What Gets Measured Gets Experienced

You’ve no doubt heard the expression ‘What gets measured gets done’, an adage which seems to hold true, because the things we’re measured against typically drive our focus and behaviour.

After a lot of work in helping organisations improve their Customer Experience over the last couple of years, I’d like to offer a slight - but important - adaptation: what gets measured gets experienced (for better or for worse).

Bear with me on this: I’m not sure if it holds true all the time, and I’m sharing something here that’s still in its formative stages. However, as customer experience is becoming more and more of a differentiator amongst businesses I think it’s well worthwhile trying this modified mantra on for size. 

Let me give you some examples to illustrate what I mean by this adaptation: 

© Death to the Stock Photo

Early this morning at the airport I needed a shot of caffeine to wake up properly. Another red eye flight from a different time zone… I was met by a really cheerful person at the counter who gave a great welcome, asked me what I wanted (medium cappuccino) and then proposed their latest blend of the week (for the coffee).

I wanted to know more about the new blend. “100% Arabica,” comes the reply.

“How does it compare with your usual blend,” I ask.

“It’s lighter. 100% Arabica,” she replies. Now for me, I go to this particular chain for the robustness and strength of their coffee, so I immediately declined.

“Oh!” came the response, in a very disappointed tone, breaking rapport with me. Now of course these ‘special’ blends typically add a bit to the price, so I asked if she was being measured against how many ‘up-sells’ to the special blend she achieved. She confirmed she was, which was no surprise really.

A company that's really hot on customer experience would approach this in a different way. The person serving would find out first what the customer likes, and only then, if in alignment with the customer's preferences, suggest the 'up-sell' option. Think of it in the longer-term: if I'd accepted the different option and then not liked it, I'd probably have been more closed to future up-sell options even if they were more aligned with my preferences, which doesn't serve the company's longer term performance.

Now this can be a subtle but important distinction: as a customer I experienced her disappointment, the break of rapport and the slightly awkward service which ensued after what had been a great start, all of which impacted on my experience. In the competitive arena of customer experience, is this really the experience they want their customers to be having?

Another example: my local garage. After picking up my car from being serviced I'm told that I may subsequently get a phone call from the manufacturer to find out how it went. The service manager then requests I give them a 10/10 rating! Obviously their performance is being measured by the manufacturer, which in itself is most likely a good thing, but I find the behaviour it drives really annoying: an overly clingy, subservient, cringeworthy interaction that I'd rather avoid. If I could take the car elsewhere for its service I would, but it's tied to the manufacturer. Which means I'm more likely to switch brands in the future. However, if they realised the impact this was having, they could adapt their approach to one where when you drop the car off they tell you they want to make sure you have a 10/10 experience (usually they ignore you and leave you standing there like a lemon as they complete something on the computer rather than acknowledging you), so if there’s anything they can do in advance to ensure this, to let them know. Taking a proactive stance and anticipating customers’ needs could turn this around very positively, whilst still being able to monitor quality centrally.

Then recently I started using a new e-mail client on both desktop and mobile devices. It's fabulous, and the support is truly excellent, except that after every request for support you get an email from the person who helped you, asking you to write a review and to mention them in name as it helps them. So I wrote a review the first time round, mentioning the guy who’d helped me. Now I've had the same message 6 times round from different support staff, and I'm feeling like they've lost track of where I am on the customer journey. Well, obviously they have, and what was originally a 5 Star review is steadily declining. The company is clearly tracking individual help desk staff performance, which is driving this behaviour.

So if you want to improve your customer experience, one of the areas to be thinking about is the measures currently used in your business / area of work. Where are measures that are currently in use driving an undesirable experience? How could you change them? It seems what gets measured gets experienced. If you’d like to know the measures we’re now using with several trail-blazing clients, do get in touch. The measures drive better customer satisfaction, loyalty, word of mouth and your share of business for your sector. And no, it’s most definitely not NPS (Net Promotor Score)!

Other Posts

Gang fights, Bridges and Beer
What have gang fights, bridges and beer have in common? Read on and find out #OpenYourWorld
Habitual Power
Habit is the breakfast of champions, but also the undoing of us when we unconsciously get sucked into less than useful habits. So where’s your focus (consciously and unconsciously)? How about the company where you work? What patterns do you notice? Are you a habitually busy person, rarely able to find time to do the important things you know you should? Do you get sucked into the busy-ness of others?
Customer Experience
What an Experience
How's the customer experience with your company? How easy is it for them to do business with you? How do you most want your customers to feel while doing business with you? Anxious, uncertain, annoyed, frustrated? We guess that’d be a no. Yet there are still so many businesses that continue to generate these feelings in their customers.
Inside Out
The Ultimate Accountability Model
We’d like to suggest that the key to solving the angst about migration is to point people to the source of their experience. When countries and individuals realise that their anti-refugee stance is not caused by things that happen on the outside that they may feel a victim of, but by what’s going on with their thinking, then there’s hope.
Customer Experience
Come On Retail, Retaliate!
Is it all gloom and doom in the retail sector? Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the British Retail Consortium, warned last week that the retail sector is facing the loss of up to 900,000 jobs and thousands of shop closures in the coming decade. This in part due to the new apprenticeship levy and the rise in the National Living Wage. Over in Europe things aren’t much different, with Swiss retailers in particular feeling the pinch due to the strong franc and the ease of buying the same product in the Eurozone at much lower prices.
Culture Change
Done Lean - Six Sigma? Didn't really work?
Lots of companies say they’ve ‘done’ Lean, ‘done’ Six Sigma, and with this there’s very often an associated ‘and it didn’t really work for us’ attached. When we probe a bit further, it soon transpires that whilst they had a go at it, there were lots of required ingredients that weren’t in place, and naturally, rather like baking a chocolate cake without the chocolate or cocoa, the result didn’t meet expectations. Want to get the best from applying Lean - Six Sigma in your business? Read on.
Customer Experience
Small Words, Big Impact
Changing small words can have a big impact on outcomes. Discover some of the helpful recent findings from the world of Conversational Analysis, particularly applicable in the worlds of customer experience, negotiating, sales and general consulations.
Inside Out
The Curious David Bowie Effect
Fundamentally, this is what’s behind everything that prevents us realising our full potential: things like stress, overwhelm, anxiety, office politics, levels of busy-ness, baggage from previous encounters and so on. The performance of an organisation is a function of the quality of its people’s thinking. When the quality and clarity of thinking improves, great things happen.
Culture Change
Bringing About Organisational Change
An interview with Alastair Olby on bringing about change in organisations. When do traditional methods work, and when could you be making life easier by taking more of a cutting edge approach?
Customer Experience
To Delight or Not Frustrate? That is the Question
There’s a world of difference between a customer experience-focussed company and a customer service-focussed company: it’s a profound cultural difference, and to make the shift from one to the other isn’t necessarily easy, but it IS possible.
Graphic Recording and Groups: how much value does it add?
As a professional facilitator I’m very aware of the importance and value of visually summarising what’s being discussed by groups, but at the recent European International Association of Facilitators’ conference an interesting question arose. It seems to have become best practice to have a graphics expert work alongside groups to create a visual summary of what the group discusses. However for some it's not always easy to recall what's depicted. So what should we do?
Customer Experience
What Have Dignity And Respect Got To Do With It?
Recently a large organisation we work with launched a Dignity and Respect workshop for its staff. Why? Well customer feedback suggested that this was an area for improvement. The workshop took 90 minutes and underlined why it's so important for customers to be treated well, and the sorts of behaviours that are expected of the organisation's staff. The result? Fuming staff. Read on to find out why.
I'm Honest, Right?
The one thing followers most want from a leader is honesty. Honesty ranks head and shoulders above all the other wants of followers. It's the number one thing to get right, yet many leaders in large organisations inadvertently create an impression of dishonesty. Read on to find out how this happens.
Culture Change
Are You Ready For The Inclusion Challenge?
Did you know that despite the economic gloom around much of the world, at the moment engineers are in short supply? With emerging markets' need for qualified, skilled engineers, many organisations are having to re-evaluate their approach to recruiting and retaining talented staff, casting the net far wider than before. This then creates challenges with ensuring people from very different backgrounds feel included in the workplace.
Culture Change
Are Meetings Taking Over Your Life?
So many people are finding there's precious little time to do their normal job after all the meetings they have to attend. Read on to find out how come core principles for meetings can make a big improvement.
Are You Working For A Psychopath?
Surely not! But wait on a minute. Recent research for the film 'The Corporation' concludes that the closest character definition of a typical corporation is that of a psychopath. So can working within organisational values result in decent people doing things which are collectively harmful?
Customer Experience
Is This The Same Hotel?
Do your customers experience variation in the quality of your service or product? In the age of the experience economy, and the need to focus on customer experience, not customer service, this is such an important area. How does your company stack up?