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April 29, 2024

Designing an Effective Customer Experience Strategy

How to quantify success with customer experience KPIs, and how to use customer experience analytics to level up your CX skills.

Caleb Allen

It’s been a trend in 2023 and will continue to prove true in 2024, customers are paying higher prices for great experiences. So rather than hiding products under a mask of the lowest market price, companies are making their products and services shine with improved and personalized experiences for their customers. 

You might have guessed it by our name, but here at Protagonist Digital we’re all about individual journeys and adventure, especially when it comes to your customers. Your customers are the main character of their own journey, and our job in CX is to jump into their narrative and meet them with tailored experiences every step of the way.

You may have gotten here by asking questions like “how to improve customer experience?” “What makes a great customer experience?” or “are there customer experience best practices?”

If you keep reading  below, we’ll make sure you’ve got the right provisions for your own journey, including how to design a customer experience map, how to quantify success with customer experience KPIs, and how to use customer experience analytics to level up your CX skills.

Customer Experience Design

Experience design is often the most challenging part of customer experience management. There are loads of tools and services designed to tell you if you’re doing a good job or a bad job at engaging your customers, but faced with putting analytics into practice across the lifecycle of engaging with your customers often leaves teams wondering how to apply best practices, stand out from the crowd, or even just where to start.

With every customer on their own unique adventure, it can be difficult to create a process that isn’t generic or out of touch with a large portion of your service base. Customer journey mapping can provide a picture of what your customer journey looks like in each stage, and can inform how you shift strategy and practices to meet them every step of the way. Here at Protagonist Digital, we’ve identified 4 main stages of the customer experience journey to help you lace up the old (or new) customer boots and walk a mile in their shoes.

Stage 1: Awareness

What is the awareness stage: If you’re a startup or are launching a new product, this is likely the stage you’ll spend a majority of your time cultivating initially. Customers in this stage may not know you from Adam, and brand recognition or association should be your goal. 

In this stage, craft a profile of your ideal customer. What do they do on a daily basis, what are their biggest problems, interests and drivers? If they engaged with your product, what other products or services would also come to mind. In this stage, it’s actually not a bad outcome for you to be associated with competitors in your market. Once customers begin associating your brand with what it represents, they move into the consideration stage.

Questions to Ask: How do customers engage with SEO, Content, Digital Advertising, and Social Media?

Benefit: Knowing how a customer would associate your brand with your product or service.

Stage 2: Consideration

What is the consideration stage: This is the stage where customers begin to separate the chaff from the wheat. Your ideal customer already knows if you’re a good fit, they’re identifying how big of a problem they have, looking for the best solution, and comparing you with competition.

What’s most important to your customer while they’re in decision-making mode? As you try to engage with customers who are change-averse or in desperate need of a solution, consider things like ease of access, best value and professional experience. While you engage with customers in the consideration phase, you can begin to understand what their buying journey is like, and ultimately land on what’s most important to them when making a decision.

Questions to Ask: How do customers engage with your website, email marketing, guides/whitepapers, reviews, testimonials, webinars and demos?

Benefit: Knowing how to separate your brand from competitors and engage customers.

Stage 3: Experience

What is the experience stage: Believe it or not, this is the stage most companies tend to neglect. Ensuring customers go through a seamless experience purchasing and onboarding isn’t often a sexy project to take on, but it can make or break your customer journey.

What do customers expect to happen when they buy your product or service? What hoops do they have to jump through to realize the value of what they bought? Engaging your customers in the experience stage can get a boost from automated buying journeys, robust onboarding programs, and a dedicated and well equipped support experience.

Questions to Ask: How do customers engage with product/service pages, E-commerce, promotional and retarget campaigns?

Benefit: Clear understanding of why customers fall off during purchase or onboarding, and knowing how to course-correct to secure them as clients.

Stage 4: Loyalty

What is the loyalty stage: Apple and Amazon have ranked the highest in customer loyalty over the past 4 years. So why do customers stick with an iPhone instead of going with an Android? Why don’t more customers order direct from Walmart or Target instead of Amazon?  Customers in the loyalty phase care about one thing: consistency.

Becoming a staple in your clients’ customer journey isn’t easy, but it starts with ensuring that your product or service delivers similar results and continues to reward customers for repeated use. In this stage, assume your customers are constantly looking for a reason to leave your brand. Why would they leave, why wouldn’t they?

Questions to Ask: How do customers engage with testimonials, surveys, case studies or loyalty programs?

Benefit: Creating a framework for repeat customers that are raving fans about your brand.

Customer Experience KPIs

Once you’ve designed the journey for your customers, you may ask, ‘how do you measure customer experience?’ Here are the most common customer experience metrics, why they matter, and how to measure them.

There are two types of customer feedback, which can both be helpful in different ways. Direct feedback is what we might gravitate towards organically, things like customer surveys, testimonials or case studies. Indirect feedback can be found through analyzing a customer’s lifetime value, churn and renewal rates, or cost to acquire/renew. Here are the top ways to measure direct and indirect customer feedback

Direct Customer Feedback

Net promoter score (NPS)

Officially, a net promoter score is calculated by asking a question like “On a scale from 0-10, how likely are you to recommend this product/service to a friend or colleague?” then taking the percentage of detractors and subtracting it from the percentage of promoters. Net promoter scores are a great pulse check to use at customer milestones or to test a customer relationship during their lifecycle.

Customer effort score (CES): 

A customer effort score is used directly after a customer interaction like a purchase or support case to measure how customers perceive the ease of access to their desired outcome with your product or service. CES is measured on a 7 point scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree.

Customer satisfaction (CSAT): 

Customer satisfaction scores are typically measured on a 5 point scale marking from very satisfied to very dissatisfied. A good measure of of overall CSAT is to take the responses marked “very satisfied” and “satisfied” and dividing them by the total number of responses. This is the most common measurement of quality in customer interaction.

Indirect Customer Feedback

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): 

This measurement tells you what the value of your average customer is across a set period of time, and is calculated using average purchase value X purchase frequency. This can be a good indicator of strategic pivot points in your customer strategy like raising prices or focusing budget on increasing purchase frequency.

Customer Churn Rate (CCR): 

Lost customers are an inevitable part of CX. Knowing how to limit this number starts with knowing how to measure it. Calculate CCR by dividing your total customers by the number of lost customers at the same point in time.

Customer Renewal Rate (CRR): 

Like CCR, customer renewal rate can show us how often customers are renewing their contracts or memberships. This can tell you part of the story of how “sticky” your product or service is. Divide the number of renewed customers at the end of a timeframe by the number of customers up for renewal. 

Cost to Acquire Customer (CAC): 

One of the most important budgeting KPIs, CAC ratios tell you how much it costs to gain a new customer, collecting all your marketing and sales spend and dividing it by the number of new customers in the same amount of time.

Cost to Renew Customer (CRC): 

Similar to CAC, this metric will tell you how much you’re spending on retaining customers. Comparing CAC to CRC can help you know where to raise or lower budgets or investigate inefficiencies. Calculate your CRC by dividing all customer experience costs by the number of customers renewed during a period of time.

Customer Experience Analytics

Knowing what to measure in customer experience is just half the battle. Knowing how to measure and how to apply your feedback is where your customer journey can really turn a corner.

Analyzing your customer experience will help you make informed decisions on how to shape your customers’ journey. Comparing your CAC ratio with your CLV may help you determine a customer profit margin for new business groups, and looking at CRC ratios in concert with your CRRs and CCRs can help you identify areas your customer experience could be improved.

Customer experience isn’t a one size fits all game. It’s important to consistently evaluate the entire customer lifecycle when looking for ways to improve. If you or your organization is interested in learning more about holistic lifecycle marketing, grab some time with us here at Protagonist Digital. We’d love to get to know you and your customer.