A blended set of measures are critical for customer-centric operationalization


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What company doesn’t want to be customer-centric? It’s highly unlikely that any executive wakes up in the morning and makes a statement along the lines of – “Customer-Centricity is not important to us and we shouldn’t consider it!”

That said, to move beyond the lip-service that is so evident around this topic/set of capabilities requires both courage and a commitment to a transformational journey.  Surely everybody with some understanding of change management principles recognises that transformation requires an amended set of measures and/or the addition of some added measures to ensure focus and accountability? Financial metrics and the achievement of profitability targets are, of course, non negotiables.  Today, however, organisations have to balance profitability with social conscience and need to focus much more on stakeholder relationships. The most important stakeholder in almost all cases is the customer.

I’m regularly asked what metric should be used to measure customer-centric capability. The reality is ‘a measure’ is not sufficient. Trying to craft a customer strategy, develop customer-centric capabilities and operationalise those capabilities isn’t going to be supported by ‘a measure.’

The purpose of this article/discussion isn’t to wax lyrical about the strengths and weaknesses of individual metrics. It is to share a suggested ‘blend’ of measures that are needed if an organisation is serious about a customer-centric transformational journey.

These are illustrated below. Most will be familiar with Customer Satisfaction, Employee Satisfaction, Voice of the Customer and Net Promoter Score. The 2 measures that have less of an understanding are SCHEMA® and Customer Effort Score.

Customer Measures Matrix

Very briefly, SCHEMA® is a leading indicator and measures the customer-centric capability of an organisation. It measures how well a business is optimising customer profitability and compares against global benchmarks. It’s a leading metric because, from this level of understanding, an organisation is able to quantify and identify where it needs to build capability to enable it to be customer-centric – in other words what capability is needed to design and deliver a unique and distinctive customer experience in order to acquire, retain and develop targeted customers efficiently.

The Customer Effort Score is another metric that I am hugely supportive of as ‘effort to engage’ is becoming an increasingly important indicator of ‘willingness to do business with’ as well as loyalty. Quite frankly, it’s astounding how difficult it is to do business with many organisations (after all – why should we care about or be expected to adhere to processes that make absolutely no sense to us – why should we have to put up with broken, inefficient engagement capability that wastes out time and requires effort from us?)  Who has any loyalty and wants to support a business that is difficult to do business with.

I chair a senior learning forum called The Customer Council (TCC) and at the end of 2012 we invited Dr Nicola Millard from BT to address TCC. BT have become somewhat of a ‘poster child’ when it comes to Customer Effort Score in action. Have a look at this video, by Dr Nicola Millard, on the topic of Customer Effort: Help or Hype?


Republished with author's permission from original post.

Doug Leather
Doug is a leading expert in Customer Management working globally with large blue-chip organisations. He is best described as a Customer Management Evangelist/Activist as a result of his broad multi-industry and multi-country insights into customer management capability understanding, best practice application, customer experience, business models and business performance improvement. He is a Wharton Business School Alumnus.


  1. Viewed both Nicola Millard’s and Moira Clark’s podcasts on CES. Neither help nor hype, but found concepts like Dr. Millard’s ‘Net Easy Score’ to be just another layer to the metrics confusion and actionability challenges represented by these aggregated and non-granular measures. For example, she speaks to ‘advocacy’ but seems to have only a superficial concept of what it really is and how it should be evaluated. As someone who has been studying, and actively applying, advocacy and bonding behavior measurement and optimization for more than a decade, this feels unfortunate (http://www.slideshare.net/lowen42/wragg-lowenstein-customer-advocacy)

    Dr. Millard recognizes that ’emotional effort’ is important, but much of the emphasis is on the physical, tangible, and functional elements of value (which she insists on calling ‘value for money’). Research (from organizations such as Brand Keys) has shown that, with minor variation industry-to-industry, emotions drive 80% of how customers perceive transactional and relationship experiences, and how they make product and brand decisions. CES doesn’t get at that, and neither does NPS.

    This is something I’ve written about frequently, and also actively discussed and co-presented with my colleague Peter Fader from Wharton (who I understand will be visiting with you). Here are just a few of my CustomerThink blogs on the subject:





    Having attained CMAT certification while I was at GfK (about a decade ago), I’ve an appreciation for your SCHEMA approach; and it seems to the the most logical and applicable strategic metric for helping build and operationalize enterprise customer-centricity. That has, as well, always been a core goal of bonding and advocacy behavior measurement.

  2. Hi Michael – firstly, my sincere apologies for only acknowledging your comment a month after you sent it. Thank you also for your various references to your various blogs – all very informative. Let’s keep communication channels open – I’m a great admirer of your work and your thinking – best, Doug


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