Measurement Is Key to a Better Digital Customer Experience

"This call may be monitored for quality assurance purposes." It's a phrase we've all heard multiple times, and monitoring call quality is a standard practice. But how do we understand and measure the quality of digital interactions?

As more interactions shift to digital channels, we need to do a better job of measuring and understanding the quality of those interactions. It's only through consistent measurement and taking action on those insights and data that we can improve the digital, and overall, customer experience. However, most companies are far from achieving, let alone measuring, digital experience excellence. In Valoir's recent study on digital transformation at more than 1,300 companies worldwide, we found the following:

  • Only one in four companies have robust multichannel digital service capabilities, and even fewer have integrated all those channels for a single customer view.
  • Only one in three companies have implemented loyalty programs that span across channels.
  • Only 50 percent of companies have a fully functional self-service knowledge base, and only a small percentage of those consistently measure the customer satisfaction associated with self-service interactions.
  • Only three in 10 companies have a consistent means to gather customer feedback to drive service and product improvements.

Many companies have implemented surveys to gather customer feedback after agent interactions, but inconsistent measurement across channels means they don't have a real picture of which channels are working well and which ones need improvement. The quality of customer self-service interactions, for example, are measured less often, and usually the insights we have on self-service quality are the negative ones when it doesn't work.

In contrast, we often gather a lot of data on customer satisfaction with chatbot interactions, but without an understanding of the bias between chatbot-related customer satisfaction and agent-related customer satisfaction (consumers regularly rate humans higher than bots, regardless of resolution) we can't make educated decisions about channel improvement.

The good news is we're seeing advances in the accessibility of technology to address these issues. The recent Genesys-Qualtrics partnership announcement, for example, is a sign that vendors are making it easier for us to measure, understand, and act on customer activity and sentiment across channels more consistently. Innovations from companies such as UserTesting enable companies to measure and understand the quality of customers' digital interactions with rapid interactive testing. Digital innovators are using it to test preferences for interaction, gather first impressions, and validate new concepts. Because customers are sharing their impressions via video, not with an interviewer, they're more likely to be forthcoming, and natural language processing (NLP) and sentiment analysis along with data visualization tools and templates help companies rapidly digest, consume, and understand where digital interactions improve or detract from the customer experience.

However, technology alone won't get us there. Bringing consistent measurement to digital experiences means bringing channels together, but also aligning technology and channel teams, agreeing on common definitions and metrics for measuring customer sentiment and satisfaction, and adopting an overall investment strategy that puts customers, not channel competition, first.

Quality of customer service has always been a competitive differentiator. As customers increasingly move to digital interactions, the quality of those interactions is key to brand differentiation and customer loyalty. Measuring and acting on insights across channels in a consistent and meaningful way is a critical step on the path to optimizing digital interactions and customer satisfaction.

Rebecca Wettemann is CEO and principal at Valoir, a technology industry analyst firm focused on the connection between people and technology in a modern digital workplace.