Customer Satisfaction, Loyalty, Recommendation, Effort, Spend, Tenure…the list of customer metrics is long and varied. Companies often track more than one and use it as an indicator of how well their customer experience is being delivered. They are reported with the hope of directing action towards constantly bettering the experience.
More often than not however, companies struggle to action their customer metric results or find them insensitive to change. In other words, when the customer satisfaction score drops, the “So what now?” question arises or when customer satisfaction score remains the same but churn increases, doubt and scepticism around the relevance of customer experience appear. The first and most intuitive question most companies start asking themselves – ‘are we using the right metric’? But that is not the right question to ask, or at least not the one that will solve the issues mentioned above.
If you are tracking any of the above listed metrics (or a combination of those) then you are doing a good job at tracking your customers’ reaction to your experience. Satisfaction, Recommendation, spend, loyalty- all these reflect your customers’ attitude or behaviour as a RESULT of the interaction with the experience they have. And you are correct to do so, as knowing how your customer reacts to your experience is absolutely important.
However, these are what we call Customer Outcome metrics as they measure the outcome of the experience you deliver. These are equivalent to measuring how much weight the scale shows you’ve lost after a week of dieting. It measures your success in reaching the goal.
Customer Experience metrics however, measure the experience itself as seen through the eyes of the customer. They tell you how well your experience is doing, not how good the outcome is. They represent attributes of the experience (as perceived by customers), not customers’ reactions.
The table attached summarizes the two.
Customer Experience metrics are more like the diary you keep to make sure your diet is on track. These would be the qualitative aspects of the experience (the attributes) as described by customers. For instance, if you are asking customers to rate the quality of the response given by the call centre agent –you are measuring the experience; but if you ask them how satisfied they are with the response of the call centre agent (as a result of the quality)-you are measuring their response to the attribute i.e. the outcome.
Both are needed and necessary if the business wants to keep their eyes on the customer and the experience. At the same time, both need to relate to business value and some pre-work of investigating how they relate to business value is always advisable (example methodology of how to identify the drivers of value in the experience here: Emotional Signature®)
Perhaps it is helpful to ask yourselves the following:
- Are we measuring only customer outcome or the customer experience well?
- Do we know which attributes of the experience drive or destroy our business value?
- Do we measure the performance on these attributes as seen by customers?
More about designing metrics here: How to design a Customer Experience Metric.
Special thanks to Rhonda Dishongh for inspiring some of the examples in the blog.