Make Sense of your Metrics - or Else

Updated: May 14, 2009

All of these scenarios are real. In the first one, the call center agent's success is measured based on the number of calls he can deal with without passing the call on to a supervisor. The agent's been so indoctrinated that escalation is bad that he keeps the customer on the line even when he has no way of helping him. That call's going to end badly for all involved. Now, what was the goal of having the call center in the first place? Greater customer satisfaction. The metric applied is designed to minimize call center costs; its use results in the goal not being met.

Example 2 is a classic: sales' definition of a qualified lead and marketing's definition are at odds, so there's really no way that marketing can satisfy sales' needs. Instead of clearing up this misalignment, marketing sets out a quantity metric: if we get more leads, then just as a matter of percentages we'll get more leads that sales will like. Sadly, that approach just gives sales more chaff to wade through - and in this economy, who has time for that? The original goal was to deliver more qualified leads to sales; the metric of lead quantity does not measure marketing's success in doing so.

Example three exemplifies why CRM is perceived as a failure in many cases. A loyalty program is targeted at keeping existing profitable customers, not at attracting droves of new ones. However, all too many executives still view CRM as a panacea to all a company's sales woes. In this case, the CEO failed to understand that the success of the company's loyalty program is measured in greater loyalty, not in new customer acquisition. The data that comes out of CRM has to be employed in alignment with the goals of the company - and if those goals are uncertain from the start there's no way CRM will succeed. If a company's focus swings wildly from loyalty to new customer acquisition and back, and the resources aren't there to manage multiple efforts across the scope of these activities, in too many cases CRM is judged a failure. And it ain't so.

When buyers ask about the first thing they should do when looking for a CRM solution, I always tell them to examine their own businesses first. That's not always what they want to hear - they want to know what to buy, how to install it and when the money will start rolling in. But without goals you can't use any technology properly. In CRM's case, if you don't understand your goals from the outset, all you're going to end up doing is making the same errors you've made in the past, only faster. And once you do have those goals in place, the only way you'll know if you're meeting them is to pick the right metrics.

Featured Research
  • The Social Side of Service

    Did you know that 83% of Twitter users who tweeted a complaint said they loved receiving a response from the brand? In order to provide the best possible service to your customers, you MUST provide service on the channels that they are utilizing. Social customer service might seem scary and undefined, but can be much more effective and less expensive than traditional channels. more

  • Top 10 Contact Center Tools for an Unforgettable Customer Experience

    It should come as no surprise that consumers have only increasingly become less and less brand loyal in the modern age. In fact, 89% of them have switched brands within the last year due to a poor customer experience. One of the major steps to preventing this customer churn is to invest and invest heavily into improving your customers' experience. Now the major question to ask yourself is, "of all the contact center tools available, what are the ones that I should be utilizing for my business?" more

  • Making the Most of Contact Center Reporting Tools

    Modern contact centers generate and have access to massive amounts of data. Used correctly, this information can help you build out, improve, and/or successfully launch a contact center for your business. While having access to tons of data is great, it is essential that you know what data is important to you and how you can harness it to achieve maximum success. more

  • 5 Pitfalls That Prevent Contact Center Success

    89% of customers have switched brands within the last year because of dissatisfaction with customer service. In fact, due to poor customer service, U.S. businesses lose $41 billion each year. Running a successful contact center is hard work. Whether you are starting one up for the first time or implementing a new system for your already-in-place contact center, there are pitfalls that can prevent success and be fatal to your business. more

  • Checklist for Setting Up an In-House Contact Center

    As customer service continues to become the most important competitor differentiator, can you honestly state that your business ranks among the best in your industry? 93% of organizations expect that contact volume will either remain constant or increase over the next two years. It is absolutely essential that you have a contact center that has been set up for success. more