Improve “Customer Connectedness” In 2011

As I mentioned in the post Build Customer Experience Competencies In 2011, I’m highlighting each of the four customer experience competencies as part of my effort to help companies put together their 2011 plans. Today’s post looks at…

Customer Connectedness: Is customer feedback and insight integrated throughout your organization?

Do you want to know what this competency is all about? Here’s how Kerry Kramp, CEO of Sizzler, described how he radically improved the performance of the restaurant chain:

We kept our finger right on the pulse of the guests’ feedback.” As they gave us indications of what they liked — either verbally or through the product mix, what were they ordering — we kept adapting our business to the direction that they wanted us to head in.”

Every time a customer interacts with your company, it leaves an imprint on them; pushing them either towards higher loyalty or further on the path to abandonment (see the Five A’s of customer responses).

But most companies don’t understand:

  • How customers feel about the interaction
  • What makes customers feel the way they do
  • How reactions differ across customer segments
  • What changes will drive the most significant improvements

So it’s not a surprise to see such poor results from 140 companies who took Temkin Group’s Customer Experience Competency Assessment.

Companies that want to improve their Customer Connectedness should consider using customer journey maps to understand customers’ perceptions. These mapping efforts identify key moments of truth that disproportionally affect customer perceptions and loyalty. One of the ares that companies often find they are neglecting is what we call the Engagement Phase.

One of the most popular and critical tool for Customer Connectedness is a strong voice of the customer (VoC) program. We’ve actually published some recent Temkin Group reports on VoC programs:

At the end of the day, you need to redesign interactions to improve experience. When you’re doing that, it’s critical to keep in mind the Kano Model. Make sure you understand whether design attributes are “Must-Be,” Indifferent,” “One-DImensional,” or “Attractive.”

There are a lot of posts on this topic, but I selected a sampling of them:

The bottom line: If your company is not connected to customers, then it is totally disconnected.

Written by 

I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile:

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