Listening is at the heart of every good relationship. We all want our voices to be heard, and customers are no different. But when it comes to a company as big as Cisco, listening to customers at scale so that we can build successful relationships with them is a massive undertaking.
“88% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its product or services—up from 80% in 2020.”
– Salesforce, State of the Connected Customer, 5th Edition
For the Cisco Digital Experience (DX) team, it all comes down to data. We connect the dots between millions of data points to find out what our customers want now, predict what they’ll want next, and drive valuable outcomes at every stage of the lifecycle. We also use all of that data to orchestrate digital experiences that make it easier for them to do business with us and our partners.
In Forrester’s Is Customer Obsession Worth It? report, they say paying close attention to customers is a competitive advantage: customer-obsessed companies demonstrate 2.5 times higher revenue growth and 2.2 times better customer retention.
The Customer Intelligence Trifecta
All DX listening is based upon a customer intelligence trifecta — it drives our strategy to serve customers and leads our success as a digital organization.
- First-party listening is the starting point to understanding our customers, and the best way to know what customers think is to get out there and ask them. Talking directly with customers, either in person or virtually, through one-on-one and one-to-many interviews, is highly effective. What information do they need, when is it most helpful, and what channels do they prefer or best fit their workflow? The DX team curates qualitative research based on thousands of hours of interviews and direct customer feedback to understand the underlying reasons and motivation behind customer actions, which informs us how to best guide them to success and connect them with all the different parts of Cisco to deliver a positive customer experience.
- Behavior analytics provides insights into how customers are interacting and progressing which helps us execute a customer-first charter. Telemetry data shows us how customers are using the Cisco software and services at each stage in their lifecycle, we use the data to identify trends and to trigger alerts to us (or our partners) if they are stuck—which flags intervention to get the customer back on track. Behavioral analytics enable us to mitigate risk in the early phases of the lifecycle and make sure customer are getting the most value from their Cisco services.
- Third-party data and research tell us what the industry is doing, what is being said by or about other customers and competitors, and emerging technologies and market conditions that may impact Cisco, our customers, and partners. Primarily quantitative in nature, third-party data allows us to monitor economic, societal, and industry changes and balance our customer view with outside influences.
“Consumers are 3.5x more likely to purchase from a business after a positive customer experience.”
– 2022 Global Consumer Trends, Qualtrics
DX leverages the customer intelligence trifecta to both build and optimize Cisco’s end-to-end digital experiences for our customers. When designing lifecycle journeys, we conduct data-driven workshops to identify what sets of customers want and how they interact with Cisco and the specific products so that we can effectively map, and automate journeys that are consistent, intuitive, and highly personalized. By using the trifecta of data to inform the series of digital and human touch points that successfully advance users through onboarding, adoption to value realization, we can increase customers’ propensity to renew and expand their use of Cisco solutions.
Customer-First in Action
Customer intelligence keeps us focused on the state of the customer, which is the north star for DX strategy and planning. For example, when learning that customers first turn to search and communities when seeking answers to their questions, we prioritized the creation of self-help resources and connected customers with highly relevant content. We increased the number of Cisco engineers engaging and verifying solutions in Cisco Communities and identified points in the lifecycle where TAC cases are commonly opened to digitally match customers with useful documentation and how-to content when needed in their journeys. Today, two million customers on average visit Cisco Communities every month to troubleshoot and easily find the answers they seek, whether that’s in the middle of the workday or the middle of the night.
It’s up to each of us to put our customers at the heart of everything we do, and that always begins with active listening. When we better understand, align with, and make decisions based on the state of customer experience, we can work collectively to resolve issues that cause customer frustration and build on those that drive loyalty and retention. By knowing more about our customers, in the context of what’s taking place in the industry and the world around us, it helps us create experiences that serve their needs today and prepare to pivot for the future.
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