What is the most common mistake when measuring a Customer Experience?


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When asking your customers for feedback on their Customer Experience, what aspect of their Customer Experience are they referring to when they give you their answer?

Let me explain by drawing an analogy. When you buy a new pair of shoes they may rub and create a blister the first time you wear them. Just think what is happening in this process. As you put them on they feel fine. Then, as you start to walk in them they rub, ever so slightly, but you don’t consciously notice. At first it’s only a small irritation that is registered in your subconscious mind and, importantly, it has not reached the threshold we call ‘pain’, so the subconscious mind does not disturb the conscious mind. It is only when this rubbing reaches a point when pain is produced that you may think, ‘Ouch, these new shoes are hurting’!

The important point here is that the rubbing started to occur way before pain was recognised. The same applies to a Customer Experience.

When a Customer starts an experience with an organization there are many factors that can be subconscious irritations before the irritation turns into an emotion of frustration or annoyance. For example, imagine the experience of a Customer who calls a Customer Service center:

  1. They can’t find the number
  2. The number is not a free phone number
  3. There are many layers in their voice menu system
  4. The voice menu system does not have clear options
  5. They have to wait for the call to be answered
  6. When the call is answered the agent is clearly in a hurry
  7. The agent is not friendly
  8. The agent is not helpful
  9. The agent doesn’t answer your question.

In the example above it could be that when the call is finally answered the agent is not friendly. This is the final straw and from that point the Customer emotionally thinks, ‘this is a poor experience’.

Most organizations ask Customers to fill out a survey at the end of their experience. The danger is that if you ask, ‘what did you think about this experience’ or ‘what made you give us this score’, do you really think that Customers will list out all these aspects? Of course not. In fact, like the rubbing of your shoes at the beginning of the process, many times people won’t be conscious of this causing an irritation; it is only the cumulative effect that becomes the issue.

In addition, many organizations would ask, ‘What did you think of the agent’? The danger is the agent will not just be judged on their personal performance but the experience that precedes them. The customer is entering the experience with their ‘shoes rubbing’ and already feeling irritated. In this frame of mind they start to look for other signs to confirm their thoughts.

The reality is that many organizations just put a band aid over the parts of their experience that are ‘rubbing’ rather than dealing with the root cause. To do that successfully you have to break the measurement down into the parts of the experience to see how a customer is feeling at each of these points. It’s also critical to look at the cumulative effect.

Finally, and perhaps most challenging, is to consider if you have ever felt unhappy but can’t pin point the reason why? We all have. The unfortunate reality is that sometimes Customers can’t tell you why they are feeling a certain way. Or more problematic, they tell you something that is not true just to give you a reply. As you review experiences we have discovered it becomes critical to use psychological techniques to understand what is happening in order to discover Customers true feelings. This is why we use a process that we call Emotional Signature® (http://www.beyondphilosophy.com/services/research/emotional-signature) and match this with our database of over 30,000 data points and 1000 attributes to discover the true underlying experience of a customer. When you understand this you can truly say you understand and are measuring your Customer Experience.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Colin Shaw
Colin is an original pioneer of Customer Experience. LinkedIn has recognized Colin as one of the ‘World's Top 150 Business Influencers’ Colin is an official LinkedIn "Top Voice", with over 280,000 followers & 80,000 subscribed to his newsletter 'Why Customers Buy'. Colin's consulting company Beyond Philosophy, was recognized by the Financial Times as ‘one of the leading consultancies’. Colin is the co-host of the highly successful Intuitive Customer podcast, which is rated in the top 2% of podcasts.


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