Customer Experience is a critically important priority for the majority of executives worldwide. This makes sense, as companies that provide exceptional customer experiences realize a number of benefits including positive revenue impact, profit inflection, protection of market share, lower client acquisition costs and reduced customer churn. However, research has shown a gap between the customer experience companies believe they deliver versus what their customers actually encounter.
To narrow this gap, companies need to obtain an accurate picture of the customer experiences they are providing. Surveys are the most common research approach to measuring customer experience, and they are an effective starting point. However, the most successful companies will employ an integrated approach, incorporating a variety of research methodologies to produce a 360-degree view of the customer experience.
Here are four key research approaches all companies should employ when measuring customer experience:
Customer Attitude Indicators
Customer attitude indicators, the most well-known being the Net Promoter Score (NPS)®, are a good baseline in measuring customer experience that many companies use as starting point. Customer attitude indicators, like the NPS, typically measure customers’ self-reported likelihood to recommend a company to another person and are a good overall indicator of the effectiveness of customer experience.
Surveys are the most common method to measure customer experience, and are an effective complement to Customer Attitude Indicators, as they allow companies to investigate the key drivers and causal linkages behind customer satisfaction.
Surveys can be used to gather data on almost every aspect of customer experience, including attitudes before and after specific changes, brand expectation and customer satisfaction with customer service, responsiveness, and product performance and quality. If a company has adequately mapped customer journeys, surveys at taken at key points across the customer journey and analyzed in aggregate provide invaluable insight into the customer experience.
Customer Data Analyses
Mapping and analyzing actual behaviors against self-reported behaviors like surveys provides a valuable lens to augment customer experience measurement – a customer may report a high likelihood to recommend the product to a friend, and high satisfaction with the brand, but data can indicate if they actually purchased the product. Luckily, many companies already have access to a major customer experience resource: customer usage data. Delivery times, product quality ratings, customer demographics, online behavior, and transaction information can all paint a valuable picture of customer behaviors. Additionally, social media and other emerging technologies, like wearable, have made capturing geolocation data a possibility as well.
Qualitative research in the form of in-depth interviews, or ethnographic studies, can add much needed context to quantitative measurement approaches. Whereas data analysis and surveys can track what customers did, qualitative research is crucial for determining why customers did it. For example, if an online retailer analyzes its customer data and realizes it has a high rate of cart abandonment, qualitative research can determine exactly why it’s happening – perhaps the online checkout process is difficult, or the website keeps crashing, for example – and work to fix it.
Taken together, these four measurement approaches provide a comprehensive picture of customer experience, and most importantly, reveal changes companies can make to improve the customer experience, and ultimately, the bottom line.