Trying to measure the customer experience can be a challenge. In a physical store, you can gather data on customer complaints, use mystery shoppers, or ask your shoppers to complete a survey to measure the customer experience, but how can you measure the digital experience that your customers have?
Measuring customer experience is so challenging because the scope of measurement is so broad. What defines customer experience? The short answer is everything, but how do you know what to measure? Before you can measure customer experience, you first have to define it.
Survey software like like Qualtrics Vocalize, Zendesk, or Freshdesk can help you get a snapshot of your digital customer experience, but they don’t paint the full picture. Because website surveys require additional time, website users who are already frustrated with a slow page loading speed or poor website experience are less likely to stick around and tell you about it.
Use testing and cross-platform testing is one technique for helping to diagnose major website problems. If your page takes more than ten seconds to load, about 50% of your users will disappear before even making it onto your site.
One key to measuring customer experience online is your website’s analytics. Pages that have a high bounce rate or a high dropoff rate may be displeasing the users, so those pages will need a more thorough examination. Online, a displeased customer disappears. When you see users drop off your analytics en masse, it may be an indication that there’s something wrong.
The digital customer experience can be defined as having six areas: flexibility, customer service, purchasing convenience, personalization, simplicity, and reachability.
Flexibility and Omnichannel Support
The best customers are not the ones that make a single purchase, but the ones who become brand ambassadors. These are the people who read your website content, order online, call your call center, visit your physical location, and share our social media. Are they getting the same treatment and branding everywhere?
When a company is small, it’s not uncommon for them to cobble together a customer support system, but spreadsheets and emails only work for so long. Omnichannel support software like Five9 and Pega CRM can help your customers interact with you across multiple channels without losing any information. As an added bonus, most omnichannel support systems include analytics and data to help you measure customer experience.
Customer service is where the rubber meets the road. A great customer service experience can turn a hesitant customer into a brand evangelist, but word of a poor experience can spread like wildfire. Online, customer service needs to be easy to access and convenient. Self-service options allow the customer to conveniently and quickly meet most of their common problems. Live chat options and omnichannel support for customer service calls help make it easy for customers to get their problems solved.
When a customer is ready to buy, you need to be ready to sell. Measuring customer experience requires tracking the ease of making a purchase. For e-commerce, this means tracking statistics like cart abandonment and interrupted transactions. Customer surveys can help you measure customer experience when it comes time to make a purchase, and omnichannel support may help you identify customers that are struggling with making a purchase online and need call center or live chat support.
For digital customers, convenience and speed is essential. Personalizing the customer experience allows you to serve your users the information they need so they can make a decision quickly and make a purchase. At its most basic level, personalization may involve market segments and targeted content. More sophisticated personalization may use omnichannel analytics to identify individual customers across communication channels. When the customer experience is personalized, it’s like having a dedicated sales representative at your fingertips.
It doesn’t always have to be fancy. It just has to work. More than half of all digital customers have abandoned a purchase because they couldn’t easily find the answer to a question.
The more complex and user-unfriendly it is, the more likely it is that a customer will simply walk away without converting. To measure the customer experience of your digital visitors, consider the simplicity and user experience of your digital assets. Designs should be intuitive, with the most common or most targeted information at the forefront.
Above all else, companies navigating the digital customer experience must be reachable. Whether a customer reaches out on Twitter, live chat, phone, or email, companies must be reachable and responsive. Digital customers are impatient, and even a short delay in responsiveness can increase dissatisfaction. One way to measure customer experience is to measure the responsiveness rate and response time for social media and customer service mentions and inquiries.
Your customers are continuing to evolve and to demand better customer experiences. 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience, and your competitors are taking notice of it, too. New Voice Media reports that companies are losing $86 billion a year to bad customer experiences; that’s entirely too much money to leave on the table. 56% of Millenials have abandoned a company for its competitor due to poor customer experiences.
Measuring customer experience should never be a one-time thing, but a series of snapshots that demonstrate continual improvement over time. Amy Gallo says, “Depending on which study you believe, and what industry you’re in, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.”
Measuring and improving the customer experience helps your company remain competitive in a marketplace increasingly dominated by customer experience.
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