January 21, 2015 | Peter Malamas

Are You Working to Improve Customer Satisfaction? Or Are You “Chasing the Score”?


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We see more and more premier brands realizing the importance of robust and scientific customer experience analytics when it comes to understanding today’s complex omnichannel consumers. In fact, more premier brands than ever are partnering with ForeSee to gain powerful customer experience insights. But with more brands paying attention to the customer experience, shouldn’t average customer satisfaction scores be increasing?

Because they aren’t. In fact, we’re seeing customer satisfaction scores decrease year over year!

Are you improving customer satisfaction? Or just "chasing the number"?

First, we’ll let the data from the Answers™ Experience Index: 2014 U.S. Retail Edition do the talking. If you care about the customer experience, this recently released report (available for download here) should make for some very compelling reading. The study measures customer experiences with the largest retailers in the United States, as recognized by Internet Retailer’s Top 500 web and mobile commerce sites and NRF Stores Top 100 Retailers. In analyzing the data, we found overall customer satisfaction in the retail industry dropped – from 79 in 2013 to 77 in 2014. And when a single point of satisfaction can translate into millions and millions of dollars in revenue for brands, that two points is very substantial.

Next, we’ll examine the data from the ForeSee Website Customer Satisfaction Benchmark. This internal benchmark incorporates all industries that we measure, and currently includes nearly 700 of the top digital brands, both B2B and B2C,  that use ForeSee to continuously measure and manage the customer experience—and it also shows similar year-over-year decreases in aggregate customer satisfaction scores.

In both of these examples, the data points to the inescapable fact that B2B and B2C consumers are becoming much more discriminating in judging the experiences they have with your brand.

My own experiences as a digital marketer who regularly interacts with representatives from a robust list of well-known brands and as an individual consumer strongly support this sentiment. Just think about how much more “digitally savvy” you and those around you have become over the past several years, even in older demographics. Consumer knowledge, and therefore customer expectations, have definitely increased.

The average B2C digital consumer, who perhaps had a difficult time figuring out how to send an email with a file attachment just a few years ago, is now intelligently critiquing your mobile site on their phablet vs. your desktop experience on their PC, or complaining about the layout of your website’s navigation menu.

I recently discussed the Answers™ Experience Index: 2014 U.S. Retail Edition with one of our clients, and came up with another significant reason for the overall Satisfaction decrease: just because brands are paying attention to their customers’ voices and measuring the customer experience to gain valuable insights doesn’t mean they are acting upon these insights to optimize their customer experiences appropriately and with a high level of urgency.

Customer Experience needs to be measured continuously, and insights need to be acted upon quickly, because with consumer expectations constantly on the rise, these insights have a shelf life. Brands could be leaving revenue on the table and losing market share as a result of not acting on customer experience insights with urgency.

This is why it’s important to continuously measure the customer experience across channels using a proven measurement methodology that not only tells you where you stand – but how you should prioritize customer experience improvements to keep up with the constantly increasing expectations of today’s consumers. Brands that do not continuously measure and constantly react are just “chasing the old number,” and will likely experience a downward trend in customer satisfaction scores over time.

The bottom line: measure scientifically, analyze powerfully, and optimize swiftly and accurately to create the best customer experience on the planet to satisfy your more and more discriminating brand advocates, customers, and prospects. Increasing your customer satisfaction scores while your competitors’ are falling opens the door to immense opportunities.

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About the Author

Peter Malamas is Director, Enterprise Accounts at ForeSee. His specialty is online solutions that help companies acquire new customers and build stronger relationships with existing customers, using customer experience analytics, digital marketing, and social media. Peter’s experience ranges from individual sales contributor to a leader who’s started-up and consistently grown product lines and business units as Director of Strategic Partnerships at eWayDirect, VP Sales & Product Management at SGA Executive Tracker, and President at idEXEC, an infoGroup company. Peter is an Advisory Board Member to the CX@Rutgers Customer Experience Certification program.

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