Numbers are important to businesses – metrics help companies know what’s going well, where they need to improve, and a variety of other operational statistics. Making sure you are measuring the right metrics is a vital component.
I came across a great article written by Ekaterina Walker in Forbes that talks about one metric that is often overlooked; she termed this “relationship capital.” This measures the overall customer experience, and as she states, it is something that is not often measured, but should be.
She explains that relationship capital revolves around delivering consistently great experiences, which can lead to customer loyalty – after all, customers tend to stick with businesses where they feel valued and receive strong service each time they do business with a company.
One sticking point Ms. Walter talks about is consistency across channels and empowering staff across all channels to be able to handle customer inquiries. Long gone are the days of departments only handling specific tasks; customers want to be assisted quickly and efficiently, going through as few touchpoints as possible to have their issues resolved.
How can a company measure relationship capital? There are a few ways to effectively do this:
1. Ask your customers: when customers call, email, or live chat with your staff, follow up with them to find out how their experience was. When problems arise or issues aren’t met, use this information to find out where the disconnect happens. This insight can go a long way in learning more about what customers experience when they interact with your business.
2. Put your customers in the driver’s seat: sometimes the best ideas come from customers. If you ask for feedback from your customers, ask open ended questions to allow them the opportunity to offer suggestions on ways to make the process simpler from a customer’s point of view. What would make the experience better next time? What was the one thing that could have changed during the interaction to make life easier? Customers want to be heard, and incorporating this line of questioning into your feedback surveys offers the double benefit of letting customers have a voice and potentially learning ways to streamline your process for increased relationship capital.
3. Be a fly on the wall: by utilizing a mystery shopping program, companies can get objective, third party data on relationship capital. Mystery shoppers can contact the company in a way that mirrors a true customer in order for businesses to see how these interactions play out. From here, you can learn valuable information about your operational processes, what is working great, and where you can improve.
Relationship capital is a vital metric that companies need to pay attention to. Keeping customers loyal to your business is difficult, but the rewards are plentiful to the bottom line.