Organizations are discovering that loyalty is highly correlated with customer experience. While any organization can improve segments of its customer experience, it takes more than a few superficial changes to create significant changes that deliver long lasting results.

In the coming years, customer experience management solutions will no longer serve as a luxury -- they will become a competitive necessity. Customer experience programs that report actionable intelligence can give organizations a competitive advantage by optimizing their customer service to retain and expand their customer base.

Recent research from Ovum indicates that retail banks across the globe will see IT spending grow 3.4%, reaching US$ 118.6 billion in 2013, as CIOs focus on customer satisfaction and revenue growth. According to Forrester’s State of Retailing survey report, online retailers in 2013 will get back to basics by focusing on strategies and tactics to improve the customer experience and increase web conversion and loyalty across all devices, especially mobile.

Any organization seeking to implement a customer experience program will need a quantitative method to track the experiences of its customers. The correct metrics will allow an organization to consistently monitor how it is performing over short- and long-term periods, as well as compare performance across channels and geographies.

Choosing the right set of metrics allows an organization to also accurately measure changes in customer interactions and develop solutions to improve them where necessary.

Choosing the Best Combination of Metrics

With numerous metrics to choose from, organizations can tailor what they would like to measure about their customers’ interactions. But how does an organization determine which metrics are best suited for its needs? These six strategies can help organizations sift through several options and arrive at an optimal combination.

1. Industry

Certain metrics are more suited to some industries more than others. This is determined by the way that customers interact with the organization’s products or services as well as how the responses will be collected. The nature of each industry is the broadest consideration for what type of metric will produce the most relevant results.

2. Survey Methodology

The level of access to customer contact information sanctioned by the industry will dictate what collection method can be used for the survey. For example, a mobile phone number is needed to send an SMS survey and an email address is necessary for an email invitation-based web survey. When little contact information is available, gateway partners are often available to help fill this gap.

3. Brand Promise

Fulfilling brand promises creates a highly positive customer experience. It is important for each organization to identify any brand promises and find metrics that will correlate with the underlying sentiment. To easily identify brand promises, pinpoint selling features that an organization markets and find the basic guarantee within. Once this is determined, the organization can find a metric to support the assertion.

4. Organizational Visibility

Taking into account which levels of staff will be reviewing customer response results will affect which metrics are selected. For example, if the goal is to engage frontline employees to improve service, monitoring each service interaction would be beneficial. However, if the goal is for corporate executives to learn customer perceptions of the brand, the same metric may not be as useful as a more high-level analysis.

5. Channel Evaluation

Determining which channels will use the program will also help metric selection. If an organization is tracking customer experience within a contact center, retail and web channel, it should determine if each division offers the same type of experience and has the same goals. If experiences are varied, different metrics can be implemented in each channel to best suit its needs.