FAQs: About Interaction Metrics

So you’re a customer experience audit agency. What does that mean?

At Interaction Metrics, we measure the customer experience using scientific metrics. Our methods are designed to give you the most accurate—and therefore actionable—metrics and plans for improvement.

We take two approaches to creating measurable improvement for our clients: customer service evaluation and customer feedback surveys.

What are your customer service evaluations like?

When performing customer service evaluations, we audit a random sample of interactions, whether they’re calls, emails, or chats. We’re researchers—not consultants—so our evaluations are based on rigorous data analysis, and metrics that show you exactly where to improve. And, they’re accurate: we report our findings at a statistically reliable level (usually with 95% confidence and only a 5% error rate).

What are your customer feedback surveys like?

Interaction Metrics’ analysts also create and manage top-notch customer surveys for our clients (including on mobile devices so your customers can take them on the spot), conduct customer interviews so that our clients get feedback from the customers who aren’t taking surveys, and perform comments analysis on any open-ended survey questions. We also run our noteworthy persona-based mystery shops as part of a customer service evaluation or customer feedback plan.

What makes Interaction Metrics different? What’s your innovation?

The usual ways of measuring the customer experience are based on simplistic renderings of customer satisfaction and customer service. But “simplistic” doesn’t tell you how to improve. Our methods capture the complexity of the customer experience and translate it into data you can use. With us, you’ll know how to strengthen your customer relationships and deliver engaging customer experiences.

What makes your metrics “actionable?”

Most metrics simply estimate where you are. They give you a sense of roughly how good or bad your customer service is, but they don’t provide a clear understanding of how that conclusion was reached, and don’t track exact next steps to improve. Actionable metrics show where you can go—because they measure empirical features of interactions, including what’s missing and what’s going well. With these tools, you’re empowered to take concrete steps toward improvement.

At Interaction Metrics, we only use actionable customer experience metrics—and our reports show companies not just where but how to improve their customer experience.

What is Interaction Thinking™?

Like Design Thinking, Interaction Thinking is a perspective that enables companies to become more profitable by including customers’ objectives in the creative process. But while Design Thinking focuses on products, Interaction Thinking focuses on experiences that involve human interaction.

Digital experiences can be informed by Interaction Thinking, but at Interaction Metrics we focus on two types of interactions: customer feedback (customer satisfaction surveys, customer interviews) & customer service.

4 tenets guide Interaction Thinking:

  1. Interactions should be valuable for companies and their customers.
  2. Interactions are highly nuanced and complex.
  3. If you don’t measure interactions, you can’t improve them.
  4. Your measurement needs to focus on how interactions unfold. Simply examining outcomes such as churn and sales won’t reveal your gaps and opportunities.

Digital experiences can be informed by Interaction Thinking, but at Interaction Metrics we focus on two types of interactions: customer feedback (customer surveys, interviews) & customer service.

What are the methods behind Interaction Thinking™?

Interaction Metrics’ methods are centered on accuracy, not speculative opinions. Our analysts apply expert evaluation criteria to each interaction, giving you consistent, objective data. Our clear metrics then highlight your key gaps and opportunities. With Interaction Metrics’ methods, you see the true complexity of your customer interactions, both conscious and subconscious.

What does your research process look like?

We begin with data from surveys, call centers, emails, customer interviews, and mystery shops to discover what truly matters in your customer interactions. Then, we quantify complex qualitative facts with precise schema and evaluation criteria. Our customer experience analysts use these scores to produce a Findings Report with actionable metrics that will help your company identify opportunities to improve your customer service and customer perceptions.

What is a schema?

A schema is a diagram of the main types of interactions that occur between you and your customers. A schema helps you reduce the many to a manageable number.

What’s unique about Interaction Metrics mystery shopping?

We use two unique approaches to mystery shopping: first, a persona-based approach that gives you a complete view of how your frontline interacts with customers. Then, using customer experience metrics, mystery shops are scored by one of our expert analysts. This metrics-based approach is the only way to provide objective, consistent, and actionable data that will improve your customer service.

What stands out about Interaction Metrics customer interviews?

Interaction Metrics’ customer interviews enable you to get feedback from customers who don’t normally take surveys, resulting in representative, accurate customer experience metrics. Our uniquely conversational approach, based in social science research, encourages customers to share their stories. These methods reveal important insights about what your company does well, and where you can improve.

I keep seeing this QCI™ Score. What’s that?

QCI™ stands for Quality of Customer Interaction, and it tracks the entire, lived customer experience with one number. QCI™ reflects every aspect of your company that customers interact with, weighted by how important those aspects are to each customer. The QCI™ score is actionable: it tells you not just where you are, but also where you need to go.

We’ve seen companies start with QCI™ scores as low as 14 and as high as 88 (out of 100 total possible points). Our goal is to get your company to a QCI™ of 91—the score we’ve found to be the point of diminishing returns.

So, once my company has a QCI™ Score, what do we do?

The QCI™ Score is broken down into component scores like our Branding, Empathy, and Competitive Edge Scores. These tell us where the optimal areas are to work on for raising your overall score and improving your customer service. Using the QCI™ and its component scores, we craft a Customer Experience Plan aimed at raising the QCI™.

But our scores don’t stand alone. Our analysts bring the data to life with immersive presentations that show your team how to improve the customer experience. Only Interaction Metrics’ Findings Reports combine actionable customer experience metrics with specific recommendations for how to improve your customer service.

What if my QCI™ Score is lower than I expected or want it to be?

We offer a number of services to help companies raise their QCI™ Score, such as audits to monitor your progress and improvement over time. We also hold coaching webinars for trainers, quality assurance staff, and frontline associates to introduce Customer Experience Plans, or simply as a refresher. We include concrete examples so everyone can see firsthand how the plan improves the customer experience.

We even teach your quality assurance staff to use our standards. Then we put your team’s scoring skills to the test! We certify each team member who achieves a score of 85% or greater.


FAQs: How We Add Value to Companies

What will I get from working with Interaction Metrics?

You’ll get objective, nuanced, actionable data. Better customer feedback. Better customer service evaluations. Improved customer experience. Customer loyalty unlocked. That’s us.

Why do I need branded customer service?

Branded customer service is the next frontier of market differentiation. Yesterday’s branding is static: things like simple logos and color schemes are detached from the customer, and focused on the company. Incorporating your brand into the lived experience of the customer, however, gives it substance and depth. It shows that your company isn’t just a logo—it’s a set of real practices and values that your company lives by. Don’t let your brand stop at your logo. Bring your brand to life through each and every customer interaction.

My company has great staff and a lot of customer surveys. Isn’t that enough?

No—because just having great resources doesn’t mean you’re leveraging them effectively. Great customer service doesn’t just fall into place without an expert plan. Your customers and staff aren’t your analysts, and they don’t have an objective perspective. That’s why you need a rigorous evaluation to show you how to get the most with what you have in place.

Our customers report good satisfaction ratings. Doesn’t that prove we’re doing fine?

2005 Gallup Research quote on how rational satisfaction isn’t enough—you need outstanding emotional engagement. “emotionally satisfied customers spent 67% more per year than customers who were dissatisfied or rationally satisfied” if they think they’re doing so well.

So, what’s the ROI on top-tier customer service?

Customer service evaluations cost pennies on the payroll dollar. So if you’re already paying for customer service, why not maximize its value? Great customer service always finds ways to add value.

What’s the long-term value of customer service? Isn’t it mostly short-term and transactional?

Great customer service certainly increases things like short-term sales—but exceptional customer service generates long-term customer loyalty, positive reviews, recommendations, and a more positive reputation. This means keeping the customers you currently have, getting more of their wallet share, and attracting more customers over time.

My company isn’t in the service industry, so customer service is less important to our customers. Why should I care about investing in it?

Because it’s not 1970. Today, customer service isn’t just about restaurants, hotels, and retail. Anyone can get online and read or write a review for your company—and positive reviews are often generated by great customer service, regardless of your industry. In 2016, customer service matters for everyone, not just select industries.

Ok. Customer service evaluations can show me how to keep customers loyal. But can they help increase efficiency?

Yes—because you can’t work towards an efficient “one call does it all” model without an objective way to measure your performance over time. Scientific call center metrics are crucial. Without an objective way to measure performance, you’re essentially working in the dark, and have no way to tell how well you’re really doing, and how much you’re really improving (if at all). A scientific, research-based approach is the only way to truly measure how much you’re improving, and how to improve more.

If I ignore my customer service, is it really going to hurt me?

At best, you’ll be losing huge branding opportunities and maintaining sub-par retention. But you’ll also be maintaining a higher risk for bad reviews, and overlooking serious problems.

Customer service with a strong ROI must be expensive to provide in the first place though.

Not true—it’s often the little things that make a huge difference. Great customer service isn’t about reinventing the wheel. It’s largely about leveraging what you have in place to maximize its value. Read about a great example on our blog: http://www.interactionmetrics.com/blog/a-cold-night-hot-soup-and-great-customer-service/

Our company sends out a ton of satisfaction surveys already. Why do we need customer service evaluations in addition?

Because survey distribution methodology is often lacking, or survey analysis fails to account for possible or inevitable distribution biases. Each of your customers has interactions with your company—but how many actually fill out surveys? And how do you know that the customers who choose to reply to your survey aren’t a self-selecting group—such as those who had particularly good or bad experiences? Evaluations allow you to investigate a statistically-valid sample that is representative of your customer base, so you can get truly comprehensive data, and uncover all your gaps. Plus, direct service evaluation offers a look at the raw, unfiltered reality of customer experience—so it contains different data than just what customers consciously report on surveys. Again, your customers aren’t your analysts.

Our survey already asks everything it can. Why do we need to change it?

And this runs a high risk of producing inaccurate data. Methodologically, it doesn’t make sense to ask every customer every question, because some things won’t be relevant to certain customers. In these cases, if a customer answers the question anyway (either because the survey requires it, or they’re rushed, etc.), that data point is not only useless—it’s actively misleading, and therefore not actionable.

How can I get started working with Interaction Metrics?

If you want a fresh set of eyes on your surveys or evaluations, we’ll do a free mini-audit of your customer feedback survey, customer service, or Net Promoter Score® using our customer experience metrics.

Our data and Findings Reports are accurate, nuanced, and actionable. Start improving your customer experience today by saying hello.

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