Guest Post, by Stephanie Thum, CCXP

Back Up Your CX Leadership Strategies with Data from These Five Academic Studies

“Expert” opinions from blogs, books, and podcasts are great. But there is just something about being able to build on what you believe to be true by leaning on data from published academic research. In the customer experience profession, we now have the benefit of hundreds of published academic studies that apply to our world. I recently began integrating more scholarly readings on customer experience into my work. Here are my top five favorites from recent months. Side benefit: they are all free to access! See if you think they might be worth putting on your reading list.

  1. A Phenomenological Study of Customer Disvalue

If good experiences equal customer value, then how do we start to understand negative customer experiences and the reverse phenomenon—customer disvalue? Disvalue is a separate, deeper phenomenon than customer dissatisfaction. Disvalue is about the lasting impressions customers have of doing business with a company that just really lets them down. This study describes disvalue phenomena and hints at how customers might deal with the situation, including protests, revenge, and telling others about their experience. (Free.)

Source: The Iranian Journal of Management Studies, Volume 13, No. 3, Summer 2020, pages 367-390.

  1. Narcissism, interactivity, community, and online revenge behavior: The moderating role of social presence among Jordanian consumers

This study is a good companion read to study on customer disvalue mentioned above. Researchers found that customers’ personal levels of narcissism and their social media participation and presence increased their intentions and desire to enact revenge on a brand after a bad experience. The key takeaway: customers can get pretty cranky no matter how hard you try. Companies need to be aware of and prepared for the pitfalls of perceived poor customer experiences. (Free.)

Source: Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 104, March 2020.

3. Virtual team leader communication: Employee perception and organizational reality

In this study, virtual teams that thought their leaders were excellent communicators believed their teams were performing well. But when researchers compared the teams’ subjective perceptions of their performance to objective data on an organizational balanced scorecard, virtual teams were not performing as well as they thought. The takeaway: leaders need to use great tools and speak with clarity regarding performance avoid being misinterpreted. (Free.)

Source: International Journal of Business Communication, Volume 57, No. 4, October 2020, 452-473.

4. Design for Service Inclusion: Creating Inclusive Service Systems by 2050

Despite recent efforts by the business world to be inclusive of customers with disabilities, exclusion and discrimination are still problems. Service exclusion exists in cultures where employees treat vulnerable customers in discriminatory ways, instead of with empathy or proactive service. This article explains the ins and outs of service exclusion. It calls attention to barriers to change, like the reality that the cost of lawsuits is still oftentimes less than the cost of change. It offers success strategies for improving experiences for all customers. (Free.)

Source: Journal of Service Management, Volume 29, No. 5, July 2018, pages 834-858

5. Do you respond sincerely? How sellers’ responses to online reviews affect customer
relationship and repurchase intention

Customers get annoyed when you respond to their online reviews with shameless self- promotion and a plug for your next sale. To them, it comes across as indulging in your own self- interest, rather than accepting their feedback. This study found that when that happens, relationship quality and customer repurchase intentions decrease. Read this to understand how you should you respond so that customers feel valued and ready to buy again. (Free.)

Source: Frontiers in Business Research in China, Volume 14, No. 1, December 2020, 367-390.

Hundreds of academic articles have been published in just the past 15 years alone that apply to our work in customer experience leadership. There is room for more, so keep watching for the best, most applicable studies that carry with them the rigors of peer reviewed, scientific evaluation. Google Scholar is a great starting resource!

Feel free to comment with some of the most helpful academic resources you have written, contributed to, or found helpful.

Stephanie Thum is the Founding Principal at Practical CX, LLC, having served as one of the first agency-level heads of customer experience in the U.S. federal government. During that time Stephanie advised President Obama’s interagency task force on customer experience. She also served as Chief Advisor for Federal CX at Qualtrics, and CX Influencer for SAP.

Stephanie is also a founding member of the CXPA, where she helped build the Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) certification process and the global customer experience professional community.

Follow Stephanie on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter.

Guest post, by Ben Motteram

Useful CX Metrics You May Not Be Using

There are at least two very good reasons to measure the experience you’re providing customers.

The first is best summarised by the father of management thinking, Peter Drucker, when he said “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. As CX Managers we need to understand the experience we are currently providing customers in order to transform it.

The second has to do with your CX strategy. Any strategy worth its salt will be comprised of three components:

  1. An understanding of where you are today,
  2. The desired future state, and
  3. A plan for how you’re going to get there. 

And metrics are crucial to building out your understanding of your current position.

If you Google “CX Metrics”, once you get through all the ads for feedback vendors, you’re going to quickly find that most people like to talk about Net Promoter Score, Customer Effort Score (CES) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT). All three have their pro’s and con’s but when used as part of a system they’re all good. 

But there’s enough posts about them on the internet (hell, I’m guilty of even publishing one or two) so I’m going to look at a few metrics today that you’re probably not using.

Now, the metrics you use to measure your CX are going to differ depending on the type of business you are. An e-business that operates 100% online will need different metrics to a physical store which will need different metrics to a national cable company with a call centre and technicians visiting customers in their homes daily. 

So let’s look at each of those examples in turn:

e-Business

In this scenario, customers order a product online for it to be delivered so there are two aspects of the experience we can measure: the online experience and the delivery experience. Metrics I’d be looking at for each include:

The online experience

  • Webpage uptime – What was the percentage of time that customers could not access our website? When did those periods occur?
  • Bounce rate – What was the percentage of visitors who came to our site and then left rather than continuing to view other pages on the site?
  • Abandoned carts – What percentage of customers began shopping and then stopped mid-purchase? What page were they on when they stopped? If customers had logged in prior to abandoning their cart, what was the general demographic profile of customers who abandoned their carts?
  • Page load time – How long did it take each page to load causing our customers to wait?
  • How many times was the FAQ guide accessed? This indicates customers weren’t able/didn’t know how to do something.
  • How many times was an online agent requested mid-purchase? Again, this indicates customers weren’t able/didn’t know how to do something.

The delivery experience

  • What was the average time between a customer ordering the product and receiving it for both metropolitan and regional areas?
  • What percentage of deliveries were made after our commitment date?
  • What percentage of returns on the first day were because of damage (which we will assume was caused by delivery)?
  • What percentage of customers were notified that the product was being delivered on the day?
  • How did customers rate the delivery person? How many complaints were received about delivery people?

Physical Store

Owners of a physical store are going to need a completely different set of metrics to measure their CX. I’ll break these down between the store itself and the service provided by employees within the store:

The store

  • The shopping experience begins before the customer enters your store. If they drove, how easy or hard was it for them to find a park?
  • Did we have the product(s) the customer was looking for?
  • How easy/hard were those products to find in our store?
  • How did customers rate the general appearance of the store for cleanliness/tidiness?

The customer service

  • How did customers rate the employee(s) they interacted with whilst on site for appearance, service, courtesy, knowledge, communication and professionalism?

National Cable Company

In this scenario, I’m using a cable company because I’ve worked at a few of them and know them well but it could be any company with a contact centre that sends technicians to customers’ homes or businesses. The two aspects of the experience I’ll focus on here is the contact centre and the technician visit.

The contact centre

Every good contact centre will already be measuring things like FCR, AHT, ASA, and QA (boy there’s a lot of acronyms in the contact centre world!) so let’s look at some other metrics:

  • Average After Call Work Time – A subset of AHT, this is the average amount of time it takes to wrap up a case after the customer has disconnected.
  • Unplanned agent leave days – people not turning up to work when you’d planned for them to be there affects CX.
  • Agent Turnover Rate – What percentage of agents leave each year? Not only will this increased hiring and re-training costs but less experienced agents can’t provide the same level of service to customers that an experienced, knowledgeable agent can.
  • Escalation Rate – What percentage of cases were escalated both from self-service to a live agent, as well as between different tiers of agents and managers. More agent-to-manager or cross-tier escalations may indicate expertise or confidence issues with the service agents, particularly among those agents with the highest rates. A high escalation rate from self-service to live agents could mean current self-service options are not effectively answering customer questions.

The technician visit

  • Right First Time – Did the technician do the job they were originally sent to do or was rework involved?
  • Call On Approach – Did the technician call the customer before arriving to let them know they were coming to ensure the customer would be there?
  • Appointment Window Met – Did the technician arrive within the specified appointment window?
  • How did customers rate the technician they interacted with whilst they were on site for appearance, service, courtesy, knowledge, communication and professionalism?

In all cases mentioned above, I’d also be measuring complaints and the time it took to resolve them. Complaints are a key indicator that your customer experience has broken down and Time To Resolve tells you how long it took to fix. As a CX Manager, your goal should be of course, to get the first metric down to 0 and the second as low as possible.

So there you have it, some of the more uncommon metrics that can be used to measure customer experience. If you’re using any others I’d love to hear about them. Please add them in the comments section of this post.

“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.” – Dr. H. James Harrington.

[Image courtesy of Patricia Serna on Unsplash]

Ben Motteram is a customer experience consultant with over 20 years’ experience in customer acquisition and retention. Through his company, CXpert, he helps companies become more human in the way they interact with customers and employees to increase loyalty, engagement, and ultimately profits. An avid golfer living in Melbourne, follow Ben on Twitter for insights on CX, customer service and employee engagement or connect with him on Linked In.