Organizations are always looking for that magic pill that proves a particular initiative delivers value, and, more importantly, ROI.
I receive a lot of questions on what are the best metrics to use to monitor CX performance and drive CX optimization. That’s a tough question because each company is different. It depends on your customer mix, the outcomes you desire, and other factors.
One point is clear though and that is you must understand your data and what is behind the numbers before you can take action to optimize the CX.
The old management adage, you can’t manage what you don’t measure, applies here.
In a 2016 study conducted by Forrester, 39% of respondents admitted that they don’t regularly ask customers about their interactions. Worse, 77% don’t regularly track the drivers of CX in their organization. Without measuring CX, companies can’t know what customers care about and where the CX can be improved.
Yet, even when companies are paying attention to metrics, they are doing nothing with the data. In the same survey, Forrester reported that 79% of respondents don’t act on CX metrics or share them with all employees regularly. That means leadership and staff don’t know what is broken and what to do to make improvements.
What are companies to do?
Putting together an effective CX dashboard is a great place to start.
A CX dashboard provides many benefits.
-It provides a snapshot to help you take the pulse of your CX at a particular moment in time.
-A CX dashboard is a great tool to help you make sense of all your data holistically, in an easy-to-understand way. It uses the data to tell a complete story in a visually appealing manner, to illustrate what is going on with your CX. This visibility into your CX serves as an alert to pinpoint opportunities where you can improve the CX.
-It helps you determine trends so you can monitor progress.
-It raises awareness of CX across the entire organization so employees understand the importance of CX and how it is attributing to the achievement of your business outcomes.
-A CX dashboard gives you a roadmap to help you prioritize so you focus on what’s important.
The main goal for CX leaders is to transform customers into lifetime brand advocates. Thinking of a CX dashboard in those terms will help you be successful.
So, what are the best practices for building a CX dashboard that drives performance?
1. Begin with the end in mind.
What does CX success look like? What business and customer outcomes do you want? Knowing the results you want will help you determine the inputs and outputs you need to achieve them.
Make sure your dashboard is relevant and actionable.
Also, make sure you are regularly monitoring the performance of your dashboard. Look at trends and conduct root cause analyses. This will help you understand what is behind the numbers, so you know why numbers are improving or declining. Without this intelligence, you will not know how to improve the CX.
2. Get stakeholder buy-in.
An effective dashboard helps answer questions and enables collaboration with peers for better decision-making. Different stakeholders need different data views and levels of granularity. A CX dashboard is a great way to align with a unified CX vision across the organization. This will require understanding and working with stakeholders to define the KPIs that will determine success and the metrics to include in the CX dashboard.
A CX dashboard can also help improve employee engagement. Creating and using a CX dashboard as a guideline will enable employees to take ownership and accountability for ensuring CX success.
3. Determine and align your data sources.
Know where your key data is coming from and ensure it is aligned across the organization. If it isn’t and you do have data silos, that fuels departmental animosity and results in teams hoarding data. In addition, insufficient collaboration and poor decision-making result.
The organization needs to ensure data transparency and processes and guidelines are in place so teams are sharing data and are working effectively together.
4. Align metrics with customer and business outcomes.
Research Forrester conducted in 2015 found that only 21% of respondents aligned their CX metrics with business outcomes.
This has been a tough nut to crack for CX practitioners. In a recent Harvard Business Review Analytic Services study, 45% of respondents said they found it very difficult to tie CX investments to business outcomes.
As Claire Sporton, SVP CX Innovation at Confirmit notes: “Many businesses are able to provide anecdotal evidence or use key metrics to measure CX program success, but very few are able to link the CX program with financial results. Without the ability to demonstrate ROI, it is much harder to gain support of the C-suite, set the right goals for the business and secure the desired improvements and culture change across the business.”
Leading-edge companies realize this is a challenge but devote the resources to create a cohesive CX ecosystem. They understand the business, processes, metrics, and the customer. Companies who research and monitor the metrics that drive outcomes will enable better CX linkage to outcomes.
5. Align the dashboard to the customer journey.
Key stakeholders need to know what customers are experiencing and how they are feeling about these experiences at every point of their journey. Therefore, it is vital to include metrics that cover every stage of your customer journey to measure these experiences and perceptions of the experiences accurately. These metrics should capture what customers are actually experiencing and feeling. Thus, regularly taking the CX pulse will help you identify gaps in the journey where you can improve.
Organizing metrics by segment will enable you to drive different strategies and help you make better decisions regarding what to give to your customers to improve their experience. You might even want to break down your CX dashboard by journey stages.
6. Include the metrics that matter.
According to Forrester, a CX dashboard should include three types of measurements: (1) Perception metrics, (2) Descriptive metrics, and (3) Outcome metrics. Perception metrics reveal what the customer’s experience was and how they felt about it. Metrics such as NPS, CES, and CSAT would be included here. Descriptive metrics represent observable events that happened. This would consist of metrics such as first call resolution, average handle time, and clicks it took to complete a transaction. Outcome metrics are metrics that demonstrate what action(s) a customer took as a result of their perceptions. This might include items like renewing a contract, consuming a piece of content, viewing a demo, or making an additional purchase.
Use the metrics that are most important to help you gauge and improve performance. Thus, be careful when comparing metrics and dashboards with others. Focus on those metrics that will help you improve.
Also, don’t place more value on any one metric. Your metrics should be taken in concert to tell your story.
And, avoid cramming a bunch of metrics into your dashboard. You should only include those metrics that are relevant and will drive success.
7. Make sure your CX dashboard is functional.
Data visualization is important. Yet, you want your CX dashboard to tell a story so that you can act on it to improve the CX. Thus, functionality is your primary concern. Make sure the content (i.e., data) you do include is of the highest quality. Accentuate the information that is most important. And, make sure only to include supporting documentation that is relevant. Secondary to function is design. Keep font choices and colors to a minimum, so your dashboard maintains its appeal.
Keep your dashboard simple. Overcomplicating it will impede your ability to identify and act on insights.
A CX dashboard is not the be-all-end-all of your problems. It is a starting point. Being able to take the pulse of your CX by monitoring key metrics regularly is essential to helping you drive CX performance and excellence.
Hi Sue: you have included some great advice. Some companies measure things, but don’t take the time to assess whether those measurements are relevant to their strategic and tactical concerns – let alone figure out which actions, if any, will mitigate the problems. In addition, I agree that getting a complete picture of performance means examining metrics in total, and not just latching onto one figure like churn or revenue production as an indicator of overall effectiveness.
A couple of points of difference:
1) When looking at something as comprehensive and qualitative as customer experience, metrics are highly reductive, and they can never capture what customers are actually experiencing and feeling. Executives must not delude themselves that their dashboards provide anything that even approaches full understanding. At best, metrics provide a crude sketch, or outline, of conditions. Other means of information capture are needed to fill in the details.
2) I question whether the main goal for CX executives should be “to transform customers into lifetime brand advocates.” While this is desirable for a segment of customers, it also imposes an impossibly high bar, and for that reason, it seems impractical. Some customers are not candidates for advocating. Customers who talk about a product in a favorable way is a good result for a company and its brand, but that can occur with any level of CX happiness between mild to ecstatic. Or not. I think it largely depends on the individual and the product. CX executives must bear in mind that there are thousands of different personal care products, for example, that nobody cares to talk about with others, despite having good experiences buying and using them. The same is true for any product or service: some customers can be quite happy without feeling compelled to talk about their experience.