The desire to become more data-driven in business has evolved from conversation to obsession - to the point that today one of the hottest new job titles is "Data Scientist." But how important is data, really, for customer experience success? And what secrets are the leaders learning that is taking them beyond the hype and into a sustainable bottom-line improvement?

How Important are Metrics for Customer Experience Improvement?

Research from the Aberdeen Group suggests that successfully using data is the defining factor between the most successful businesses, and those that are willing to settle for average ("Executive Dashboards: The Key to Unlocking Double Digit Profit Growth"). Among other things, the research found that there is a whopping 60% difference in the usage of performance reporting dashboards between the two groups of companies.

Infgraphic - big data and profitability

What Are the Right Customer Experience Metrics?

It's clear that tracking metrics and making them available is important to organizations that don’t want to play in the little leagues. But companies in all leagues find it difficult to identify and share the right metrics.

Infographic - difficulty in big data access

Research from the Social Workplace has found that 84% of managers don’t know how to measure their team members ("Social Knows: Employee Engagement Statistics"). And even when the right metrics are known, only about 31% of business leaders have the ability to see them on a dashboard according to Gartner ("Predicts 2014: Business Process Reinvention Is Vital to Digital Business Transformation"). Do your managers know how to measure their team members? Can they easily see those metrics?

Employee Engagement: Sharing the CX Metrics

How are the outperforming organizations responding to the challenge of identifying and sharing customer experience metrics?  In two ways:

1. They’re training employees to understand the game score (overall company performance), and

2. They’re engaging employees in measuring their player score (individual and customer experience performance) and how it impacts the game score

In other words, their whole team knows the score - at the corporate, team, and individual level.

Infographic - employee engagement collaboration impact on the customer experience

Research from The Great Game of Business has found when companies practice an open books approach to business leadership (sharing detailed company financials and performance information, and educating the team on understanding the information), they experience 5.6x higher profit growth and 2.6x better employee engagement.  And the National Center for Employee Ownership reports that these performance boosts can double the growth of a business over a 30 year period (“Open Book Management”).

Infographic - the ROI of collaborative culture on creating better customer experiences

Identifying the right customer experience and personal performance metrics is a moving target. The only way to keep up with it is to involve the entire team into the process. Research from Deloitte demonstrates that there is a tremendous amount of value in engaging the entire team in a collaborative process – with highly collaborative cultures 92% more likely to innovate and develop novel products and processes (“High-impact learning culture: The 40 best practices for creating an empowered enterprise”).

Want to pull ahead of the competition faster? How are you doing with getting the whole team engaged?

Engaging Employees to Create a Culture of CX Improvement

But creating a culture of employee engagement is easier said than done.  Business News Daily points out that 40% of employees say that their manager doesn’t listen to them (“Employees Reveal Why They Hate Their Bosses”) and additional research shows an enormous gap of 79% between the importance of collaboration and the ability to deliver on it (Chris Ernst, "Boundary Spanning Leadership”). Small wonder that most organizations are failing to deliver great customer experiences or to make even incremental improvements.

Infographic - The collaboration gap

Organizations that are creating cultures of contagiously collaborative employees have discovered two counter-intuitive secrets to success:

Quote - when we make the choice to dare graetly we get our asses kicked - brene brown

1. They have embraced vulnerability as a corporate value.

Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown strongly suggests that vulnerability is key to personal growth and improvement, and this is as true for growing a business as it is personal development. Building this into a corporate culture, where being vulnerable can be both painful and risky, is not easily achieved and requires modeling this quality from the top down.

2. They collaborate for the purpose of improving the customer experience.

Employees don’t engage for the sake of engagement. They engage because they have found a sense of purpose in their workplace. And, ultimately, every workplace exists for the purpose of serving a customer. Successful companies get this, and they make their purpose crystal clear, and establish metrics and meetings to work together better in reaching towards their purpose.

Next Steps for a Better Customer Experiences