When it comes to the profession that Customer Experience has now become, one of the most important and significant competencies required by all organisations is that of measurement. The ability of a company to robustly and continuously capture a ‘fact based’ understanding of how capable they are of meeting customer needs and expectations is critical if they have a desire to achieve customer focused success.
However…. There is usually one of those, whilst many businesses may be confident that they are indeed ‘measuring’ the Customer Experience, my overwhelming concern is that too many are doing so badly. I recognise that this is a rather bold statement to be making, so allow me to clarify my top 4 reasons why I think this:
1. Failure to measure sufficient ‘voices’!
I believe that the most robust Customer Experience measurement systems should contain a combination of three important ‘voices’- Voice of the Customer (VOC); Voice of the Employee (VOE); and Voice of the Process (VOP). Many organisations are (and have been) measuring VOC for a number of years. Although this is important, VOC in isolation of any other form of measurement may not enable those capturing it to understand the relationship between the things they do (processes that enable the customer journey) and the way they make the customer feel (customer perception). If this is the case, determining exactly WHAT it is that needs to be ‘fixed’ to improve customer perception is challenging (and sometimes impossible).
Over the years, I have interacted with a number of organisations who capture VOC (and VOC alone) yet do not understand what they are supposed to do with it – what prioritised actions should be taken. If these businesses were complementing and correlating their VOC with VP and VOE, they would be in a very different position.
2. Failure to measure the true ‘end to end’ customer journey
The theme of ‘not measuring sufficient voices’ continues in my next assessment of the state of Customer Experience measurement today. Whilst many companies are capturing at least VOC, too often, the VOC they are capturing is NOT representative of the ‘end to end’ customer journey – and sometimes of all types of customer. If you are only asking customers about a part or parts or the customer journey, the feedback being received will only be representative of the parts you are asking them about – it is not rocket science.
Despite this, I have observed too many scenarios where the measurement system is not representative and as a result, an organisation in this position is likely to do one thing – JUMP TO THE WRONG CONCLUSION! It is so important to get to the TRUTH with Customer Experience measurement – nothing else matters than having a clear understanding of the things that need to be addressed to have the greatest effect on improving customer perception and as a result, commercial goals. One thing I can say with certainty – if your customer metric looks too good to be true – it probably is!
3. Failure to align business process to the customer journey
The most robust Customer Experience measurement systems are structured by correlating business processes with the customer journey. If we think of all organisations as a combination of ‘layers’, whilst the top layer is the customer journey, the middle layer is made up of business processes. It is a business’s processes that enable the customer journey to happen. The third layer comprises the technology that enables business processes to deliver the customer journey…. Are you still with me?!
For a business to be ‘focused’ on knowing WHAT to address to improve the customer journey – in other words, to be able to narrow down to a small number of priorities – it must be able to measure ‘CAUSE and EFFECT’. If you measure how capable business processes are at doing what they need to do (the CAUSE), as they improve, you should see an improvement in the way customers feel about what you do (the EFFECT). This principle only works on two conditions – a) you measure all business processes that enable the delivery of the customer journey; and b) your business processes are ALIGNED to the customer journey.
In my experience, so many companies designed and implemented business process (and technology for that matter) without even knowing that the customer journey existed, too often, business processes do NOT align to the customer journey. As a result, it is difficult (and sometimes impossible) to correlate a change in the performance of processes with customer feedback. Getting this right – enabling the relationship between process and customer journey is perhaps the most powerful way of understanding how to improve the customer experience (based on fact).
4. Failure to take ACTION
Failing to take ACTION on Customer Experience measurement is a BIG mistake to make. It is more common to see this being the case than you may imagine. All over the world, business leaders seem unsure as to whether or not they should be using measurement as the carrot or the stick! In reality, neither of these analogies is appropriate (in my opinion).
When it comes to Customer Experience Measurement, the number – an NPS score for example (which some may see as either the carrot or the stick) – is not the sole reason for measuring. Regularly I come across leaders who are focussed on the score and the score alone – almost obsessively. I do believe that a score is important – to link to business strategy and to act as a ‘talisman’ for everyone to follow, BUT unless you know what to do with the measurement being captured, it is POINTLESS.
There are more examples I could add of what I consider to be ‘bad’ examples of Customer Experience measurement – but rather than me rambling on, I would love for you to add your reasons by commenting on this article. As a profession, it is the responsibility of Customer Experience Professionals all over the world to educate businesses how to measure the Customer Experience well – I hope you will take some time to add your expertise for others to learn from!
This post was originally written exclusively for my column on CustomerThink – a global online community of business leaders striving to create profitable customer-centric enterprises. The site serves 80,000+ visitors per month from 200 countries.
You can read my column here!
Brilliant article Ian, as usual. Really interesting for me the concept of VOP and VOE, but the most important about the measurement “unless you know what to do with the measurement being captured, it is POINTLESS”. Unfortunately a very common point in too many companies.Thanks for sharing!
Ian- great post! Every point was incredibly valid, however, I especially like your first point. Failing to measure sufficient voices is a big mistake when measuring your overall customer experience. Like you mentioned, a lot of companies rely on VOC, yet fail to collect VOP and VOE. Listening to the voice of the process and your employees is as equally important. Thanks for sharing!
Fully agree. My experience is that it is even worse. When I start to talk about business processes influencing customer perception I am asked to stop this way of thinking and to be focused only on ARPU or on only one particular customer expectation. Not having any allowance to spend any budget for business process analysis. Still strongly I try to persuade Board Members to change the way of thinking to be more focued on quality management within business processes.
Hi Ian, your articles are very well written, easy to digest whilst giving a lot of food for thought. As others have commented the need to measure and listen to 3 voices as opposed to just voice of customer is very well put. I guess the hardest element is the link between alignment of business processes to the customer journey is essential
You are too kind Lloyd – thank you so much for your lovely feedback