Caitlin Affleck-Brodie
Caitlin Affleck-Brodie

December 11, 2017

Around 50% of the work that we do at B2B International directly involves the customer experience. A customer experience project can consist of a wide range of elements. Often, at stage one, our core aim is to understand and measure the customer experience. Anything a customer encounters when dealing with a brand is an element of the experience and can impact satisfaction. In other words, if a customer can see it, use it, hear it, touch it, taste it or smell it, it is a customer experience. We need to understand and measure all of these components to get a true, overall measure of how the brand is performing in the eyes of the customer.

How do we measure the customer experience?

Typically we ask, ‘Please rate how satisfied you are with the following attributes on a scale of one to ten where one is not at all satisfied and ten is very satisfied’, for the different contact your customers have had with your brand. The output from these questions provides us with a wealth of data that we can mine in different ways to develop actionable recommendations for your business. The entire customer journey can be examined, processes can be put in place to ameliorate the poorer performing areas and attributes of strength can begin to be leveraged.

Tracking the customer experience

Many customer experience programmes are designed to be ongoing. This allows for the disruption of one-off events, the tracking of seasonal influences, the measurement of improvements and the effects of new implementations, the continued assessment of areas needing focus and it also helps to embed a culture of exceptional customer service within an organisation. It is often thought that this ongoing research should continue to measure the same attributes measured at stage one, examining how they fluctuate and the impact of any improvements. However, questionnaires can grow over time, with the addition of new processes to be measured or new business focuses, resulting in a lengthy survey that can be tiresome to complete. This does not have to be the case.

Focusing the questionnaire

Reducing the number of attributes measured does not automatically mean reducing the depth of information gathered. Once we have collected the initial data from a high enough sample of customers, we can run an exploratory factor analysis on the results. This will tell us whether any of the attributes that we are measuring overlap and which attributes are in effect measuring the same thing. We can then use the output to formulate new, more efficient attributes to test, cutting out attributes that are not providing any supplementary information.

The key benefits of this are:

  • Lengthy questionnaires can be shortened increasing customer engagement and response rates
  • Key questions are retained and questions that provide little extra information are omitted. The continued inclusion of key questions ensures the ability to track results over time
  • All measured attributes are providing diverse information
  • Results and outputs are more tailored, with a more focused list of future aims
  • Removal of uninformative questions leaves space for additional questions

Factor analysis can reduce the length of an ongoing tracker whilst ensuring you continue to get actionable outputs, confirming each attribute you test is providing diverse, useful information.