Customer Effort Score: a new metric to stare at?


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Customer Effort Score: a new metric to stare at?

  1. 1. Customer Effort Score: a new ‘single’ metric to stare at? By Geert Martens & Geert Teunkens Image credit: The Rise of a New Metric We measure the world by what we see and If NPS taught us one thing it is that customers are what we want to reach. With this in mind it is easy to more likely to share negative experiences as opposed explain the success of the Net Promoter Score along to positive ones. Therefore it is not a coincidence that with the increasing popularit y of social media since this new metric helps companies focus on internal 20 0 4. Suddenly digitised versions of word- of-mouth process improvements, still with better customer had a major impac t on marketing objec tives. NPS, a experiences at the centre of attention. simplif ied way to measure customer engagement has And it sure is simple; the score consists of a 5-scale proven ver y successful in detec ting how our brands answer on one single question: How much effort did and produc ts will sur vive the ultimate market test: you personally have to put in to get your problem Will customers promote me among their peers? fixed? Research has shown CES to be a better The rise of NPS was a great way to put the customer’s predictor for customer loyalty then both traditional opinion back on the agenda of management boards customer satisfaction surveys and NPS. Should we around the world, an evolution we at 4C Consulting stop everything we are doing and simply jump on can only cheer upon. the next train? Yes and no. CES offers a lot of value But the times are ever a-changing and a new metric is making way: the Customer Effort Score (CES) introduced by C.E.B. in 2010. 4C Consulting | The pro o f i s i n t he p e o pl e but no single metric will ever suffice to effectively evaluate the total customer experience chain. At 4C Consulting we believe the smart thing to do is to integrate CES in the metric ecosystem. Page 1 / 4
  2. 2. Customer Effort Score Introducing ‘Effort-elasticity’ When customers refer to the effort they had to invest in researching, purchasing or using a product or service, they are usually referring to the combined effect of different types of effort: • Cognitive effort: the amount of mental energy required, such as reading terms and conditions; • September 2013 was initiated by the customer. As a result, customers were willing to invest ‘time effort’, and to some extent even ‘physical effort ’ in this interaction. Product characteristics can compensate for negative experiences on single interactions and brand advocates will even endure very negative experiences -for a limited time- in order to get to your product. But what if you would compare ‘Having to wait for with ‘Having to wait 30 minutes to talk to a contact Physical effort: the amount of effort to do center agent to have your internet connection fixed’? something; • hours in a row to buy a ticket for Tomorrowland’ consume or transact; • Time effort: the amount of time it takes to wait, The willingness to invest effort in the latter, would Emotional effort: how much negative vs positive energy is required, i.e. the extent to which something frustrates the customer. be very low: the outcome is of limited ‘true’ added value (‘I already pay for an internet connection that should work all the time’) and a perceived failure of the supplier triggered the event (‘I didn’t even want to call you in the first place’). From the research we do for our clients, we have The lower a customer ’s willingness to invest effort learned that a customer ’s willingness to invest effort into an interaction, the more important for an into an interaction depends on: organization to make the interaction as easy as • the nature of the interaction • the perceived value of the outcome of the possible and, hence, increasing the value of CES as a strategic metric for this interaction. interaction the reason why the interaction is taking place: The Metric Ecosystem intended by the customer or not • Customer experiences happen at three levels: the overall relationship, customer journeys, and Let’s illustrate this with Tomorrowland, the Belgian discrete interactions. dance festival of which, in 2013, the ticketing system As often seen with new hypes, the ‘new kid in town’ was the victim of its major worldwide popularity. proves strongest where its predecessor lost track. With more than a million likes on Facebook it is no Where NPS is a good way to measure performance surprise that the festival sold out in a flash even of the overall brand and distinct end-to-end when forcing customers to stick to their screens journeys, it is not always easy to pinpoint actionable for over eight hours on a sunny day. Tomorrowland improvement areas for specific interactions. This is was asking their customers to invest tremendous where CES offers a major advantage. Since customer effort in buying a ticket, yet an NPS survey among effort is best measured on an interactional level visitors would most certainly still turn out positive it brings a lot of information exactly on which since customers promote the festival on a holistic interactions are causing negative arousal, making level; DJ’s, catering... not only the ticketing service. immediate steering possible. In this example, the perceived value of the outcome Not only do NPS and CES differ with respect to of the interaction was very high and the interaction the level of the experience at which they are best 4C Consulting | The pro o f i s i n t he p e o pl e Page 2 / 4
  3. 3. Customer Effort Score September 2013 measured, they also measure fundamentally different effort. As a result, the most effective way to improve components of the customer experience. the customer effort score on a distinct interaction, CES, much like customer satisfaction (CSAT) is a perception metric. Perception metrics do not measure combines three approaches: 1. Reducing the actual effort = improve your reality but, hence the name, measure customers’ subjective perception of their interactions. This includes measuring what a customer thinks and feels at every step in the customer journey. CES does not performance 2. Managing your customer ’s expectations 3. Reducing the perceived effort tell you an interaction was difficult or easy, but how it was perceived. (1) Reducing the actual effort. Within our customer ‘Reality ’ metrics, or descriptive metrics measure care practice, we have been actively working with our observable and objective characteristics of customer clients to minimize customer efforts by: interactions: when, where,and through which channels customers touched the company. (Average call time, Calls lost before answered, Average pages per visit, Average transaction value,...) • improve downstream processes; • are likely to do or actually did after their interaction (Likelihood to recommend, Likelihood to purchase, Churn rates, Actual purchases made, Policy renewals) empowering contact centre agents to solve problems and training them on the emotional NPS belongs to a third type of metrics: outcome metrics. Outcome metrics measure what customers analyzing negative feedback and repeat calls to side of handling disgruntled customers; • minimizing channel switching efforts by mapping optimal customer journeys for different customer segments. NPS is the result of a broader, more holistic view, summarizing multiple aspects at the same time: (2) Managing expectations: under-promise, over- customer effort, brand values, product characteristics, deliver. Regardless your actual performance, performance relative to competition, and -most influencing the expectations of your customers, importantly- emotional engagement. NPS is a great will impact their satisfaction levels. Disney has way to measure the customer ’s opinion across been applying this insight for years with always channels, contact moments and experiences and underpromising-overdelivering waiting queues at is therefore a very useful source of information on their most popular rides. Few companies are as brand advocacy and your position on the market. celebrated for their ability to manage queues and The most effective measurement programs evaluate customer waits as Disney: ‘The Mouse has raised the customer experience at all three levels of moving people through lines to a science.’ interaction (brand, customer journey, single interaction) and use a balanced mix of perception, description and outcome metrics. (3) Reducing perceived effort. You have to describe the intended experience before it happens. Saying something will be easy, increases the chance of it How to improve your CES? Satisfaction is the result of benchmarking your expectations against your perception of an actual performance. This also applies to customer 4C Consulting | The pro o f i s i n t he p e o pl e being perceived as easy. Involving the customer in order to reach this claim, call it co-delivery if you will, turns out to be very effective in managing perceptions. For several years, the baseline of a Page 3 / 4
  4. 4. Customer Effort Score September 2013 Contact us successful international airline carrier was ‘Help us stay express by carrying less’. By saying this, nobody Do you agree? Do you have any experience to share will doubt that your solution indeed will be express, with us? Please let us know! as long as they keep their part of the promise. So in order to reduce the perceived effort for your customers, you could give your customers specific instructions to do something (bring documents, Geert Martens read instructions, order in advance,...) and explicitly Partner T: +32 15 281 281 mention that this will enable you to provide your E: customers with an effort-free experience... Tw: @geert_martens In most of cases switching focus to customer effort requires a mindset change towards traditional Geert Teunkens performance measures. Enabling customers to Senior Consultant transfer money with a mobile app decreases home T: +32 15 281 281 E: bank traffic and associated cross sell opportunities. Tw: @Joeng_Teun When for a telecom player we included a ‘make-anappointment flow’ at the end of each service call where a face-to-face contact was required, customers no longer had to locate the nearest point-of-sale and stand in line to get service. Average call handling time for contact agents however, went up. All this has to be considered together with the long term advantages that enabled customers bring along. At 4C Consulting we believe that taking a fresh look at the way companies interact with their customers can create long-term competitive advantages and unique value. By the work we do for our clients, we contribute to build a customer driven society in an increasingly complex world. “ The proof is in the people”: our consultants are seasoned business professionals that leverage industry, domain and technology best practices and apply proven methodologies to tackle business challenges in domains such as customer experience management, cross-channel management, CRM, campaign management, sales force automation, customer analytics, business intelligence and change management. Our customer experience practices include customer experience strategy design, customer experience maturity assessment, segmentation and persona design, voice of the customer research, customer journey mapping, moments of truth design, customer experience metrics framework, governance and cultural change. 4C Consulting | T: +32 15 281 281 | A: Stationsstraat 60/5 2800 Mechelen - BELGIUM | E: | W: