“I tidied my room. Can I watch My Little Ponies now?”
This has been a familiar refrain in our household from our 6-year-old daughter, Josie, who understands that screen time is a reward for her weekly bedroom clean-up.
“Make your room neat, Josie, and 30 minutes with Pinky Pie and Shutterfly is yours.”
It seemed to be working great. Until last week.
While Josie was getting a good dose of “Friendship is Magic,” I went into her room to put some laundry away and accidentally dropped a pair of socks. Low and behold, the truth was out! Dress-up clothes rammed under her bed, thousands of rainbow loom bands shoved under the rug, and art supplies and books hidden under her covers.
This was not the desired outcome of what we thought was a smart reward structure.
Seeing What’s Really Under the Covers
Quite apart from being a rookie mistake – one that parents with two older children should not have made – this was doubly embarrassing. Over the years I have been fairly outspoken about similar errors organizations make when setting incentive program goals and rewards around customer experience.
On the surface, their progress looks substantial – similar to Josie’s “tidy” bedroom – but when you look under the covers, the mess is still there.
Here are three warning signs to look out for if you are concerned your improvements may not be reflective of reality:
- Your outcome measure (that means: Net Promoter Score, Customer Satisfaction Score, Customer loyalty, or other customer experience metrics) is on the rise, but:
The number of customer problems and complaints isn’t similarly declining.
Employee turnover is up or Employee Engagement scores are down.
Customer churn isn’t moving in the right direction.
If any of these patterns are present in your organization, this may mean your people are focused on the number, rather than the overall health of the customer experience ecosystem.
- Your VOC program looks like it did in 1978 (or when goals were first set). This is a big red flag because:
Companies are developing more sophisticated Closed Loop Feedback systems.
Experts are introducing new approaches, technologies and methodologies around the Voice of the Customer.
If your company is truly committed to improving the customer experience, then a willingness, even an appetite, to adapt and change will arise, even if it means re-setting the bar at a lower level.
- The good, the bad and the ugly of customer feedback is only made available to a chosen few.
- Companies that democratize feedback, publish scores, and share success stories show employees a commitment to improving experiences, not the number alone.
Using feedback as opportunities for education, coaching and improvement can engage employees and improve the customer experience simultaneously.
Avoiding Metrics Myopia
Perhaps Josie took her shortcut approach because she didn’t have the right skills; perhaps it was an innocent misunderstanding; or perhaps, it was a desire to take the quickest route to receive her reward.
Whatever the motivation, a reward program for customer experience strategy (or clean bedrooms) is not something to be rushed into without careful thought, education and communication.
We’re on a mission to cure companies from metrics myopia and we want to share what we’ve seen work so you all can really clean the CX up. In a later post, I’ll share best practices for how to set improvement targets that make a real difference to your customer experience.
Topic: Customer Experience