It’s only by listening to the voice of the customer that companies can find innovative ways to create great experiences. However, understanding the customer story is impossible unless the many different pieces of feedback acquired across many different channels and touch points are tied together.
Excellent, seamless experiences at every touch point can only be achieved when upstream and downstream systems and processes are linked, allowing for identification of particular themes or threads that tie the unique points together into a coherent narrative. Without an understanding of the entire “customer experience ecosystem”, as Forrester calls it, companies run the risk of missing the woods for the trees.
Forrester says that in order to make significant and long-lasting customer experience improvements, companies first need to fully understand how their customer experience ecosystems function – and this can only be achieved through granular visibility; of the customer journey as well of the processes that enable the customer experience ecosystem. Solving ecosystem challenges, however, is a long-term and complex endeavour. Ecosystem problems lie across experiences, transactions, and touch points that make up the holistic customer experience. Ecosystem problems – and their solutions – are therefore systemic, complex and multifaceted. However, companies do not have to solve complex problems in order to make gains in a short time – that’s where Aggregation of Marginal Gains (AMG) comes in.
Marginal gains live in experiences, transactions and touchpoints rather than across them. By finding the areas that will allow fast results through the application of an AMG-based approach, the foundation for future ecosystem improvements is laid. By its very definition, the AMG approach distinguishing themes in the customer journey and pinpoints where problems came up in that journey.
AMG provides the early clues as to whether a problem is an ecosystem issue; whether it lives across the entire ecosystem or it is an isolated pocket. For example, a broad distribution of CX results from the positive to the negative for a single data point points to an AMG opportunity. If it were an ecosystem problem then why are so many customers providing positive feedback for this data point? The reason may be found in one of the data dimensions i.e. customer segment, product type, region or other. But if a dimension analysis fails to pinpoint the negative responses for a specific dimension or group of dimensions then all things being equal it is likely an AMG opportunity. Predictive analytics will quickly identify the key drivers of the AMG opportunity, for example product knowledge, professionalism or empathy at a touchpoint level.
By finding the pockets that can be improved on, and deep diving into them to try and find the marginal gains, AMG helps with an understanding of how the marginal gains stack up against business goals and strategies. By doing this, AMG offers natural insight into the structure and operation of the customer experience ecosystem.
The beauty of the AMG approach is that the gains are guaranteed and proven, empirically, over the short and long term. Offering immediate wins, the short term effects of AMG translate into long term solutions. inQuba customers are continuing to show improvements more than two years after starting to identify areas of marginal gains, with research such as the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) ratings proving that having the right tools in place is just as important as implementing the right processes to get them to work.
Without a layered model of the type enabled by AMG, any real gains are hard to achieve. Similarly, there is very little success to be found in predictive modelling without visibility and insight into the entire ecosystem: if the correct processes are not in place, predictions of any kind are rendered useless by virtue of being unable to be effectively integrated into the greater picture. Without a structured, methodical, scientific approach, customer experience initiatives will remain fragmented. With competition getting fiercer, AMG’s formula to plan future improvements and leverage existing ones offers guaranteed competitive advantage.