Are your current brand metrics adequate?

Measuring accurately how your customers feel about your brand is tricky.

With the advent of big data, most companies are concerned with the speed of measuring data. However, current common measures used, such as the net promoter score (NPS), may be inadequate.

The net promoter score divides customers into three groups: Promoters – who are loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and refer others to your brand; passives – are satisfied, but may not share the brand and may also be disloyal; and detractors – customers who are extremely negative about the brand and will share this. The NPS scores this by taking the percentage of customers who are promoters and subtracting the percentage who are detractors.

Instead, the NPS might be seen as useful for diagnosing a company’s shortcomings in delivering customer satisfaction, advised Jerry Lu, director and head of customer care for growth markets at Philips Lighting, at Marketing’s Customer Experience Conference 2015.

While the NPS does reflect a company’s ability in delivering results, it can also drive the behaviour of the company both positively and negatively, he said.

Also, key performance indicators (KPIs), the business metric used to evaluate factors that are essential to an organisation’s success, should not be the sole driving force in deciding to innovate. He warned that deploying a set of wrongly measured issues to a company can inadvertently drive negative behaviour.

For these reasons, there are several limitations that a company should be aware of when deciding to use metrics to measure the customer experience. Lu shared his insights on selecting the right customer satisfaction metrics.

1. Have a holistic view – a company’s lens versus a consumer’s lens

Since metrics don’t always add up, an insightful metric for customer experience should include both the company’s and the customer’s perspective.

Citing his experience at HP, he shared a traditional method of gauging customer satisfaction. For example, HP tracked its call centre by measuring its total call rate, calculated by the number of products shipped out of the number of calls received. If the ratio was low, HP would aim to cut on calls due to costs associated with keeping up the call centre’s infrastructure.

However, measuring the issues from a call-ratio perspective is not always reliable, he said, since it does not include the customer’s perspective. A high ratio does not necessarily signal consumer satisfaction.

Setting a time limit in handling cases over the phone could also drive negative behaviour for the call agent. The pressure to close a call within minutes does not guarantee a customer care representative’s ability to resolve a customer’s issue.

“Upon thorough analysis, we find that customers care more about their day-to-day experience when using their technological devices,” he said.

2. Customer care should run throughout the organisation

To effectively utilise any metric, a company needs to have an operational view of improving customer relationships. Beginning from procurement to cost to customer feedback, having an intra-company perspective is pertinent when trying to make sense of metric results.

More importantly, brands also have to consider a customer perspective when referring to their NPS to get a fuller picture of its score.

When designing methods to improve the customer experience, he said a company had to take ownership in ensuring a “cross functional handshake, visibility and harmonisation”.

Planning any new policies should be the aggregate effort of all departments. Customer care representatives should not be the sole drivers in dealing with negative customer feedback.

First, customer care should be aware of all the touch-points of a consumer’s experience and not just complaints. Still, it should be the entire company’s responsibility to ensure a quality customer experience. All departments are essential because they are able to work on pivotal points in improving the customer experience.

This collaborative effort enables a more thorough ability in identifying improvement and opportunities for innovation. Lu said it was crucial for a department to be able pinpoint issues and collect relevant information to append its metrics.