The metrics used in organisations often reflect the situation and state that the organisation is in at any one time. If poor performance exists then there is an inevitable dive into detailed operational statistics to try and understand why and fix it. If there are a large number of complaints then these are analysed to find out what customers are complaining about. Customer service and the customer experience are important factors for most organisations yet many are failing to measure how customers really feel.
Historically the most commonly used metrics have been those that are easy to obtain such as performance of a telephone service. The speed in which a call is answered is relevant but it does not reflect how the customer feels and it does not present opportunities for service improvement. Many traditional measures enable the organisation to reflect on historical performance but this does not help improve the customer experience. Too much focus is often given to the hygiene factors of performance when in reality these basics need to be in place as an enabler for the opportunity to improve. Service Managers should be reporting exceptions or failure to meet these hygiene factors and concentrate effort on more important and useful metrics. The next question is what is important?
Customer satisfaction does not present an accurate picture of how customers really feel. Typically response rates to surveys are low and present an incomplete picture. From my own perspective, I only complete a survey when I have something that I want to say; an extreme view, positive of negative. This means that the majority of customers do not feed into customer satisfaction measures if they are merely satisfied. There is a danger that focusing on the wrong metrics promotes average levels of satisfaction.
Mystery shopping is a useful tool but it does not reflect on the real outcomes from a customer perspective as the experience being measured is one prescribed by the organisation rather than customers.