4 Customer Experience Measurement Framework Must-Haves


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Dear Airline Executive:

You may have noticed the Wall Street Journal’s latest rankings of airlines for 2013 using data from FlightStat and the Department of Transportation.  (If not, you can find the chart below and the post  here.)    Interesting isn’t it?  You may applaud it or be discouraged by it.  I employ you to do neither because it doesn’t tell a story you should act on.

As a customer experience practitioner, author and aficionado, I trust (hope and pray!) that you evaluate measures in addition to these.  Missing from this list of criteria is any experience that happens with your organization before or after actually taking the trip.   Your customer’s experience goes far beyond check in at the airport and arrival at the destination.    Your customer’s experience begins the moment a trip is needed to the moment they considering booking with you again.

That’s why I wanted to share the 4 critical components to a customer experience measurement framework.  It ensures you’re measuring the things that improve your customer experience which in turn drives profitability. 

  1.         Understand your customer’s need.
Every experience begins with a person and a problem worth solving.   As an organization, you get to choose what problem you solve and for whom.   Since customer’s needs evolve, it’s easier for organizations to stray from the need they are solving and not know it.   That’s dangerous.  Look deep within your own organization and make sure you are clear on the need you’re solving for your target customers

You’re all in the same industry.  However, it doesn’t mean you solve the same need.   Business travelers and leisure travelers have completely different needs.  For example, Delta – who recently revamped their 2015 Sky Miles frequent flyer program – is focused on the loyalty of business travelers who are employed by companies who are willing to pay more.  Their hook for the business traveler?  More miles, more perks and better status.   Southwest, on the other hand, is focused on leisure travelers who seeks low price and fun.   Examples include:  no baggage fee for the first or second check bag, a carefully cultivated culture, and the stock symbol: LUV.  In the aforementioned chart, I can’t ascertain which airline is better for business or leisure travelers.  The right measurements are reporting through the lens of the customer and tell you how well you solve their need.  

  1.        Know what matters most to your customers.

In every experience, there are a few moments that have a disproportionate impact on the entire experience.   We call them tipping points.   Tipping points have a halo effect which can be positive or negative.  Find these moments within your own experience.  Interview your customers, if you don’t know.  But get them right.  

If Mishandled Bags were a tipping point,   Southwest who ranks last in that category certainly wouldn’t have finished as high as 4th overall.    Conversely, if Complaints were a tipping point, Southwest who ranks first in that category would have been higher than 4th overall.  Sidenote:  Southwest does not charge for baggage and accepts late check-in baggage.  As the WSJ article points out, to better the Mishandled Bags score, they’d be required to put more restrictions on passenger.  The fact that they accept the low score in Mishandled Bags means they understand what their customer’s need and know what matters most to them.  Kudos!

  1.        Identity the metrics that measure success for your company at those points

Look at the tipping point from your vantage point and identify a metric that will tell you if you are delivering what you wish to deliver to the customer.  For Mishandled Bags, your measurement might be the percent of bags that are on the same plane as the customer.  This may be a completely new operational protocol such as marrying baggage and passenger information.   Or it may be a modification to an existing protocol such as having the gate agent sign off on it.   Either way, do what you must do operationally to get this important metric.

  1.        Identify the metrics that measure success for your customer at those points

Look at the tipping point from your customer’s vantage point and identify a metric that will tell you if they think you are delivering what you wish to deliver.  For Mishandled Bags, this may be the number of claims reported by passengers or a voice of the customer survey.  Find a measurement that best reflects the customer’s behavior or opinion even if it requires a change in operational protocol.

I ask you:  are your operational decisions aligned with what your customer values most?  Are you measuring the critical components of your customer experience?  If not, I’m happy to consult with you for an hour (at no charge.)   You’ll no longer worry about industry standards or benchmarks such as these.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Linda Ireland
Linda Ireland is co-owner and partner of Aveus LLC, a global strategy and operational change firm that helps leaders find money in the business performance chain while improving customer experiences. As author of Domino: How to Use Customer Experience to Tip Everything in Your Business toward Better Financial Performance, Linda built on work done at Aveus and aims to deliver real-life, actionable, how-to help for leaders of any organization.


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