Behavior vs. Score – How to Track What Actually Matters

Let’s assume you believe your organization is providing an outstanding customer experience (CX). As a consultant, the first question I would ask about that perceived CX excellence would be:

How do you know?

Hopefully, your “proof points” will include a blend of 4 sources:

  1. Customer Stories (received from team members and informal discussions with customers)
  2. Subjective Customer Input (captured in online and offline customer communications and through activities like focus groups)
  3. Key Performance Indicators (reflected in calculations of customer engagement such as cross-sell, customer lifetime value, customer retention, and customer complaints)
  4. Objective Customer Input (acquired through survey questions related to perceptions of satisfaction, repurchase intent, and likelihood to recommend)

Assuming you use this multi-modal approach to assess your customer experience, you must use what you learn from these inputs to drive the behaviors needed to succeed. To that end, I recommend the following steps.

  1. Analyze customers’ stories and subjective input, looking for keywords/phrases that distinguish between a positive, neutral, or negative experience.
  2. Identify correlations between subjective keywords/phrases and KPIs. For example, a restaurant client found that customers who mentioned “a manager visited my table” were three times more likely to return to the restaurant within 30 days.
  3. Train your team on how to ask customers to provide survey input – so that you accurately assess customer perceptions. (I will provide tips on this in an upcoming newsletter.)
  4. Ensure correlations between survey questions and your KPIs. For example, if you use metrics like the Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), evaluate whether they positively correlate with customer retention and inversely correlate with customer complaints. If they don’t, look for better predictors.
  5. Identify the behaviors needed to increase positive customer stories, improve objective and subjective customer input, and drive KPIs.
  6. Consistently train to and role-play the behaviors you identify.

If you want a culture of customer experience excellence, it requires an unwavering commitment to customer-centric behavior. In the words of the former CEO of IBM, Ginni Rometty

 Culture is behavior. That’s all it is.

To learn more about ways to track what matters most to your customers, please contact me at

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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