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Shopper Experience: How to Solve the Puzzle of Customer Experience Metrics

Matt Harris, Co-founder and CEO of Sendwithus talks about CX (customer experience) metrics, examining what traditional measures still work and what new values brands are considering when determining their customer’s happiness level.

Email should not be underestimated as a means of gathering insight into the customer experience. In addition to the traditional metrics every brand should be tracking — open, click-through, conversion, unsubscribe rates, etc. — email can be an invaluable tool for pro-actively collecting customer experience feedback.

Most companies focus on the minutiae of the metrics I just mentioned, primarily because they’re easily tracked and easy to automate. And while those metrics are important, they don’t provide the whole picture. Softer indicators of brand health, like customer sentiment, are equally important but are too often considered harder — and more expensive — to measure, since they often require high-touch effort, like focus groups or one-on-one interviews, and more subjective data analysis.

Email as a vehicle for measuring the customer experience

It doesn’t have to be that way. Every email you send is a chance to converse with your customers and offer them an opportunity to relay feedback. Transactional emails, in particular, have phenomenal open and click-through rates, so they provide an excellent opportunity to solicit feedback from customers currently engaged with your brand.

An NPS survey at the bottom of an email from Customer Service, a request to leave a review or rate a product in a delivery confirmation, a request to participate in a short survey, even a simple thumbs-up/thumbs-down rating in the footer, on the relevance or helpfulness of that particular email’s content, can all provide deeper insight into how customers are experiencing your brand. 

Unfortunately, a one-size-fits all list of customer experience metrics doesn’t exist. Marketers need to discover for themselves which experiences cause a customer to become a brand evangelist and which cause them to flee. Different types of businesses will have different metrics. Consumer goods brands, for example, don’t often interact directly with their customers, so customer service metrics will be pretty much non-existent. But if you’re an e-commerce or telecom company, then customer service metrics will be extremely important.

One universal truth, though, is that no matter what business you’re in, email provides a direct line to customers, providing metrics that can offer insight into which aspects of the customer experience are working and those that aren’t.

Also Read: No One Cares About the Size of Your Email List

Going beyond the NPS

For a very long time, the gold standard for overall brand health has been the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which asks consumers if they would recommend a brand to a friend. As a baseline, the NPS is an important customer experience metric to track, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. NPS tells you the what of brand health but not thewhy.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to pair NPS with a real-time, revenue-based metric, such as average order value or lifetime value. The two combined will provide an effective baseline to start with.

To dig deeper into the why, think about collecting data from a variety of sources — feedback forms, focus groups and interviews, engagement data from website analytics, and social interactions. And data gathered via email.

A simple but effective idea is to include a, “Was this email helpful? Yes | No” survey at the bottom of every transactional email, with two calls to action. This is typically done in support threads but can also be included in other types of notifications. Be careful, though — you don’t want to distract from the overall call to action in important emails (i.e. password reset), so use this option wisely.

By combining data from this kind of simple survey, NPS results, revenue-based metrics, and traditional email metrics, like opens, clicks, and conversions, you’ll begin to form a complete picture of your customers throughout their journey, from awareness through repurchase and referral.

The key is to analyze the data in context. For instance, an NPS survey sent immediately after contact with your support team will most likely reflect that interaction, not necessarily the customer’s entire experience. Similarly, a great Ticket Deflection rate (the rate at which consumers opt to use self-service tools to solve their problem rather than reach out to support) could mean you’ve improved your self-help options or streamlined delivery logistics, or it might mean you’ve just made it harder for customers to reach you. It’s important to look at each metric within the context of where the customer is in their journey — as I said earlier, a particular metric, like NPS, will tell you the what, but context will inform your understanding of the why.

Also Read: In the Age of the Always-On, Connected Consumer, Brands Still Struggle to Engage, Drive Revenue

Making touchpoints smarter

When a customer encounters a touchpoint, they leave a fingerprint. Email is a great way to turn one of those touchpoints into a vehicle through which customers can make themselves heard.

Brands who implement a continuous feedback loop, one that collects data from every touchpoint, every channel, and every stage of the customer lifecycle, no matter where the customer happens to be, will be the brands who will win out.

Customer experience is becoming the most important differentiator between brands and those who excel will be those who listen most carefully to their customers, and who respond by exceeding expectations.

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