When businesses are measuring their customers’ experiences, they’re often left with arbitrary percentages:
- 76% of customers enjoyed their experience
- 24% of customers stated explicitly that they plan to return to your business
- Your customers give your company an average net promoter score of +44
On their own, none of these measurements mean much, and little can be done to discover actionable insights from which your company could make improvements to the experience it delivers to your customers. However, when combined and applied effectively, your company has an armory of ways to further impress and retain customers.
On June 18, at the Seattle CXPA local networking event, roughly 30 customer experience professionals from the Pacific Northwest met to discuss the ways in which they combine multiple measures of customer experience to create a bigger picture of how an experience can be improved. The event opened with a short presentation on several ways to measure customer experience. The CXPA attendees were then invited to further share how their companies listen to and observe customers; how they quantify seemingly immeasurable experiences; in what ways they use benchmarks to compare data; and to share several best practices. A key theme presented itself throughout the discussions: no single measure can quantify an experience; it takes several methods and metrics to holistically measure and compare experiences to one another.
You may argue, “well, my customer survey shows high levels of positive sentiments throughout.” Unfortunately, your survey was self-selecting, and your NPS score is too high-level to determine ways to improve your service. Your executives are too far removed from your customers and don’t really know what customers are experiencing anymore. Oh, and did I mention that the metric itself isn’t actually the experience? The metrics you used only captured bits and pieces of the experience.
The key to measuring your customers’ experiences is to come at the experience from as many directions as possible:
- Collect feedback from your executives about the kind of experience they want to deliver; then gather insights from your employees about the type of experience they believe they are delivering; and finally identify through mystery shopping or fast feedback surveying how the customers actually perceive the experience you’re providing them.
- When you’re able to use technology to your advantage, use social media and other text analytics programs to capture as many sentiments as possible from all over the Internet to show how your company is performing overall in several areas of customer service, field execution, corporate responsibility, and more; can you use customer attrition metrics to further grow the data you have available for how well a customer liked his or her experience?
- If you’re able to invest time and money in comparing your company against competitors in your industry, how is your experience different? How is it easier? More difficult? How do you create actual value for your customers in ways that others do not?
Once you’ve measured the experience from the top-down, outside-in and inside out, I offer you another challenge: before you excitedly jump into finding your quick-wins, I challenge you to do deeper analysis and use all of your metrics at once to create a mock-up of a typical customer journey at your business. Aim to understand where are you exceeding frequently but missing the mark elsewhere?
Ultimately, the number “76” means very little on its own. It is not until you are able to provide greater context from a set of ancillary metrics, like your NPS score in addition to a customer effort score, as well as qualitative context, like how well aligned are your executives’ ideas of the experience to your customers’ actual experiences, that the number “76” becomes significant. Whereas before “76” was just a number, it is now a metric that explains your customers are generally satisfied but notice room for improvement, as is demonstrated by your executives’ moderate understanding of the strategy required to train your employees on how to treat your customers in order to increase retention and grow your business. Now “76” is a strong indication of how your business can change and grow.