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4 voice of the customer methods to improve CX

To improve customer experience, organizations can use mystery shopping programs, social CRM and surveys to gather data from interactions with consumers.

When visiting a store, restaurant or hotel, customers typically have high expectations for their experience. Whether or not expectations are met, consumers will certainly have something to say.

Whether sharing online, through surveys, over the phone or any other way, companies can collect and use that data to improve CX.

Here are four ways to collect customer feedback.

1. Use mystery shopping software

One method of capturing voice of the customer data to improve CX is to create a mystery shopping program. Anonymous shoppers rate and collect information about the sales, service and cleanliness of an assigned business and report back to the company by filling out a shop survey. Some businesses choose to collect this data using an in-house program, while many others use outside firms called mystery shopping providers (MSPs).

Shoppers collect data for businesses in a variety of ways, including in-person visits to stores; phone shops, where mystery shoppers evaluate call center agents' skills; and competitor shops to see where companies stand against their rivals.

To increase efficiency, MSPs streamline the process by using mystery shopping software to create one place to collect and analyze data. One such platform is Prism Intelligence. The shopper-facing program -- iSecretShop -- is where shoppers can fill out their reports, and the client side has a dashboard and reports for businesses to analyze the data.

2. Conduct effective customer surveys

Another method of collecting voice of the customer data is to have customer service teams administer customer surveys.

If the data collected is too vague or general, it won't lead to many improvements, so the more detailed the customer response, the better a company can address CX development.

Customer surveys enable departments to focus on which areas of CX need the most attention, but they are also opportunities for agents to receive positive feedback. Positive customer feedback encourages agents to continue doing their job well, thus maintaining a high level of customer service.

3. Add social CRM tools into a CRM strategy

Social CRM integrates social media platforms with CRM systems as a method of collecting voice of the customer data, providing insight into customer interactions to a brand and improving the quality of customer engagement.

With social media, it can be difficult for organizations to respond to every comment, but it is important for organizations to engage as much as they can with their customers, especially by responding to negative comments and requests for assistance.

Social CRM tools help organizations track as many customer interactions as possible to understand the full relationship with their customer.

4. Hone contact center agent skills

Contact center agents can be a wealth of knowledge into the voice of the customer, as they are often first in the line of fire when something goes wrong with a product or service.

One method to use when collecting voice of the customer data is to make sure that contact center agents have a number of skills -- especially excellent communication to work effectively over phone, chat and video. Agents must be able to maintain a professional demeanor, express empathy or patience if a customer is distressed and offer a solution.

As the interactions between agents and customers are one-to-one, agents must be able to work independently and confidently and make decisions based on their available resources.

Sometimes, however, the available resources aren't the most up-to-date. If the customer is the first to know about a new update or change, the agent must be quick on his feet, flexible, and have control over his responses when surprises occur.

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