If the customer experience profession can learn one thing from Moneyball it should be that tracking the wrong metrics can be expensive and lead to the wrong result.

Moneyball, Metrics

Part of the Oakland A’s success arose because they turned away from conventionally accepted activity-focused metrics (RBI, stolen bases, and batting average) and turned towards achievement metrics (slugging and on-base percentage).

What metrics are you tracking that are misleading you into a false sense of security?  Here are a couple to get you started…

  • Mean Time to Repair and Average Speed of Answer – Many companies track trends in ASA.  The reality is that such a measure may lead to behaviors that are inconsistent with a quality customer experience and interaction (e.g. answering quickly but immediately placing a caller on hold).  What matters more is experience consistency.  So companies would be better served to achieve smaller variance around their average.  Once they tighten the bell curve, then entire experience can be improved.  First make the experience predictable.  Customers hate surprises as much as any company does.
  • Call DurationZappos put an end to the fallacy surrounding this metric.  Their philosophy was to develop customer relationships (to achieve loyalty).  By shortening call duration, they realized they were limiting the likelihood of a meaningful relationship.  A more appropriate metric would be some sort of customer satisfaction measure, like NetPromoter.  Basically, “did we meet your expectations/needs?”  Not “did we get off the phone fast enough?”  The first question addresses a customer need while the second meets a corporate need for efficiency.

The pivot point is that, like the Oakland A’s, by adopting a ruthlessly self-critical look at the metrics we track, we can improve our winning percentage while reducing payroll costs.

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  • David Mellon

    To ofter companies track easy metrics, as noted time to resolution, time to answer. Support metrics that may show where weakness occur might be time to respond to the customer, time to discover root cause, time to provide solution. This type of analysis may better show front side staff issues, weakness in your ability to collect meaningful information and analysis, and time to create a solution. These metrics would show where you have opportunities to improve your service. Time to resolve does not provide information on where you are weak, only that you are.

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  • Piplzchoice

    Both examples you gave are operational metrics of Customer Support/Service which is just one attribute of CX. Do you have any examples for other attributes of CX? I would love to see some if you can share.

    • http://pivotpointsolutions.net/ andy_mcf

      Thanks for the question Piplzchoice!

      I have a new post scheduled to go out in a week that addresses metrics more generally. Hope you’ll look for it and that it will give you some new ways to think about metrics.

      To answer your question more directly, I like to use:

      (1) New sales
      (2) Product adoption levels (and in the software business, what % of customers run your latest version of code)
      (3) Service renewal rates
      (4) Customer churn
      (5) NetPromoter

      For businesses on the brink of survival, how fast the bucket empties may be more important than how fast it fills. More here… http://bit.ly/VcEGTr

      • Piplzchoice

        Thank you Andy, these are great suggestions for operational metrics. NPS is what many companies use to measure customer’s propensity to recommend their products. I found that linking the operational (transactional) and qualitative metrics is the most enlightening path to optimization of CX.

  • Larry Freed

    The other thing that the A’s and Billy Beane did was to continue to innovate. Not rest with the status quo, but every year they had to do more with analytics to keep their edge. That was the inspiration for my book, Innovating Analytics. If you get the chance to hear Billy Beane tell the story first hand jump at it. The applications of his approach to customer experience analytics will inspire and motivate you.

    • http://pivotpointsolutions.net/ andy_mcf

      Thanks for the comment Larry. You’re right. If he’d been content with things “as is” others would have followed his lead and his advantage would disappear. Constant innovation is a key tenet of successful businesses.

      For my readers, here’s a link to Mr. Freed’s book: Innovating Analytics: How the Next Generation of Net Promoter Can Increase Sales and Drive Business Results http://amzn.to/1fZGd8M

  • Tom Erskine

    What I find interesting about your Moneyball analogy is that you don’t introduce the most important data point of all, the customer. Creating winning customer experiences is not just about tracking company data, but also about using data to form a complete picture of the customer, and then using that to customize the experience. A significant part of the Moneyball approach to Sabremetrics was learning about competitor tendencies, and then using those during a game to maximize the chance of a successful outcome.

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