Customer Experience (CX) has become a bit of a buzzword, which is fantastic! More and more businesses are recognising the importance of understanding their customers’ experiences and implementing a customer-centric organisational mindset. But how do organisations evaluate their success? Here are some tips on how the Voice of Customer (VoC) program can be used to assess whether your customer strategy is right and your improvement efforts are bearing fruit.
Understand who your customers are and what they experience
You will need to understand your customers’ experience during interactions, e.g. a visit to the website to find information, a call to the contact centre to get a query resolved, or a walk-in at the store to ask for help; and for specific life stages or journeys, e.g. how was their onboarding experience, what they value about the products and services etc.
There are different ways to form a rough or a more precise picture of your customers. Two popular approaches are:
- Data-based segmentations. This is based on behaviour seen in your backend system. It can be as basic as knowing your customer’s age bracket, gender, location, and annual spend.
- Research facilitated personas. These sophisticated personas will tell you things like, “Tech Savvy Joe is in his mid-20’s, lives in an affluent area, loves caramel frappuccinos with extra cream, uses your coffee shop app regularly to check for great deals and visits your cafe 13 times every month”, placing him in the “high value” category.
Once you have a rough, or precise idea of who your customers are, you can start thinking about the experiences your customers are having, and the experiences you’d like them to have.
X & O Data: Completing the picture
Now, how do you know what an experience was like for your customer? You can ask them, and then you can observe them. We call this the X (experience) and the O (operational) data. And there are 3 fundamental things to understand within X & O data.
But how do we measure this experience? How do we capture, track and measure how the customer felt?
Let’s look into metrics.
Choose the right metric: NPS, CES or CSAT
Choosing the right metrics for the job is crucial for the success of the VoC program, as well as the ability to measure CX success overall. NPS, CSAT and CES are the 3 most frequently used customer feedback measures. They are complementary in nature, as they measure slightly different aspects of the customer experience.
- NPS (Net Promoter Score). How likely are customers to recommend the brand’s products and services to friends and family.
- CES (Customer Effort Score). How easy/difficult was it for the customer to get the query resolved.
- CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score). How satisfied was the customer with the service received.
Using them in conjunction can be a great way to measure customer success. CSAT and CES are often used to explain the overall NPS number in more detail. While NPS is a rigid metric designed as an overall brand health measure for a business, CSAT and CES are more specific measures that can be adapted to a given situation, e.g. product reviews, service interactions with call centre agents, website interactions, store visits and so on.
NPS is a long-term measure, as the likelihood to recommend a brand isn’t based on a single interaction. A history of interactions, touchpoints, word of mouth, etc. form a brand perception. And all those interactions and touchpoints that form a customer’s recommendation can be tracked and measured through CSAT and CES – they are able to provide actionable insights to pinpoint pain points and detect opportunities for improvement.
Due to the long-term and high-level nature of the NPS score, this metric is best used in relationship or benchmark surveys. In a touchpoint environment, CES and CSAT are more powerful and insightful.
Identify and prioritise improvement initiatives
Equipped with customer and employee feedback on specific customer pain points you can then dig deeper into root causes and build initiatives to address those. But typically you will end up with a list of initiatives and face prioritisation challenge. Depending on the stakeholder you ask, you’ll get contradictory views on what’s most important. Some of the prioritisation metrics that you are likely to use will be cost, timeframe and resources required to implement change.
You can use your customer feedback metrics again to help with the prioritisation. Combining the score with the volume of feedback mentioning a specific pain point provides you with an “impact” for the customer. Combining the impact of the pain point on the customer, with the impact it has on the business provides a clear picture to form a priority list.
Some Real-life Examples
Problem. “Rude agent” – Low CSAT scores
- Root cause analysis. Agent not trained in dealing with difficult situations/customers; lacks the knowledge to deal with specific queries; feels undervalued; gets frustrated and overwhelmed
- Potential fix. CSR training
- Result. Reflected in an improved CSAT scores as the agent is equipped to handle difficult situations/customers and complex scenarios
Problem. “Hard to find things on the website” – High CES scores (high effort)
- Root cause analysis. Customer/UX research to understand what customers struggle with
- Potential fix. Website redesign for specific journeys/queries
- Result. Reflected in an improved CES as it’s now easier for customers to find what they want on the website
While you will see your CES and CSAT score improving quite quickly as a result of your changes, the NPS score is typically slower to respond. As mentioned earlier, a service interaction to get a query resolved is only one of many signals impacting the likelihood to recommend a brand. Just because one interaction was pleasant, doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. You will need to deliver again and again to shift your NPS over time. Not just in terms of customer service, but also advertising, product design, quality of service, etc.