Defining and measuring the customer experience (CX)

customer satisfaction measurement

Customer experience (CX) refers to all the experiences a customer has with your business. This could be during one transaction, or over several years.

A company’s ability to deliver a positive experience each and every time that someone does business with it sets that company apart in the customer’s mind. Research shows that customers do business with companies they like, so the more positive experiences a customer has with your business, the more they’ll continue to do business with you!

Defining the customer experience

To define your customer experience, it’s important that you know what your customers want and need. The best way to find this out is to ask, through primary market research. Make sure you know what customers are looking for, what their pain is, what’s missing, how you can solve their problems, and where you can fill a gap in the marketplace.

Once you know what your customers need, you can visualize the best ways to satisfy those needs through customer experience. Start by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes – revisit our earlier posts about the Empathy Map here and here to get started.

Delivering a great customer experience

Once you’ve got a good handle on what your customers really want and need from you, it’s time to deliver on that experience. Then, ask the customer if they had the experience you wanted them to have. A Harvard Business School study of large companies in the US found that over 70% of business executives believed their companies delivered a good customer experience. However, when the researchers asked the customers of those businesses, the story was quite different. Only 8% of customers felt they had the experience they were looking for. Not good!

Why the difference? To us, it seems like the big companies weren’t communicating with their customers — either they were designing the wrong customer experience, or they weren’t delivering the experience properly. In any case, the customer walked away with a less than positive impression and the business loses future sales potential.

So, how do you measure customer satisfaction?

Common metrics to measure customer satisfaction

Net Promoter Score (NPS): The NPS is an index that ranges from -100 to 100 that indicates how willing a customer is to recommend a company’s products or services to others. It divides customers into three categories: Promoters (loyal + satisfied), Passives (satisfied + unenthusiastic), and Detractors (unsatisfied + unenthusiastic).

First Contact Resolution (FCR): FCR gives an indication of how well you resolve customers’ support requests the first time by tracking the number of interactions in a case. Tracking your FCRs helps you see what you can do to keep the average number of interactions low.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): CSAT is the average score awarded to your brand according to customer answers on a survey. Small businesses use CSAT scores to determine how satisfied customers were with specific products or services.

 

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How businesses can help during the COVID-19 pandemic

online cooking

If your small business is doing okay, all things considered, during the current COVID-19 pandemic, you may be wondering how you can help others in your community. Here are some ideas:

  • Can your small business utilize its unique difference to help others? For example, an event planning business is ideally suited to organize a virtual charity fundraiser. Your restaurant can make videos featuring step-by-step recipes using pantry staples. Fitness coaches can host live classes online. Bakeries can deliver yummy treats to those who need a little pick-me-up. Get creative!
  • Look for ways you can continue to support your employees and keep them safe during this time, when they may be feeling high amounts of job insecurity. For example, you can offer paid sick leave or bonuses, connect them with community resources, or make sure their telecommuting situation is working as smoothly as possible. If your employees are still coming into a physical workspace, ensure sanitation and social distancing practices are top-notch.
  • If your business is continuing to operate in a limited capacity, ensure you have proper safety and hygiene procedures in place for your customers. Not only will you help slow the spread of the virus, but you’ll be showing your customers you care about them.
  • Support other businesses as often as possible. For example, move your Friday team lunches online, and offer employees restaurant gift cards so they can have their lunch delivered.
  • Reach out to your customers and community in unique and fun ways. For example, maybe your purse design business can host a Q&A hour on Instagram Live or Facebook Live, where people can ask questions and get to know you and each other.

Here are some other ideas we saw in small business blog posts and articles:

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Using the Empathy Map to understand your customers

empathy map
(Click the image to zoom in)

Last week, we talked about the Empathy Map, a fantastic tool that helps you truly understand your customers, so you can more accurately deliver a product or service they’ll love.

This week, we’ll dive a bit further into the Empathy Map.

The empathy map has seven quadrants:

1. Who are we empathizing with?

Briefly define your typical or average customer here. You can give your customer a name, and briefly describe their characteristics like age, income and job as all well as their personalities or social status, their situation, and their role in the situation.

2.What do they need to do?

We are still in the Goal quadrant of the Empathy Map, so what do they need to change to reach their goal? What decisions do they need to make? What will trigger them to be successful, and how can we find out if they’ve succeeded?

3.What do they see?

What do they see in the marketplace? What do they see in their immediate environment? What do they see others saying and doing? What are they watching and reading? All this information is valuable to understanding their external stimuli, how this is affecting them, and how this might impact the decisions they make.

If you have empathy, you can talk to your customers and present them with solutions that will allow them to reach their goals.

4.What do they say?

What have we heard them say? What can we imagine them saying? What are their reactions? What are they talking about with friends, colleagues or family members?

5.What do they do?

What is their actual behaviour? How are they behaving and why? What can we imagine they may do?

6.What do they hear?

What do their friends, colleagues, and others say? What do they hear secondhand?

John Gay, an English poet back in the 1600s, wrote: “Tell me, and I forget. Show me, and I remember. Involve me, and I understand.”

You can hear all you want, and you may be influenced by what others say, but you are convinced when you get involved. If you need to buy a car, you need to try the car, get involved with it, drive around to make a decision. Companies need to get involved with their customers. But for a customer to get involved with a company, the company needs to design great customer experiences. Empathy is key!

7. What do they think and feel (pains/gains)

What do they fear most? Are they frustrated, anxious, or even worried about their present situation? Identify their pain points. Then, identify their gains, their dreams, and hopes. What do they want? What are their pains and gains?

For more about the Empathy Map and how it can help your small business, check out Class 3 of our 100 Essential Small Business SkillsTM program!

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The Empathy Map and entrepreneurship

empathy map
(Click the image to zoom in)

We use the term empathy in business to reflect our understanding of our customers – who they are, what they like and don’t like, what motivates them to buy something or not, and what pains we can solve for them.

Why is empathy important in business?

When we show empathy for our customers, we understand them from their perspective and, as business owners, we produce better services and products for them. Having empathy allows us to understand what needs our customers have (pains) and helps us estimate the value our products or services will create for our customers (gains).

Many small business owners get too focused on solving a particular problem that’s important to them, but maybe not to their customers. This is why developing an Empathy Map is so critical when designing or launching a new venture. You will be able to identify insights about your potential customers that you did not know were there. You’ll be able to make products or services that stick by taking the time to understand your customer, and developing empathy for them.

The Empathy Map and entrepreneurship

The Empathy Map, shown above, was created by David Grey, of XPLANE and author of The Connected Company and Gamestorming. This tool has been used by millions of small business owners and their teams to develop deep, shared understanding and empathy for their customers.

1. Start with the Goal section, by defining who will be the subject of the Empathy Map and what you want them to do. This should be framed in terms of new and observable behaviour.

2. Once you have clarified the goal, work your way clockwise around the canvas, until you have covered See, Say, Do, and Hear. The reason for this is that the process of focusing on observable phenomena (things that they see, say, do and hear) is like walking a mile in your customer’s shoes. It gives us a chance to imagine what their experiences might be like, to give us a sense of what it “feels like to be them.”

3. Only after you have made the circuit of outside elements do you focus on what’s going on inside your customer’s head. The large head in the centre is one of the most important aspects of the map’s design. The whole idea is to imagine what it’s like to be inside someone else’s head.

For more about the Empathy Map and how it can help your small business, check out Class 3 of our 100 Essential Small Business SkillsTM program!

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How to engage your customers in person

customer-engagementThese days, many small business owners talk to their customers online through their websites and social media. It’s important to be in touch with your customers in many different ways, but face-to-face customer engagement is still important. After all, according to Eric von Hippel, economist and professor at MIT, 77% of new product innovations come from the very people who used them.

Here are some tips for making great connections with your customers:

  1. Craft a compelling story before you meet customers. Make sure you have a great elevator pitch that explains why your business is so special in 60 seconds or less.
  2. Look for opportunities to tell your story and share your expertise. Instead of paying for a tradeshow booth, why not give a keynote address?
  3. Make the first move. The purpose of meeting customers is meeting customers – don’t be shy. Be friendly, approachable and above all, be authentic.
  4. Always be passionate. Shaking 1,000 hands can be exhausting, but if you’re not passionate about your business, no one else will be!
  5. Create a cause or invest in one. It’s not always about selling. An investment in social entrepreneurship tells your customer you want to make the world a better place too.
  6. Deliver on the promises you make to people you meet. Get business cards from your customers and enter the info into a customer relationship management (CRM) database. Continue the process of engagement by delivering value in the form of newsletters, blogs, social media, and relevant and timely emails.
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