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Customer Experience

What is customer experience, and 6 metrics to measure it

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What is customer experience? I have my own, very fresh and relevant example in our time. I want to share it. So, recently I was dissatisfied with the services of an internet provider. Irritated and angry, I called their call center every time the internet disappeared. And every time the call center operator calmed down my anger. He politely explained to me that the connection on my cable was OK, that the speed corresponded to the claimed one, and last time he persuaded me to rent a router from them. I agreed to the offer, the internet interruptions disappeared, and I decided not to change the internet provider. In other words, the call center employees provided me with a customer experience, as a result of which they retained a customer (Retention Rate meaning), and even sold me a router rental service.

That would be the end of the article, but customer experience is not always positive. So let’s delve into what customer experience is, what benefit it brings to the business, and identify the key metrics by which customer experience can be measured in a call center.

What is Customer Experience: definition

The term “Customer Experience” emerged in the 1960s. It was during this time that customer interaction as a concept evolved due to the increasing conversion to services. This transition marked a shift from manufacturing goods and products to the realm of services, which became an “experience” industry. Long-term relationships between the customer and the organization became a priority, meaning that the customer became more important than the product or service.

Modern authoritative marketing sources and experts have somewhat different definitions of what customer experience is:

  • Research company Forrester Research notes that customer experience is how customers perceive your company based on all their interactions with it;
  • Consulting company Gartner insists that customer experience is the sum of sensations that a customer receives throughout their entire customer journey, from the initial contact with the brand to making a purchase, as well as post-sale interactions;
  • Renowned American economist Seth Godin gives a more emotional definition. According to him, customer experience is not just what a company does for its customers; it’s what a company does with them;
  • Economist and writer B. Joseph Pine II in his famous book “The Experience Economy” aptly notes: “customer experience is what customers say about you when you’re not around.”

From all the provided definitions, we can draw a general conclusion: customer experience is the sum of emotions, impressions, and feelings that a customer receives throughout their interaction with a company, brand, product, or service.

What is Customer Experience from a business perspective?

Some may say that Customer Experience (CX) is just a trendy marketing term, but from a business perspective, customer experience is more than just a trend. In times of unprecedented market competition, the strategy of improving customer experience offers several advantages:

Positive image

The strengthening of digitization and social media gives consumers the power to compete with the communication capacity of large companies. Any service failure immediately becomes public knowledge and affects the business image.

Companies that prioritize customer experience typically have a positive image in the public eye and among customers, which can enhance their reputation and attract new clients.

Recommendations

This advantage is a direct result of the former, as a good customer experience leads to a high Net Promoter Score. Recommendations are critical in a world where social media has become a platform for customers to express their opinions about organizations, their value, and the experience they offer. Satisfied customers are more likely to recommend products or services to their friends, family, and colleagues, leading to an expansion of the customer base without additional marketing costs.

Customer retention

It’s logical that satisfied customers return: they continue subscriptions, make more purchases, and generally generate up to four times more revenue. A positive customer experience, including service, personalized offers, loyalty programs, and feedback support, fosters loyalty and promotes repeat purchases or use of the company’s services. Therefore, from a business standpoint, customer experience means a competitive advantage. This is particularly important considering the abundance of similar products and services, with competition for customers increasing in all markets.

As an additional bonus, companies that invest in providing customers with an excellent customer experience typically spend more time studying their specific needs, preferences, and buying habits. This provides them with valuable information for both improving products or services and further enhancing the relationship between the business and its customers.

Customer Experience research

In the 1980s, when digital marketing was just beginning to take shape, researching customer experience was difficult and quite expensive. Paper surveys, focus groups, and personal observations required tremendous effort and a large number of personnel. Imagine the phone bills for telephone surveys!

The internet and VoIP call center software have taken marketing research to a new level. Today, companies use website analytics, online surveys, and social media analysis to gather data on customer satisfaction, their impressions of products or services, and recommendations for improvements to their offerings. Specialized outsourcing call centers provide businesses with computerized telephone surveys (CATI) on various aspects of company-customer interactions. Let’s find out which metrics provide the best understanding of customer experience and how to use this data for continuous improvement in customer interactions.

Indicators for measuring Customer Experience

There are literally hundreds of different customer interaction indicators that can (and should) be tracked. Depending on the industry or type of business, some of them are more important than others. The indicators listed below are generally accepted in terms of their impact on customer experience and are equally important for measuring service quality for companies in any business sector.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

What is an exceptional customer experience from the customer’s perspective? It’s an experience that they would want to share with friends, colleagues, or acquaintances. And simply good service is not enough here. How many of your customers are willing to recommend you? This is what the Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures – the index of customer loyalty.

More details about what NPS is, its calculation formula, and how to improve NPS in call center can be found in other materials on our blog. Regarding its impact on customer experience, the Net Promoter Score is difficult to overestimate.

Conducting NPS surveys is relatively easy using call center tools. Moreover, most respondents provide additional feedback, which helps understand what the company can do to turn detractors and passive customers into promoters. Therefore, NPS is the most important metric to measure for understanding customer experience.

Customer Satisfaction index (CSAT)

Similar to NPS, the Customer Satisfaction index (CSAT) is determined through a simple survey with one question: “Are you satisfied with…”. Regardless of the satisfaction level scale, the metric provides information about vectors for improving personnel, processes, policies, and technologies necessary for providing quality service.

The great value of this metric lies in its versatility, as it can be used to assess any aspect of customer-business interaction along the customer journey. A positive experience confirmed by a high CSAT can evoke feelings of gratitude and positive emotions in customers. This creates a favorable environment for building long-term relationships with customers.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

Assessing customer effort significantly impacts the overall level of Customer Experience, as nobody enjoys exerting unnecessary effort. Here’s another example from my own experience: I have apps from two banks on my phone. In one app, paying for an internet service is very easy: pop-up windows, text prompts like “enter this here, write this here, thank you for the payment.” In the other, paying for any service resembles a quest on the “Hard” level.

To determine the effort index, a quick survey is usually conducted immediately after the interaction between the customer and the company, asking customers to rate the ease of interaction with the support service on a scale from “very easy” to “very difficult.” There is also a practice of adding a comments section so that customers can describe whether their experience felt like a challenge or an easy walk. And believe me, for your company, it’s better if it’s an easy walk. Otherwise, instead of bothering next time, the customer will simply go to the competitor.

First Contact Resolution (FCR)

Resolving the issue on the first call is a very telling metric. The indicator defines the efficiency of call center operations and directly impacts customer experience, as customers who receive quick and effective resolution to their problems usually become more satisfied.

The example I provided at the beginning is evidence of poor FCR because my problem was not resolved on the first attempt. I received an answer to my question, but the problem persisted, and after a while, I had to contact the call center again. This is what gave me that negative customer experience, which almost led me to abandon the company’s services.

Among the strategies to improve FCR is the use of self-service systems. IVR outsourcing services and AI-based chatbots rarely make mistakes and provide information almost instantly. However, for resolving more complex tasks or problems that require human understanding and empathy, there is no one better than a qualified contact center operator.

First Response Time (FRT) and Average Resolution Time (ART)

In this material, it is appropriate to combine the average first response time (FRT) and the average customer service time (ART) because both indicators address speed. When you send a question to a chatbot, you expect an instant response, right? It’s the speed of the response that influences the first impression: “Wow, so fast!” When a technical support agent picks up the phone within the first ring, it exceeds our expectations and lays the foundation for a positive customer experience.

The same applies to the average service time because everyone wants a quick resolution to their problems. If the ART indicator is high, it indicates inefficiency in current support processes or too high a workload on call center agents.

To provide an exceptional customer experience, call centers need to maintain a delicate balance between speed and service quality. And that’s precisely what our next indicator is about.

Quality Assurance Index (QAI)

A metric used to assess the quality of customer service in a call center. It generally pertains to adherence to company standards and procedures during customer service interactions across all communication channels. It may include parameters such as courteous speech, literacy and conciseness in online chat responses, agent empathy, willingness to assist, and so on. Special call center quality management software is used to track this indicator, which records phone conversations and transcripts of chat and messenger communications, providing a comprehensive assessment of service quality for each agent.

A high level of QAI indicates high service quality and can positively impact the customer experience. Just think about your recent conversation with a support representative. Did you end the conversation with a smile or with frustration? Did you feel that your issue was handled with respect, that you were understood? What experience did you receive?

Customer Experience: conclusions

Thanks to social media, review websites, and new feedback collection tools available to consumers, there are now more options to choose from than ever before. This explains the growing interest in customer experience. New technologies have empowered customers to play an increasingly active role in their interactions with companies every day.

There is no reason to expect competition among companies to diminish, as technological progress stimulates the development of new innovative products and services. As a result, the battle for customer experience will continue.

Customer support in call centers is the front line of providing customer experience, so none of the indicators mentioned in the material should be ignored. To improve CX through the call center, it is necessary to:

  • Train agents to listen to and solve customer problems and provide support;
  • Establish clear service standards;
  • Utilize relevant technologies and software;
  • Use surveys, call monitoring, and other methods to track customer experience.

If your company aims to enhance Customer Experience, we recommend turning to Global Bilgi – a leading international operator with extensive experience in call center outsourcing services. By outsourcing call center services, you will ensure an exceptional level of service to your customers and vividly see the impact of positive customer experience on business.

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Фахівець з маркетингу компанії Global Bilgi
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