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Measuring customer experience isn’t easy, but it is essential if you hope to improve your customer experience. Understanding the drivers of customer satisfaction can help you determine where to invest your time and money.

So, what metrics should you measure? What technology should you use? And, what obstacles should you expect?

Challenges of Measuring Customer Experience

New Variables

Customer expectations have drastically changed during the last decade, so drivers of satisfaction you measured in the past may not be the same variables that matter today. Today’s customers expect self-service, convenience and personalization. Customer touch-points span more channels than ever before, so you’ll need to track more metrics and consider the unique metrics of each channel.

Lack of Integration

Many organizations haven’t integrated their ERP system, or main system of record, with their e-commerce system or content management platform. Without one version of truth, customer metrics are difficult to decipher.

Lack of Ownership

Even organizations that have actionable customer metrics struggle to decipher them simply because they didn’t assign data ownership. Should the sales department be responsible for some metrics, while the marketing department is responsible for others? Which decision makers need access to dashboards? These ownership decisions baffle many organizations.

Tools for Measuring Customer Experience

Before you measure customer experience, you need processes and tools for collecting quantitative and qualitative data. Most organizations collect this data within their CRM systems, which integrate with their ERP systems. The ERP system provides additional insights from the business as a whole and offers advanced analytics capabilities.

Common sources of data include billing, help desk, web analytics and social media. Some organizations gather additional data from focus groups and customer surveys. Ideally, all of these data sources should flow into an ERP system to ensure a single version of truth.

Some technology falls short when it comes to measuring customer experience. Based on your business strategy and IT strategy, you can evaluate your current systems to determine where you should invest in new technology.

The best technology for measuring customer experience integrates data from multiple channels and supports customizable dashboards. The technology should also include business intelligence functionality, as this will help you diagnose root causes and predict potential outcomes.

What other functionality should you consider? Requirements gathering workshops can help you determine this. Some organizations involve their customers in the requirements gathering process by asking them how they’d like to interact with the company and what would make their lives easier.

Most importantly, don’t look for the lowest cost solution, but the solution with the highest ROI potential.

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Best Practices for Measuring Customer Experience

Common customer experience metrics include customer satisfaction and net promoter score. These metrics can be cross-referenced with other metrics or insight to determine the drivers of satisfaction. For example, if a customer has a high customer satisfaction score, you can investigate contributing factors, such as website user experience. This helps you prioritize improvement efforts based on their level of impact.

Customer satisfaction and net promoter score can each be measured through a single, straightforward question on a customer survey. Net promoter score measures customer loyalty and likelihood to recommend. You can divide responses into three categories: Promoters, Passives and Detractors.

In addition to top-level metrics, you should determine metrics for each stage of the customer journey as well as each transactional touchpoint. You can correlate these with top-level metrics as well as operational data, such as sales figures and HR data.

A customer journey map is useful in this process as it helps you make sense of both quantitative and qualitative data. As you identify pain points throughout the customer journey, you may generate ideas for new product or service offerings. This may also give you ideas for process improvements, in terms of customer interaction processes as well as product or service rollout processes. You may also want to track customer buying histories and preferences as this will help you improve targeting and personalization.

Almost as important as what to track is who should track it. Your sales and marketing departments should each be accountable for tracking and communicating certain KPIs. These departments should agree on how metrics should be interpreted and acted upon. One way to interpret customer experience metrics is by benchmarking against your direct competitors as well as industry leaders. This insight may help you think of innovative ways to serve customers.

Customer satisfaction is not just the responsibility of sales and marketing. Your entire organization should have a customer-focused mindset, but this doesn’t happen overnight. If you appoint change agents in every department, they can ensure that actionable insights make their way to decision makers.

Creating customized dashboards for decision makers and holding regular meetings will enable you to act on data in real-time and make continuous improvements. If you have a call center, your reps should have easy access to customer feedback, so they can make informed and timely decisions.

Measuring Customer Experience to Transform Your Organization

For many organizations, providing an excellent customer experience is part of their competitive advantage. A positive customer experience can lead to repeat business, which is the lifeblood of most organizations.

If your organization is customer-centric and dedicates time and resources to measuring customer experience, you may want to consider a digital transformation initiative – you can use customer metrics to design new service offerings and new ways of interacting with customers.

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