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

Add purpose to your goals so they’re meaningful

I write a lot about understanding why you’re doing something as a means of helping you to decide what to do and how to do it.  It’s an idea I’ve stolen from Simon Sinek who wrote a whole book about it in fact.  His book was general and strategic but I also apply it to the tactical and transactional world of measures because that’s where the concept often hits the ground and plays into your practice.  In fact, I’ve written a lot about Goodhart’s Law, that when a metric becomes a goal it ceases to be a good measure.  I’d like to share an example of that and why it’s so important to understand the basis behind why you’re looking to measure something in the first place.

A good friend of mine and fellow CX leader told me recently the story about an organization he was working with.  It was a big group with a wide variety of Customer types and personas.  As such he was often discussing how different approaches to the gathering of VoC data were important and necessary.  So far so good.  But when he approached one of the groups he was presented with a curious request:  Could they change their survey to using ‘smiley-faces’ instead of numbers?  (more…)

By | 2020-08-29T19:44:48+00:00 June 17th, 2020|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Measures & Metrics, VoC|0 Comments

Goodhart’s Law and clarity of goals

I’d written previously about Goodhart’s Law, which goes along the lines of, once a metric becomes a goal it ceases to be a good measure.  Now, I choose the words “metric”, “goal”, and “measure” all deliberately because they mean slightly different things (even if their subject is the same).  A measure is the most generic of the three as it simply represents something that is, well, measured.  It could be any number of things that you pay attention to or not; something reported or not; something you strive to increase/decrease/stabilize.  A metric is a little more specific for this purpose as it’s actually something you are monitoring or at least paying closer attention to.  Metrics are a subset of measures.  Finally, goals may not even be observed but rather aspirational, and often change if they’ve either been met or otherwise deemed unattainable or unnecessary.  If you deal with numbers—or of any sort of business at all—you’re constantly bombarded by measures, metrics, and goals.
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By | 2020-08-29T19:44:24+00:00 June 5th, 2020|Categories: CX Thoughts, Measures & Metrics|0 Comments

Does FCR make sense? It depends.

I recently took part in a discussion among CX experts regarding FCR, short in our parlance for First Contact Resolution. That it used to be called First Call Resolution speaks to one point I want to make. We struggled with this in the last job I had as the Director of CX: How to even define FCR.

Some on the team wanted to drive it from our own internal metrics, based on actual experiences of our Customers rather than from surveying them. I generally recommend and prefer this sort of approach: While it’s always great to solicit feedback from our Customers, it’s even better to capture their actual experiences. If a Customer says it took too long, that’s valuable feedback, but if you’re like me, your first question is, “Okay, how long is ‘too long?’ How long did it actually take?” Knowing that can help us better determine what our goals should be.

That makes sense, but context matters.  Consider the following scenario: A Customer contacts your support desk through online chat and the agent (or bot!) immediately recognizes that the complexity of the issue requires live over-the-phone support and directs the Customer to call a specific number. The Customer calls right away, gets right through (perhaps because this is a dedicated line explicitly for this sort of circumstance), the telephony system recognizes the Customer’s phone number and pre-populates the tools for the phone agent with all the information needed. Armed with this data the agent is able to quickly and effectively walk the Customer through a recovery tree and resolve the issue. The Customer is not only satisfied, but probably pretty impressed by how easily your organization moved him or her between channels and solved the problem. (more…)

By | 2020-08-29T19:42:30+00:00 May 13th, 2020|Categories: CX Thoughts, Measures & Metrics|0 Comments