I’ve been involved in Customer Experience (Management) since the beginning of my career. And for as long as I can remember we (me included) have been measuring success of our efforts through metrics like Customer Satisfaction, Customer Retention, Intention to (re-)purchase, intention to recommend.
And for as long as I can remember we’ve been tying overall success to success at the touch-point level by asking (almost) the same questions as with regard to the overall metric at the specific touch-point. Be it at the point-of-sale (e.g. (web) shop or restaurant) or point of service interaction (e.g. contact centre, online service channel etc). The most advanced practices probably involve some kind of evaluation at the point of consumption through (mobile) apps and the like. But they are what they are: touch-point-evaluations, trying to tie interaction or exchange-satisfaction (or nps if you will) to overall satisfaction.
We are running blind
I personally have been (and am) trying to get from the touch-point to the (Customer) process-level, to the job they are trying to get done and the outcomes they desire. Unfortunately with unsatisfactory levels of success. Mostly because too many touch-points on the Customers journey are not within our sight and control or (and this happens a lot) we do not capture the data on internal processes and touch-points to a level that one would want. The 360-degree Customer view is a fallacy in most companies.
I believe that, in this crowded marketplace where your service is easily compared to that of your competitor and that of every other company for that matter, this practice does not cut it anymore. It probably never did, but it was sufficient enough to produce insights and results that kept improving incrementally. On the other hand I see many Customer Experience people struggle to get an equal share of voice with the Sales & Marketing teams at the annual budgeting-table. That’s most likely a sign of too few tangible results too.
We need a serious upgrade
The current practice doesn’t cut it anymore because we need a far better understanding of what Customers really want and value to understand what it takes to have them come back or recommend us to their friends. We do not (only) need to understand how they value our touch-points or the journeys we’ve designed for them. We need to understand how they evaluate us in relation to their jobs to be done, their desired outcomes, before, during and after, purchase, interaction, journey, consumption of our core-offering and beyond. And we need new methodologies, e.g. rooted in neuro-science, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and behavioural economic research to get to the level of understanding needed. We need facts, not Customer assumptions ruled by bias, aka biassumptions.
I’ve been reading some papers on the topic of Customer Value and measuring Customer Experience over the past few days, and I’m sure it won’t be the last ones. Both are very much interlinked if you ask me. Unfortunately I haven’t found them linked in a solid measurement framework yet. Maybe I’ll make some steps over the next couple of weeks when the mind has some time off work over Christmas & Sylvester. Feel free to pitch in, recommend other papers, publications, blogpost etc that can help me close the loop on this one.
For now, here’s what I’ve been reading so far. To be continued…