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Forrester CMO: It takes more than CSAT and NPS to measure experience

22nd Sep 2015
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Forrester’s CMO, Victor Milligan, says businesses need to shift their thinking from using Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) as sole indicators for customer experience.

Speaking at the Digital Marketing and Transformation Exchange in London, Milligan stated that too many businesses currently rely on CSAT and NPS to gauges the quality of experience they offer to customers, but that both measurements fail to highlight how customers feel at different stages of their journey with a brand.                   

“Many companies attempt to continuously improve experience, but they’re using CSAT or NPS as poor man’s proxies; but neither measures experience,” he said.

“Neither tells you what’s happening at specific touchpoints. Neither tells you what happens on a specific customer journey – they just say ‘are you or are you not an advocate’, ‘how big an advocate are you’ and ‘are you or are you not satisfied’.

“So until the organisation brings experience-orientated measures in, they’re relatively blind to the thing that matters most – and that’s going to cause some companies harm because they’re making investment decisions now, they’re making operative decisions now. A big ‘to do’ for the CMO is to bring those measures in-house, across the whole enterprise. As a compliment to CSAT and NPS but not underpinning CX decisions.”

Milligan added that a more effective process of measuring CX was to bring in measurements associated with emotional engagement, ease of use and effectiveness, at each touchpoint that a customer engages with a brand.

“You need to measure the quality of experience at different touchpoints. You need to measure the emotional value, the ease and the effectiveness. How did it feel? How easy was it to do? Did it accomplish what you thought it would accomplish? Those three measures together give a visceral sense of a customer’s experience at each touchpoint. Without that, you’re blind to how that touchpoint is contributing to a customer’s journey.”

Milligan is not the first to question the validity of either CSAT or NPS as a measure for customer experience, with the managing director for Convergys, Cormac Twomey raising the issue of NPS effectiveness on in July.

A 2015 Convergys study found that eight in ten dissatisfied customers told others about their recent interaction, compared with just five in ten extremely satisfied customers. As a result, many contact centres are said to already be in the process of measuring transactional Net Promoter Score (tNPS), whereby customers are invited to rate their last interaction or transaction and not the whole brand experience, in a similar mode to the method Milligan has suggested.  

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