Better Customer Journeys Require Improving Your Customer Intelligence With Operational & Experiential Data

In an ideal world, customer experience would be built, improved, reviewed, and evolved based on real-time intelligence. This intelligence would include customer feedback, operational measurements, and an overall understanding of the world and marketplace.

Yet most of us don’t live in this ideal world and need to work with what we have. If there’s one thing I see as missing in many customer experience initiatives, it’s understanding how powerful operational data can be when combined with customer insights. In fact, customer experience leaders are often put into the role of what I call “number narrators.” They report out on feedback metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) or transactional Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) rates. Yet these metrics on their own don’t provide the insight and directive to take real action.

Operational metrics are measurable indicators that track the performance of a business’s processes and systems, while feedback metrics capture the voice of the customer to understand their experience with the business. To improve customer experience and business results, both operational metrics and feedback metrics should be used together. These measurements can then be used to tell the story of what’s needed and provide real business intelligence.

This type of data combination is not just for you, as the CX leader, it’s for your OTHER leaders. A survey by Customer Contact Week Digital found that nearly 60% of customer experience professionals believe that operational data is critical to gaining leadership buy-in for customer experience initiatives.

CX leaders need to tie the well-known experience analytics with operational insights. This powerful combination will provide more robust and meaningful findings, which lead to better actions and outcomes for the business.

What Operational Metrics Should You Use?

When considering what operational metrics to analyze, start with what you want to discover.

Here are some examples of operational metrics that can be evaluated in conjunction with feedback metrics to improve customer experience and business results, but each business and industry has specific operational objectives to use.

  1. Average Handling Time (AHT) – This measures the time it takes for a customer service agent to resolve a customer’s issue. A low AHT indicates that customers are getting quick and efficient service, which can positively impact customer experience.
  2. First Call Resolution (FCR) – This measures the percentage of customer issues that are resolved on the first call. A high FCR indicates that customers are getting their issues resolved quickly and efficiently, which can improve customer satisfaction and reduce call volume.
  3. Customer Retention Rate – This measures the percentage of customers who continue to do business with a company over time. A high retention rate indicates that customers are satisfied with the company’s products or services, which can lead to increased revenue and profitability.
  4. Average Purchase Value – This measures the average dollar amount spent, either by customer or overall. Tracking this by customer (or segment) along with specific feedback metrics can show the connection between happier customers and higher revenue directly.

By analyzing both operational and feedback metrics, businesses can gain a comprehensive understanding of how well they are meeting customer needs and where improvements can be made. Leaders can then make data-driven decisions to improve customer experience and ultimately drive better business results.

Start with the Customer’s Experience

If you aren’t sure where to start, begin with the customer’s experience.
Here are some steps to get started:

1. Map the Customer Journey

Begin by mapping out the customer journey, starting from the initial awareness stage and continuing through the purchase and post-purchase stages. Identify each part of the business that the customer interacts with, such as customer service, marketing, and product delivery.

2. Identify Critical Touchpoints

Identify the touchpoints that are most critical to customer satisfaction and loyalty. These might include customer service interactions, website navigation, or the checkout process.

3. Determine Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Determine the KPIs that are most relevant to each critical touchpoint. For example, if customer service interactions are a critical touchpoint, consider tracking metrics such as AHT, FCR, and customer satisfaction scores.

4. Establish Baselines and Goals:

Establish baselines for each KPI and set goals for improvement. Use these metrics to track progress and make data-driven decisions to improve the customer journey.

5. Integrate Data Sources:

Integrate data sources from across the organization to gain a comprehensive view of the customer journey. This might include customer feedback, web analytics, and operational data from various systems and departments.

Brands that do this well find what can be measured from both the experiential and operational data.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies often track a combination of metrics like churn rate, which measures the number of subscription cancellations, along with usage data and CX metrics like NPS. Other organizations may watch a combination of purchase frequency trends along with retail returns and transactional survey results.

Your organization will have a unique way to look at the right combination of metrics. The important thing is to look for ways to evaluate the larger picture of both what customers tell you in feedback and how they behave.

By Jeannie Walters –