On Dashboard, On Scorecard, On Metrics and Measurement…

Wrong time of the year… I was trying to mimic Santa saying the name of the reindeer (you know, “Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!” – yeah, my brain is twisted sometimes, I know).

Anyway, The idea of this post is to begin a discussion on metrics in customer service.  I covered a little about it during the series of posts on customer acquisition costs and benefits (to refresh your mind, post 1, post 2, and post 3 – go on, read them – I’ll wait).  That was the beginning of a slippery slope.  Following that Pulitzer-prize-worthy series I began to spend more time thinking about it.  See, one of my charters here at eVergance is to start a Measurement practice and I have been doing some work with that, following early work I did work while at Gartner. I created some slides, and some beginning of a methodology and I am getting some good ideas about how to make it work.  I wanted to share my top three “discoveries” I made and get your opinions.

Discovery #1 – Yes, Virginia… feedback actually works.  Another poor reference, I know.  I have been advocating EFM (enterprise feedback management) since I created the concept while at that research firm named above (I am no name-dropper, once should be enough).  The idea is to tie the feedback you collect with existing data circulating through your enterprise.  Until not long ago we thought that doing so could improve product management, R&D, customer profiles, and BPM.  I am beginning to see Feedback differently now.  When used properly, and it works, it actually becomes the moving force that will help your measurement program progress from Reporting to Analytics to Continuous Improvement (think about this for a while… it is the subject of another post).

Discovery #2 – United we stand.  Promise, that was the last bad reference.  Most organizations have recently taken the idea of using scorecards, dashboards, and feedback.  Of course, they are all being used in separate projects or pilot programs – even some stand-alone deployments.  Well, guess what?  That reasoning is flawed… you have to use dashboards, scorecards, and feedback around the same subjects, same topics, and same processes.  That’s right – unite your projects and programs already in progress under one common name.  Call it… Continuous Improvement or something like that and enjoy the success.

Discovery #3 – Start small and go from there.  Now, most people look at Feedback or Measurement initiatives and get petrified by the sheer magnitude of the ultimate solution.  In most cases analysis paralysis takes over and the projects don’t advance or advance very slowly.  That, of course, is not the best way to do it.  You have to experiment, test the tools and your capabilities – see if you can make it work in your organization.  Start small.  Pick one area where you could benefit from (or test) a scorecard, a dashboard, an improved feedback or measurement initiative. “Play” with it and see what happens.  Then, take those lessons and begin to expand it across business units and eventually the organization.  Call the entire process something like, I don’t know, Continuous Improvement and work with it.

I hope that by now you got the subtle hints of what you are supposed to be doing.  Are you ready for Continuous Improvement?  What do you think about it?