Gathering customer experience metrics accurately is often not a simple task but, if done right, the business benefits gained from these insights can help you deliver customer journey success. Here are four key considerations you should take into account when developing a measurement framework to help you refine your CX initiatives.
In order to prove value and refine strategies, organisations must be able to determine the success of new initiatives.
Most organisations with a revenue of more than $1 billion have more than 50 customer experience metrics but the typical CX measurements commonly used across industries today often fall into one of two camps. On the one hand, overall satisfaction ratings, like ‘Customer Satisfaction Score’, ‘Customer Effort Score’ or ‘Net Promoter Score’, reflect a customer’s end-to-end experience. On the other, a more granular breakdown is provided, as the quality of individual touchpoints and interactions a customer passes through as part of their journey is assessed.
Both have significant value in assessing the merits of a CX, but it is important that organisations today are not overly reliant on any one kind of measurement. In order to have a clear view of how of how a strategy is performing, you must take a holistic view of your customer journeys, incorporating both granular and end-to-end measurements.
Complex customer journeys involve multiple touchpoints.
Often, customers will pass through the initial stages of the process unbeknownst to the organisation, for example looking at a website or researching products, while the latter stages will involve more active participation on behalf of the company, for example when a customer calls the contact centre or starts exchanging documentation to complete their purchase.
When most companies focus on customer experience, they tend to start by looking at these touchpoints. This is both important and logical.
Organisations should, of course, endeavour to meet customer’s needs at every point of interaction. Moreover, with touchpoint measurements often reflecting organisational structure and accountability, assessing CX in this way is relatively easy to build into operations.
So why then is there cause for concern?
The assumption is that if a customer indicates satisfaction at each stage in their journey, then their journey itself was positive. The problem is that a business-orientated approach does not translate into the mindset of customers, who tend to judge CX not as a series of individual touchpoints, but as an end-to-end experience beginning at the very first interaction, spanning right through to the last.
While touchpoints should be optimised, it is the cumulative experience across different channels and touchpoints that matters most to customers. Just because touchpoints can function well in themselves, it does not mean journeys are not broken.
Take the example of customer onboarding, a journey typically spanning multiple interactions. Customers today expect a streamlined, efficient, personalised experience, but outdated technology, lack of coordination across teams and delivering complex regulatory requirements can leave these journeys feeling fractured and disjointed. How touchpoints are connected are as important as those touchpoints themselves. Too many stages, delays between interactions or requests for customers to complete significant amounts of paperwork over the course of a journey are all reasons why overall satisfaction can be much lower. By measuring touchpoints alone, organisations can be blind to the problems driving their customers away.
An alternative option for CX measurement is looking at overall end-to-end experiences
These types of assessment are usually easy to take and involve simple questions such as ‘How easy was it to interact with [organisation]?’ or ‘How satisfied are you with your experience?’. With overall experience strongly impacting whether a customer will return, it is vital that organisations track customer success in this way. But, as with touchpoint measurement, looking at CX in this way can also be problematic.
The simplicity of end-to-end measurements are both a benefit and a pitfall. While it can provide a quick summation of CX performance that is easy to distribute from the boardroom to the front line, it lacks real insight and can cause confusion as to what is succeeding and what is failing, as well as trying to decipher what customers are actually trying to convey.
Take Net Promoter Score (NPS) as a measurement. Customers are asked “On a scale of 0-10, how likely it is that you would recommend [organisation] to your friends, family or business associates?”. Regardless of whether you rank well or poorly, you will not know what the drivers are behind your customer’s answer. It could be that despite a poor service, the product was so fantastic that they gave a positive endearment. Equally, it could have been that the majority of the experience was outstanding and yet on one significant touchpoint, the standard slipped and soured the customer’s journey.
Without an understanding of why a customer answered that way, it is near impossible to drive improvement. Customer experience strategies are never complete, and measurements of CX should always lead to action, whether that is to recognise what works or try something new when something has failed.
Moreover, it is possible that for each customer journey, there is a ‘moment of truth’, a specific interaction that has a disproportionate impact on the entire experience. This is often because the customer is particularly invested in the outcome of that interaction. But in averaging experiences, without taking note of specific interactions, organisations can be blind to the moments that matter most.
Understanding Your Customer Journey
Although it may seem obvious that a customer-centric journey philosophy should be executed with journey-based measurements that reflect this priority, too many organisations have yet to implement metrics that enable them to test the value of the strategy.
In many cases, organisational structure means companies are not wired to think about the journeys that customers are taking, and this can require a shift in both company culture and operation from the boardroom to the front line.
But by taking the following four key considerations into account, you can put in place a measurement framework that will help you refine your CX initiatives.
1. Adopt a customer mindset to deliver customer journey success
In order to successfully measure CX and gain the insights that help you drive improvement, it is imperative to take a holistic view of performance that reflects the customer’s view of the journey.
You should aim to have a 360-degree perspective, without a reliance on one single kind of measurement. Both touchpoint and end-to-end measurements are valuable tools but should be used in conjunction with each other.
If, for example, touchpoint satisfaction is high, but customers remain unhappy with the overall experience, the cumulative experience across touchpoints needs addressing. It is important that CX measurement is supported by a strong journey mapping process outlined in the first chapter in this book, as without an understanding of how customers are actually moving through their journeys, organisations will not be well placed to use metrics for the benefit of both customers and the business.
You might start with identifying the top line metric linked with a top priority, for example if you are setting out to improve the experience then you might select NPS. However, it is also imperative that you identify the key operational metrics by journey that will also contribute to whether or not you achieve your goal.
Finally, with many journeys having a specific interaction that has a disproportionate impact on the entire experience, it is important that organisations devote sufficient resource to ensure they run seamlessly. Identifying these moments of truth will often form part of the journey mapping process, but when this has been recognised, then specific attention should be paid to ensure that performance within this touchpoint is tracked.
2. Incorporate business value
No matter the complexity, customers should be able to interact with an organisation without friction. But with evidence universally suggesting that businesses should see strong returns from refined CX investment, it is important that CX metrics are tied together with a business benefit, in order to determine the value of initiatives and justify investment.
You should aim to assess satisfaction indicators, be they granular or journey level, against key performance indicators like customer acquisition or retention rates. If your CX indicators are strong, but you are not delivering business value, then it is likely that customers are encountering an issue that has not been addressed. A high NPS score, for example, only has value if it translates to the bottom line.
3. Benchmark against the competition
Understandably, many companies are hyper-focused on their own performance and the pain-points that can blight customer journeys. However, this myopia can mean missed opportunities to trigger bolder and better ideas to improve customer journeys.
By benchmarking performance against direct competition and CX leaders, both within and outside the same sector, organisations can both generate new ideas to implement change and gauge the relative value being provided to both the organisation and to customers.
4. Appoint responsibility for successful CX measurement
Often, the reason for the failure to adequately assess journeys is because those journeys themselves sit across a series of distinct teams, who are unaccustomed to working together.
It is therefore a good idea to appoint an individual responsibility for overall CX measurement and empower that person to both track performance, as well as instigate change. This might take the form of a ‘journey owner’, who will play a critical role in aligning the functional siloes that exist across all organisations.
In this way, they can help to establish the shared goals that are imperative for CX tracking and metrics that reflect the customer perspective of a journey.
Delivering Customer Journey Success: In Conclusion
The correct customer experience metrics will help you establish the value of your CX strategy and make refinements.
However, finding the correct way to measure success should not be an afterthought, and organisations must set out to find the optimum way to track the performance of CX initiatives.
Putting touchpoints and journeys into the context of the customer’s perspective is imperative, and organisations must take a holistic approach to journey assessment. But staff must not be left trying to decipher what customers are telling you and feedback should be used to drive improvement. For organisations that master this, the reward is higher customer and employee satisfaction, revenue and cost improvements, and a significant competitive advantage.
This blog post was taken from the eBook – The Ultimate Guide to CX Management in 2020, to download your copy – click here.