Outside-in. This has certainly been a catchphrase of customer experience for the last few years. But funnily enough, outside-in is an inside-out term! It is a company term to talk about how a company should treat its customers.
So how would a service provider (of any kind of service) want a customer to describe their experience? TM Forum recently held a workshop to determine just that – and we came up with a set of good adjectives. Terms like simple, proactive, consistent, fast, available, trustworthy, cool, empowering, and smart were just a handful of the terms mentioned. These are the kinds of things you want your customers to say about their interactions with you.
But if you take a step back and think about how to know if a company is truly acting in a customer-centric fashion, we have precious few ways to do that. The most popular way right now is NPS and its derivatives. But NPS just tells you one thing: general satisfaction. Useful, yes, but what if you want more?
Being customer centric means different things to different companies. That’s why there is such a broad range of words to describe it. For some companies being customer centric might be about making everything easy. For others it might be about creating a relationship with the customer around the brand, and for others it might be about being always available using any channel at any time.
And if a company has a view of their goal and strategy for customer interaction, this is what they need to measure. NPS won’t do that with the kind of specificity that measuring something like “personalized” would require.
Customer Effort Score (CES) is also rising in popularity – and this is a very good measure. It sets a great example for an index that captures a specific aspect of how a customer is feeling about an interaction – in other words, is it simple and easy to do whatever they are trying to do? It does not try to capture everything – just this one aspect. CES is good if simplicity is what you care about, but what if you care about something else more, like being proactive?
If we borrow from the CES thinking we could come up with concepts from our adjectives list like a Proactive Index, a Personalization Index, or a Trust Index.
If we do some digging, we can find some indices related to more granular customer experience areas, but what we find is piecemeal and not systematic. So at TM Forum – where we are good at creating common languages for our members — we see this as an opportunity to fill a gap. As a result, we are launching a work stream in our Customer Experience Management program to look at the future of customer experience measures. What should we be measuring to capture the true outside-in perspective of customers and what they are truly experiencing? And how do we do that in a granular way that measures the experience that the service provider is really trying to create?
We plan to develop an approach to these new types of measures and create a new family of indices and measures. And most importantly, we want your input. Please contact me to join the conversation!