All posts in Call Centers

How do you measure customer experience?


A friend of mine emailed me a few weeks ago with one question: “Mary, how do you measure customer experience?” My friend is a six-sigma black belt call center executive. Therefore, I naturally took this question as not only a challenge, but as an opportunity to provide him with an answer he could actually use. So…where does one start when wanting to measure their customer experience?

First, Start by Reviewing Your Current State

First, you need to understand your current customer experience situation – both externally and internally. More often than not, companies focus on external customer experience. This said, there is a correlation between internal, employee loyalty and satisfaction, and external customer experience satisfaction.

Next, Focus on External Measurement

You must measure and benchmark your customer focus on the activities that drive customer satisfaction and retention. These benchmark results are important to understand in order to determine which strategy is best suited for your company to deliver the best customer value both internally and externally. If there is weakness in the entire customer focus aspect, a complete customer experience management reengineering program may be necessary.

Then, Pay Attention to Your Internal Measurement

One of the most important aspects in customer experience management is creating an empowered workforce of employees who are committed to your customer and believe in your company. They need to be able to make a direct connection to how they contribute to customer value and satisfaction.

How Do We Measure It? Measurement Methodologies

Here are some of the top methodologies utilized to measure customer experience:

Quality Customer Experience Metric

No matter what methodology you use, remember to focus on the quality of your customer experience metrics, as well.

  • Credibility: How widely accepted is the measure? Does it have a good track record of results?
  • Reliability: Is it a consistent standard that can be applied across the customer lifecycle and multiple channels?
  • Precision: Is it specific enough to provide insight? Does it use multiple related questions to deliver greater accuracy and insight?
  • Accuracy: Is the measurement right? Is it representative of the entire customer base, or just an outspoken minority?
  • Actionability: Does it provide any insight into what can be done to encourage customers to be loyal and to purchase? Does it prioritize improvements according to biggest impacts?
  • Ability to Predict: Can it project the future behaviors of the customer based on their satisfaction?

In conclusion, you want to be able to leverage your customer experience metrics into superior business performance. These value metrics should enable you to identify competitive performance gaps on those factors that are critical to quality from a market perspective (CTQs, in Six Sigma jargon…). The nature of those gaps, whether positive or negative, will point you to the specific product (service), people, or process issues that you can improve to realize or sustain a competitive advantage.

You can read my complete research on this topic for free, including more in depth explanations around the measurement methodologies on the Contact Center Associations’ website. And don’t forget about the ROI behind customer experience. Forrester recently produced a study that showed, for example in financial services, that a small increase in customer experience could have an impact of more than $200M from reduced churn, word of mouth referrals, and increased purchases.

Call Centers and Personality Mapping

personality mapping1 Call Centers and Personality Mapping

One of the keys to success in delivering great customer service in the call center is matching a customer to the right agent. This is why skill based routing was born. In today’s digital world companies realize they can no longer take the approach of treating every customer the same. They want to provide personalized service to each customer as much as possible in an effort to build customer loyalty. There is much to say about the rapport between a customer and an agent. There is that something “special” that occurs during a conversation that goes beyond traditionally trained soft skills, and it has to do with personality types “clicking”. This chemistry is what many organizations are looking to utilize in an attempt to enhance their customer experience.

So how can companies match customers to agents based on skill as well as personality? Not surprisingly, it is all about the data. You need to have access to detailed data on your customers including their personality traits, which can then be used to route calls to the correct agent. Think of it as another layer of customer information that includes details about behaviors, habits, and traits, and details that go beyond just demographical information, preferred method of contact, or last item purchased. These personality details are then used to match a customer with the most suitable agent through enhanced intelligent call routing.

Personality mapping is facilitated by technology that matches your customers to your agents based on personality. It uses information that you understand about your customers and your call center agents and matches people who are more likely to have an optimal result. What an “optimal result” means to your organization should be determined while building your business requirements when you are considering personality routing. For example, an optimal result for a call center could be increased revenues. If this is the case, customers would be routed to agents who are more likely to get sales.

Optimally aligning agent and caller personalities can make a difference in your call center performance. In your call center, you most likely have a group of agents who always do well, another group that is in the middle, and another group that performs below standards. As customer service professionals, we know agents matters in transactions. If a customer calls and speaks to an agent and has a poor contact outcome, if they had arrived at a different agent, the call may have resulted differently.

I do recommend personality mapping be used in call centers with 100 agents or more. As a general rule bigger is better than smaller when executing personality mapping. More agents create more transactions and it is transactions that develop your model faster. If you have a hundred agents dispositioning 10 calls an hour, then you have thousands of transactions in a day and your system will learn faster.

Personality mapping puts the right people together. You can use personality mapping in an effort to increase the buying opportunity, reduce miscommunications, reduce callbacks, and improve levels of customer and agent satisfaction. And nothing pleases me more knowing that when my retired father who hates call center (yes, really…) reaches out to his providers there is the potential that he may get routed to an agent who fears no difficult customer and can speak “cranky” with ease…

What I Am Looking Forward to Most at ACCE

Ahhhh.....just the thought of attending ACCE 2011 in New Orleans June 13th is enough to make me happy. It's something I look forward to annually. However, throw in mornings at Cafe du Monde and evenings enjoying drinks with peers at Lafitte's Blacksmith Bar, and really, what more could a Call Center evangelist want? Continue reading →

ACCE | Customer Centric Communications - Mobile, Social, Text, Email, Chat


ACCE Show Overview

Produced by ICMI, the longtime leading global provider of comprehensive resources for customer management professionals, ACCE is the premier global gathering for the contact center industry. Contact center professionals come to ACCE to discover how to improve their center’s performance by better managing people and resources, improving operations, properly selecting and implementing technology, and more. Continue reading →

How To Avoid Becoming an Overwhelmed Call Center Professional

Communication Madness

After speaking to my peers the past few months, I have come to the conclusion that we are all suffering from the same affliction– it’s the “OMG! How do I keep UP?” disease.

Many of us call center and customer experience professionals are overwhelmed. Aside from trying to manage day-to-day operations, we are consistently being flooded with new processes and communications that we need to support from Continue reading →

Keeping Pace with Changing Expectations – The Ingredient for a Positive Customer Experience


Providing a positive experience for customers while also managing costs is one of the most vital, yet biggest challenges for any company. However, driving positive customer interactions and reducing costs do not have to be mutually exclusive goals. It just means communicating with consumers the right way at the right time. By creating a customer experience strategy that leverages consumer preferences, multi-channel communications and automation technologies, you can keep costs down while delivering results to your customers – the ultimate ingredient for a better ROI. Continue reading →