Last updated on July 28, 2023
We talk every day with companies of many different sizes operating in multiple industries. The majority of them measure customer experience with some widely used metric – most commonly Net Promoter Score.
But there are still some companies that don’t measure customer experience at all. In fact 39% of companies don’t regularly ask customers for feedback about their interactions — the most basic form of CX measurement.
These companies can be of any size. Many of them are B2B companies but some of them are B2C companies.
Some of them are leaders in their industry and confident that they can stay that way. Some of them are laggards and fully aware that customer experience is one of their major weaknesses.
So, they are very different. And still, somehow, they are very similar to one another.
What unites all these companies is that they are struggling with measuring customer experience.
If the only thing preventing you from measuring customer experience is the fact that you cannot decide on the metric to use, your customer experience is probably already struggling.
Some of the companies that we come across are wasting huge amounts of time on development and strategy projects where potential metrics are being assessed and compared. They use their own resources or consultants to create fancy proposals and compare pros and cons. The more they invest in making the right choice, the more the choice starts to feel like a matter of life and death.
There are also some companies whose issue is not the lack of customer experience metrics. Instead, they are facing problems because they use so many metrics to measure one thing, meaning that no-one outside of the CX team understands what is being measured and how.
They believe that they have chosen the perfect metric for each separate part of the business, and using the same metric to measure customer experience in a support touchpoint and also in a sales touchpoint defies logic, because the touchpoints are so different. Typically when they are asked whether customer experience is measured at the company level and brought to leadership scorecards their response is: ”No. It is too complex. Our businesses are so diverse.”
If you are in one of these companies, hear me out: Of course, your businesses are diverse. Most large companies have different businesses and diverse touchpoints. Still, the benefits of choosing one simple metric to follow at the leadership team level and utilize across the company, easily overrule the fact that the most optimal metrics for different customer touchpoints could be different.
Of course, most often not measuring customer experience isn’t the main issue. It’s just a consequence of something much more serious. The leaders of large corporations know that decisions need to be made in the light of imperfect information. They don’t easily fall into the trap of analysis paralysis.
Instead, they struggle because of the lack of focus and they have only limited interest in customer experience. And when there is no urgency from the top management perspective, the strategy team, quality team, customer experience team (or whoever is responsible for the metric development) paralyzes and starts complicating things.
The company experiences a lack of customer-centricity. And the employees responsible for metrics keep themselves busy by over-analyzing and over-investigating things.
If one is tasked to develop a scorecard or suggest a specific new metric for the company, it’s very easy to start over-engineering things. I’ve personally made the same mistake. I used to build a scorecard for our business unit in a large company I worked for.
This was ten years ago, so I was a young and ambitious strategy manager and I wanted to create the perfect proposal. A proposal with a great balance between different types of metrics. A proposal where every metric would be the best metric for that particular purpose and easy to defend against any criticism.
I listened to the stakeholders, utilized every bit of expertise we had within the company and ended up with a great proposal. All the metrics proposed made sense. Except for the customer relationship metric, which didn’t.
If you are curious to know what customer relationship metric I proposed, I can confess: it was Customer Lifetime Value. Why didn’t it make sense? It certainly makes sense for many companies. Many large Telcos, for instance, use it successfully. And for many SaaS companies, CLV (or a simplified version of it) is an extremely important metric.
But for my employer, it didn’t make sense: we didn’t have the data required, we didn’t have the culture. We didn’t have a history of thinking about the value of customer relationships.
It was seen as a good and comprehensive metric but it could not be taken into use without a long new development project eating valuable time and resources. And that project (I was no longer part of it) took another year. The end result? It wasn’t a success.
The more perfect and comprehensive a metric you want to have, the more complex it tends to get.
Complexity is not a virtue – simplicity is.
If your employees don’t understand what your metric means, it won’t drive the outcomes that you want to achieve. A simple metric that people can understand is always the best choice.
Choose any metric and you can easily find a lot of criticism against it.
The more popular the metric, the easier it is to do a google search and find loads of negativity.
In most organizations, there will always be the skeptics who do a bit of googling and shoot any suggestion down on the back of their 5 minutes of research.
Keep in mind that perfecting the metric will not improve your business. In fact, wasting time on perfecting it can be extremely counterproductive.
No company is successful because of the beautiful metrics they have. But some companies manage to kill themselves with analysis paralysis.
This is our advice: choose a metric and stick to it. In the area of customer experience, choosing a metric with both numbers and text makes sense.
When you have made your choice, start measuring and move on. You have just taken the first small step on a long journey. When you have the data and measurements in place, you need to start improving your business based on the results.
That is a much more important part on your journey towards creating an industry-leading customer experience.
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