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According to a Forrester study, “Customer Experience Spending Intensifies in 2008,” more than 80% of study participants say that improving the usefulness and ease of use of their Web sites (online experience) is more important this year than in the past. In fact, the top two spending priorities found in this report are: Web analytics and customer satisfaction surveys. Ah, two of my favorite measurable tactics.

These two tactics reveal a growing interest in improving customer experiences and seeing the result (and a focus on listening to the customers). Making an effort in these two areas can help you improve a Web site and an overall company; additionally, they can provide metrics that reveal the result of customer experience investments/expenditures. How?

First, Web analytics can reveal where your customers get stuck on your Web site. Why they don’t contact you, purchase your products, or even read or download your best content. You know what you most want visitors to your Web site to do/buy/read–this is a measurement of that. There are also numbers to this work that reveal what percentage of customers return to your Web site and how they behave once there.

When you start focusing on Web analytics you can benchmark how you perform online and gauge the kind of experience your customers are having. When you make an effort to improve your online experience, watch for the impact on page views, visit duration, how often visitors return and more. This reveals the impact of your customer experience and helps illustrate the financial benefit in such investments. For example, if you can improve the experience on your Web site, your phone might ring more, or you might have more people email you to learn more about your services, etc.

Second, customer surveys reveal the quality of the experience you offer your customers–and they are quantifiable. Assigning values to each survey question and answer means you can watch how those values change over time as you improve the experience. Meaning, ask the same survey questions over time and see how the values change after you invest in improving the customer experience. Surveys can reveal an improvement in service and how it impacts repeat purchases. Surveys can reveal who your most viral customers are, and you can specifically track referrals from them. You name it, you can find a way to measure how your customers feel and watch the impact on those customers. When you improve the experience, you can see a change.

You hear a lot about the customer experience on this blog–and I want you to feel that this is quantifiable, trackable work–not all of it, but there are ways and it’s important to know how to do this. If you’d like me to write more about this topic of measuring the customer experience, please post a comment below.

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