Act with Certainty

The ForeSee blog for CX professionals and the Voice of Customer community.

Part 3: Putting the Cart Before the Horse

This is the third post in a three-part series based on data from The ForeSee Experience Index – 2015 Retail Edition.

So now we know some common characteristics of highly satisfied website visitors and less satisfied website visitors from Part 1 in this blog series. We also know what kind of experiences several common retail personas are having from Part 2.

Now what do we DO with that information?

We’ve learned that highly satisfied visitors tend to visit our websites more frequently, buy online instead of through other channels, and use their mobile devices to access our websites.

However, does that mean we should encourage all customers to do these things in hopes that this will make them more satisfied?  Will visiting the website more frequently make them more satisfied? Or, does being more satisfied make them visit the website more frequently?

Which is the cart and which is the horse?

The aforementioned question is why it’s so important to measure the customer experience, not just survey customers. By treating Voice of Customer (VOC) as a strategic, rigorous business competency and discipline, companies can run their CX initiatives with more impact and certainty. It’s why we measure the customer experience using a cause-and-effect model. Certain elements of a web experience contribute to the overall customer experience, and certain behaviors result from that experience.

When identifying common attributes of your most satisfied customers, it’s important to determine which you can control and which you can’t. It’s also important to identify which are drivers of satisfaction and which are outcomes.

Here’s a common example of our model: The factors we measure that affect overall customer experience are website look and feel, navigation, images, product info, and site performance. These are the levers you can pull to change customer satisfaction, as our methodology prioritizes the drivers of satisfaction you should be targeting. The outcomes of satisfaction are behaviors like a customer’s likelihood to buy online, buy offline, recommend the company, return to the website, or have confidence in the brand.

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In this case, navigation and product info have the greatest impact on the overall customer experience (FXI score).  So, if this particular company wants to improve customers’ likelihood to buy online or return to their website, they should focus on these two levers.

However, another retailer with the exact same FXI score of 79.3 might have an entirely different set of priorities.

ForeSee clients: it’s important to work with your analyst to determine whether satisfied customer attributes are drivers of satisfaction versus outcomes of satisfaction, so that you know whether you should be using them as a lever or as a benchmark of success. Our model, coupled with the expert advice of your analyst, will strategically put your carts and horses in order.

This post is the third in a series using data from The ForeSee Experience Index: 2015 Retail Edition, available for download today.

Interested in learning more about our model? Check out the ForeSee CXA Methodology White Paper.

About the Author

Eric drives ForeSee’s marketing strategy, working closely with the company’s product, client service, and sales teams to infuse innovation and operational excellence into its offerings. Since joining ForeSee in 2004, he has contributed to the organization’s strategic growth, particularly providing leadership around mobile solutions. He is the author of several of the company’s thought leadership studies, including the 11th annual ForeSee Experience Index (FXI) and the American Employee Study. Eric is a frequent speaker on customer experience analytics, and marketing best practices. He is a board member of the Digital Analytics Association (DAA) and an adjunct professor of mobile marketing at the University of California, Irvine Extension. Previously, he worked as a web analyst, multichannel strategy consultant, usability specialist and focus group moderator. Eric is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

Read more posts by Eric Feinberg


  1. Jim

    In your example, exactly how was you able to determine that the navigation (lever) for this particular retailer was directly connected to the likelihood of the customer buying online (outcome)?

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