How to drive CX action from conversation insights

Madeline Jacobson

June 20, 2024

Although it’s not part of the job description, the best CX professionals are detectives. You’re responsible for tracking customer behaviors and sentiment, investigating why customers act or feel that way, and leveraging that information to improve the customer experience. 

That’s all easier said than done when you have limited intel. While there’s no shortage of CX data sources, many CX leaders struggle to uncover and act on meaningful insights from all that data. Almost two-thirds (63%) of brands say it’s challenging to use data to improve CX operations.

To better understand this challenge, let’s look at businesses' most common metrics to measure customer experience success. In a 2022 survey, eMarketer asked global CX leaders what metrics they used to measure CX performance. The top metrics were:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): 73%
  • Customer satisfaction score (CSAT): 67%
  • Customer loyalty/retention rate: 45%
  • Likelihood to recommend: 40%
  • Customer churn: 38%
  • Customer effort score (CES): 37%
  • Customer lifetime value: 37%

Companies typically measure the top two metrics–Net Promoter Score (NPS) and customer satisfaction (CSAT)–through customer survey responses. Customers respond with a number-based score, which gives businesses a pulse on loyalty and satisfaction over time. The challenge is that only a small percentage of customers complete surveys, and of those who do, very few provide qualitative feedback on why they responded the way they did. 

Other top metrics, including likelihood-to-recommend and churn, are also based on customer actions. As a CX leader, you can’t control your customers–you can only impact these metrics by acting on factors within your company’s control. And your ability to effect change is limited if you don’t understand why customers are taking these actions. You’re left making your best guess about the activities that will improve the customer experience rather than making data-driven decisions.

Customers are telling you “why” 

Good news: your customers are giving you the insights you need to improve their experience. You just have to listen to them at scale. Whenever customers interact with your business–whether through a customer service call, writing a product review, or posting about your brand on social media–they’re telling you about their experiences.

So how do you turn all this raw customer feedback into actionable insights? Spending hundreds or thousands of hours poring over conversation transcripts, survey responses, and other feedback sources isn’t reasonable. Fortunately, it’s not necessary to take a manual approach. Conversation intelligence software can analyze conversation data at scale and uncover insights you can act on.

What is conversation intelligence?

Conversation intelligence technology uses AI to analyze what’s happening in voice and text interactions based on what customers and contact center agents say. It captures and labels points of interest in interactions, such as customer issues, behaviors, and sentiments. This allows you to identify trends at scale and drill down into smaller subsets of interactions to isolate the factors impacting the customer experience. From there, you can hone in on the factors your business has control over and prioritize initiatives to address those factors.

Conversation intelligence directs your attention to the customer insights that matter so you can be a more effective CX detective. And, once you have the tools to understand the “why” behind your customers’ experiences, you have the means to drive change and be a CX action hero.

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3 best practices for putting conversation insights to work

As a CX leader, you’re responsible for uncovering customer conversation insights, but you’re not always responsible for acting on them (or at least not solely responsible). You need to work with the team leaders who can make changes based on the insights you’ve uncovered. And to get them to take action, you need to show them how it will benefit them and positively impact business goals. Here are three best practices for getting your stakeholders to act on your conversation insights: 

Use easy-to-read reports to share relevant insights

Don’t overwhelm your stakeholders with too much information. Focus on the insights that they care about the most and deliver updates on those insights at regular intervals via easy-to-read reports and dashboards. Gershwin Exeter, VP of Global Services at Thrasio, uses Tethr to do this.  “Every Monday, we push a report to all our brand or category managers that gives them objective insights. That report might show them that we have an influx of a specific problem, or customers are complaining about a particular issue with one of their category’s products,” says Exeter. 

Thrasio’s Tier 2 support team works with those category managers to identify trends in the reports and make recommendations. From there, they share recommendations with the departments that can take action, including Supply Chain, Product Development, Product Quality, Legal, and Marketing. This helps keep each team informed on and accountable for the aspects of the customer experience they impact.

Develop an org-wide CX culture

Customer experience is a team sport, and every department needs to be bought in so that you can address big, systemic CX challenges together. “You need to develop a culture where there’s an understanding that customer feedback is for everyone, and we are all part of the customer experience,” says Melanie Disse, founder of New Zealand-based CX firm Melanie Disse Consulting. “Even if you’re the person writing policies or creating a campaign, you’re still impacting the customer experience. You have to make sure people can see their impact and are empowered to act on customer feedback.”

Demonstrate the ROI of CX initiatives

The most effective way to get ongoing buy-in for your CX initiatives is to show your leadership team and stakeholders exactly how those initiatives are paying off. According to Ricardo Saltz Gulko, co-founder of Eglobalis and the European Customer Experience Organization: 

“Successful CX leaders are adept at demonstrating the tangible ROI of their initiatives to the C-suite. They clearly articulate how specific investments in CX technologies will lead to measurable improvements in customer satisfaction, retention, and ultimately, the company’s bottom line. By linking CX efforts directly to financial outcomes, these leaders secure the necessary executive support and funding to continue their work, ensuring that customer experience remains a central focus of the organization’s strategy.”

Examples of demonstrated ROI from your CX initiatives might include:

  • Improvements in first call resolution rate
  • Reduction in average handle time
  • Reduction in customer churn
  • Increase in average customer lifetime value

Final takeaways

You no longer have to rely on low-response rate surveys or randomly sampled calls to get a sense of the customer experience. You can track and measure the customer experience by analyzing every customer interaction with your business.

When it comes to driving change from CX insights, numbers don’t lie. When you analyze qualitative customer feedback and use it to show the volume and rate of product or operational issues, the top drivers of churn or dissatisfaction, or cost-saving or revenue generation opportunities, that’s powerful. That’s the kind of information that convinces decision-makers to take action and brings new people to the (company-wide) CX team.

This blog post contains excerpts from our eBook, “How to be a CX action hero: A tactical guide to transforming CX insights into action.” You can download the full eBook now.

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