Measuring a strategic asset: The customer experience

If you’re not measuring the customer experience, you’re operating your business in the dark. That’s according to a panel of customer service experts who presented at this fall’s GMM. The experts advocated for collecting real numbers via customer satisfaction surveys and sharing the results across the organization.

iStock_000001808755_SmallBegin with surveys

Website surveys. Client contact surveys. Advisor surveys. All of these provide valuable measurement data. Some tips for creating effective customer satisfaction surveys:

  • Ask customers to weigh the experience against expectations
  • Ask precise questions to get precise answers
  • Ask an effort question
  • Don’t use incentives – skewed data may result
  • Personalize survey requests for improved response rates
  • Capture the entire experience by following up – send a survey later for a redemption interaction, for example, to ensure the customer received the correct amount.

Sometimes the results are surprising. One example: call wait times. One firm assumed that customer satisfaction would decrease as call wait times increased. Survey data showed that didn’t happen. Shareholder customer satisfaction was more closely tied to the resolution of an issue in a single call. Advisors, on the other hand, were more averse to waiting on hold.

Share the results

What affects the customer experience? Almost every part of the organization:

  • IT equipment/systems
  • HR training
  • Product mix
  • Expectations relative to a firm’s marketing messages
  • Expectations relative to competitive firms
  • Expectations relative to online retail — the highest rated customer service industry

That’s why components of the customer experience should be incorporated into all facets of an organization. To help, pass along the information you gather using a formal process. Set up monthly reports shared via email within the organization and a quarterly deep-dive analysis that can also be shared with the Board. Offer recommendations on how to improve the experience and provide online access to daily data for interested stakeholders.

Does your firm track the customer experience? What mechanisms have you found work best for measuring and reporting what you find? Please share your thoughts with NICSA.

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