The top CX measurement techniques - as ranked by CX leaders
Survey findings reveal what channels, methods and metrics are most popular with customer experience decision-makers.
To improve customer experience, it is necessary first to be able to measure it. There is no single best method or benchmark to use for doing so; many organisations use a mixture of data sources and methods to approach the issue from various angles.
Talking about CX measurement techniques is not just a matter of comparing one with another. The channel, method and metric need to be aligned with each other: for example, IVR (channel) can be used to gather a customer survey (method) which captures an NPS rating (metric).
The following findings are taken from ContactBabel’s “UK Customer Experience Decision-Makers’ Guide”, available free of charge from www.contactbabel.com, and shed light on what channels, methods and metrics are most commonly used to measure CX, and how they are being applied.
What channels are being used for CX measurement?
- Email is used by 68% of organisations that survey customers. An email-generated survey request can be immediate and easy for customers to complete. The email mechanism allows businesses to marry the customer feedback to known customer demographic data. The most effective form of feedback is often the “open-ended” questions that ask the customer for feedback using their own words. Email surveys are popular with businesses, but response rates can be low (2-10%) depending on how this is carried out. Response rates and accuracy are far superior when the email survey requests are sent at the point of service delivery in real-time, with 20% response rates achievable in this way. Furthermore, feedback collected at the point of service delivery is 40% more accurate than that collected 24 hours later.
- Outbound (34%). The contact details of a proportion of incoming callers may be passed to a dedicated outbound team, who will call the customer back, often within 24 hours, to ascertain the customer’s level of satisfaction with the original call. Sometimes customers will find this intrusive, while others will welcome the chance to provide feedback. The automated outbound IVR version of this method should also be considered as an option.
- SMS (21%). Text messaging has the advantage of immediacy of sending and also of reporting on the results. It is a cheap way of carrying out surveys, and can be linked to a specific agent, allowing the contact centre to use this information for agent performance as well as satisfaction with the business. While SMS surveys tend to ask simple rather than detailed questions, multiple questions which are contextually-driven by the answer to the first SMS can be asked, perhaps up to a maximum of three. A link to a web form can be included so that respondents have a chance to answer in depth if they so wish.
- IVR (19%). At the end of the call, the customer is passed through to an automated IVR system, which typically asks a mixture of open and closed questions which can be answered with a combination of DTMF touchtone and speech. This has the benefit of immediacy, in that the caller will be able to give an accurate assessment of the call and the agent, and also allows the business to be alerted in near-real-time to any major problems through pre-programmed automated SMS, dashboard or email alerts.
- Written (15%). A system-generated letter is posted to the customer soon after an interaction takes place, requesting feedback. Typically, more customers who have had a poor experience will bother to return the questionnaire, skewing the figures, and although some good and detailed learning points can emerge, it's an expensive way to survey customers. It's also the case that results will be tilted towards the demographics with more time available to them, especially older people. Web forms can also be used after online interactions.
What methods of CX measurement are most useful?
The chart below shows businesses’ views on the use and effectiveness of some of the methods of gathering customer experience.
The vast majority of respondents use customer surveys, employee feedback and complaint analysis in order to learn about customer experience, with a minority using speech analytics and mystery shopping.
Direct customer surveys were said to be the most effective method of gathering customer experience data, with 58% of respondents who use this method stating that it was very useful. Employee feedback and complaint analysis were also generally seen as useful, although not quite to the same extent as customer surveys.
There was a lack of a generally agreed view on how effective speech analytics and mystery shopping were: while 27% of those who use speech analytics to understand customer experience data found it very useful, 29% stated it as either of little or no use whatsoever. Mystery shopping fared even worse: 23% of those using it stated that it was very useful, however 37% found it of little or no use.
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What metrics are most valuable at measuring the customer experience?
Survey respondents that used specific customer experience benchmarks were asked to rate how useful they were.
57% of respondents stated that they believed that the customer effort score was a very useful indicator of customer experience. Most of the other customer experience benchmarks received very similar scores, with 40-50% of respondents stating that they were ‘very useful’, and similar proportions stating that they were ‘somewhat useful’.
Customer retention rates were seen as being relatively the least useful customer experience benchmark, with 20% of respondents that used this stating that it was only ‘a little useful’ at best, although it should be noted that this metric was still seen in a positive light overall.
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What CX metrics do senior management find most important?
Survey respondents were asked to pick a single customer experience metric upon which their board or senior management team most judged the success or otherwise of the customer experience programme.
There was a wide mix of responses, with NPS and customer satisfaction score accounting for almost two-thirds of responses.
Larger operations are much more concerned about NPS, with 42% of respondents from the £100m+ group placing it first, and 36% of the £10m-£100m respondents also doing so.
Small operations are far more likely than large organisations to rate their customer retention rate as being important.
Non-commercial organisations focus strongly on customer satisfaction scores, and are also most likely to use cost per service interaction as their no.1 CX-related metric.
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Significantly, first contact resolution rate was identified as being the key CX metric for senior management by only 6% of respondents overall. As reported here, our research over many years has consistently found that both businesses and consumers agree that first contact resolution is the most important single factor impacting upon customer experience when contacting a business.
As such, it is disappointing and surprising to see the lack of importance generally placed upon high first contact resolution rates despite its overwhelming importance to the overall customer experience.