Measuring Customer Effort: Key Steps to Drive Customer Experience Success

In many customer-centric organizations, the customer service mantra has historically read: “The customer is always right.” Successful customer experience innovation requires understanding what your customers want and your business needs from the value exchange. This requires acknowledging that not all customers are created equal. The new manta for CX success needs to read: “The customer is always right … as long as they are the right customer.”

Measuring the impacts and outcomes of Customer Effort require a systematic approach. Successful customer experience programs require accurate and timely measurement of key CX data to listen, learn, and act. Designing the right processes and tools to collect, analyze and share customer experience feedback is a fundamental first step in any customer experience program. This plays out no differently for measuring Customer Effort, NPS, CSAT, or whatever combination of CX metrics your company tracks.

To get started, lets review some key steps we recommend to our clients to ensure they can deliver results.

Begin with the End in Mind: First and foremost in this process are clearly defined customer experience and business strategy goals. Are you working to drive new customer acquisition or cross-sell penetration? Reduce churn and improve target segment retention? Reduce the cost to serve? Different approaches are needed within and across channels – Online vs. Service vs. Retail – and within different industries.

Customer Segmentation: Defining the “Who & What & Where” for your customer segments is vital. This process may be simple or highly complicated depending on the breadth and depth of your program. Frequently, we see client teams initially struggle with this due to the fragmented state of their data and lack of customer research. A starting point can be as simple as segmenting by high-level categories: annual sales, product use/types, or NPS groupings (Promoter, Detractor, Passive). Start with the doable to test and validate your hypothesis. You can continue to evolve segmentation categorization as you improve your data structure, access, and depth.

Customer Journey Mapping & Moments of Truth: Next, based on the segments your team has identified, map out the multi-channel touch-points and key moments of truth for these customer groups. The recommended approach for this involves conducting Journey Mapping and Service Blueprinting workshops to understand the outside-in and inside-out components of the customer experience. This mapping will allow you identify the business outcomes and bottom-line P/L metrics (CLV, incremental profit, cost-to-serve, etc.) that need to map to the customer experience data.

Key Lesson Learned From Our Clients: Don’t boil the ocean. Remember the mantra mentioned above, “The customer is always right … as long as they are the right customer.” Focus on key customers and their most impactful experiences. Customer experience teams frequently stumble in this process because they fail to prioritize. Don’t track & analyze feedback on all touch-points simultaneously.

Data Collection & Analysis Strategy: Define data collection processes and targets, be they surveys, behavioral data (i.e. web analytics, transactional data, etc), or the relevant business metrics. You need to clearly map out what you want vs. what is available.  This is about more than data cleanliness – it is about the people, process and technology to support ongoing analysis.

Some important issues to resolve:

  • Define data sources and resource assumptions: Where does your data reside? Who will pull it for you? How clean is it? How will it be prepared for analysis?
  • Confirm the trustworthiness of the data: Will the CEO, CIO, CFO and CMO trust the analysis your team produces?
  • Clearly defined analysis plan: Do you have analyst resources and the right skill sets? Have you planned an iterative process to refine  thinking?

Analyze, Share, Learn, and Act: Finally, it is about setting this process in motion. Regardless of the CX metrics your team is measuring (NPS, CES, CSAT, FCR…), you need to create a closed-loop process to take the information gathered and turn it into actionable insights for the organization. Set defined targets for each metric; identify and act on CX issues; and share insights gained from CX measurement. What we have seen in our most successful client’s CX programs are reporting structures that provides targeted reporting that answers the strategic needs of executives and tactical needs of front-line management.

While all of this requires effort on your part, the outcome is creating a truly effortless customer experience that delivers real results.

We believe solutions should be actionable and quantifiable, focused on building loyalty, and ultimately profitability, among your most valuable customers.

We can help.

Phone: 312-602-4000
222 W. Adams
Chicago, IL 60606
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