Customer experience metrics checklist

A checklist of tasks every CX professional should complete to ensure their customer experience metrics strategies are holistic enough truly reflect customer needs

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Gustavo Imhof
02/11/2020

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Customer success metrics

Customer experience metrics reveal what customers actually think of the experiences they receive from a brand. Each metric quantifies a certain perspective, the most popular metrics being customer satisfaction (CSAT) and likeliness to recommend (the Net Promoter Score – NPS). These scores highlight areas for improvement, product opportunities and even empower efforts to prevent customer churn.

The reality is, however, every customer success metric has its flaws. A lack of awareness on their limitations can create dangerous blind spots which have, in some cases, endangered a brand’s market-share.

To survive in this new decade businesses need a measurement system that gives true visibility on how customers perceive the brand. Here, CX Network presents a checklist to embed into customer metrics strategies so they truly capture perspectives and provide the needed guidance to lock in customer loyalty.

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  1. Look beyond a single score

Traditionally, many businesses have leant on one metric to measure the success of experiences and customer sentiment. However, an overreliance on a single measure may leave a business vulnerable to blind spots that can threaten performance.

Each metric has its own limitations. For instance, customer effort scores only give visibility on what customers thought about a single experience or transaction, rather than what the customer thinks of the brand in general. Customer satisfaction scores struggle to capture responses from neutral customers, which often make up a large section of a customer base. Industry favorite NPS measures whether a customer would be willing to recommend the organization. However, it fails to reveal whether the customer felt the service was convenient, if they are likely to return to repurchase or if they felt the experience and the product was good value for money.

To understand the reasons behind the CX scores given, businesses should provide customers the options to give verbatim answers. This will provide context to the score and what needs to be done to push the score higher.

Rather than rely on a single metric, brands should deploy a suite of measures and verbatim fields that can be cross-referenced so the business will arrive at a more detailed view of customer perspectives.

  1. Select the metrics that are fundamental to your bottom line

Success in business is measured by the financials (profitability, cost, market share). For CX professionals to succeed, they must highlight how CX projects contribute to these financial goals. CX measurements must have a clear link to the financial objectives.  

At the 2019 Medallia City Tour in London, CX practitioners from the likes of Kia Motors and Liberty Global explored the importance of selecting customer success metrics that clearly measure customer loyalty or churn risk for the business at hand. This is likely to depend on the industry the business operates in.

For instance, the ultimate aim in software-as-a-service (SaaS) is to increase or sustain subscription renewals. Therefore, the health of an account is best measured by volume of logins and time spent on the platform. If users are not utilizing the software, they are a flight risk, which means that recurring revenue may disappear and needs preemptive recovery. In manufacturing, to quantify the traction of assets someone has invested in, eyes will be fixed on tracking uptime vs. downtime. In e-commerce, webpage bounce rate or basket abandonment are apt measures to flag conversion issues that may be preventing customer purchases.

The factors that have the biggest influence on customer spending and retention should be the main focus of CX metrics. 

  1. Go beyond the traditional tried-and-tested measures

For brands interested in more alternative measures to fuel thinking beyond NPS, CSAT or effort scores, here are a few less commonly explored CX metrics to consider.

Buyer’s remorse: If a business trades at higher price points or is more hedonic in nature, it could be useful to see if people regret their purchases. Online reviews can be helpful with quantifying this metric. In essence, this helps the brand understand if customers feel they received good value for money.

Gift it: Gifting a product or service to someone is going one step beyond ‘merely’ recommending it. The customer is vouching for it with a level of certainty that the receiver will appreciate it. Not a suitable metric for every industry, but a powerful measure none-the-less to measure advocacy.

Beyond these measures, the most mature and astute organizations have bespoke metrics, encompassing KPIs they know are fundamental to experience success (e.g., moments of truths that are prone to churn).

Read: Cx Guide To The Voice Of The Customer (VOC)

  1. Use the metric as a compass to align stakeholders

CX leaders spend a lot of time managing stakeholders. Compelling customer success metrics that are clearly linked to the business’ financial goals are the strongest way to align various departments so they contribute to improving customer experiences in meaningful ways.

Aggressively targeting staff members on customer satisfaction scores is probably the easiest mistake to make when operationalizing CX measurement projects. This can breed unhealthy behaviors, going as far as pushing staff to beg customers for high scores on feedback surveys, which makes for a bad experience and skews the validity of customer data.

Instead, to mobilize staff members to positively improve CX metrics, follow these two examples:

  1. Once the drivers behind the CX measures are understood, place a reward structure around the consistent execution of these behaviors. For instance, if number of logins is the metric of focus, an influential behavior to measure and encourage could be the number of follow-up calls to support users that have low or dipping usage of the service. For customer effort scores, team members could be incentivized on resolving cases first-time.
  2. Measure the handover points between departments in the experience. Ensure you manage it beyond silos and bring people from different parts of the organization together (e.g., sales, retail and headquarters)

Use CX metrics as a compass to illuminate the direction the business should move in. This will help business stakeholders to genuinely improve the standard of experiences they deliver to customers.

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  1. Follow the golden rule of measurement: don’t just listen, act

CX metrics should not be left to gather dust, they should inform internal decision making that will upgrade customer experiences.

Volvo, a leading European car manufacturer, is acutely aware that simply measuring customer perspectives with metrics is not enough.

Kevin Meeks, Head of Customer Experience at Volvo Car UK advises CX practitioners: “Listen to what customers are really saying – and then do something about it.”

Likewise, Cecilia Bjork Bang-Melchior, Senior Manager Customer Experience at Volvo Car Sweden, recommends a very straightforward approach: “When a customer gives you negative feedback, resolve it fast, and when it’s positive, celebrate it.”

There are two fundamental reasons brands should act on feedback. If a brand invites feedback but then does not action it or respond, this can give a negative impression. It breeds a perception of merely paying lip-service and not genuinely caring about what customers think or feel.

Secondly, from a business point of view, actioning customer feedback will not only generate goodwill with customers but will provide the intelligence to inspire new processes or products and prevent subsequent customers from encountering the same pain points. 

Successful CX measurement systems

Those who will truly excel in this new decade will know every aspect of their CX measurement system – its strengths and its weaknesses. Improvement strategies need to be carefully planned, from what is asked of customers to why it is asked and how the responses influence internal decision-making around budget allocation and project prioritization.

Tick all the boxes discussed above, and CX professionals are likely to see their CX agenda progress rapidly. In turn, the hard-cold number results, such as market share, revenue or cost to serve, will follow.

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