CX Metrics: 4 Ways to Measure Up

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Customer experience (CX) metrics are a hot item right now, as companies seek to identify the value of good customer experiences and provide a quantitative foundation to justify funding CX efforts. Such metrics can also pinpoint where to invest in changes by putting a spotlight on an organization’s strengths and weaknesses.

But CX metrics aren’t a magical elixir; they need a strong platform around them.

Temkin Group surveys organizations annually about their CX metric use. Our December 2015 study surveyed nearly 200 large companies and compared the results with responses from previous years. Here are a few findings:

CX metrics are secondary to financial metrics. When companies rated themselves across a number of CX metrics areas, they scored the lowest on “making trade-offs between financial metrics and CX metrics”—less than one-quarter of firms gave themselves good scores.

Customer service is the best measured stage. Respondents also rated how effectively they measure different stages of the customer life cycle. At the top of the list, 65 percent of companies think they do a good job of measuring customer service. By contrast, only 23 percent of respondents think they do a good job of measuring the experience of customers as they research a product.

The phone is the best-measured channel. Sixty-one percent of respondents feel good about their phone experience measurements. By contrast, only 26 percent of companies feel that way about experiences that cut across channels.

Emotions are under-measured. Every customer experience has three components: success, effort, and emotion. Nearly half of respondents think they are good at measuring success, and 42 percent say they are good at measuring effort. Only 26 percent feel they are good at measuring emotion.

FOUR TRAITS OF STRONG CX METRICS

Setting effective CX metrics takes more than just defining measurements. Companies must also consider what they measure, how they review those measurements, and how those metrics drive decisions. We’ve identified four characteristics of good CX metrics:

Consistent. If companies don’t use the same core set of CX metrics company-wide, there will never be a common dialogue around CX. You wouldn’t want everyone to have different measurements for “sales” or “profitability,” after all. Using consistent metrics helps build a clear vocabulary, enabling more productive discussions.

Impactful. CX metrics are meaningless unless they lead to action. Your metrics must be relevant enough to drive decisions—ones you then carry out.

Integrated. Companies make trade-offs all the time. Sometimes short-term goals like current-quarter sales win out; other times companies invest in their future. Companies must integrate CX metrics into those business discussions.

Continuous. Reviewing CX metrics annually turns the data into a backward-looking scorecard. Instead, use the metrics as an ongoing tool for running—not just measuring—the business.

FIVE CX METRIC PITFALLS

And as you think about improving your CX metrics, steer clear of these common mistakes:

Don’t get enamored by any single metric. No matter what you’ve heard, there’s no such thing as an ultimate metric. Successful companies use a portfolio of metrics and succeed or fail based on what they do with the metrics.

Avoid creating complex CX metrics. Any metric that you use should be easy to understand. If a metric is a convoluted combination of multiple items, then it will be hard for people to understand what it means, and even harder for them to recognize how it can affect them.

Don’t tie too much to compensation. The focus on a number creates unintended consequences, such as “gaming” the feedback system.

Avoid letting CX efforts become isolated from the business. While it may be interesting to have a separate CX dashboard, this type of activity reinforces the split between CX and other operations. As much as possible, try and get leaders to examine CX metrics at the same time and in the same way that they examine other key business results.

Never lose site of the real goal—improving. The goal isn’t to build an ROI case or prove that CX investments are valuable; it’s to help the organization achieve its mission. Make sure your work with CX metrics is ultimately focused on improving your business.


Bruce Temkin is customer experience transformist and managing partner of Temkin Group, a research and consultancy firm focused on enterprise-wide customer experience transformation. He is also the chair and cofounder of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org) and author of the blog Customer Experience Matters.

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