How do you measure an experience? Before we whip out our measuring devices and table charts, we have to dip our toes into philosophical waters to ask ‘what is an experience?’ If it is an ‘event or occurrence that leaves an impression on a person’ then by its very definition it is a subjective feeling: after all, two people may have very different opinions after interacting with the same platform.
So how can you quantify a subjective experience within the digital realm, and what criteria can you use to achieve this? Before we lose you down the rabbit hole of existentialism, luckily there are tangible ways and means to measure customer experience (CX). The first step is to understand what CX actually is.
CX is the holistic perception that your customers develop when engaging with and experiencing each aspect of your business ecosystem. It is the result of every interaction your customers have with your business: from marketing campaigns to website navigation and customer service, and everything in between. It can also be viewed as the sum total of all customer interactions with your business.
CX is the art of designing a set of actions at each customer touchpoint that are deployed to have an impact on the feelings of your customers. The aim here is to establish an emotional connection with your customers to make them associate a positive feeling with your brand. Each customer interaction is a vital opportunity to improve how potential and existing customers feel about you which of course informs their decision whether to keep returning or not. Everything you say and do will have a direct impact on your customers’ perception of your brand which is why good CX is so crucial to your success.
Why CX matters
With increasing market and product saturation, consumers are spoilt for choice when it comes to where to shop for products. Savvy consumers now choose where they shop based on the brand experiences they receive before, during, and after purchase. Customers want to feel a connection to their favourite brands, and so CX has become an important competitive differentiator.
The ability to deliver really great CX lies in the understanding that the better the experience your customers have, the more they will return for repeat purchases, become brand loyal, and actively advocate for your brand. Really thoughtful and attentive CX drives customer satisfaction into the stratosphere and subsequently boosts the positive perception of the brand in reviews and recommendations. Good CX places customers first and is, therefore, the antidote to all businesses’ worst nightmares: complaints, returns, negative reviews, and churn.
So how do you know if your CX initiatives are working?
Methods to measure overall CX
The best way to measure CX is by engaging directly with your customers and asking them questions about their interactions at various touchpoints in their journey. But before you can start measuring your CX, it is imperative that you develop a customer journey map in order to visualise the experience each customer is likely to have when interacting with your business. This shows you where specifically to devote your energy to creating good touchpoints (i.e. point-of-sale, after purchase, customer onboarding, customer renewals, etc.).
In order to get an overall indication of how to measure your CX, you can use the following metrics:
- Customer Effort Score (CES)
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
- Time To Resolution (TTR)
These metrics are commonly presented to customers in a customer feedback survey. By keeping track of them, you will be able to gain an overall understanding of how effective your CX initiatives are and where to improve if necessary.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
This measures the customer’s experience with your product or service regarding the ease or difficulty with which they complete an action (i.e. how much effort is required to perform a task). CES is directly linked to customer loyalty: if too much effort is required to perform a task then customers are far more likely to choose another brand.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
This metric indicates how likely a customer is to recommend your product or service to friends and family (usually on a scale between 1-10 with 10 being ‘extremely likely’). The higher your NPS the higher your brand loyalty and advocacy will be. Of course, if a customer is promoting and recommending your brand to their network of friends, family, and colleagues then they have clearly been delighted with their experience.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
This measures how happy and satisfied your customers are with their experience. Where CSATs differ from the other metrics in the list is that they can be used to gain insight into both the entire customer experience or specific touchpoints throughout the journey. For instance, you can send a CSAT survey to find out how satisfied they were specifically with their customer care experience, or with their entire brand experience as a whole. This is a good way to find out precisely which touchpoints are working well or not.
Time To Resolution (TTR)
This metric indicates the average period of time it takes for your customer service department to resolve an issue or provide detailed feedback to a customer query. This is measured in time (business hours/days) and is calculated by adding up the total hours to resolution and dividing the result by the number of cases solved. No customer likes to be kept waiting, which results in frustration and a negative experience. The shorter your TTR the higher your customer satisfaction.
Measuring your customer experience is not a straightforward practice as it is a subjective practice by its very nature. However, there are valuable metrics you can use to gauge the overall impression and experience of customers on a holistic level: Customer Effort Score (CES), Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Time To Resolution (TTR). It is best to track all of these metrics in a combined approach to get a holistic understanding of how your customers feel about their buying journeys.