The Four Key Performance Indicators of Customer Experience

You know customer service is important. Yes, you can compete on price and offer more features than your competitors. But to really build business, it all comes down to service. That’s what keeps customers coming back. Customer service is expensive, but losing customers and being forced to always attract new ones is even more costly.

If you agree with this—and most smart people business do—then you have probably realized something else: when it comes to costs, customer service can be a major sinkhole. You keep investing in creating a better customer experience, but your level of investment does not seem to bear any relationship to your outcomes.

How can this be? Why does investment in most business processes drive improved outcomes, but not in customer service?

A big part of the problem is that most businesses—even very small ones—take a fragmented, silo’ed approach to customer service and engagement. In fact, it’s almost inevitable that this is the case. Yes, delivering great customer service is a simple, straightforward idea. But getting a holistic view of how to really make it happen in your company? Not so simple. Today, most businesses have:

Multiple ways of delivering service, i.e. a web site, e-mail, social media as well as a traditional customer service center.
Various applications: pricing, order processing, scheduling.
Different people with different job functions, all pitching in.
The result is that customers can contact your business and get a different, inconsistent experience each and every time. Also everyone in the business looks at the customer service problem differently. The contact center manager is concerned with hold times or repeat calls. The customer service department is worried about complaints. Top management is worried about sales. Also, it’s easy to fall into the trap of measuring activities that really don’t have an impact on your business.

Where do you start? Boil things down to four key performance indicators (KPIs):

The level of customer satisfaction, interaction-by-interaction: Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are meeting customer needs simply by being “multichannel.” It’s not about the channel. It’s about creating a great experience on every interaction, regardless of the channel. Start by looking at the interaction level and work up, rather than the channel level and working down. Look at metrics for the different communication channels to identify discrepancies.
Cost of the interaction: it’s always amazing to discover how few companies really track the cost of their interactions. Overall data is not enough. To make judgments about what’s delivering value, and what’s not, you need to know your level of investment.
Revenue produced through the interaction: Service is a cost center. It also generates revenue, either indirectly by creating the basis for repeat business or directly through upselling and cross-selling. Find out what revenue you are getting.
How well does each interaction comply with company and (if appropriate) industry or governmental policies: You have standards and values as an organization. In addition to what your customers say and the actual dollars and cents of revenues and costs, establish some metrics of how each interaction measures up to the standards that you have set, or that are established for your industry.
Your overall goal is to compile a set of indicators that in effect make up a scorecard. It’s your starting point to reverse the trend of higher costs and declining customer satisfaction and profitability.

Interested in learning more about the challenge of delivering great customer experience without sacrificing profitability, get the Avaya Contact Center Consumer Preference eBook at