At what point during the customer journey should you measure how the customer is feeling? In the middle? After their journey is over? Every month? In reality, there are several customer touchpoints along the customer journey where you can (and should!) measure the customer experience, and each requires a slightly different approach.
Different surveys help you measure the experience appropriately at each touchpoint, and there is no one-size-fits-all. Gathering feedback as frequently as possible is very important, as 52% of customers believe companies should be taking action on their feedback.
Imagine being a customer buying a train ticket. You’ll be researching the tickets, narrowing down your purchase, buying a ticket, getting ready for your journey, and then taking your trip. Each of these customer touchpoints are important for the company to get right. Throughout this experience, you should receive surveys asking you to rate the experience. Instead of asking you how the whole experience went, companies can get more information by offering surveys along the way. They might ask you how easy it was to purchase your ticket, how the boarding experience went, and then the day after your trip ask if you’d recommend them to a friend or family.
Focused feedback at each touchpoint provides more actionable data. Here’s how to measure the customer experience at different customer touchpoints along the way.
Five Customer touchpoints to measure along the customer journey
“Building a good customer experience does not happen by accident. It happens by design,”Clare Muscutt, Founder of CMXperience.
Gaining feedback is all about learning from your customers’ experiences and making plans to improve. According to Microsoft, brands that proactively solicit feedback are viewed more favorably by customers.
With 34% of businesses now implementing customer journey mapping, it’s becoming even more important to understand how to measure it. Using customer surveys is the most common way to gather feedback from your customers throughout the customer journey.
Surveys should be integrated into the overall customer experience, using a customer journey map based on your different customer personas. Here are the five stages to think about when you’re mapping out your customer feedback strategy:
Stage 1: Awareness
Strictly speaking, a customer is someone who has already purchased your product, but we shouldn’t limit ourselves to asking only those people for feedback. It’s important to understand why some people never become customers at all.
“Customer success starts even before someone is a customer,” says Steli Efti, CEO & Founder of Close. Awareness is the touchpoint before your customers even become a customer, and it’s when customers are thinking about why they might need your type of product.
This isn’t the right time to send a survey, since you’ve had very little contact with these customers, but you can analyze comments made on social media or offer a feedback widget on your website. You want to figure out why some customers never contact your brand but instead are turned on to your competitors.
Best survey: Focus on public comments and social media or website feedback widgets. Some text analytics tools allow you to measure these comments, so you can use this to measure this part of the journey.
Stage 2: Research & consideration
Research & consideration is where a flicker of interest in your products may become serious engagement. At this point, customers are developing a deeper interest in potential products or services.
In this stage, customers are actively researching different brands and considering alternative products using search engines. Customers may take time to give feedback on their web experience, or talk to your customer service and sales teams.
Maybe customers simply aren’t ready to buy your products but they were happy with the overall service. If prospective customers visit your website, here you can ask them for their feedback using an exit popup, such as “How did we do?”. If customers have talked with customer service during their evaluation period, you can send them a CSAT survey to see how their interaction went.
Best survey: CSAT. Asking the customer to rate your site and your service, even if they don’t buy anything, can be an effective measure of performance.
To learn more about different customer experience metrics, check out the article 6 most popular customer experience metrics and KPIs explained simply.
Stage 3: Purchase
This customer touchpoint is when customers are buying your products and you are acquiring new customers. Unfortunately, 74% of customers will switch brands if they find this process too hard. Abandoned shopping carts are a huge issue, so you can ask customers why they left using an exit popup survey, and combine this information with data from Google Analytics.
94% of customers with low effort experiences expressed intent to buy again, versus 4% with high-effort experiences. Surveys like Customer Effort Score (CES) are a powerful predictor of purchase intent, and you need to be sending them out regularly to your customers at touchpoints where they may run into friction.
After a successful purchase, you now have the customer’s contact information, so you can choose where best to contact them. Here are some examples of where you could measure the customer experience:
- Add a survey link to the post-purchase confirmation email
- Deliver a separate survey email
- Contact your customer via SMS
- Send an in-app survey
“Customer service is the experience we deliver to our customers. It’s the promise we keep to the customer. It’s how we follow through for the customer. It’s how we make them feel when they do business with us,” says Shep Hyken, Customer Service & Experience Expert. Take this opportunity to survey your new customer and find out how you could be doing even better.
Best survey: CES or CSAT. CES asks your customers how easy it was to complete an interaction. CSAT helps to evaluate more complex purchase decisions.
Stage 4: After purchase
Customers are actually using your products but perhaps they haven’t reached out for support yet. You want to find out how they are getting along with some well-timed surveys. You need to proactively reach out to the customer to find out how they’re experiencing your products.
- First-usage – does the customer have the ability to gain immediate value?
- Onboarding – is there good availability of training resources and documentation?
- Experienced usage – do long-term customers have their needs met by the product?
Here is your chance to prevent customer churn by finding out where the trouble spots are and taking steps to correct them. Because customers have now experienced your product, it’s also a good time to get a more holistic measure of their perception. How do they feel about your company? What pain points have they run into? Do they see value in your product?
Best survey: CSAT or NPS. Customer satisfaction surveys can be adapted to different specific use cases, while NPS can help understand the customers’ overall perception of your business at any point.
Stage 5: Service and support
Customer support is a crucial part of retaining your customers, and bad experiences are a leading cause of lost customers. “After-sales service is more important than assistance before sales. It is through such service that one gets permanent customers,” says Kōnosuke Matsushita, founder of Panasonic.
There are a huge variety of channels that customers can use to contact your support team, and most of them can be used to solicit feedback.
If customers have called you with their sensitive or urgent problem, make sure you follow up with the option to give feedback through email or SMS. Similarly, if a customer has contacted you on a digital channel, let them give feedback through email, chat, text message or in-app.
Best survey: CES or CSAT. CES is a quick way to measure how difficult an interaction was. CSAT works for more complex interactions.
“Customer experience is the next competitive battleground. It’s where business is going to be won or lost,” says Tom Knighton, the executive vice president of Conversant. Measurement is a key part of creating an outstanding customer experience that has your customers turning into raving fans.
There are many customer touchpoints at which point you can send a survey to gather feedback on the customer experience. Keep your surveys short and sweet, making sure they’re relevant to the touchpoint. Customers now expect you to solicit their feedback but you have to make it easy for them with streamlined, elegant surveys.