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Is Having a Horde of Promoters REALLY the Key to Your Customer Experience Strategy?

Gustavo Imhof
15 Nov, 2018

If there is one thing that truly scares me when I talk with senior leaders at conferences, it's the lack of forethought many have in choosing a metric for their business.

These same executives spend weeks upon weeks reviewing the right Management Information tool, reviewing the right training partner, Workforce Management provider, or staffing agency for their contact center. So, why not give CX the same importance?

Meeting

 

“Why is [fill in the blank with your metric of choice] your KPI?” I ask them.

Silence.

At this point, they realize that no one ever told them why this or that metric was the right one. Or worse, they were following orders without ever understanding the reasoning behind this decision.

Don't feel bad if you recognize yourself in this scenario. It’s more common than we’d like to believe. There are very few people that can really tell me why their business uses a specific metric, or whether they even took the nature of their business/industries into account when deciding which measure to use.

Find out why CX is more than recommendation or satisfaction  ›

The pitfalls of poor metric planning

Strategize

Here are a couple examples of tragically poor metric planning:

  • An online retailer asking about NPS before the customer even receives their purchase.
  • A hospital asking if you’re satisfied with your medical treatment (I mean, if it was successful, yes?)
  • An amusement park asking about customer effort.
  • NPS as the key measure of a government agency, such as the IRS, DMV, or Social Security Administration. 

But stop and think about it. Who in their right mind would recommend the taxman? And how reliable can the analytics be on a survey answered before the product in question has even been used?

I argue that many customer experience programs fail because they are not chasing the right number. And they’re not chasing it because they never tried to understand which is the best way of driving their business forward.

Could it be satisfied customers? Or a horde of promoters saying it’s as easy as 1-2-3 to deal with them? Whichever answer it is, you need to understand which behaviors best relate to business performance, and therefore growth.

Failing to plan is planning to fail, especially in consumer research.

Are the established metrics a fit for your purpose?

Puzzle

Sadly, many companies have defaulted to traditional metrics, such as NPS because “executive boards like it” or “everyone uses it, so it must be good”.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against NPS--as long as it is used properly in the correct settings. Customer Satisfaction, Effort, and Net Promoter are all very valid metrics and I have used them in the past with a number of businesses, on their own or combined. They all do a great job when chosen for the right reason.

What else is out there?

Look Ahead

I want to challenge you to think beyond the beaten tracks.

I want to share with you other, less established, measures that may be more appropriate for your business reality. I don’t claim any of these measures to be superior to the established ones, just keen to bring another perspective.

The following measures are the result of conversations I’ve had with peers in the industry, senior leaders outside of CX and, I’ll admit, some of my own musing.

1-Buyer’s Remorse

Buyer's Remorse

This is a great measure for products and services that are either impulse purchases, have a price tag above the competition (with limited functional differentiation) or that are purely hedonic in nature (i.e. just for fun and enjoyment).

If your product is 25% more expensive than the next best competitor for little reason other than the brand, or the appeal of it is much greater than the actual use (something people call ‘gadgets’), then it’s one you want to watch closely.

A few days after the purchase, you do want to know whether the person regrets buying from you. You do want to understand how to prevent potential returns, and how you may need to adapt your delivery or communication to reduce this risk.

2-Is it 'Worth it'?

Worth it

This is the question that my friends at Worthix swear by, and it makes a lot of sense. One could argue it’s a better way of asking about remorse, but it’s so much broader than that!

It really encompasses the entirety of decision making process and value perception by starting with just one question: "Is it worth it?".

It helps you capture whether the value was truly there (worth what you traded in) in the eyes of your customer, and how to increase the perceived value from their interaction with you (through follow-up questions).

If you are wondering which companies are using this approach... you’re on the right website – just look at Worthix's client list!

3-Would I gift this to a loved one?

Gifts

This one is something I haven’t seen yet, but I mused around years ago at the beginning of my career when I started to see the limitations of NPS.

As a young and foolish graduate, I set myself on a task of thinking of alternative metrics to NPS and CSAT. Fortunately, this journey didn’t consume me for long as I rapidly understood that the problem wasn’t the metric but how it was used. I eventually parked it… until I was invited to write on the Worthix blog!

Here’s the rationale: people praise the power of NPS due to the social element involved (would you put your reputation on the line for this business), and through that word of mouth, the impact it may have on building up a brand and their business. So far so good.

But then it got me thinking… why stop at recommending? Although it will cover far fewer situations that NPS could legitimately claim, why not go one step further from recommending?

What is that step further? Actually gifting it to someone you care about!

Can you imagine a stronger endorsement than actually spending your own money to buy someone a gift? For instance:

  • Would you recommend this restaurant? Yep! I just got my co-worker a gift card to eat there!
  • Would you recommend this cruise? You bet! I just bought my parents a trip for their 50th anniversary!
  • Would you recommend this phone? Absolutely – I got it for my kid for his birthday!

See where I am getting with this? If someone is willing to buy the service or product and use it as a gift to someone, it means they truly believe it is of exceptional quality and will make its recipient happy.

You can hardly hope for a stronger statement of loyalty and delight than that...except maybe tattooing a brand logo on your body, or calling your kid "Chanel"-- both true stories).

Yes, your Gift score might be lower than your Recommend, but a shift upwards would certainly have a much bigger impact on your bottom line, as it is associated with an actual purchase decision.

Finally, onto the real question…

How likely are you to share this article with your friends or colleagues?

Because it’s free, there really is no reason for you not to go ahead and score up by sharing this article on LinkedIn or commenting below!

CX is More Than Satisfaction

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