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.
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 measures how happy people are with your products/services
- Take a look at the Common baseline Customer Satisfaction Metrics to collect
- 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?"
- Engaged customers care enough to take a personal interest
- Forrester Research combines aspects of both customer satisfaction and customer loyalty to track involvement, interaction, intimacy, and influence (PDF, 444 KB, 17 pages, August 2007)
- Performance Metrics give you lots of great data on performance, customer satisfaction, top tasks and more
- Analyze the Effectiveness of Your Website—Usability.gov
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 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.
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
- Case Studies, Training and Resources on Performance Metrics
- 6 Laws of Customer Experience
- Net Promoter Score ("likely to recommend" measure)
- Forrester Customer Experience Index explained
- Sample Customer Loyalty Questions
- Measuring Contact Center performance (PDF, 246 KB, 34 pages, September 2010)
- The American Customer Satisfaction Index - Government Results Archive