Are You Measuring and Improving What Matters to Customers?

Posted Thursday, August 14, 2014 in Customer Experience by Ronni Marshak

“Moments of Truth” in Customer Scenarios

A “moment of truth” in a Customer Scenario is the point at which the customer will give up, walk away, or be very disappointed and frustrated. We also refer to these points in a Customer Scenario as “showstoppers.”

Different types of customers in different contexts will often identify similar moments of truth in similar scenarios. For example, when a customer is embarking on a “select and buy” scenario, not being able to get the product or service when and where she needs it is a moment of truth. She’ll go elsewhere or give up. Even in a business-to-business context, when the product selection may be performed by one role (evaluator/recommender), the purchasing decision made by another role (budget owner), and the actual order placed by another role (purchasing agent), availability on the customer-desired time/date/location looms large as a showstopper.

Moments of truth are emotional. They are what will make or break the experience.

Measure What Matters in Moments of Truth

Moments of Truth in Select & Buy ScenariosYet, for each moment of truth, we’ve learned that there are customer metrics that determine whether it is being successfully met. These customer success metrics are typically, though not exclusively, measured in terms of number of options, time, effort, and money. We have found that a group of customers who share the same customer persona and context will always agree on a range of customer success metrics. For example, for consumers shopping for birthday gifts, having the gift arrive/available on the actual birthday 100% of the time is a customer success metric.

Identify How to Monitor what Matters & What Threshold You’re Shooting For

So, if you know how your customers will measure your success at each of their moments of truth, how do you monitor how you’re doing? Most companies rely on customer satisfaction scores and on process metrics—e.g., reducing variance on product availability and monitoring on-time delivery through logistics partners. But you can be much more specific by thinking carefully about how you can actually monitor whether or not you are meeting customers’ success metrics, and whether or not it’s worth it to do so.

One of our favorite early examples, relating to product availability came from the British supermarket chain, Tesco. Within a year or two of implementing online grocery ordering, Tesco discovered a great way to use the granular data they were accumulating about customers’ brand and size preferences in each neighborhood to prioritize the restocking of shelves. If customers would not accept a substitute product (different size/flavor of chocolate bar, for example), that customer behavior told Tesco that it was a high priority to keep that item restocked. So, for Tesco, monitoring the percentage availability of items that are high priority to customers in each neighborhood became an important CX operational metric.

Make a Business Case for Monitoring and Improving Performance on CX Operational Metrics

Whether or not it paid off for Tesco to monitor and manage inventory prioritization based on customers’ rejections of substituted products was a business case hypothesis the company tried and tested over time.

You can do this too.

How to Lower Your Opportunity Cost in Developing Customer Experience Metrics

We now have a knowledgebase of dozens of customer success metrics, captured from thousands of Customer Scenario Mapping sessions across many industries and countries. If you’re embarking on a Customer Experience improvement project, or if you are looking for ways to unify management around a few key customer-critical operational metrics, you can jumpstart your own efforts by taking advantage of the 25 years of work we’ve already done. Your $95 annual subscription to Strategies gives you access to our Customer Scenario patterns, which we’re in the process of updating and expanding upon this year.

Save Time: Start with Our Customer Scenario® Patterns

This week, we provide a “Customer Experience Scorecard” from one of the most common scenario patterns—Select and Buy. As you’ll see, the customer metrics will vary depending on the type of product or service being selected and purchased, whether it is a business-to-business transaction or a consumer-to-business transaction, and whether it is an emergency purchase or a planned purchase. But the moments of truth are the same, across industries, across channels and touchpoints, and over time. We began synthesizing these scenario patterns and metrics several years ago. As we are updating them, we notice that the moments of truth haven’t varied much. But the customer success metrics are more demanding.


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