Measurement: How To Quantify The Quality Of Your Customer Experience

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Customer Engagement
Customer Experience
Despite the fact that measurement is deeply embedded in business functions like finance and IT, companies still struggle with measurement when it comes to customer experience.

Despite the fact that measurement is deeply embedded in business functions like finance and IT, companies still struggle with measurement when it comes to customer experience. In fact, I was chatting to a seasoned executive next to me on a plane a few weeks back, and he said, "This customer experience stuff is so important. But you can't really measure it, right?" Wrong! Customer experience can be measured - you just have to know how.

In Forrester's soon-to-publish book, Outside In, Harley Manning and I illustrate the importance of measurement through a case study about JetBlue. The JetBlue customer experience was designed to "bring humanity back to travel" with features like more legroom, seatback televisions, and snacks that people actually want to eat. But for many years, the young airline didn't measure how well it delivered on all that - and as a result, JetBlue employees really had no way to assess how well they performed their jobs every day.

To remedy the situation, JetBlue implemented a comprehensive set of measurement tools. The workhorse of the program is an email survey that asks passengers to grade each part of their end-to-end travel experience, starting with making a reservation and continuing on through the end of a flight. When the survey responses come back, an internal system attaches operational data like what channel the customer used to book her flight and whether that customer experienced any problems on board, like a broken TV. In addition, JetBlue looks at what customers say they're going to do as a result of their experience, like fly JetBlue again or recommend the airline to a friend.
These are the three building blocks of a solid customer experience measurement framework:

- Perception metrics that tell you how customers think and feel
- Descriptive metrics that tell you what really happened
- Outcome metrics that tell you what customers will do as a result

Together, these metrics tell JetBlue what's going right (or wrong) and what business results they can expect to see by making specific customer experience improvements.

Measurement is just one of six disciplines that companies must master if they want to achieve the full potential of customer experience. The others are strategy, customer understanding, design, governance, and culture. Of course, most of these concepts aren't new in the business world - but they do take on a slightly different twist when it comes to customer experience. If you'd like to know more about the six disciplines and how they'll help you create great experiences for your customers, please visit outsidein.forrester.com.

About the Author: Kerry Bodine is a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research serving Customer Experience professionals. She blogs at http://blogs.forrester.com/kerry_bodine and tweets at @kerrybodine

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