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Interview McKinsey: Latest trends in customer experience

Business Chief talks customer experience trends and technologies with Nicolas Maechler, Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company

|Apr 17|magazine7 min read

How has the customer experience (CX) landscape changed since the outbreak of COVID-19?

The last few years have seen a huge increase in management focus on customer experience (CX) for business, which was seen somewhat traditionally as a consumers’ topic. The impact has been significant as customer experience matters in all industries. Moving from simple annual surveys to real feedback loops, they have started redesigning their operating models to be more customer centric. COVID-19 accelerated this shift: when your industry is at risk, those focusing on their customers come through stronger.

How are organisations currently managing their customer experience performance?

Companies of all types – airlines, banks, department stores – are still heavily reliant on survey-based tools and feedback loop systems to gather and respond to customer feedback. By touching 5-10% of your customers, these approaches act as a good temperature check to see how the company is doing. However, it falls short of understanding and proactively addressing what the core of your customers want.

How can organisations move beyond survey-based systems to deliver customer experiences and manage performance?

We noticed that many customer dissatisfactions could be predicted based on a certain course of actions (e.g. a late delivery, a missing customs form). Using innovative analytics platforms with real-time insights, CX leaders can translate the massive volume of existing customer and operational data to spot signals and take immediate actions. This in turn helps to drive customer acquisition, retention, market differentiation, and higher customer satisfaction (and many times lowers costs as well).

What are the top three technologies that organisations should look to invest in when it comes to customer experience?

In a digital-first world, collaborative tools, automation, and data and analytics will be key. Here’s why: by using big data, predictive analytics, and machine learning, companies can go from “How are we doing?” to “How do we deliver on what customers want, now?”. This customer-focused, data-driven approach will allow companies to unlock efficiencies, predict customer behaviour, track satisfaction drivers, anticipate churn, and flag opportunities to turn loyalty into profitability. But we also have to remember that CX is a team sport – and integrating people, process, and the right technology – will be a differentiator. 

How can organisations benefit from adopting such methods and technology?

One leading airline built a machine-learning system based on 1,500 customer, operations, and financial data points to predict both satisfaction and future revenue for all of its 130 million customers, every day. The airline used this data to identify and prioritise those customers whose relationship was most at risk due to a delay or cancellation and offer them personalised compensation to save the relationship and reduce churn on high-priority routes. Working with a combined team of approximately 12-15 data scientists, CX experts, and external partners over three months, the programme resulted in an 800 percent uplift in satisfaction and a 60 percent reduction in churn for priority customers.

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