MAT WYLIE EXPLAINS THE IMPORTANCE OF NOT JUST MEASURING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE, BUT ALSO BENCHMARKING AND SHARING THAT DATA.
“I’M SORRY to hear that, ma’am. If there’s anything we can do…” The phone line goes dead. Gathering yourself, you realise that this was the fifth customer today who has called up and berated your team about missing an order.
Is this a good thing, or a bad thing?
Well, neither – it depends entirely on the context.
How many customers complained yesterday? Was it 50, or none? What about your industry – do your competitors receive a few complaints a year, or hundreds per day?
Benchmarking customer experience (CX) against your past performances, and those of your competitors, is critical to making any sense of customer feedback. If you’re seeking to thrill your customers and continue providing them with a stunning experience, then you must know where you’ve come from, and where you’re at.
But first, you need to begin measuring correctly.
IT ALL STARTS WITH MEASURING
Without measuring your customer experience, it’s easy to ignore the customer.
Because customer experience is intangible, it can be difficult to see or know what the customer thinks. Unlike your financials, which are easy to report on and measure, there’s no single stock standard way that everyone uses to measure customer experience yet. The result is, many businesses measure customer experience badly – or not at all.
What’s needed is validated, real-time feedback. You need to know what your customers are thinking right now – not what they thought months ago (as you might get from customer surveys). There’s no use trying to benchmark based on anecdotal stories – or old, stale data. Ensure that you’re receiving a constant flow of actionable feedback from your customers, and you’re well on your way to being in tune to their needs. Investing in a measure like Net Promoter Score (NPS), which offers a tangible, validated measure, is worthwhile.
Fact beats opinion every time, so to move your business towards having the customer at the core, make sure all benchmarking begins with solid, meaningful data to take the guesswork out of your operations. KNOW WHERE YOU’VE COME FROM, AND WHERE YOU’RE AT Everything is relative, and the same goes for customer feedback. Once your business has begun to capture the right feedback, this remains arbitrary data until it can be made relevant through benchmarking. There’s no point knowing how many customers had good experiences today, unless you can wrap a story around that – is it an improvement on this time last year, or a dip from last month? It’s this information which enables you to turn customer data into actionable information, able to drive conversations with team members, and act as a catalyst for pro-customer change within your organisation.
Set your business benchmarks, make these visible, and track progress against them. Quickly, you’ll notice the cultural difference, the inclination towards improvement. These should be both internal benchmarks – how you’re going versus how you were last month – as well as external: are you leading your industry, or dragging your feet?
With the technology available today there’s no reason to not integrate these benchmarks into your everyday operations. Sales data can directly link to feedback data, and your team can have a transparent understanding of where your business is at, at any given time.
AN INDUSTRY CHALLENGING ITSELF
Businesses like Jucy Rentals have been calling on the tourism industry to start measuring customer experience across the board. They recognise that while measuring CX is a great competitive advantage for them, measuring the industry as a whole would benefit the entire tourism industry – and New Zealand tourism will grow as a result.
Personally, I’d love to see more industries working together as they compete. Encouraging benchmarking and sharing data drives excellence, meaning the customer receives a better experience. Not only this, but businesses are able to understand their own positions, and act accordingly.
“You need to know what your customers are thinking right now – not what they thought months ago.”