In the days of social media, your customers are more connected to one another than ever. Even a single unsatisfactory customer interaction can quickly spread and effect your organization’s reputation—and your bottom line. Yet understanding the importance of customer experience and knowing how to measure its success are two very different things.
Most organizations rely heavily on the Net Promotor Score (NPS) to gauge the effectiveness of their customer experience. And while NPS can give you an understanding of your customers’ overall impressions of your organization and your product, it doesn’t provide a window into the specific touchpoints of your CX. Other traditional metrics like Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), and Customer Effort Scores (CES) can provide a gut-check on in-the-moment interactions. But they provide only a basic understanding, and leave no impression of how your customers’ experience of each of these touchpoints string together to form the overall experience.
Creating a truly “wow” experience for your customers requires that you understand their pain points across the entire customer journey. If you don’t know where these pain points are, and how they fit into your overall customer journey, you’ll never be able to fix them and get your CX running smoothly. But luckily, there are many other customer experience metrics that can give you a more in-depth picture.
If you’re ready to level up your customer experience, check out these in-depth methods for measuring and analyzing your CX.
There are many ways to structure a customer listening initiative. But effective customer listening is much more than just reading survey responses. It involves actively engaging with your customers—preferably face-to-face—to understand their needs and expectations. This can be done in a variety of ways, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. But speaking directly with your customers about their experiences with your organization is the one of the most direct ways to analyze your customer experience.
Adopting one or both of these methods can tap into valuable insights that go unnoticed by traditional metrics.
Customer Co-design Sessions
A co-design session goes one step further than just asking questions and listening for insights. You can invite a group of your customers into the room directly with you to share their experiences, then help you co-design solutions to solve the pain points. This way, you can be almost guaranteed that your updated customer experience reflects your customers’ understanding of their own needs.
Customer Advisory Boards
Bringing together an advisory board of select customers to speak with on a regular basis allows you to build a rapport with the group and elicit more candid feedback. They can also give you an understanding of your experience’s evolution over time. Their feedback can serve as a goldmine for understanding the intricacies of your customer experience.
In a world of AI chatbots and outsourced customer service call centers, in-person customer listening adds a human touch to your CX measurement. By actively engaging with customers and addressing their specific needs, you can build trust, loyalty, and a positive brand image. Most importantly, it can set you apart for your competitors by fostering a more customer-centric approach.
But customer listening can also have its downsides. As the old saying goes, “If Ford has asked the people what they wanted, they would have asked for faster horses.” Of course, this isn’t entirely true, but the sentiment is a good reminder. A person’s thoughts about what they want aren’t always the best way to solve their problem.
That’s why, when performing your customer listening sessions, you have to be wary of taking people at their word. Don’t automatically implement their suggested solutions. Instead, take the time to understand the roots of their pain points and what aspects of your CX cause them. Then, use a combination of their suggestions and your own research and insights to develop solutions that give your customers not just what they want, but what they need.
Social Media Analysis
If you’re looking to understand your customers conscious and unconscious impressions of your organization, there are few better places than social media. Social media is a treasure trove of customer insights waiting to be explored. Analyzing social media interactions provides a dynamic understanding of customer sentiments and preferences.
Here are our top strategies for gathering and utilizing these insights from social media.
For better or worse, your brand is being discussed on social media. But the landscape of social media is broad and difficult to parse through. There are many online tools that exist, however, to gather and analyze the overall sentiment behind social media mentions.
These can help you understand whether conversations around your brand are positive, negative, or neutral.
Find the places where your customers (and potential customers) might be looking for recommendations for products or services like yours. Then, see how your brand stacks up against competitors in these recommendations and other social media discussions. This can help you identify areas where you may be falling short of (or outshining) your competitors. You can then focus your CX improvement efforts on these shortcomings—and focus your marketing to capitalize on where you shine.
Social media is a great tool for monitoring trending topics related to your industry. Keep up on related hashtags to see how others are discussing the difficulties and pain points of their experiences with yours and other organizations in your industry. This not only keeps you informed of trends, but also helps in tailoring your customer experience to current preferences.
Social media analysis provides real-time insights into customer opinions and industry trends. This allows you the opportunity to both address the concerns voiced on social media, but also to capitalize on positive trends. By being responsive and adaptive, you can position your organization as a thought leader, earning the loyalty of your customers and the respect of your peers.
Voice of the Employee
Your employees are typically the most underutilized resource when it comes to improving your CX. Employees who directly interact with customers possess a wealth of knowledge about their preferences, pain points, and expectations. Yet organizations rarely bring their boots-on-the-ground into the CX improvement process. But doing so has many benefits. Of course, it’s a great way to gain deeper insight into your customers’ needs. But it can also improve your employees’ experience of your organization. Being invited into the process can help them feel heard and appreciated by the higher-ups, increasing their loyalty and effectiveness.
Here are some of our favorite ways for harnessing the voices of your employees to improve your customer experience:
Regular Feedback Sessions
Much like customer listening, eliciting firsthand experience through employee listening can uncover nuances that might be missed through other metrics. Schedule regular feedback sessions with frontline employees and ask them what they’ve been hearing from customers. But remember: the only thing worse than not asking for feedback is asking for feedback and then ignoring it.
If your employee base is too large to speak directly with each individual, broader employee surveys can be very effective in gathering insights. Conduct surveys specifically focused on employees’ observations and insights regarding customer interactions. If you want to ensure the feedback is candid and honest, ensure full anonymity so employees don’t fear repercussions for their responses.
If your employees are siloed into separate arms of your organization, they’ll never be able to give a holistic picture. But by fostering collaboration between different departments, especially those with direct customer interaction, their insights can provide you with a deeper understanding of the customer journey.
Recognizing and acting upon the insights gained from employees not only enhances customer experience but also creates a positive work environment. Businesses that prioritize employee insights in their customer experience strategy create a cycle of continuous improvement. Happy and engaged employees are more likely to provide exceptional customer service, contributing to long-term customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Find your competitive edge
While traditional metrics like NPS, CSAT, and CES remain valuable, if you’re trying to gain a competitive edge, you must embrace unconventional methods to measure customer experience. Customer listening, social media analysis, and the voice of the employee offer nuanced insights that enrich your understanding of customer needs and expectations.
By adopting these methods, your organization can personalize customer interactions, proactively address issues, and stay ahead of industry trends. The competitive advantage lies not just in meeting expectations, but in exceeding them through a human-centric approach to customer experience.
Over the last 40+ years, we’ve assisted numerous organizations in elevating their customer experience using these and other methods. If you’re ready to take your CX to the next level, we’d be happy to chat. Just shoot an email to our Principal Steve Frank at [email protected] and we’ll get back to you ASAP.