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It seems like “customer experience” has shown up in almost every post, report, or study around the key to building not just an effective support organization but a brand that customers absolutely love.

Where the phrase “the customer is always right” seems outdated, a slightly altered version appears to be the new go-to: the customer experience (should) always be right.

Customer Experience: What’s the Big Deal?

In Bain & Company’s recent survey of customers of over 360 companies, only 8% of them described their experience as “superior” while 80% of the companies surveyed believe that they had been providing superior service.

But what’s the big deal, really? It’s not like there’s data to suggest that the way you handle a customer throughout their journey can either make or break your business sustainability or growth—oh wait, that’s literally exactly what’s out there.

84%

Customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business (Salesforce).

U.S. consumers are willing to spend 17% more to do business with companies that deliver excellent service, up from 14% in 2014 (American Express).

76%

Consumers say it’s easier than ever to take their business elsewhere, and 57% have already done so (Salesforce).

Customer Service vs Customer Experience

While they seemingly feel like interchangeable terms, it’s important to make a clear distinction between customer support and experience if you’re going to successfully deliver on both.

Customer Service is the actual act of helping a customer troubleshoot and resolve an issue they’ve encountered with your product or service.

Customer Experience is more about the customer’s journey and every touchpoint along the way that they’ve had—which means that it can (and usually does) incorporate customer service interactions as well as conversations they have with the larger customer-facing teams (success, sales) or even how your product works.

Measuring Customer Experience

How do you measure experience? Can it even be measured? Well, that depends.

If you’ve implemented tools like Customer Satisfaction Surveys (CSAT) or have purchased an email ticketing system that can tag tickets by specific categories, you’re definitely on the right track.

Having real customer data to pull from, not just what you think makes sense ultimately makes the process of building a positive customer experience much, much easier.

Additionally, look for other opportunities outside of technology to help you understand your customer’s journey, i.e. don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and actually ask your customers what their experience has been, what you could improve, and what their ultimate goal is.

Building The Right Customer Experience

The start of building the right customer experience is going to come down to customer journey mapping. HubSpot offers a free template to get you started if you don’t already have something internally that you’re using.

Once you’ve identified all those touchpoints, you can start to plan out how you’re going to make adjustments in gaps or where you need to improve their journey. You’ll also have an easier time identifying new key performance indicators (KPIs) that specifically related to customer experience, including:

  • Customer acquisition rate
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Customer Churn Rate

Building A Customer First Contact Center

Interested in learning more about the impact customer experience can have on your business as well as how to actually go about designing a contact center that’s customer-centric?

Check out this recently published report from Forrester on what it takes to design a customer-first contact center, including the technology that powers it and the process that drives it.

READ THE REPORT