NPS, or Net Promoter Score, is one of the most popular metrics to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty to a brand. Because of the ease of gathering NPS data, this metric is also commonly used as a proxy to measure other subjective aspects like customer experience and loyalty. The rationale here is that good CX makes customers happy and they are more likely to refer a business to others.
The truth however is that NPS does not capture all aspects of a customer’s experience. Take the example of an airline that offers tickets at dirt-cheap prices. The high demand for low priced tickets would mean that the airline booking system witnesses high traffic and consequently slow servers. This airline is likely to see high NPS that reflect the competitive advantage this airline holds with respect to ticket prices. However, it does not necessarily indicate the experience that the company provides during the ticket booking process.
Customer experience can thus change at each stage of the buying cycle. For effective CX management, it is important to break down the customer journey into discrete steps and identify the right metrics to measure CX at each stage.
Breaking down the customer journey
There are several ways to break a customer journey down. One of the most popular ways to do it was proposed by American advertising advocate Elias St. Elmo Lewis. Called the AIDA theory, it has recently been expanded to be called AIDAS and stands for ‘Attention - Interest - Desire - Action - Satisfaction’.
According to the AIDAS theory, the customer journey begins with the business trying to capture the attention of their target group with ads or marketing efforts. This is followed by more marketing to elicit an interest in the product. An interested customer could soon build a desire to own the product that triggers an action to buy. The journey is not complete till they start using your product or service and are satisfied by the value it provides.
The process of capturing attention or triggering an action varies across every industry. As a marketer, it is important to look at each component of your marketing process and separate them into distinct buckets as advocated by AIDAS.
The metrics that influence customer experience can not only vary with each stage of the customer’s journey, but can also depend on the specific strategies you use in customer acquisition and marketing. What we thus need is a metric that is versatile to accommodate all these various strategies and stages.
CSAT, or Customer Satisfaction Scores, is a metric that be handy under these circumstances. NPS restricts the business from asking questions related to specific engagements and transactions. It thus leaves little scope to identify actionable insights. With CSAT, businesses can ask a customer to rate their level of satisfaction on very specific engagements.
For instance, you could end a live sales chat between a sales rep named James and a customer with a question like “How would you rate your recent experience with James’. The aggregated ratings for James could be used to compare his performance against his peers. But more importantly, you could measure the consolidated ratings of all live chat sales reps and compare this with other customer acquisition strategies like cold calls or emails. This way, it is easy to identify customer acquisition strategies that are more customer-friendly than the others. Your future strategies may be based on the CX scores achieved with CSAT.
CSAT is especially useful in the ‘Satisfaction’ stage of the customer journey. This is primarily because customers at this stage have very specific expectations based on the company’s marketing promises. Meeting or falling behind on these expectations can define your CX metrics. There are few ways to ensure improved bench marking of your CX metrics.
Use third party benchmarks: Large businesses prefer building their own tools for acquisition and support systems. The challenge with this strategy is that the CSAT scores you measure may fail to indicate where the fault lies.
For instance, a customer who experiences poor network connectivity while talking to a support executive may choose to call it poor CX although the executive themselves may not be at fault. By outsourcing your platform for on-boarding or customer support to a tool with high verified CX metrics, it is possible to bring down CSAT fluctuations due to deficiencies in the tool and thus focus more on your business performance.
Correlate NPS and CSAT: According to psychologists, human beings judge an experience primarily based on how they felt at its peak and at the end rather than the sum-total of the entire experience. This is called the peak-end rule and is also complemented by the theory of recency bias that states that humans place higher emphasis on the latest experience rather than what happened in the past.
To put this in context of this article, the NPS scores that are usually gathered towards the end of a transaction captures the customer’s experience towards the end of the cycle rather than assess the entire experience. The NPS and CSAT scores captured in the satisfaction stage of the buyer journey are thus likely to see similar patterns. Correlate your NPS scores against CSAT obtained at each stage of the cycle. This is likely to provide businesses with a good measure of what exactly is bringing customer experience down.
For example, a business witnessing great CSAT metrics throughout the process and seeing poor NPS/CSAT scores towards the end could indicate that the challenge is not with the experience but rather with post-sales support. At the same time, if we go back to the example of an airline with low priced tickets, it is possible to witness high NPS scores despite the fact that CSAT was low during the booking stage.
Customer experience is a subjective term and evolves through the customer’s journey. For great experience, it is important to identify pain points at each stage and tweaking them to ensure seamless experience throughout the customer journey.
Author Bio: Anand Srinivasan is the founder of Hubbion, a suite of free business apps and resources.