce site or the pages visited or a link to your CRM system, then you begin to provide an enhanced view that connects together the elements of all your customer records.
SaaS businesses in particular use customer feedback to drive product development — uncovering pain points and prioritising feature requests on their product roadmaps.
How these 5 technologies are improving the customer experience journey
Whilst feedback on its own is good, it’s all qualitative comments. It becomes more powerful when you turn it into a single metric that can be measured and tracked — and one of the most popular ways of doing this is to use the Net Promoter Score (NPS) metric.
NPS is used by hundreds of thousands of businesses of all sizes, and is incredibly useful for startups and SaaS businesses as it provides a metric to focus on across the teams (and, importantly, for the investors to track and see how their business is developing).
Learning more about your customers starts with collecting accurate data.
Choosing the right metric to focus on shouldn’t be about usage or click-through rate but about customer experience. Happy customers make great advocates, and NPS is a great metric for overall customer satisfaction that can be used as a focus point for all your teams.
Gathering customer insights
To help your business gather insights in a systematic way, you should have a planned pipeline where you can capture real data from your customers, which is how NPS can help as a way to gather data at specific points in the customer journey. This allows you to, for example, measure customer satisfaction after a new product launch or during the release of new technology behind customer services..
Web-based NPS surveys can sit within an application or website and provide instant feedback to a new feature or section of an app; this web-based feedback is useful for A/B testing and to see the impact of new changes before rolling out to your entire customer base.
Looking for insights about your improved checkout process? You can set up a web-based survey after a customer purchases.
As an alternative, email-based NPS surveys give customers the flexibility to offer feedback directly from their email inbox.
Customer satisfaction drives outsourcing decisions on large tech contracts
Track customer satisfaction trends
When implementing customer feedback, many technology teams implement the one-and-done rule. That’s when they accumulate data for a specific purpose and then the information is worthless after one use. It’s a flawed method that misses the real power of any customer feedback project.
Your aim is not only to measure customer satisfaction, but also to monitor the progress your business makes over a period of time. It’s important to focus on the trend rather than the absolute score of whichever customer satisfaction metric you use.
“[T]he qualitative NPS feedback you receive can start a conversation about new products and services, company policies, or promotions you could offer to improve customer perception — thus making them more likely to recommend you to a friend.”
Let’s say in early June your NPS is +60, but when you measure it in late August, the score falls to +45. It’s an indication that brand loyalty is dropping for your company and your team should investigate what’s behind the trend; analyzing verbatim feedback comments will help teams improve their service or product and start to address any underlying issues.
Act on customer feedback
The technology setup should ensure that the feedback can be routed around your business as quickly and efficiently as possible. This normally means setting up workflows to avoid customer feedback sitting in a folder on the supervisor’s desktop.
Once your tech implementation has be setup, the other teams will be able to receive and act on feedback in near real-time — which will dramatically boost the impact of dealing with customer problem.
“Unless you take action based on the data gathered, you are unlikely to see any benefits. Your final Net Promoter Score is more of a barometer than anything else. It provides an ongoing indication of how well you are meeting the needs of your customers and responding to their feedback,” writes digital marketer Daryn Collier.
Support your team in taking action by creating a simple system for managing customer feedback. Decide what information is a priority and who will lead the project.
NPS is only as valuable as you make it. Encourage your teams to take action on the insights gathered.
Customer experience technology spending to exceed $600bn by 2022 — IDC
Integrating with your systems
Customer feedback tools are only one part of the range of technology you will be deploying – but they need to work with the other systems. This is partly to ensure that customer data is managed correctly (for GDPR and CCPA regulations) but also allow other teams to analyse and make the most of the feedback and metrics.
The technology function can integrate the various platforms using APIs — almost all good platforms will support an API and, preferably, an open API such as webhooks. Alternatively, you can use a third-party tool such as Zapier.com to connect together the different elements of your tech stack.
A typical example might be to connect your CRM with your data enablement platform with your customer feedback platform — for example, linking Salesforce.com and Segment.com and SightMill.com together using REST APIs or using webhooks or using Zapier.com
All these methods aim to ensure that the data can move through your systems quickly and seamlessly and reach your teams to help them better understand your customers, drive business growth and prioritise key product decisions.