Small Team, Big Impact

Sarah Simon

Sarah Simon

Author Bio

With over 20 years’ experience in customer experience, Sarah’s passion lies in operationalizing the Voice of Customer to drive outstanding customer experiences. Her specialties include VoC architecture, developing linkages to business performance, reduction of customer defection and analyzing customer feedback to tell the customer’s story. Her expertise in VoC survey design has combined with omni-channel customer listening to structure sophisticated, customer-friendly VoC programs. 

Currently, she serves as VoC Consulting Director at Confirmit, where she combines her industry thought-leadership with customized needs-analysis to architect new feedback initiatives and corresponding customer experience strategies. She also runs diagnostics on existing programs to optimize structure and function to yield significant business insights from mature programs.

Author Bio

Companies far and wide are declaring a commitment to become more customer-centric, to listen to the customer and to focus on improvement to the customer experience.

Despite these promises, however, over and over I encounter organizations with undersized, underfunded, under-empowered customer experience teams. Often, budding young customer experience teams are held accountable for producing impressive results with very limited resources - but that doesn’t mean they can’t deliver. Here are some ways your small team can have a big impact within your organization to drive improved customer experience.

Program Discipline

Honing customer experience program discipline means “Don’t bite off more than you can chew!” Make sure your Voice of the Customer feedback efforts don’t overwhelm your customer experience action and improvement initiatives. Resist the urge to listen to more VoC (surveys, social media or other channels) than you can act upon. This level of program discipline requires that every customer listening post has an action plan associated with it. Small teams cannot afford to burn precious “business calories” fielding surveys or listening to social media discussions if these efforts don’t result in action.

Selective Stakeholder Investment

Perhaps you look at the various business units you supply customer intelligence to and realize that some are more enthusiastic about creating meaningful change than others. A small CX team cannot afford to chase recalcitrant teams or convert VoC cynics. Focus limited resources on cooperative teams with bought-in leadership. That department that you suspect simply “File 13s” the reports you and your team spent hours creating? Refocus that wasted effort on a business unit that is onboard with customer experience improvement, providing deeper insights to drive business change and guidance to develop action plans. You can work on achieving greater buy-in when your resources expand.

Reporting Automation 

Automate as much basic ongoing reporting as possible using available technology. Small teams should automate those monthly tables and charts delivered to the business units, freeing up analysts to focus on insights generation. Small customer intelligence teams should free themselves from shuffling spreadsheets and pivot tables around the organization and escape the drudgery of quarterly 100-slide report decks. Delegate repetitive reporting tasks to a technology solution – such as live online dashboards - so the small VoC / CX team can tell the story revealed by the data, emphasizing insights, key findings and recommendations.

Action Response Automation Compliance

Action management solutions allow companies to automatically identify at-risk customers or other problems (based on survey response data and/or customer background data). And they can even alert management to exceptional service events and delighted customers. This triggers an electronic process to track resolution of the issue and facilitate steps to improve the customer experience or reward an employee for a job well-done. What good is a service recovery program that’s being used inconsistently? What is the point in triggering a kudos alert when the recognition never reaches the high-performance employee? Action response systems tied to customer feedback channels can help small customer experience teams by automating this tactical response process and putting the power to address customer experience issues directly into the hands of the business units. But such systems are most effective if compliance is high. 
Being a small customer experience team doesn’t doom you to being low-impact. Follow these steps to help a small team facing resource constraints to yield maximum customer experience results. Target your efforts wisely to conserve team energy and have the greatest possible impact.