Tag Archives: customer research

5 Essential Customer Experience Tools to Master

5 Essential Customer Experience Tools to Master

by Braden Kelley

There are so many different tools that customer experience (CX) professionals can use to identify improvement possibilities, that it can be quite overwhelming. Because CX is a human-centered discipline, it doesn’t require a lot of fancy software to do it well. Mastering these five (5) tools will help you and your customers:

1. Customer Research

Go beyond surveys and purely quantitative measures to include qualitative research that helps you uncover:

  • The jobs your customers are trying to get done
  • Insights across acquisition, usage and disposal
  • Their most frequently used interfaces
  • Their most frequent interactions
  • Where customers diverge from each other on these points

2. Customer Personas (Go beyond the demographics!)

  • Include THEIR business goals
  • What they need from the company
  • How they behave
  • Pain points
  • One or two key characteristics important for your situation (how they buy, technology they use, etc.)
  • What shapes their expectations of the company

3. Customer Journey Maps

  • Make sure you map not only the customer touchpoints and pain points, but any points where lingering actually creates value. Focus each journey map on a single customer persona.

4. Service Design Blueprints

  • Uncover the hidden layers of a service’s true potential. Service design blueprints can become a visionary force to steer the course of exceptional customer experiences. Weave a masterful tapestry of intricate details into a big picture that creates a clarity of execution.

5. Customer Experience Metrics

  • Every customer experience (CX) leadership team must decide how to measure changes in the quality of their customer experience over time. This could be customer churn, first-contact resolution, word-of-mouth, CSAT, customer effort (CES), or whatever makes sense for you.


The right set of customer experience (CX) tools will enable you to create a shared vision of what a better customer experience could look like and empower you to make the decisions necessary to create the changes that will realize the improvements you seek.

Great customer experience tools will also help you identify:

  • The moments that matter most
  • The tasks your employees need the most help with
  • The information, interactions and interfaces that are most important to your customers
  • Where different customer personas are the same and where you need to invest in accommodating their differences
  • How to efficiently prioritize your CX improvement investments

Let us help you supercharge your customer experience!

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Image credit: Unsplash

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Are Your Customers Actually Happy?

Are Your Customers Actually Happy?

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

Are your customers happy, or not? How do you know? How often do you ask them? If you do ask them, and they tell you, what do you do with that information?

This is all about customer feedback. If a customer is willing to take the time to give you feedback, good or bad, it’s a gift. Treat it as such. It’s an opportunity to know what’s working and what’s not. And there are many ways to get that information.

A common way to seek feedback today is through a survey emailed after the customer interacts with the company or brand. Unfortunately, some companies go to the expense of designing and sending the survey, asking the customer to spend their precious time completing the survey, and then don’t act on the customer’s suggestions. Our annual customer experience research found that 57% of customers assume the company won’t make any changes based on their responses to a customer satisfaction survey. And some customers will stop doing business with a company or brand because of their surveys. Our research found that 20% of customers stopped because they sent too many surveys, and 18% stopped because the surveys were too long.

Recently I had my car in for its annual service, which included an oil change, fluid checks, filter replacements and more. Within an hour after I picked up my car, I received an email requesting feedback. From past experiences, I knew this would take five to 10 minutes to complete. I chose not to respond, because I had many other things to do in the short time I had left in the office that day. I don’t know what percentage of customers complete the survey, but maybe there is a different way to get feedback.

Notice I said a different, not necessarily better, although I’ll let you decide whether it is better. When I picked up my car, there could have been a tablet with four buttons to select from, asking me if I was very happy, somewhat happy, somewhat not happy or not happy. It would have taken me three seconds—probably less—to tap on one of those buttons. By the way, there could also be an option for me to leave feedback if I wanted to take a moment to do so. Regardless, the quick press of a button is much easier than a 10-question emailed survey with quantitative and qualitative feedback questions.

I recently interviewed Miika Mäkitalo, the CEO of HappyOrNot, one of the leading customer feedback solutions used by more than 4,000 brands in over 100 countries, on Amazing Business Radio. There’s a good chance you’ve seen HappyOrNot feedback technology in a store, restaurant, stadium or airport. It is a small tablet or kiosk with four large buttons as I just described in my auto repair center example. This simple technology gives you fast and actionable feedback that can be used and taken advantage of almost immediately—and at the same time, it respects your customers’ time.

And as powerful as that instant feedback is for customers, Makitalo suggests his HappyOrNot technology is also a perfect solution for employee feedback. Imagine a terminal or tablet in the breakroom where employees can anonymously (unless they want to share their names) leave a simple “I’m happy or not” message with the quick push of a button. Consider all the feedback you could gather, such as, “How happy are you with the new personal time (PT) policy?” Or, “How happy are you with the new food vendor in the cafeteria?” You get the idea. Get feedback from employees. Their happiness will be felt by customers. And the opposite is true. Unhappy employees will taint the customer experience. As I often say, “What’s happening on the inside of an organization is felt on the outside by customers.”

So, if you want to know what your customers—and employees—are thinking but aren’t sure where to start, this simple solution could be the answer. Ask one question at a time … and don’t forget to act on the feedback!

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com

Image Credits: Shep Hyken

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Don’t Waste Your Time Talking to Customers

(until you answer these 3 questions)

Don’t Waste Your Time Talking to Customers

GUEST POST from Robyn Bolton

You know that customer insights are important.

You spend time and money to collect customer insights. 

But are you using them?

And by “using,” I don’t mean summarizing, synthesizing, discussing, PowerPointing, and presenting the insights.  I mean making decisions, changing strategies, and rethinking plans based on them.

I posed this question to a few dozen executives.  The awkward silence spoke volumes.

Why do we talk to customers but not listen to them?

In a world of ever more constrained resources, why do we spend our limited time and money collecting insights that we don’t use meaningfully?

It seems wild to have an answer or an insight and not use it, especially if you spent valuable resources getting it.  Can you imagine your high school self paying $50 for the answer key to the final in your most challenging class, then crumpling it up, throwing it away, and deciding to just wing the exam?

But this isn’t an exam.  This is our job, profession, reputation, and maybe even identity.  We have experience and expertise.  We are problem solvers.

We have the answers (or believe that we do).

After all, customers can’t tell us what they want.  We’re supposed to lead customers to where they should be. Waiting for insights or changing decisions based on what customers think slows us down, and isn’t innovation all about “failing fast,” minimal viable products, and agility?

So, we talk to customers because we know we should. 

We use the answers and insights to ensure we have brilliant things to tell the bosses when they ask.

We also miss the opportunity to create something that changes the game.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

What do you NEED to learn?

It’s easy to rattle off a long list of things you want to learn from customers.  You probably also know the things you should learn from customers.  But what do you need to learn?

What do you need to know by the end of a conversation so that you can make a decision?

What is the missing piece in the puzzle that, without it, you can’t make progress?

What insight do you need so badly that you won’t end the conversation until you have it?

If the answer is “nothing,” why are you having the conversation?

Will you listen?

Hearing is the “process, function, or power of perceiving a sound,” while listening is “hearing things with thoughtful attention” and a critical first step in making a connection.  It’s the difference between talking to Charlie Brown’s teacher and talking to someone you care about deeply.  One is noise, the other is meaning.

You may hear everything in a conversation, but if you only listen to what you expect or want to hear, you’ll miss precious insights into situations, motivations, and social dynamics.

If you’re only going to listen to what you want to hear, why are you having the conversation?

Are you willing to be surprised?

We enter conversations to connect with others, and the best way to connect is to agree.  Finding common ground is exciting, comforting, and reassuring.  It’s great to meet someone from your hometown, who cheers for the same sports team, shares the same hobby, or loves the same restaurant.

When we find ourselves conversing with people who don’t share our beliefs, preferences, or experiences, our survival instincts kick in, and we fight, take flight, or (like my client) freeze.

But here’s the thing – you’re not being attacked by a different opinion. You’re being surprised by it. So, assuming you’re not under actual physical threat, are you willing to lean into the surprise, get curious, ask follow-up questions, and seek to understand it? 

If you’re not, why are you having the conversation?

Just because you should doesn’t mean you must.

You know that customer insights are important.

You spend time and money to collect customer insights. 

But are you using them to speed the path to product-market fit, establish competitive advantage, and create value?

If you’re not, why are you having the conversation?

Image Credit: Pexels

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