So you’ve been hired to implement a CX program in your organization, or maybe you already have one in effect. In this age of the customer, more and more businesses are seeking a systematic approach to discover and improve areas where customers interact with a business, and this is often the catalyst for hiring a Customer Insights professional. But now, you need to figure out how to scale your program and get your organization to be customer focused – or even better, customer obsessed.
This is exactly what David Yin, VP of Consumer Insights and Brand Strategy at Ancestry, was tasked with. He noticed that while Ancestry had the initial beginnings of a CX program, his colleagues were way too focused on numbers. So, he partnered with Wootric to unlock qualitative, human data, allowing Ancestry to understand the “why” behind metrics like NPS and CSAT. Qualitative data – those verbatims – are crucial to creating the perfect customer experience because “without the humanizing of the data, it’s really difficult to drive the right action,” says David.
Text analytics, powered by machine learning, quantified themes and sentiment in customer comments. This helped David evangelize a unified understanding of customer experience and gave Ancestry a data-driven means for decision-making about how to improve.
In our most recent webinar, we asked David to tell us a bit more about his CX journey at Ancestry and more specifically, share how he was able to gain momentum across the company and scale his CX program. Here are some of David’s main points.
The 3 Pillars of Scaling CX
Getting an organization on board with a CX program and scaling it requires an evolution through three key pillars: content, culture, and context. Let’s dive into these one by one.
“First things first, any project that you’re going to build from scratch starts with the hustle,” says David. Your new CX project might be an exciting one to you, but because people aren’t familiar with CX, they might not understand it, nor will they know what kind of questions to ask. And this is where the hustle comes in.
You must be proactive in understanding the needs of the organization and what can be reasonably influenced. Find questions that can be measured in real time and that are immediately actionable. A question that measures loyalty like Net Promoter Score or satisfaction like CSAT deliver metrics that anyone in the company can understand and value. These questions are a starting point for getting a foot in the door and producing the right conversations.
As you’re building your CX program, the goal is to be the victim of your own success. Once you’ve gotten people on the right track and they’re starting to see the sheer power of a CX program, the hope is that they start reaching out to you and coming to you with their own questions.
How do you generate this kind of demand for your knowledge and expertise? For David, he was able to get people to become invested in his CX project by “bringing the data to life.” With the help of the Wootric platform, he got his organization to look beyond the numerical outcomes of surveys and focus on verbatims. With human commentary and quotes, people were able to hone in on much clearer objectives.
Now this doesn’t mean that you should immediately cross off your list the metrics that are less accessible. When it comes to items that need time to mature, such as a brand tracking study, get them going in the background early on.
The next pillar is establishing a consumer-focused culture, and there are four steps to getting there: teach, influence, democratize, and empower.
When you’re first implementing these programs, people often have no idea what these programs are about. And so your role is to be the expert. Your job is to teach people what the program does and help them understand how they can leverage the information that you’re bringing in.
In Ancestry’s case, some of their beta products’ CSAT scores were moving up and down. David first recognized his role as a teacher, he pulled together quotes and key themes from Wootric and sent them along with a link to the data in an email. This showed stakeholders that Ancestry has a CX platform that can look at exactly what people were saying and what was driving the fluctuations in the metric.
This allowed colleagues to dig into the information on their own. It was “a real light bulb moment” — people suddenly understood how valuable a CX program could be, and they felt empowered to interpret the information for themselves.
Once you’ve established yourself as a teacher, it’s important that you influence people to make them feel comfortable to move in the right direction on their own, building off of what you’ve identified as significant. “It’s proving things out slowly over time,” says David.
Next, you want to democratize. In order to scale the impact of a CX program in your organization, you must realize that you can’t always be everywhere to help people. And so that’s why you want to make sure that all this valuable information is accessible to everyone and that people feel comfortable reviewing the data and interpreting it for themselves. Having an analytics platform that’s easy to use supports adoption by other teams.
Ultimately, your goal should be to make your overall organization feel empowered to ask questions. The insights that arise from asking the questions should galvanize people into action. As David says it, people should feel “empowered to be customer obsessed.”
The last of the three pillars. Context. As you’re implementing a CX program, it’s important to always keep in mind that you’re building a strong foundation of customer knowledge. Don’t just focus on what’s right in front of you. The insights that you’re getting from your CX program aren’t just going to be considered for a few weeks or a few months; you’re looking for fundamental themes that will influence the business in the long run. This is one reason having a central repository for Voice of Customer data analytics is helpful.
But how do you look at things from a broader perspective? Wootric auto-tags customer verbatims for specific topics across multiple feedback sources (CSAT, NPS, etc). With this metadata, David is able to see correlations between certain subjects and business outcomes, and he could begin experimenting.
In this way, once you’ve gotten an understanding of the core foundational reasons for certain experiences, you can start to iterate with teams in different ways to look for strategies to improve CX.
A Consumer Insight Must Be Intuitive, Inspiring, and Actionable
When you’re looking at the numbers and the qualitative data that your CX program has gathered, how do you know when you’re onto something that can influence business outcomes?
David believes that a consumer insight must pass three specific tests.
- The insight must be intuitive. This doesn’t mean it must be obvious, but it should make sense from a human perspective.
- The insight must be inspiring. In other words, does this insight generate lots of incremental ideas that you can build off of?
- The insight must be actionable. An insight can be intuitive and inspiring, but if it’s not relevant to your specific business, there’s not much you can do with it. When deciding whether an insight is actionable, ask yourself if knowing it fundamentally changes what you’re doing day to day.
Ultimately, It’s About Keeping the Faith
In the end, in implementing a CX program and growing it into something to be respected, it’s important to always keep on pushing. When you have a new idea, it’s often hard to get people on board. There’s no denying that. But oftentimes, you just need one person to start the momentum behind a good idea. As entrepreneur Derek Sivers once said, “The first follower is what transforms a ‘lone-nut’ into a leader.”
As a customer champion, David says he’s “never the decision maker,” meaning it’s not up to him specifically. But, what he can do is transfer momentum and a deep customer understanding to the right places. As David demonstrates through his story in transforming Ancestry into a customer-obsessed organization, the Customer Insights team has more power than they think they do.