5 Capabilities Every Customer Experience Management Program Needs

5 Capabilities Every Customer Experience Management Program Needs

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5 Capabilities Every Customer Experience Management Program Needs

While most brands understand the importance of customer + employee feedback and have some sort of experience management (XM) program in place, many lack the actionable insights necessary to create meaningful, system-wide change. For large organizations, this is often due to an XM provider underdelivering on technical + professional support while also falling short on the services needed to run a successful program.

To determine if a customer experience management program is delivering the end-to-end capabilities necessary for driving improvements + revenue across your entire enterprise, ensure it provides these 5 functionalities:

1. Supports complex hierarchical management structures

When it comes to large enterprises—whether engaged in B2B, B2C, or B2B2C—developing effective customer engagement mechanisms is a significant challenge, especially when it potentially involves millions of daily interactions across multiple channels and journeys. That’s why it’s so important to have an XM partner that collects location-level feedback across multiple touchpoints and streamlines it into one cohesive platform synced with your organizational hierarchy.


You require a platform built for flexibility with a process that automatically ingests and applies hierarchy updates—ensuring appropriate role-based views for each member of your team. This is especially true for brands with multiple verticals or high turnover. By automating this process, you’re able to minimize errors and human involvement, while providing your team with uninterrupted, real-time data.

A breakdown on role-based reporting

When it comes to cutting up a mountain of customer data, it’s important to keep everyone on the same page while not bogging them down. SMG’s role-based reporting creates an individualized user experience, ensuring everyone in the management chain has the right information at the right time.

Power users: Seeped in data and analytics

Power users are the CX leaders, the team members most broadly involved with analyzing + reporting on data for the benefit of senior leadership and key stakeholders. SMG’s reporting website allows users to build timely reports from multiple sources and easily analyze data. These users have real-time access to a wide variety of reports to perform analysis with crosstabs, comparisons, and trends utilizing graphs, counts, means, and calculated scores. Text analytics allows for further analysis with open-ended comments that can be displayed alongside quantitative results.

Mid Manager: Relevant comparisons

Multi-unit managers spend a lot of time travelling between locations, so they have little time for managing outputs. Here, users need quick, mobile access to real-time data that connects to company-wide trends so they can stay up-to-the-minute while on the go.

SMG’s industry-leading mobile reporting app, smg360®, puts data directly in the hands of your front-line decision makers with easy, once-click access to scores and comments, allowing users to close the loop on important issues. Mid managers can even isolate individual locations in their span of control, making sure they’re up-to-speed on current performance before site visits.

For the rare occasion these users are at a desk, the role-specialized multi-unit dashboard provides real-time reporting of the customer experience scores that matter most, like store rankings on key drivers and their district’s real-time scores relative to the rest of the company.

Location Manager: Actionable insights

Location-level managers are making a difference and working to foster 5-star customer experiences every day. These users need to be able to sign on, quickly see where to apply a greater focus, and get right back to exceeding customer expectations. The operator dashboard is designed to cater specifically to them by providing clear insights on where to focus to provide a great experience, what people are saying, and how their location compares.

To deliver insights on areas for focus, SMG utilizes back-end technology that determines the potential impact of each measure and highlights the biggest opportunities to improve Overall Satisfaction scores at the local level. To help with ongoing issues, real-time display of customer comments allows location managers see and dig into comments as they come in. Finally, Overall Satisfaction and loyalty scores are displayed alongside customizable benchmarks, allowing operators to track progress relative to other locations or past performance.

This functionality allows location-level users to efficiently check in on the data, look for issues, and see how they’re doing to quickly get back to customer needs.

2. Strategically invests in enterprise platform architecture

Brands need to know the technology their customer experience management program is using will grow with them and continue to work in their tech ecosystem. But the need to rapidly add new capabilities can further increase the complexity for IT teams in large enterprises, which leads to overwhelming maintenance and change costs in addition to drastically slowing down response times.

You need a vendor that has an enterprise strategy and is supported by a platform that can easily scale + support complex data integrations and bring new capabilities to brands quicker—with limited or zero downtime. This includes a platform strategy that prioritizes out-of-the-box integrations, data management + security, APIs, hierarchy management, and UX design for intuitive digital experiences across web + mobile platforms.

SMG platform architecture: From data to insights

Data coming into SMG’s platform architecture undergoes a sophisticated process to be converted into a format that is useful for our clients. This process can generally be broken down into a flow of: ingest, enrich, and inform.

After data is ingested into the system through a range of touch points in the first step, a variety of program systems work to categorize and sort the data. SMG’s systems work to enrich the data through categorization and sorting, determining where data should go, and then diverting it to a subset of organizational structures based on information type.

Finally, research and reporting are delivered through our proprietary UI systems through web apps, our mobile solution, or—if clients want to work with raw and processed data in their own UI—client-facing APIs.

This platform is modern, high-performance, capable of ingesting a variety of structure and unstructured data, and scalable to meet the high demands of the largest enterprises in the world, processing more than 18 billion active + passive signals annually for over 500 brands in 150 countries worldwide.

3. Connects siloed ecosystems through robust data integration 

The increasing number of touch points and digital channels within the customer journey means brands are being constantly inundated with data. This is especially true for brands measuring the customer experience. And when you have a ton of data, it’s often stored in multiple places—living in silos, unable to interact. But, no data point exists in its own world, and the most impactful insights come from tracking trends and relationships from across an organization. The right data integration technology makes it easy to put all of your customer-related data into one spot, so it works harder together and provides more robust, actionable insights.

A highly effective business intelligence solution pairs XM + consumer datasets for deeper insights and synchronized strategies, helping brands:

  • Answer complex business problems more efficiently to innovate with confidence
  • Integrate multiple types of data sources for a holistic view of your customer journey
  • Access self-serve customer journey data anytime to evolve with agility

By breaking down data silos and providing a cohesive look at the customer experience, an effective customer experience program integrates across systems, puts disparate datasets in dialogue, and drives meaningful change across your business. With an all-inclusive, holistic view of your customers and their experiences, you can spend less time worrying about how to make sense of your data and more time using it to drive smarter engagement + build customer loyalty.

4. Provides AI-powered analytics with complex ontologies

When evolving your customer experience management program strategy, the voice of the customer must be your single source of truth. And while quantitative survey data is invaluable, it’s often the qualitative information from customer comments that add context to scores and answer questions you hadn’t thought to ask.

But unlike the quantitative data you’re collecting through the CX survey, findings from unstructured data don’t always fit into a neat box. More often, they’re spread across the wide array of products, services, and initiatives you’re trying to track—which means you need to ensure they align with how you’re tracking them.

That’s where custom entity ontologies come in. Entity ontologies essentially serve as brand-specific encyclopedias—ensuring the lingo consumers use lines up with your own terminology. With customizable comment groupings, users can:

  • Tag + group comments according to brand-specific product hierarchies
  • Isolate categories + subcategories of interest for deeper analysis
  • Refine areas of focus to keep customer satisfaction trending upward

Many text analytics technologies either can’t handle the volume and complexity of the data being processed or they’re so convoluted it’s difficult to know where to start. More than ever, brands need robust, intuitive tools designed with end users in mind—especially when it comes to input as complicated as the unstructured data found in customer comments.

The SMG approach to AI-native text analytics is based on modern, cutting-edge research in neural networks and natural language processing (NLP), allowing the system to evaluate feedback the way a person would—beyond individual words. Not only does a deep learning model like this provide immediate improvement, but it is also built to learn context and nuance over time, leading to greater accuracy + fewer errors.

SMG functionality also includes conversation analytics, enabling brands to collect feedback from the contact and call center experiences by capturing and analyzing voice-based customer support interactions at scale. Categorizing and automatically scoring customer interactions helps brands understand the quality of customer service engagement and uncovers insights pointing to actions that will drive greater customer satisfaction.

With intuitive analytics technology driven by data science, users can:

  • Get a high-level reading of recurring topics + changing sentiment
  • Navigate differences across regions with interactive heat maps
  • Track how product + service mentions correlate to performance
  • Use predictive analytics to stay ahead of low-frequency, high-impact events

If you’re still trying to decide which text analytics solution is right for your brand, check out this best practice guide to determine the elements that are critical to success—and how to assess them.

5. Enhances feedback by humanizing customer experience data 

Experience management leaders often struggle to engage stakeholders and drive action. Presented with a never-ending stream of data, it can be hard to see customer feedback as the output of real, human interaction. So instead of working collaboratively to improve experiences, teams become obsessed with XM metrics—letting the numbers rule their day and their action plans. But when you can layer video feedback on top of quantitative data, you’re able to humanize customer interactions and build new ways of forging an emotional connection with a customer-centric culture that results in real change.

Additionally, an intuitive video feedback solution makes it easier for brands to:

  • Close the loop with customers to recover poor experiences
  • Recognize employees for delivering great customer experiences
  • Apply deeper insights to open-ended feedback
  • Research + gauge sentiment on products and services
  • Amplify CX insights for employee training opportunities

Another, more efficient way to listen, understand, and act on open-ended feedback is implementing a voice-to-text solution—using machine intelligence to convert recorded conversations to text, making it easier to spot emerging themes and sync up qualitative insights.

And with a two-way SMS survey, you can invite feedback across the customer journey and have the power to execute more relevant and personalized engagements resulting in a better experience. Invitations are timely, which leads to higher response rates among consumers (the shorter the lag time between an interaction and an invitation for feedback, the higher the response rates). These customized, conversational surveys are logic-based—making them easier for the consumer and a richer source of customer insight for the business.


How does your XM program stack up?

SMG partners with brands to drive customer and employee insights that boost loyalty and improve business performance. We combine technology and services to collect, analyze, and share feedback and behavioral data—so it’s easier for brands to deliver and activate insights across their enterprise.

We do this by delivering a customer experience management program that suits our clients’ specific hierarchies + ontologies, integrates new collection methods that align with evolving technology + consumer needs, invests in platform architecture that supports their business, and incorporates nearly 30 years of XM experience and research into their program. Our Software with a Service (SwaS) strategy is the reason we have frequently been recognized in the industry as a leader for delivering on the voice of the customer.

You deserve an XM partner who will deliver the level of support you need to drive system-wide change. If you feel your current vendor may be falling short, request a demo to see what SMG can do for you.