In order to create a great customer experience, we need to be able to measure our current ones in order to understand where improvement is needed. Furthermore, once enhancements are made, they need to be monitored for continual improvement.
Measuring the customer experience is definitely not as simple as measuring the results of a single tactic such as a website, email marketing campaign or in-store sales. The big challenge with measuring customer experience is that it needs to take into account all of your touch points. The opportunity is worth it, though, as it can show you how small improvements in specific points in the journey can make a huge difference.
But where should you start? In my experience working with many clients looking to improve their customer experience, once a measurement effort is able to launch, no matter how small, it makes a huge difference in the long-term success of the effort. This article explains four things to do to get started in measuring your customer experience that will set you up for success.
1. Pick an achievable first goal.
You can’t do everything all at once. In fact, even if you have the time and resources, it’s advisable to start relatively small and achieve some early learning and quick wins.
You could choose a business area with obvious opportunity or a customer segment that can drive significant value. Your data and insights might identify a specific product, service line or audience group that is particularly profitable and increasing in its engagement with your brand. Using one of these as a starting point can be a good way to prove the value of customer experience optimization.
You could also determine where customers are most often leaving for your competitors, and focus on a particular point in the customer journey that needs the most improvement. For instance, is the disconnect between steps in a purchase process too cumbersome? Is it too difficult for someone to repeat a previous online order? Where are the points of friction that make it challenging for your customers to buy more from you? Focus on one of those as a starting point so you can see the benefit of your efforts quickly.
The other thing to keep in mind is that, particularly for larger organizations, you will probably want to focus your initial plans on a smaller set of customers and/or product lines anyway in order to not create a project that is so large and sweeping in scope that it risks endless delays due to the complexity of changing the way the entire organization does business. By successfully rolling out measurement of a discrete set of target customers, you can then apply your learnings from that initial pilot project to future initiatives.
2. Define a methodology.
After defining your first steps, you need to determine how you will measure success and how you will report on them.
Timing: Make sure you understand what time increments make the most sense based on the purchase cycle. Does monthly, quarterly, year over year or comparing previous periods make the most sense?
Personas: Clearly identify which personas you are measuring against and ensure they have been thoroughly defined.
Accuracy: Ensure you are able to accurately gather data and metrics from each step in the journey and that you are able to determine the sequence of their interactions in order to tell which channels move someone from one step in the process to the next.
Testing: Look at how you are conducting A/B or multivariate tests and how this affects your reporting. Also, keep in mind what reporting frequency makes the most sense for you and your organization.
3. Build the system.
Once you have defined the requirements and determined your methodology, you need to build and connect your system. Most organizations have multiple systems that need to be more fully integrated in order to implement a measurable customer experience.
This will potentially require some custom software development or at least some API integrations between systems and data sources. Make sure you have the buy-in from all necessary parties before you start an effort like this. It may involve systems that different departments or divisions within your organizations are using frequently.
4. Measure and optimize.
Since you’ve defined your key performance indicators previously, all that is now needed is a way to pull all of the associated metrics into a common platform or report in order to measure your progress.
You might also need some tools to chart or map your success, such as reporting tools that allow multiple data inputs. You can separate your CX measurement into three categories:
This includes interaction-based metrics like website visits, social media follows, email opens and other things that indicate a user is interested in the content, offer or product/service you are selling. What did the customer do? These metrics are most likely the easiest to understand because they are generally what marketers are tracking and measuring. They consist of things like product page visits, social media follows or traffic to stores.
This includes how easily and effectively the process is to generate an outcome. When the customer performed the action, what was the experience like? Did they wait a long time or have to go through many steps? Did they require a phone call or online chat in order to complete the task?
This most closely maps to your overall business and marketing objectives. These are the things you ultimately want customers to do, such as purchasing a product, renewing their membership or recommending a colleague to use your service. What actually occurred as a result of the customer’s action?
With the increased focus on customer experience and its optimization, the successful organization will build methods, processes and collections of tools to measure, report and analyze CX. This is a critical step in the process and one that is ultimately responsible for its improvement.
Written by Greg Kihlström
The post originally on Forbes