Once you’ve established that your business needs a customer experience strategy, and you come up with a plan to ensure that company values reflect the importance of service-mindedness, it’s not enough to simply implement activities. As with any growth methodology for marketing and sales, you need to be sure that your customer experience strategy is working.
Evaluating your strategy can have several different subjective and objective elements, and should be measured against KPIs that makes sense for your business and goals. But most importantly, you should be measuring the effectiveness of your customer experience strategy during and after the customer lifecycle.
Why is it Important to Measure Customer Experience Strategy?
So why should you take the time and effort to measure your customer’s experiences? The simple answer is to ensure that your efforts are paying off. But the more complex answer is that with so many different customer engagement strategies in modern business running in tandem, you need to be able to have clear attribution for successes, and understand where missing pieces and gaps are in your handling of the overall customer lifecycle.
Since we don’t talk about the customer journey as a “funnel” as much anymore, and can now view it as a cycle or a “flywheel” methodology in which we are continually engaging prospects and re-engaging customers, it’s important to have clear indicators for performance for sales, marketing, customer experience, and each element that comprises those aspects of business.
How Do you Measure Customer Engagement?
So maybe you understand that it’s important to be measuring customer engagement, but it can be easier said than done. When it comes to customer sentiment, there are often both qualitative and quantitative measurements to take in order to get the full picture.
Unlike marketing or sales where we only need to look at hard numbers like conversion rates and average purchase value, customer engagement often requires more context, and can be much more individual. Because of this, some businesses struggle to find a clear way to measure, and can be unsure of when to measure.
What we can do, however, is understand that as with any kind of data analysis, we need a standard or a rubric to measure against. While industry standards are still iffy since true customer engagement strategy is relatively new, you can easily use your own data to measure against to identify patterns, issues, and opportunities.
To start properly measuring customer engagement, there are a few tools you should be using.
- Feedback tools can be highly useful for getting direct input from customers.
- Social media listening tools can help determine sentiment and patterns in language when customers or potential customers take to tweeting and posting about you, and a good
- CRM with automations can track and measure engagement with your digital assets such as your website and email correspondence.
- Review sites like TrustPilot and G2Crowd have become reputable sources where customers are able to voice opinions regarding products, services, and companies.
- And since social proof is becoming a vitally important part of sales, branding, referrals, and public perception, we cannot afford to ignore how customers talk about us online.
- And let’s not forget pure and simple sales data. Customer retention rates, churn percentages, customer lifetime values and cost per acquisition stats can all be indicators of quality customer experience. You just need to know which ones make sense for your business, and which ones you can attribute to the efforts you put into engaging the customer journey.
Deciding the Right KPIs
Speaking of retention rates and churn, customer experience strategy comes with its own set of important data points that need to be understood and prioritized. Not all data is created equal, and not all the information you receive about customers and their interactions with you will be useful for understanding the effectiveness of your strategy.
To decide which KPIs to measure against for your business, you likely should start by thinking about your actual products and services and the industry that you’re in. You should also know that collecting qualitative data can be so important because quantitative data doesn’t always give us the full picture when it comes to customer experience.
For example, say you are a B2C SaaS company. You have a very low rate for customer complaints and service tickets, but you are still finding you have a quite high customer churn. A low volume of customer complaints likely sounds great. But perhaps the reason the number is low is that the experience provided to your customers by customer service is so bad, they simply would rather unsubscribe from your platform.
Getting more context and deciding what KPIs are truly indicators of success, will help you to not focus time and energy on assessing data that is less important for understanding your customer experiences, or doesn’t really give you the full picture.
Measure Customer Experience During the Customer Journey
It’s crucial that in order to measure effectiveness of customer experience strategy, you should be taking heat checks at each phase of the customer journey. If you are only measuring customer experience after the purchase is made, you wind up perhaps missing some crucial elements where 1) the experience isn’t necessarily as fresh in their mind as it would be in real-time evaluations, and 2) you miss opportunities to address bad experiences that can still turn into sales.
Aside from checking review sites, social media, and getting feedback, you should look to a few different areas that can help show you the effectiveness of your customer experience strategy:
1. Conversion and usage rates
Conversion rates are an important metric for many different parts of business. We know our marketing funnel is working when we have high conversion rates on landing pages, and we know our sales team is effective when we have high conversion rates of leads to customers.
When it comes to customer experience, these numbers can be important to look at to also indicate that users are actually enjoying their journey with you. Pay attention to the percentage of users responding to feedback forms, or the percentage of users who utilize customer experience tools such as chat functions, demo requests, or tutorials.
Also take into consideration usage rates, site traffic, and content consumption. If you find that a customer is not logging in or using your platform regularly, there might be an issue with their experience with you. Or, on the other hand, if a user is viewing a lot of your content, repeatedly returning to your website, or engaging in other ways, you may be providing them with the right level of service.
2. First response and average handling time
In terms of customer service, complaint handling, and issue resolution, time is particularly of the essence. First response time is the time it takes for a customer to receive a response to their inquiry or issue, and average handling time is the length of time it takes to actually resolve.
These two KPIs can be extremely indicative to a lapse in your customer experience strategy. When these averages are high, customers can become frustrated, perceive you to be disorganized, or as if you do not value them. Remember that when dealing with a service phone line or chat function, customers will expect immediacy. There is more leniency given when it comes to email and ticket submissions such as through your actual support system. But, it’s crucial to manage expectations.
You can survive longer wait times, if you are at least communicating to your prospects and customers in a way that manages their expectations and results in resolutions that don’t leave them disappointed.
Customer Experience After the Customer Journey
Then of course it’s necessary to measure customer experience after the decision and during the delight stages of the customer lifecycle. While this may be the easier part, it’s important to compare after-sale sentiment and customer service metrics with the pre-purchase part of the journey.
This is so that you can ensure consistency in your overall strategy implementation and the activities you incorporate, you can better deliver to customer expectations that are set early, and you can also predict and track repeat purchases and facilitate loyalty.
What is the Best Way to Measure Customer Satisfaction?
There is little debate on how to get the most accurate read on whether or not a customer is satisfied with their experience: simply ask them. The specific type of feedback documentation that is used asks relevant questions pertaining to products, services, and experiences, and culminates in one of the most poignant questions: How likely are you to recommend us to others? In the modern consumer climate, the best way to know that a customer enjoys your business and the experiences they have with you is that they will tell others to do business with you as well.
Net Promoter Score
The rate at which your customers would recommend you to a friend is called the Net Promoter Score. Typically done on a scale of one to ten, the higher the score, the more likely they are to recommend your products and services. Scores of nine and ten are where you can see that you’ve created loyalists and referral opportunities. Scores of seven and eight indicate a need for improvement, but perhaps not all hope is lost. But anything at a six and below and you know you need to make serious adjustments in how you handle your customer satisfaction.
If possible, you should try to get as much feedback as you can in regards to why your customers chose the score they did. You can combine this with individual data on usage, any complaints or issues they may have had, and the actual purchases made, to create a full picture of how and why you didn’t score better.
If you see that a customer has selected a six on the net promoter score index, and you also see that there was not a timely response to a request made to customer service, or an issue has gone unresolved, you can take clear actions to remedy the issues in the future.
Customer Churn Rates
Especially for businesses that have recurring revenue models and subscriptions, churn rates are great way to monitor performance, of course, with a caveat. Without context or supporting metrics, you’ll only know that customers are leaving, but not necessarily why.
But you should keep an eye on churn rates especially when you implement changes in your customer experience strategy, implement new tools to help customers in their lifecycle, release new products, features, or services, change pricing schemes, or enter new markets. When churn rates fluctuate, you can be better prepared to attribute them to these changes.
You can also compare churn to average handling times, and any feedback collected pre-purchase. The more insight you have to what might cause customers to leave you, enables you to improve your customer experience strategy for the future.
Implementing customer experience strategies are no longer negotiable for companies looking to stay competitive in crowded marketplaces. But more than just adding in new customer-minded activities, you need to be ensuring they are actually effective. Take care to fully understand the context of your customer experience by looking at both quantitative and qualitative data, and look at the entire customer journey from a holistic viewpoint in order to fully understand how well your efforts are paying off.
To measure your customer experience correctly, you need to set yourself up for success with customer experience in the first place. To give your customers quality service and the types of experiences that result in repeat business and referrals, you need a tool that can help you to engage with them on a personal level. Zight (formerly CloudApp) visual communication features can:
- Easily create support materials and tutorials
- Optimize customer support workflows
- Provide customers with detailed answers and close Zendesk tickets faster
- Track & process bugs faster and document problems
- Improve customer support initiatives
Learn more about Zight (formerly CloudApp) for Customer Support here.