Customer Experience, Customer Journey, Customer Service – anyone within the contact center space has heard these phrases constantly in the last few years. While customer service has always been important, it’s now crucial to competing in the industry, with many companies hiring chief experience officers and dedicating larger budgets to customer experience. Everyone strives to provide best-in-class customer service, but what does that involve? Quantifying the factors involved enables the measurement and management of customer experience. Many businesses use the Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score and the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to assess the quality of customer service, by asking customers to rate their experience or how likely they are to recommend the business. Both these metrics are important and give companies important insight into their customer journey. The CSAT Score illustrates customer happiness and specific opportunities for your team, while the NPS can help with increasing customer retention. These are key factors, but there is also a less often measured component as well – customer effort. The amount of effort a customer needs to expend to resolve an issue is often a huge factor in a customer’s happiness, and it isn’t addressed by either the CSAT Score or the NPS.

Customer effort is often the most accurate predictor of customer loyalty because it’s a measure of the customer’s experience across all their interactions with the company. Most customer satisfaction surveys only address the most recent interaction, which isn’t always a good indicator of all the customer’s interactions. A single difficult interaction may not cause a customer to churn, but when it becomes a pattern, it’s a pretty good indicator. The more work a customer has to do to resolve an issue, the more likely they are to leave.

Customer effort doesn’t necessarily only apply to interactions with agents, either. It can include a customer reading through the FAQ, abandoning a call after a long hold time, or any other action that often doesn’t include a customer survey. These are still frustrating interactions with a company to a client, and they often aren’t tracked. By creating a holistic measurement of customer effort, you can achieve a more accurate view of your customer journey and any opportunities. Customer effort can measure user sentiment on not only people, but also processes and technology. This can help you pinpoint opportunities, whether it’s a gap in agent training, or a self-service menu.

Measuring customer effort and a seamless omnichannel experience go hand-in-hand. Creating an omnichannel experience should reduce the necessary customer effort, since the information from different channels and touchpoints should now be unsiloed and shared. The customer should no longer need to repeat themselves when switching from chat to voice, for example, and the customer data from interactions such as website visits or customer consultations should be included with the usual customer service data. And by measuring customer effort, you now know when data isn’t being shared as it should. Any opportunities discovered by measuring customer effort can be addressed much more quickly, enhancing the omnichannel. In addition, even if customers don’t have a negative experience, tracking customer effort can also create insights into which channels are most popular, and why. This information can be used to prioritize specific training, or software updates, that can enhance business efficiencies within your contact center.

The best way to measure and manage customer effort is by achieving a comprehensive, end-to-end view of the entire customer journey. Once you can track every interaction a customer has with the business, you can begin to enhance the customer experience by reducing customer effort.