Measuring Relationship Value with CX

The establishment of the customer experience (CX) profession has been instrumental in building cultural awareness, empathy, and orientation around the consumer. It has allowed organizations to see beyond themselves to design experiences and processes that create mutual value for both the customer and the business.

What it’s also done, I’d argue, is to create an almost siloed and one-dimensional view of customer success — one that’s typically marked by the establishment of a legacy CX metric that becomes the singular truth of “customer health” (be it NPS, CSAT, or customer effort). Worse yet, it’s a metric that’s often relegated to one function to “track and improve”. So you, as a CXpert, may be asking, “ How then do we measure customer success? And what’s really wrong with using a relationship metric like NPS?” To begin to answer those questions, let’s start with understanding what we’re even trying to measure.

Proving impact. Organizations often have trouble correlating customer health metrics to business outcomes, though not for lack of trying. CXperts painfully and methodically attempt to correlate relationship metrics like NPS or CSAT to improved retention and loyalty. One challenge, as we know, is that depending on the purchase cycle, retention takes time to measure, so many other factors come into play when measuring the impact of NPS/CSAT on customer retention. Even then, CX KPIs often fail at accurately measuring purchase or churn decisions, or correlate about as much as several other factors.

Reading the signals. Relationship CX metrics like NPS or CSAT often become a means to an end, with so much effort focused on the score itself, leading to superficial ways of inflating the score through how it’s administered, when, and for whom.

More importantly, solely leaning on a CX KPI to determine customer success ignores the other, more deliberate “signals” your customers are sending through their actions — are more buying from you? Are they sticking around after they do? Do the customers you have buy more from you? How many of them call with an issue? What customers say (in a survey) is important, but what they do, more so. Executives (and CX leaders) can’t be let off the hook on customer-centricity for seeing improvement in CSAT when profitability goes the other way.

The path forward. So then, is there no role for CX metrics? Are surveys ineffective? Not so. Customer experience metrics have a role, and contribute to a more customer-focused view of the relationship. The key is to understand where and how to deploy customer experience metrics that provide a more complete picture of your customer’s journey.

Consider a dashboard that tracks the key measures of customer success: how many new customers were gained, improvement to retention over time, customer lifetime value, growth of key customer segments. Then punctuate those metrics with CX indicators that help you understand what’s fueling that growth or decline. Here’s where analyzing unstructured voice of the customer data or surveys like post-transactional satisfaction and customer effort can play a key role in helping to diagnose customer behavior. More importantly, this integrated customer dashboard creates a more holistic view of the full relationship you have with your customer — and one that’s more integrally embedded within the organization.

A relationship with your customer is dynamic. So too must be our way of measuring and honoring that relationship through the signals, feedback, and opportunity they give us to improve every day.

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cx ninja. ultra runner. never met a carb i didn’t like.

cx ninja. ultra runner. never met a carb i didn’t like.