John Abraham

Focus on the store, not the score. It’s a mantra that we often encourage organizations to embrace — both as they operationalize their CEM program and seek employee adoption. And while it’s a great way to rally a company and formulate incentives, the score still matters. A lot.

Without a key metric — and a carefully chosen one at that — a customer experience program lacks a True North. There’s no way to make meaningful comparisons across an organization, no baseline of performance for employees to easily understand and take action on, and no means to accurately link customer experience improvements to business outcomes.

But how do you actually choose a key metric that’s right for your business? One that drives adoption, accountability, and action? The Medallia Institute’s latest Best Practices release is aimed at helping you do just that. Here are some factors to consider:

1. Single Question or Index: When you’re collecting customer feedback, you’re going to need to ask them for it. In formulating your key customer metric, you’ll need to decide how many questions you ask your customers. Though there is a lot of merit in asking one simple question, many companies want to know the answer to more questions and seek to index the answers — a single metric that aggregates multiple data points. Knowing which is right for your program comes down to the balance between comprehensiveness of your questions and the extent of the burden that you put on the customer.

2. The Question(s): What do you want to measure and what do you want to do with what you measure? Answering these questions are the key to knowing what to ask. For example, measuring satisfaction at specific touchpoints might help an organization make acute improvements — while asking a customer about their predicted future behaviors might paint a better picture of your overall customer experience. The wording of your questions should be focused on the action your organization wants to take on the data.

3. The Measurement: Scale is highly important when it comes to soliciting customer feedback. It can have a profound effect on how customers formulate their answers and how easily employees can digest and take action with the resulting data. 0 to 10 is different from 0 to 5, which is different from 0 to 4 and 0 to 100 — same as “Very Satisfied” as your positive endpoint will create different customer behavior than “Exceeds Expectations.” The size of your scale will also determine your ability to more granularly differentiate between high and low performing areas of your business.

4. Simplicity: Which of the following is easier to understand: “Our customers are 6.43 satisfied with our reservation operators” — or — “95% of our customers are dissatisfied with our new customer onboarding”? Clearly the latter. And though this example is somewhat exaggerated, you might be surprised how often companies develop a key metric that is far from operational or actionable. Always keep in mind: the easier it is to distill your feedback metric into insight and action across the organization, the greater its positive impact on your customer experience.

These 4 elements can help get you started in finding a metric that’s right for your business, but they aren’t the whole picture. It’s important to bear in mind the specific objectives of your CEM program when choosing your key metric — and make sure you can connect it to real business outcomes.

Download our Best Practice document, Choosing a Primary Customer Experience Metric, to dive further into the subject. And check out our Medallia Institute Certification Course, which has an extensive curriculum focused including finding the right metric for your organization.

Photo credit: Rodrigo Moraes