Is It Really Possible to Quantify Customer Experience?

Lauren Burgess
Written by Lauren Burgess
April 17, 2018

When we visit a website it’s a rare occasion that we sit down and consume every word on it as though it were a scintillating novel. We jump around to read headings and quotes, maybe look at a couple of images — then the phone rings (or you decide to make a cup of coffee, or your spouse calls you from the other room…you get the picture.) The web page is still open on the screen, but your attention has been entirely diverted.

Two weeks later, hundreds of miles away, a data analyst is sitting in front of a report thinking, “Wow! This person spent 45 minutes on our home page. They must have been really engaged.”

Herein lies the problem with traditional surface metrics like session time, page views and bounce rates. There’s no real way to see how the customer actually engaged with the content and the emotional state they were in when they did it. We don’t know anything about their experience other than the fact that they had one. Faced with this dilemma, many companies will turn to surveys and live customer feedback to get a clearer picture of how people feel about the experience on their digital properties.

Why Surveys Never Provide the Full Picture

Depending on the types of questions you include on your survey, you can get a combination of quantitative (numerical) and qualitative (descriptive) data from responders. In an attempt to gather rich, qualitative data on a customer’s experience, it’s common to ask questions like “How did you feel about the check out process?” and “Why did you come to our website today?”

Unfortunately, surveys like this still provide companies with very limited insight into the customer experience. Survey response rates are typically low – in fact,  only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers actually tell you when something has gone wrong; the rest just leave – and survey fatigue means fewer people are willing to provide fully fleshed-out answers. The responses you do get tend to be polarized.

“Only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers actually tell you when something has gone wrong; the rest just leave.”

Timing plays a large part in the type of feedback you receive, too – not just in terms of the time of day that you send the survey, but whether you caught them after a particularly positive or negative interaction. They may well be a loyal advocator that loves your product, but if they just so happen to have been stuck on hold with your client support team for the past hour and a survey drops into their inbox, you can bet they’re going to unleash their frustration on you right away.

But for argument’s sake, let’s say that it went very well. You got a high response rate, thoughtful answers to your open-ended questions and it doesn’t seem like your mortal enemy was on the send list. What now? Even if you found the time to pick through every survey and found some decent suggestions for improvement, it’s impossible to draw out a scalable metric that you can work towards improving.

To judge the success of your changes, you would have to reissue the survey a few months down the line and go through everything again. For established businesses in a highly competitive market, it’s essential to have a defined process and a way of measuring digital experiences across your sites and apps so that you can continually optimize them.

Boiling it All Down to a Single Figure with DXS®

Until very recently, finding a way to quantify customer experience has been close to impossible. Attempts lead to a mish-mash of figures like NPS, bounce rates, conversion rates and dwell time, but there’s always something missing. Even with qualitative survey data, companies just don’t get the full picture and largely optimize based on instinct or small data points. Any improvements are gained through trial and error.

To combat this, we’ve created the Digital Experience Score. Years in the making, our digital experience intelligence platform gathers data from every interaction a customer has with your digital properties and produces an all-encompassing metric that measures your customers’ experience. With features that alert digital teams to customer behavior that indicates frustration, engagement and confusion, you’re poised and ready to identify problems and design effective solutions.

Your final DXS® is based on five “experience pillars”: navigation, engagement, frustration, technical and form. (Check out this quick guide for information about what each pillar encompasses.) You can drill down from this figure to receive insights at every level, all the way down to session replays of individual visits.

With DXS® there’s no need to trawl through dozens of reports or maintain custom KPIs, you always have a go-to measure of customer experience and can see what to do to meet your goals.

Are you ready to begin quantifying customer experience and create exceptional digital journeys? Get in touch with Decibel today for a free demo of our digital experience intelligence platform.

Topics: Customer Experience, Data, DXS
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