In this age of customer experience (CX), customers’ perception of your brand trumps everything, and every single interaction can make or break that experience.
Most organizations measure their customer experience through customer engagement, but only focus on interactions like web visits, conversions and sales. While these company-centric metrics are important, they overlook a bigger question: What do customers actually care about?
To deliver an exceptional customer experience, you must know the answer to that question and build your customer engagement around what really matters to customers. Identifying customer needs reveals how your business can solve them. That is the key to long-term business success.
So how can you measure what is important to customers?
LOOK AT CUSTOMER METRICS, NOT COMPANY METRICS
Many CX teams address the question “How are we (our company) doing?” by examining these key performance indicators (KPIs):
- Overall Satisfaction (e.g., “How satisfied are you with the quality of service you received?”)
- Customer Satisfaction (e.g., “Rate your satisfaction with the customer service representative”)
- Customer Effort Score (e.g., “Did we make it easy for you to handle your issue?”)
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) (e.g., “How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend?”)
These questions are company-centric—asking what result the company’s actions had on the customer. To improve the customer experience, you need to take a truly customer-centric approach by asking questions about what matters to them.
4 WAYS TO TAKE A CUSTOMER-CENTRIC APPROACH
1. SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE
You should be asking customers questions that address “How are you doing?” instead of “How are we doing?” Measurement should focus on what customers actually care about—not what you want them to care about. Those priorities are entirely different.
Working on a CX improvement project for a telecom in India, some of our experts visited the company’s store locations. During a visit, they observed an older gentleman walk into the store. When the manager asked “How can I help you?” the customer replied, “I can’t talk to my grandchildren.”
That’s how this gentleman measured success: being able to talk to his grandchildren. He didn’t say that he couldn’t connect to the network, or his SIM card wasn’t working, or his service was disconnected because his billing address was incorrect. He didn’t mention the performance indicators that telecom companies use to define performance and measure success.
Knowing what mattered most to this gentleman, the store manager could deliver immediate success by letting the gentleman use his phone to call his grandchildren right away. Meanwhile, the customer service representatives could solve the problem that kept him from being able to use his own phone.
2. TURN YOUR KPIS INTO CPIS
Are you making decisions about your products/services using the same performance indicators customers use? Companies use KPIs to gauge success, but are your KPIs measuring performance the same way your customers measure it?
Customer-centric companies measure Customer Performance Indicators (CPIs)—the metrics customers care about, as opposed to the ones the company cares about. For example, when a shopper is choosing a carton of eggs, there’s only one measure of success: uncracked eggs. As soon as a shopper finds 12 uncracked eggs, he’s buying that carton.
If egg producers used that same performance indicator, they might design the carton differently or change their transportation and shelving processes to better protect the eggs.
To improve your products, services and customer experience, you need to focus on CPIs. But how can you determine what CPIs to measure?
Related Case Study: ADT Builds A Better Bill with CSG Experiences Practice
Related Article: Putting People at The Front of Digital Transformation
3. ASK CUSTOMER-FOCUSED QUESTIONS
To understand what really matters to customers (i.e., CPIs), ask them about their:
- Jobs To Be Done—What are the most important jobs they are trying to get done?
- Expectations—How would they describe the positive outcomes or benefits they expect to gain?
- Obstacles—What’s getting in the way of them completing those jobs? What are the obstacles or pains they’re suffering from now?
The telecom customer’s “job” was to connect with his grandchildren, and a successful outcome was talking to them. The problem with his cell phone was preventing him from completing his essential job.
4. DON’T RELY BLINDLY ON SECONDARY MARKET RESEARCH
Making assumptions about customer preferences based on secondary market research can get you in trouble if you don’t know what methods were used to collect the data and produce the results.
One survey asked customers how they prefer to access online video content, giving them four choices. Almost 15% of survey respondents said they prefer to manage multiple subscription video on demand services themselves. Another company concluded that 86% of online customers do NOT want to juggle multiple over-the-top (OTT) services (e.g., Hulu, Netflix) themselves, and yet another group interpreted these results to mean that customers are tired of managing multiple OTT services.
Those assumptions are incorrect, based on the original survey methodology. The survey asked “What is your preference?” You can’t conclude that just because juggling multiple services isn’t your first choice, you’re tired of doing it.
Taking a customer-centric approach to measurement is essential for delivering superior CX that sets your company apart. The brands that excel in this next generation of customer experience will understand customers deeply and genuinely. To determine what really matters to customers, you have to ask thoughtful questions to get to the heart of what customers care about most. The CSG Experiences Practice team can help you uncover what is most important to customers and guide your CX strategy to deliver an experience that matters and exceeds their expectations.