Customer Reviews: Learning from Tourism and Hospitality

Customer reviews are a powerful tool for any business. As the summer holidays approach, the tourism, leisure, and hospitality sectors offer invaluable lessons on harnessing customer feedback. Here, we share six lessons on how these industries excel at gathering and using reviews to enhance their services and boost customer satisfaction.

Table of Contents

  1. Understand the Importance of Customer Reviews
  2. Create a Memorable Customer Experience
  3. Elevate Customer and Employee Experiences
  4. Encourage Guests to Leave Customer Reviews
  5. Leverage Reviews for Marketing
  6. Use Feedback to Improve Services

6 Lessons from the Tourism and Hospitality Sectors

These sectors excel at gathering customer feedback because they focus intensely on their guests. They constantly interact with guests, aiming to provide exceptional experiences. Importantly, they recognise the critical role of their staff in delivering these experiences. By prioritising feedback, they continually improve and adapt to changing needs.

Let’s look at six key lessons from the tourism, leisure, and hospitality sectors on customer reviews to enhance service and satisfaction:

1. Understand the Importance of Customer Reviews

Positive reviews shape a business’s reputation and success. Reviews can make or break a destination’s appeal in tourism, leisure, and hospitality. Prioritise customer feedback to gain insights and make informed decisions.

2. Create Memorable Customer Experiences

To receive positive reviews, focus on creating wow moments. Personalised services, attention to detail, and exceeding expectations are key. The hospitality industry often excels in offering unique experiences that leave a lasting impression on guests.

3. Elevate Customer and Employee Experiences

To truly excel in customer satisfaction, focus equally on employee engagement. Happy, engaged employees are more likely to deliver exceptional service. Invest in regular training, recognise and reward outstanding performance, and create a positive work environment. Read below to learn how we work with Bluestone National Park on its employee survey.

Read our client success story: Bluestone: Elevating Guest and Employee Experiences.

4. Encourage Guests to Leave Customer Reviews

Actively encourage guests to leave reviews. The tourism and hospitality sectors use incentives like discounts or small gifts to motivate customers to generate more positive reviews. Simple reminders during checkout or follow-up emails also work well.

5. Leverage Reviews for Marketing

Use positive reviews as social proof in your marketing. Highlight testimonials on your website, social media, and promotional materials. Sharing reviews builds credibility and attracts new customers. Publish reviews and responses openly to demonstrate transparency.

Customer reviews feedback tip sheet from insight6

6. Use Feedback to Improve Services

Continuous improvement is crucial. Actively seek feedback through customer reviews and mystery shopping to identify areas for improvement. The hospitality industry frequently updates services based on this feedback, ensuring high satisfaction. Implement changes based on the insights gathered to enhance the customer experience consistently.

Conclusion: Customer Reviews

Customer reviews offer a wealth of knowledge that can help businesses enhance their services and customer satisfaction. By learning from the tourism, leisure, and hospitality sectors, you can effectively harness the power of customer feedback. Remember, happy customers lead to positive reviews, which drive business success.

Ready to improve your customer reviews? Contact us today to learn how we can help you gather and leverage feedback to boost your business.


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Secret Shoppers: Your Silent Success Agents

Secret Shoppers

Unlock the power of secret or mystery shoppers to understand what your customers think. Their insights can transform how you do business, from fixing hidden issues to highlighting what you excel at. Let’s explore the world of secret shoppers and see how they boost customer satisfaction and help your business thrive.

What is mystery shopping, and who are secret shoppers?

Mystery shopping is a way for businesses to check how good their service is by sending in secret shoppers. These secret shoppers act like regular customers, visiting stores or restaurants without anyone knowing. They look at things like how friendly the staff are, if the store is clean and if products are available. Mystery shopping helps businesses discover what they’re doing well and what needs improving to make customers happier.

Examples of mystery shopping assignments.

Examples of mystery shopping assignments vary widely and aren’t limited to retail and hospitality. Business industries use mystery shopping to deliver memorable customer experiences (CX)

As a leader in the mystery shopping arena, insight6 sets a high standard by providing individually trained mystery shoppers who offer feedback on every assignment. Our local specialists support clients in developing, delivering, and managing quality mystery shopping programs. In the past year alone, we’ve conducted over 23,760 mystery shops for 541 UK brands and offered constructive feedback to 78,520 team members. 

Here are some diverse examples of businesses benefiting from our secret shoppers:

🚗 Arnold Clark: Mystery Shopping Dealerships Nationwide

⚖️ Stephens Scown Solicitors: Improving relations and revenue

🚆 HS2: Supercharging The customer experience

🎓 Bedford College Group: Increasing Student Applications

Our case studies showcase how mystery shopping isn’t just for traditional retail or hospitality sectors—it’s applicable across every industry where customer satisfaction matters.

How is video mystery shopping effectively used?

At insight6, we offer a variety of mystery shopping solutions, including in-person visits, video mystery shopping, phone recordings, web interactions, and chat evaluations. Let’s explore the unique advantages of video mystery shopping, a preferred tool among leading brands. Here’s how they harness its power to elevate their customer experience:

1. Objective Performance Evaluation:

Video footage provides an unbiased assessment of employee performance, allowing businesses to accurately evaluate how staff handle customer interactions.

2. Detailed Feedback and Analysis:

Videos offer a comprehensive view of customer encounters, enabling businesses to analyse body language, tone, and expressions for deeper insights into customer and employee behaviour.

3. Training and Development Opportunities:

Video mystery shopping helps tailor training programs by identifying areas for improvement and fostering employees’ ongoing professional development.

4. Consistency Across Locations:

Video mystery shopping ensures a standardised evaluation process for businesses with multiple sites, facilitating comparison and consistency in training strategies.

5. Realistic Scenario Assessment:

Video mystery shopping captures authentic customer interactions, providing a realistic evaluation of employee performance in unscripted situations and enhancing the accuracy of assessments.

6. Evidence for Recognition or Improvement:

Video footage is tangible evidence of employee performance, supporting recognition of exceptional service and facilitating discussions for improvement plans.

What are the costs associated with secret shoppers?

Are you curious about the investment required for mystery shopping? The cost of a mystery shopping programme varies depending on your specific needs and objectives. At insight6, we believe in using trained secret shoppers to ensure you receive the best service possible. Our local CX specialists will collaborate with you to design a bespoke programme tailored to your requirements, providing transparent cost estimates upfront.

Remember what Warren Buffett said: “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” Our clients agree—our feedback is the best. We pick our mystery shoppers carefully, looking for:

  • Objectivity
  • Attention to detail
  • Clear written communication skills
  • Dedication to improvement
  • Timeliness in meeting deadlines
  • Proficiency in IT, with access to a personal computer

You can earn between £10 and £40 per assignment as a secret shopper. No prior mystery shopping experience is necessary, as we provide comprehensive induction and training for all team members. We’re seeking individuals capable of providing detailed, objective feedback about their experiences in clear narrative form. If you’re interested in joining our team of secret shoppers and contributing to improving customer experiences, contact us today!

How secret shoppers can foster positive team behaviours.

Secret shoppers are crucial to nurturing positive team behaviours. Their feedback helps teams identify strengths and areas for growth, fostering open communication and accountability. Secret shoppers create a supportive environment for team success by recognising and rewarding positive efforts. Discover more about boosting loyalty and profitability with customer reviews on our CX blog here.

Ready to start mystery shopping? Tips to get going!

Ready to dive into mystery shopping? Consider this: working with a partner who understands its role in your overall customer experience strategy is crucial. Cheap isn’t always the best. Mystery shopping reviews are a great start but a complex process. Choose a CX partner wisely—they’ll handle feedback effectively. 

At insight6, we get it: feedback is data, not judgment. We’re experts in designing and delivering advanced feedback programmes with local experts across the UK. Remember, one-off reviews give a snapshot, but you need regular feedback for lasting change, loyalty, and profitability. 

Conclusion: Your Silent Success Agents

Mystery shopping isn’t just about improving service—it’s about transforming your customer experience. By partnering with insight6, you gain valuable insights into your business’s strengths and weaknesses and unlock the potential for lasting change. Don’t let poorly trained secret shoppers ruin your mystery shopping programme—contact insight6 today to transform your customer experience and drive business success!


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Increasing ROI: The Critical Role of CX

Increasing roi with cx

One crucial strategy for increasing ROI stands out in today’s business world: making your customers happy. It’s not just a trend; it’s a key to success. Look at Amazon—it’s a great example of how focusing on customer happiness can make a business thrive. Here, we examine why customer happiness is vital for boosting ROI and present six ways to enhance your business’s success by delivering an exceptional customer experience (CX).

Measuring what matters

Customer experience (CX) should be a top priority in every business meeting. You might think, “You would say that as leading UK customer specialists”, but don’t just take our word for it. According to Forrester, businesses prioritising customer experience grow their revenue 1.7 times faster than businesses that don’t.

However, recognising its importance isn’t sufficient. You must demonstrate the impact of customer experiences, good or bad, on your bottom line. Without tangible evidence, convincing company leaders to invest in CX can be an uphill battle. So, while it’s evident that CX is crucial for customer satisfaction, proving its value through measurable ROI is essential for securing the budget and resources to stay competitive.

Six ways CX will improve your ROI

1. Customer Loyalty and Retention:

Why does customer loyalty matter? It’s simple—happy customers stick around. Investing in CX breeds loyalty, reducing the churn rate and the need for constant customer acquisition. As satisfied customers remain loyal, the cost of acquiring new ones diminishes, leading to sustainable growth and an enhanced ROI over time.

2. Repeat Business and Upselling Opportunities

How does CX drive repeat business? When customers have positive experiences, they’re more inclined to return for more. Moreover, a satisfied customer is like fertile ground for upselling. By delighting customers with exceptional experiences, businesses create opportunities to cross-sell or upsell additional products or services, further bolstering revenue streams.

3. Positive Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Why is word-of-mouth marketing so potent? It’s built on trust. Delighted customers don’t just keep their positive experiences to themselves; they share them with others. This organic promotion by satisfied customers is invaluable, attracting new business at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising and increasing ROI in the process.

4. Reduced Customer Service Costs

How does CX impact customer service costs? Simply put, fewer complaints mean fewer resources expended on resolving them. By prioritising CX and consistently delivering excellent experiences, businesses can mitigate issues before they arise, leading to lower customer service costs and a healthier bottom line.

5. Differentiation in a Competitive Market

What sets businesses apart in a crowded market? Exceptional customer service. In fiercely competitive industries, CX becomes a crucial differentiator. Businesses carve out a niche by consistently exceeding customer expectations and attracting discerning customers who value superior experiences, increasing market share and profitability.

6. Enhanced Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Why is the customer lifetime value (CLV) crucial? It’s a long game. CX isn’t just about one-off transactions; it’s about fostering enduring relationships. By providing consistently positive experiences, businesses cultivate loyal customers with higher CLV. These customers become the backbone of sustained profitability, driving up overall ROI.

Conclusion: Increasing ROI with CX

Investing in CX isn’t merely discretionary—it’s an investment with tangible returns. By prioritising customer experience, businesses enhance satisfaction and directly impact operations, increasing profitability and ROI. If you aim to future-proof your business, doubling down on CX is critical. At insight6, we believe in the transformative power of exceptional customer experiences. Ready to elevate your business? Contact us today for a no-obligation chat and unlock your CX strategy’s full potential.


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CX Trends 2024: Top 6 Customer Experience Predictions

CX Trends 2024 - Augmented and Virtual Reality Experiences

Step into the future of Customer Experience (CX) Trends 2024! Businesses face a pivotal challenge: to elevate their customer experience strategies. Staying ahead requires proactive preparation. Join us as we explore six upcoming CX trends that are reshaping the landscape of how businesses interact with their customers.

Table of contents:

Top 6 CX Trends for 2024

#1 Hyper-personalisation becomes standard 

In 2024, hyper-personalisation will take centre stage. Companies are diving deep into customisation by leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data analytics to offer highly tailored experiences. From personalised product recommendations to individualised marketing strategies, those who don’t will risk trailing behind those who have a better understanding of their brand through the customer’s eyes. To stay on top, employing customer journey mapping will be critical, allowing you to easily identify opportunities that enable you to provide exceptional customer experiences where it matters most. 

#2: AI integration as CX Trend in 2024

We believe Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be further utilised by businesses to seamlessly integrate into customer experiences. We expect to see more advanced use of chatbots, voice assistants, and predictive analytics. This means that AI won’t merely handle routine inquiries but will be able to predict customer needs, providing proactive assistance in real-time – without putting any extra burden on existing resources. We can see this most keenly in one of insight6’s long-time partners, Moneypenny, who’ve perfected the art of giving businesses large or small brilliant people superpowered by technology, to capture every opportunity and deliver outstanding service on your behalf.

#3: Ethical CX and privacy concerns 

With increased data collection and personalisation, ethical customer experience practices and data privacy will be put firmly in the spotlight. Companies will need to transparently communicate how they use customer data, ensuring processes align with evolving privacy regulations. Recent insights from the Institute of Customer Service’s recent Satisfaction Report show that more than half of the organisations in the UKCSI have received lower customer satisfaction than they did a year ago. Highlighting the growing importance of prioritising ethical practices when it comes to ensuring a satisfactory customer experience.  

#4: Virtual and Augmented Reality Transformations 

Forbes predicts that AR and VR will enhance customer experiences in 2024. They’ll also boost business visibility in competitive markets, leading to higher loyalty, engagement, and profits.

VR and AR technologies will find broader applications in enriching customer experiences in 2024, especially in e-commerce and remote services. From virtual product try-ons to immersive shopping experiences – and AR-powered customer support – these experiences will become integral to delivering the next-level interactions that consumers demand. Interactive product catalogues enabled by AR technology allow customers to see products within their environments, enabling them to understand more about size and fit. VR on the other hand places users in an entirely digital environment that completely shuts out the real world, revolutionising the way businesses engage with and interact with customers.

#5: Sustainability-driven experiences

Customer consciousness about sustainability is on the rise – and rightly so. In 2024, companies will need to match this energy and prioritise eco-friendly practices across products, services, and operations, making environmental responsibility a core element of the customer experience. According to Deloitte, a quarter of consumers are prepared to pay more for sustainability. This includes paying more for sustainable products and packaging and choosing for products from suppliers that respect human rights or commit to ethical working practices. This trend reflects a growing awareness and commitment to meeting customers’ expectations for sustainable and responsible business practices across the board. 

#6: Real-time feedback & instant resolution

The advancement of real-time feedback tools empowers customers to share instant reviews and suggestions. In response, companies must prioritise swift issue resolution, employing automated systems to address concerns promptly. Through insight6’s total feedback solution, instant insight, you gain actionable insights from both customers and employees. You can analyse real-time feedback, benchmark against competitors, and improve your offerings. By consistently measuring customer satisfaction and loyalty, businesses can foster ongoing improvement, adapting to evolving demands and driving sustained growth. 

Using instant insight will:  

✓ Help you gain customer feedback.   

✓ Allow you to gain employee feedback.   

✓ Analyse/report on real-time feedback.   

✓ Obtain actionable comments.   

✓ Improve your products and services.  

✓ Benchmark against your competitors.   

✓ Increase positive online reviews. 

Discover the power of feedback with instant insight our total feedback solution.

Summary: CX Trends 2024

As we look ahead, these customer experience trends will redefine industry standards. Plus, they present lucrative opportunities to create memorable and meaningful interactions. Stay ahead of the curve, embrace innovation, and make 2024 a year of unparalleled customer experiences. Get in touch with insight6 today for a no-obligation chat. Or, reach out to request a demo and see how instant insight can transform your business.  


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The Christmas Experience: Tips For CX-Mas Delight

Christmas experience.

‘Tis the season to go beyond transactions and craft an unforgettable Christmas experience. During the bustling holiday rush, expectations soar, and your approach to managing them is vital. Beyond retail, every sector plays a role in shaping memorable festive moments. Our six tips are your guide to creating a positive impression by exceeding expectations that resonate long after the tinsel is packed away!

Christmas Experience: Declining Satisfaction

No matter the season, delivering ‘WOW’ moments in customer experiences is key to business success. Yet, The UK Customer Satisfaction Index notes a dip, hitting the lowest since 2015, across all sectors. With 60% of employees in customer-facing roles and 80% of GDP from services, outstanding customer service is vital for our collective well-being.

Christmas Experience: Squeezed incomes

Amidst a cost of living crisis, pressure on incomes intensifies, casting a shadow over homes and businesses. The impact of a subpar customer experience is felt more keenly, with customers enduring longer wait times and heightened frustrations. For those with low financial well-being, empathy and exceptional service are crucial.

Recognising and responding to unique situations isn’t just good practice; it’s essential. How you make people feel is this season’s smartest strategy to deliver an exceptional Christmas experience to win and keep customers. At insight6, we partner with hundreds of happy clients to transform the customer experience. As we dive into the holiday spirit, our six tips are your trusted guide, adding a sprinkle of magic to make this season a CX-Mas delight.

Six Tips To Enhance The Christmas Experience

CX-Mas Tip 1 – Dive into the Data

Begin your journey by mining gold from past seasons. Scrutinise enquiries, sales, returns, and reviews to spot trends. Quantitative data, like demand metrics, offers strategic foresight but doesn’t neglect the qualitative side. Do you know how your customers feel about your products and services? Asking for and acting on regular customer feedback is critical to business success. 

Implement online feedback or mystery shopping to see through your customer’s eyes, and regularly seek feedback to uncover areas for improvement. Remember, data is powerful only when put into action. Learn how to turn customer feedback into actionable insights.

CX-Mas Tip 2 – Ignite Your Team’s Passion

Fuel the holiday spirit within your team by articulating a shared vision for the season. Communicate the organisation’s goals and emphasise the desired customer experience. As the busy season approaches, ensure your team understands the collective mission: to make it easier and more joyful for customers. Employee engagement is the linchpin of business success, and training them on the customer experience process is pivotal. Instil in them the ability to see through the customer’s eyes.

However, tread carefully— an ill-conceived customer experience strategy can be more detrimental than having none. Managing and implementing feedback is integral, making the choice of a reliable customer experience partner crucial. At insight6, we recognise that feedback is data, not judgment. We harness this data, coupled with the expertise of our local customer experience specialists, to conduct workshops that inspire and motivate teams. Discover how our workshops can empower your team and enhance the customer experience.

CX-Mas Tip 3 – Navigate Complaints with Empathy

Prevention is the best strategy—anticipate and address issues before they escalate. When things do go awry, resist defensiveness. Acknowledge the problem, listen attentively, and express genuine empathy. Your customers want to be heard. Emphasise your commitment to making things right, and ask them directly how you can restore their experience. In handling complaints with empathy, you turn challenges into opportunities for connection and resolution. Talk to us to explore our approach to empathetic complaint resolution.

CX-Mas Tip 4 – Forge Emotional Bonds for Lasting Impact

Emotional connections are not just sentimental—they’re powerful drivers for customer loyalty and business success. Studies show that emotionally connected customers are more likely to spend more time and money with a brand and become vocal advocates, influencing others. Ensure your teams understand the impact of emotional connections on purchase decisions.

The key is in the details—encourage your teams to serve with a genuine smile, whether in person or over the phone. A positive emotional connection during customer interactions leaves a lasting impression, fostering loyalty and encouraging positive word-of-mouth. Learn how mapping your Customer Journey and understanding touchpoints can shape remarkable experiences.

CX-Mas Tip 5 – Build Trust Through Openness and Authenticity

Trust is the currency of customer relationships. Deliver on promises, whether it’s meeting delivery times or keeping customers informed. In an era marked by concerns over greenwashing and ethical practices, transparency is non-negotiable. Showcase your commitment to authenticity and ethical conduct.

A simple rule applies—be nice. Treat your customers the way you’d want to be treated. The authenticity of your interactions leaves a lasting impression, fostering a sense of trust and loyalty. When customers feel they’re getting the best from you, they become your strongest advocates. Discover how customer satisfaction and a strong CX strategy can help your business succeed.

CX-Mas Tip 6 – Craft Unforgettable ‘WOW’ Moments

Elevate your customer experience by weaving in ‘WOW’ moments that transcend the ordinary. In today’s dynamic business landscape, exceptional customer experiences aren’t just a luxury—they’re essential. A ‘WOW’ moment is that extraordinary interaction that makes customers pause, smile, and remember. It occurs when your service or product goes above and beyond, creating a positive, memorable experience.

Creating ‘WOW’ moments demands a proactive stance. Begin by mapping your customer journey and delving into feedback from your clients. Identify touchpoints and pain points to uncover opportunities for ‘WOW’ moments. Additionally, engaging and empowering your employees is essential to consistently delivering exceptional service.

As we wrap up this festive journey, armed with six invaluable tips to enhance your customer experiences, let the spirit of the season guide your interactions. At insight6, we’re dedicated to helping businesses like yours elevate customer interactions and create lasting impressions.

Ready to embark on a journey of customer experience transformation? Get in touch for a no-obligation chat or request a demo of our online feedback tool, ‘instant insight.’ Let’s make this season one to remember for you and your customers!


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WOW Moments in Customer Experiences

WOW moments - how to create them.

Creating ‘WOW’ moments will take your customer experience (CX) to the next level. In the fast-paced business world, exceptional customer experiences are not just a luxury – they’re essential. But what exactly are ‘WOW’ moments in customer experiences, and why should companies care about them? Here, we delve into ‘WOW’ moments and explore how you can elevate your customer interactions to leave a lasting impact.

Table of contents:

What defines a WOW moment in customer experience?

A ‘WOW’ moment is that extraordinary interaction that makes customers stop, smile, and remember. It’s when your service or product delivers above and beyond their expectations, creating a positive, memorable experience. Can you think about the moments you received exceptional service or encountered a product that exceeded your expectations? Those are ‘WOW’ moments. Let’s look at some examples:

Example #1 - Imagine walking into a local coffee shop, and the barista not only remembers your name but also knows your favourite coffee order. That personal touch is a 'WOW' moment that can turn a casual coffee drinker into a loyal, repeat customer. 
Example #2 - At an automotive dealership, a 'WOW' moment might involve a salesperson going the extra mile to explain the features of a car, arranging a customised test drive experience, or offering a complimentary first service. Such personalised attention can foster customer loyalty and referrals.
Example #3 - In the case of a law firm, a 'WOW' moment could be delivering a quicker resolution to a client's legal issue than expected or providing them with a comprehensive, plain-language guide to the legal process. Exceptional communication, empathy, and transparency can set the stage for lasting client relationships in the legal field.
In the e-commerce world, Amazon's one-click purchase option is a prime example of a 'WOW' moment. It streamlines the buying process to such an extent that customers often don't think twice before making a purchase.

Why are WOW moments important?

Simply put, these moments are more than just fleeting instances of happiness – they have tangible benefits for your business. ‘WOW’ moments can turn first-time customers into loyal advocates, boost your brand’s reputation, and drive revenue growth. Indeed, research has shown that customers who experience ‘WOW’ moments are more likely to recommend your business and return for more.

Positive experiences play a crucial role in customer satisfaction. Moreover, an astounding 90% of customers who are highly satisfied with a brand say they are highly likely to return to that brand to make more purchases (source: SMG research into CX metrics).

Furthermore, experiences have a direct impact on revenue. Brands that prioritise offering exceptional experiences to their customers witness a positive impact on their bottom line, with 84% of companies reporting increased revenue after improving their customer experiences. Additionally, customers are willing to pay a premium for these exceptional experiences, often contributing to an increase in revenue by upwards of 18% says PWC.

These statistics emphasise the concrete advantages of creating ‘WOW’ moments and underscore the importance of delivering exceptional customer experiences.

How can I identify opportunities to ‘WOW’?

Creating ‘WOW’ moments requires a proactive approach. Start by mapping your customer journey and analysing feedback from your clients. Identifying touchpoints and pain points can lead to opportunities for ‘WOW’ moments. Additionally, engaging and empowering your employees can help them deliver exceptional service consistently.

What strategies can I use to create WOW moments?

To create ‘WOW’ moments that leave a lasting impact, businesses should consider several strategies to prioritise customer satisfaction and exceptional experiences. Likewise, it’s essential to know how your customers or clients feel about your company, the products or services you provide, and the experience they receive if you’re looking to build loyalty and drive profitability. Let’s dive into some strategies to create ‘WOW’ moments.

1. Customer Experience Reviews (CX Reviews):

Often referred to as Mystery Shopping, CX Reviews are one of the best ways to test a company’s service through the eyes of its customers or clients. While Mystery Shopping is commonly associated with those in the retail, leisure, and hospitality sectors, it’s a valuable exercise for firms in any industry keen on enhancing their customer experiences. It enables you to see your business through your customers’ perspective and uncover areas for improvement.

2. Identifying Key Touch Points:

Every customer journey has critical touch points that significantly impact their experience. For example, poor customer service at a crucial touch point can easily throw away sales opportunities. In our market study – The Professional Services Client Journey Report – we discovered numerous areas where accountancy, financial service, property, and legal firms are losing potential revenue due to subpar customer experiences.

3. Effective Customer Experience Strategy:

Implementing a successful customer experience strategy is crucial. Managing and implementing feedback is a significant part of the process. Therefore, employing the right Customer Experience partner is imperative. The process must be carefully considered, ensuring that goals are set from the outset, and reviews and feedback are managed by a skilled team.

4. The Role of Technology:

Technology solutions can streamline processes, making the customer experience more seamless and convenient. Indeed, implementing an online feedback tool to regularly and consistently ask and act on feedback offers many benefits to your business. It makes the feedback process easier and more accessible to customers, increasing their willingness to participate and provide valuable insights.

These strategies are the foundation for building exceptional customer experiences and creating ‘WOW’ moments. They help you uncover areas for improvement and enhance the overall quality of service and products your business provides. As the saying goes, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure” and these strategies offer the tools and insights needed to manage and enhance your customer experience.

How can I transform the customer experience?

Transforming the customer experience isn’t a journey to embark on alone. Consequently, it requires expertise, strategy, and tools to turn insights into actionable improvements. To explore how you can make this transformation and learn more about the solutions available, visit our About insight6 page for comprehensive information on how we can assist you in enhancing your customer experiences.

How we can help you create WOW moments to transform your business

At insight6, we understand that feedback is data, not judgment. We are deeply committed to helping businesses create ‘WOW’ moments for their customers. Furthermore, our services are designed to provide you with the insights, strategies, and technology you need to unlock the full potential of your customer interactions.

From Customer Experience Reviews (CX Reviews) to advanced feedback programs, our local experts in the UK are ready to work with you to transform your business. Moreover, we believe that to build loyalty and drive profitability, it’s not enough to conduct one-off reviews.

Regular, consistent feedback and action are critical. Our online feedback tool makes it easy for your customers to share their insights, allowing you to gather in-depth information about how they feel about your services, products, and company.

WOW moments with insight6: Exploring what we do with our icx6 model.
– Our unique process for transforming your business with insight6

By partnering with insight6, you gain access to a wealth of experience, knowledge, and a deep commitment to elevating the customer experience. We’re here to help you implement effective strategies and make data-driven decisions that lead to increased customer loyalty and revenue growth.

Now that you understand ‘WOW’ moments and their importance, we invite you to get in touch for a no-obligation chat or to request a demo of our online feedback tool ‘instant insight’. Transform your customer experience with insight6 and see the results for yourself!


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AI in CX: Balancing Automation with the Human Touch

AI in CX.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly central in shaping the customer experience (CX) landscape. But in today’s tech-savvy world, where businesses use AI to get things done faster, there’s a big question: How do we keep that personal touch while letting robots help? It’s a balancing act that matters a lot. In this blog post, we’ll dive into why it’s so crucial for businesses to get the mix right to keep customers smiling.

Table of contents:

What is AI’s impact on customer experience?

AI is a growing area in the customer experience. With its ability to analyse vast amounts of data and predict customer behaviour, AI empowers businesses to tailor their interactions with customers profoundly.

One notable aspect is personalisation. AI algorithms analyse customer data to offer tailored recommendations and content, giving customers individualised attention. Whether suggesting products based on past purchases or curating content to match specific preferences, AI-driven personalisation significantly enhances customer engagement.

AI is also being used to support customer service. AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants offer round-the-clock support and quick responses to customer enquiries. They can handle routine queries, freeing staff time for more complex tasks. These efficiencies reduce response times and minimise wait times, improving the overall experience.

Nevertheless, AI introduces challenges in preserving that essential human touch.

Why is balancing AI and human touchpoints necessary?

According to a recent article, 81% of customers prefer having a human involved in reviewing and validating generative AI outputs.

Balancing AI and human touchpoints is essential for several reasons. Customers value genuine human interactions, which foster trust and emotional connections. Overreliance on automation can erode this trust, leaving customers feeling disconnected and underserved.

Maintaining a balance between AI-driven efficiency and authentic human engagement ensures a more well-rounded customer experience. While AI excels at speed and efficiency, human touchpoints bring empathy, understanding, and the ability to handle complex and emotionally charged situations.

Integrating AI and customer experience can enhance satisfaction, foster lasting loyalty, and strengthen customer relationships. Now, let’s delve into when and how to incorporate AI into your customer experience strategy effectively.

How can businesses use AI to enhance CX?

AI has the potential to enhance the customer experience if done right. Equally, the consequences of getting it wrong could do the opposite, damaging your reputation.

Simply put, implementing AI solutions should be done to improve customer satisfaction, not just as a cost-cutting exercise. To do this effectively, you must understand when and where to incorporate AI into the customer journey to enhance the overall experience.

Three steps to introduce AI to enhance CX:

1. Understanding the current customer experience:

  • Start by understanding your current performance from the customer’s perspective. This means viewing interactions through the eyes of your customers.
  • Implement CX solutions like mystery shopping and feedback mechanisms to gain invaluable insights. Mystery shopping provides an external evaluation, while feedback offers direct input from customers themselves.

2. Mapping the actual customer Journey:

  • It’s essential to map the customer journey, not just the ideal one. Journey mapping is a powerful technique to identify what’s working well and areas needing improvement.
  • By scrutinising each touchpoint in the customer journey, businesses can pinpoint pain points and areas where customers might be experiencing frustration or dissatisfaction.

3. Integration of AI solutions:

  • Once a clear understanding of the current customer experience is established, AI solutions can be strategically integrated to improve it further.
  • AI-powered tools can streamline customer interactions, from chatbots and virtual assistants providing instant support to predictive analytics anticipating customer needs.
  • By integrating AI within the customer journey, businesses can increase efficiency, minimise wait times, and improve personalisation to enhance the overall experience.

What are the challenges of implementing AI in CX?

Implementing AI into the customer experience presents several hurdles for businesses. These include ensuring data quality and integration, maintaining customer trust amid automation, addressing privacy and security concerns, managing implementation costs, training employees, dealing with ethical considerations, and ensuring scalability.

Overcoming these challenges demands meticulous planning, a customer-centric approach, and a commitment to addressing potential roadblocks proactively. By doing so, businesses can unlock the benefits of AI in enhancing customer experiences.

Where should companies start before using AI?

To start enhancing your operations with AI, begin with two crucial steps.

First, understand your customer experience from their perspective—mystery shopping and customer or employee feedback ensures you get invaluable, unbiased insights.

Next, focus on mapping the customer journey, not just the ideal one. Customer journey mapping is a powerful technique for finding what’s working well and needs improvement.

AI solutions can be thoughtfully integrated to enhance efficiency and improve customer experience. Once you have a firm grasp of the current experience, you can make a plan to enhance it. Having identified opportunities for improvement, you will be able to assess whether an AI solution or adding a human touch is best on a case-by-case basis.

When you’re ready to take these steps, insight6 is here to assist. As the UK’s largest CX consultancy with over 25 local CX specialists, we excel at understanding your business from your customers and employees’ perspectives.

Our innovative CX solutions help you create an exceptional customer experience, driving engagement, loyalty, and meaningful connections. Our experienced CX Directors aren’t just experts; they’re seasoned business professionals ready to guide your team, regardless of size, toward changes that make your customer journey unforgettable.

Ready to take your customer experience to the next level with AI?

Start by understanding your customers’ needs and mapping their journey. Reach out to us today to connect with your local CX specialist. Let’s discuss how AI can transform your business and arrange a free demonstration of our innovative total feedback solution. Don’t miss the opportunity to enhance your customer experience – get in touch now!

Why Customer Experience (CX) monitoring should be at the top of every Franchisor’s to do list in January

CX is arguably the biggest differentiator, or battleground, between businesses right now. Every business needs a well-considered and executed customer experience strategy, to deliver more business, repeat business and a positive brand reputation. But when it comes to the franchise sector, it’s vital to not only implement, but continuously monitor your CX strategy. 

You’re only as successful as your weakest performing franchisee

By the very nature of a franchised business model, you, the franchisor, are one step removed from delivering your brand to the end customer. That can have negative consequences for your whole company if poor CX goes undetected.  

By measuring the CX that your franchisees are delivering on a monthly basis, you not only get a real time picture of how the brand is being received overall, but also an indication of any potential problems within your network. 

At the very worst end of the scale, you could uncover a franchisee treating customers terribly – if they hadn’t already made a complaint – but generally, you could discover things customers may not have noticed, but weaken the experience that you had designed. For example, missed processes, failing to follow up or a lack of personalisation may need addressing individually, or across your network.

CX monitoring isn’t about franchisee bashing

The very opposite in fact. It’s about assessing what works well and uncovering new ideas that can be shared across the network. Because the most successful franchises are the ones that operate in an open, honest, collaborative, and supportive way – and you get this through monitoring and feedback. 

Putting CX at the heart of the business and measuring against KPI’s should always have positive intentions. Yes, it can create a bit of competitive spirit amongst franchisees, but it should also create positive conversations where someone may seek out help or advice. 

Franchised businesses must take a 360 degree approach to monitoring CX.

CX in the traditional sense (franchisee to end customer), is only one element at play here. A franchise network also needs to monitor the experience a franchisee receives from other franchisees and from the franchisor. 

For your franchisees to deliver a superior customer experience, they must receive the right tools, information, and support – and it must be delivered in a way that works for them, not you. By asking for regular feedback from your network you can quickly get a better understanding of where you may need to provide extra resources or training, or where you may need to improve your communication style or timings. 

It’s not just a tick-box exercise.

Once you’ve monitored it’s vital that you do something with the results. Too many times we see businesses collect insight and then don’t take any action to improve the experience and the scores before they repeat the same research 12 months later. 

Monitoring every 12 or six months is also not good enough, you need to be monitoring on a monthly basis to get the best impetus and improvement. This helps improve the CX culture.

Ultimately, knowledge is power. 

If you as the franchisor understand the quality of service that is being delivered by your franchisees, you have the ability to make changes. If you are giving your franchisees the opportunity to give you feedback on the quality of service they are receiving, you are able to make changes. It fosters a transparent working relationship that results in a better experience for all.  

 

Jonathan Winchester is a customer experience entrepreneur, franchisor, speaker and business leader. He is the Founder and Chief Executive of insight6. insight6 is a franchise. For more information on how to improve your customer experience, visit www.insight6.com. Request to connect with Jonathan on LinkedIn.

Six steps to guarantee a ROI (return on investment) in customer experience

How do you know when to invest in Customer Experience?  What does such an investment look like? Is it training or measuring or just paying attention to the customer? And then, the million-dollar question, how do you know your investment in customer experience has actually worked?  AND, is there a time you can stop investing in this valuable resource?

At insight6, our team of 24 Customer Experience Experts (CXDs) work across the UK and Ireland, with more than 1,000 businesses.

We asked them how they would answer these questions.

Our CXD team have very impressive senior management experience in customer centric companies from Tesler to Tescos, from Costa to Coke, Apple to Heineken.

What we discovered from our team of CXD’s can be summed up in six key findings:

1. One size does not fit all

The first step with any new client is to gain an understanding of the needs of the organisation. Some clients know exactly what is needed, for example, a team training programme or a competitor analysis. Other clients may need to gain an objective view on whether there is a customer experience issue to address. When a client does not know if there is an issue, the only way to find out is by asking either customers, the team or both! Whatever the client issue, whether it be high team turnover or low customer retention, the results of asking the right questions will always illuminate a path of action that will solve the problem. Simply having an open discussion with an expert will open up the world of CX and allow exploration into what can be achieved.

We had such a discussion with the CEO of a private school, which had a problem with their open days lacking purpose. Measuring the customer experience through insight6 CX reviews across all their open days led to identifying untapped specific sales opportunities that were immediately actioned by the whole team. This, in turn, led to an increase in conversion on new students of 49%! The return on investment on a school with £25K fees per annum is significant.

2. The time is right when you are ready for change

The only time to invest in Customer Experience is when you are prepared to take action. How many times have you decided to undertake research and used the report to fill a bookshelf, or attended a training course and, within a week, forgotten what you learnt? We all do it.

The truth is that you will know when it is time to invest in customer experience; it’s when you know you are ready and are open minded enough to embrace what comes next, and then make it happen.

Two live examples from our team are:

In an accountancy practice, staff focus groups and a team engagement survey were conducted across the business: the results were poor, as expected. The manner in which the results were presented, and the clarity of the next steps were too compelling for the managing partner to ignore. Within 6 months of the results and the actions of the management team, staff morale and retention had improved, and like for like sales had increased on the previous 6 months.

Conversely, a business had commissioned Customer Experience reviews (mystery shopping) to measure the customer’s perceptions of the service. KPI data was generated from the customer experience studies on sales, service and presentation over a series of months. The detailed gap analysis over time, clearly highlighted the need for sales skills training but the business was not ready to take the plunge. When measurement is used without the accompanying action, it is not possible to create the impact on the business and maximise your return.

Improving CX is about changing behaviour and that needs to be central to all activity.

3. Investment in Customer Experience is everything to do with the Customer

Take a look at your business through the lens of your customer, and you will see everything that needs to change! Keep the customer as a metaphoric ‘horse whisperer’ by having a continuous 'feed in' of how they see your business, from focus groups to CX reviews (mystery shopping), on-line immediate feedback, to Video mystery visits. The only thing that is vital, is that you listen to the ‘whispers’, and elevate their status in your business to the most important voice in your management team. One of our clients has an empty chair at their board table that represents the customer, so the customer’s perception can never be forgotten. This makes the point to the whole management team that the person in that chair is the one who needs to be most impressed with the decisions made in the meeting.

Our CXD’s recount some great examples where…

An optician's practice committed to an ongoing programme of CX reviews (mystery shopping), Feedback Direct (real time customer feedback) and annual Focus Groups, which led to a change in strategic direction, continued investment and acquisition. All this was possible through deeply understanding the relationship with customers.

In a farm shop, the investment in understanding their customers better resulted in an observable increase in confidence in the management of the teams; they delivered great service and developed the art of selling through being ‘in service to customers’, rather than ‘hard selling'. The ROI was staggering.

4. Investing in the Catalysts to Customer Experience

Customer experience is not something that can be ‘given’ by a business. Customer experience is a subjective feeling that the customer has, which results from a series of events and encounters which leave an impression. This is called the Customer Journey. In order to create the blank canvas so that a customer journey can be identified, everyone in the organisation needs to see themselves as a catalyst to a great customer experience - from the leaders to the front-line team.

In a business that we worked with, the Customer Experience reviews (mystery shopping) and team engagement surveys revealed the need for sales training, coaching and mentoring for the whole team from the Senior leadership team to the salespeople. The team recognised the need to treat their customers better than their competitors, which resulted in an increase in sales and referrals.

A hospitality business was able to increase average spend by a fifth, and increase Customer Experience scores by 25%, as a result of fully engaging the team and management in the training and coaching programme.

5. ROI on Customer Experience is exponential

How do you measure the impact of making your team happier? What do you ask your customers to find out if they had a good experience? And how do you know if all your investment in your customers and team really did increase your sales?

Part of any customer experience project is to put ROI at the core of the work. It is vital that you can quantify the impact of the work and the money invested. The only place to start is by asking yourself questions about where your business is now and where you would like it to be and what would ‘great’ look like. Over 25 years, insight6 has developed robust tools to measure and quantify the impact of investing in customer experience for businesses, so you can know what works and what does not.

Examples:
A retail and hospitality business wanted to understand what the increase would be in sales following a programme of CX reviews that identified an issue with the cafe team not upselling.

As a result, a sales training programme was delivered to the team. A carefully structured benchmark was created with the client on current customer spend levels and footfall before starting the project, so that any increases would be recognised and rewarded. At the end of a 12-month period, the spend levels increased as a result of 75% more customers responding to the service of the team and they purchased more product.

In a solicitor’s practice, a client journey mapping exercise led to the whole team becoming engaged in the customer experience. As a result, client retention and team productivity was increased. Just one client - who decided to stay with the practice after all - paid for the investment in the customer experience project 52 times over.

6. The magic sauce for customer experience is objectivity and expertise

The journey to being ‘great’ is continuous, especially as we live in a world where expectations from customers increase every single moment. Keeping up with customer expectations, knowing how to respond and being aware of what the priority is in your business, is a difficult task when you are ‘looking out’ from your business, as opposed to having the benefit of looking from outside in. Finding a trusted, objective and expert human adviser/partner is the magic sauce for knowing when and how to act with customer experience. Have you ever tried being your own therapist or coach? It does work, but only to the limit of what you have already experienced in your life. Gaining the insight of an expert will always allow you to step outside the boundaries of your own thinking, and experience a fresh, new way of looking at your business, inspiring you to go boldly into your future.

“Having the experience to mentor the managers to follow up the training is essential to create the transformation.” Harriet, Scotland

“We provided powerful insight with a large sample size which clearly showed the changes needed, those changes in this example created an extra £200k of income.” Graham Hill

So, is investing in Customer Experience a choice? The answer is not binary - the business needs to commit to changing and you need to find the expertise to rocket fuel your customer experience.

A Reliable Approach to Turning Complaints into Custom

Dealing with complaints

Dealing with complaintsCustomer complaints are an unavoidable challenge that any business inevitably face sooner or later. Your team will be working hard to maintain a high standard of business in order to prevent customer discontent, however the reality of human error renders total satisfaction amongst every customer impossible. Once in a while, a slip-up will occur, and a customer will make sure that any inconvenience the mistake caused them is known to your organisation. The complaint could be in the form of a disgruntled phone call, a strongly worded email, a targeted social media post or even an in-person confrontation.

The folly of most companies however, is in immediately disregarding these complaining customers as lost business. By sending complaining customers away with a partial refund or some other form of compensation and thinking no further about them, many companies are missing out on a chance to improve precarious business relationships, and in doing so, strengthening their reputation.

In fact, statistics show that those who complain when dissatisfied with customer treatment are more likely to want to continue a business relationship with your organisation than those who do not complain.

“A customer complaint highlights a problem, whether that’s a problem with your product, employees or internal processes, and by hearing these problems directly from your customers, you can investigate and improve to prevent further complaints in the future.”[i] (SuperOffice).

 Complaints represent a customer’s disappointment in the standard of your company, which has fallen below their expectation. It is the job of your customer service staff to reinstate this expectation at its prior high level. To do this, insight6 has come up with an effective strategy that will help you to negotiate angry customers into loyal patrons.

Clean up the first response

 Before responding to an irate customer, consider their position. Nobody contacts the complaints department of a business because they want to. The reason for the call is likely to be because the caller is upset due to what they consider to be sub-par treatment from your company. Whether or not this upset is justified is, at the first point of contact, irrelevant. Your position when hearing out the complaint should come from one of total un-bias; good customer service employees are willing to listen and accept the customer’s story at face value instead of immediately attempting to negate it.

As Mark Goulston says in his book Talking To Crazy: ‘leaning in to crazy [a term he uses to describe incomprehensible hostile behaviour] can empower you to break free from communication strategies that [typically] fail and break through’[ii]. What Goulston means by this is that even if the person you are speaking with is being belligerent, rude or irrational, it is important not to allow your own instinctive anger to form a response. Instead, by attempting to empathise with the customer, even in an absurd context, you can diffuse their anger, and get to a place where you can negotiate. Through ‘leaning in’ to their perspective, you can convey to complaining customers that you have acknowledged and understood their frustration, which is what they want.

Something to keep in mind is that your customer is already aggrieved before reaching out to complain, and then on top of this, they are forced to plough through whatever formal complaints process your company has in place. Customer complaints processes can often be frustrating and unpleasant, as no doubt you have probably experienced at some point. Hostile responses from front of house staff are a shortcut towards the notorious “I wish to speak to the manager” request. This is an easily avoided conversation, combated by implementing proper training for your customer service staff.

Another fault that many companies fall into is failing to impress authority through tone and language during the initial report of a customer complaint. The last thing customers want is to feel in this situation is that their time is being wasted by speaking with someone that is not taking them seriously. By utilising simple, confident phrases such as: “I have the expertise to help you with your issue,” or “let’s go through what next steps we can take to solve this”, your staff can provide immediate assurance that they are in control, and are able to handle the complaint without needing to pass the phone around to find someone ‘in charge’.

Get the apology right

According to Forum Corporation’s research, 70% of customers leave a business because they feel the company doesn’t care about them. If a customer complains, it is because they feel they have been wronged by your organisation, and are seeking amends. The first step towards righting any wrong is an apology. Unfortunately, a large percentage of corporations and brands do not understand how to make a sincere apology, leaving customers disinclined to believe they are genuinely sorry.

To simplify this grey area, here is a formula for a proper apology that can be taught to your customer service team as a guideline when speaking with disgruntled clients:

  1. Express remorse for the specific problems the error has caused.
  2. Admit the company is at fault, and do not try to excuse the mistake.
  3. Offer to make it right and assure them it will not be repeated.

This formula is based on an article written by psychologist Christine Carter called The Three Parts of an Effective Apology. This article breaks down the concept of an apology into three components, based on what the apology intends to achieve. Apologies are not a chance to list excuses for behaviour that caused hurt, they are a demonstration of remorse for this behaviour. If the actions of your company somehow upset a customer, the apology for this should be reassuring enough that the upset party knows your company is totally accepting of the error, and fully intend to make up for it.

What does the customer want from the complaint?

Customers complain for a few different reasons: to express their dissatisfaction, to release their frustration, and to receive some compensation for their struggle. An apology will go a long way, but to ensure a customer does not move their business elsewhere, compensation can be a necessary part of smoothing over the issue.

An effective method of letting a customer feel they have been appropriately compensated is to personalise their reward to them. Instead of a generic partial refund, or company-branded merchandise, find the root of their initial complaint and tailor the offer around it. For example, if a customer purchased some legal advice on a house purchase and ended up dissatisfied, their compensation could be a discount on future mortgage advisement.

Regardless of the size of your business, your customers want to feel that they are your priority, that you value their specific custom. By paying attention to the precise needs of each individual client, you are more likely to build a loyal base of consumers, eager to recommend you to their family and friends.

Follow-up

At insight6, our Customer Experience Directors (CXD’s) have found time and again that one of the most significant positive changes a business can make to turn enquiries into confirmed clients is to follow-up. The follow-up is a simple and effective tool, comprising of a simple phone call or email one to three days after a client conversation. In this follow-up call or email, the client’s name should be used, details of their enquiry should be peppered in, and a plan should be established to secure further business.

After a complaint has been recorded, the follow-up is crucial. Whilst following the steps above will do wonders to placate an irate customer, the final step that will eradicate any further concerns about the competence of your company, is this follow-up call. Checking in with a client after their report of a problem is a signal that you still care about their satisfaction in regards to the organisation, even after the initial complaint has been resolved. This will make a customer feel valuable to the business, and at last the matter can be left alone.

When discussing how to deal with angry customers, remember to impress upon your customer service team that complaints should not be viewed as a wholly negative response. In a survey conducted by Customer Strategies Analyst Esteban Kolsky, only 1 in 25 customers complain to the company as opposed to sharing their grievances online. Once your customers begin typing their negative responses into the many review sites across the internet, it is far more difficult to erase their detrimental impact from your company’s reputation.

Direct complaints can be handled out of the public eye with the correct know-how. Once your staff have been trained in mediation strategies such as the ones we have exampled in this article, insight6 can guarantee you will see a significant decrease in loss of business from complaining customers.