As a former customer service manager who Googled “customer experience software” only to discover it wasn’t as useful as it seemed, I want to break down some assumptions on why you’re looking and what you’re hoping to get from a new tool.
The reasons leaders go hunting for a full-fledged experience platform vary. Maybe, you’ve been sending out NPS surveys in a very non-intuitive way, getting middling or bad results, and want to do it better.
Could be you’re ahead of inquiries in the inbox and want to explore new ways to delight and retain customers. Or perhaps, your founder told you their friend heard about CX software on a podcast and they’re wondering why we don’t use one.
All valid reasons. And yet, not all necessarily good reasons to purchase customer experience software.
Let’s dive deeper into your motivation with five guiding questions. You may find that what you seek was under your nose (or, within your customer support platform) all along.
1. What is customer experience software?
Customer experience software provides tools to view, measure, and improve the experience customers have with a product or service. The software gauges sentiment by tracking customer behaviors and interactions, allowing businesses to pinpoint areas of confusion or unease.
Customer experience in itself is an ambiguous term. The software surrounding it mirrors this ambiguity. Some platforms send and track customer surveys. Others connect a CRM, content management system, or social media text analytics to the inbox. Tech-focused software allows you to see customer engagement as it relates to specific touchpoints, like where they click on a website or app.
The through-line for each type of software lies in tracking customer behavior. It promises to let you see what, where, and how your customers interact with your business.
2. Why do I need a customer experience platform?
Great customer support naturally progresses into customer experience. A platform specifically designed to track customer experience will help you predict customer concerns and alleviate them before they come to a head and email support.
CX platforms most commonly use customer satisfaction surveys—like NPS, CSAT, and CES—to gauge happiness. If you read our post on CX analytics (which you totally should!), you know how much work goes into sending out these surveys, gathering all the data, and then calculating scores.
Customer experience platforms do this work for you.
The software even provides nifty charts and sentiment analysis that update in real-time so you can easily present the findings.
If you’ve been struggling to calculate these scores yourself, or dread the idea of putting formulas into spreadsheets, you could benefit from a customer experience solution.
Here’s a look at what you’ll typically find in a customer experience tool:
The dashboards turn qualitative metrics, thoughts and feelings, into quantitative data. This allows you to measure customer sentiment, build actionable insights, and adapt your business strategies accordingly.
You can use these insights to streamline call center processes, enhance customer relationships using feedback management, follow-up with users across multi-channel platforms, and even set up marketing automations for unique customer profiles.
3. How do experience tools align with support tools?
Customer experience tools show you high level insights to customer behaviors. Customer service software provides you with the ticketing platform to speak with them directly.
Make sure they play together nicely.
You’re likely familiar with the term “integration.” An integration should make it simple to connect a CX platform to your inbox and provide omnichannel support. Here’s a look at how Delighted (a customer survey platform) links to Groove.
Immediately after taking an NPS survey, the inbox captures the customer feedback. From there, you can decide how (or if) you want to respond and trigger automations based on certain scores or comments.
4. What customer experience data matters to my business?
The three big hitters in customer data are NPS (Net Promoter Score), CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score), and CES (Customer Effort Score).
I went in-depth on these surveys last month. If you want to get the total breakdown, how to measure the responses, and how to rank your score, check out “Customer Satisfaction Surveys: Questions, Examples, and Reports to Guide Customer-Centric Businesses.”
For the purpose at hand, let’s dive deeper into why this data matters to small businesses.
NPS correlates to growth
NPS determines a customer’s desire to recommend your business. It’s a great predictor of overall product or service satisfaction and lifetime value. And since this survey can go to any customer at any time (as opposed to being triggered by a certain event or interaction), it provides a more holistic view of how people view your company.
NPS is best tracked using customer experience software.
Integrate it with your inbox to take action on specific responses. Use it as market research (view results every month or quarter) to keep your business or product moving in the right direction.
CSAT tracks customer happiness
CSAT measures a customer’s satisfaction with a service interaction. You’ll see it at the bottom of most customer interactions within emails, messages, or chatbot replies. The survey asks customers to rate their experience on a three point scale: Good, Bad, Okay.
Support teams may use different words, even emojis, to ask the question, but the idea is always the same. Encourage users to tell you how well your support team performed on a task. It’s a good predictor of customer retention.
You don’t need a full blown customer experience platform to track CSAT.
Since CSAT is directly tied to your support team’s work, most customer support platforms already include it. In Groove, we offer a simple integration to add a CSAT survey to the bottom of every email.
The scores automatically go into your Reporting dashboard where you can track changes, establish baselines, and set goals.
Check your support platform’s offerings before branching out into customer experience software to gather CSAT data.
CES pinpoints exactly what to fix
CES looks at user experience, quantifying the amount of effort needed to solve a problem or finish a task. It’s also usually tied to support. Customers tell you how difficult it was to find an answer to their question.
CES stands as the middle ground between NPS and CSAT. NPS goes out to every customer to identify overall sentiment. CSAT asks one customer to rate a singular interaction. But CES lives throughout the customer lifecycle on knowledge base articles, your mobile app, or on website product pages. It’s open to a variety of customers, but still narrow enough to pinpoint the exact location of an issue.
Depending what support platform you use, this may already be within your toolkit. At Groove, our software includes a Knowledge Base. This self-service database comes with the ability to turn on ratings for each article, allowing you to track CES.
5. Am I over-relying on customer experience technology?
How big your business is doesn’t really matter. There’s no reason to add new software if (a) you don’t know what to do with it or (b) you haven’t maximized every possible angle of your current software.
Customer experience technology is a double-edged sword. We can predict needs and enhance the experience. But at a certain point, we lose sight of the human behind the tech.
And, more importantly, we lose sight of the simplicity of talking to customers.
Your customer support team is already talking to customers every. single. day. Do not pour money into fancy new software until you’ve utilized every tool in your helpdesk.
One of the startups I used to work at hired a big consulting firm to interview customers, quantify their thoughts, and present the voice of the customer to the company at large. I sat through that entire presentation thinking how redundant it all was.
My team already knew everything they were saying. And frankly, we had better—more realistic—ways to take action on the insights.
Analytics aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of (or work in) customer support. And it’s why support software (and teams) is often underutilized. It may even be why you think you need more customer experience technology…
But, your support contact center holds all the power to uncover these insights and personalize responses. No additional bulky software, API integrations, or artificial intelligence needed. What’s more, once you figure out what customers want, you can give it to them directly within the inbox.
Let me show you how a creative support manager and a robust support platform can even outperform customer experience software:
Pretend a company just re-designed its app. Feedback starts to trickle into the inbox. The customer service manager asks the team to tag any design feedback with—you guessed it—“design feedback.”
At the end of the week, she looks at a report of this tag. Ten different customers complained that the font was too small.
So, our imaginary manager passes the feedback on to our designer through a Trello card integration in the inbox.
The designer mocks up a new screen. Rather than spend time asking random people to test the new UX, the team suggests they just ask the same customers who brought the issue to light.
They create a canned reply attaching the new mockup and ask for feedback. Then, they automate a rule to shoot the email out to anyone with the “design feedback” tag.
Customer emails pour back in. This time, with lots of prayer hand emojis and thumbs up CSAT responses.
Not only are customers grateful to see the product changed to their liking, but the fact that they were involved in the redesign process makes this one of the coolest customer experiences they’ve had.
Choose the best customer experience management platform for your business, or don’t
As you continue your research into the customer experience management software wormhole, I encourage you to keep these five questions in mind.
- What is customer experience software?
- Why do I need a customer experience platform?
- How do experience tools align with support tools?
- What customer experience data matters to my business?
- Am I over-relying on customer experience technology?
Only once you’ve totally maximized your current tools should you consider adding another layer. Many companies (especially e-commerce and SaaS) add more and more software to keep up with competitors or seemingly optimize their process.
Take a moment to pause and evaluate your motivation.
Adding new software takes a lot of time and effort. Your support team is likely already maxed out. If a new customer experience management tool eases their burden, go for it. But if it’ll add another system to an already weighty regime, maybe try focusing on how to improve the customer journey with what you’ve got already.
Either way, you’re taking the right step by working to improve your customer’s experience. You just might not need to work as hard as you think.