Brent Haumann, Managing Director, Striata Africa says while there are all sorts of complicated formulae for calculating a customer experience (CX) score, there is a simpler solution. Given how important customer communication is to customer experience, it makes sense to simply measure engagement.

Not only does doing so save organisations a lot of time and effort that would otherwise be wasted, it also gives them a single, relevant, customer experience measure that everyone within the organisation is likely to understand.

Customer communication and CX

The link between communication and customer experience should be obvious. So much of CX is about the relationship between a company and its customers and it’s impossible to build a relationship in silence. That is especially true in a world where 73% of customers expect companies to understand their personal needs and expectations. It should hardly be surprising then that 95% of customers are looking for some degree of proactive communication from the companies with which they do business.

Done properly, customer communication can be a core driver of CX. By meeting customers where they are and sending the right message, at the right time, on the right channel, organisations can inspire loyalty and advocacy, which are two of the most important end-goals of customer experience management.

It makes sense that, when you drill down, the only thing really worth measuring when it comes to CX is engagement. Engagement with the brand’s communications can tell you whether customers feel that the experience they’re getting is relevant and if they’re interested in the experience you’re trying to provide. It can also tell you whether you’re setting the right context in your customer experience efforts.

Digital communication in particular enables companies to collect huge amounts of data on customers and prospects, which helps marketers understand decision processes, buying behaviour and consumption patterns. By measuring engagement against this data, organisations can tailor their communications to be hyper-personalised and contextual, showing that the organisation is thinking about the customer and what their needs are at that point in time.

Simplifying CX thinking

Focusing on engagement also means that organisations can simplify their CX thinking. Rather than chasing multiple measures, they can chase a bigger picture. For example, once the organisation knows that a customer is engaged, it can influence their behaviour and increase business. It’s also worth noting that once you’re in a position to influence customer behaviour, only then can you steer customers to adopt digital channels, self serve, improve efficiencies and reduce the overall cost to serve.

So that leaves only one key question. How do we get our customers to engage with our digital communications? In short, there is no silver bullet to achieving engagement, but there are some powerful techniques. One of those is by manufacturing experiences. This is the process of re-imagining your existing communication touchpoints by manufacturing ground-up redesigns of engagements that are perfectly tailored to meet the customers’ exact needs. In effect, this creates a virtuous circle, which allows organisations to continually improve the overall customer experience (see featured article image).

The right approach across the organisation

It is important to note that this focus on engagement shouldn’t just happen in the communication that an organisation pushes out to customers, but also the platforms it pulls those customers into (e.g. portals, apps, Instant message, chatbots). One without the other will result in a fractured experience, which ultimately harms the organisation’s CX efforts. There is a symbiotic relationship between push and pull channels which is essential for building a stand-out customer experience.

For those that get it right however, the rewards will only compound over time. By focusing on engagement, organisations can create great experiences that serve their customers’ wants and needs and help them stand out from the competition.