How leaders from Attentive and SurePayroll are overcoming 3 common CX challenges

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How leaders from Attentive and SurePayroll are overcoming 3 common CX challenges

Find out how leaders from Attentive and SurePayroll are overcoming three common customer experience challenges.

Jen Salazar

July 26, 2022 | 8 min read

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Modern CX leaders are facing more challenges than ever before. Since the onset of COVID-19, drastic shifts in consumer behavior and unexpected supply chain disruptions have dramatically altered the CX landscape. 

Customer experience is a new battlefield. And to win consumers’ hearts and wallets, you need to know what you’re up against—and how to beat it.

According to The 2022 State of CX Report, employee motivation, skills and training, and collecting real-time customer feedback are the top challenges hindering CX success in 2022. So, how are the industry’s most innovative customer experience leaders overcoming these obstacles?

To find out, we sat down with Kristin Maranki, director of customer marketing at Attentive, and Nick Odendahl, customer experience and operations lead at SurePayroll, to learn how they’re overcoming CX barriers at their organizations. 

Challenge #1: Employee motivation 

Great CX programs stem from engaged employees who meet or exceed expectations. After all, happy employees lead to happy customers. When companies improve the employee experience, a better customer experience will naturally follow.

Often, this begins by bolstering teamwork and cross-collaboration efforts. CX leaders and teams that significantly collaborate cross-functionally are 27% more likely to generate a return on investment. How do you create a productive team that can optimize all customer touchpoints to drive retention and revenue?

Establish trust and enable CX education

“Creating a cross-functional team takes time,” said Odendahl. “Start by establishing trust. Educating people on CX and showing them why it’s important to their specific role is also essential. The second thing is working to cultivate a sense of inclusion—let your team be a part of what you’re building.”  

Demonstrate the value of CX

Demonstrating the value of customer experience across the organization is a key step to establishing a collaborative, customer-centric organization. Learn how you can leverage real-time customer feedback and CX metrics to boost awareness across departments and enact change by reading our guide, How to Bridge the Gap for CX Across the Organization

Create internal feedback loops

Maranki focuses on building internal feedback loops to improve collaboration. “As a starting point, we review our Net Promoter Score (NPS®), company performance, and monthly performance. Customer Marketing shares a monthly readout of the high points for the executive team. We also use an NPS Slack channel where customer responses get populated in real-time. This helps achieve wider visibility and highlights this qualitative feedback.” 

“In a B2B organization, customer service is the frontline,” she continued. “They’re a personal steward of the customer journey. Our product is the platform piece, but by learning from the customer, we find ways to innovate and serve them better.”   

Partner with Human Resources

There’s no denying that employees have been under a lot of pressure in recent years. If your employees don’t feel supported, their motivation may wane. And demotivated employees can’t be effective or enthusiastic brand champions. 

Working with HR to create better experiences for your employees helps create better experiences for your customers. Collaborating with HR to find the right people, onboard them the right way, and train them effectively is a strong strategy that can increase engagement from the inside out.

Challenge #2: Skills and training 

We’ve touched on how effective employee training programs are essential to improving CX, but what skills should your CX leaders demonstrate? More importantly, how can these skills help embed CX throughout your company?  

Hire a dedicated CX leader 

The skills of a holistic CX leader can help you focus on and improve the end-to-end customer experience. Odendahl said, “CX leaders know which behaviors lead to consistently meeting your customers' expectations—and can design experiences aligned to an intentional strategy, rather than basing your success on the random alignment of stars or planets to achieve your goals.” 

“They all understand that CX needs to be a collective effort across the entire company,” he added.

Build CX coalitions 

Your CX efforts shouldn’t be siloed in one department but something that permeates all departments of your company. One way to achieve this is to create CX coalitions as an alternative—or in addition to—a dedicated CX leader. 

“In our organization, leaders across sales, customer success, marketing, and product all meet and collaborate closely on CX,” said Maranki. “I would describe it more as a task force than one singular person responsible for leading it. We don’t have a specific job title dedicated to CX. Instead, it’s informally shared across all areas. And our leadership really puts a premium on good CX, from the top down.” 

“Our relational NPS program is core to that voice of the customer effort—something we all rally around as the center of our program. It provides a valuable snapshot of overall sentiment…a jumping-off point for a lot of different voice-of-the-customer efforts around the company,” added Maranki.  

Challenge #3: Collecting real-time customer feedback

In The 2022 State of CX Report, 72% of respondents said customer feedback is shifting to become more critical than before. But how do you collect that real-time feedback to drive improvement?  

Create a holistic customer feedback loop

Creating a customer journey map is a vital stage of the process. Using our customer journey mapping guide, you can create a holistic customer experience journey map, analyze each key touchpoint, and take quick, effective action. When capturing feedback, you’ll also want to gather vital metrics like Net Promoter Score, Customer Satisfaction Score, and Customer Effort Score.

1. Net Promoter Score (NPS®)

The NPS ranks how highly a customer would recommend your business to others. This customer sentiment can be used to improve CX, cultivate loyalty, and more. For Maranki and Odendahl, measuring NPS has been essential to improving the customer experience.

“What’s your breakdown of promoters versus passives and detractors? Those numbers are always really interesting to everyone, so I find NPS a good lead-in to CX overall,” said Maranki. “Our entire Product team has gotten really involved and interested in our NPS program. We also go through comments every month and surface those that are notable on both fronts to the executive team.” 

“We also use our NPS program to find folks willing to speak with product managers on improvements they want to see in the platform,” added Maranki. “This has provided another venue for more qualitative feedback for our product team.”

“At SurePayroll, we’ve reframed our thinking of NPS and how we socialize it throughout our organization,” said Odendahl.  When it comes to truly understanding your NPS score, he continued, “you need to know at what point the NPS score is showing up for customers. Is it relational or transactional? Because that might be skewing your feedback. You can then consider targeting specific touchpoints along the customer journey, instead of just asking whether your customer would refer you or not.” 

Once you’ve identified where your NPS score is showing up, you can tailor your questions for deeper insights. “Ask ‘How was your enrollment experience?’ or ‘How was this service transaction?’” said Odendahl. “This makes it a lot easier to understand the data on the back end because you know what you’re referencing instead of simply asking an extremely broad question.”

2. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) showcases how satisfied customers are with a specific touchpoint or their overall experience. 

Usually, a five-point scale is used, with options including very satisfied, satisfied, neutral, unsatisfied, and very unsatisfied. CSAT surveys can be used across different stages in the customer journey to help identify any problem areas (e.g., transactions, onboarding, and support calls). To encourage customers to complete your surveys, keep your questions short, and mention how much time they should expect the survey to take.    

CSAT should always be used alongside other metrics like NPS and CES to help you link satisfaction to revenue growth. “Our customers are very vocal, and tell us when they’re really happy. But they’re also vocal about improvements we can make in the product or features they want to see,” said Maranki. “So we look at these numbers first, as part of our high-level Objectives and Key Results (OKR).”

3. Customer Effort Score (CES)

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a loyalty metric aimed at helping you gauge how much effort your customers have to put in to resolve their issue, purchase a product, or complete any other activity. The more effort a customer has to invest, the less likely they will be happy—and the more likely they are to churn.

In addition to your standard agree or disagree statement, it’s a good idea to include an open-ended question that customers can complete if they want to—providing extra insight into the specific details of their experience. By segmenting and tracking your CES, you can quickly identify any areas of improvement. 

Break down CX barriers to deliver better experiences

The pandemic and subsequent economic downturn made CX professionals’ roles even harder. Given that 86% of companies now expect to compete based on customer experience, companies can’t afford to deliver anything less than a flawless experience to every customer. 

Momentive helps companies like Attentive and SurePayroll have the agility needed to build better experiences across the entire customer journey—and we can help you too. Get in touch with our team and learn how Momentive can help you tackle your customer experience challenges with ease and scalability.

NPS, Net Promoter & Net Promoter Score are registered trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company and Fred Reichheld.

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