customer-support

Rock your customers’ experience in a measurable way

According to Walker’s study, by 2020 customer experience (CX) will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.

  • Over 90% of unhappy customers don’t complain, but simply leave.
  • Almost 70% of customers switch brands due to poor service.

No doubt: it is satisfied customers that drive your business. Thus, you must improve their experience with you and measure it on your way to excellence.

  • How to measure customer experience in a meaningful way?
  • How to produce satisfied customers?

Here’s how.

Customer experience vs. user experience

First, to avoid confusion, let’s emphasize that customer experience (CX) isn’t the same as user experience (UX). UX is the customer/user’s experience with a specific product, website, the design of the interface, app, software, etc.

user-experience

CX has a greater scope and includes all channels and products within the same brand. It has to do with how the user feels about them. CX represents every step of the customer journey from users checking prices, through using the product, to contacting customer service.

UX is just one part of CX. For designers it’s crucial to understand the larger context of the CX.

To better understand the difference between CX/UX, consider these examples.

You’ve purchased an app to edit pictures on your mobile. When you start using the app, the interface is confusing for you and you find it difficult to find the features you want (bad UX).

You call a customer support agent who’s friendly and explains all that you need step-by-step. On top of that, they offer you $20 compensation for your inconvenience (good CX).

You’ve just experienced bad UX, but great CX.

But the other way round is also possible. Let’s say, you download an airline’s app to purchase tickets. It’s the first time you’ve used an airline app, but using it is straightforward, feels intuitive and everything loads fast (good UX).

However, you don’t like other aspects of the brand, including customer service. Thus, no matter how great the app’s UX was, it didn’t make up for the rest, which damaged the overall CX.

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Keep your existing customers happy in a strategic way

According to Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to existing customers (60-70%) is much higher compared to new ones (5-20%).

Retaining customers will cost you less than acquiring new ones.

So always improve customers’ experience and measure it in a strategic way.

  • Select the right business/CX metrics for analysis.
  • Choose your end goal, e.g. improve customer retention.
  • Determine how you will measure your goal, e.g. churn rate.
  • Define targets in quantifiable terms, e.g. churn rate < 10%
  • Keep key business KPIs in mind, e.g. revenue or number of repeat customers.

Is there a one-size-fits-all approach for measuring CX?

No. CX life ain’t that easy! For a B2B company, NPS may be good, whereas for a B2C company, Customer Effort Score may be the right choice. A reasonable solution is to track multiple metrics over multiple timeframes.

The good news is that today you have access to tools and best practices.

NPS is one of the many…

A classic brand metric and one of the easiest and fastest methods is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). It indicates the percentage of customers that would recommend your company to their friends, family or colleagues.

However, Dennis Otto, Customer Experience Manager at Webinterpret, wouldn’t recommend businesses to rely solely on NPS.

webinterpret-otto-cx-nps

Dennis Otto, CX Manager at Webinterpret and the leader of the NPS strategy

NPS is based on a response to only one question (How did you like our service?). However, when evaluating CX, keep an eye on different aspects, e.g. the churn rate or the average resolution time required to solve a customer’s problem.

Further, it’s not a secret that what people say is not the same as what people do (I would recommend vs. I have recommended).

NPS measures how many people would spread a good word about you. But it is tracking actual referrals and reviews that will give you real numbers. This combines social listening and trackable customer advocacy programs. Monitor the quantity and quality of referrals you get from your existing, satisfied customers.

Referrals and five-star online reviews are every business owner’s dream. After all, you don’t have to promote yourself … people keep coming to you. If they’re happy with your brand and CX, they should gladly recommend your product to increase their own professional or personal worth and value in the eyes of others.

Thus, measure and track actual interactions and referrals as well as dig into the root causes of why customers contact your Support Team.

Get to the heart of customer experience.

Go beyond NPS to understand your customers’ experience

Surveys are great tools to collect data about your customers’ perception of you. However, surveys are more of a backup to see if the knowledge you gained from customer data is correct.

How to get this data?

For example, by checking how many calls and inquiries you receive. Monitor their volume and content, look for patterns, draw conclusions and follow up.

Some say no news is good news …so if this is the case, congrats! Your users may have no technical issues and you’re doing a good job. Great for your customer agents, too, as they don’t need to exhaust themselves, replying to tickets all the time.

On the other hand, some CX experts say that a high volume of service tickets is a good sign: customers still want to be successful with your product. After all … over 90% of unhappy customers don’t complain, but simply leave.

One of the newer customer experience metrics is the Customer Effort Score (CES). CES is about the relative effort required by the customer to do business with a brand, helping to determine how easily exchanges between the customer and the company are completed.

Faced with a choice of a single CX metric, many say they’d choose CES. Using your products should be as easy as possible. If the customer said it was effortless, this metric seems to be quite telling.

Customer journey mapping

If you survey customers after each transaction, they may appear satisfied at each point. But here’s the thing …

The very same people may report that they’re unhappy with the overall experience. The whole journey is greater than the sum of its parts.

When measuring CX, keep in mind the global view and observe customer interactions in context. For example, if there are complaints, where are they in your customer’s journey?

A customer journey map visually portrays the story of the customer’s experience. It offers a holistic approach from initial contact to a long-term relationship, taking into account the functional relation between parts and the whole.

It helps you to identify key interactions and pain points that the customer has with a company.

customer-journey-map

How long should your customers wait?

One of the biggest frustrations for a customer is to be bounced around and referred to several people who are unable to provide a solution. Quick response and handling times often equal high customer satisfaction levels.

  • If customer queries are not addressed quickly, 45% of US consumers will abandon an online transaction (Forrester).
  • 75% of online customers expect help within 5 minutes (McKinsey).

With Problem Resolution Time you can use a simple survey after a customer support interaction, e.g. asking how long it took to solve the problem or how many people a customer had to speak to before resolving the issue.

Then you’ll probably have to dig deeper, for example investigate whether the training and organization of your staff is sufficient.

There are a few other metrics you can use, such as Average Handling Time (ART) or First Contact Resolution (FCR).

You can also play a secret customer yourself as long as you can … keep it secret. This way you will have first-hand information about your marketing, product and the overall experience of working with your company and team.

10 ways to improve customer experience

  1. Spend enough time talking and listening to your customers.
  2. Understand the actual issues your customers have with your product, not the ones you or they think they have.
  3. Dig into customer feedback, fix any issues and communicate the changes you’ve made back to your customers. Then ask for feedback again.
  4. Set priorities, create an overall roadmap, align an individual department’s’ actions with the common good, i.e. satisfied customers.
  5. Be upfront with your (potential) clients and advertise your strong points.
  6. Set the right expectations to avoid customer dissatisfaction. Tell your customers what they will get for the price they’re about to pay. Your unique selling point may be the lowest price on the market yet a somewhat lower quality of the product / service, which is fine if it’s still good value for the price.
  7. Avoid making promises you cannot keep. Your business won’t work for all customers. Thus, build the right expectations and attract customers genuinely looking for the product price and quality you have on offer.
  8. [Improving NPS] Follow up with your detractors. Don’t leave them alone with their dissatisfaction or frustrations. They’re your invaluable lesson about the state of your customer experience.
  9. [Improving NPS] Turn passives into loyal customers. Ask them about what they’re missing and what’s holding them back from promoting your brand.
  10. [Improving NPS] Reward your promoters and investigate what they love about your brand and enhance this experience even more.

customer-satisfaction-excellence

Why can it be challenging to improve customer experience?

Ensuring perfect customer experience tends to be challenging from an organizational point of view.

For starters, individual departments don’t have the same amount of contact with the client and the same take on this subject, e.g. Customer Support vs. Product Development. Thus, the overall importance and value of customer experience may go missing somewhere along the line.

The challenge is to get all employees on board, many of whom may believe it’s a one-man responsibility. Yet individual departments can’t work independently of each other.

Consider this. Let’s say, the Product Team can create a new product, a really good one, but may fail to give enough information to Marketing. As a result, Marketing fails to communicate the right message to current and prospective customers and the Product Team’s effort may be completely wasted.

The bottom line: there’s a lot of interdepartmental work and sharing of responsibilities.

Check out the infographic below to better understand who plays a role in determining CX and what type of questions various parties can ask to contribute to great CX.

who-plays-role-in-determining-customer-experienceIn a nutshell

Improved customer experience means improved customer satisfaction, retention and increased cross- and upselling. All this works to your ROI’s advantage.

Customer experience is an integral part of product development and a company’s finances. The long-term goal is to make it a key part of daily activities across all departments.

Bring your customers closer to your brand, make them satisfied and benefit from their loyalty!

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