You don’t have to look too far to find customer relationship management software systems; most are designed to track customer purchase behaviors. Some of the more sophisticated products are capable of tracking pre and post-purchase behaviors.
It’s no secret that the customer experience is key to attracting and retaining customers. Consumers are quick to share their experiences, especially negative ones. As an indicator of changing times, I recently noticed an electronic sign above a baggage claim belt listing the twitter accounts of the major airlines serving that location. The instructions were quite simple, “if your baggage is late or hasn’t arrived, contact us.” That was it, no further instructions, just a note with the Twitter addresses.
Social media has forever changed the way we do business.
Businesses that want to thrive in this new environment must evolve. They need to figure out ways to harness the power of social and appropriately adapt. When I have conversations with owners and managers, no one disputes the need for adapting. Increasingly, however, there is a lot of debate about metrics.
You may be familiar with 360-degree employee reviews. These reviews are designed to provide a more comprehensive view of an employee’s performance. Traditional reviews are often considered too narrow in focus because they are from a single relational perspective, that of employee and manager.
The same can hold true for evaluating a brand’s relationship with their customers and prospects, often the view is limited.
There is concern about evaluating the return on investment for programs, tools, and even practices. While I can’t resolve that debate here, I believe there are 5 simple hacks that can help, even if you already have a CRM or other system in place.
Create a Simple Custom Comprehensive Dashboard
There are tools that address employee experiences or customer experiences; but few, if any, address both. You can create your own simple dashboard; the key is simplicity. Identify actionable metrics, preferably those that will allow quick intervention when appropriate.
There are a couple of survey scores that provide an overview of sentiment for employees and customers. They are both based on the Net Promoter Score concept. Ask customers if they would be willing to recommend your product or services to their friends or family. Based on the results you can quickly measure overall sentiment. Here is more detail on calculating the score. If possible, ask an open ended follow-up question for any score less than a nine.
“What would we need to do to receive a nine or ten?”
For employees there is a similar question, in fact there are two questions. The first, “On a scale of zero to ten, how likely is it you would recommend this company as a place to work?” The second, “How likely would you be to recommend this company’s products or services to a friend or colleague?”
What I suggest is creating a custom tool (e.g. Excel spreadsheets or a folder for another application), where you can review these metrics at the same time. Evaluate trends and watch for patterns in the metrics.
For instance, if there is a dip in customer satisfaction, is there a corresponding trend in employee satisfaction? Studies have shown a link between engaged employees and a positive customer experience.
Follow The Journey
The buying process has been disrupted by social media, the Internet and technology. Customers are well informed, influenced by their peers and have higher expectations for a positive experience.
Instead of moving in a linear fashion through the buying process, customers now move through a variety of touch points.
First, identify the specific touch points that are relevant for your business. In addition to the website, determine the other contributors to the buying process. It might be Facebook, Linked In or Pinterest. By analyzing some basic analytics, determine the role of these assets in the buying process. Add some key metrics to the custom dashboard described above.
I describe 4 tips to optimize the customer experience.
Track Healthy Employee Engagement
Most companies instinctively know that engaged employees can make a difference in their business. Most of us have been on the receiving end of a poor experience based on a disengaged employee.
Creating an environment for engaged employees requires a strategy and resources. Before companies can have a differentiating customer experience they must have a differentiating employee experience. Some even suggest putting employee needs first. The key is creating a healthy experience where employees are focused on serving the needs of others.
The survey I described in the first step is a key indicator, here are some questions that can help create a healthy experience.
Determine a few key measures to monitor the level of employee engagement, then add them to the custom dashboard. Keep in mind these metrics need to be actionable.
Know your Customers
If you already have some type of CRM system then decide on some key trend metrics and add them to the dashboard. If you don’t have a system, identify some key metrics to reflect customer experience health.
You might consider tracking metrics like customer acquisition, cross-sell, upsell and retention rates. Watch for changes in these trends and compare the results to the other metrics discussed earlier.
There is a lot of value to be gained simply by paying attention. There are free tools available to help monitor all kinds of conversations. Neal Shaffer offers some specific advice here.
While this category is the broadest of all, it provides the opportunity to listen in on public conversations. The idea is to appropriately listen and learn, not to be creepy.
The goal of monitoring is to identify opportunities and challenges so that you can quickly create solutions to help improve the experience for employees and customers.
A custom customer experience dashboard should be simple, comprehensive and collaborative. There is little value in collecting data and insights if they are not put to good use. Better to have a few key metrics rather than a longer list of items that just reside on someone’s computer.
So pick a few metrics and get started, you can always add more. What other metrics should be included?