Improving the customer experience doesn’t have to be a guessing game. There are metrics you can use to benchmark and improve the experience for your customers, guide your customer experience strategy and create happier, more loyal customers.
In the past, my customer experience strategy was guided by calculated guesses. If I made a change to the experience and noticed customers were happier, then I’d mentally make a note to keep it like that. If I noticed a change actually made the experience worse, I’d also make a note and remove it.
But all these ‘mental notes’ became a bit too much; I needed a system. I needed metrics that I could confidently use to guide my customer experience initiatives. Through trial and error and some collaboration with other experts in the field, I’ve come up with three customer experience metrics you can use to help benchmark and improve your customer experience.
So what metrics do you need to be measuring?
1. Response times
Your customers have different expectations for each of your customer support channels. For example, they expect a faster response when they contact you via phone compared to email.
Data collected by Stella Service found that the average response time for a live chat was about a minute and 10 seconds compared to a minute and 30 seconds for phone and 13 hours for email. Let’s take a look at three common customer support channels and how fast you should be responding:
- Phone: Studies show that roughly 53% of customers consider three minutes to be a reasonable response time while waiting for a support agent. How long do you keep your customers waiting?
- Email: Generally, customers expect a response within one business day. Leading companies like Buffer strive to reply to emails within 60 minutes.
- Chat: If you’re going to offer chat, you’d better be quick. Try to ensure response times are less than one minute.
Use these metrics as a benchmark to work towards better response times which, in turn, improves the customer experience. If you can save them time, they will appreciate it.
We’re all living in a busy world where time is our most precious asset. If you can respond faster than your customer expects, you’ll go a long way creating an amazing experience that keeps them coming back.
Tools like Help Scout and Zendesk can help you track response times via email. Use inbuilt reporting functions inside your phone and live chat systems to track response times on those channels. Make it your responsibility to track response times across all channels, plot them in a graph and encourage your team to improve.
Through this analysis, you might find that you need more staff to achieve your response time goals or you might need new systems and technology to increase staff productivity.
2. Measure customer satisfaction after each interaction
Have you ever received a customer satisfaction survey after an email interaction with a company? This is a perfect example of measuring customer satisfaction after an individual interaction.
The benefit of measuring satisfaction after each engagement is that you can quickly see whether your team has resolved the problem and how happy the customer was with the customer experience that was delivered.
This information is important because you want to know if someone was unhappy so you can follow up and resolve the sticky situation. Furthermore, you want to know this information so you can use the feedback to improve the customer experience for everyone moving forward.
Tools like Hively let you automate this process by attaching quick customer satisfaction surveys to emails and within websites and apps. The benefit of using a tool to track satisfaction is you can see how satisfaction changes from one interaction to the next. By monitoring trends in satisfaction, you can see if the customer experience strategies that you have been implementing are having a positive or negative impact.
As you work towards improving the customer experience, this metric will give you quick insight into how well you and your individual team members are doing.
3. Measure overall customer satisfaction
Don’t just focus on measuring the customer experience based on individual interactions. A great customer experience is made up of multiple interactions. That’s why it’s important to think BIG picture and measure overall customer satisfaction as well.
By measuring overall satisfaction, you can get a more accurate idea of how happy a customer is with the experience you are offering. A study by McKinsey & Company found that overall satisfaction is a 30% better predictor of customer happiness than measuring happiness for each individual interaction.
Think about it. If you only measure customer satisfaction based off individual interactions, how do you know how happy a customer is with the entire experience you deliver? Was he happy before a bad experience? Is he happy now, after you made up for a bad experience?
Most customers won’t cancel contracts or stop doing business with you based off one poor interaction with your company. They will leave you because, overall, they are unhappy with the product or service you deliver.
Tools like Client Heartbeat specialize in measuring overall satisfaction. Overall satisfaction is benchmarked and tracked from one period to the next (e.g. every three or six months). Instead of getting feedback from customers based on small, individual interactions that are often influenced by emotions at the time, you can get a clearer, more accurate view of how happy your customers are overall and how well you are delivering your product or service.
Use customer experience metrics to benchmark and improve
I challenge you to stop relying on that ‘gut feeling’ when you make customer experience decisions. Use data and these three customer experience metrics to guide your strategy. This insight and ability to benchmark your performance will help ensure you can measure how effective – or ineffective – your new customer experience strategies have been.
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