Turn Your Dashboards Up to 11


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Does it take you five hours to update your customer health dashboard, only to have three people barely glance at it?

Worse yet, did someone else send out an Excel report that everyone read instead, even though you have a dashboard for their use?

In other words, is your dashboard on mute? Read below for three ideas related to dashboards that you might not have considered.

Amplify your customer dashboard: Tip One

Take a look at your goals to define the purpose of your dashboard.

When we interviewed more than 100 CX professionals in 2020 (and surveyed an additional 200), we discovered something interesting. (Well, we discovered many, many interesting things, but we’ll only explore one here. For more, check out our other blog posts and register for our new webinar series offered on the first Thursday of each month – and thereafter on demand – where we explore each of our major findings in depth.)

Back to what we found: The programs that effectively drive change all have customer health dashboards.

So why are they so effective? Because they are designed with a specific purpose in mind.

Look to the ADKAR model to understand why that purpose is important, and how to effect change.

A     Awareness: You have to be aware that you need to make a change.

D   Desire: You have to want to change.

K   Knowledge: You have to know how to change.

A   Ability: You have to have the ability to change.

R   Reinforcement: You have to reinforce the change.

Dashboards serve a purpose in this model. They drive the Desire to change, and it is the job/purpose of a dashboard to generate the Desire to keep things moving forward. They also Reinforce that the change is making a difference.

The dashboard must tell a story that inspires people to want to rally around your goals. Dashboards that do not, fail in their purpose.

Real-world examples

You can find all kinds of great sites with stats on the current COVID-19 pandemic. Many of them show the same facts…just in different ways.

Worldometer covers all of the basic information, as does The New York Times. Both have some cool visualizations, but the main difference is the stated goal of The New York Times’ site:

“The Times has made [this] data public in hopes of helping researchers and policymakers as they seek to slow the pandemic and prevent future ones.”

I do not know if they are moving the needle, but starting with this in mind, they help the Desire to fight the virus and to Reinforce the efforts being made.

One of the most successful examples I’ve seen of a customer health dashboard fulfilling its purpose was with a huge manufacturing company we recently worked with. They built a dashboard that people wanted to see because it showed how their work was making a difference.

In effect, it created a virtuous cycle where the Reinforcement drove more Desire. They ended up having to limit the number of people to save on licensing costs because more than 1,000 people wanted to see and interact with it every week!

So your first step is to understand the purpose of your dashboard. Only then will you know if it’s pointed in the right direction to achieve your goals.

Amplify your customer dashboard: Tip Two

Next, make sure your dashboard resonates with your audience.

Back in June 1963, President John F. Kennedy gave a speech in then-West Berlin. It contained more than 2,000 words, but only four are remembered: “Ich bin ein Berliner.” The reason those four words resonated so deeply with the people of Berlin was because he spoke to the them in their own language.

Dashboards also need to convey a message that resonates with people.

Sometimes we call this the “Sentiment Sandwich,” because you flank sentiment data with operational/behavioral data on one side and financial data on the other. (Using sentiment data alone is the equivalent of serving globs of peanut butter and jelly on a plate: It’s too sweet on its own, and you don’t really have a useful way to ingest it.)

The data must tell a compelling story.

That story will connect what customers are doing and how you interact with them to how that makes them feel. Then you tie the changes in sentiment to the financial outcomes that result.

Connect the dots

There are even times you can skip the sentiment and show a causal relationship between operations and finance when you can take advantage of this.

One of our financial services clients ties how long it takes to get a policy approved to the amount of business they will sell in the future.

They found that if a policy took longer than 14 days to approve, 77% of the financial professionals would never sell another policy. They could also show that for each day below 10 days, the financial professional’s lifetime value would increase.

The Sentiment Sandwich talks to almost every group in a company. Operational data talks to the people delivering on the front line because they get to see their results displayed and the impact of what they are doing on the company. The CX team gets to show that NPS and CES scores really do matter. The leadership team can see the financial metrics they care about and are able to understand how the CX improvements are making a difference.

Once again: The purpose of a dashboard is to Reinforce the Desire to implement change. A Sentiment Sandwich dashboard speaks to everyone involved and drives that Desire.

What your sandwich might look like

Here are some components you might use to make your Sentiment Sandwich:

Financial Sentiment Operational
Profit/Revenue NPS, CSAT, CES Cancelled Flights
Automatic Recurrent Revenue Confidence Perfect Orders – On-time with all items
Comp Sales Enjoyability First Call Resolution
Customer Lifetime Value Enthusiasm Churn


Note: When designing dashboards (or other materials) that use color to communicate, it’s important to consider those who are colorblind. Generally, 6-8% of your audience will fall into this category. Lots has been written on this, but you’ll do well to consider it.

Amplify your customer dashboard: Tip Three

Specific technology tools will also help you raise the volume on your customer health dashboards.

Luckily, you have no shortage of options. An infographic I saw recently showed more than 1,000 companies offering tools of some kind in the Marketing and CX spaces. We should all be taking advantage of the innovations developed over the past decade.

We call the group of tools we found successful CX programs using more than their less successful peers the CX Tech stack.

Customer-focused dashboards are foundational to the stack. The other tools that help those programs make an impact are Journey Analytics with AI, Customer Journey Mapping Software, and Journey Orchestration platforms.

What does this have to do with your dashboard? I’m glad you asked!

Journey Analytics with AI allows you to get some great insights based on what has happened across the Sentiment Sandwich. This tool finds the connections across all three areas, and more easily and effectively allows you to communicate and create Desire.

While most dashboards are backward-looking, AI models today allow us to incorporate forward-looking numbers on our dashboards that can show things like expected customer lifetime value or churn risks in the coming months assuming you make no changes.

Analytics and AI used to require a host of data scientists, and great minds are still creating models and solutions across many of the AI application patterns (Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing, Next-in-Sequence prediction, Collaborative filters). Qualtrics Predict iQ and Microsoft Power BI have some great tools that business users can employ to build Churn Models and Customer Lifetime Value Models.

It is always fun to talk with a customer who has Qualtrics and let them know they have the power to create models with no new software. These tools can turn up the volume when added to your dashboard.

Show and tell

I like to tell a story about a company that helps children who need food and clothes and education. They rely on donors who give money every month, but some of those donors drop off. It’s not that they no longer want to help hungry children, they just are less engaged.

Churn Analysis can spot those in danger of dropping off and interventions can be made in the journey to help reengage them. The dashboard shows both the donors at risk and how many have reengaged.

But most importantly, it projects the number of children helped by the interventions.

Customer Journey Mapping Software has also come a long way. It used to be just a way to visualize the journey that could easily be updated. The new platforms still serve that purpose, but they do so much more. Now they can show financial, operational and sentiment data through the lens of the customer’s journey.

Integrating key KPIs allows you to communicate in a language all kinds of different stakeholders understand, but still through the lens of the customer.

They can visualize how actions affect customers at each touchpoint in the journey, which inspires conversations about what can be done to improve the journey. Or each touchpoint. Or the experience of a customer who is stuck.

Modern journey mapping platforms also allow you to see the results of your interventions.

In this way, you can move from a dashboard that shows how things have been to one that shows what you are doing to improve things and highlights the results of your efforts.

Just remember that the purpose of your dashboard is to produce the desire to drive change in your organization. Tuning your dashboard so it speaks the language of the key groups in your company make it relevant, and provides a common understanding and vision. Once tuned, you can use AI to blast your message and continually improve your results.

Register now to hear Shawn discuss customer health dashboards further at AMA Cincinnati’s Ignite Conference on April 20, 2021.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Tincher
Jim sees the world in a special way: through the eyes of customers. This lifelong passion for CX, and a thirst for knowledge, led him to found his customer experience consulting firm, Heart of the Customer (HoC). HoC sets the bar for best practices and are emulated throughout the industry. He is the author of Do B2B Better and co-author of How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer?, and he also writes Heart of the Customer’s popular CX blog.


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