Measuring Customer Experiences: Part 5 in a 7-Part Series on CXM

>>>Measuring Customer Experiences: Part 5 in a 7-Part Series on CXM

Editor’s note: Recently we brought you the first 4 parts of our 7 part series “Customer Experience in a Business Discipline”. If you missed part of the series, please click the links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

It’s hard to talk about measuring Customer Experience Management without thinking of the saying, “What gets measured, gets managed.” Every aspect of Customer Experience Management, and for that matter, business in general, is served well by a sound measurement. Note that “sound” is the operative word: Emphasize one metric to the exclusion of another of equal or greater importance, and get results which deliver less than optimal business value. Measure the wrong thing altogether, and risk devastating impacts to the bottom line.

The best way to avoid this pitfall is through an understanding of and appreciation for the foundational concepts of measurement.

Who do we measure?

In a perfect world, organizations would measure every single customer’s interactions and how his or her experience affected perceptions of the organization. In reality this method is costly, cumbersome, and prohibitively expensive. Instead, the preferred audience of measurement practices is a cross-section of the existing customer base, supplemented by samples from desirable customer bases that may currently be underrepresented in existing customer pools.

What do we measure?

Knowing what should be measured is the most important discipline in the CXM Measurement pillar. Measuring produces little value when you are asking the wrong questions; a struggling restaurant may ask its customers about the cleanliness of the ceiling but that may be of little importance if the food is overpriced, lacks flavor, etc…

Another important element of measurement is highlighted by the axiom, “The difference between perception and reality is spelling.” When performing measurement, it is important to not only measure events, but in addition, how those events are perceived by the customer. For instance, a three minute hold time on a customer service line may not seem all that long to you or me. But to a customer with a major issue, three minutes feels like a lifetime. Put another way: measurement is not just an exercise in facts and figures, but in feelings as well.

When do we measure?

It’s natural to perform measurement activities, and by extension, a Customer Experience Management activity, when business is experiencing a negative trend. Arguably, it is just as important, if not more important, to measure during boom periods.

Why? Because knowledge around the drivers of growth may be leveraged – in good times and bad – to support additional growth.

The optimum policy, therefore, is to invest in a regular schedule of measurement which will act as a baseline for tracking business and market fluctuations.

Where do we measure?

The question of where we perform measurement exercises is a tricky one; time can have an interesting and often unpredictable effect on customers’ experiences and perceptions. Let’s return to our call center example…

Consider the last time you called a customer service center (for a telecommunications company, a credit card company, etc…) and perceived that you waited a long time on hold. Did you then spend a nontrivial amount of time relaying your problem to a customer service representative, only to end the call with the issue unresolved? Imagine now that you were solicited for a survey at the end of that call. While the organization may have received important feedback about your dissatisfaction, it would have only exacerbated your frustration, further damaging your customer experience. On the other hand, if the organization waited to solicit your feedback until a later date, it would have run the risk of collecting inaccurate data.

The most complete and accurate information pertaining to customer perception is usually gained at the point of the experience, but must be obtained with due caution and empathy and consideration of the activity or situation.

Why do we measure?

Measurement is the best practice available to determine customer needs and wants, but it can only deliver business value when it:

  1. identifies the areas of the customer relationship that matter most to customers,
  2. identifies whether or not customer expectations are being met, and
  3. provides specific direction on what it is that customers want or might be influenced toward in the future.

This information can then be used to set clear objectives and a detailed roadmap for process improvements, increasing revenues and decreasing losses due to customer dissatisfaction over time.

How may an organization implement the findings born of the measurement discipline? Stay tuned for the next blog post in the CXM series in which we’ll discuss the Governance pillar.

Jonathan Handel is a Consultant at SDLC Partners, a leading provider of business and technology solutions. Please feel free to contact Jonathan at with any questions on this blog post or to further discuss Customer Experience Management.