The SYSTEM trumps the SCALE! - Omoto
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The SYSTEM trumps the SCALE!

One of the most common questions I encounter when discussing customer experience with my clients or potential clients is: “Which metric is most efficient?” I have observed that all CX enthusiasts who spearhead CX initiatives at organizations spend considerable effort in understanding the 3 common metrics available in the market:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
  • Customer Effort Score (CES)

They are under the belief that by obsessing about the metric, CX can be improved. However, this is not entirely true. And whenever I am dragged into this debate of which metric to use, I have one simple answer: Neither of the scales is important.

This comes as a shocker to many of my clients and that’s when I share the following example. In his book ‘The Ultimate Question 2.0,’ Mr. Fred Reichheld talks about Enterprise Rent-A-Car – one of the most successful car rental companies. It uses a homegrown metric to measure and improve customer experience. Going by how much customers love doing business with Enterprise, it is fair to say that its homegrown metric has worked wonderfully well.

Well, if neither of the metrics is important, then what is? Here’s a quote by Bruce Temkin of the Temkin Group that sums up what is most important:

Instead of obsessing about the specific metric being used, companies need to obsess about the system that they put in place to make changes based on what they learn from using the metric.

So, here are the three most important factors that a company should consider to ensure that their CX is top-notch.

Empower employees

I cannot emphasize the importance of this point enough. EMPLOYEES are the key to developing a customer-centric organization. Take all the companies renowned for their customer experience, and this factor comes out as a common trait. Zappos, Southwest Airlines, Apple Inc., American Express and the like trust their employees to take decisions related to customers. Giving employees the freedom to act on customer-issues in the manner they deem necessary will not only reduce the turn-around time but also increase the responsibility of the employees towards the customers. In sum, employees are the only ones who can make customers happier or more disappointed. CXO’s cannot be involved in every customer transaction.

Check out this video that Zappos recently launched an ad campaign that shows how their employees helped their customers (Real life stories)

Ensure senior management buy-in

There is no magic potion to making an organization customer-centric. It’s an on-going process with a dedicated investment of time and energy. For the entire organization to be aligned with the CX goal, it’s important that all employees across departments understand that the senior management is sold to the customer experience program. Once sold on the idea, the top management should send a clear message in words and in action. It should support setting the right processes, taking action on poor feedback, and giving a pat on the back for good feedback. When top management not just talks but also acts to show that customer experience is important every day, each day, all employees understand its importance.

Close the feedback loop

When customers take time to fill in the feedback, it is imperative that organizations respond and act on it. This process of acting on customer feedback is called closing the feedback loop. Closing the loop means not just sending an automated response saying ‘We’ve received your request and are working on it…’, but reaching back to the customers to understand the real issue and, ultimately, resolving those issues. There is no denying that the single most important process for a company to have is a feedback system that would convey the voice of the customer to various levels of the organization. The correct thing to do, then, is to ensure that each hierarchy utilizes the feedback data to improve its customers’ experience.

In conclusion, organizations can achieve results by using any of the CX metrics provided they focus on taking action on customer feedback and not just reporting the delta in their score every month. Any metric is just a measure of how well organizations have been doing these things. Remember that a metric is only a means to an end!

I would love to hear your feedback and comments on this piece. Are there any other important steps that an organization must take irrespective of the loyalty scale it uses? Do let me know!

Image Source: Peterson’s Blog

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