Executive’s Guide to the few ‘business’ metrics that matter

This is part three of a six-part series on each of the Categories of Focus suggested by the new standard Open Customer Metrics Framework (OCMF). Learn more about this modern, open framework and its five categories of focus in my first post on this topic.

OCMF suggests that executives should spend about 30% of their time on the needs of the business – the “Business Category” — which we’ll walk through here.

Leading customer success and support organizations have realized that we have fixated on cost and efficiency at the expense of a superior customer (and employee) experience or the value delivered. This is one category where we should pull back on some of what we currently measure and report on, to free up mind share to think about and act on some of the other categories of measures.

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Executive’s Guide to the few employee metrics that matter

This is part two of a six-part series on each of the Categories of Focus suggested by the new standard Open Customer Metrics Framework (OCMF). Learn more about this modern, open framework and its five categories of focus in my first post on this topic.

The OCMF suggests that executives should spend about 20% of your time on work regarding your employees – the “Employee Category,” which we’ll walk through here.

Let’s admit it. While we talk a lot about how important employees are to us, it’s appalling how little time we actually have to spend on them. After all, employee engagement is a leading indicator of financial performance[1] including customer ratings, productivity and profitability. We spend a lot more time worrying about what our customers say and think, and making sure our financials are in order (Business Category, in OCMF parlance) than we do about employees.

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Executive’s Guide to the few customer metrics that matter

The Open Customer Metrics Framework suggests that the Customer category should take about 20% of your time as an executive. See more about this modern, open customer metrics framework and the five categories in the first post.

A good measurement system:

  • is simple enough to focus attention on a few key elements.
  • is fair enough so that people at every level believe they can affect the measures.
  • facilitates an environment of learning and dialogue – not of control and compliance.

In this post, let’s walk through the ‘Customer’ category, and you’ll hear some of my strong personal opinions on what to use and what not to use from the suggested list of measures.

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Executive’s Guide to the modern metrics framework for customer success and support (OCMFgroup.org)

The Open Customer Metrics Framework is the open, modern measurements framework that helps support and success leaders measure what actually matters.

Created by a group of award-winning practitioners and experts, OCMF is designed to facilitate an environment of learning and dialogue.  

This is the first in a series that walks through the standard, and the thinking behind it.

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Time to Smile: The new killer internal Customer Experience metric?

While support executives have made great strides in making sure our teams think about the customer first, this way of thinking runs smack into reality when we reach across internal departments to get an issue solved for a customer. The further away you get from people who interact with customers on a daily basis, the more likely you are to go from a personal, emotional connection with a customer and their issue to an ‘escalation’ (read: interruption from my ‘real’ job) that has to be dealt with.

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Klever’s Law: Time to Customer Value

Want to know perhaps the simplest, most powerful measure that aligns every customer-facing department with the customer? Time to Customer Value.

Here is how to calculate it.

Time to Customer Value = Time to Value (before sale) + Time to Value (after sale) + Time to Smile (after interruption).

Measured in days. If your Time to Customer Value is zero or even negative (days), you are doing really well.

Let’s break this down.

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Measures: Try Guiding, not Grading

Look carefully what separates ‘success that lasts’ from ‘yet another shiny-object-turned-failed-initiative’, and you will often find the same root cause. Measures, and how they are used. Specifically if they are used to ‘grade’ people or if they are use to guide people to do better.

This was the same obstacle we noted in the last post — the one thing standing in the way as we moved from focusing on Knowledge to Knowledge-in-Action.

If you are what you measure, customer support/service (and if we aren’t careful, customer success) is in a terrible place because most of what we measure is based on outdated phone-based call center metrics from the last century.

The problem is that our world of customers and employees is complex, and we have no way of knowing what specific thing we did caused a specific outcome. We don’t have a way to measure what is important, so what we can measure becomes important.

Even worse, we often put ‘goals’ on activities — the predictable result of which is a set of bad behaviors with poor outcomes for our customers and our employees. We end up ‘grading’ people, and no one likes being managed that way.

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