Magazine article CRM Magazine

You Are What You Measure: What Do Your Measurements Say about You?

Magazine article CRM Magazine

You Are What You Measure: What Do Your Measurements Say about You?

Article excerpt

CAN WE measure how much has been written about metrics and measurements for customer relationships? There's obviously boundless interest: At every conference, at least one person approaches me with a version of the classic "What should be the average handling time of calls for financial services customers in the Midwest?"

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

But the questions themselves are often flawed. The person asking is seeking any number that will prove to her superiors that her customer service operation is better than average. The questions she should ask include "What do my measurements say about me?" and "What do those measurements say to my customers?" and "How do the measurements determine the future profitability of my business?"

Since the measurements you track are an indication of the customer relationships you want to have, let's examine the options.

The Self-Centric: First there are those who measure themselves according to operational numbers--average handling time, sales costs, and other internal metrics. It's all about them and their ability to meet their operational numbers. They are self-centric--and their customer relationships are characterized by the same nature. Every move they make is based on what they get out of it.

The Lip-Servicers: This second group comprises those who need to fake it. They know that they ought to involve the customer in the measurements, but they do so as lip service only, with no true commitment. They'll ask general satisfaction questions that will read as "You forgot to write us a 'Thank You' letter, so we decided to give you a second chance." Customers see through this fake commitment and will reciprocate with no commitment at all. One Forrester Research study noted that, even among satisfied customers, only 17 percent stated they would never consider the competition.

The Crowd-Followers: These people are trying--they want to do better--but they don't know how. They score well on intentions but low on understanding and depth. They will rush to the Net Promoter Score (NPS) because they read about it and heard it's the gold standard. NPS is a good measure but not sufficient. [Editors' Note: See the Connect column, August 2009, for more on how to move past NPS. …

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