How To Monitor Your Return on Customer Experience

Develop and Use a Quality of Customer Experience (QCESM) Operational Scorecard

September 29, 2011

Customer experience best practitioners are able to correlate the specific improvements they make in customer experience to increases in revenues, decreases in costs-to-serve, speedier cash in, and increased customer referrals. Once you’re able to show the impact on the bottom line from specific customer experience improvements, you’ll gain clout and credibility. We offer a proven method that many of our clients use to:

  • identify customer-critical issues (moments of truth) by customer segment and scenario
  • determine how to objectively monitor their ability to create a better experience at those critical points
  • decide what policies or processes to change
  • monitor the impact on the business P&L


There’s often a disconnect between customer experience improvements and operational execution. Customer experience improvements are typically monitored using qualitative customer surveys (often annually). Operational execution is monitored in near real time.

Best practice in customer experience provides a proactive line of sight between customer experience improvements and operational execution by monitoring the operational metrics that impact customer experience the most.

Here are some examples: Grocery retailer Tesco monitors “on shelf” status for the specific items that customers in each neighborhood care about the most. Delta Airlines monitors the percentage of on-time “at the gate” arrivals (within five minutes) every day at every airport. Canadian financial services provider ATB monitors how long it takes to issue a credit card to a student who doesn’t yet have a credit score. Agilent Life Sciences monitors the number of hours each week that its customers aren’t able to use their chemical analysis equipment productively, by month and by region. National Semiconductor monitors how much time it saves design engineers as they go from concept to prototype for complete designs that include a few National Semiconductor components but also hundreds of components from other (often competing) suppliers.

In each case, these suppliers can correlate the level of operational execution they achieve on customer-critical items with their growth in revenues, profits, and customer loyalty. They gain a financial return on their investments in improving execution on the things that matter most to customers.

The business return on customer experience is a win/win. It’s a win for your customers because you’re monitoring and improving the things that matter most to them. It’s a win for your organization because by focusing proactively on the things that really matter to customers, you reduce your costs to serve customers. You also increase the revenues you receive from satisfied customers. Your customers become loyal advocates, increasing the share of their wallets they give you and recruiting their colleagues to become your customers.

Here’s a step-by-step description of how to set up your own Quality of Customer Experience (QCESM) operational scorecard.


Focus on Specific Customer Segments & Critical Scenarios

Your first mission is to discover the “moments of truth” for different types of customers in the critical situations in which they run into difficulties. Different things matter more to different kinds of people. For example, in planning a multi-city business trip (which is often a difficult customer scenario), some business travelers may want to optimize their travel plans in order to arrive early, or to fly each leg non-stop, or to fly on a particular airline, or to obtain comfortable seats. Some will want to avoid certain airports. Some want to limit the time between connections; others prefer to have at least two hours between flights in case the first flight is delayed and so they have time to get food at the airport. In setting up consumer banking relationships, some consumers care more about avoiding fees, others care the most about not being embarrassed by overdrafts, and others want to get the highest interest rates. Some care a lot about the features of their credit cards (earning points or miles or cash back), others don’t want to use credit cards at all. In B2B situations, getting emergency help for an unexpected breakdown is often a critical scenario. The person who deals with that situation is typically the end-user of the product or service, not the person who recommended its purchase, nor the decision-maker who approved the purchase, nor the person who renews the support contract each year.

Before you look for customer-critical pain points, you should segment groups of customers based on their behaviors as well as their demographics. We have found that the easiest way to do this is to interview customers about what they care about the most (their most critical scenarios) and how they like to do the things they do (how they think about those scenarios). Once you’ve found a group of customers (or potential customers) who share the same scenarios and would approach them the same way and/or who are frustrated by the same kinds of things, you can work with that group to identify their moments of truth.

Customer Experience Operational Scorecard

For each customer segment and scenario combination, capture your customers’ moments of truth in THEIR words. Get customers in that segment to agree on the parameters that would satisfy them (their success metrics) for each moment of truth. Then monitor whether what they said is actually what they need and want by seeing whether their buying behavior and referrals correlate with your ability to meet those success metrics for their critical showstoppers.

( Strategies subscribers: download the full article for a Scorecard template.)

Identify Customers’ Moments of Truth & Success Metrics

Customer satisfaction or loyalty surveys—and particularly transactional surveys (those taken right after the interaction)—can pinpoint the areas that cause the most aggravation and dissatisfaction for customers. But they don’t necessarily tell you what to do about fixing or preventing the problems.

FINDING MOMENTS OF TRUTH. The best way we’ve found to identify customer-critical points in any customer experience design initiative is to have the group of customers who behave alike design the ideal experience they’d like to have in completing each scenario. As part of that design activity (which we call Customer Scenario® Mapping), we ask the customers to identify the two to three “showstoppers” in their ideal scenario. These are the points where, if things don’t go smoothly, the customers will give up. What’s amazing to us is that a given group of like-minded customers will invariably select the same points in the scenario for their moments of truth. An example of a moment of truth in a “break/fix” customer scenario is “I don’t understand what’s wrong or how to fix it!” A second moment of truth is “I can’t get this fixed in time!”

DETERMINING CUSTOMERS’ SUCCESS METRICS. Once the customers have identified their moments of truth, we ask them to confer and to agree on a set of parameters that would indicate that the potential showstopper had been mitigated or avoided entirely. What constitutes success? For example, one group of B2B customers in the break/fix scenario specified that they wanted to know what the likely cause of the problem was within an hour. They also wanted to know whether the problem was the result of human error (something they had done). For the second moment of truth, “I can’t get this fixed in time,” their success metrics included...(more)


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