What is a customer journey health score - and should you use it?by
If you want an overview of how your customers interact with your brand that identifies pain points and also provides data-driven insights into how you can improve your customer experience... then look no further than the customer journey health score.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way you could get an overview of how your customers interact with your brand (including where their pain points are) that also provides data-driven insights into how you can improve your customer experience? Look no further than the journey health score.
These days, 11 out of 10 CX experts will tell you how important it is to measure your customer experience so you can show value. But beyond that imperative, their advice can vary.
One metric after another is touted as a magic bullet – “the one number to rule them all” – that everyone in your organisation can focus on.
You’re told that what you really need is a combination of sentiment, financial, and operational data to tell the story.
In my view, the former is fantasy, and the latter leaves you with too much (which means nothing at all) to focus on.
But if you combine those two nuggets of wisdom…then you’re really on to something!
The big picture
That “something” is the journey health score, a compound metric that enables you to measure sentiment, financial, and operational metrics across your customer’s journey.
(Is it just me or do you have that old Reese’s ad running through your brain right now, too? “You got metrics in my data!” “No, you got data in my metrics!” Okay, it’s probably just me.)
Customers experience your brand as a journey, so it’s not enough to measure what happens at one interaction or another. To track how successful the experience you deliver is, you need to understand the health of any given journey from start to finish.
As a dashboard wireframe on the health of the phases and overall journey, the journey health score reflects all of your key data. Just imagine: Your organisation’s financial and operational metrics displayed, with customer emotions and behaviors layered in, all working together to show the business outcomes for CX improvements on the journey.
It’s like the holy grail of CX: a clear display of how your CX initiatives impact both your customers and your bottom line.
By understanding, implementing, and monitoring your journey health score, you will be able to take concrete steps to improve the customer experience and make CX an integral part of your organisation – a part that’s supported, recognised, and appreciated by leadership.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
Journey health score foundations
To use a journey health score to improve your customer experience, you’ll first need to make sure you’ve identified your data sources and owners. This will play a critical role in your efforts to bring your journey health score to life.
You’ll likely also want to take advantage of available journey health score implementation services. Those experienced specialists can help you get started with customer journey mapping and acquire the skills you’ll need to embed that foundational capability in your organisation. (By specialists, I don’t just mean Heart of the Customer…though I do also mean Heart of the Customer!)
So how do you get your journey health score? Start with your journeys, of course. Capturing your customers’ perspective on what activities comprise the journey and what matters most to them is fundamental.
You’ll also want to gather feedback from people across your organisation to identify which measures they believe are most important or best capture each phase of the journey. Pro tip: If you hear a lot of disagreement, you’ll know you’re on the right track! Because that signifies that you’re creating a fuller, more nuanced picture of the journey.
Once you’ve compiled a list of measures, bring folks together to narrow it down and agree on the top several (ideally, 3-5) for each phase of the journey. Make sure that pared down list encompasses all types of data! Then decide on targets for each metric in each phase, and assign weighted performance scores that reflect the value of meeting, exceeding, or missing each baseline goal, as well as the value of each metric weighed against the others.
Journey health scores in action
For a revenue goal, for example, you might score a 10% increase as a 70, and give yourself a 100 if your growth is greater than 15%. But while total revenue is important, customer longevity – which adds to lifetime customer value – might be even more important, so you’d score that metric accordingly. Each phase ends up with a score. Average those scores to calculate your overall journey health score.
Once you’ve taken those steps and stood up your journey health score, you open up focused avenues for efficient, effective journey management and targeted improvements.
Journey management, for those unfamilar with the term, is the process of designing and optimising customer journeys. Your journey health score dashboard, which helps you visualise customer journeys and assess their health at both the phase and overall level, will fuel and guide those efforts.
Let’s take a look at how that might play out in two example scenarios:
A property and casualty insurance company
There are several key phases in the claims journey for a car insurance company, and many things to measure. For this example, we’ll discuss three phases: Start, Repair, and Keys in Hand.
So what does success look like? It might be a quick repair or a less costly one. Or maybe customer satisfaction. Or NPS when the repair is completed.
All of the above paint a full picture. But it’s a blurry one if you can’t see how each piece relates to the others, or how changing one aspect might impact other aspects or the customer’s perception of the journey overall.
So let’s say we did the math and calculated the journey health score for this particular journey to be 74/100, putting it in solid C territory.
But looking across the phases of the journey, we can also see that the Start phase earned a 63, which pulled down the overall score.
We identify two factors contributing to this slump:
- We have more people than we want contacting their agent to report a claim – a method of reporting that typically results in rework and slower response times.
- Leveraging Qualtrics, we also know we have people indicating a lack of confidence when they report a claim – and we know from past research that when customers are more confident, they make fewer calls, decisions come faster, and better outcomes result.
Meanwhile, the Repair phase of the journey performs much better, earning an 84, or an A. Actual repair time doesn’t deviate much from estimated repair time. That makes it easier for the repair shop to plan. That, in turn, gives customers more confidence in the process.
A big financial metric – rental days – drives the Keys in Hand phase: the fewer days a customer has to rent a car, the less it will cost the insurance company overall to settle the claim. The score for that phase comes in at 75, a very respectable B+.
The journey health score organises all the many metrics in this claims journey in a manner that shows how they relate to each other. That makes it easy to understand drivers for the overall score…and easily determine where your improvement efforts will yield the greatest ROI.
A non-profit tracking donors
Here, the overall journey health score for a non-profit organisation’s mid-level donor base journey comes in at 78, a B-. This donor journey includes several phases, starting at Awareness of different ways they can support the organisation. Next comes Onboarding, when they make their first donation (which often sets the tone for the rest of the journey). Then, Relationship Building, where relationship managers get to know the mid-level donors and interact with them on a regular basis.
For any charitable organisation, the easy answer to “what matters most?” is revenue. Without money, they can’t fulfill their mission. But that’s a lagging indicator. By the time a drop in revenue registers, the journey has already gone awry. Focusing on revenue means missing the opportunity to intervene when and where you can make the greatest impact on outcomes.
Looking at metrics across the journey provides much more valuable insights.
A strong Onboarding phase score reflects a large number of new donors and an increase in the average donation. Since those are the desired outcomes, there’s no cause for alarm.
But a low response rate to various communications during the Relationship Building phase does indicate a problem. Low response rates mean the organisation can’t identify the most important funds of interests for more than half their donors.
That makes sustaining their pace of growth difficult, if not impossible. They need to gain a better understanding of their donors’ priorities, needs, and preferred channels to increase engagement.
Adoption and execution matter most
Once again, we can see how the journey health score provides a view of the journey that goes well beyond a “magic number” or mountains of unfocused data. Rolling up your measures into one overall health score, while also being able to parse out phase scores, directs your attention to the areas you should prioritise. This saves the resources frequently (far too frequently!) wasted on journey improvements that don’t address the right issues or result in measurable business impact.
But of course, calculating your journey health score doesn’t mean it’s Miller Time. There’s still much work to be done – you’ll just be doing it more strategically and successfully.
At the end of the day, your journey health score will only be as powerful as its adoption rate. Luckily, incorporating metrics from across the organisation helps you gain support and traction for your score.
This article was adapted from a piece that originally appeared on the Heart of the Customer blog.
Over the last 20 years, Shawn Phillips has improved customer and employee journeys while implementing strategic software solutions at companies such as American Eagle, BlueCross/BlueShield, and Roots Canada. He’s skilled at pushing meaningful conversations that get to the heart of a business problem and uncovering data-supported solutions that...