Delivering a good customer experience, otherwise known as CX, is important for every company. However, CX is often difficult to define in terms of scope since it can mean so many different things. It’s not a metric, so how can it be measured? While the specifics can vary from one industry to the next, it has become more difficult and more critical to maintain positive CX due to the change in customer expectations in recent years. Customers now expect a seamless experience for every interaction, like they get with Amazon, Google, and Facebook. In order to become more efficient, organizations must implement a solid strategy to improve and operationalize CX.
Positive or negative CX can impact your bottom line. In fact, according to a study done by Accenture, in 2015, 64 percent of consumers moved some or all of their businesses from providers that had poorly perceived CX. However, without a plan you can waste valuable time and resources on the journey to better CX. Most don’t have this in place because it’s an ambiguous topic and difficult to navigate effectively. There are a few key things companies can do to measure its efficacy.
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The first step to improving CX is to get an understanding of your customers’ current experiences. The mechanics aren’t the most important factor- you can use surveys, focus groups, email correspondence, or any other method you feel is best. Be flexible and understand that it is not a “one size fits all” situation. Accenture’s study also found that 73% of customers get frustrated when companies do not offer a convenient way to interact, so consider an omnichannel platform to avoid this frustration.
If you’re just focused on drawing in new customers and not investing in retaining those you already have, then you are missing the mark. Gartner predicts that by 2020, one fifth of consumer sales will be generated by word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing, so this is especially important for B2C businesses. WOM has grown from its literal meaning to include Facebook posts and tweets, which can go viral if the experience is particularly bad or exceptionally good. Accenture’s report found that once a company loses a customer, six times out of ten they won’t get them back, which is why it’s imperative that your core base stays happy. To show the most loyal consumers that they are appreciated, consider referral programs or loyalty rewards.
From the internal side, it’s important to ensure you have buy-in from all employees involved in CX. If everyone within the company is not on the same page about what makes good CX, nothing you do will ever get past this stage. This is the most crucial part of operationalizing.
Implement a form of measurement
Without a yardstick to measure against, you will have no idea whether your CX is truly improving. Often, an overhaul can disrupt many processes, so make sure the correct measurements are in place so people can see tangible value and results.
One way to do this is to implement software tools to keep track of your findings; use CCM (customer communication management) systems, document management, or call center logs. You can also use tools to measure your CES (Customer Effort Scores.) CES determines if your product or service is giving them too much of a headache and what you can do to adjust it. Another option is a CSAT, or Customer Satisfaction scores. This number represents the percentage of customers who feel you excelled the last time they interacted with you (example: how would you rate your overall experience?).
Additionally, you can measure your Net Promoter score, which represents how likely your customers are to recommend your products or services to others. For smaller businesses that may not have the resources to measure these scores, instead measure repeat orders or contract renewals. This will let you know how many customers are coming back, and you can then figure out why that is. Perhaps the most valuable information you stand to gain are the things your customers say needs improvement.
At the end of the day, CX can become how both employees and consumers view the business; it needs to be consistently improved to continue to deliver more value to customers, increase revenue for the company, and cut out activities that undermine those goals. It can make or break a company. There is no blanket solution for 100% satisfaction, but by getting your employees on board, investing in your core customer base, and implementing the right tools, defining and operationalizing CX becomes a much less daunting task.