A new era in customer experience (CX) has arrived: predictive. Going forward, firms will need to embrace this or risk getting left behind.
Sensing, analyzing, and acting predictively — to prevent problems and anticipate opportunities — will become the new bar for CX across all industries, including travel, retail, and healthcare.
Surveys were — and, in many ways, still are — the de facto process to shape and improve CX. While surveys can help understand the deep context of an organization’s customers’ experience, they shouldn’t be the entirety of your CX strategy for a few reasons:
- Surveys are limited to the customers an organization knows or has an existing relationship with. Also, only a small subset of that audience cares enough to make the effort to respond — typically only those customers who are particularly upset or happy tend to give feedback. The rest of the audience are either indifferent to surveys or don’t care enough because their experience already is over and they have moved on.
- Surveys are also not connected to the time, location, or exact moment of the experience, which can be the most important part of the overall picture.
- Finally, surveys are after-the-fact assessments of sentiment; they help you correct issues and seize opportunities to delight tomorrow’s customers, not today’s. The pandemic has raised the bar for customer experience. In this post-pandemic era of heightened emotional needs and expectations, the next visit to a store, mall, stadium, hospital, theater, or hotel could very well be your customers’ first in more than a year. Organizations cannot miss the opportunity to make a wonderful “first” impression. They can’t afford to only concentrate on tomorrow’s customer experience — they must delight the customer who’s there at that moment.
Forrester’s FeedbackNow platform has always taken a different approach: Ask for feedback at the time and place of the experience, and make it seamless and simple to act on immediately. Because of this ease of use, the volume of feedback captured is quite high — typically in the 40% range — and with the volume that high, hidden trends and outliers reveal themselves quickly. A robust notification platform allows organizations to address issues in real time, not tomorrow or whenever the next survey review meeting is scheduled. This stage of real-time reactiveness has transformed the customer experience operations of our clients.
Today, we are entering the predictive customer experience era, which capitalizes on the existing technology, data, analytics, and machine learning to learn and understand the factors and actions that drive great experiences and great revenue outcomes. Understanding these dynamics allows organizations to be in the driver’s seat as they predict what will happen and prevent a bad situation from ever happening in the first place.
Consider a security area at a busy airport, for example. It’s not difficult to understand that the longer it takes passengers to go through that security line, the more upset they’ll tend to be. But what does that correlation really look like? Is there a significant difference between an average wait time of 2 minutes and 3 minutes or 30 minutes and 31 minutes? Probably not, but if an airport knew, for example, that for a specific location, terminal, and day/time, passenger sentiment takes a significant downturn in and around an average wait time of 13 minutes, they can be alerted when the average time approaches 13 minutes and take definitive action (including opening up new lines and redirecting passengers to other security checkpoints).
These types of predictive customer experience operations can be deployed in just about every industry. Imagine highway rest areas that take predictive actions when nearby road traffic builds up, or malls acting predictively when the parking lot fills up to a certain level or foot traffic rises to certain levels. Weather can be a predictor of cleaning needs. Or perhaps inventory levels become a predictor of customer assistance staff needs. Sometimes, the certain factors that affect certain experiences might not make apparent sense; machine learning can find connections and correlations that humans can’t.
This is why Forrester has just launched FeedbackNow Predict, a new feature of the FeedbackNow platform that enables our clients to easily pull in public or private real-time data and analyze that data in context with real-time customer sentiment. We’re currently working with our clients to find out what factors they can act predictively on and what actions they can take.
How we’re evolving FeedbackNow Predict is even more exciting. By infusing our clients’ actions and results/outcomes into the data mix, we can show them how effective different tactics and strategies are under different conditions and where and how to concentrate their efforts to drive results, revenues, and cost savings.
The information and the tools are all around us to make the leap into a new era of predictive customer experience.
Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can pilot FeedbackNow Predict and revolutionize your industry.