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Tagged: customer loyalty

Customer Satisfaction: What are the right KPIs to measure?

October 4, 2017

 

 

Guest-blogger Andrew Huber of Harland Clarke discusses 7 rules to follow in determining the right KPIs to measure in customer satisfaction.

 

It’s widely accepted that there can be tremendous value for businesses that rely on key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure, manage and communicate organization results.  KPIs are a valuable tool to tell you if you’re on the right course toward meeting your strategic objectives, or if you need to make adjustments to get back on track.

But one of the key questions that managers grapple with is determining which key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure, and how to deploy them successfully over time. This is especially true when it comes to the measurement of customer satisfaction.

Why determining customer service KPIs can be tricky

Focusing on the wrong KPIs means you’re spending time and money measuring, monitoring and trying to improve metrics that aren’t critical to your financial institution’s objectives. The same is true of poorly structured KPIs, or KPIs that are too difficult and costly to obtain, or to monitor on a regular basis.

Select too many, and you’ll be overloaded with endless pages of data too extensive to be effectively managed or used to improve customer satisfaction.

To avoid common headaches that occur when trying to determine which KPIs to measure, it’s best to adhere to the following 7 rules:

  • Each KPI has its own applicability, and limitations. Each can stand on its own as a useful tool for measuring certain customer interactions, but a comprehensive measurement model is necessary to give a complete picture of account holder experience.
  • Determine what KPIs to measure based on the key drivers that your account holders consider important. Just because something is measurable doesn’t make if meaningful in the context of your account holder’s expectations.
  • Define KPIs accurately and clearly, ensuring that the aspect of the customer experience being addressed is both quantifiable and measurable.
  • KPIs should link back to a customer satisfaction objective and measure something you can impact.
  • Ensure that KPIs deliver comprehensive, actionable insight that is linked to and applied to particular employee interactions or processes on an on-going basis.
  • Focus on trends in your KPIs more than specific data. The direction of change usually matters most.
  • Reviewing on a quarterly or annual basis can provide both positive and challenging insights.[1]

 

Identifying the key drivers of customer satisfaction for your specific account holder base and aligning them with these – or other – metrics that align with your objectives can be the start of a successful KPI program.  Successfully applying the insights you derive from your KPIs can improve key drivers, leading to greater customer satisfaction, stronger brand loyalty and, ultimately, better performance.

But Don’t Get Too Set in Your Ways

KPIs should not be set in stone, but rather evaluated consistently over time and modified where necessary. Revisit your assumptions. Financial institution goals and objectives change, as do those for customer experience. Don’t continue to use KPIs that are no longer meaningful or useful.

While there are an infinite number of metrics that can be used to build KPIs around customer satisfaction, there are several that have gained wide acceptance across industries for providing valuable insight.

Examples include: the Net Promoter Score (NPS), the Customer Satisfaction Score, the Customer Effort Score and Forrester’s Customer Experience Index.

One size doesn’t fit all. When it comes to selecting the right key performance indicators (KPIs) for measuring customer experience, it’s important that the KPIs you use provide valuable customer insights aligned with the goals of your financial institution, not your competitor down the street.

If a metric isn’t key to you, it’s not a “key” performance indicator.  Select KPIs that are relevant for your industry, and, just as importantly, for your organization.

[1] Patterson, Matthew. “How Top Customer Service Teams Measure Performance,” Help Scout, April 16, 2016

How to Create a Successful Customer Experience Strategy

September 8, 2017

 

 

CSP is happy to have guest-blogger, Andrew Huber of Harland Clarke return this month and share his insights on creating a customer experience strategy that is successful.

 

“How are we doing?”

This question is at the foundation of any organization’s quest for continuous improvement. For banks and credit unions, the answer encompasses more than an institution’s financial statements.

In customer-centric organizations, the role of customer feedback is critical to sustaining and deepening account holder relationships, and contributing to long-term profitability.

But, are we there yet?

While many financial institutions say they want to improve the customer experience, are they taking the necessary steps to get there?  A true voice of the customer strategy is a multi-faceted process whose focus is to understand the customer experience via actionable data and analysis on multiple levels.

Below are three important things to keep in mind if your financial institution desires a truly comprehensive customer survey experience.

3 Considerations for Creating a Useful Voice of the Customer Strategy

#1 – Consider All Customer Experience Touchpoints

First comes the design and deployment of surveys using a variety of methodologies. The focus is on gathering, measuring and interpreting customer experience feedback at every touchpoint, from new account openings in the branch to the call center and online channels. Every customer experience touchpoint must be considered, in order for your business to plan for it.

#2 – Ensure You’re Gathering the Right Data

Surveys are just the start.

One of the keys to a successful customer experience program lies in the data accumulated from everything that’s happened to this point. The data gathered needs to be both actionable and all-inclusive. In other words, it needs to include real-time knowledge across significant customer satisfaction metrics that can be applied directly to specific operational and frontline areas that impact the account holder experience. Measuring net promoter score may only scratch the surface of what your financial institution would like to learn.

Learn important satisfaction metrics to measure outside of net promoter score in the white paper, “Customer Experience: Beyond Net Promoter Score.”

Download Your Copy Here.

#3 – Figure Out (in Advance) How You’ll Analyze the Data

While the core value that such a program can provide shouldn’t be underestimated, there can also be a thin line between a comprehensive service that yields insightful customer understanding and one with reams of survey data but little customer insight that can be used to directly affect bottom line performance.

This is why it’s important to answer these questions in advance of implementing your survey strategy: once you’ve gathered the data, then what? Who will mine the data for actionable insights?

If you don’t have a data scientist on staff, consider outsourcing to a third-party.

In today’s customer-focused world, dissecting and analyzing the customer experience can provide key insight that banks and credit unions can use to ensure they are truly putting the customer first. This mindset paves the way for multiple benefits including:

  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Greater loyalty and retention
  • Better performance

What Does Customer Experience Mean For Financial Institutions?

August 2, 2017

 

 

CSP is happy to have guest-blogger, Andrew Huber, Program Manager at Harland Clarke, share his insights about customer experience (CX) and the need for financial institutions to deliver outstanding service at every touchpoint.

 

 

You likely know that the key to any strong, long-lasting business is delivering an exceptional customer experience (CX).

Unfortunately, when it comes to financial institutions, there can be a big disconnect between the experience they think they’re providing vs. the experience account holders are receiving. For instance, 41 percent of banks and credit unions consider themselves “relationship focused,” while just 13 percent of consumers say the same.

So how can financial institutions stay competitive and deliver an outstanding CX? Especially when, in the age of mobile devices and social media, everyone wants something tailored just for them?

The answer is surprisingly simple (and yet incredibly difficult) – financial institutions must deliver outstanding service at every touchpoint in the customer experience, from in-branch to call center and from online to mobile device.

This white paper reveals that account holders remain loyal to their financial institutions for five main reasons:

  • They were treated well
  • They experienced good communication
  • They received high quality advice
  • Their problems were resolved quickly
  • They had a personal relationship with at least one financial institution employee

Financial institutions have a strong incentive to keep account holders happy: increasing customer retention just 5 percent can show a 25-95 percent increase in profits. This is because acquiring a new customer is anywhere from 5-25 times more expensive than keeping an existing one, with customers having a positive experience spending 140 times more than ones who have a bad experience.

If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Regardless of the context, people are loyal to who and what makes them happy, they’re more willing to recommend the source of their happiness, and they’re likely to want more from this source. Their financial institutions are no exception.

Creating a positive CX sounds easy enough, but these statistics only convey the benefits, not how crucial it is to get customer experience right.

In one study, 41 percent of account openers and 33 percent of account closers cited customer experience as the number one reason for making their decision, outranking competitive interest rates, low fees and location.

It can take years to build a positive customer experience, but a single negative experience, a single episode of poor customer service, or a single complaint that goes unaddressed can cost a financial institution an account holder — or more, thanks to the power of social media.

CX Best Practices
Want to ensure your financial institution is prepared to deliver an outstanding CX? Find eight best practices to implement in this white paper, “Customer Experience: Best Practices for Growing Revenue.”

> Download your copy here

 

4 Critical Warning Signs of Customer Attrition

October 10, 2016

Think customer attrition deserves less of your attention than customer attraction? Think again.

Much of any company’s focus is channeled into attracting new customers and procuring large and sustainable accounts. These are the fuel sources for successful growth. It makes sense to spend time and effort into maintaining these gateways and developing them as wide as possible. But in the meantime, retention is usually a secondary discussion – a priority mishap that can lead to customer attrition.

The last place you want to be is in a conference room full of executives, all discussing the sudden departure of some of your best customers. In order to avoid this, you need to be tuned in to the warning signs.

4 Factors that Can Influence Customer Attrition

attention-303861_6401. Your rewards program targets new customers only.

Rewards and loyalty programs are a top-trending commodity that nearly every type of business has established. If your program gives cash-back, large discounts or giveaways to new customers, while providing much smaller rewards to long-term customers, you need to reevaluate. Yes, draw in the new fish, but keep the water sweet so he doesn’t jump the bowl. Loyalty programs should grow in strength in correlation with the customers’ loyalty.

2. There’s a lack of transparency to your customers.

With the growing popularity of reality shows and social media, people believe they have a right to see what’s happening behind the big curtain. Take time to share your work through media platforms, marketing, newsletters, blog posts and the like. This will add a level of authenticity to your brand. The big secrets don’t have to be revealed; instead, try to showcase the little things that help customers humanize your company while getting them excited and chatty about what’s next.

3. A weak online presence or interface can break the deal.

It’s likely that more than half of your clients are using their smartphones to access their accounts with you. When they log in, they need to be able to do nearly everything that they could do if they visited a branch or sat down face-to-face with you. For example, they need to have quick views of account balances, ability to deposit checks, access to reports, and complementing app and online or software capabilities. That means you can’t have an app that does 10 percent and a website that does another 60 percent. It all needs to be in one place. Offer periodic updates to fix bugs and give more of what the customer wants to see. Surveys, ratings and feedback of your online presence and an equipped tech team will keep this in check. Be sure to use the apps and website yourself.

4. A customer cancels or closes an account.

When a customer threatens to take business elsewhere, think of it as a cry for help. They want you to do something about their unhappiness. Are you able to have a conversation with the person about why they want to leave, and furthermore, are you able to make adjustments to keep their business? Even if a client does walk, have them take an exit survey or call them to follow up to understand where things went wrong. To prevent cancellations, keep an eye out for these additional warning signs:

  • Lack of engagement. You can see how often (or not) a customer is logging in and using services, or how quickly the customer approaches benchmarks.
  • Issue of complaint. If the customer is using your “help” services or seeking a further understanding of your services, initiate a line of communication and set follow-ups.
  • Stacking up fees. If possible, set up a way to monitor the amount and frequency of fees a customer acquires. Fees are a nuisance to any account holder, and it will add frustration to the pot. Perhaps there is a better-suited account level or specific service features this client could benefit from in order to avoid accumulating fees.

 

Despite the things you can control, there is still an outer lying cyber threat: Financial institutions are slower to streamline the digital experience due to privacy and security issues. At the same time, the demand increases. Remind customers of safe online practices and consider boosting breach sensitivity to protect all current accounts.

A Voice of the Customer program, along with complementary resources to support superior service, is your first line of defense against customer attrition. Find out more about CSP’s customer experience management solutions.


You may also want to read:

Why You Need More Than One Metric to Describe Customer Loyalty

August 31, 2016

As a business leader, you know the importance of keeping your finger on the pulse of customer loyalty. A critical part of customer relationship management, customer loyalty goes well beyond a customer making a purchase. Loyalty is steeped in the relationship between the company and purchaser.

A loyal customer believes your organization offers the best option. Loyal customers will purchase a product or service from the same brand, over a long period of time, while turning down competitors, and spreading satisfaction through word of mouth. Loyal customers will stay with you even in trying times. 

Customer loyalty can’t be summed up in a single number.

customer loyalty can't be summed up in a single numberWhile loyalty may appear as a single topic on your priority list, it would be a mistake to try to measure it with just one indicator.

As an example, many businesses looking to improve customer satisfaction use a Net Promoter ScoreSM (NPS®). This system measures the likelihood that customers will recommend a product, service, or company to others, and is often touted as “the only number you need to know.” Likelihood to recommend is certainly worth measuring; CSP uses the NPS® system ourselves. However, this score alone does not tell you enough.

Think of it this way: You wouldn’t use your blood pressure as the sole indicator of your total health, right? It’s important, sure, and it would be convenient if that was all you needed to pay attention to, but it’s not the only vital statistic your doctor needs to track to assess your overall well-being. The same logic applies to customer loyalty.

Instead, what you should aim for is a customer loyalty index that reflects multiple measurement methods and tracks them over time. This allows you to break down the customer relationship into feedback, perceptions, and issue resolutions. Ultimately, you’ll be able to see what you need to do to maintain and increase your loyal customers.

Aim for a full picture of your organization’s brand loyalty.

Measuring customer loyalty in a variety of ways gives you a more comprehensive, multi-dimensional view of your customer loyalty situation. In addition to at-a-glance scores like NPS®, a customer loyalty index can include attitudes and behaviors such as overall satisfaction with customer service, and likelihood of a customer to make a future purchase.

Capturing this data will yield many benefits, among them:

  • Producing a good view of your current standings with the customer,
  • Predicting future retention, and
  • Providing the foundation for building a loyalty profile for your customer.
Closely examine your metrics at the outset.

According to IRI, 44% of Millennials claim to be brand loyal. With their impressive purchasing power, figures like that should motivate you to keep the company-customer relationship at the forefront of your strategic planning.

What do you want your measurements to tell you? Start with the results you want to see to help you decide how to prioritize the data you collect. You will likely find you need more indicators than you thought, but taken together, all these measurements complement one another.

Studying the results of your customer research will produce opportunities to compare your organization against industry standards and your direct competitors, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and zero in on customer preferences. CSP’s Customer Experience Management solutions are designed to provide exactly these opportunities, with the added benefit of guidance from seasoned experts to help you identify what to focus on and what steps to take.


You might also want to read:

Net Promoter, NPS, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks, and Net Promoter Score and Net Promoter System are service marks, of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc. and Fred Reichheld.

Customer Loyalty: 9 Ways to Influence Emotions, Reasoning, and Behavior

July 19, 2016

Customer loyalty is a hot topic, but what exactly is a loyal customer? The first thing that might come to mind is “a customer who keeps doing business with you.” That sounds reasonable; however, it’s also incomplete.

It’s likely that some repeat customers come back only because they are under a binding contract, intimidated by the process of changing providers, or sticking with you from sheer force of habit. In each case, it wouldn’t take much for a competitor to lure them away. That is why customer loyalty, real loyalty, is such a critical factor in your company’s success.

A more comprehensive definition of a loyal customer is one who believes in the value of what you have to offer; who has evaluated you as the best available option; and who continues to choose your service or product over the competition and encourages others to do the same.

A more complete definition of customer loyalty

A more complete definition of customer loyalty

Within this definition are three distinct aspects of customer loyalty. Let’s take a closer look at them and what you can do to influence each type.

Emotional loyalty

The emotional aspect is crucial in the relationship between customer and company, and a powerful driver of the other two types of loyalty. Customers not only want to feel like they can trust your company; ideally, they also like your company. Other important emotional values include friendliness, attitude, and “cool factor.” A value proposition that is associated with these sentiments will be much more likely to invoke loyalty.

Emotional loyalty is especially important in fields where big financial interests and sensitive data meet personal experiences, like the banking industry. Events like the financial crisis, market instability, and bank account hacks can damage customer loyalty, and (re)building trust is key. To maximize emotional loyalty:

  • Be transparent in your communication with customers.
  • Make customer service a top priority throughout the organization.
  • Show customizers that you care through your marketing and advertising messages.
Rational loyalty

This aspect of customer loyalty reflects the logical, unemotional side of the customer’s purchase decision. In other words: do your customers think they are getting the best deal? To maximize rational loyalty:

  • Reward repeat customers.
  • During the sale, clearly outline the tangible benefits you can offer.
  • Offer attractive extras, like credit cards that earn points, flyer miles or cash-back rewards.
Transactional/behavioral loyalty

Finally, transactional or behavioral loyalty can be seen as momentum. Once a customer starts buying from a particular business or becomes attached to a brand, as long as emotional and rational loyalty are each well-nurtured, transactional loyalty follows and becomes habitual. Because this type of loyalty is so heavily reliant on the other two, it can be derailed if a customer becomes dissatisfied emotionally or rationally.

To optimize the shopping process itself:

  • Make sure all service channels, including websites and apps, are easy to use and up to date.
  • Various service channels should be connected; customers should be able to shop however, whenever and wherever.
  • Offer extras that make shopping fun, like gamification elements or apps that reward customer engagement.

 

Building customer loyalty can seem like a complicated process. Understanding it, however, starts with a simple step: knowing your customer. Voice of the Customer data is where you’ll discover the key components that drive your customers’ loyalty – and what might be driving them away. Equipped with that knowledge, you can make specific changes within your organization to influence those key drivers in the desired direction. You’ll also want to use periodic benchmarking to evaluate how you are performing against those measurements compared to your competitors.

For more information about Voice of the Customer and Competitive Benchmarking solutions from CSP, contact us online or call 800.841.7954 ext. 101.

How to Grow Loyal Customers into Brand Advocates

June 8, 2016

The blueprint of a brand comes to life with the accumulation of loyal customers, and it expands its reach by shaping those customers into advocates. This two-tier configuration is a launching pad.

There are two parts to the first tier. First, the customer needs to believe the services have quality. One successful transaction can plant the seed. Additional successful transactions build confidence; even when some error occurs on the side of the company, the loyal customer is ready to overlook it.

This trust ties directly into the customer’s level of allegiance. All it takes is one bad deal to push your customer to a competitor — but the loyal customer will standby because there’s usually something in it for them.

Loyalty cards and programs can be used to measure customers’ habits and keep them close.

86 percent of those in a loyalty program feel their efforts are worth the prize. 83 percent say the program keeps them anchored to the brand. It seems like every business has a rewards card or member program, and that’s because they work. The 2015 Bond Brand Loyalty study revealed 86 percent of those in a loyalty program feel their efforts are worth the prize and 83 percent say the program keeps them anchored to the company.

Financial service companies still lead the way with loyalty-based programs. The two most important factors to customers are being able to easily use their rewards, and being able to choose them. Cash-back rewards are the most attractive feature due to their unlimited nature. This type of freedom can launch debit card usage upwards of 200 percent.

Once a person commits to the brand, it’s important to keep the high-quality rewards in play – the competition is steep, with a surplus of 430 million credit card loyalty memberships in the U.S.

To grow loyal customers into advocates, first, institute a relationship and foster it.

The transition sparks when customers begin to tell friends about how easy it was to obtain a decent loan with low interest rates, raving about the employee who was able to seal the deal.

The humanization of the customer experience cannot be overlooked. To have a quality product or service is not enough to keep the customer interested. There are simple ways to evolve your professional relationship with the customer:

  • Use their name as often as possible, including the first name when appropriate. Inclusion begets confidence, and confidence allows the customer to be more open to taking risks and trying new things.
  • Learn their reasons for using your services or choosing your products. If they’re opening up a savings account for their oldest child on his twelfth birthday, ask when their other children have birthdays and send personal reminders accordingly.
  • Ask them for their opinions relating to your brand by having them walk you through their experience. Face-to-face conversations can reveal more.
  • Pay attention to reviews and feedback. Not all content will be positive, so keep your eyes open for weak links. Put more effort into building those up while maintaining the high level of satisfaction in other areas.
  • Treat every interaction with your customers as the very first interaction and continue to learn more about them. They become more valuable with time.

An advocate not only acts as a free advertisement, but he or she will also continue to make purchases and use services – at least twice as much as the average customer. Some case studies have shown upwards of 10 times as much continued buying behavior.

Draw customers in with quality, and keep them with distinction.

In 2014, a startup investment company, OurCrowd, shared its secret to boosting customer loyalty: blending content with community. By powering and sharing content, you increase communication and, therefore, trust. Furthermore, OurCrowd discovered content wasn’t a one-dimensional marketing tool, but a bridge that filled the gaps of knowledge.

 

Look closely to discover what is missing in the link between your brand’s mission statement and the customer’s experience. Educate your customers, showcase your expertise, grow together and create a transparency that will boost customer relationships.

4 Things a Net Promoter Score℠ (NPS®) Can Do for Your Business

May 31, 2016

Think about a brand you absolutely love. They’ve got a five-star product in your opinion, or you’ve fallen for their fantastic performance, or you’re super happy with how they manage their business. On a scale of 0-10, how likely would you be to recommend that brand’s products or services to a friend? If you answered 9 or 10, you can consider yourself a promoter.

This idea serves as the foundation of the Net Promoter Score℠ (NPS®).

A Net Promoter Score is a way to measure the loyalty between a company and its customers. The measurement comes from a score calculated based on the answer to this question:

On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend this product/service/company to a friend or colleague?

clipboard showing customer satisfaction scores similar to NPSBased on their answers, customers are categorized into one of the following three groups:

  • Score of 0-6: Detractors. Not likely to recommend. These customers are overall unhappy with your brand and can cause damage through negative word-of-mouth talk.
  • Score of 7-8: Passives. Somewhat likely to recommend. These people don’t hate your brand, but they’re not thrilled with it either. They might easily switch to a competitor; they lack brand loyalty.
  • Score of 9-10. Promoters. Extremely likely to recommend. These respondents love you. They are your repeat customers, and they’ll happily tell others how satisfied they are with you.

To calculate your NPS®, you take the percentage of customers who are promoters minus the percentage who are detractors. You end up with a score between -100 and 100. The higher the score, the more promoters you have, and the better you can infer your business is performing.

According to Bain & Company, which first introduced NPS®, “High scores on this question correlated strongly with repurchases, referrals and other actions that contribute to a company’s growth.” And their case studies show that the NPS® question is tops when it comes to predicting behavior. Therefore, the score is often seen as a good indicator of future growth.

When looking at your NPS®, here are four things your score can tell you:
  1. It can show what your company is doing well. Higher scores often reflect a healthy business. Results can reveal areas of strength that should be maintained or built up even further.
  2. It can uncover what needs to be fixed or improved. A lower score can indicate the need for probing into customer satisfaction or loyalty issues.
  3. It can initiate relationship building. The Net Promoter SystemSM encourages reaching out to customers to address their concerns, leading to one-on-one interactions that can be powerful.
  4. It can help motivate employees. Feedback related to your score can give your team members incentive for making improvements and providing a great customer experience.

Companies in all types of industries are using Net Promoter Score® – from financial to healthcare, tech to retail, and more. CSP is licensed to use the NPS®, as well as other metrics, to help businesses grow loyalty and customer satisfaction. To know more about how we incorporate these powerful analytics into a customer experience strategy, contact CSP with your questions.

 

Net Promoter, NPS, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks, and Net Promoter Score and Net Promoter System are service marks, of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc. and Fred Reichheld.

Sources:

http://www.medallia.com/
http://www.netpromotersystem.com/
https://www.netpromoter.com/

Customer Experience After the Sale: Are You Missing These Opportunities?

February 3, 2016

Google introduced the idea of the Zero Moment of Truth back in 2011, and has invested a lot of effort into getting companies to buy into it. The idea is that the pre-purchase phase of the customer journey, in which a customer researches, comparison-shops, asks for recommendations, and reads reviews, is essentially a countdown to moment Zero. That’s when the customer pulls the trigger and makes a purchase decision. 

We’re not claiming that Google is wrong. The Decision Point is inarguably one of the key destinations on the customer journey. But is this really where the journey ends? Hardly. In fact, it is a pivot point: the countdown becomes a “count-up,” comprised of every touchpoint that happens after the sale. What we’re counting up to: customer loyalty, satisfaction, and eventually, ideally, ambassadorship. In other words, retention.

As it stands, though, most businesses invest far more effort into customer acquisition than retention, doubling down on the notion that their job is essentially done when a prospect becomes a customer. Not only is this short-sighted, study after study has shown that acquisition is more expensive than retention and relationship marketing. (In fact, we couldn’t locate even one that argued the opposite.) The article by eConsultancy linked to above also included some head-turning statistics on this phenomenon:

  • Attracting a new customer costs five times as much as keeping an existing one.
  • Globally, the average value of a lost customer is $243.
  • 71% of consumers have ended their relationship with a company due to poor customer service. 
  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%.
Shifting Focus: How to Extend the Customer Experience Past Purchase

Customer experience fact - 71% of consumers have ended their relationship with a company due to poor customer service Source KISSMetricsMake memorable post-purchase moments.
For instance, take a look at your onboarding materials, like “Thank You” pages and auto-generated emails when a customer creates an account on your site. Do they just say Thank You, or do they invite further opportunities to engage with your brand, tips for using your product or service, or incentives like coupons or discount codes? Any touchpoint that can be automated can also be enhanced to build the relationship.

Be helpful, even when there isn’t a problem.
Periodically check in with your customer to ask how things are going and if they have any questions. There could easily be something confusing or bothering them that they either don’t think is a big enough deal to bother you with, or haven’t gotten around to contacting you about yet. Here again, automation can help: reminders, thank-you’s, and Frequently Asked Questions guides can be scheduled at intervals in advance.

Pay attention to the details.
Nothing makes a customer raise an eyebrow like businesses that can talk about their product till the cows come home, yet don’t seem to understand its actual role in day-to-day life, as if they’ve never used it themselves. Imagine how your customer uses or experiences your product or service at home, after hours – not just the obvious, as-prescribed applications, but how it is related to their overall life and priorities.  

Leverage your social & direct marketing channels.
This may be the only area where the acquisition/retention formula gets turned on its head: acquiring followers and subscribers is cheap, but engaging them is where the real effort comes in. Not only do customers treat social media and emails as additional customer service channels (and expect you to meet them there), they assume they will get something in return for following you, such as exclusive offers, informative videos and graphics, or even shareable entertainment.

Listen to the Voice of the Customer.
You had to know this was coming, right? At CSP, we believe that Voice of the Customer tools and measurements are the lifeblood of a healthy customer experience. Relationships, after all, work both ways, so successful customer relationship management means handing the microphone over to the customer to make sure they have their chance to tell you what is working for them and what’s getting in their way.

The Takeaway

Customer experience that treats the sale as the endpoint is an unclosed circle: all the brand equity, sentiment, and trust you nurtured to encourage the sale, are liable to leak out through this gap. Selling to existing customers is easier than converting new ones. It is worth your while to envision the customer journey as a lifetime relationship, not a finite transaction.

Improving the Customer Experience Through Benchmarking

August 11, 2015

Benchmarking is the process companies use to identify and establish key performance standards, or benchmarks, and measure their performance against those standards over time. With a benchmark analysis, a company can compare its current scores in critical areas against its own past performance, as well as against its competitors.

NewBAR

Done in-house from the ground up, benchmarking can be a dauntingly complex process. Benchmarks must be agreed upon, measurement tools and strategies implemented, research assigned and completed (which, in some cases, means navigating security and permission concerns), and reports compiled. The information in the final analysis can be invaluable, if the right resources, attention, and talent are invested in it.

What’s more, benchmarking is not a one-time exercise, but a living process that depends on continuing collection and interpretation of current data. The shelf life of a single analysis report is fairly short, but properly maintained, a benchmarking strategy can be a gift that keeps giving.

Where does benchmarking fit into improving the customer experience?

Often used to determine how a company is faring against its peers financially, benchmark analysis also has a qualitative application. This includes measuring the critical metrics of customer service and experience that carry the most weight with overall customer satisfaction – what CSP calls key drivers.

Responses to Voice of the Customer initiatives like surveys can be translated into scores and percentages, which then get used to identify the top, bottom, and average range of responses to those metrics. Comparing the most current available scores against these ranges gives an indication of whether the customer experience is excelling, lagging, or falling behind.

Benchmarking is a way for managers to reality-check their perception of how their strategies and employees are performing against what the customers are actually saying.

Benchmarking provides a competitive advantage

The quality of a business’s customer service is often a make-or-break factor in customer satisfaction, loyalty, and likelihood to promote that company to others. In many ways, customer experience is the marketing that keeps happening even after you’ve initially earned the customer’s business.

Benchmarking not only demonstrates a company’s performance against itself, but against a defined peer group of its competitors, measured by uniform standards. While a direct Company A vs. Company B comparison may not reveal much of use, there is valuable insight in identifying one’s overall standing among the rest of the pack.

For instance, let’s say a manager has grown concerned about how long customers are kept waiting before they speak to a representative. Maybe she has noticed longer lines on the sales floor, or customers looking frustrated or impatient while in line.

Through benchmarking, she has been tracking “wait time” as a key driver for six months, and sees that this month, customers have indeed indicated a drop in satisfaction against this metric. She then reviews the wait time satisfaction scores of her peer competitors and determines that they have seen a slight increase in the same period of time, dropping her company back in the ratings from the “top” to “average” category. Now there is a risk she may start to lose customers to the better-performing competitors.

This intelligence informs the manager of an opportunity to improve the customer experience by implementing new strategies to affect the wait time at her location. Continued benchmarking will help her track progress against that goal, and identify any new opportunities for improvement that may come along.

It doesn’t end with the report

Benchmarking is one step in the process – a critical one, but nonetheless, just one. As with all Voice of the Customer data, its ultimate value depends on how the information is used to improve the customer experience with well-informed training, continued evaluation, and timely reporting.

That’s why CSP’s new Benchmark Analytics Reporting Dashboard pairs so nicely with our training and employee support, such as the STARS library available to our clients, to create a balanced ecosystem of process, performance, and progress. The dashboard takes much of the rigorous research and reporting aspects of benchmarking and delivers an easy-to-read analysis that can tell you, at a glance, where you fall among your peer group.

To learn more about benchmarking, the new dashboard, STARS, or any other component of customer experience management, contact us with your questions.