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How to measure customer experience like a pro

In an increasingly competitive business landscape where customer loyalty and satisfaction are key differentiators, understanding and enhancing your business’ customer experience has become a top priority for brands worldwide. While companies have long recognized the importance of catering to the unique needs of their customer base, measuring the effectiveness of these efforts has often proven elusive, especially when it comes to the dynamic and ever-evolving realm of local customer experiences.

A robust customer experience measurement strategy begins with capturing the holistic journey of individuals as they interact with a brand. This experience often begins at a local level, when customers seek a product or service nearby.

Local customer experience encompasses every touchpoint, from the initial discovery of a product or service to final post-purchase interactions, where localized factors such as physical store environments, personalized interactions, and community engagement come into play. At this hyper-local level, businesses can establish deeper connections with their customers, fostering long-term loyalty and advocacy.

However, accurately quantifying and assessing the impact of local customer experience initiatives is incredibly challenging for multi-location brands. Measuring the customer experience at a local level is a multidimensional undertaking that goes beyond traditional metrics like sales figures and customer feedback forms.

Today’s marketing experts must employ a comprehensive range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies, harnessing the power of advanced technologies and data analytics to gain accurate insights into the local customer experience.

In this post, we will delve into the intricacies of measuring local customer experience and explore various strategies marketers can employ to effectively gain valuable insights into customers’ satisfaction, preferences, and perceptions.

The role of social listening in capturing real-time feedback

Social media is a powerful place where individuals can voice their opinions, share experiences, and engage with brands. For multi-location brands with a presence across multiple locations, monitoring and harnessing the wealth of real-time feedback on social media platforms has become vital to measuring local customer experience.

Social listening, or social media monitoring, means actively tracking and analyzing conversations, mentions, and sentiments related to a brand, its products, or services on various social media channels. It allows marketing experts to monitor and analyze conversations specific to each location, uncovering patterns, trends, and issues that may arise in different regions.

Analyzing keywords, hashtags, and mentions associated with each location gives brands insight into what customers are saying about their experiences, products, services, and even competitors. This information can inform decision-making processes, allowing brands to tailor their offerings and strategies to meet customers’ unique needs in different locations.

Monitoring brand mentions, direct messages, and comments also allow brands to proactively engage with customers, demonstrate their commitment to customer satisfaction, and resolve issues promptly. This level of responsiveness helps mitigate potential reputation damage and showcases a brand’s dedication to delivering exceptional local customer experiences.

Whether positive or negative, real-time feedback from customers enables multi-location brands to promptly address concerns, rectify any shortcomings, and enhance their overall customer experience strategy. Tapping into this vast pool of user-generated content and gaining valuable insights is only possible at scale with social listening tools and techniques built for brand needs.

Using customer journey mapping to understand the end-to-end experience

Understanding customers’ end-to-end journey is essential for marketers seeking to deliver exceptional experiences. Customer journey mapping is a powerful tool that enables businesses to visualize the entire customer journey, from the initial point of contact to post-purchase interactions. This provides valuable insights into the customer’s perspective, pain points, and decision-making criteria and can be used to help enhance the overall customer experience.

Customer journey mapping involves visualizing the customer’s interactions, touchpoints, and emotions throughout their journey with a brand. This mapping process typically starts with identifying key customer personas or segments and outlining their various stages, including discovery, consideration, purchase, and post-purchase experiences.

For each stage, map out customers’ online and offline touchpoints and evaluate their experiences, expectations, and emotions. These touchpoints include physical store visits, website interactions, social media engagements, customer service interactions, and more.

Evaluating each touchpoint allows marketing experts to assess their effectiveness, consistency, and alignment with customer expectations. Identifying pain points or areas of friction helps prioritize efforts to optimize touchpoints and create a seamless and delightful experience. See Forsta’s complete guide to customer journey mapping to learn more.

The importance of data-driven analytics in extracting actionable insights

Data is the lifeblood of successful businesses, and harnessing the power of data-driven analytics is essential. Data-driven analytics empower marketing experts to extract actionable insights from the vast amount of data generated through customer interactions, enabling them to make informed decisions, optimize strategies, and deliver exceptional experiences at a local level.

Data-driven analytics allows marketers to quantify and benchmark their performance across different locations. This deep level of insight gives marketers a transparent view of the locations that are excelling and locations that need to improve.

Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) and utilizing metrics such as customer satisfaction scores, Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer retention rates, and average order value enables marketers to measure success and track progress over time. Analyzing these metrics at a local level enables them to compare performance across locations, identify high-performing regions, and uncover opportunities for improvement in areas that may be underperforming.

This is why Forsta’s Genius® Text Analytics, which uses machine learning and AI to uncover trends and deep insights in customer data, is an excellent supplement to Rio SEO’s Local Reviews. Genius® Text Analytics enables marketers to organize, categorize and prioritize text from any source and combines text from local reviews, chat logs, NPS surveys, CRM systems, emails, and more into one place for analysis and activation.

CX metrics you need to know

Customer experience (CX) metrics allow organizations to measure and evaluate their customer experience efforts. It’s important to note that different metrics may be more relevant and meaningful depending on the industry, business objectives, and specific customer experience goals. Here are a few CX metrics you might incorporate into your brand’s CXM program and strategy.

  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): A measurement of customer satisfaction with a product, service, or interaction that typically involves asking customers to rate their experience, often through surveys or feedback forms.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): A metric that gauges the likelihood of customers recommending a brand to others. Customers are asked to rate their likelihood from 0 to 10 on a scale. NPS classifies respondents as promoters (9-10), passives (7-8), or detractors (0-6) and calculates the score by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.
  • Customer Effort Score (CES): Refers to the ease with which customers can achieve their goals when interacting with a brand. It focuses on minimizing customer effort and friction points throughout the customer journey, with lower scores indicating a more effortless experience.
  • Churn Rate: The percentage of customers who discontinue their relationship with a brand or stop using its products or services over a specific period. It reflects customer attrition and can be calculated as the number of customers lost divided by the total number of customers.
  • Average Handling Time (AHT): The average duration it takes to handle a customer interaction, such as a phone call or chat session. AHT helps assess operational efficiency and customer service effectiveness, with lower scores generally indicating better performance.
  • First Contact Resolution (FCR): FCR tracks the percentage of customer issues or inquiries resolved during the first interaction without further follow-up. It reflects a brand’s ability to promptly and efficiently address customer needs.
  • Customer Retention Rate: The percentage of customers a brand successfully retains over a given period, which helps measure customer loyalty and the effectiveness of retention strategies, indicating stronger customer relationships.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): The total value a customer generates for a brand over their entire relationship. CLV considers factors such as purchase frequency, average order value, and customer longevity, with higher CLV indicating greater profitability and customer loyalty.
  • Customer Effort Score (CES): The ease with which customers can achieve their goals when interacting with a brand. CES focuses on minimizing customer effort and friction points throughout the customer journey, with lower scores indicating a more effortless experience.
  • Customer Loyalty Index (CLI): The degree of customer loyalty and attachment to a brand considering factors such as repeat purchases, customer retention, and willingness to choose the brand over competitors. A higher CLI indicates stronger customer loyalty and advocacy, and research from Bain shows that a 5% increase in customer retention produces more than a 25% increase in company profit.

Together, the CX metrics relevant to your brand and its market form the Voice of the Customer (VoC), an enhanced understanding of your customer’s end-to-end journey.

Activating customer experience insights across brand locations

Here are some tips to help enterprise and multi-location brand marketers measure customer experience and put data-driven insights to work:

  1. Define clear objectives: Identify the specific outcomes you want to achieve, such as improving customer satisfaction, increasing loyalty, or reducing churn. Clear objectives will guide your measurement efforts and help you select the most relevant metrics and data sources.
  2. Collect comprehensive data: Gather data from various sources to get a comprehensive view of the customer experience. This includes customer feedback surveys, online reviews, social media mentions, customer service interactions, sales data, and website analytics to provide a more accurate and holistic understanding of the customer journey.
  3. Implement real-time feedback mechanisms: Incorporate real-time feedback mechanisms to capture customer sentiment and feedback at various touchpoints. This can include post-purchase surveys, website feedback widgets, live chat interactions, and social media listening tools. Real-time feedback allows you to promptly identify issues, address them, and improve the customer experience.
  4. Leverage technology and analytics tools: Choose integrated technology and analytics tools like Rio SEO’s Local Experience platform to handle large volumes of data and provide advanced analytics capabilities. Gain complete visibility into integrated local review ranking data and scorecards for all your locations, in aggregate and at the individual location level, as well as fully compatible solutions for local landing pages, listings management, reputation management, and more – all of which feed priceless local data to your reporting.
  5. Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Define and track key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your objectives. These KPIs can include customer satisfaction scores, Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer retention rate, customer lifetime value (CLV), and others. Regularly monitor and track these KPIs to measure your progress, identify trends, and benchmark your performance across locations and time periods.
  6. Segment and personalize: Segment your customer base based on demographics, behavior, preferences, and other relevant factors. Analyze the data for each segment to uncover unique insights and preferences. Leverage these insights to personalize your marketing efforts, communications, and experiences for different customer segments to enhance customer satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty.
  7. Test and iterate: Implement a culture of testing and iteration. Continuously test and experiment with different strategies, interventions, and experiences. Use A/B testing, multivariate testing, and pilot programs to evaluate the impact of changes on your business’s customer experience. Analyze the results and iterate based on data-driven insights to continuously improve and optimize the customer experience.
  8. Communicate insights and take action: Translate data-driven insights into actionable strategies and initiatives. Share the insights and findings with local stakeholders and teams. Collaborate on action plans to address customer pain points, optimize touchpoints, and enhance the customer experience at both local and enterprise levels. Regularly communicate the progress and outcomes achieved through data-driven initiatives.

Want to learn more helpful tips to build a loyal customer base? Check out these other helpful resources:

Local Pages Playbook

Local Pages Playbook

2024 local consumer search behavior breakdown 

2024 local consumer search behavior breakdown 

2024 Local search consumer behavior study

2024 Local search consumer behavior study


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