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Community Soundbites: How authentic are your customer-related KPIs?

Each month, Thematic hosts a virtual roundtable (a casual Zoom call) for insights professionals within our community. Together, we discuss how we’re seeing this space evolving and swap notes on best practices! Join our community here.

COVID is continuing to create CX complexities - so connecting with people facing the same challenges is more important than ever. We’re grateful for the diverse group of CX professionals who joined in on this month’s conversation. With so many different backgrounds and expertise, we explored this month's topic through unique lenses.

This blog post is an overview of one of these conversations.

How useful and helpful are your KPIs?

This month's conversation focused on customer-related KPIs. We discussed how authentic and helpful these measurements are - and what we can do with customer data to make KPIs like NPS more actionable.

We knew going into this conversation that people will always stand by their metrics. So it can be a divisive subject. Thankfully though this resulted in a really interesting conversation!

What KPIs are CX professionals measuring?

Across industries, NPS and Revenue are organisations go-to KPIs today.

However, we discussed in the session how these are lagging measures. Equally, they’re not actionable. In particular to NPS - it's impacted by so many things, and fluctuates frequently. So it can be a stressful measure for insight professionals to watch without understanding the drivers behind it.

I’ve pulled out some themes from the conversation...

“Focus less on the score and more on the behavior”

This was a great point made on the call. With so many journeys completed in digital channels today, our research focus is shifting. It's about understanding people's behavior at different stages - and knitting this data together to create a story. We need to understand what is driving people to the desired outcome.

Which then begs the questions: What story does this data tell?

How it sometimes feels when we are searching for the drivers behind our KPIs

We discussed different metrics which tie into revenue and NPS. When viewed holistically, these can begin to tell a story. Churn rates, sign-ups, satisfaction scores… the list is long. Especially given the growing number of digital touchpoints today. What was interesting though was people’s reservations about the quality and useability of this data. This is an ongoing challenge for CX professionals.

There's been an accelerated shift to survey-style data collection in digital environments. However, this is highlighting the shortcomings of this method - and bringing qualitative insights into the spotlight. There was a consensus at the roundtable that researchers need to ensure they’re taking a blended approach. Not focusing on just one or the other.

How are forward-thinking CX professionals developing & prioritizing capabilities to process qualitative data?

Ultimately, qualitative data is the best way to understand the human story and drivers behind NPS and Revenue.

Qualitative data is historically more difficult and time-consuming to make sense of. But this is changing - and those who can take advantage of this will reap the benefits. New tools and technology are making it easier to collect and process qualitative data - and blend it with quantitative insights. By doing so, CX professionals can establish cause-and-effect relationships between certain behaviors. Which then makes the data actionable!

Equally, there is a sequence needed to get this right. Undertaking focus groups and interviews are key before designing quantitative data methods. Otherwise, how are you to know what sort of questions to ask? Qualitative feedback will bring clarity to what data needs to be prioritised. Research teams need to probe on “what exactly will the data be used for” before getting to survey designs. This is all with the intent of getting better at understanding the drivers behind KPIs and understanding CX stories.

Let’s not overlook a key challenge all CX practitioners are faced with:

Do customers care about the data you’re collecting? How can you encourage them to contribute?

Customers need to be incentivised to give feedback. We shared mixed views at the roundtable about how willing people are to give feedback. Especially when customers are pessimistic about whether their feedback matters!

So, we discussed alternative ways of encouraging people to get involved in CX research - and how we can get customers to care more.

It’s all about reinforcing the behaviour, and communicating what is being done with their feedback. We need to ensure that people can see the value in spending that time and that their voice matters.

The friendly exchange we imagine when we ask our customers to take a survey

There was a particularly great moment on the call where I saw a lot of people take out their pens to make a note! Erin DeSilva, a Senior CX Manager at Equinix, talked to the group about how they have made a simple change to the last page of their customer surveys. On the page where you typically share a generic “thank you for your time” message, Equinix now communicates how that feedback is going to be used - and why it matters.

Encouraging customers to take part in qualitative research, such as focus groups, can result in them feeling more ownership over their experience. So, with our increasing focus on qualitative data collection… let this be an encouragement to all CX professionals out in our community! Let’s build those positive reinforcement loops.

Communicating insights is half the battle…

Everyone is interested in different information - but what becomes harder is when we’re asked to simplify it. Exec teams in particular are quick to ask for the commonalities and direct cause-and-effect relationships behind changes in KPIs. But we all know it’s more complex than this.

COVID has made this crystal clear. A lot of the time, there are external forces outside of the businesses control that are having an impact on your KPIs - and we as CX professionals need to get better at being able to measure this - then distinguish between the different drivers.

This all ties back to the conversations had about understanding the story behind KPIs and getting better at setting up our feedback collection measures in supporting this.

And to close out the call… one final reminder:

Insights through employee feedback is largely unexplored territory

For many businesses, employees are a large part of the customer group. And if they’re not, they’re often the people closest to the customer. While the focus is forever on external customers and how we get better at understanding their journeys - employees are often quicker and more incentivized to contribute to your research. So what are you doing to capture their insights?

We’ve done our best to capture the best bits from this roundtable, however, participating in one of our sessions will always be more valuable. If you’d like to join a future community call, you can sign up to join here!

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