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Measure to change customers’ experience

Sometimes it feels as if measurements are made for their own sake rather than to serve a greater purpose. Nowhere more than in the world of customer experience. There is little value in a satisfaction survey or a NPS score that does not also help the organisation address the causes of a poor result or to measure progress against what makes a difference to customers.

We should measure the things that enable us to improve customers’ experience in ways that have business value. We should focus on the things that matter, not just measure every touchpoint (or we lose the signal in the noise). Using measurements in tandem with customer research and experience prototyping creates the evidence needed to support the necessary changes in an organisation.

What are customers really experiencing?

Before we measure we should know what customers are going through. We do this in two ways. Firstly by understanding the specifics of the customer lifecycle – the phases and stages of the experience. Secondly by really understanding first hand through shadowing, debrief interviews and working with frontline staff. This gives us a framework to measure against and a real understanding of the world through customers’ eyes.

The big piece is really understanding what the customer wants and tracking the customer journey to where the customer wants to go. That’s the key for me going forward.

Warren Buckley, MD of customer service BT - Quoted in My Customer

Measure the things that matter to customers

We find many surveys enable an organisation to know there are problems but not the reason for the problems. ‘Satisfaction is low but we are not sure exactly why’. The measurement is not telling us what the customers are experiencing. Metrics that target customer irritations and pain points – such as customer effort measures – are much more useful as they enable us to spot issues and target them for improvement.

96% of customers reporting high-effort experiences become more disloyal in the future.

Select specific points in the customers' experience to improve

Measurements can tell us where the low points are for customers. By analysing these points against their potential to improve and their business value we can identify a specific point in the experience to improve. For example poor onboarding often leads to customers never developing loyalty and leaving at the first opportunity. Knowing this we can target that interaction for quick wins and added value.

Measure and monitor the change in behaviour

Once we have identified a ’hot-spot’ to address we can measure to monitor the desired impact. What we need to see is that there is not just a change in sentiment from customers but also a change in behaviour. With our onboarding example we need to see that those customers who experience the improved service do actually proceed to be more loyal.

Know what to change next

Ultimately we want to improve every aspect of the customer experience that has a business impact. However it can be easy to have many opportunities and not know where to start. Our actions should be guided by where the greatest impact is but also by where we can quickly affect change to demonstrate the potential. We must buy support from the organisation through success and early wins.

Changing the customers’ experience is done one step at a time

Our measurements can help to target, improve and prove the value of customer experience work. However, they must go hand in hand with the more human activity of engaging people in the process. By people we mean both senior stakeholders and customer facing staff. Measurements can be used to show both parties that there is a need to change – and that change has had impact.

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