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Measuring Success in Omni- Channel Customer Experiences

By Alice Sesay Pope, Sr. VP, Head of Contact Center & Customer Experience Officer, First Horizon National Corporation [NYSE: FHN]

Alice Sesay Pope, Sr. VP, Head of Contact Center & Customer Experience Officer, First Horizon National Corporation [NYSE: FHN]

Digital transformation, artificial intelligence, bots, and fintech are some of the buzzwords favored by customer experience leaders today and conversations about innovations often dominate corporate meetings.

However, while many organizations are making tremendous investments in CX technologies, too often the proper metrics to define success are lacking. Discussions surrounding innovative features should continue, but must include the metrics used to determine the effectiveness of the channels to deliver a differentiated customer experience.

Organizations should examine technology’s effectiveness and gather insights from the data to develop winning strategies to meet the needs of its customers and align with the corporate goals.

As I examine various technologies to enhance the customer experience, the following objectives are top of mind:

1. Maximizing current digital channels
2. Evaluating digital scoring systems
3. Increasing Profitability

Maximizing Current Digital Channels:

Business Wire estimates that the digital transformation market will grow from $148.04 billion in 2015 to $392.15 billion by 2021, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.7 percent. While these numbers are impressive, most companies juggle customer benefits against budgetary constraints.

I have witnessed on multiple occasions people celebrating their success based on the number of likes instead of revenue generated or saved. Leaders should consistently evaluate current digital channels to determine how to maximize channel capability.

For instance, today many companies use an Innovative Voice Response (IVR) in contact centers. It is a good practice to evaluate its effectiveness on a regular basis and make improvements and determine what metrics help to establish “what good looks like” for IVR systems.

Companies should establish baselines from previous periods, whether they be monthly, quarterly or annually. The financial impacts associated with previous periods should be calculated and questions such as, “How can you lower costs and improve your customer experience simultaneously?” should be common practice.

One example of this exercise came at a company that asked this very question. Leaders discovered an opportunity to simplify menu options when they recognized that their menu tree was too complicated, and after going through several prompts their customers ultimately bypassed the automated functions to speak with a live agent.

When the IVR menu tree was simplified, the number of calls distributed to live agents had a significant drop. This simple change improved customer satisfaction and reduced costs.

A company can track the percentage of IVR containment (the percent of interactions that occur via an IVR versus with a live person). A small percentage of improvement lowers cost and enables agents to handle more complicated issues.

Evaluating Digital Scoring Systems:

It is commonplace for a company to utilize digital scoring systems to measure customer satisfaction. Systems like NPS (Net Promoter Score), Customer Effort (CE), Customer Loyalty Index (CLI, or engagement), and CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) are some prominent scoring mechanisms used to provide measureables into customer experience. Although customer satisfaction is still utilized in many organizations, CSAT serves as a “perceived satisfaction” and therefore does not provide the same level of customer commitment to a brand as NPS, CE, or CLI.

The table below provides an overview of the metrics:

Choosing the right scoring system is key and there are many variables that must be considered.

For example, what are industry standards? Is the company B2C or B2B? Is the product/service transactional or reoccurring?

Leaders must be careful not to rely on data this is not suited for their organization and to exercise caution when utilizing scoring systems. Remember that systems only tell part of the story. The data gathered should be evaluated against standard measurements such as sales volume and market share to provide a vivid picture of customer attitudes.

Organizations should aim to understand the root cause of each metric and develop regular analysis and recommendations to improve the metrics. NPS, CLI, or CE should be evaluated at an enterprise level because these metrics possess dependency throughout the organization.

For example, a customer may have a great interaction with an organization representative, but may not score a high NPS because they believe the products and services are cumbersome and require too much effort to reach resolution when problems arise. Unlike CSAT, to improve NPS, CLI, or CE, one must collaborate with a cross functional team to impact decisions made by the product, technology, marketing, communications, legal, regulatory, technology, and operations teams.

Increasing Profitability:

The reason why organizations place customer experience as a strategic strategy is ultimately to increase revenue and reduce expenditures. Therefore, in evaluating technology and metrics it is important to understand the growth and loss of customers (of revenue).

By this I mean, we must be able to assess the customer asset management.

The customer asset management should be evaluated and shared at the senior levels of the company with a commitment to improve the experience that attains greater profitable. We must be able to analyze the data to gain insight: Why does a customer do more business with a company? Why do they reduce spend or do they simply churn? The best way to evaluate the metrics discussed in this article is to understand the customer journey and establish a platform such as a customer contact council that brings together cross functional teams that collectively partner to own responsibility of improving the customer experience.

Digital Transformation is a powerful tool, but it can seductively move you away from your bottom line. Properly utilized, digital transformation can improve our efficiencies and customer experience.

Implementing the right metric system(s) can give companies a way to define what success looks like, improve the customer experience, and ultimately generate a stronger ROI that in turn yields greater associate, customer, and shareholder satisfaction.

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