Michelle Brigman, Head of Customer Listening and Engagement, Citi, examined active listening and its role in delivering meaningful business results in her keynote presentation to Argyle’s CX membership at the 2017 Customer Experience Leadership Forum in Dallas on Feb. 7. In her presentation, “The Power of Listening to Deliver Meaningful Real-Time Action,” Brigman explained why brands must listen to their customers to gain actionable insights.
According to Brigman, listening is a major problem for many individuals. However, active listening can make a world of difference for organizations of all sizes and across all industries.
Brigman noted Citi originally performed three types of CX monitoring:
- Technology: Ensures Citi is equipped to provide its customers with ATMs, mobile apps and other state-of-the-art technologies to help them fulfill their banking requests.
- Channel Performance: Enables Citi to track how the company is supporting its customers on multiple channels as part of its day-to-day CX strategy.
- Voice of the Customer (VOC): Involves collecting and analyzing customer feedback and using customer insights to drive ongoing business improvements.
Although Citi’s initial CX strategy was successful, the company quickly identified problem areas that needed to be addressed.
“Over time, we realized we had a gap in our listening. We realized that as we were switching the delivery to an omnichannel experience, we weren’t listening to the journey effectiveness,” Brigman said.
Having the ability to deliver unprecedented customer support across multiple channels is paramount, particularly in today’s highly competitive global marketplace. Thanks to active listening, organizations may be better equipped than their rivals to do just that.
“We realized we had a gap in our listening. We realized that as we were switching the delivery to an omnichannel experience, we weren’t listening to the journey effectiveness.”
To deploy active listening, organizations first need to collect customer data from multiple sources. Then, organizations will need to assess this information, obtain meaningful customer insights and incorporate CX strategy changes as needed.
Furthermore, focusing solely on delivering an omnichannel experience is insufficient. An organization must learn about customer behaviors and trends to ensure customers can quickly and effortlessly engage with it at any time.
“It is less about knowing whether our [omnichannel experience] is working or isn’t working. It is really about understanding customer behaviors … and allowing us to see if something we are doing was forcing our customers to do something different from what they wanted to do,” Brigman noted.
In addition, how an organization engages with consumers across social media may play a major role in its success.
Brigman pointed out Citi originally used social support teams to track social data and analyze this information. By doing so, Citi was able to connect with its customers via Facebook, Twitter and other social networks and respond to their concerns and queries.
Now, Citi leverages social media to study customers’ digital behaviors, Brigman said. This approach ensures the company can find out how long it takes customers to complete digital transactions and other relevant information that the business can use to enhance its CX strategy.
“I’m using social as an investigative tool whenever those alerts happen around digital behaviors,” Brigman stated. “Listening to those behaviors really matters.”
Brigman noted listening to customers may make it simple for organizations to identify pain points along the customer journey as well.
“It is really about understanding customer behaviors … and allowing us to see if something we are doing was forcing our customers to do something different from what they wanted to do.”
At Citi, active listening has helped the business retrieve customer insights that it may have struggle to obtain elsewhere, Brigman said.
“We are seeing blind spots that we wouldn’t have been able to see through any of our other monitoring capabilities,” she pointed out.
Ultimately, how an organization utilizes the customer data at its disposal can have immediate and long-lasting effects.
If an organization allocates the necessary time and resources to collect real-time customer data, it may be better equipped than its rivals to drive meaningful business improvements. On the other hand, an organization that fails to listen to its customers likely will struggle to maximize the value of customer feedback.
“There hasn’t been a holistic integration of all kinds of information so you can truly understand what is going on in real-time with your customer to make adjustments,” Brigman said.
Lastly, Brigman noted listening to customers ensures an organization can reap the benefits of a proactive CX strategy.
An organization that connects with its customers will be able to generate consistent feedback from them. Therefore, this organization will be able to learn about CX issues before they escalate and find the best ways to deliver seamless, personalized customer support at all times.
“We have to get something to reach critical mass before we see it’s a problem,” Brigman noted. “We need to understand how what we’re doing in one place is going to influence the journey that our customers take to do something.”
As a Customer Champion, I take personal responsibility to enable teams that design and implement solutions influencing Brand Health. I believe it is my obligation to influence business decisions using both facts and emotional customer importance. I moved into the Financial Industry in August 2011 after an accomplished career in Technology. In my current role, I am responsible for digital real-time monitoring, ensuring that Citi clients have best in class servicing across North America product portfolios.
Prior to joining Citi, I spent 16 years at Dell, where I developed a strong suite of programs that embedded Client Experience into the culture. As Director of Global Social Media Listening & Engagement Program, I launched Dell’s Global Listening Command Center, which was responsible for listening to 25k conversations a day across 11 languages. The Command Center has been recognized by Forrester, American Business Awards, Bees Award, & Groundswell as the industry benchmark in how companies should engage with customers. Prior to directing the Social Media Listening efforts, I was responsible for Global Consumer Client Experience, where I led contact center quality, process improvement, escalations management, cost reduction, & NPS. I am known for my ability to shift the customer experience lens from data point focus to a customer driven model centered on engagement and client delight. My Bold tactics and ability to build trust with customers and business partners differentiate the solutions I deliver.