Why do we measure customer experience, you ask? Well, because market competition has never been higher, and failing to do so will leave your business in the dust, full stop. That’s because what the buyer actually experiences during the process matters. Sellers must want positive experiences for their customers as much as they want them for themselves. Ultimately, knowing how to effectively measure customer experience hinges on understanding the ins, outs, and whys of the customer altogether.
Why You Should Pay Attention to Customer Experience
So, what drives buyers to buy? More importantly, what makes them keep coming back for more? Is it the quality of the product? Or, is the price tag the end-all-be-all? Maybe it has something to do with the product being positioned to fit the buyer’s lifestyle and preferences. In all likelihood, all these factors play a role in why people buy products. However, one other factor ties them all together: the customer experience.
This experience is a vital part of the customer journey. As customers, we often dislike the things that come with the act of buying. Whether that be waiting in line at the store, being met with the ominous “Item unavailable” message, or having to shell out big for a basic need, none of us are here for it. As a result, we begin to see the products we like in a less appealing light. Our enthusiasm for buying something diminishes every time we come across a negative experience. This is why the modern company must put its efforts into ensuring a positive customer experience throughout the sales cycle.
What Makes a Good Customer Experience?
Even though we tend to think of the act of buying as a single, isolated event, it’s much more complex than that. While there are times we make spur-of-the-moment purchase decisions, most of what we buy involves a lengthy decision-making process. Today’s generation of buyers is not easily influenced by advertising. Instead of blindly following endorsers or heeding hard-sell messages, they look at reviews and testimonials wherever they can find them. More importantly, a great number of customers also ask for feedback from people they know who have experience using the product or service. Once a decision has been made to go with the purchase, that's only the time when most buyers will initiate contact with the seller’s representative.
However, the buyer would want the sales rep or a customer service agent to remain on standby to provide assistance or answer any questions. Whether it’s helping them complete the purchase order seamlessly or providing after-sales servicing, the customer would appreciate any support they can receive.
From initial awareness to research to purchase to post-sale, buyers will evaluate their experience on the entire sales process. Did the sales team provide answers to their initial questions? More importantly, how fast did the sellers respond to queries? Then, buyers will also note if the checkout and payment processes were easy and hassle-free. Finally, customers will genuinely appreciate it if customer service is readily available to answer additional concerns or provide more information.
This entire interaction with the seller during the entire purchase cycle is collectively known as the customer experience. The better and more positive the experiences, the more likely the buyer will turn into a loyal customer. In addition, their experience will also spur them into promoting the brand to other buyers.
To ensure that customers get the best experiences regularly, sellers must have the following available at all times:
A Well-Informed Customer Service
Nothing ruins a customer’s mood quicker than getting passed around during a service call because nobody knows the answer to their questions. Making sure that your customer service team stays informed and updated about the company’s solutions can help keep customers engaged. If customers feel asking your customer service is a waste of time, they’ll feel the same about your solutions eventually.
Quick Response Times
Even the best, most informed customer service teams are only as good as their response times. A recent survey indicates that a significant portion of customers, about 46%, anticipate that companies will reply to their queries in under 4 hours. While a notable 12% of these customers have even higher expectations, hoping for a response in 15 minutes or less. If your company insists on setting your customer service hours to align with your local business hours, you might lose out on international customers from different time zones. After all, it’s only fair for buyers outside your area to expect the same level of attention no matter where they are.
Provide Self-Service Options
Even if your customer service representatives only operate within set hours each day, you can still provide your clients the means to information through self-service options. Moreover, AI-powered chatbots can hold the fort during off-peak hours. Technological advancements have made it difficult for people to even tell the difference.
Outside of chatbots and other AI-powered conversations, sellers can also make information available online. You can maintain a library of blogs, downloadable white papers, and instructional videos that address frequently asked questions about your solutions.
The Benefits of Providing Good Customer Experience
Today, many companies strive to improve the customer experience, and it is not just an intrinsic objective for them. Keeping customers happy creates the effect of making them buy more products and buy them more frequently. That’s why companies need to measure customer experience to learn if their customers are happy with the service they’re paying for.
Below are some of the direct benefits of keeping your customers happy, engaged, and connected:
Higher Revenue Due to Increased Customer Loyalty
This is the main motivation for keeping customers happy. If they’re happy with your products and customer service, you won’t have to ask them to keep ordering. More importantly, they won’t bother looking for a better deal elsewhere.
Brand loyalty is less about keeping customers enthralled with your products and surprising them with innovations. Instead, customers will become more attached and loyal to your brand if they know they can consistently depend on your company to deliver on its promises. Loyalty comes from maintaining consistent product quality and reliable customer service. If you can achieve that, your clients will have no reason to leave you for rivals that offer competitive prices.
Satisfied Customers Will Promote Your Brand to Others
Unless you’re selling products in limited quantities, your most loyal customers will be happy to promote your brand and vouch for your company to others. They will happily share testimonials and leave high review scores if you ask them to. Why? Leaving a good word is an indirect way for a buyer to recognize a seller for their services. It won’t cost them anything but the time spent writing the review. Especially in industries where companies form communities that share information and resources, promoting a reliable supplier can help contemporaries with their own problems. In return, some sellers might reward them with a better deal on their next purchase. This might be enough motivation for some buyers to endorse the seller to others.
For sellers, word-of-mouth marketing can often prove more valuable than direct advertising. Other buyers looking for new solution providers are more like to trust peer testimonials compared to brand endorsers or advertisements.
Better Buyer-Seller Relationships
Maintaining a stable relationship between buyers and sellers is mutually beneficial. Of course, happy customers are more likely to preserve the pleasant status quo if they consistently get the quality and service they want from their preferred partner. Conversely, sellers also prefer keeping their customers happy and satisfied. Doing so ensures a more stable business relationship, constant and relaxed communication, and a higher degree of cooperation.
Why You Should Pay Attention to Customer Experience
With so many similar products and services on the market today, providing excellent customer experience is often what differentiates a thriving company from one dead in the water. In addition, clients reporting satisfactory customer experience are often the same buyers who already placed their trust and loyalty to the company’s brand and products.
As an added bonus, sellers who invest in providing clients with great customer experience tend to spend more time studying their specific needs, buying preferences, and purchase habits. This gives them valuable insights and information that can help improve product design and features as well as enhance their relationship.
Conversely, failing to measure the impact of your customer experience or ignoring the warning signs sent by your clients can lead to disastrous results. This can look like:
Negative Customer Experience Can Lead to Increased Churn
The most obvious effect of a bad customer experience is the increased likelihood of customers switching to other providers. Anything less than satisfactory customer service, such as lengthy average resolution time or poor communication, is more than enough reason for your customers to talk to other suppliers and consider their offers. If you can’t make your customers happy, somebody else will.
Fewer Reorders, Lower Revenues
A difficult sales process featuring a complicated online purchase process, unresponsive customer service, and a lack of information can make it difficult for clients to make or complete an order. This disincentive customers from making additional purchases or reorders. This cycle of fewer customers placing fewer orders can spiral uncontrollably until the brand loses significant market share. By then, even a product’s main features and attractive pricing won’t be enough to save it from extinction.
Unpleasant Customer Service Environment
A bad customer experience sets the tone not only for that one customer but for the customer service team assigned to bear the brunt of it. Negative customer experiences will increase clarification calls, product complaints, and return or exchange requests.
Negative Feedback Can Hit Your Brand Reputation
As more and more negative feedback arrives, your brand can take a gigantic hit. Positive reviews will soon give way to negative ones. The flood of content will start with negative reviews that focus on bad customer experience. It will soon escalate into questions about the products themselves. Eventually, reviewers will start to question if your solution can work at all. All this will come at the expense of your brand, which will slide into irrelevance if things don’t change soon.
Customer Experience Metrics You Should Pay Attention to and Measure
Your organization can benchmark performance against various customer service metrics to ensure that buyers receive the best customer experience possible. These can help determine if your product and service levels are giving customers what they want.
By learning how to measure customer experience metrics, you can make the necessary adjustments to your programs. Afterward, it becomes easier to create and maintain customer experience levels that meet client expectations.
Our recent survey reveals that all companies monitor customer experience by employing one or more of the six globally acknowledged customer experience metrics shown below.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is a basic benchmark that measures a customer’s satisfaction levels based on several factors as well as the overall experience. Respondents are given a scorecard that includes a scale for reference. They will then be asked to enter their perceived scores in a number of customer service-related questions. In the last part, the CSAT form will ask the customers to provide an overall customer satisfaction rating for the entire experience.
Used effectively, the CSAT can effectively get a pulse if the majority of customers are happy with the products and services they receive. However, a customer’s happiness level does not directly correlate with their purchase decisions. As such, CSAT remains a valuable benchmark but should not be used entirely on its own.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Net Promoter Score or NPS measures the likelihood of a customer recommending the product or service to somebody else. Instead of several questions, the NPS only asks a single question: “Will you recommend this product/service to a friend or colleague?” Respondents will be asked to rate their responses based on a scale of 0 to 10. 0 means “Not at all,” while 10 indicates the subject is “Extremely likely” to make a recommendation.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a valuable metric as it gauges how much a customer is willing to promote the product to friends or family. In effect, it measures the extent a customer will go to support the product, which is an indicator of a great customer experience. Like the CSAT, the NPS is also an arbitrary benchmark that does not accurately translate into monetary value.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
The Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) calculates the total amount of money an individual customer spends on your products and services during their lifetime. CLV helps measure the individual value of customers across their relationship with the company.
Apart from measuring a customer’s estimated value, CLV also helps companies make decisions on long-term and short-term marketing programs. A simple calculation for CLV is multiplying a customer’s average purchase value by the average purchase frequency and then multiplying the total with the average customer lifespan. Note that the CLV totals will equal a customer’s generated revenue, not the actual profit you take home from them.
Customer Churn Rate
Customer churn rate is the percentage of customers who stopped buying from the company in a given time period. Also known as the attrition rate, the churn rate helps companies determine how fast they lose customers. A higher churn rate is a sign that the seller is losing revenue as it loses customers. In addition, knowing the churn rate helps determine if the company should spend on customer acquisition programs or if they should focus on customer retention programs instead.
Customer Retention Rate
The opposite of churn rate, customer retention rates determine the percentage of customers that remain loyal over a given period. High retention rates often signify great customer experience. It implies that more customers have the incentive to stay with the company instead of switching to rivals. A high customer retention rate also means that clients have a higher CLV and are likely to reorder or buy more.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
The Customer Effort Score (CES) is another metric that measures customer experience. It assigns a value to how much work a customer needs to do to get closure on their concern. This effort can consist of getting a question answered, a product ordered, an item returned, or a request fulfilled. Similar to the NPS, the CES consists of a single question that asks respondents to rate on an arbitrary scale their efforts to contact a company and resolve an issue. Getting a score of High/Difficult means that the seller should think of improving service levels to make customer service more accessible.
Helpware Can Help Design and Measure Your Customer Experience Efforts
Competition will only continue to intensify as businesses continue to produce more innovative products and services. As a result, the battle to provide the ultimate CX will continue to follow suit. Along the way, companies will need to continuously measure their customer experience programs to see if they managed to lower costs, boost revenue, and reduce churn.
That said, developing and implementing killer customer experience strategies will require a lot of work. Rather than adding it to your already growing task list, let the experts put in the work for you at a fraction of the cost. Helpware is a business process outsourcing company that specializes in designing, implementing, and measuring digital customer experience programs. We offer CX outsourcing services that can help boost brand loyalty and increase customer retention rates.
Learn more about how Helpware can be your tried-and-true partner in advancing your customer experience programs. We’d love to hear from you to learn more about your specific CX requirements and formulate a game plan to execute your ideal customer experience program. Contact us today!