How To Measure Customer Experience

What is Customer Experience Measurement, and why should you care about it?

The success of your business is reflected in the satisfaction of your customers. Increase of profit is dependent on great customer experience (CX), as the customer’s positive recommendation, digitally or physically, is a vital method of attracting new clients, as well as ensuring customer loyalty.

It can be difficult to know for sure precisely how successful your company was at delighting a client once the transaction has ended; sometimes, the true nature of the client’s experience is not recognised until a negative review appears much later. With reliable customer experience management software in place, your business can properly gauge the customer experience, and use the data to improve and grow.

Esteban Kolsky, CEO of ThinkJar summed this up with: “Only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complain. The rest churn. A lesson here is that companies should not view absence of feedback as a sign of satisfaction. The true enemy is indifference.”

NPS alone isn’t enough

The most common tool used in customer experience measurement is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS is something you have likely experienced as a customer yourself, in the form of a post-transaction question such as:

‘How likely are you to recommend this company to a friend?’

The problem with NPS can be about timing - questions like these are not always applicable to the customer at the point in their journey that they receive them. For example, a customer that has an unresolved matter that keeps being bounced between departments would not feel an urge to give a glowing review of the company through an NPS given in the midst of the frustration. In some cases, simply receiving the irrelevant prompt can inspire the need to write a negative emotional response.

NPS can be a useful means of collecting valuable feedback from customers about the overall experience they have had with your company. Timing the NPS question at the end of the customer experience is ideal. Including an NPS in your CX measurement is simple, and a great jumping off point for businesses interested in measuring their entire customers’ journey.

In order to pinpoint the specific hindrances your customer might face, a wider arsenal of measurement tools is also needed to supplement the NPS question.

Build a comprehensive overview of the CX

The key to creating an accurate measure of your business’ CX is to ensure all aspects have been recorded and analysed. With a complete overview of the customer journey, you can then establish the ‘pain points’ and begin constructing a focused strategy to fix the areas that need most work. A smooth, frictionless customer journey is the ultimate goal, so it is vital that you have the correct system in place that can properly measure emotion in the customer as they move through your CX.

Know which parts of the CX you want to focus on

CX is a wide umbrella term for a range of different minute experiences a customer faces when interacting with a company. It is important to consider, before embarking on any type of measurement, what exactly you are hoping to find out, and how you will use the information to move forward.

Here are some examples of the metrics you can choose to measure:

Average Resolution Time: This involves making a note of the time a client first makes contact, and another at the end of the conversation that marks the close of the case. The information can be used to measure, on average, how long it takes to solve a problem for your client and help you to set a future goal to improve efficiency.

Customer Churn: This is the number of customers that decide to cease transacting with your business before completion. The purpose of this information is to determine the common areas in your CX where a customer might be persuaded to turn back. The way the churn rate is calculated is like this:

Exceptional Moments: With the rise of near-instant gratification in the customer service industry, customers increasingly expect an exceptional experience when purchasing a product or service. By asking customers for specific examples of your team giving an exceptional CX performance, you can access a wealth of illuminating information about the most enjoyable and successful areas of your CX. This data can also be a great motivator for your staff (e.g. an ‘employee of the month’ reward based on the best customer service).

Example: “During your time with us, were there any standout exceptional experiences? Please let us know!”

Customer Effort Score (CES): This data is usually collected through a scoring system provided to customers, asking questions such as:

“How straightforward was it to get from A to B when you engaged with this part of our interface?”

Customers would then be given a few options to respond with, such as a 1 to 5 rating. The CES can also be recorded using observatory systems like focus groups, where participants can be given a task that exists in your current CX, and the difficulty of their ability to tackle can be used to identify the customer’s feeling at that stage. The purpose of this data is to understand how the layperson interacts with various methods of CX systems, and consequently, how these systems might be altered to make the process smoother.

Mapping Customer Journeys

As we discussed in our previous blog post, insight6 give a great deal of credit to the correct plotting and implementation of a Customer Journey Map. When done correctly, the information gleaned from a map can help you to pinpoint exact areas of improvement that may not be obvious from inside the organisation.

As well as this, the Customer Journey Map can be used to figure out where might be best to prompt customers with survey questions or feedback opportunities. For example, if your map shows that a majority of customers encounter frustrations during phone-related enquiries, you could then ensure that all client calls are followed by an NPS question and track the progression of your efforts to improve the weak spot.

The methods you choose for measuring customer experience will vary depending on your business. It is important to consider the individuality between the ways your customers will engage with your business. Recording every client’s unique approach is known as emotion metrics; the collective build-up of emotion data allows you to create an ample impression of your company’s performance as a whole.

According to a 2018 study, “a consumer is 21 percent more likely to leave a review after a negative experience than a positive one.” This makes procuring a positive response from your client more of a challenge, as frustration and disappointment are more motivating emotions than mere satisfaction. These strong, negative emotions in customer experience can be harnessed through the correct measurement tools. This feedback can then be utilised to further develop the engagement with your clients and create a customer experience transformation.

A real transformation will be evident in your clients feeling happy, cared-for, experiencing a seamless journey from the first discovery of your website to the closing interaction with your team.

We would love to share more about how to measure customer experience with you and your team. Please contact me on 0800 970 8987 to arrange a customer audit call.

How much data do you have about customer experience?

How much data do you have about customer experience compared to the volume of data you have about the financial performance of your business?

This question is interesting because the finances represent the outcome of the state of the customer experience in most businesses and yet often, more is done to look after the finances than the customer experience! How can that make sense?

Our business is totally focused on facilitating our clients to improve their customer experience.

Over 25 years we have mastered and learnt from the specialist work we do with our clients on how to make an impact and improve customer experience.

THE most important aspect of our work is to measure customer experience. The reason measurement is a vital part of any customer experience transformation is because you need to know where you are before you start. All movement and change in life requires that you identify where you are and where you want to go; this process allows you to have a clear understanding of the gap between the two and what you need to do to get where you want to go.

And if you are still not convinced why you should measure the experience your customers have in your business, how about the old Peter Drucker quote "what gets measured gets done.”

So how do you measure something as individual, personal and emotional as experience?

An objective quality measurement tool that identifies where you are with customer experience, how far you have come and what you need to do to improve will enable you to focus on actions and not concern yourself with ‘how are we doing’ circular questions.

What we witness with clients, in the absence of an objective measurement tool is how easy it is to fall victim to confusion and frustration that results from listening to the subjective opinions of the last colleague you asked of ‘how you are doing?'.

There are a number of ways you can measure customer experience and all of them involve simply asking questions of your customers and your team, outlined below are our top tips to make it work:

1. Where do I start?

The simplest way to create questions that are relevant and help you understand how you are performing is to start with a customer journey map of your business (see last month’s blog). In a nutshell, map the questions around the customer journey map - the map identifies each of the customer touchpoints in your business which is what you need to measure.

2. What questions shall I ask?

In order to get to the heart of the customer experience the questions need to focus on how people feel at each of the touchpoints in the customer journey (https://www.insight6.com/what-is-customer-journey-map/.)

Skilful questions reflect that feelings follow thoughts, so it is easier for a customer to answer a question about what happened before they answer how it made them feel. Understanding consequences of circumstances on behaviour and feelings exposes the priority of what might appear to be perceived as a minor issue in a business to a full-scale burning issue.

For example, measuring the customer experience at a restaurant we could start the questions at the booking touchpoint and ask, "what happened when you booked a table at the restaurant y?"

Customer: “The online booking system would not accept my time and so I had to phone the restaurant”
Question: “How did that make you feel at the time?”
Customer: “Frustrated and annoyed - I was between meetings and didn’t have much time AND I had promised my wife I would book for that weekend”
Question: “What did you do as a result of this experience”
Customer: “I phoned the restaurant and they were engaged and so I booked restaurant x where it took less than a minute to book online”
Question: “How did this booking experience makes you feel about restaurant y?”
Customer: “We love the food at restaurant y and we still will continue to go there but nowhere near as much as the other restaurants we visit because the others are organised, make it easy for me to book and you know what the food is just as good - everyone I know has had the same problem with booking at restaurant y”

The above is a real-life example of a client’s experience and demonstrates at just one customer touchpoint how much insight can illuminate the consequences of a poor customer experience.

In this example, it is frustrating as a business owner to see that sometimes the customer’s experience of the human element of the business is great and it is the technology, that is intended to increase efficiencies, negatively impacts the overall customer experience. The identified weakness at the booking touchpoint is a threat to the sustainability of the business that needs to be addressed. ‘Wrapping technology with love’ is a challenge but something that every business in the 21st Century has to make a priority in order to create a real customer experience transformation.

3. How do I know what good looks like?

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one of the most tried and tested methods of measuring a customer’s experience. Through NPS you can understand the likelihood that a customer will recommend your product and service to someone in their community e.g. friend, colleague or family member. We use the NPS question in all our methodologies to gauge how people feel about customer experience. With over 1000 clients we can therefore benchmark your performance against others in your sector or industry. What we have observed in our work is NPS will increase by x% as a result of starting a customer experience transformation and this typically translates to an impact on sales.

4. Who should I ask?

Whatever your business, not all customers perceive you in the same way. For example, you can have a ‘regular' customer, a ‘lapsed' customer that you have not seen for a while, and a ‘non-user’ customer that you have never seen but uses the competition. Asking all of the different types of customers how they experience your business is important to understand the different perspectives. To ensure all the hard work of collecting the data from customers is used to create the maximum impact in the business, the careful analysis of the answers needs to be carried out. This will allow you to differentiate between the needs and experiences for each of the customer groups. As a result, a clear action plan can be prioritised with the intention of removing the most customer friction in the business. Make it your priority to remove all the reasons why customers do not use you!

Asking the team the questions about the customer touchpoints will also create a deeper level of insight that will help you identify the gaps in perception between what the team feels is the experience and how customer feels about the experience. We use this process to enable you to create a training programme to plug the gaps

5. How should I ask?

There are four key methods we have perfected over 20 years to use and measure customer experience.

1. Online and face to face surveys
2. Telephone and face to face interviews
3. Focus and Listening groups
4. Customer Experience Reviews

Each method or combination of methods will create a rich pool of data that will allow you to focus on the areas that need to improve and continue to do all the things that deliver a great customer experience.

6. Why should I bother?

We are proud of the relationships that we have with our clients that result in us metaphorically ‘going on the customer experience journey’ with them. A key part of delivering consistently improving customer experience is to put in place a continual process that needs fresh and insightful challenges to stay ahead of the competition.

As Lucy Knight in Dorset, Bath and Wiltshire says “we were aware that customers were suffering from survey fatigue as the questions were not engaging and there were too many questions being asked. We have streamlined the surveys and the questions and as a result we have increased the number of responses and quality of the information"

In the words of our Customer Experience Consultant Phil Heaven “One of my most challenging projects was working with a multiple site Holiday Park, over four years we conducted a continued programme of team training, customer experience reviews which resulted in x increase in scores across the board, a complete change in job roles, recruitment and induction processes, a new bonus scheme - all of this aimed at customer experience transformation - the results are a total culture change”

The work that we carry out with all of our clients is vital to delivering the customer experience strategy. Our role is to measure that the team displays empathy and understanding as part of all their interactions and this is included as part of our measurement programme. We sensitively measure and report through our customer experience reviews how the team are doing so that they can learn from each other and build on their experiences and knowledge over time.

If you would like to know more about how customer experience measurement can help your business, please call us for a customer experience audit.

What is a Customer Journey Map and How to Use One to Improve Business

Your customer’s journey, from the starting point when they make the decision to reach out to your business right up to the resolution of the matter, is trackable. You can trace their steps to identify weak areas in your Customer Experience (CX). Through ‘journey mapping’, you can create a visual representation of your average customer’s interaction with your business, and pinpoint the various trials, delights, and frustrations they face.

Using a personalised customer journey map, you can then single out the areas where your customers might trip up and decide to back out before completing a transaction, and start implementing strategies to improve the experience. But how do you begin putting together a customer journey map, and how can you use it effectively?

Constructing an effective customer journey map

Many companies boast their use of customer journey mapping to improve their CX. The lack of proper know-how, however, often render journey maps essentially meaningless. Ineffective maps give no real indication of aspects of CX that require improvement, and therefore have no value to a business interested in forward progression. A good customer journey map is a true reflection of the customer, not a painting of the ideal one.

The best way to achieve an effective customer journey map is through gathering honest data from your customers as they are interacting with your business in real time. This can be successfully done through workshops with customers, where their progression through your company’s phone service, website, or face-to-face meeting, can be monitored and recorded as it happens, allowing for an accurate representation of the experience to be made. You will need a large group of people from your customer base to extract this data, and it will need careful planning; understandably, this could seem like a daunting, time-consuming prospect.

Luckily, at insight6, our experienced team is able to do the legwork of gathering the data for you, by posing as customers and recording the journey through your business’ customer interface. We then construct a detailed customer journey map with the collected data, highlighting the ‘pain points’ as well as the excellent areas of your CX. We then share the results with you, along with examples of easily implemented strategies so that in future, the customer journey will be far smoother.

What does a good customer service map look like?

The great thing about customer journey maps is that they are individual to you and your customers. Journey map templates exist, but to create a map that represents the nuances of your CX journey, you need to flesh it out with the specifics of your unique brand.

Here is an example from the globally successful taxi company Uber, where they have taken a basic example of a first time consumer’s purchase of a product or service, and translated it into the niche Uber experience:

As you can see, the customer’s positive and negative comments are labelled at various stages throughout the ‘journey’, with an explanation of what specifically made them feel that way. At the bottom of the map, there are practical solutions to all the problems customer ‘Jen’ picked up on, allowing Uber to visualise a future of their CX where Jen would feel less frustration, and repeat her business. The biggest problem Jen faced – not being able to tip her driver by card or within the app, creating embarrassment and frustration – prompted Uber to alter their system, and they have since updated their CX to provide an in-app option to tip alongside the fare.

Common mistakes in customer journey mapping

The key to avoiding mistakes when creating a customer journey map is to remember the purpose of the map in relation to the future vision of your company. The priority of any business should always be creating customers and improving conversion rates from enquiries to successful custom. This is done by identifying the points of your customer’s journey at which they encounter technical hitches, unexpected costs of time or money, or other frustrations. It is common for businesses to omit these pain points in order to avoid portraying themselves as ineffective in some way. If the journey map is created but any meaningful data is left off, its use is virtually non-existent in terms of stitching up any tears in the CX.

Here is an example of a self-congratulatory customer journey map that we will dub a ‘pat-on-the-back' map’:

Although the design is pleasing to the eye, and there seems to be a lot of information packed into the diagram, the beneficial output of this map is almost nil. All this map shows is the ideal path a customer would take through a public interface system if they didn’t encounter any bumps along the road.

When compared to the Uber example, there are obvious omitted details, such as the emotions of the customer at each stage, and their personal method of navigating your unique interface.

In the following video, digital customer interaction experts The Service Design Show list five mistakes to avoid when plotting your customer journey map, all of which insight6 take into account at each stage of the process when creating one. As the video explains, it is wise to remember that your customers, and your business, are constantly growing and changing as technological developments are integrated into everyday life. Voice command AI, for instance, is rapidly becoming more popular, meaning that certain information about a business is often heard aloud in Alexa or Google’s voice, instead of being read off a screen.

This alone can make a significant difference in how users absorb the information. Therefore, your customer journey map should be updated periodically, and make allowances for the progression of your customer’s interests, methods of interaction, and levels of patience for an underdeveloped CX.

 How to use the customer journey map moving forward

Proper analysis of your customer’s journey can allow small tweaks to your business that provide long-term, profitable results. These tweaks are sometimes known as micro-interactions - a term for a tiny feature, usually seconds-long, of User Interface (UI) that is designed to give the customer a quick pulse of delight. Uber once again demonstrate an example of exceptional micro-interactions with their holiday themed updates, changing the animated car tracking your taxi arrival to have a rainbow coming off the back during Pride, or a witch on a broom at Halloween.

Although simple, the user response is instantly positive, and often prompts users to share news of the micro-interaction through word of mouth, or across social media, gaining the company exposure. With your customer journey map, you can implement and track the responses to micro-interactions such as these, and see in real-time how users respond to the feature, and whether it improves the chance of them making a repeat purchase decision.

What to take away

You want your customers to be able to navigate easily through your in-person, over-the-phone, or online interface without encountering any difficulties. With correctly implemented journey mapping tools, you can polish the front line of your business.

At insight6, we construct effective, detailed, thought-provoking maps with personally collated data. With our help, you can transform your CX into a straightforward pathway from the purchase decision to the buying process, and ensure that your business is the primary choice for your customer’s future needs.

 

Why Customer Journey Mapping is vital for improving CX

At the heart of the CX work we do at insight6 is Customer Journey Mapping.  It is the third step in our six-step customer experience management process.  In a nutshell, a customer journey map identifies each of the customer touchpoints, from brand awareness through to being a happy repeat customer.  Our approach focuses on understanding how customers feel at each point in the journey, in order to look at how the experience can be improved.

Customer Journey Mapping has an enormous impact on the engagement of the team, and it creates a customer focused mindset which results in a snowball effect in changing the culture within the organisation. Which is why we love it! We have worked with a number of sectors to create journey maps including car dealerships, law firms, accountants, major visitor attractions, event companies and restaurants.

Customer Journey Mapping is a critical step for success in achieving CX transformation for the following six reasons:

1.   A customer journey map creates a clear plan of action

For us, Customer Journey Mapping is about identifying clear actions that will transform
the experience your customers have with you.  This is not about creating pretty posters showing everyone that you have a customer journey map for your office wall; this is about action!  In every customer journey mapping workshop we have facilitated, we have witnessed immediate and clear action that has a profound impact on staff motivation, a greater focus on the customer and their needs and an increase in sales.

A recent example demonstrates this perfectly. One of our clients, a major UK tourist attraction has had incredible results following the customer journey mapping workshop. They saw an increase in the number of paid visits to additional areas of the attraction as well as an increase in other related revenue streams and will see incremental revenue in excess of £500k over a year. What is more interesting is that the key focus was on improving customer experience first and foremost and the side effect was all the financial metrics improved.

2.  Experience what it is like to look through the eyes of your customers

The first place we start in a customer journey mapping workshop is to identify the customer touchpoints starting from the moment a customer becomes aware that your business exists, perhaps searching for a coffee shop or solicitor on Google, to the moment that the customer receives an invoice, or exits your business.

Once the team are clear on the touchpoints, the brilliance of customer journey mapping starts.  Each member of the team can put themselves in the customer’s shoes and describe the experience at each of the touchpoints and how they might feel at each stage of the journey.  Compare this experience to what each team member is actually doing at each touchpoint, and the insights start to overflow.  The penny drops when team members see the gap between what they are doing and what the customer is experiencing.

Ian Kelsall, our CXD in Stoke, gave a great example about a team of accountants he worked with that kept customers waiting on the telephone whilst they went to find the relevant person that the customer wanted to talk to.  No-one in the team felt this standard practice of placing a customer on hold was an issue until Ian posed the question: "What do you think customers feel like during this time?”.

It then became apparent that no-one on the team had actually experienced being kept on hold.  The team then made a call into the office and simulated a normal call experience to discover the discomfort of being on hold.  The compelling need to change the customer’s experience was so great that the team of accountants created an action plan on how they could remove this negative part of the customer journey. Having the privilege of looking through the eyes of customers will never fail to bear rich pickings that you can use to improve customer experience.

“Every customer journey mapping session I have facilitated results in at least one person in the first 20 mins having a lightbulb moment.  Typically businesses make changes to make life better for themselves rather than the customer and when you observe the switch in the room to looking at how a customer might feel - it changes everything” - Graham Hill CXD, Bucks

3.  Create a shared understanding and vision of customer experience across the business

Most of us know the importance of involving the team in any obvious changes in an organisation.  When your entire team embraces and shares an attitude and belief system, incredible things start to happen.  Nothing illustrates this point better than the classic story of President John F. Kennedy’s visit to the NASA space centre in 1962, where Kennedy noticed a janitor carrying a broom. He interrupted his tour, walked over to the man and said, "Hi, I'm Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?"

"Well, Mr. President," the janitor responded, "I'm helping put a man on the moon."

Everyone has a role to play in customer experience, from the accounts clerk who sends out the invoices, to the cleaner who hoovers the floor.  Every single detail has an impact on how the customer feels about your business and this is what creates a great customer experience.

"The key to a successful mapping session is to ensure that everyone has the freedom to explore how the business works from a customer experience perspective.  Creating a space that is non-judgemental is a breeding ground for conversation that would not normally take place between colleagues and is a catalyst for change.”  - Graham Hill, CXD Bucks

4. Focus on the customer and how their differences impact on their needs

It is often the case that different customers have different needs.  Recognising that you may have different customer personas using your product or service is vital in the customer journey mapping session. A classic mistake in any business is to assume that a new customer has the same expectations as a regular customer.  They don’t!

Mac Eddy described a great example of using customer personas as part of a customer journey mapping workshop he facilitated.

“It was clear that there were two very different customers and we needed to differentiate the way the business behaved towards each one.  We named each of the customer personas a different name.  In this business James and Jane were instantly recognisable by the front-line team who described how they could identify their differences from their body language as soon as they arrived at the reception area. The team quickly realised in the workshop that treating James and Jane the same led to missed opportunities for the customers and the business and an equally uncomfortable experience for both.  The customer journey map highlighted a simple process that could be adopted that lead to a better experience for all and most importantly, the customer.”

5. You are solving problems by unlocking the causes

By identifying how the customer feels at each step of the customer journey, instead of from a business or personal perspective enables you to focus on the problem without getting defensive. This simple switch in perspective will allow you to uncover and understand what is causing the problem and finding a solution that will improve how the customer feels.

As Ian Kelsall described: “It is really quite simple, you identify a customer experience problem on the map, you figure out what is causing the problem and work with the team on how to fix it!  You effectively change the dynamics of what needs to be solved.”  

6. Independent facilitation keeps you challenged and inside the shoes of the customers 

Having an independent facilitator to coordinate and direct the team in a customer journey mapping workshop is vital for staying focused, not slipping back into the old habit of looking at problems from your perspective and keeping the energy in the room to explore and discover how your customers feel.

As Graham experienced, “We were working with a large group of NHS and private hospitals who were all employing lots of different processes to service the needs of their clients. My job was to facilitate the group to ensure that we uncovered and agreed best practice which at the end of the day enabled us to create a consistent approach for each step of the customer journey.  The team were able to focus on identifying and solving problems without worrying about sticking to the objectives or going off track as that was my job.”

Ian K described how “Having someone outside the business to ask those ‘stupid’ and obvious questions is gold dust in a customer journey mapping workshop. I am happy to oblige and be that person because the impact on a business of metaphorically ‘holding people’s feet over the flame’ in order to confront poor customer experience and solve it is exponential.”

This is why Ian so passionately believes that independent facilitation is key to getting the most out of Customer Journey Mapping.

If you would like to explore how Customer Journey Mapping can help your business
please contact us to arrange a CX audit call.