Customer experience control is table stakes for today’s successful brands, and companies need to come to grips with the fact that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. A sound strategy for assessing customer experience and creating organizational excellence needs to begin at the top. CEOs, CMOs, CROs, and those in charge of CRM analytics and Customer Master Data Management need to assess every customer experience at every touch point between departments and functions. By looking at the following metrics company wide, brands can get a solid and unified understanding of their customer experience gaps and begin to make the changes that matter.
1. Help requests and responses by channel
Customer interactions happen online, on the phone, in emails, on social media, in help forums, on blogs, and in lots of other channels. Companies sometimes try to funnel customers through the channels that favor the company instead of the customer. For example, a sales manager may conclude that chat windows are better than taking inbound phone calls to handle product questions originating from a website because a sales rep can handle more than one chat simultaneously. That may be good for sales efficiency but is it good for the customer experience?
One way to tell is to measure the percentage of help requests and responses happening in each channel to make sure your processes are aligned with customer preferences. For example, if the sales manager in the aforementioned example sees that 75% of sales conversations originating with chats move to a phone call or an email, it may be a sign that the customer prefers calls and emails and is a better starting point if the goal is a better customer experience.
2. Response time by channel
Response time is commonly used to measure customer service success, but the important thing to remember is that a good response time is determined by your customers and by the channel being used to respond. Kissmetrics created a great customer service info graphic showing how expectations vary by customer and by the medium of contact (e.g., Facebook versus email). Make sure your company is measuring response time appropriately by taking the expectations in each channel into account.
3. Employee satisfaction
If your customer experience includes direct contact with your employees, employee satisfaction matters greatly. Studies have shown that motivated employees raise levels of customer satisfaction. Employees who are truly dedicated to the company will perform the best in most cases, even when compared to employees who’ve been given raises and other surface-level incentives. At FullContact, we have a company motto known as “be awesome with people” that applies to internal resources as well as our customers and the world in general.
4. Customer retention
There are lots of ways to measure retention rate. It’s a lagging indicator so it’s important to settle on a method and stick to it so you’re not changing your formulas instead of your customer experience. (Here’s a simple formula offered in an article on Inc.com.)
Customer experience control is table stakes for today’s successful brands.
Tracking customer retention may be a surefire indicator of whether your customer experience is in check, but there’s a reason this isn’t at the top of this list. Tracking customer retention is only an indirect measure. Whether you’re doing great or awful, you can’t determine why using only this metric. Thus, it should be used as a supplementary measure to build a more complete picture of the correlation between changes in customer experience and changes in retention rates.
5. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
NPS is a fancy way of saying, “Let’s gauge the likelihood that our customers will recommend us to others.” The value in this metric is that it forces businesses to look at the big picture and asses their customer experience in one broad stroke. Figuring out your NPS rating will generally help you predict customer loyalty and brand favorability. Posing your question to find out why customers will or won’t recommend you is also paramount to the usefulness of this metric.
Make sure you’re consistently assessing customer experience across departments with good metrics. When determining whether a particular metric is useful or not, simply ask, “Would this data evoke action?” It’s a waste of time to assess things your company can’t or isn’t willing to change.
It’s also wise to consider variations within each group of customers you’re assessing. For example, you may find that people who live in a certain geography have different expectations than the rest of your customers or that people who are heavy social media users prefer more social interactions. The more you know about who your customers are, the more meaning you’ll derive from your customer experience assessments.