As a customer experience (CX) professional in the healthcare industry, best-in-class healthcare consumer experiences are your primary objective. And whether your background is in self-serve digital experiences or customer service call centers, you know that’s nowhere near as simple as it seems.
The quality of your CX can’t be boiled down to just one or two factors. It’s multifaceted and complex. Which is why, when it comes to measuring your success, you look at a variety of key metrics, from renewal rates and sentiment scores to support requests and first-call resolution rates.
But how do you know you’re tracking the right metrics? And are you using those individual data points to paint a holistic picture of your overall customer experience? Or might your go-to KPIs actually be obscuring the root causes of your ongoing CX pain points? Here’s how to craft the right mix of CX metrics for your organization — and use them to uncover deeper insights.
The 6 Kinds of Customer Experience Metrics
There are literally hundreds of possible CX metrics to choose from in your quest to improve your healthcare company’s customer experience. However, they can all generally be broken out into the following six categories:
- Customer Satisfaction. Customer satisfaction can be measured in a number of ways, from brief customer surveys (such as the CSAT and Net Promoter Score) to analytics-driven measures, such as first-call resolution rates and transaction completion rates.
- Engagement, Churn, and Retention. In the healthcare insurance industry, many consumers access healthcare plans through their employers rather than on the open market. In addition, most insurance members are locked into year-long plans. Given this unique arrangement, engagement is often a more meaningful measure than loyalty. Engagement, churn, and retention metrics look at churn and retention rates (naturally), as well as things like multi-channel usage, product or service usage, and new product or service adoption.
- Brand Advocacy and Reputation. CX teams often use the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to measure brand advocacy and reputation in addition to customer satisfaction. Other metrics to assess this dimension include customer referrals, trust ratings, price sensitivity, brand perception, and brand advocacy. Brand advocacy and reputation are especially important as health insurance providers work to humanize their brands and offer concierge-like health and wellness services.
- Customer Support or Self-Service. To what extent are your customer service and self-service systems user friendly and frictionless? This can be measured with metrics such as task completion times, support requests, and surveys.
- Quality of Operations. Any healthcare payor’s CX is ultimately dependent on the backend system’s performance. How accurate and timely is the data? How quickly are claims processed and adjudicated? Is the data in the CRM up to date? Your customer care agents or member portal can only do their job to the extent that your operations are on point. You can measure this with metrics like process adherence, customer data quality, and delivery times.
- Employee Engagement. Satisfied and engaged employees are more likely to deliver the best customer service to both internal and external customers. Useful employee engagement metrics include employee satisfaction, job understanding, and voluntary increase in work hours.
If you want to ensure that you are seeing the whole customer experience picture, plan to utilize metrics from all six categories. Chances are your KPIs already include measures from the first four buckets. But the last two — quality of operations and employee engagement — are too often neglected. In fact, you may not even consider them part of the CX package.
Remember, CX is dependent on your people, processes, and systems. If you only focus on the quality of your digital experience and customer service outcomes, you could be missing some of the biggest opportunities to improve your customer’s experience.
Don’t Take CX Metrics at Face Value
KPIs are informative. But they don’t tell the full story on their own. To get the most out of your metrics, you need to read between the lines. That means keeping tabs on what’s happening holistically and drilling down to discover the root causes of your CX trouble spots.
For example, let’s say your CX team decides to prioritize first-call resolution rates. If your customers are able to resolve their issues with a single call, you reason, they are likely to report a high rate of satisfaction. Sounds like a win, right?
To achieve your goal, you put in extra training hours with all of your support staff. You may even cross-train them with your tech specialists to prevent call transfers. That’s all well and good. But if you focus on this single metric to the exclusion of all others, you’ll miss an even bigger opportunity to zero in on the root cause of your customers’ problems and prevent them from needing to call in the first place. To be clear, increasing your first-call resolution rate is a fine goal. But in order to really move the needle on your quality of customer care, you should pair it with efforts to improve your customer experience in other ways.
Travel giant Expedia learned a similar lesson in 2012, when they realized that 60% of their customers were calling customer service after making travel reservations. Previously, they’d focused on shortening the length of customer service calls and providing satisfactory outcomes. Based on those metrics, there didn’t appear to be a problem at all! Their KPIs had effectively blinded them to a massive underlying problem. They hadn’t stopped to consider why they were receiving all of those calls. Why would they? Their KPIs weren’t structured to sound the alarms.
In digging deeper, they discovered that the majority of customers called in to get help with a very simple problem: locating their travel itinerary. With a few simple design and process tweaks, Expedia was able to significantly reduce that source of calls. The result? A more frictionless customer experience — and major cost savings.
Create a Customized Blend of CX Metrics
If your organization doesn’t have a strategic CX roadmap, it could be wasting valuable time and resources solving the wrong problems or delivering on features that just aren’t meaningful enough to your customers. It’s important to be able to both zoom-in and out of a problem area to get a holistic view of a situation.
Take a minute and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is everyone in your organization clear on which CX metrics you’re prioritizing — and why they matter?
- Do you have a clear understanding of where your CX metrics intersect with your digital experience?
- Do you have a prioritized CX roadmap consisting of shorter term “quick wins” and larger projects?
- Do you have a holistic understanding of how well your operations are supporting your team’s ability to deliver customer service?
- Are you clear on how engaged your employees are, with data to back it up?
If the answers to some or all of the above questions is “no,” it’s time to invest in a comprehensive strategy to measure the success of your organization’s CX.
Start by auditing your CX metrics across your entire organization. Which of them matter most to your executive team and department heads, respectively?
Next, consider whether the metrics you’re tracking are really serving your goals. Are they aligned with your current strategy, or are you just tracking the same old measures you always have out of habit?
Now, consider which metrics need to be included in order to support your objectives and tell the whole customer experience story, rather than just a slice of it. In particular, you’ll want to make sure that you are tracking KPIs from each of the six categories covered above.
Finally, commit to adhering to the most widely accepted business metrics best practices. These include:
- Focus on outcomes — measure results.
- Limit the number of metrics you track and measure — less is more.
- Establish an initial baseline — know where you are starting from.
- Link metrics to your strategy — use them to show the tangible outcomes of your strategy.
- Make metrics transparent and accessible — ensure your entire organization understands how they are performing.
- Assign an owner for each metric — maximize responsibility and accountability.
KPIs play an incredibly important role in your CX program. Use them wisely, and they can tell you everything you need to know to create a best-in-class customer experience.