My kids are a few weeks into their summer break and with all the time we’ve spent together as a family, one thing has become clear – those little humans are very curious. They ask a ton of questions about everything. But they’re not just random questions. I can tell my kids genuinely want to understand the world around them, which I absolutely love because I’m the same way. I’m constantly wondering to myself, “why is that?”
This came to my attention because the other day I found myself poking around on Google Trends to see the most popular search terms and topics. I guess I’m not only curious within my own life, I’m also curious about what other people are curious about. After getting caught up in celebrity news and finding out that the top cooking recipe search is “TikTok pasta”, I shifted focus to some business-related topics. I like to keep up with customer insights industry trends and see what people are talking about.
One of the most searched phrases caught my eye because on the surface it seemed straight forward, but the more I thought about how I’d respond if someone brought it up in conversation, the more I realized it’s complexity: How to measure customer experience.
The center of our world at MacKenzie is empowering customers to have a voice in how businesses operate, and it’s no secret that customer feedback is my go-to approach for measuring customer experience. There are certainly other useful metrics, such as conversion and churn rates. But I believe the best way to measure customer experience is hearing directly from the customers themselves. So, if you’ve ever searched this topic yourself, here are a few things to remember.
#1 – Many pieces make up the whole.
When talking about measuring customer experience, a likely initial thought would be about customer satisfaction. It was for me at least. This is the gold standard CX metric, so it should be front and center. But before gathering satisfaction scores we need to dissect the customer experience itself and break down its individual parts.
The term customer experience has so many moving pieces that make up the whole. To generate meaningful and actionable insights, there needs to be a targeted focus. It’s not enough to know a customer’s overall satisfaction is 7 out of 10 because it’s not clear how they arrived at that score. It’s also not clear what can be done to improve. By isolating the individual parts, or micro-experiences, we’ll be able to identify the strength of individual touchpoints and determine where to focus our attention moving forward.
#2 – Every touchpoint should have a defined purpose.
The best overall customer experiences are a combination of positive micro-experiences. It’s an end-to-end collaboration where individual touchpoints work together seamlessly and effectively. But this doesn’t happen by chance, it happens by strategic choices.
When looking at your customer’s journey or experience roadmap, consider the purpose of each step and the role they’re meant to play. Being intentional with each touchpoint, knowing why it exists and what value it’s adding, is a key factor in measuring customer experiences. Without a specific purpose, what exactly are we measuring against? If there isn’t an intended outcome or specific value-add, how are we defining success? There needs to be quantifiable metrics based on a defined goal, otherwise we’re just collecting satisfaction scores without any context or frame of reference.
#3 – We don’t know what we don’t know.
An important part of measuring customer experience is allowing people opportunities to share thoughts, ideas, and opinions in their own words. Along with structured satisfaction questions based on intended outcomes, include some open-ended questions focused on identifying points you may not have considered.
This can be posing follow-up questions asking for further details about how a certain touchpoint is scored, or it can be a standalone question. But either way, still make sure there is a clear topic and a reason for gathering open feedback. The more specific and targeted the question, the more useful the insights will be. For example, instead of simply asking “why?”, ask for suggested improvements. Instead of an open prompt like “Tell us about your experience”, ask customers to tell you about what stood out the most or what they’d like to see in the future. That way, customers will know how to respond in a way that will have the biggest impact and provide you with meaningful feedback.
In thinking about the search phrase how to measure customer experience, I realized that a lot of it is about strategic planning and CX development. The steps leading up to the experience itself are what enable us to effectively track and measure our performance. So, for anyone wondering how to measure customer experiences on the back end, be sure to first set yourself up for success on the front end.
If you have further questions or want to learn more about any of these topics, give me a call! I love this stuff and am happy to chat any time.