Customer Experience in Annual Planning

Tracy Borreson on November 7, 2017

It’s that time of year again. When the holidays come around, so does annual planning. We are generally concerned about things like budgets, sales and new projects that can have substantial costs and timelines.

But where does the Customer Experience fall in your annual plans?
Customer Experience is one of those things that we always want to include, but since it usually doesn’t have a stand-alone budget, it ends up getting missed in annual planning. Below are some ways that you can try to ensure the customer experience is addressed in your annual plans!

Know How Customer Experience Drives Other Business Factors
Conceptually, we all understand that providing a better experience creates more loyalty – but how can we go about proving this? There are two easy ways for companies to understand how their customer experience impacts other business factors.

First, through data. We talk about data analytics a lot at SPLICE, and for a good reason – your data is telling you important information about your customers. Many companies can be easily overwhelmed with all the customer data they have; if you fall into this category, using a Data Strategist is a great option. People who are trained in data analysis can look at data and FIND insights even without initially having something specific in mind. If you don’t have a Data Strategist on staff, your partners are a great source of support – SPLICE has Data Strategists on-staff to support our clients in getting the most out of their data!

Second, direct customer feedback. Although customer data can provide a lot of QUANTITATIVE information, the best QUALITATIVE information comes from your customers themselves. To collect the best customer feedback, it is important to ensure that you are both understanding the entire customer experience, as well as confirming what you have heard. Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys are one of the best ways to accomplish this – not only do they survey customers on whether they would recommend you to their network, but they require follow-up with everyone who provides feedback, which continually drives the customer relationship and value.

Look For Multi-Purpose Solutions
Customer experience solutions – at least the good ones – will have an additional benefit that can be seen on the balance sheet like the other items on your annual planning list. This can include things like an increase in sale dollars for retailers or a decrease in operational costs for insurers and financial institutions. Any customer experience solution that you have been considering will have one of these other benefits as well, so get connected with your internal departments and find out where they can use help, and recommend solutions for them that kill two birds with one stone!

Get a Measurement System in Place
Whether it’s NPS or something different, a customer experience investment doesn’t make sense if you can’t see a result. And you can’t see a result of something you can’t measure. This is another place where your customer experience vendors should be able to provide support; find out what they can measure, find out what you can measure, and put together a tracking program that will tell you whether your investment has a good ROI.

In Summary
With the holidays right around the corner, we need to prepare for 2018 and to not lose another year of investment in customer experience, we need to make some changes to the ways we approach our annual planning. So, define the value of your customer experience. Find solutions that are dual-purpose. And get measurement systems in place. When you can check all three boxes, you can be sure that you’ll never miss another year of customer experience benefits.

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