Are You Measuring the Right Things?

Are You Measuring the Right Things

What gets measured gets improved. But what if you’re measuring the wrong things?

Recently I was having lunch with a friend who works in the banking industry and he was telling me about FCR: First Call Resolution. 
 
This is a metric used in customer service which measures the percentage of times your company can solve a customer problem on the first call, eliminating the need for follow up calls. It cuts down on time and cost for customer service and hopefully provides a better customer experience.
 
My friend said he was in a meeting where some consultants were talking about FCR. He asked if that included contact the customer had with the bank through the website or any of their other social channels.
 
People looked at him like they didn’t know what he was talking about. As if the only way a customer could interact with the bank was by phone.
 
I went a step further, wondering what would happen if you solved the customer’s problems at your website or a social media channel. What if your content, your how-to videos, your mobile app, etc., could prevent the customer service call in the first place?
 
What if you could get to NCR: No Call Resolution?
 
This would actually hurt your FCR. Because you’d be solving all the relatively easy, common problems that customers run into. The ones you could regularly solve on the first call. 
 
Instead, your customer service reps would be left dealing with the more difficult-to-please customers. Navigating the thorny problems that might take multiple calls to resolve.
 
Maybe there was a time where FCR was a good metric to pay attention to, but perhaps that time has passed. At least, it’s no longer the only metric banks (and other companies) should be paying attention to.

Are your metrics vanity or value-based?

In social media, we often get excited by “vanity” metrics. How many people like your Facebook page. How many views your video got on YouTube. How many connections on LinkedIn you have. 
 
But what value do these numbers hold? Your Facebook page won’t get many organic views no matter how many people like it. Bots and trolls inflate follower numbers on Twitter and Instagram. I have over 6,200 connections on LinkedIn, but if I’m being honest, maybe only 100 of them provide any value to me or vice versa.
 
For some, these vanity numbers do provide value, especially if you’re looking to be an influencer. Vanity metrics can demonstrate social proof, but only if they’re real and can be authenticated. Lately there’s been a push back on looking strictly at numbers of followers to measure influence, so perhaps we’re moving into a post-vanity-number world. (He hopes.)

Is a bigger email list always better?

Everyone involved in digital marketing talks about how to grow your email list, but is that always in your best interest?
 
Recently I discovered that email delivery rates are affected by open rates. In other words, if you have a large list of subscribers who don’t regularly take action on your emails (opens, clicks), it can lower your delivery rates. More emails will end up in the promotions tab (in Gmail) or will be dropped straight into spam.
 
Perhaps a slower, more organic approach to list building is in order.
 
After all, it’s better to have a list of 10 people who buy from you than 1,000 subscribers who never even open your email.

How many hits do you have?

When I first started building websites, it was common to display a Hit Counter at the bottom of your home page to show how popular your page was.
 
(Yes, I’ve been doing this that long.)
 
Soon it became common knowledge that the hit counter was counting every “hit” the server received, which included images. So, if you had a home page with five images, that rang up six new hits. Ten images? This one goes to eleven.
 
Obviously, there was no value to this metric, and it was replaced with real traffic reports like Google Analytics
 
Thankfully, people recognized that there were more important things to measure and moved on.

So, what should you measure?

This can be tricky. Your customer service department might be rewarded on how few complaints they get. But your sales team might be rewarded on how many new customers they sign up. Unfortunately, more customers means more customer service calls (probably.)
 
Also, we need to be very aware that what we measured yesterday may have little value today. FCR is a good metric until you realize that your customers are interacting with your brand in new ways that may make FCR irrelevant.
 
For me, I have top line metrics like how many leads our website generates, how many proposals we send out, how many work agreements get signed, and how much we sell over the course of the year.
 
I also have bottom line metrics, like net profit
 
And, of course we have vanity metrics like the size of our email list or podcast subscribers. These may indirectly lead to both top and bottom line metrics. Several of my Agents of Change podcast listeners have hired flyte for their digital marketing. 
 
As we move forward, we’ll add new metrics like repeat customers and monthly retainers; numbers that measure whether we’re doing a good job and supporting our clients’ growth.
 
After all, what gets measured, gets improved.