Customer experience (CX) design is a modern concept that has been steadily gaining recognition and a broader awareness in the business community. However, despite being a widely discussed concept, it continues to leave many confused.
What seems to be agreed upon, more or less, is that CX design is fairly essential when attempting to determine how customers experience a certain brand. In fact, in the simplest terms, CX design refers to just that: the different ways in which a customer experiences a brand throughout the process of his buying and support experience.
To be a bit more exact, CX can be defined as the relationship established between a customer and a brand over the course of multiple interactions during the entire relationship life cycle. These interactions are known as “touch points”, and they refer to almost any point of interaction (or potential interaction) customers might have with a certain brand.
This includes things like social media webpages such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, the official website of the company or brand in question, and the different ways in which they might contact the company to either order a product or request support for an existing order.
Finally, the customer either recommends or declines to recommend the product or service in question, and this interaction tends to serve as the final touch point in the life cycle of a customer-brand relationship. According to Forrester, customer experience contains three specific elements: enjoyable, usable, and useful.
CX design, then, is the process of applying various methods of process analysis in order to better understand how customer interactions with a brand can be improved to meet these three elements. This includes analyzing the various touch points discussed above as well as any additional that the company might utilize. In applying these methods of process analysis, it is possible for a brand to carefully design and refine the experiences that customers have while interacting with their business.
How CX Design Can Influence Business Outcomes
CX quality and business outcomes are inherently connected, as described in a Forrester report. If a customer experiences a particularly poor CX interaction, for example, they are less likely to give the brand in question repeat business or to recommend the brand to their families or friends. While this might not initially seem like a big deal, the fact of the matter is that poor quality CX has far-reaching consequences that can significantly hinder the growth and success of a business.
While it’s certainly possible that a single customer might have a bad experience in their interactions with a particular brand, multiple reports of bad experiences signifies that something is seriously wrong within the CX structure.
Customers who receive perpetually poor treatment as they move through the customer-brand relationship process are more likely to be actively outspoken than those that don’t. This is a common concept when it comes to businesses and customer service interactions.
Customers that have a great experience and customers that have an especially poor experience are more likely to speak out regarding the brand than those who experience a perfectly ordinary interaction. For this reason alone, it’s important brands do everything they can to ensure that the bulk of their customer-brand interactions are exceedingly positive ones.
This is where CX design comes into play. Because CX design is focused on creating the best customer experience possible, effectively utilizing it can help brands keep their customers happy and loyal while also potentially turning them into brand advocates.
This kind of positive press has the potential to drive even more customers to the business in question, thus increasing their reputation and sales. As you can see, by affecting the way in which a customer experiences a particular brand, CX design has the potential to significantly impact business outcomes.
How to Measure CX Design
When it comes to creating quality CX, it’s important to first understand that, on its own, CX can be hard to measure. It’s easy to look back on an experience and label it as “good” or “bad”. But, it’s far more difficult to break down those experiences into identifiable chunks in order to determine what went right and what wrong.
Without doing this, however, it’s almost impossible to effectively improve CX on any measurable level. It’s important, therefore, to understand the options available when it comes to accurately measuring CX design and determining how to address any issues that might be located in the process.
There are a few commonly used methods that have proven to be effective over time. Perhaps the most easily digestible and approachable is that of the seven step process. This process helps brands set up a program that is designed to routinely measure CX quality, understand how that quality relates to business outcomes, and encourage the brands to act upon the information they uncover.
These seven steps, when followed correctly, help create an all-inclusive CX measurement program.Select customer segments.
- Decide which experiences should be measured
- Determine how you will measure each experience
- Create a strategy for data collection
- Set goals that correspond to CX metrics
- Locate CX issues and act upon them
- Keep your co-workers in the loop when it comes to your results
As you can see, the seven steps above create the outline of a comprehensive measurement program, from customer identification all the way through fixing issues and educating your peers.
Another possibility when it comes to CX design evaluation is the use of buyer legends. Buyer legends are similar to the seven step process detailed above in that to create one, you must also address many of the same issues. Essentially, buyer legends are in-depth reports detailing the different actions you might expect your customer to make, including things like visiting your website or social media pages, subscribing to a newsletter, visiting a store, calling customer service, and engaging in conversation with the brand.
Taking the time to detail these actions and then measuring how well your legend stacks up against actual customer data can be an incredibly useful tool when it comes to measuring CX design and determining where there is room for improvement.
Buyer legends tend to have several components laid out as though the legend is a story. These include:
- The hero (customer)
- The catalyst
- The first measurable step
- The road signs
- The detours
- The fork in the road
- The destination
As you can see, these elements are all fairly self-explanatory and refer to the journey your customers take as they navigate your CX design.
Measurement Metrics and How They Help Deliver a Great CX
Because CX design tends to refer to the entirety of a customer’s experience throughout their relationship with a brand, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the broader picture and fail to pick it apart.
It’s vitally important to take sufficient time to take this broader view apartment, however, and turn it into individual components. These individual components are what you will measure when taking a look at the CX performance of your brand. These smaller details are easier to measure and refine than the sum of their performance.
In order to effectively measure your CX and determine where you need to improve upon your touch points, it’s important to first consider which metrics are the most relevant to your business and have the highest impact on your customers.
Perhaps you run a printing business, for example, and specialize in developing film as well as transferring images to high quality products like posters or mounted frames. In this particular instance, there are several metrics that might be important to measure.
The turnaround time from payment until order delivery, for example, is likely to be important. The ease of conducting business with your associates as well as the quality of your printing services and the materials used within are also likely to be important metrics to measure when determining customer experience and satisfaction.
Keep in mind that all businesses are different, and while some metrics are universal, some will pertain only to your particular niche. Identify the important components to measure, and then resort to gathering information on them.
Once you have data about how well these metrics are performing and how they’re influencing CX, it’s time to take action and work to improve those measurements. By breaking down the overall CX into independent components, it’s possible to refine the CX until it’s the best possible situation for your customer-brand relationship.
Consider the three metrics defined by customerthink.com:
1. Satisfaction – Satisfaction is an essential metric in measuring and managing the customer experience over time. Satisfaction is used to provide a baseline measurement of performance, identify change, and understand key drivers to set and align priorities at an organization level. If you are not measuring satisfaction of the overall experience already as part of the customer experience program, you should start.
2. Net Promoter Score – Net Promoter Score (NPS) provides a read on how your customers feel about your company. It is a customer loyalty metric developed by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company and was introduced by Reichheld in his 2003 Harvard Business Review article “One Number You Need to Grow“.One of the biggest advantages of the NPS is its simplicity, while still being relevant to all levels and functions of an organization.
3. Visitor Intent and Task Completion – Digital touch points are the most measurable sales and service channels. With huge amounts of data already existing on what visitors are doing on desktops, mobiles and tablets. Behavioral web analytics, is a well-recognized form of measuring performance and provides valuable decision support to help optimize online channel offerings. However, behavioral metrics like ‘pages visited,’ ‘time on site’ and ‘conversion rate’ provide little insight into the hearts and minds of customers.
A good example for Measuring CX
Even after all of the previous discussion regarding measuring CX and how doing so can significantly impact business outcomes, there might be a few people who aren’t so sure.
Or, to be more specific, a few people who understand that it’s important, but aren’t able to wrap their minds around the actual measurement process. That’s okay – it’s a difficult and abstract concept to consider at first. Let’s take a look at an example that might help make the process clearer. We’ll be using the buyer legend strategy for measuring CX design.
In the first example, our hero, Mike, is in the market for a new TV. He stopped working a few days ago (this would be the catalyst), and now he’s interested in looking at the available options and selecting a new model. He decides to look at review compilations comparing some of the most popular options, and finally decides upon one TV that he would like to purchase.
He decides to do a Google search to find the lowest price, and eventually lands upon the Amazon.com product page for the television (measurable step). While looking at the reviews a final time and reading over the specifications, Mike notices that if he purchases the TV from Amazon, he’ll earn a digital credit that can be used to purchase items in Amazon’s digital store (road sign).
He wants to learn more about the offer, and clicks on the “more information” link (detour). After realizing that the deal is fairly straightforward, he decides to go ahead and make the purchase. He adds the item to his cart (measurable step), completes the checkout process, and successfully orders the TV (destination).
Do you see how measuring CX works in the above situation? Each action of the buyer can be broken down into specific measurable metrics. These are then evaluated to determine how well they served the customer in a particular instance. In Mike’s case, the CX experience was quite good – but let’s pretend that when he attempted to add the item to his cart, he experienced an error and was unable to do so. That actionable step would have yielded an entirely different perception of the process. Every step has a negative and positive (as well as neutral) outcome.
These are used to help determine how well a brand’s CX design is working to make a customer’s experience a great one. From the example above, I hope it’s clear that the process doesn’t have to be as complicated as it seems. In fact, once you’ve selected your metrics and decided upon a measurement strategy, the actual measurement procedure is fairly straightforward.
With so many options available to consumers, quality CX is more important than ever. Don’t let your business fall behind because your CX design is lacking. Measure your customer’s experiences and create the best relationship with them possible. The outcome will have incredible impacts upon your business outcomes – you won’t regret it.
Even though measuring CX can be a tedious exercise, business leaders are readily investing their time and money into it. CX design is now being viewed as the new gateway to customer happiness.
Customers who face consistently poor experiences while interacting with a brand are likely to share an unfavorable feedback. Similarly, those having a great experience are equally likely to share a positive feedback. Hence to make every customer’s experience special, measuring CX can be the best solution.
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