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Net promoter score (NPS) vs customer effort score (CES)


Johannesburg, 13 Jun 2014
Read time 3min 20sec

Numerous methods of evaluation and metrics have been used to assess customer behaviour, including tactical measures such as satisfaction, resolution and more strategic assessments such as NPS (net promoter score). NPS has, over the last decade, become the customer experience metric of choice in the industry.

NPS is seen as a pretty reliable indicator of customer advocacy with reasonable predictive capabilities, but many organisations have struggled to reconcile contact point NPS results to corporate objectives.

A recent frisson of excitement in the industry would suggest that CES (customer effort score) is the latest metric contender being touted as the most effective, predictive measure of future customer behaviours available, as well as being able to identify the true root causes of customer detraction, and is therefore the best operational customer contract metric to drive customer loyalty and experience.

Tools not solutions

In truth, no one metric can be viewed as a panacea. Metrics can disconnect from actual objectives, leaving organisations driving a number with no tangible output. Also, metrics with corporate entity level relevance may not translate well to more granular investigation, for example, touch points and root cause analytics. At this granular level, metrics may not have a predictive validity aligned to the corporate objectives.

Experience would suggest that using a variety of complimentary metrics allows a 360-degree view of performance and customer experience. The strengths of each metric can then be utilised to create the best possible view of reality. This ensures that measurement has a relevance to objectives both tactically and strategically.

To gain clear insight, it is extremely important to identify all aspects of a customer's journey to its end. Each touch point is relevant to the customer; each action, even if it is not a contact, is also significant. If we view only some contacts as a true picture of experience and performance, this can lead to inaccurate reasoning, resource misalignment and ultimately expensive wrong decisions.

How we see it

Webhelp SA has identified that measuring customer effort to achieve an objective against their expectations of effort required is an effective predictor of future customer behaviours regarding advocacy, loyalty and future spend, if used in conjunction with other tailored metrics. Effort profiling, using Webhelp SA's effort algorithm, of customer journeys across all elements of that journey allows a comprehensive view of both multi-channel and non-contact experience.

CES drives business improvements and performance.

In combination with Webhelp SA's effort profiling, the use of any other relevant metrics can be combined to give a truly holistic view of business impacts of customer experience and journeys. This allows the right actions to be taken in regard to people (customers and employee interactions and behaviours), policy (company policies that may not be aligned to objectives), products (are products meeting business and customer needs?) and process (are processes effective in delivering objectives?).

In conclusion, there are benefits to be gained by using both NPS and CES metrics (as well as other complementary measures). The Webhelp SA Insight Team is particularly interested in CES, however, and feels it is likely to have strong applicability at granular levels particularly in contact centre Management. CES is equally applicable to any contact medium and is reflective of a customer's journey and holistic experience. This feature has great synergy with Webhelp SA's strategy of multi-channel customer journey management, and as long as CES is used as one of many data mining tools to derive business improvements and performance, the metric should be key in any customer management organisation's strategy.

- See more at: www.webhelp.com/sa/insight-news

Editorial contacts
Webhelp Louise Strachan (+44) 1324 575 159 louise.strachan@uk.webhelp.com
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