Archive for the ‘measurement’ Category

Happy to help?

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Great customer service happens at an individual level – when you deal with a rep or customer assistant – but is enabled by the overall company culture, tools and happiness of that company’s employees.

Happy staff

It’s obvious when someone is not happy, and when it’s customer-facing staff this unhappiness spreads like a malevolent virus making for an uncomfortable customer experience. So we need happy staff. But what else?

A customer-centred culture

Great customer service is embedded in a company culture. It’s written in the manuals but more importantly it’s evidenced in everyday practices – the visible ‘what we do around here’, and managers lead by example. Organisations with customer-centred cultured plan and invest with the end customer in mind and train, equip and reward their staff to act in a customer-centred way.

Empowering staff

One of the most important tools is giving staff the discretion to act as they see fit on the ground. How many times have you phoned up a customer service line and had to be referred to the rep’s line manager? Contrary to what you might think, the first person couldn’t deal with your enquiry or request because they were a moron, but because they had clear areas of power to act that they are not allowed to exceed.


Coming soon – PART II Monitoring the employee experience

See also: Are you being served? nativeye’s experiment tracking the best and worst customer service out there


False metrics don’t make good experiences

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

We are familiar with ‘targets culture’ having a negative impact on public services, whether it’s a focus on NHS waiting times at the expense of quality of care, or league tables turning schools into uncritical, uncreative exam factories.

As the world shifts from competing on products to competing on the overall experience, business and public organisations need to be especially switched on to capturing the right feedback to get an accurate view of what’s going on and to encourage the right performance.

Avoiding trap 1 – the wrong metrics

As with schools and the health service, focusing on one headline metric at the expense of others can be detrimental. Like other areas of public service, the NHS has been pledged to pursue more holistic patient ‘outcomes’ rather than narrower process targets. Asking patients to rate their care and overall experience is one part of this.

Avoiding trap 2 – vanity stats

It is easy to flatter ourselves by being blinkered on one or two vanity stats, for example Likes or Fans. As social media experts will ask you, ‘What’s a fan if they like your brand, never to return or interact with you again?’.*

The first step is to be honest with yourself. But also seek out and address the pressure to report this type of metric. Explain to bosses why it’s as worth considering engagement as well as ‘hits’. Or that an advocate is worth about twice as much as a regular customer (to Apple at least).

Avoiding trap 3 – framing for positive reviews

Some companies even frame their feedback questions in such a way as to garner more positive reviews (whether intentionally or not), which as Seth Godin points out is no good for anybody.

The system of false metrics doesn’t create a better buying experience, it creates a threatened customer with pressure to give a five.

Ultimately this comes down to the practices and values embedded in an individual organisation. If there is no culture of transparency or room for failure then it takes a brave soul to speak out.

Final note – measure less

Trying to measure everything will tie your organisation up and stifle productivity. Practices such as Results Oriented Work Environments (ROWEs) don’t care about how stuff is done (the process), just what is done and by when (the results). Best Buy found this approach helped employee retention by 27% and 50% increase in cost reductions. In this case at least, measuring less can help you do more.

*Interestingly the value of Facebook likes might be in the data it gives you about your audience