4th September

Understanding customer experience

Customer experience is an often misunderstood term that people take to mean a lot of different things. At its core, CX can be described as the sum of all the touchpoints , both digital and physical, customers have with any business. It is only when these touchpoints synergise together that an organisation can take their customer experience to the next level.

Of course, going over and above while delivering the best possible customer experience is in the best interest of any business. Any business that takes this seriously will see an increase in customer loyalty while enjoying a decrease in negative feedback and complaints.

Customer experience vs customer service

Contrary to popular belief, customer experience and customer service are not the same thing (despite being closely linked). Customer service very specifically refers to the touchpoints where customers get in touch with a business to request assistance or help. It is in fact not far fetched to say that better any organisation’s customer experience, the less money needs to be spent on customer service.

“Customer service begins where customer experience ends”

The advent of service design

Real human behaviour is complex and unpredictable. This makes crafting an exceptional customer experience easier said than done since new situations and scenarios will constantly be presenting themselves.

This is resulting in a rise in demand for service designers, as they specialise in designing and modifying systems to not only cater for, but thrive on unpredictability. By systematically analysing complete customer journeys based on all the organisational touchpoints, service designers create processes and experiences that cater for a list of human experiences that would otherwise never be catered for. This is an iterative process that also involves a lot of data gathering from real customers in order to constantly improve.

The reality is that service designers are business designers. Everything they do is aimed at optimising the way businesses handle and satisfy their customers needs while delighting them.

Measuring customer experience

Collecting unstructured feedback is fine and can yield some very interesting feedback. However understanding how effective your efforts are will require a more focused and systematic approach. This means that a list of key touchpoints will need to be identified in order to act as KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

Examples of touchpoints that usually demand specific attention are customers making a purchase at point of sales, product returns, and appointment cancellations. These can be measured not only in terms of raw numbers (such as the number of product returns, or the number of sales), but also by deploying research efforts at that specific touchpoints. Examples of CX research efforts are the NPS and CES surveys.

An NPS (Net Promoter Score) survey is deployed in order to measure how likely people are to recommend your business to others. This not only shows how happy they are when they have to interact with your business, but can also work as an indication for what type of growth your organisation can expect in the future, making it easier to set realistic quarterly targets and improving the quality of investor and stakeholder communications.

A CES (Customer Effort Score), on the other hand, is deployed exclusively to understand how difficult it was to carry out any specified task. If data needs to be collected at multiple touchpoints, this survey is ideally deployed separately at each of these touchpoints to get more accurate insights. This isn’t to say that you should go wild and start setting up surveys at each touchpoint immediately.

In fact, a good rule of thumb is to always start small. Launch a single survey at a single touchpoint while collecting and analysing the data you need. This will help you process the feedback gathered more systematically.

Google analytics is also a good spot to understand how clients feel about your digital presence. Stats like bounce rate, time on site, drop off rates, and traffic patterns are both incredibly easy to collect while offering valuable insight about how your customers interact with your digital touchpoints and identifying interaction patterns.

Working with the experts

This is all a lot to take in, and getting Customer Experience right can be quite tricky (especially when you’re just getting started). Getting the right team with the necessary experience on board can set you on course for years to come.

Luke Vella



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