CX Postman vs. CX Publisher

In Brief

How do you go from simply distributing CX data within an organization to curating the kinds of stories that get your company’s hearts and heads into the game? In this article we’ll be going into detail about what we at Customerville think is the most important development in the customer experience industry to date.

Most of us can agree that the world of customer experience is due for a facelift. We’ve addressed some of what it takes to do this on the customer-facing side of the experience, but what about the employees? The employees who need to take action based on customer feedback and close the loop are just as important as the people providing the feedback.

In many ways, we believe the industry has been operating under a false premise when it comes to getting this information to employees in a way that is meaningful to them. That premise views customer experience employees as postmen. They collect data from one touchpoint (customer), and deliver it directly to another (employee), and then their job is done.

In a past article, we shared an anecdote where this went horribly wrong — the pudding cup story. A hospital asked for feedback in an outdated way — simple surveys that looked more like tax forms with little to no backend organization — and they received feedback from a woman whose life they had just saved.

What did they get back? “Thanks for the pudding cup.”

If you recall from the article, a highly experienced nurse had happened upon a patient overwhelmed with fear on the verge of a breakdown as she faced surgery for a life-threatening disease. In this moment, the nurse effortlessly snagged a pudding cup from the food cart, put a hand on the woman’s shoulder and reassured her that she was in good hands, that she was going to be okay. This moment defined the woman’s experience in the hospital: The staff was there for her when she needed them most. But when asked for feedback, she gave a response that left the highly trained staff feeling trivialized.

So, where was the breakdown? The hospital assumed the role of postman when it came to customer feedback. They gathered feedback under the assumption that they just needed to collect the data, regardless of the content or quality, and deliver it. Job done, right?

Wrong.

Organizations need to be thinking about pushing these boundaries out in both directions. We can’t just be collecting and delivering data like a postman; it needs to be much more deliberate. Interestingly enough, a great model for this actually exists; the world of publishing.

Think about your favorite newspaper or magazine. The publisher must do two things very well to make sure that each reader finishes the publication feeling engaged (just as we’d like your employees to be).

Just like the mailman, the publisher needs to know that the information exists; they need to collect the data. But going beyond that really makes the difference. The publisher needs to know the story behind that information. They need to go out and get people to open up about what’s going on. By taking the effort to engage those involved in what is happening, the publisher (much like a CX professional) can dig deeper and get to the heart of each individual story.

You can see the effect of this in the customer experience world when you bring in engaging surveys, surveys that react in real-time, feature art or photography, and have intuitive UX. If you don’t ask for the information in an engaging way, you can’t expect an engaging response.

After getting the story, the publisher still has work to do. They can’t waste a great story by tossing all of the raw information at the reader. They must curate each and every article carefully before reaching the reader. The publisher thought hard about every aspect of that information and how he or she planned on presenting it to you. Article subject and style, length, copywriting style, photo style, even the fonts they used were considered. That all combines to make you pick up that piece of content. You delve into it and leave feeling engaged because of the hard work curating that publication — for you.

The same goes for getting feedback to employees within your organization. Anyone delivering feedback that is not carefully curated based on what is important to individual employees can’t expect them to truly engage with it.

How exactly do you go from simply distributing data to curating meaningful CX stories that captivate your employees? There are various ways to do this, but here at Customerville we’ve broken it down to the three most important types of curation: sharer curation, reader curation, and machine-learning curation. By utilizing a careful combination of these three types of curation, we can get employees more engaged than ever before.

We’ll start with sharer curation because it’s likely the first thing you’ll see in the feedback process. Customers give us all kinds of information when they respond to a feedback request. They provide anything from their name, to how they interacted with your company, to statistical grades or scores that can be curated to make decisions about how their feedback gets used within your organization.

How about if they share a photo with their response? If a customer shares a photo, our software does an amazing job of recognizing what that photo contains and can tag it into an array of predetermined categories. With a 2% vision error rate (likelihood of the software recognizing an image incorrectly), the software is more accurate than most humans!

The software can tell you, for example, that this is a photo of a bathroom, but it cannot tell us why this person sent the photo. The customer may be sending a photo because they are impressed with the cleanliness of the bathroom, but they might also be sharing that there were no paper towels and the garbage is overflowing.

Here’s where our last bit of sharer curation comes in: we give the customer the option to provide a sentiment grade to help determine whether this is positive or negative feedback. So now we have basic client info, grades and comments, a photo from their experience, and we know exactly how to categorize their feedback based on their sentiment grade. This is an absolute goldmine of information for determining how this feedback will be used within the organization.

If this sounds familiar, it’s probably because many of us use sharer curation every day. Imagine you are out with friends at a restaurant and someone takes a picture of the group to upload to social media. They tag you, your friends, and often the restaurant as well. Guess what? You just gave Facebook numerous of pieces of sharer curation to help decide who sees that post in the future.

We’ll use that same example of the Facebook post from the restaurant to segue into our next type of curation: reader curation. Let’s imagine that your friend sees the post in their feed and gives it a thumbs up or a “like.” That simple press of a button provides a key element for how social media platforms curate content.

Now imagine a stream of feedback coming through on a Customerville dashboard for employees to see. A few “likes” or a comment on that post can make all the difference in how that content is shared throughout the company. Maybe it’s positive feedback that will be pushed up the feed for fellow employees to see, or it could be a negative response that someone comments on because it needs a bit of special attention. All of this can be done effortlessly within the dashboard. Also, just like in the real world, you can put a bit more weight on the feedback of important employees in the organization. If the owner or an executive provides some reader curation, you’re going to want to see it!

Machine learning curation comes last, but certainly not least, in our three types of curation. With a rapidly improving word-error rate and algorithm vision rate, this method is becoming more and more invaluable by the day. This software will take in text in just about any language and not only provide tags for categorization but also a sentiment score for the feedback to determine whether it is positive or negative. These technologies are only getting better and are able to provide crucial analysis of feedback to help determine how and where it gets shared within organizations.

Now let’s put this all together to show the power of feedback curation within a customer-experience program. We’ll use an example of a report where someone is providing feedback after an experience with a hotel that found a lost item. The customer has given us sharer curation data such as her name and the statistical scores, but also has provided a photo of the found item (a pair of earrings) with sentiment included so that we know how she feels about the photo.

Employees see this information within the dashboard and, through reader curation, can add comments or a thumbs up to the provided feedback. The machine-learning curation has made sure that this is categorized and analyzed for sentiment, but any employee can go in and make a correction, which only improves the ability of the machine-learning curation software. This triple threat of curation tools allows for organizations to quickly and effortlessly take feedback and automate how it is shared within the company.

Taking advantage of these tools makes it easy to provide dashboards or publications personalized for all employees based on what the company knows about each one. You might have three employees in the same place in the hierarchy who have very different needs. Maybe one just finished training after working at the company for two months, another has yet to be fully trained, and the last employee is on a company management track with five years of experience under his belt. Should these three employees get the same reports and see the exact same information? Absolutely not!

You can train the dashboard to provide the right data and reports to the right people. Tailoring this feedback to the employees allows companies to provide meaningful and relevant information to each person within the company and engage employees in the way they want to be engaged.

Think about how hard it is to get employees to regularly log in to a company dashboard, and compare that with how hard it is to keep them off of Facebook or LinkedIn. One of the big draws of social media is that the information people see is curated for them personally!

While we don’t expect to launch the next social media platform, we believe that, if we can provide employees relevant information and get them thinking about their role in a customer’s life, we can make strides toward true customer-centricity within organizations.

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