The X –perience Factor: Measure What Matters

One of our recent blogs dealt with getting emotional with your customers , which went on to explain that mapping the emotions of your customers needn't necessarily be an exercise in futility ; and can have potential implications on your business’ bottom line. In the blog was a great story about how an agent picked up on cues in the conversation with an Amazon customer which started as a joke made by the customer about the agent’s  name ‘Thor’ by asking if he can be Odin – Thor’s father in Norse mythology. Not missing a beat, the agent responds as if he were a Norse God and the customer responds in kind, creating a bizarre role-play where they not only continue speaking as if they are Gods, they resolve the dispute over the package – and even manage to blame Thor’s brother Loki for misplacing the parcel!

It is almost a certainty that the agent’s response was not part of the training and quality framework, but it was spot on for that customer. Now , if this call was scored using your existing quality matrix – how would it have fared? Does your matrix give your quality teams sufficient scope to recognise a call that has gone ‘off piste’ but still slam dunked on the service experience? If it doesn’t, you have missed one of the key reasons we measure quality in the first place – it is about the experience a customer has during their interaction with you, not the other way around – something I call “The Experience Factor”.

Deliver Customer Service Worthy of Your Brand

Consider the following data:

  • It takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience. (Parature)
  • 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service. (RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report)
  • 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.  (McKinsey)

Consistently high service standards will strengthen your customer experience and build life time value, however, you need to build a relationship and deliver consistent brand experiences for that to occur. When the customer chooses to contact you, the experience you deliver has to match theirexpectations about the perceived relationship with your business. In other words, brand expectations greatly influence customer expectations about your service.

But isn’t that just great – here is a genuine opportunity to influence customer thinking and behaviour through delivering a customer service that is worthy of your brand. However, the general trend I’ve observed is for customer service practitioners to drive  what they call ‘transformational change’ through significant spend on nifty self-help gadgets and costly interaction tools  –quite often developed and deployed with no clear thinking about the customer need .  Of course, there are a number of fantastic solutions out there, however I find the best transformational tools are ones which prioritize customer needs, and measures the interactions to analyse whether those needs have been fulfilled. And this is where ‘quality’ can works its magic.

Measure What Matters

Measure What Matters in Quality

I have come across many quality models and frameworks with differing metrics for success and almost without fail, when I ask the question “so what difference does this score make to your customer’s experience?” , I am met with stoic silence or uneasy foot shuffling . But rare is the occasion I hear a response along the lines of   ‘this quality score informs us what the customer expects when they contact us and how we are delivering against that expectation.’ That is what quality assessments should focus on – ensuring that you are delivering the experience that your customers want. You may already be forming objections in your mind, so let me use a real example to make my point.

At HGS, for a global Consumer Goods brand, we have devised an ingenious way to measure ‘quality’ of our consumer interactions. Mystery shopping exercises are held thrice a year by independent third parties which assess ‘overall customer experience’ – this includes everything from the quality of the IVR messaging to the quality of the print on the letter that the customer may receive to level of satisfaction with the agent. It also analyses the simple yet essential question of, “Did the experience meet your expectation from this brand.” And lastly, it benchmarks our client’s customer experience scores with that of other competitors in the sector. This exercise ultimately became the single most important measure of success of success for the operation, and a basis for performance incentives.

So, what’s the lesson here?

Ultimately, callers don’t care about most of the things that our traditional quality forms measure – introductions, closings, and cutely phrased but monotonous solution summaries offering no closure. They only care about whether the experience of that interaction met their expectations.

Of course, we will always have to measure certain elements to derive training needs and coaching for agents. However, if you do not have a simple query “What is the Experience Factor score?” as part of your assessment, you are unlikely to stay focused on the true reason why we should be measuring quality in the first place

Stay focused on what your callers expect to ensure you shape your recruitment, training and coaching around it. The results will speak for themselves.


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