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    Seven Habits of Successful Customer Experience Measurement

    Michelle Uehlinger, Vice President, CEM

    Brands need to understand the ever-changing needs and expectations of customers. Customer Experience Measurement (CEM) programs enable organizations to collect “voice of the customer” feedback instantly and obtain a better understanding of customer experiences and sentiment. This real-time feedback empowers companies to react quickly, and capitalize on success, or course correct efficiently.

    CEM is the measurement and tracking of customer experiences and satisfaction covering activities such as in-store and online retail visits, product and service purchases, and call center interactions. This tracking provides valuable insight into the drivers of customer satisfaction and loyalty to a brand which directly impacts the bottom-line.

    Let’s look at seven habits that form the foundation of successful customer experience measurement.

    Involve Many Perspectives, Right from the Start

    In developing a CEM program, it is essential to involve all the departments that touch the customer experience in the conversation. These can span from frontline customer service representatives to district and regional managers on up to customer experience executives in departments including operations, finance, sales, marketing and research. A critical factor in achieving success is everyone being committed to the program, findings and follow-up actions that result from the findings. If groups are going to be measured in the CEM program, they need to be engaged in its development. That’s the best way to win their trust that the measurements are fair and create a sense of ownership among all stakeholders.

    Pick a Research Partner That’s a Cultural Fit

    The process for selecting a market research partner for your CEM program is similar to selecting an advertising firm for your business. In the selection process, you will find a number of capable firms. Through your due diligence, you will see a number of them have similar price-points and capabilities, including sophisticated analytics. Cultural fit with your organization will play a decisive role in separating the vendors. Closely examine how you work – and be sure your partner’s culture aligns with your culture. For instance, if you like to be kept apprised every program detail, you want a partner which intuitively works this way. Or, if you need your partner skilled at presenting in front of the CEO, be sure they have these capabilities.

    It’s not about the Score, it’s About Improvement

    Don’t make a score the focus of your CEM program. Human nature tells us if the goal is a number, the mindset of people will be to hit the goal score – and after achieving it, focus on maintaining that score. No matter what is the goal score or history of service to the client, the top goal of CEM is to drive continuous improvement. CEM is a process to get input about performance, utilize that input diagnostically and then make changes in order to improve. And celebrate your successes by being sure to make heroes out of the people who use data to gain insights for changes and improve their scores.

    Measure the Whole Experience

    Many times, a service provider may suspect there is a problem in one area of service and solely wants to focus on that one area – not wanting to waste time measuring other activities not considered problems. Be on guard against this approach because it does not represent the customer’s perspective. Take for example an online retailer which may solely focus on the internet experience in its metrics. If the company does not measure other factors – such as time for product delivery, condition of delivered merchandise and more – it will not be capturing the entire customer experience. You need to measure the whole experience.

    Measure Performance against Standards

    Whenever possible, measure performance against pre-defined, specific standards. For example, in many service dimensions, there is time involved. Check-out line speed, time to process an order and more. One CEM approach might involve asking customers: were you satisfied with the amount of time it took to complete your order, on a one-to-five point scale. A better approach for your CEM program is to identify the turnaround time most people feel is reasonable and measure to that goal. It’s considerably easier to rally your troops to achieve a 20 minute turnaround time than to score “five” on a scale. Then, 20 minute performance becomes part of your culture – and everyone is focused on this service deliverable.

    Build Analytical Linkages to Your Data

    In order to “lock in” validity to your CEM results, build in linkages to business metrics, like financial data, transaction volume, employee engagement and more. Building these linkages is a great way to pull in support from departments that otherwise may not be interested in your data. For example, take a hotel chain that may different types of properties, such as resorts, inner city businesses and transient consumer facilities. Providing the ability to analyze CEM data by each type of property is a potent tool to the people designing and running each property. Developing this level of analytics can be time consuming but the payoff is powerful.

    Utilize Spectacular Visual Dashboards

    Help your audiences to access information – not just data – at a moment’s notice. Be sure to tap visualization tools that make it easy for people to analyze data in real time. You want to have data presentation that can be tailored for multiple audiences from store-level employees to senior executives. Be sure to think not in scores, but rather in infographics which are quick and intuitive to consume – and move people to drive behavior change.

    A successful CEM program influences your service providers in changing behaviors to address always-evolving customer requirements and desires. It provides unprecedented access to customer data to glean real-time insights that support nimble decision making to generate customer experience improvements and increased sales.

    You can see our recent webinar on this topic here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKc9PiVRsIg