How do you measure customer effort? Most customer experience (CX) pros use surveys. While the question text and scale they use can differ, the resulting score measures the level of effort. But we need to move beyond only measuring the level of effort. My new report explains why and gives suggestions for improving customer effort measurement. Check it out here: “Q&A: Customer Effort Metrics — CX Pros Must Measure More Than “How Much’” (paywall).

Common Effort Metrics Neglect Emotions And Expectations

Why is asking customers about the level of effort not enough? It neglects the fact that more effort isn’t always worse (and vice versa). It also doesn’t tell us how customers perceive their effort compared to what they expected — a critical clue to how customers feel. Considering the role of emotion in driving CX and loyalty, that is a serious oversight.

Take the story of two bicyclists who we’ll call Maxie and Samantha. (Can you tell that there are some avid bicyclists at Forrester?) Both riders perceive high effort. But Maxie is happy and Samantha isn’t, because Maxie expected cycling up the mountain to be hard and is proud of her achievement; Samantha, meanwhile, was surprised by the amount of headwind and felt angry.

This effect exists in real CX life. For example, Fidelity Investments examined the customer journey of granting others permission to trade on the customer’s account. The firm found that making the interaction seamless and quick was not what customers wanted (paywall). Customers didn’t mind the extra hurdles and time if it meant that Fidelity was performing background checks and taking other security precautions to keep their account safe.

the same effort score can hide vastly different emotions

Effort Is Complex — Effort Measurement Must Account For That Complexity

I recommend two ways of improving how to measure effort:

1) Ask different survey questions.

Ask customers to specify which emotions they felt and look for evidence of emotions in customer comments. Or ask customers how they perceived their effort compared to what they expected. Was the interaction harder than expected, easier than expected, or as expected?

2) Take advantage of analytics to measure effort without surveys.

Using text and speech analytics, facial coding, and digital behavior analytics, CX pros can measure effort without burdening customers. These tools also allow CX pros to understand possible root causes of effort.

USAA, for example, worked with Clicktale to identify members who repeatedly went back and forth to different pages on the website to learn about and compare products. USAA also identified where a customer’s cursor is on a page. In one case, the firm found a cloud of dots around the e-signature box. That indicated that a customer had succeeded to sign the document only after many tries.

Check Out The Full Report For More Examples And Details

In the report “Q&A: Customer Effort Metrics — CX Pros Must Measure More Than ‘How Much’” (paywall), you will find details on the suggestions above. The report poses and answers the following five key questions you should ask yourself when measuring effort:

1) Why Should CX Pros Measure Customer Effort?

2) How Do CX Pros Use Surveys To Measure Customer Effort?

3) Why Is Just Asking Customers To Rate Their Effort Level Potentially Misleading?

4) How Can CX Pros Get A Better Measure Of Customer Effort In Surveys?

5) How Can CX Professionals Go Beyond Surveys To Measure Effort?