Last week, I talked about the challenges of the omnichannel customer experience landscape. This time around I will talk about some of the best practices of measuring the omnichannel customer experience.
The winners at omnichannel customer service will be those who start by measuring the customer experience and then utilize voice of customer data to help them define and (in the long run) refine their omnichannel strategies. Many companies have started on this journey and not too many have yet completed it.
We cannot manage what we don’t measure. And we cannot improve what we are not measuring, because we won’t know if the changes lead to improvement if we are not measuring the customer experience.
Here are five primary best practices that will aid companies in achieving a successful level of customer satisfaction throughout the organization:
No matter what channel an issue arises in, deal with service issues the same way every time. It will take some work to ensure that policies and protocol are outlined thoroughly and are consistent across the organization, but to the customer it will mean the difference between a satisfying, productive experience and a confusing, frustrating one.
Regardless of where the transaction or service was initiated, it should not hamper how an organization deals with its customers. It is rare that a customer engages with a brand through a single channel (web, mobile, store, contact center, etc.). So, if customers feel they get a better outcome online versus the contact center, they will notice and it can result in a negative overall experience.
While there are occasions where product availability will vary by channel, it is essential to make it very clear to consumers where and how they can find what they are looking for. By setting expectations, a company avoids creating unnecessary disappointment.
A company needs to break down its internal organizational barriers in order to address the challenges of omnichannel customer service. For example, a simple transaction in which a customer purchases a product online and returns it in-store can create issues within a financial system that has not been structured to accommodate the fluidity between channels. By avoiding the constraints of internal structures, metrics and internal processes, an organization will be primed for omnichannel success.
Measuring the customer experience using a proven methodology that applies science to the art of voice of customer measurement is critical for companies having success in extending customer care across all channels. Traditional behavioral metrics struggle with omnichannel experiences. Only by truly understanding how the customer evaluates the experience can executives know if they are meeting the needs and expectations of their customers.
Next year is likely to mark the beginning of the serious exploration phase for forward-thinking companies. The importance of omnichannel services is coming to the forefront and yet the advances will likely be minimal and sporadic. I would fully expect that the omnichannel leaders we will see emerge in 2014 will be those who are providing the best customer experience, earning loyalty, and rising above channels and constraints within the organization to deliver a level of service that is truly channel agnostic.
In 2014, we will continue to see the increasing importance of measuring the customer experience, because that is the key driver of loyalty, retention and upsell – all key drivers of business success. The next frontier for customer experience measurement is to not only measure within the channel but to also be able to measure the omnichannel experience. Again, those organizations that are having the most success doing this will be at the forefront of their industry.