Making the most of core customer metrics

Balancing efficiency metrics with those that support customer relationships

June 27, 2024
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There is plenty of truth in the idea that what gets measured is what gets done, which is why highly successful organisations are data-driven. But when it comes to using metrics to help enable a greater customer experience, the focus should be less on efficiency, and more on empathy.

As Industry Analyst firm Gartner® states in its recent report1 Break Out of the Customer Management Industrial Complex with Gartner’s CX CORE Model: “most organizations lack deep customer empathy. It is something they haven’t appreciated in the past until world events of 2020-2021 forced them to look at things differently”.

Empathy is becoming increasingly important as organisations seek to enable long-term customer loyalty.

And these enduring relationships can only be achieved by shifting how a business measures success by balancing efficiency metrics with metrics that support lasting customer relationships.

The metric iNPS, or interactive Net Promoter Score, is now a core metric in businesses globally. It has been proven time and again to be the best indicator of how customers feel about a company at a given point in time, and the higher that score is, the more likely they are to stick around. Especially when iNPS is augmented by service and experience metrics that we also consider important.  

Such is the importance we place on it at Spark, that our current iNPS is discussed by our Channel Leadership team at every meeting and reported to the wider business monthly. We continue to care about traditional metrics such as Average Handling Time and First Call Resolution, but these speak more to the efficiency of our business, rather than the service we provide our customers.

Getting the most out of customer sentiment scores

Of course, iNPS is a raw number. It’s understanding how you arrived at that score and – more importantly – how you can use the data collected along the way to improve your customer experience, that matters. That’s why the real gold lies in the comments that customers leave after each interaction, what we call the ‘verbatims’.

Now it’s one thing to capture that gold; it's quite another to determine from it what the key insights and trends are.

This is where AI tools can be used to mine the verbatims for the most common concerns, complaints, and compliments. Even if what is surfaced doesn’t surprise you, having the data to back up anecdotal evidence, will assist you in building a business case to find and implement a solution.

‘Test and learn’ is key to meaningful change

After all – data is only helpful if you use it to inform positive change. So, when you are presented with data that points to a specific problem that needs solving, the next step is to act on it.

In Gartner, Inc’s. report1, it advises that businesses need to find ways to not only identify shifts in customer sentiment, but to then be prepared to change and adapt.

The days of senior leaders commissioning research, creating a detailed solution, and implementing it in a staged rollout, are long gone. Ideas need to be tested in the market, and if they fail, they need to fail fast. It’s why we recommend organisations set up a formal ‘test and learn’ programme – a way to quickly determine whether a solution has value.

In the test and learn process, it’s important to think about who in the organisation needs to be involved.  Gathering senior managers into a room and asking them to solve a customer problem may not be the best use of everyone’s time.

Instead, consider assembling people from a range of different roles, then present to them the problem statement and ask them to come up with a way to tackle it.

Not only does this ensure valuable input from people who are with customers every day, it also means they are likely to become the greatest advocates for the solution that’s deployed.

Presenting a united front

Once proven, you will want to roll the solution out across all your customer channels and be consistent in how it is deployed.

Customers expect the same level of service regardless of where they meet you - online, on a call or in store. At Spark, for example, we employ over 1000 people in customer support roles and collectively they handle tens of thousands of calls, messages, and enquiries every day. But demand can ebb and flow in every channel, and so we have implemented our Unified Frontline Strategy model.

In essence, it means that our people can move seamlessly between messaging, and face-to-face interactions. For example, if our retail store is quiet, members of the team can switch to providing virtual support – an app was developed for the frontline to advise that they were available to move from the shop floor to online customer service. You can read about how this was enabled by our partner Genesys, in this article on our migration to the Genesys CX contact centre platform here.

Another way to enable consistency across all customer channels is to look at how you can maximise your organisation’s knowledge base, so that representatives have access to the most relevant content to share with customers. This can be done by deploying a Generative AI solution that uses an LLM (large language model) to find and surface information.

As with all technology, baking in privacy and security at the start, as well as finding a way to monitor for accuracy, is crucial. Once this solution is in play, it means that customer service teams don’t have to know what search terms to use; they just type in the query and the most relevant answer appears.

It’s another example of how you can enable the right solution at the right time by tuning into the right metrics. When you do so, you provide your customers with one of the most satisfying experiences they can have with your brand – the experience of being listened to.

Our team of experts are here to help your business make the most of core customer metrics.

Mike Hutton
Mike Hutton
Spark Domain Chapter Lead
Irene Pink
Irene Pink
Spark Domain Chapter Lead – Support and Resourcing
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Irene Pink is an experienced operations lead with a demonstrated history of working in large retail corporations. Irene is skilled in change management, effective leadership, customer experience, and effective communication.

Mike Hutton has 25 years in customer experience leading large teams located both on and offshore. Mike excels in change management and behavoural based coaching and leadership.

1Gartner, Break Out of the Customer Management Industrial Complex with Gartner’s CX CORE Model, Don Scheibenreif, Kyle Davis, Irina Guseva, Melissa Davis, Melissa Hilbert, Gene Alvarez, Jason Wong, Michelle DeClue, Marcus Blosch, Maria Marino, Michael McCune, Kathy Ross , 11 January 2024.

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

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