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4 CX Metrics That Reveal a More Complete Customer Picture

According to Forrester’s CX index, 73 percent of companies say improving customer experience (CX) is a priority, but only 1 percent actually deliver an excellent experience. Improvement begins with understanding where to focus your investment dollars. That requires a consistent approach to CX measurement, across all channels, that will enable you to identify which interactions have the biggest impact (positive or negative), and allocate resources where they will have the most impact. 

Today, most companies do not look holistically at the customer experience. Instead, they focus on channels in a siloed fashion, with each stakeholder measuring their channel experience in isolation, focusing on channel-specific metrics. An eConsultancy report found that 30 percent of leaders implement customer experience initiatives on a channel-by-channel basis, and 41 percent say each department sets its own customer experience agenda.

Take the contact center, for example. In surveying customers regarding their experience, data is typically gathered relating to customer satisfaction, associate courtesy and respect, associate knowledge, clear communication, first call resolution, and speed to answer.

While these are perfectly reasonable metrics, there are two drawbacks to this approach. First, the metrics are not extensible to other channels (outside of customer satisfaction) for integrated CX channel benchmarking. And second, with the exception of customer satisfaction, they ask customers questions that can be derived from call monitoring QA efforts/call disposition records. This breaks a CX golden rule: Don’t burden customers with questions for which you already know (or should know) the answer.

This approach to CX measurement isn’t sustainable, especially as companies focus their efforts on creating omnichannel, seamless experiences. Customer interactions occur across channels, and they need to be measured in a more consistent way to understand the true impact of activities.

Four CX questions uncover a more complete customer picture
We have identified four simple questions at the heart of CX measurement that are helping our clients integrate their efforts across channels:

Customer Satisfaction: 
How would you rate your overall experience with XXX? 

This metric focuses on the individual event/action/support associate, and should be measured on a scale ranging from poor to excellent. In this question, XXX could be a call center associate, app, website, event, or other interaction source.

Frictionless Interaction Score: 
To what degree do you agree with the statement: (BRAND) made it easy for me to XXX?
This metric focuses on your company’s process—how easy it was for the customer to achieve what he or she intended through the channel in question, measured on a scale ranging from disagree to agree. This is our adaptation of what is sometimes referred to as a Customer Effort Score. 

Brand Sentiment Score: 
How has your opinion of (BRAND) changed as a result of your interaction with XXX?

This question gets at the heart of whether an experience has materially changed the customer’s perception of your brand, and should be measured on a scale from negative to positive. In this question, XXX could be a call center associate, app, website, event, or other interaction source.

Net Promoter Score: 
How likely is it that you would recommend (BRAND) to a friend or colleague?

Net Promoter methodology requires a 0-10 point scale from which your Net Promoter Score can be calculated by subtracting the percentage of customers who are detractors (0-6) from the percentage of customers who are promoters (7-10). We recommend benchmarking NPS after a customer’s initial purchase to gauge the impact of each interaction.

In addition to the above customer survey metrics, developing a Brand Engagement Index—which measures how your customers’ engagement with your brand changes over time—can be correlated to different experiences. It is incredibly useful at both the individual and aggregate levels. When building a Brand Engagement Index, include as many inputs as possible, from customer purchases, support channel usage, visits, email engagement, and more. 

Taken together, these four questions provide a more complete view of a given experience—from the individual channel or employee to the overall brand process and the impact of the experience on both brand perception and advocacy. Analyzing results within and across channels provides insight into the overall customer experience, allowing companies to prioritize actions for greatest impact.

Turning insight into action
By correlating each metric to one another and to key business objectives (e.g., sales, loyalty, etc.), it’s possible to identify which interactions have the greatest impact (positive or negative). From there, you can prioritize the deployment of resources based on their upside potential. For example, you may find that for your industry and customer base, the Frictionless Interaction Score is more predictive of loyalty than the other three metrics, allowing you to prioritize investments on processes and training to make it easier for your customers to engage in that aspect of the customer experience. In the contact center, for example, this might mean adding online chat, making improvements to your knowledge base, revamping your IVR, or improving handoffs to live customer support across channels. 

We also recommend conducting unstructured data analysis of customer verbatims, as well as call and chat logs. These both validate results and gain a broader picture than just those customers who choose to respond to your survey questions.

Companies that can get to this level of analysis will be at an important advantage. Most companies are not sophisticated enough to put it into practice currently. Dimension Data’s 2017 Contact Center Benchmark report states that 63 percent of contact center leaders report that their systems are not integrated. Another 58 percent say their channels operate in silos, and 43 percent report inconsistent data across channels.

Things to consider
When implementing your new customer survey metrics, be sure to define scale, frequency, and exclusions. Putting thought into these metrics ensures you have actionable, consistent data to analyze for a given channel, and to compare across channels.

In addition, it can be difficult for companies to limit the survey to these four questions. This is typically the result of channel owners being vested in the current metrics and worried about losing the insight they provide. To overcome this resistance, we recommend considering a phased approach. Begin with the four recommended survey questions, and issue follow-ups as needed. For example, if customer satisfaction is low and verbatims do not shed light as to the reason, issue a follow-up survey to understand the key drivers. In the contact center, for example, this might include some of the traditional metrics like associate knowledge, courtesy, and respect. 

Conclusion
Customer input is a valuable tool in helping identify opportunities to transform the customer experience in a way that increases loyalty and advocacy. The first step is asking the right questions, consistently, across all channels for integrated CX optimization.