The Quest For Customer Centricity: Stage 1 – Identify Your Touchpoints and Metrics

2020-05-05| Neil Sharp

How customer-centric is your organisation?

We speak to many clients who say that they ‘put customers first’, but as we covered in our previous post, true customer centricity comes from creating a positive customer experience (CX) at every touchpoint.

You must listen to your customers and act on their feedback to improve their experience, over and over again. But to do this, you need a structured way to measure CX.

When helping our clients to become more customer-centric, we follow our CX measurement framework. It’s a simple, practical and effective 4-step process that we’ve broken down for you in this blog series.

Today, we’re at the very beginning of our framework, Stage 1: Identify touchpoints and metrics.

Get leadership buy-in

Before you begin your quest to become more customer-centric, you need commitment from senior management.

Your leaders need to believe in the importance of improving customer experience, and, where possible, you want to see it enshrined in your organisation’s strategy.

Once you have their buy-in, it’s time to get started.

Map the journey and identify touchpoints to measure

A customer journey map is a diagram that illustrates the steps your customers go through when engaging with your company.

This helps you recognise the experience customers have when interacting with your organisation. So, you can see what’s working well, the most emotive parts of the journey and where there’s opportunity to make improvements.

There are three parts to journey mapping, but when going through this section of the framework, you should always keep one thing in mind: Focus on what matters to your customers most.

1. Develop a deeper understanding of who your customers are

Be really clear on who your customers are and which of them are most valuable to you, prioritising those who carry the greatest lifetime value. Start by creating a persona for each customer type to better understand their needs, expectations and typical behaviours.

This will help you empathise with your customers, to get in their headspace and see the world as they see it.

2. Map out the journey that they would go on

Taking each customer type you’ve identified, detail their typical journey from start to finish.

Make sure you end up with a clear view of all the different stages of the journey, and within each stage, the individual touchpoints that customers have with you. This should be done from their perspective, so it’s good to describe these as “I” statements, e.g. “I login to my account”.

Avoid doing any detailed process assessment.

This isn’t process mapping. You need to walk in your customer’s shoes and depict the journey they go on. Focus on what it feels like to be your customer. Describe the emotions they experience at each touchpoint, and most importantly, the pain points – where the journey doesn’t work well for your customers and causes negative emotions.

Some really obvious pain points are likely to jump out at you, which are no-brainers to fix. So rather than waiting, you should get a team focussed on fixing them immediately.

3. Identify the interactions and touchpoints you want to measure

This next stage is about deciding where in their journey it’s best to ask for feedback. This will give you facts about your customer journeys, rather than assumptions.

There may be many different points in the journey that you could measure, so how do you decide? We advise you to consider two key areas:

  1. Which interactions or touchpoints matter most to customers?
  2. Which interactions or touchpoints are likely to help you improve in ways that align best to your organisational goals?

The moments that matter to customers (sometimes referred to as “moments of truth”) are those that are most likely to leave a lasting positive or negative impression on a customer. A good example would be the moment a customer tries to claim on an insurance policy, as it’s ultimately the reason they took out the policy.

We believe it is important to work towards measuring all the moments that matter. But the key word here is ‘towards’. If you start trying to measure all key touchpoints at the same time, it’s a bit like trying to run before you can walk. Instead, pick a few of the moments that matter the most, and start with those.

But just as you shouldn’t be wasting resources fixing something your customers don’t care about, you shouldn’t waste time fixing something that isn’t a strategic priority, and not aligned to your goals.

Here are some simple examples of aligning to goals:

  • Goal: creating brand advocates – To do this, you’ll want to know how likely customers are to recommend you. You’ll need to identify the points in the journey that most influence their opinion of you and trigger them to talk about you. These points will happen right across the journey.
  • Goal: improving operational efficiency – You can gauge operational efficiency in many ways. A good starting point is to focus on touchpoints customers struggle to complete, or which generate lots of complaints. Your frontline staff will be great at pointing out the most inefficient interactions.
  • Goal: building customer trust – This one’s tricky to measure, but if you break down the components that define trust, such as consistently high quality products or simply meeting expectations, you can begin to build the measures in at the right points in the journey.

Identify the metrics to be used

Having pinpointed the “moments that matter” and thought how they align with your organisational goals, it’s time to select relevant customer experience metrics.

CX metrics let you assess the perception your customers have of their experience of dealing with you, so you can look at your organisation through their eyes. The most common headline metrics include:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) – The likelihood of somebody recommending you, which aligns to the strategic goal of creating brand advocates. A very widely used metric.
  • Customer Effort Score (CES) – How easy it is to do business with you. This aligns well with operational efficiency and is proven to predict customer behaviours. We see this increasingly used by clients across all sectors.
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) – The extent to which a customer feels that you’ve met their expectations in their experience of dealing with you. This would fit well with the goal of building customer trust.

The above are all what we call “outcome” metrics, because they measure the outcome from the customer’s perspective, giving an indication of the lasting impression their experience will leave.

Having decided on the outcome measures, you’ll need to define the input measures. These are the things you should measure at different touchpoints to determine which parts of the journey have the most impact (positively or negatively) on the overall experience.

For example, you might survey customers who contact you via webchat by asking about how easy it was to use the service, and their impression of how easy it was to resolve their query in general.

By looking at the correlation between these, you can assess the overall importance of webchat to the service experience, and track the impact of any improvements at that touchpoint to the overall perception of service effort.

Measuring any of the above lets you put facts onto your journeys, so you can be certain that the improvements you make are based on reality, will have an impact on the things that matter to your customers and align to your goals.

An example from one of our clients

This major Financial Services company had made a strategic commitment to becoming more customer-centric, and recognised they needed to be able to measure their customer experience to do so.

We used our framework to help them set up their CX measurement process:

  1. Defining the personas and journeys – We helped them identify their main groups of customers, develop personas, then map the journey those customers go on. Identifying the “moments that matter” as well as opportunities for improvement.
  2. Identifying the touchpoints – Once we knew the moments that mattered, we helped them develop a measurement questionnaire that aligned to both the critical touchpoints in the process and the customer promises this client had committed to.
  3. Building the dashboard – To showcase this insight in an easy-to-consume way we helped the client create a dashboard which summarised survey results and gave a picture of how well the organisation was fulfilling its promises.

This gave the business a solid foundation on which to draw out insight into what was going well, what was going wrong and why. It enabled them to take the CX-focused action to change, and helped them achieve their customer centricity goals.

Get started with personas and mapping

To help you on your path towards customer centricity, we've created a free toolkit containing our best CX templates, so you can create your own customer personas and begin mapping your customer journeys right away.

Download the toolkit

After completing this first section of the framework, you’ll know who your customers are, what journeys they go on, what matters most to them and what you need to be measuring as a result.

We’ll be back next week with Stage 2 of The quest for customer centricity blog series which is all about collecting useful feedback from your customers on all the measures you’ve identified in Stage 1.

If you don’t want to wait, you can download our CX measurement framework eBook now, which includes everything we’ve covered in today’s blog, as well as the next three stages of the framework for you to work through straight away.