Quantitative versus Qualitative

I just got off the phone with a colleague and we were having a conversation about data.  He brought up some good questions and points and so I figured I’d jot a few of them down here before they went right out of my head again.

The gist of the discussion was the difference between quantitative and qualitative data.  He was having some trouble explaining the difference to his boss.  One line of questioning I asked right off the top was, “Why is this a controversy?  Why the heck does this even matter?  How did this become a topic of conversation?”  It’s always useful to get to the bottom of why someone is asking a question so as to better address it in the first place.  Plus, this seems more like an academic inquiry rather than something that’ll actually make a huge difference in what they’re doing.

It is, however, pertinent in a discussion like this, because I’ve used the mechanism that quantitative data can tell us where to look, while qualitative data can tell us what to do once we get there.  More on that in a moment. (more…)

By | 2021-03-23T15:05:44+00:00 March 23rd, 2021|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Measures & Metrics|0 Comments

Metrics: Output vs. Outcomes

Y’all know I’m a big fan of metrics.  Long before I was in CX, I was in Process Engineering (Lean Six Sigma and Operations Research), and long before that I was an analyst.  My BS is in Mathematics, and I teach Statistics at the Air Force Academy.  So yea, I dig numbers.  I write about them a lot.

I was chatting with a colleague the other day and he had an awesome turn-of-phrase regarding metrics that I’d never heard of before.  He’s the leader of an international organization and we were talking about strategies and how important it is to ensure that leadership’s highfalutin strategies and visions are made real to team members in their own day-to-day work.  This is a standard theme in leadership and management:  Sure, we can design strategies and missions and visions for our organizations, but of course it’s the folks working on executable actions every day that are the champions who carry the deliverables across the goal lines.

Naturally, that turns to metrics.  But simply having metrics isn’t enough.  If you leave it to the visionaries and the leaders (CEOs, Presidents, Boards of Directors) to name the top-level KPIs but don’t boil down what that means that I, as a part of the team, am supposed to do, we’ll never get anywhere.  Turning numbers into results requires communicating, and sometimes translation.  My friend offered a great way of framing the challenge of driving higher-level metrics into operational, measurable goals.

He said, it’s the difference between Output and Outcomes, and it helps frame out how we all work together to deliver for our Customers. (more…)

By | 2021-02-04T15:58:13+00:00 February 4th, 2021|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Measures & Metrics|0 Comments

Processing your survey results

Recently I fielded a question about NPS survey data:  How do you process it?  How do you use it?  I popped off a quick response, but I’d like to go a little deeper on the topic here.

First of all, it’s not a specific NPS question.  It doesn’t matter what sort of survey you send out or (exactly) what sort of question(s) you ask.  I’m also limiting this article to a discussion about survey data per se.  There are tons of other sources of data that should be part of your broader Voice of the Customer (VoC) program.  But this is just about the data that comes from your surveys.  From those surveys, at the end of the day, you’ll likely be faced with two different types of data, each with its own purpose:  Score data and Amplification data. (more…)

By | 2021-01-21T16:47:10+00:00 January 21st, 2021|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Measures & Metrics, VoC|0 Comments

Your CES isn’t telling you enough

With all due deference to Matt Dixon, sometimes “effort” is a tricky thing to define.  I worked with one team that ran around and around about it constantly it seemed.  Matt’s Customer Effort Score (CES) metric basically asks the Customer to rank his or her satisfaction with the amount of effort expended to solve an issue or otherwise accomplish something.

Now, right away you can see the question begged:  How do we even know the issue has been solved in the first place?  This, of course, goes to an age-old conundrum of how we can ensure a Customer’s issue has been solved before we send out a survey for feedback, regardless of the survey type.  After all, it’s insult added to injury if we ask, “hey, how’d we do?” while the Customer is still waiting for a solution.  But let’s put that issue aside for now as it’s a common concern (NPS, C-SAT, and all the others have the same limitation). (more…)

By | 2020-12-03T16:04:08+00:00 December 3rd, 2020|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Measures & Metrics, VoC|0 Comments

Lead and lag measures

You know I’m all about metrics and measures.  One of the things that made entering the CX profession so attractive to me was that this is a field of study that’s not only based in numbers, it’s starving for people who have an affinity for measuring.  CX is a study that’s founded on measuring…from survey results to Customer habits and attitudes to top-level improvements in your CX KPIs, numbers are all around us.

One topic of confusion I’ve seen a lot over my time is in regard to lead versus lag measures.  Everybody’s got their own opinions and there doesn’t seem to be a textbook answer to what’s what, so take this as simply my theory and how I approach what’s meant when we speak of such things. (more…)

By | 2020-10-15T16:00:46+00:00 October 15th, 2020|Categories: CX Thoughts, Measures & Metrics, Process Engineering|0 Comments

Close the loop on your feedback

You’ve likely heard about the concept and practice of “closing the loop” or a “closed-loop feedback” (CLF) cycle.  What is it, and how does it work?

There are actually a couple types of closed-loop feedback systems depending on whether you’re talking about internal or external feedback.  Internal refers to an employee feedback mechanism where as an external closed-loop feedback system is geared toward the Customer’s inputs and what you do with them.  They’re both important to a healthy Customer-centric organization, and they operate basically the same way, just with different sources of feedback.  I’ll concentrate on that external, or Customer-centric model here, but realize that there’s another application for this CLF system if you want to approach employee experience the same way.

The overall concept of a CLF cycle is that you (as I’ve often emphasized) do something with the feedback you receive.  Rather than just sitting on VoC information or just reporting it, CLFs empower us to actually improve our processes in a focused way thus improving Customers’ future experiences while also showing gratitude to those who offer us their thoughts.  At first glance (and if you just take the term literally from its own label), a closed-loop feedback system is one that simply follows up with the Customer on their input.  Now, that may take on many different forms depending on how you interpret the concept:  Follow-up may be simply replying—perhaps even with an auto-generated, boilerplate, impersonal email—that a Customer’s feedback has been “received.”  Sometimes the follow-up is in the form of self-preservation and reaching out to a Customer to save the experience.  Let’s be honest:  If you don’t find out about a disastrous Customer experience until you’ve received negative feedback is likely to be a lost cause, at least in that instance…that said, sometimes you can recover, and the best experience is sometimes a make-good for what started out as an awful experience.  But even these approaches to a CLF don’t really capture the benefit of such a system.
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By | 2020-08-29T19:47:14+00:00 July 31st, 2020|Categories: CX Thoughts, Measures & Metrics, Process Engineering, VoC|0 Comments

Improving CX: UP and IN

It’s not always easy to get through the din of corporate metrics.  But as a CX professional, it’s our responsibility not only to take them seriously ourselves, but to drive awareness and interest in them within our organizations.  With financial and operational KPIs front-and-center, Chief Customer Officers and their teams have a unique challenge to make the measures of CX relevant within a company.  It’s actually just an example of the work we need to do to ensure our peers and organizations take Customer Experience seriously and not treat it as just another ‘feel-good’ thing that’s going on in the background while other people and functions “do the actual work” to make the money and dominate the market.

Gaining buy-in for CX metrics (whether it be NPS, C-SAT, Customer Effort Score, or whatever the next thing around the corner becomes) really requires a two-front approach:  Up, and in.
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By | 2020-08-29T19:45:03+00:00 July 13th, 2020|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Measures & Metrics, ROI of CX|0 Comments