Use Metrics to Exceed Expectations

Once you understand what people want and need from your organization, you are well on your way to providing an exceptional customer experience. Measure performance to identify what's working, and where you need to improve. When you exceed expectations, you'll create "customer advocates" who passionately share with others their good experiences with your agency.

Establish Customer Experience Performance Measures

Performance measures can tell you what's working, what's not, and how your customers feel about your organization. Collect overall measures, or focus on specific areas that need improvement—but the important thing is to establish a way to continually measure how you're doing.

You can measure performance in a variety of ways:

Customer Satisfaction

Customer Loyalty

  • Loyalty is one of the best performance indicators, because it ties directly to overall organizational success
  • Measure it by asking a variation on this simple question: "How likely are you to recommend our products and services, or speak favorably about our organization to others?"

Customer Engagement

Website Satisfaction

Contact Center Performance

  • If your agency operates a Contact Center, metrics can help you analyze performance trends; find and solve problems; optimize resources; and support strategic plans and objectives
  • Service measures assess overall effectiveness of the entire contact center
    • Includes: blocked calls; abandoned calls; average speed of answer; longest delay in queue
  • Quality measures relate to the quality of the customer experience, problem resolution, or the call process itself, and can apply to the entire contact center, a team, or an individual
    • Includes: telephone etiquette; knowledge and competency; error/rework rate; adherence to protocols; first-call resolution rate; transfer rate
  • Efficiency measures focus on resource utilization and overall center efficiencies
    • Includes: average handle time; after-call work time; hold time; availability; cost per call

Customize Your Metrics

Customize your metrics to gather detailed data on specific things you need to improve

  • Connect metrics to overall mission and objectives
  • Make the metrics actionable
  • Look for trends to anticipate problems before they escalate
  • Monitor progress and adjust as outcomes change

Creating Customized Metrics

Start with the lowest level goals, identify how you'll measure success, and build up to an overarching metrics strategy that aligns with overall organizational objectives

  • Identify agency goals and define what success looks like
    • Document all sub-goals that feed into overall objectives
    • Identify specific, low-level issues as a starting point, since they are the most actionable
  • Conduct a root cause analysis of the identified challenges
    • Is the root problem an input into a process, or the process itself?
    • Document your plan to eliminate the root problem (quantitative)
  • Monitor progress and continuously seek to improve:
    • Balanced Scorecards: Show key metrics for an entire organization. The best ones show the inputs and processes that influence the metric
    • Trend Charts: Shows your action plan's leading indicators progress over time
    • Flag Charts: Bird's eye view of what's going well, illustrates trends, highlights, and concerns
  • The right metrics, implemented correctly and measuring the right things,will:
    • Drive desired employee behaviors
    • Gain management support for resources
    • Allow course corrections mid-stream
    • Forecast future outcomes

Metrics and Employee Behavior

Employee behaviors will be shaped by the metrics you implement, since people will pay attention to things that are tracked and reported "up the chain". Measure things that encourage employees to deliver a great customer experience.

Quality of Metrics

Identify benchmarks that are most relevant to your agency. Does each metric:

  • Support customer needs?
  • Focus on effectiveness and/or efficiency?
  • Include a clear statement of expected end results?
  • Include qualitative milestones and indicators?
  • Support objective measurements that allow for meaningful statistical analysis?
  • Follow appropriate industry standards?
  • Challenge your organization to succeed?

Review and analyze trends over time, to identify opportunities for improvement and help you implement process improvements.

Improve Processes

Document current processes

  • Create flowcharts to document your current customer experience processes
  • What happens when a customer contacts you by phone, online, email, etc.?
  • Include all customer contact channels and relevant Standard Operating Procedures

Determine how well your current program works

  • Identify industry benchmarks for comparison
  • Determine the quality of metrics currently used
  • Analyze customer feedback and other metrics to identify areas that need improvement

Decide what you want to improve, and how you need to change

  • Do you want to reduce costs, improve the customer experience, both... or something else entirely?
  • What processes need to change to improve the customer experience?
  • How much will it cost?
  • What will you accomplish by making this change?

Make the change

  • Determine how you'll measure success
  • Develop a realistic schedule and milestones for implementation
  • Start small, consider a pilot project to test proposed changes
  • Review data from the pilot, tweak to improve, then execute the change on a broad scale
  • Measure and share your success, to encourage buy-in to make more changes



Content Lead: Rachel Flagg
Page Reviewed/Updated: April 23, 2013

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