Monitoring Customer Experience: Moving Past “Same Old Same Old”

Image of two people matching a business metric.

Whether you’ve been in business for one year or have decades of experience in your industry, one thing is true for everyone: Nothing is the same as when you started. Your products and services have changed to meet the needs of an ever-changing customer base. And the rapid pace of technological advancement has compelled you to stay current and deliver an ever-evolving digital experience.

In a world where nothing stays the same… Why would anyone settle for an experience monitoring program that hasn’t changed along with the business?

What is Experience Monitoring?

Experience monitoring is a performance analysis discipline that enables an organization to track the impression they’ve made on their stakeholders, which might include customers, employees, patients, and even vendors. By regularly measuring and reporting on elements of the customer experience, organizations can gauge delivery toward brand promises, while also tracking whether specific products and services are performing as expected.

Every moment of a customer interaction can make or break a relationship, and a thoughtful experience monitoring program will provide insights that inspire new business direction. Too often though, organizations implement experience monitoring programs and work earnestly to achieve performance goals, only to eventually 1) become jaded when scores don’t change or 2) become complacent when they believe consistently high scores translate to lack of action required.

If your performance data provides the same results each reporting period – with no fresh insights or challenges to pursue – it might be time to update your experience monitoring program.

Backward-Looking, Forward-Driven

A well-designed and current experience monitoring program should be both reflective/reactive as well as predictive/proactive with its insights. Most experience monitoring is reflective: looking back on past encounters and tracking factors that may have influenced scores. Did something unusual happen or did you execute a change to the operational experience around the same time period as when scores increased or decreased dramatically?

The practice of singularly looking backward can cause your monitoring program to feel stale. How do you take this information and use it moving forward to drive new business outcomes? A program that delivers predictive/proactive insights provides tools to anticipate future opportunities and adjust your business to achieve new levels of satisfaction.

For the best results with applying predictive/proactive insights, the experience monitoring program manager should be entrenched in your organization, so they can understand changes that are being made and execute new direction based on the insights provided. An insider’s view of the business will add more context to the results and keep conversations aligned with mission and goals.

Recognizing Change

Many organizational leaders are so close to the daily push-and-pull of the business, that it’s easy to underestimate or overlook the impact of changes made. But when key metrics plummet – e.g., overall customer satisfaction or loyalty scores drop, or a sharp increase is noted in customer service hold times – it’s important to review experience monitoring results in the context of changes in the business, industry, or market.

Did your customers’ needs change, or is your product losing relevance because of changes in customers’ preferences? These are examples of changes in drivers. But if there was a change in the product or if something was altered in the service-delivery process, those would represent changes in performance. Both can be measured in your monitoring program through some combination of experience (X) data and/or operational (O) data.

Critical to any business though is an understanding of changes in customer mix or respondents, which can positively or negatively affect metrics. Is your customer mix and their related behaviors changing in response to cultural trends or the competitive landscape? Does the current score reflect feedback from a different demographic or more targeted buyer base? Leading and lagging indicators about changes in respondents can suggest a need to update your experience monitoring program.  

Taking Action

Now that you have this critical information – an identified concern and probable causes of the new results – it’s important to take action to confirm the supposition and remedy negative impressions incurred. Consider the most appropriate of the following approaches for your situation:

  1. Change something that affects most or all your customers. As an example, if your experience monitoring reporting indicates dissatisfaction with the price of a product or service, you might decide to adjust the price companywide. By doing this, 100% of customers would have the opportunity to experience and respond to the change.
  2. Change something that affects a certain group of customers. Building on the same example, you could choose to pilot the newly priced product in a particular region or business unit first, enabling you to measure results on a limited scale before executing a change throughout the organization.
  3. Change something for specific customers only. In this case, you might decide to offer a discounted price to selected customers who share specific traits or experiences. This is the most targeted approach to address an isolated concern and affect results expediently.

Break It to Build It Better

Once you’ve identified a need for evaluating experience monitoring, don’t feel hampered by the legacy of historical data. Oftentimes, organizations worry that updated results will no longer align with previous reporting, creating a break in momentum and revealing previously unseen opportunities to improve service delivery.

Historical data should never be sacrosanct in an organization though. The risk of complacency resulting from outdated or irrelevant measurement of the customer journey far outweighs the discomfort caused by change.  

If your experience monitoring program is no longer meeting the critical areas outlined above – Is it timely? Is it meaningful? Is it actionable? – then it’s time to invest resources in critical adjustments. Talk to your experience management partner about experience monitoring solutions to better meet your organization’s current needs.

About the Author
Matt Braun

Matt Braun

Matt is a data storyteller with a passion for helping organizations transform customer insights into action. With nearly 15 years of experience in the market research and consulting industry, Matt partners with his clients to realize the benefits of a successful CX program – from initially bringing the customer experience to life to quantifying the return on investment that comes with strengthening customer relationships over time. Matt earned his bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Butler University and the MRII market research certification from the University of Georgia. He is an active member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA).
Read more about Matt