Introducing Journey Measurement to Voice of the Customer
In my previous posts (the importance of voice of the customer programmes and the timings of a voice of the customer intervention), I alluded to the importance of measuring the Voice of the Customer in a structured way, and that this structured way typically comprises of at least two types of programmes – relationship and transactional surveys. In this post I want to introduce an additional layer of customer experience measurement that I feel will become increasingly important – a journey measurement programme.
A brief recap from my previous post: The two most widely used elements of a comprehensive voice of the customer programme are relationship and transactional surveys. Transactional surveys are served to the customer as quickly after an interaction as possible. Their primary focus is generating detailed, actionable feedback on the specific service experienced in a particular situation. Methodologies employed are manifold and often mirror the channel used by the customer to contact an organisation: IVR (for call centre transactional studies), SMS surveys (e.g. for mobile app studies), CATI interviews (typically used for branch interactions, due to cost) and online surveys (website pop-ups or invitation surveys).
These transactional surveys are ideally accompanied by a relationship study. This type of study aims to establish the key elements driving future customer behaviour through measuring customer brand perceptions across a wide field of influences: From product characteristics, to the impact of direct and indirect brand communications (e.g. Word of Mouth) and to the sum of direct interactions with a brand over a period of time. Ideally serviced to a representative sample of customers, these surveys are a strategic tool to help organisations prioritise the big areas to invest in for a better customer experience.
Simplistically (and ignoring the role of transactional studies in service recovery), the relationship between the two survey types presents itself as two layers that are interrelated – where the transactional survey feedback is used to direct actions in areas prioritised through the relationship study.
This diagram raises a question: How are the different transactional surveys structured? Along what lines are they separated? Typically, this is done along channel boundaries – driven by organisational structures, technical feedback capabilities and research considerations (as above). This represents a challenge in that the feedback mechanisms do not mirror the customer journey. Customers increasingly expect to receive a coherent experience independent from the channel they chose to interact through. They want to be able to switch channels as they like, and expect organisations to keep up with them. As you will have guessed by now, I’m talking about the phenomenon widely known as ‘Omni channel experience’ – which is probably one of the most widely challenges faced by CX professionals currently.
However, Omni channel concept is somewhat omnipresent, measuring it is possible in the ‘relationship – transactional’ measurement framework, but challenging. This is, because the feedback collected remains in silos, which makes it difficult to prioritise and identify the root cause. For example, your call centre transactional score has dipped over the past week. Initial analysis suggests that there has been a decline in advisor knowledge (you may measure this through attributes) and you try to understand why this is the case. Verbatim analysis suggests that actually, customers contacted the service centre on the back of an online advertisement – and it turns out that the information online is different from the information available to your staff on the phones. So the score drop has nothing to do with staff knowledge, but plenty to do with Omni channel failure.
The same principle can obviously apply in the different direction and across different channels. And whilst it is relatively easy to see the direct impact on the customer experience, it is more difficult to quantify this cross channel impact at a relational level.
To overcome this silo view of the world, KPMG Nunwood have introduced an additional customer experience measurement vehicle: The journey measurement.
Essentially, this provides a ‘mezzanine’ layer between relational and transactional surveys, and aims to capture feedback about the whole customer journey: What did they do when, how, and what did they think about their experience. Typically administered within 1-2 weeks of an experience (ideally one that can be identified as part of a journey, but questioning within the survey can establish that), this type of survey aims to enable the customer to re-cap their journey. We establish the touchpoints experienced, the channels through which they were experienced and ask for overall KPIs with the journey. This enables a clear identification of the impact of multi channel experiences (where one touchpoint is experienced in multiple channels) on overall perceptions.
Because the journey survey takes place sometime after the journey has been completed (or has reached its current conclusion), feedback will be less granular compared to transactional surveys, but more detailed compared to a relationship survey. Equally, because we ask for both touchpoints and overall journey perceptions, we will get a mix of feedback relating to the ‘experiencing’ self and the ‘remembering’ self (see previous post).
We believe that this is a valuable addition to voice of the customer programmes. Possibly not right for every organisation, it is most valuable where multi- and Omni channel operations are instrumental to customer experiences. Where employed, customer journey measurement programmes provide a link between relationship and transactional layer that helps understanding the inter-dependencies of channels in delivering a great journey experience.
This approach can also provide greater coherence with other CX related initiatives – such as journey mapping and journey re-design, which would increase the overall value of a voice of the customer programme even further.
Of course, introducing another layer into a voice of the customer programme carries the risk of complicating what should be an as simple as possible initiative. But I believe that the benefits of this 3 layer approach can outweigh the risks – especially where Omni channel journey delivery is critical to business success.
For more customer experience insight visit the KPMG Nunwood CEM blog.