Measuring the Customer Experience

Customer experience is becoming more and more important these days as buyers have an increasing number of channels to interact with their suppliers.  As a consequence, a whole new discipline has emerged and continues to mature in the marketing area.  The goal is to optimize the multiplicity of interactions a company has with its buyers so that customers remain satisfied and become loyal.

Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine of Forrester Research have written a lot about this subject, and I recently finished their book.  Below are my reflections on what they had to say:Outside in

Customer experience is not “soft and fluffy”; “it’s not customer service”; and “it’s not usability”.  “Customer experience is how your customers perceive their interactions with your company … and those perceptions matter a lot.”

This is the premise of Outside In, The Power of Putting Customers First in Your Business, and it does a good job of identifying the key disciplines a company needs to cultivate to keep customers happy.  There also is a great discussion on how a company’s customer experience strategy connects to its brand, as well as good statistics on how improved customer experience can positively impact loyalty and revenue.

My only disappointment was that there was not enough focus on the overall measures of the customer experience investment.  While many companies are using Net Promoter Scores, they are capturing intent and not actual behavior, as the authors duly note.  As the customer experience mindset becomes more embedded in organizations, there is a need for more research and discussion on how companies should actually measure their performance.

What do you think?  How are you measuring customer experience in your organization?  Do you think your measures are an adequate representation of the true customer experience?