Customer experience (CX) is your customers’ overall perception of your business as they travel through their journey towards a purchase. It includes all interactions between your business and your customers, so it directly affects the probability of purchases. CX determines the degree of loyalty customers have for a particular brand, although it’s difficult to measure with a particular key performance indicator (KPI).
Call-center dashboards are tools that help you monitor KPIs by visualizing data analytics, but they also provide actionable insights that help you improve CX. However, great dashboards do more than simply display charts, as they must also deliver the right data to the right user in the right format. Each of a dashboard’s displays should be tailored to user groups, helping them meet their business needs. This design helps users quickly discover valuable insights that tell the story behind the numbers with minimal effort. Most importantly, a call center dashboard should also help businesses make decisions that improve CX.
Steps to a CX Audit
Driving leads is only a short-term strategy for success if it doesn’t result in the acquisition of new customers and retention of existing ones, even when those leads are qualified. A better approach to long-term success is to develop sales strategies that focus on fixing the back end of the business before the front end. This method requires you to improve the CX first, ensuring that new customers are satisfied and existing customers remain loyal. The resulting benefit of this process is that customers also become promoters for the business.
A clear understanding of these factors is essential for conducting a CX audit. Most senior managers can quickly develop a list of positive and negative experiences for their customers, but it’s rare for them to list the factors that drive customer value. Many owners make assumptions on customer value based on feedback they have received from sources such as customer reviews, social media posts and sales team comments. However, a CX audit often provides insights into customer value that surprise management.
The complete process of conducting a CX audit can be complex, but the following five steps are fundamental to all such audits.
1. Document the customer lifecycle.
A thorough understanding of the customer lifecycle is essential before a CX audit can begin. Most executives believe they already know it, but they’re often incorrect. Lifecycle stages can generally be classified into pre-sale and post-sale processes such that pre-sale processes include awareness, nurturing and decision, while post-sale processes include satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy. Each business can experience different stages depending upon factors like competition geography and product.
2. Identify customer touch points.
The entire journey that a prospect can travel to make a purchase contains many interactions with the brand known as touch points. They influence the way in which a prospect moves from one stage of the customer journey to the next. A customer audit requires touch points to be carefully documented, which may include direct mail, e-mail, social media, trade shows and trial offers. Touch points in the later stages of the customer journey can include online engagement, invoicing, product use and post-sales teams.
3. Gauge the influence of each touch point.
Each touch point influences prospects to take some action, whether it’s to continue to the next stage in the customer journey, remain where they are or drop out of the journey. The CX helps determine the prospect’s value in doing business with the company, which is a critical aspect of the CX audit.
4. Associate customer satisfaction with customer value.
Customers may love their engagement with a company’s sales team, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the engagement will influence their purchase decision. For example, a customer who is satisfied with a product may still choose a competing product if it’s sufficiently cheaper. A proper CX audit should therefore correlate the customer’s satisfaction and each touch point with the influence that touch point has on the purchase decision.
5. Benchmark the customer journey regularly.
A CX audit can identify sales opportunities that are currently unrealized. However, this process requires a formal benchmarking and scoring mechanism to evaluate improvements in an objective manner. A CX audit should therefore benchmark customer satisfaction at each stage, including its effect on the customer journey. The aggregate of these stores can then become a benchmark that a business can use to measure CX.
Important CX Metrics
CX analytics typically involves the use of many metrics, so it’s important to track and analyze the right ones. This process is essential for identifying action items from the raw data. Monitoring these metrics from a single dashboard helps managers guide their short and long-term growth strategies. While there are many metrics that a contact center may consider, the following are some of the most important.
Customer Lifetime Value
Customer lifetime value (CLV) is the net profit of a customer’s relationship with a business. Many specific methods of estimating CLV exist, with a wide range of accuracy. The most sophisticated techniques use predictive analytics based on the present value of the customer relationship.
Use of the CLV to make business decisions allows an organization to shift its focus from quarterly profits to the long-term benefits of customer relationships. The CLV also represents the upper limit of what a business can spend on acquiring that customer. As a result, it plays a vital role in calculating the return on investment (ROI) of marketing spend.
Customer churn is the rate at which a business loses customers. Contact centers often consider customer churn to be a key business metric, along with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) and cash flow. The primary reason that customer churn is so important is that the cost of retaining an existing customer is much less than the cost of acquiring a new one. As a result, most enterprises today have a branch of customer service dedicated to winning back customers who are leaving for competitors.
Businesses typically distinguish between voluntary churn and involuntary churn. Voluntary churn is the result of a customer’s decision to switch to another product or service provider for reasons directly related to the original company. Common causes of voluntary churn include poor CX or dissatisfaction with the product or service. Involuntary churn is caused by factors not directly related to the company, such as the customer’s physical relocation. Most analyses of churn exclude involuntary churn, since it isn’t affected by CX.
Brand loyalty is the positive feelings that consumers have towards a brand. They primarily refer to a strong tendency to repeatedly purchase products and services from a brand in the presence of factors that would otherwise result in the loss of that customer. For example, customers with high brand loyalty will pay a higher price for a product that’s available from a competitor at a lower price. Brand loyalty is based on an emotional commitment to a product or service, whereas habit is a less emotional engagement. Businesses in the health and finance sector often base their business model on brand loyalty.
Customer Effort Score
Customer effort refers to the total effort a customer must expand to make a purchase, which includes factors such as navigation, resolving problems and obtaining answers to questions. Contact centers use a Customer Effort Score (CES) to measure this quantity, usually by conducting a survey of customers. This survey typically asks customers to rate their experience of the scale of 1 to 7, with one being “Very Difficult” and seven being “Very Easy.”
The CES can then be calculated by dividing the number of respondents who provided a rating of five or more by the total number of respondents. This quotient is then multiplied by 100 to obtain a percentage. Assume for this example that 100 people took the CES survey, with 80 respondents providing a rating of five or more. The CES for this survey would therefore be 80 percent.
Customer Satisfaction Score
Contact centers measure customer satisfaction with a Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). This process generally involves asking customers a question like “How satisfied were you with your experience?” after a purchase or customer service interaction. The scale for this rating typically ranges from 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 with one being the most negative experience and the highest rating being the most positive experience. One number in the middle of this range is considered a neutral value, such that the CSAT is the percentage of respondents who provided a rating above that neutral value.
CSAT is an easy method of assessing a business’s success in satisfying the customer. The fact that it’s such a quick survey also means that you can use it at many touch points in the customer’s journey, allowing you to measure customer satisfaction at each stage.
Net Promoter Score
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures a customer’s willingness to recommend a brand or one of its products. It’s a simple metric to calculate, but it provides a strong indication of other critical metrics such as average spend, customer retention rate and CLV, all of which are key to increasing a business’s growth and revenue. As with other scores of this type, calculating the NPS involves asking the customer a simple question. In this case, a typical question is something like “On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend us to your friends and colleagues?”
The response to this question classifies customers as promoters, passives and detractors. Promoters have high brand loyalty and are advocates for the brand. Passives are relatively satisfied with the brand, but vulnerable to competitors. Detractors are dissatisfied customers who may advise others against doing business with the brand.
NPS is determined by first calculating the percentage of respondents who are promoters and the percentage who are detractors. The percentage of detractors is then subtracted from the percentage of promoters, resulting in a scale of -100 to 100. In general, an NPS less than or equal zero is considered poor, an NPS greater than 0 and less than or equal to 50 is considered good, and an NPS greater than 50 is excellent. However, the standards can vary considerably by industry.
The Ideal CX dashboard
Improving CX involves more than simply listening to customers. It also requires an understanding of the meaning behind the numbers, so you can take the action needed to optimize CX. Otherwise, you have no way of knowing what customers care about or where the opportunities for improvement are. Even when you’re paying attention to the relevant metrics, this process by itself doesn’t actually do anything with the data it provides.
The CX dashboard provides a snapshot of CX at a particular moment in time. It’s also a great tool for visualizing this data, making it easy to understand. This visibility into CX allows you to identify problems and develop solutions for improving CX. As a result, company leaders can transform customers into brand advocates over the lifetime of their relationship with that company. This view of a CX dashboard will also help you identify its most important features.
Relevant and Actionable
Successful CX requires you to understand the business outcomes that you’re trying to achieve, which will help determine the inputs and outputs a dashboard will require. Making a dashboard relevant and actionable also means that you need to regularly monitor its performance. The identification and analysis of trends is also essential for improving CX.
A CX dashboard is also a great way to obtain the stakeholder buy-in that’s so critical for improving CX. You must work with key stakeholders to develop the KPIs that the dashboard will display, helping you determine when CX is successful. A dashboard is also useful for improving employee engagement in CX, since it serves as a guideline for enabling employees to take ownership over CX success.
Metrics Align with Business Outcomes
C have generally found it difficult to align their metrics with business outcomes. Marketing research firm Forrester conducted a 2015 study in which only 21 percent of respondents had done so. Furthermore, a recent study in Harvard Business Review showed that 45 percent of respondents found it very difficult to associate investments in CX with business outcomes.
Many businesses are able to measure the success of CX programs through key metrics or anecdotal evidence, but very few are able to associate successful CX with financial results. It’s much more difficult to gain the support of C-level executives for CX programs without some way of demonstrating a return on investment (ROI). The development of such a program across an entire enterprise remains the challenge due to the resources it requires. Organizations can enable a better correlation between CX investment and business outcomes by researching and monitoring the appropriate KPIs.
Customer Journey Alignment
Key stakeholders need to know how customers feel about their experiences at each point in their journey. It’s therefore critical to monitor metrics that accurately measure these experiences. Regular monitoring allows you to identify touch points where the CX can be improved. This process should involve organizing metrics by customer segment to enable the development of multiple strategies that improve CX. In some cases, it’s beneficial to break down the information that a dashboard displays by journey stage.
The metrics that a CX dashboard displays may be categorized into perception metrics, descriptive metrics and outcome metrics. Perception metrics measure CX and how customers felt about their experience, which include CES, CSAT and NPS. Descriptive metrics describe observable events, which includes metrics, such as average handle time (ADHD), first call resolution (FCR) and the number of clicks needed to complete a transaction. Outcome metrics demonstrate the actions a customer took as a result of their perceptions. Actions that often generate outcome metrics include consuming a piece of content, making an additional purchase, renewing a contract and viewing a demo.
It’s important that a dashboard only displays metrics that will drive a company’s success. Otherwise, the dashboard’s displays can become crowded.
A CX dashboard should ideally tell a story that users can act on to improve CX. Functionality is thus a primary concern for dashboards, so the data that needs to be of the highest quality. It’s also important for the dashboard to prioritize the information and ensure that all supporting documentation is relevant. A dashboard’s design should be of secondary concern to functionality, so the variety of colors and fonts should be minimal. These design choices will help facilitate the dashboard’s ability to identify and act on insights.
What does your customer value most when it comes to CX?
The current level of competition between businesses ensures that customers have many options and high expectations for their experience. Understanding the things that customers value is therefore essential for standing out from competitors. Furthermore, companies must often go above and beyond their minimum standards to ensure the customer is impressed by each interaction.
Businesses are generally willing to expend a great deal of effort towards improving their products and services to significantly improve CX. Only customers truly understand which paths in the customer journey provide them with the greatest benefit, so it’s imperative to gather customer feedback on a regular basis. Alleviating the pain points that customers report in their feedback is a highly effective method of winning their hearts. The top five factors that shape CX include the following:
- Friendly service
- Seamless transactions
Customers naturally consider efficiency to be an essential requirement when dealing with businesses in today’s fast-paced world. An unnecessary complication in the purchase process is one of the fastest ways of losing customers, whether that complication is based on time or money. Delivering an exceptionally positive CX plus requires a company to preempt these obstacles to a purchase.
Maximizing the efficiency of this journey requires listening to customers and placing yourself in their shoes. This process is vital for understanding what they need and how they want those needs met. The use of data is also an essential means for learning more about customers and actively meeting their needs.
Convenience within the context of CX involves a company adjusting its procedures to fit the customer rather than the other way around. Reducing the friction between customers and products makes it easier for them to reach a purchase decision. Customers who feel that it’s a joy to do business with a particular brand are already strong advocates for that brand.
Making the customers’ lives easier also involves making exceptions to company policy. Telling the customer that you can’t meet their expectations due to policy is one of the fastest ways of losing that customer as an advocate. Companies that are unwilling to provide this level of flexibility in their purchase process will quickly find that their competitors are more than willing to do so.
Good customer service is obviously an important part of providing a positive CX, but it often involves striking the right balance between being attentive and giving customers the room they need to make a decision. The challenge in this process is that customers often vary greatly in the amount of attention they want.
It’s therefore essential to adapt to each customer by closely observing their behavior, particularly with respect to the amount of energy that the CX provides. For example, customers who are quiet and reserved will generally prefer a journey with less energy than outgoing customers. Even the most difficult customers can change their perceptions of their experience based on a company’s involvement with that experience. It’s particularly important to avoid treating these customers as just another sale.
Complex products and services require businesses to provide their customers with more guidance. The ability to clearly explain those products and services is essential for minimizing the gap between customers and their needs. Customers want to quickly and easily determine if a brand is able to meet those needs, so it’s crucial to guide them through the purchase journey by addressing their questions and concerns.
Today’s customers expect businesses to offer many payment options, so seamless transactions should be the norm rather than the exception. Slow, clunky transaction methods will quickly cause a business to lose customers, regardless of their preferred payment method.
Companies should carefully consider the payment methods that will be most practical for their customers. In addition to traditional credit cards, the near universal use of mobile devices has resulted in the development of additional payment methods such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. Offering customers their preferred payment method is essential for exceeding customer expectations, but it requires a lot of detailed thought about what those customers feel at each stage of their journey.
What are the benefits of a CX dashboard?
A well-designed CX dashboard can regularly monitor metrics, helping you take the pulse of the CX. This capability can drive business performance in many ways, including
- Agent productivity
Call center managers need a high-level view of the business to make effective decisions, so it’s essential for this data to be as accurate as possible. Dashboards must therefore show the KPIs that are most helpful to call centers. In addition, you can present a dashboard to C-level executives, rather than gathering data manually and preparing a presentation.
Agents must remain productive to keep a call center’s performance high. However, monitoring their workflow during peak hours often presents a challenge in itself, even without optimizing that workflow. Agents can thus lose their motivation over time, resulting in lost productivity.
Dashboards provide a solution to this problem by helping managers keep tabs on agent performance. They can provide feedback in real time, allowing agents to. Furthermore, the ability to view their own progress can be highly motivating for many agents. Dashboards also generate reports that help managers identify workflow problems and their potential solutions.
Dashboards can improve CX by tracking relevant KPIs in real time, which is highly useful for generating customer-centric reports. These reports can provide useful insights into customer data, allowing you to long-term strategies for retaining customers. Call centers also benefit from a dashboard that highlights the results of these efforts on the company’s revenue. For example, a CX dashboard can help establish the correlation between new investments in the call center and a reduction in customer churn.
Businesses are increasingly likely to compete on the basis of CX, rather than product price or quality. Call centers can leverage this ongoing trend through the use of dashboards that monitor the appropriate KPIs, allowing managers to continually improve CX. Dashboards can also perform the analytics that managers need to make the business case to C-level executives for investing in the call center.
Aceyus can provide a demo of our dashboard and explain how it can help you improve the CX of your call center. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and learn more about how a CX dashboard can drive your business forward.