Are You Measuring Part or All of the Customer Experience?

“A satisfied customer is a happy customer.”

That’s a well-worn saying — one that carries a degree of truth. But how do you know whether your customers are truly satisfied? Measuring something as emotional as an experience can be as much of an art as it is a science.

Why do people do what they do?

Sure, we have tools and metrics — surveys, Net Promoter Scores, the number of likes and followers — as well as behavioral analytics such as time on page and click-through and abandonment rates. And we use them to try and determine satisfaction levels. These are indicators of what some people do, but they don’t tell you why they do it.

Are you measuring based on what you believe your customers want as opposed to what they actually need?

Customers don’t come to your website or digital platform actively seeking out your latest marketing messages. They come because they have things they need to do. Those things can range from making a purchase to setting up an account to changing account information to paying bills. Therefore, efforts to measure the success of a customer experience must be based primarily on how easy it is to accomplish those tasks, with less of an emphasis on how often users click your call-to-action buttons.

One area with a long history of helping customers get stuff done is the customer-support call center. In recent years, I’ve heard many companies talk about a customer-experience success metric as being the number of calls that get deflected from the support center to a self-help portal on the website. That doesn’t measure customer-experience success; it just measures a process change. If you don’t have the right content on the self-help portal, and if that content isn’t easily accessible and navigable, then you may be delivering a worse experience when you send people to the self-help portal.

The word deflected makes me shudder because it implies (at least to me) that the company is actively avoiding engaging with its customers.

Customers want answers

This is especially worrying when research shows that what most customers want when they engage with a company are answers to questions. For instance, research by the Search Engine Journal showed that the top five content types that customers look for on a website can be summarized as follows:

  1. Answers to the five W’s (who, what, when, where, and why)
  2. How-to guides or instructions
  3. Definitions (especially of complex terms)
  4. Product comparisons
  5. Prices and cost breakdowns

That research confirms that customers want easy access to answers from any part of your organization. It’s no longer true (if it ever really was) that marketing provides one type of information and customer support provides another.

In the business-to-business environment, there is strong evidence that customer-experience needs are driving cross-functional convergence of content. A leading software company reported that over three-quarters of the visitors to its main websites want to look at technical content about the use and implementation of its products. Therefore, they now include metrics for what were traditionally seen as support functions in their overall customer-experience reporting.

Take a holistic approach

Do you measure in isolation as opposed to holistically?

In general, the metrics used for measuring customer experience still tend to be the indicators of success (or failure) for individual operational departments or groups. Rarely, if ever, are they looked at in a holistic way to provide an overall measurement of customer satisfaction. It’s possible that you could be scoring highly in specific categories but still delivering a poor overall customer experience because the journey is disconnected.

By looking at customer-related metrics as part of an overall ecosystem and not as separate performance indicators, you can develop a clearer picture of a customer’s overall journey.

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