How to generate positive customer reviews online

When we talk about positive customer reviews, we are talking about a positive customer experience or CX. People trust online reviews so they should be part of your marketing strategy.

If you want to compete online then customer reviews are essential. Positive customer reviews are the end goal, but negative feedback also provides an opportunity for improvement.

We believe customer experience is everything and that positive reviews are important for businesses looking to increase loyalty and profits. So, here we share our insights and advice on how you can generate more positive customer reviews online.

Why do I need customer feedback for my business? 

The more feedback you receive, the more confident you will be in making great decisions for your business. Insights will enable you to improve the customer experience and ultimately your profits.

Here are six reasons why customer feedback is important in business:

  1. Customer feedback helps improve products and services.
  2. Customer feedback enables you to measure customer satisfaction.
  3. Customer feedback provides data to empower business decisions.
  4. Customer feedback builds loyalty by showing customers you listen and care.
  5. Customer feedback can create better customer experiences.
  6. Customer feedback can increase staff satisfaction by rewarding good behaviour.

However, customer reviews, particularly online reviews, can be a divisive topic amongst business owners. 

People fall into one of two camps, either ‘too nervous to ask’, fearful of any negative comments, or the ‘I know best’, dismissive of any feedback that doesn’t align to their thinking. Neither set a helpful foundation for achieving positive customer reviews.

Research shows 80% of companies say they deliver ‘superior’ customer service while only 8% of customers thought the same about those companies – how would your customers rate your brand?

The holy grail is a business leader who understands the importance of genuine customer feedback, is accepting of the feedback, and is prepared to alter or improve certain aspects of the business to enhance the overall customer experience. 

Essentially, you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. 

How important are customer reviews to a business? 

Reviews not only have the power to influence consumer decisions but can strengthen a company’s credibility. Reviews have the power to gain customer trust, and they encourage people to engage with the company. Engagement ultimately leads to improved profits for businesses.

  • 91% of 18–34-year old’s trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. 
  • 93% of customers have been influenced to make a purchase by an online review.
  • 4 out of 5 customers have changed their mind on a purchase after reading a negative review.

Love them or loathe them, these are the facts that sit behind purchasing behaviour today, and if you don’t have positive online reviews, you are at a disadvantage to a competitor who does. (Source: Qualtrics October 2020).

Six-steps to generating positive customer reviews

As the UK’s largest customer experience consultancy in the UK, insight6 Specialists have worked with hundreds of businesses to improve their CX. So, we have put together a six-step method to help you generate more positive customer reviews for your business.

  • Map and test your customer journey 

It’s crucial to walk in your customer’s shoes – and regularly map your customer journey – to see what they see and experience the customer journey as they do. 

Mapping your customer journey will give you first-hand knowledge of any glitches in your processes, where you really add value, and where you may need to make improvements or streamline. 

  • CX culture must be instilled from the top 

The phrase ‘a fish rots from the head down’ is true when it comes to CX. You must set the tone for the culture and deliver the experience you expect your employees to replicate. A good leader is prepared to ask the questions they make not like the answers to.

In fact, your employees are your biggest customer group. 

To enable your employees to deliver a great experience to your customers, you need to deliver a great experience to them to ensure that they remain motivated and engaged. Do you know the one simple (but essential) thing leaders can do to improve employee engagement?

How many negative reviews do you think could result from a disgruntled employee? Mentoring and coaching for leaders can really improve the CX internally and result in better customer reviews.  

  • Have a robust resolution plan 

Every business is going to come up against issues from time to time. The skill is turning a negative aspect into an overall positive experience. 

You need to be able to see your business through the eyes of the customer. Make sure that you have mapped your customer journey and know exactly where all the potential pitfalls lie. 

Once you have identified potential gaps in the customer journey you can begin to put robust resolution plans in place for each scenario, enabling your employees to help rectify the issue for the customer as quickly and painlessly as possible - delivering an overall good experience.

  • CX Reviews (mystery shoppers)

Forget the cliché ‘mystery shopper’ of the 90’s retail world. A detailed CX Review should report everything, from the number of times a phone rang before answering to how many days it took to receive a follow-up call or email and specific questions you may want answers to. 

You need a level of analysis that provides you with actionable insights, allowing you to identify and address any potential issues that could generate negative reviews.

At insight6 our CX Reviewers are highly skilled and trained research professionals – regarded as the best in the world. Yes, our team will check if your staff are polite and friendly, but they delve much deeper into your business to test your entire customer journey, from how you deal with initial enquiries to delivery of services, aftercare and more. Each CX Review is designed individually to suit every business. 

  • Customer feedback

Asking for feedback proactively forms part of the strategy to developing organic positive customer reviews online. 

Continuous customer feedback enables you to monitor how your business is performing and how customers feel about you – depending on the type of feedback tool you use; this can even be done in real-time. Instant online feedback tools such as our instant insight solution is the quickest and most efficient way to spot any blips in your customer experience.

More detailed customer feedback should be undertaken periodically to delve deeper into any themes that come up in your rolling feedback – this is generally better done as a focus or listening group – to fully understand the customer viewpoint. 

  • Training and development 

One of the most common and frustrating mistakes we see is businesses collecting customer feedback but failing to do anything with it. This is where it really helps to work with a CX specialist. 

You need to analyse all the data from your customer feedback, mystery shops, and customer journey map and identify where your business or team would benefit from specialist training or development.  

insight6 Specialists take this data and design bespoke training and development workshops for their team that have a positive impact on customer reviews. 

How to decide which online review sites are the best

Google reviews, Facebook reviews, Trustpilot? There is no simple answer.

Firstly, it depends on your objectives behind the reviews. Are you looking for detailed feedback to really understand how your customers are feeling about your business so that you can continuously improve? Or are you looking to use online reviews as a promotional tool to increase business? 

With so many online outlets for customers to leave reviews, what works best for your business will very much depend on your target customer, what media they consume and what channels they use. It’s also worth remembering that many customer reviews are never made public, and in many cases, these can be the most powerful and valuable reviews to a business. 

How to maximise the value of customer feedback

Online customer reviews are great for building trust, proving credibility and increasing sales but they offer so much more to a business if collected and analysed correctly. 

At insight6 we work with our clients to fully understand the objectives and target market when designing a feedback system.  If feedback is not requested appropriately, it is a wasted opportunity at best; at worst, it can create a negative experience and become counterproductive.

With our instant insight solution, we can help you analyse the feedback from your customers (or team members) at a much deeper level than self-service alternatives, enabling you to benchmark different criteria over time but also against competitors in your sector. 

Where a business will really see the benefits of a tailored feedback system is in the front-end design. Our CX Directors work with clients to pinpoint the correct questions to ask, in the right tone of voice and the correct time to request feedback. 

Are you looking to increase online customer reviews to drive traffic or sales to your business? In that case, our instant insight solution is a great way to capture quick and simple feedback or reviews from your customers with the option to automatically post to a whole host of public review platforms such as Google reviews, Facebook reviews, and Trustpilot, Trip Advisor and many more.

How to manage negative online reviews

Don’t be afraid of the odd negative review. Nobody is perfect 100% of the time, and customers would be suspicious of any business that had a perfect 5* record – fake reviews are bad for business.

If you have mapped and regularly tested your customer journey, you’re happy with the motivation and culture of your team, and you are regularly seeking and monitoring customer feedback, then you can be confident that it’s an anomaly. The key is how you handle it.

Remember, customers aren’t always right, but it's your job is to make them feel that they are! Acknowledge and thank them for their feedback, apologise for the issue and assure them that it will be investigated and if the issue remains, it will be rectified. 

Serial complainers will always do what they do best, but, if your business is generally delivering a great customer experience, you can usually rely on your customers to defend and call out a rogue review – and this is worth its weight in gold.  

Ultimately, improving your customer experience is the surest way to retain loyalty, reduce cost and increase profits. And it’s easier than you might think. 

The very act of asking customers for feedback has been shown to increase customer loyalty three-fold whilst also making them more profitable customers. 

At insight6, our unique and tailored solutions allow businesses to transform their customer experience cost-effectively, from end to end, with the dedicated support of a local expert. To find your local CX Specialist and discover how we can transform your customer experience, call +44 (0) 800 970 8987 or visit www.insight6.com.

Like what you’ve read? Sign up to the insight6 newsletter to keep up to date with everything you need to know to improve your customer experience. 

6 things every Law firm can implement to improve their CX and increase their bottom line…

Customer experience (CX) is the new business battleground for the Legal sector, yet our recent research study, The Professional Services Customer Journey Report, showed that many legal firms are failing to get the basics consistently right – and this could be affecting their bottom line. 

In fact, out of all the professions analysed, the legal sector was found to be performing worst when comparing NPS (Net Promotor Score), with a sobering -54, a sharp decline from its score of -15 in 2019. 

By surveying over 250 professional services firms in the UK, our research analysed the full customer journey when making a new enquiry. The findings, although harrowing, now provide a benchmark for improving CX and offer an immediate checklist for every Law firm.

  1. Offer a human touch. Make sure that all employees offer their names to callers when they answer the phone. It sounds so basic, but our research revealed that 22% of reception staff did not answer initial calls with their name, and when put through to a law expert, an astonishing 60% of these people did not offer their name. 
  2. Regularly test your messaging services to ensure they are working correctly. Technology is great, until it fails! Our research found that 43% of messages left (including personal voicemails) did not get a response. 
  3. Develop your team’s emotional intelligence. When clients or potential clients are facing stressful situations, it is critical to establish a positive connection with understanding and compassion for their situation. 
  4. Check website contact forms and web-chat services work correctly and that they are treated in the same way as phone or email enquiries. Implementing new technology is a great way to improve CX – but only if it is done with care and consideration. Our research found that over a third of web enquiries were left completely unanswered. 
  5. Follow up! We were astounded to find that only 8% of companies bothered to follow up a potential new client lead, and where more information had been requested, 38% of the time it never arrived. 
  6. Make it personal! People want a personal service more than ever, but our researchers found that only 53% of email exchanges were personalised and more worryingly, 57% were poorly written with grammatical errors. 

Research by the London School of Economics shows that for every 7% increase in a brand’s NPS, their revenue will grow by 1% as a direct result – that’s a whole lot of untapped revenue to gain from some basic day-to-day improvements. 

“It is clear that legal firms, along with the whole professional services industry, have a huge opportunity to improve CX, deliver a superior experience to both new and existing clients, and reap significant business benefits in doing so,”says Jonathan Winchester, insight6 CEO.

Behind poor CX you can find underlying problems in a firm’s culture

Overall, insight6 researchers were underwhelmed by how the firms handled their enquiries. Just 23% felt the team member attempted to add value or go further to help them, and only 43% said that they would recommend the business to others. 

What we do know to be true, is that underlying problems within a firm’s culture can often be found behind poor CX. Issues such as short-term targets, disengaged teams or siloed working - effective CX is often about empowering staff and providing them with the skills, tools, and authority they need.  

One organisation that absolutely have got it right and understand the benefits of delivering great customer experience is LawNet. In next month’s blog you can read more about how LawNet has partnered with insight6 to help its members put CX at the heart of their businesses. 

Why Customer Experience Is Everything: Your Ultimate Guide to CX

Customer experience (CX) is the new battleground for business. The value of service and the importance of making a human connection with customers has rarely been starker.  

If you want to survive and thrive in a competitive market, then focusing on your CX is essential. But, to do that, you need to understand exactly what CX is.  

We believe CX is everything. So, we have put together your ultimate guide to CX to give you the information and tools you need to delight customers and boost profits.  

What is customer experience? 

Customer experience can be defined as the impression and overall experience a customer goes through when presented and experiencing your service. Essentially, CX is a customer’s perception of your organisation based on their exposure to it. 

We can all think of positive and negative experiences we have had as customers. Good or bad, these interactions shape our opinions of brands, products, and services we interact with.  

Delivering a positive customer experience will make your customer(s) happy but also increases the likelihood they will return, remain loyal or recommend you to others. Crucially for businesses, this positively impacts the bottom-line. 

Customer experience versus customer service 

Customer experience and customer service are not the same thing, although they are inextricably linked. 

Customer experience encapsulates the customer’s entire buying journey, which includes customer service. CX is not a ‘one-time’ interaction, it covers all the touchpoints through a customer’s journey not just at the point of sale. 

Customer service is a branch of the overall customer experience. Simply, put customer service can be defined as the assistance and advice provided by the representative of the company to the consumer. 

Why does customer experience matter? 

Winning over customers is about more than clinching a one-off sale. It is about winning their loyalty and their trust for a lifetime.  

Providing a great CX is key to making your business different and gaining an edge over the competition.

The client journey is the path to sales, which is why CX is essential. 

 How can customer experience create a differentiation for a brand? 

CX is fast becoming the main reason a potential customer chooses your business, yet our research shows 80% of companies say they deliver ‘superior’ customer service while only 8% of customers thought the same about those companies – how would your customers rate your brand? 

A positive CX is critical to the three brand success factors: 

  • Brand trust - confidently knowing what you can expect. 
  • Brand value – the brand’s value exceeds the cost. 
  • Brand loyalty - strongly associating the brand as part of your identity.  

Improving your customer experience is the surest way to retain loyalty, reduce cost and increase profits.  

How does customer experience drive business growth? 

The cost of gaining a new customer is five times the cost of retaining an existing one and the value of existing customers to profits cannot be overestimated. 

The holy grail is to create an experience that makes your customers want to return. 

Not only do repeat customers deliver more top-line revenue, they cost nothing to acquire so a greater proportion of that revenue finds its way to the bottom-line. Typically, a 5% improvement in customer retention typically leads to a 25% increase in profits. 

Here are five benefits of improving CX: 

  • Drive revenue and customer lifetime value 
  • Increase brand value 
  • Boost customer loyalty and advocacy 
  • Keep close to customers and changing behaviours 
  • Reduce costs and invest in the right things 

How can customer experience be improved? 

The first step to improving CX is to know where you are starting from otherwise you are never going to know if you have made progress or not. 

At insight6, we provide six services to encapsulate the best possible CX: 

  1. Customer experience reviews
  2. Training and development
  3. Customer journey mapping
  4. Online feedback
  5. Focus and listening groups
  6. Mentoring and coaching 

The core focus of all leaders is to protect your business by strengthening the relationship with your customers and looking after your accounts. 

Read our six CX tips that we know will protect your business. 

How do you measure or track customer experience? 

The success of your business is reflected in the satisfaction of your customers. 

One headline metric for CX measurement is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This well-established and widely used system is a customer loyalty measurement taken by asking customers how likely they are to recommend your business to others. 

The problem with NPS can be about timing - questions like these are not always applicable to the customer at the point in their journey that they receive them. 

You cannot manage what you cannot measure. Here are some other metrics you can use to measure customer experience: 

  • Average resolution time 
  • Customer churn 
  • Exceptional moments 
  • Customer effort score (CES) 

Some firms are tempted to believe they assess and improve their CX all by themselves, but an accurate view can only be achieved by third party independent assessment. 

Insight6 provides a six-stage model that brings a focus on your firm’s CX strategy, identifying issues, challenges, and opportunities, working with your firm to develop new strategies and, of course, analysing progress, this all leads to a better CX. 

What is a customer journey map? 

Your customer’s journey, from the starting point when they make the decision to reach out to your business right up to the resolution of the matter, is trackable. 

Through ‘journey mapping’ you can create a visual representation of your average customer’s interaction with your business, and pinpoint the various trials, delights, and frustrations they face. 

A good customer journey map is a true reflection of the customer, not a painting of the ideal one.  

Who owns the customer experience? 

The CX is not “owned” by one person or a single department, it should be an organisation-wide effort. 

Behind poor CX there can lie underlying problems in a firm’s culture, such as short-term targets, or staff who are incentivised to make quick sales without regard for long-term sustainability of the business. This may create a vicious circle because the customer journey can have an impact on employees’ job satisfaction. 

CX is not the responsibility of a few, it needs to be embedded throughout your organisation.  

How do employees impact the customer experience? 

Your employees play a pivotal role in delivering your product or service. Disengaged staff do not go the extra mile for your customers. 

Creating a great working culture within your business ensures your team can provide the best experience for your customers and clients. The one simple (but essential) thing leaders can do to improve employee engagement is regularly check in on staff wellbeing. 

A total feedback solution like instant insight can analyse the feedback from your team and customers. A good leader is prepared to ask questions they may not like the answers to 

Our dedicated team of CX Directors have a wealth of business experience, as well as an understanding of CX which is second to none. Partnering with us will ensure that your CX strategy will align with your vision for the business. Get in touch today with any enquiries or to discover how insight6 can help transform your CX. 

Joe Betts is a customer experience partner at insight6, supporting the brand’s local Customer Experience Directors to enable them to deliver more profit to business owners through better customer experiences. Connect on LinkedIn or follow @insight6 on Twitter. 

Is Covid still an excuse for a poor customer experience?

In March last year when the pandemic hit it was quite understandable that service levels would fall while businesses re-adjusted and managed to establish teams working from remote locations. Naturally wait times may be longer, processes a little unclear and general sharpness of business becomes a little blurred. In fact, three quarters of customers expected it.

However, many major brands are still using Covid as their reasons for service not being what it was.  Can this be justified when their income may well be the same or, in some cases, even higher than pre-pandemic?

Let’s take Sky. Subscriptions would have only gone up, production costs down and, yet, you try speaking to one of their team…without screaming at the phone. You are hit with wave after wave of automated messaging directing you to the website. Their webchat is not much better and finding the answer to a question on their website is agony in itself.

Why are we so forgiving? I still pay my subscription.

All of the evidence, from our own feedback and measurement, indicates that the three biggest customer frustrations have been:

1. Poor response times, both over the phone and via digital channels
2. Unavailability of stock
3. Delays to delivery times

Let’s take each point in turn…

Poor response times….

In a poll of 2,000 consumers by Consumer Intelligence it was revealed that broadband providers are delivering the worst in response times:

  • 7% said they had to wait more than an hour to get through by phone
  • 40% said they were put on hold for more than 20 minutes
  • Average wait time to speak with mortgage providers is 18 minutes
  • 1 in 5 Britons says accessing their bank has been hard during lockdown

In an attempt to shorten the response time, customers are pushed to the website, which many find patronising.

Poor response times with pickups have also been common. Ikea delivered a bed to a customer that showed up damaged. When the customer contacted IKEA for a refund they were told that due to Covid IKEA would not be able to pick it up for one month. They would also not be able to provide a refund for that customer until the bed had been collected. So they were quick to deliver and take the money but slow at handing it back.

Another example was Currys. In June, a Customer ordered and paid for a new fridge. After paying, Currys then called to tell the customer that the fridge would not be in stock until September. The customer could not wait this long and so asked for the order to be cancelled. Currys agreed but a refund still had not come through a few weeks later.

The customer tried calling Currys several times but could not get through, waiting more than 40 minutes on hold on several occasions. The customer then tried emailing but received an auto-response stating that Currys are not accepting emails due to Covid.

Such examples are easy to find but surely now firms need to:

Change the messaging. If they have not sorted out their customer journey maps over 12 months then do they deserve loyalty?  Just be honest, as the Covid excuse is wearing a little thin.

Respect the fact some customers may want to talk. Loyalty is created through relationships, not necessarily “clicks in a jungle”; or in other words, being sent to the corporate website. Unless of course you make it so very simple and user friendly.  The continual cutting of people out of a business diminishes their USP and with terrific remote technology that is very affordable and a lot of people looking for work, I would have thought the two could make some big brands flourish again.

Take a leaf out of the books of those that do it well. Amazon’s ease of use is astonishing. Two clicks and it’s being delivered. Now I am sure they have had issues too, but if that is now the norm (and judging by their share price it probably is) that’s the benchmark all firms need to aspire to. Jeff Bezos was speaking about astonishing customer service 25 years ago. The key is to make it seamless and with as little effort as possible on the part of the customer.

Gather better feedback data that really reflects the experience. As customers, we only ever get asked how our experience was after the transaction has finished. Of course, in the majority of cases, the customer has had any issue they had resolved. But what about the customers who can’t get through, or can’t find what they want on the website or are on hold for hours? How are firms focussing on how those customers might feel? How are they going to reward them for their time and patience? More importantly, how are they then communicating back when messages are left?

As we move out of our current state let us see which major brands move with the times and offer a very different experience, rather than leaning on the excuses of the past.

If you need some help, we are here for you. Please contact us here for a discussion with your local Customer Experience Specialist.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get …

If there has been one lesson from 2020 in our world of CX, it is that fast, short and instant feedback which get straight to the heart of an issue will now dominate the market research scene.

Prior to 2020, many businesses never sought feedback of any kind from their team or customers. Those that did would often run periodic lengthy surveys which normally resulted in it becoming a “tick box” exercise and due to the duration of the survey and the amount of information gathered, very little meaningful action ever took place. By the time action was taken things had moved on.

2020 changed everything.

At insight6 we noticed a big change since April last year; firms desperately needed instant feedback which could focus on just one or two core issues. This approach allowed them, within hours, to see how their teams or customers felt about critical issues.  A good example of this is well-being. Many of our customers were keen to know how their teams were feeling during the lockdown, so they could care and put in place positive change.

We can cite many examples where teams didn’t feel they had the right PPE, they felt communication was poor or they did not have the right kit at home to do their job properly. Within hours of receiving this feedback, corrective action was taken by firms and as a result staff morale increased.

There is one piece of data that stands out for me. Working with one of our clients, we sent an instant insight question to 750 team members.  Within 24 hours we identified that 9% of the whole team felt that their wellbeing was not in a positive place.

Using instant insight, the 9% were then asked what the firm could do to help improve their well-being. When the same survey was sent out a week later the 9% had dropped to 3%.

The old motto “if you don’t ask, you don’t get” has never been truer than today. If you’re not asking your teams or customers how they are feeling, how can you help them?  More importantly, if you’re not asking your team or customers how they are feeling, what does that say about you and your brand as far as empathy, caring and support is concerned?

But there are more great benefits in using a system such as our instant insight. The system allows you to:

  • Link to review platforms such as Google, TripAdvisor or Glassdoor where positive feedback can be very easily posted;
  • Benchmark the responses you receive across your business and within your sector;
  • Have multiple surveys reaching all of your different customer groups, from your team to your suppliers and, of course, your paying customers;
  • Notify you when there is an issue that needs attention.

So, if 2021 is going to be the year that you join the instant insight revolution, give us a call and we can guide you and make it really easy.

Please click here to view a short introductory piece and book a demonstration.

December Newsletter – Six CX tips to grow your business

Taking stock of your business at the end of the year is always a good idea. You can take forward what has been good from one year to the next and leave behind the not so good.  This year is no different to all the other years, despite all the upheaval of the pandemic. The single most important thing is to be realistic about where you are now and not harking back to 12 months ago.  Establishing a starting point is the only way to feel motivated and generate the energy needed to build and grow the business for 2021.

So, with that in mind here are our insight6 top tips to grow your business through a focused plan on customer experience for 2021.

1. Know your customers and their current needs

Getting to know who your customers are and what they want from you is vital for any business.  The impact of the pandemic has affected us all in different ways. From being made redundant to being extremely fearful of going out.  There are some customers that have saved money from not travelling and going out or customers who are enormously busy with booming online retail businesses.  Whatever the impact you need to understand how the pandemic has affected your customers and the relationship that they have with you!

Understanding your customers and having clarity on what they need right now is fundamental for you to grow your business.

 

2. Align the customer experience programme with your business strategy

When you have decided on your business strategy the next step is to tie in your processes to make sure your plans can be achieved. A good plan involves implementing measurement tools that will assess how and what you are doing.  For example, if your business strategy is moving from high street retail to online - the existing customer experience programme will need to change.  In a nutshell if you are trying to grow your business by selling more online, then make sure you have created a programme that identifies and measures each stage of the online buying journey and do not confine yourself to feedback on your website.

3. Find out what is stopping your customers buying from you

Do you have the answers to why someone that looks exactly like your perfect customer is not shopping with you or buying your service?  Do you know why customers who have always bought from you are now buying from your competitors?  There is always rich insight to be gained by asking the question why, to both lapsed customers (have not come back) or those that have never been a customer in the past.  It is straight-forward to recruit people that meet the profile of your ideal customer or contact your lapsed customers to find out why they have not been a recent customer. You just need to find the time, write the questions and do it!

4. Calculate your conversion rates from the initial enquiry to a sale and identify why and where they are dropping out of the customer journey

There are so many moments along the customer journey before the customer decides to purchase.  Each moment leads to three options. Yes, no or I can’t decide. In most businesses we can measure how many customers start the process and how many say yes and ‘convert’.  For example, if you have a shop you may have counters at the door that measure how many people enter the shop. At the end of the day, you can read the till transactions to work out your conversion rate.  Equally, if you are a law firm, you can collect all the new enquiries on your CRM system and monitor how many convert to clients.  Measuring conversion is so incredibly helpful for all businesses because it provides you with the opportunity to grow your business NOT by finding lots of new customers, but successfully converting the ones that have found you.

5. Make sure you have the right tools to do the measurement

There are varied methods to measure customer experience from focus groups to online surveys.  By understanding who your customers are and what data you need is the first step in identifying the best approach. If you want quantitative data, then investing in a survey platform that will gather all the data you need is fundamental, but do you need to do cross tabulations or have an automatic reporting system?  If your customers are Generation Z then a postal survey would not work, but if your customer base is a generation that are not digital natives then this might be appropriate.  Using the right tool to fit the job will always save time, energy and money.

6. Get objective analysis

It is always tempting to diagnose business problems or issues on your own to save time and money. Two precious commodities! However, we probably all know only too well that seeking advice from a third party is actually hugely beneficial. Not only does it provide fresh insights, but you are gathering really useful and actionable ideas and solutions from a third party expert.
If we can help with any of the above or you would like to discuss how you implement the six steps into your CX strategy for 2021 we would love to hear from you.

Join us in counting the 12 days of CXmas. Visit the page on our website and follow us on LinkedIn for a new CX Tip every day

Merry Christmas from us all at insight6

The Student Applicant Journey

Do you want to increase your applicant conversion rate?

insight6 has completed a comprehensive study to understand how potential students feel when applying to UK colleges and universities. 

The study was developed to understand how effectively online applications, interviews and virtual events are handled so that we could identify what goes well, best practice and areas that can be improved. The finished report is possibly one of the most comprehensive studies on the applicant experience ever undertaken by an external customer experience research organisation. 

Inside the report, you will find our top tips on all the key touchpoints along the applicant journey from the initial browse of the website through to the final offer and virtual event. 

Some of our key findings were: 

  • 14% of applicants received no acknowledgement that their application had been received 
  • Only 22% felt they had been given sufficient information to help them prepare for their interview 
  • 36% felt that entering their qualifications in the online application was not easy to complete

Each of these touchpoints is crucial in forming an important relationship and building the potential student’s trust in your college/university. 

If you would like to understand how your applicants feel when they apply to your establishment and how you can convert more enquiries and applications, then please reach out for a conversation about how insight6 can support you to achieve that.

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Lockdown impacts our ability to stay positive

Whilst ‘Lockdown negatively impacts our ability to stay positive’ might seem like stating the obvious the underlying trends from the insight6 Business Optimism survey are interesting.

Since the second lockdown has been imposed in England, business optimism has fallen by ten percentage points. However, the largest group of leaders within the optimism survey were optimistic, with more than 50% of leaders stating they felt optimistic about the future of the business.

The number of business owners who are sitting on the ‘Optimism fence’ has remained consistent with just under one third describing themselves as unsure about the future. The biggest shift has been in those leaders moving from being optimistic (64% to 54%) to not optimistic (7% to 15%).

So what can we learn from this?

1. Those who are optimistic feel supported in their business by the government interventions such as the furlough scheme and are using this time to prepare for the recovery.

One business leader articulated this perfectly in why they ticked yes to feeling optimistic “The government are providing an element of job security for employees following the announcement of the furlough scheme, we are resilient and adaptable and will find a way through”

As we referred to in our findings from week two if you are in business then asking yourself the question “what can I do?” given all the constraints and barriers to trade is the source of resilience, motivation and ultimately an optimistic outlook. As one of the business leaders described in his reasons for being optimistic, “I feel like businesses are still looking for ways to grow despite the situation.”

2. For those that are not optimistic the prospect of more uncertainty is creating fear for the future and a lack of energy to deal with the constant changes to the circumstances.

One leader summed up why they are not optimistic with “it is hard dealing with the constant changes, I have no trust in the decision-makers and I am tired with it all”

3. Those that are unsure about the future describe lacking the clarity to know what to do next and in this state are focused on the problems more than perhaps the possibilities. “a new lockdown, more uncertainty for many businesses makes it difficult to plan”

To wheel out some of the cliches of our current time – we are where we are and the only thing we can do is to make the best of it and use any time we have to be kind to ourselves, look for the opportunities and build back better.

Using this time to create some clarity for yourself and your business is vital for your wellbeing and motivation by talking with your colleagues, engaging with your team and your customers. instant insight is providing a rich source of leadership insight which we can share with you. What can you share with your community that would benefit not only you and your business but also your customers or clients?

We would love to explore this further with you and share what we have learnt from the benefits of instant insight for our own and our clients’ businesses.

Six Customer Experience tips to protect your business

During these uncertain times the core focus of all leaders is to protect your business by strengthening the relationship with your customers and looking after your accounts.

In this article, we will share six CX tips that we know will protect your business.

1. Identify your top 10%

In order to protect your customers, it is important to identify the ones that financially and futuristically will have the greatest impact on your business over the next two years. Quite often who we think are our top customers, are actually more middle of the table. So if you look at the customer spend over the last 12 months and rank them and then look at which customers can grow the fastest with you and rank them again and then put the two scores together you would have identified your top 10. Depending on the size of your business often the top 10% of customers can equate to more than 30% of your business.

2. What would be the impact if…

Ask yourself the question "what would be the impact on my business if one of my top 10 customers were to leave and move to my competition?" Not only could this be an emotional blow but financially it could be game changing. And then the secondary question to ask is what do I need to do now to prevent that from happening?

3. Are you listening?

It never ceases to amaze how little customer listening goes on within the business world. We conduct a high proportion of business in the professional sector and when we ask our clients about their top 10% and what their customers say when asked how they feel about them, the majority of replies are” we have never done that.” So asking your clients / customers on a regular basis how they are feeling at a current time, is possibly the best investment you could make. It will identify if they are happy and if they are not, what you need to do to put it right. Most of all it makes them feel special you have asked and secures the long-term relationship.

4. How are you listening?

Since the pandemic began we have had an influx of new customers who have required help with listening and how to go about this most crucial of business tools. There are two solutions to this opportunity. The first is to have an ongoing feedback system which asks on regular intervals how the customer is feeling. This system should allow all stakeholders in the company to see that feedback, to benchmark it against your competition and if the feedback is good link it to a review site. Our system is called instant insight and we will be more than happy to demonstrate this to your business.

The second most popular method conducting an in-depth interview with key customers to unearth “the good, the bad the ugly” to help your company strategically plan for 2021.

5. Use the customer experience data to increase revenue and profit

You can’t argue with data. It is what it is and allows you to make a compelling argument in your organisation to the changes required to improve your customer experience. The biggest challenge within organisations is doing something with the data. We often witness lip service being paid to feedback programs where the feedback has been conducted but not a lot has been done with the data. For example, no real tangible actions have been taken following the feedback. Developing a proper plan and involving a CX specialist (here is a link if you need a local one!) you can develop a concrete CX plan for 2021.

6. Measure, measure, measure

The final part is to ensure that you measure the outputs of your 2021 plan. So looking at the customer spend, all your customer experience KPIs, or your churn rate you will see that the new strategy is working and where it will need tweaking. Again, it is important that you have expert help with this, in order to gain an objective view of your business AND the expertise of someone that knows how to interpret the results and take action.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of our CX tips  please get in touch.

How Sussex Beds transformed their customer and employee experience

If there is a lesson on customer experience throughout this pandemic it is the need for businesses to get fast and accurate feedback from their teams and customers. This has allowed business owners to spin on a sixpence and to make the most of new opportunities as they arrive.

We wanted to share with you a great example of how a family business which has been trading for more than 50 years has embraced our instant insight system to grow and build their business at a rapid pace. If you would like any more information about the work in this story please feel free to contact us.

Case Study

 

Sussex Beds is an independent family business, currently operating from 10 branches across Sussex.

Sussex Beds pride themselves on the good reputation they have built on sound principles of providing great products at low prices and also caring customer service.

insight6 works with Sussex Beds to provide CX Reviews (mystery shopping) and training and in May 2020, Sussex Beds started using instant insight, an online solution that makes asking for feedback from your team and customers simple.

How has instant insight helped Sussex Beds understand how customers feel?

We started using instant insight in May initially to gather feedback from our customers who have had beds delivered to them. After a delivery has been made we simply upload our client’s details and instant insight sends them two short questions via an email that is branded with our own choice of text and logo.

Because of the simplicity, we have received a great response from our customers so instant insight has given us a great understanding of how our customers feel about the service and how likely they are to recommend us.

Following this successful launch, we have since also started asking for feedback from our customers who visit us in branch. It is so easy for them to tell us how they feel as all they need to do is select a happy, content or sad face and provide a sentence to explain why they feel that way. It is a simple question but we have received some great feedback from our customers who may not have bothered with a longer, more drawn out survey. We recently received some feedback from a customer who had visited our showroom, for a quotation. Sadly she felt that her experience fell below the standard expected, and because we got her feedback in real time, our store manager was able to address the issue with her and by the end of the call she was happy to proceed with her order. Had we not have received this feedback, I don’t believe this customer would have progressed her order with us.

We have a number of branches across Sussex so it is really beneficial that we can filter the data to view our results separately for each branch, allowing us to spot trends.

What about your team members?

Following a period of closure due to lockdown earlier this year, it was really important to us as a family business that when we reopened our staff felt comfortable and safe while they were at work. instant insight gave us real peace of mind by making it very easy to find out which members of our team did not feel safe and importantly why so we could take action.

The response from our team was brilliant with 87% using the system to tell us how they felt and 95% saying they felt safe while at work.

Where employees have not felt safe, we have been able to learn about this quickly via the realtime notification emails built into the system. We have then been able to speak with the individuals to understand their issues and resolve them for them.

What are your plans for the future with instant insight?

It is important to us that we know how our customers feel at each stage of their journey with us. The next step will be to use instant insight to ask our customers about the products they have purchased. Not only will this give us more great feedback but it will also help us to keep our customers engaged and provide us with an opportunity to incentivise them to refer us to their friends and family.

We plan on using the Public Review Booster within the system to encourage our happy customers to leave us a review to boost our online reputation.