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Tagged: customer satisfaction

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 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.

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.

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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.