Tracking customer experience? Measure outcomes, not indicators
Ask any brand to rate their customer experience on a scale of one to 10 and most will probably choose a high number. Now ask one of their customers, and they’ll probably give a different answer – a lower one too. This is the ‘customer experience gap.’ Trinity McQueen’s Mike Cooper, head of customer experience, considers the cause of this difference and how to work around it.
Trinity McQueen on the role that customer experience tracking plays and how marketers can pack a punch
The customer experience (CX) gap is the difference between what brands think they are offering in terms of an all-encompassing customer journey, and what their customers are actually experiencing. And the gap is growing.
One of the reasons for this is that, when brands review their CX, they often look in the wrong place. Brand heritage and market norms mean very little to customers nowadays. Likewise, KPIs and touchpoints don’t tell you that much either – and what they do tell you, you can’t really change.
Instead of measuring indicators, brands should be measuring desired outcomes – four in particular.
The first – and probably most important – outcome is choice. Remember, it doesn’t matter if your customers know you or have never heard of you. What matters is that they choose you.
But how do you track choice? It’s not as simple as just asking customers what they think they will do. Survey respondents are known for saying one thing and then doing the exact opposite when the time comes to actually make a decision.
To understand what customers are likely to do, you need to understand how their behaviors influence their decisions first. From there, it’s a case of identifying every possible barrier that could stop a customer from choosing you. Then you just need to remove them.
Usage refers to how customers go from choosing you to actually purchasing from you. Who is buying what? When and where are they buying it? And why are they buying it? Answering these questions not only helps you distinguish the full range of decisions a customer makes throughout their journey with your brand, but also what drives and motivates those decisions.
But usage also refers to how customers use your products or services once they’ve paid for them. By tracking CX beyond the initial point of purchase, you can identify what’s really important to your customers, and shape your products or services to meet those expectations.
The golden rule with customer loyalty is that no news is bad news. Some studies suggest that only one in 26 unhappy customers actually make a formal complaint. Of the remaining 25, some might stick it out with your brand, but many will leave without saying goodbye.
That means you can’t just ask for customer feedback once in a blue moon. You need to be consistently reaching out if you want to ensure that you are still going above and beyond for them.
But remember, not all customers are loyal for the same reason. Some may love your brand, your products and what you stand for; others may only come back to you because there are no appropriate alternatives.
In other words, it isn’t good enough asking if customers are loyal to you. You need to find out why they are loyal to you. Only then can you turn them from loyal customers into advocates.
Customer advocacy is key to business growth. It’s the part where existing customers begin to positively influence potential customers through online reviews, social channels and word of mouth. And this only happens when a great product or service is matched by an equally great CX.
Anyone can provide a satisfying experience, but it’s much harder to deliver an experience that people can’t stop talking about. That means standing out from the crowd – a task that will only get more difficult as the crowd around you creates better and better experiences too.
So, when it comes to CX tracking, one thing is clear. If you’re not measuring choice, usage, loyalty or advocacy, then why are you measuring anything else?
Click here for more information on Trinity McQueen’s philosophy behind CX Tracking.
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Our belief is that people are poor witnesses of their own behaviour. This informs everything we do, making our findings more insightful and powerful. The way we retrieve and interpret our data, we are never misled. We uncover a truer story and help make the right decision an easy one. Winners and finalists of the prestigious MRS and AURA national awards for the last 10 years.Find out more