Performance Metrics Are Great, But Always Late

by Jeannie Walters

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In other words, you don’t know what you think you know.

Many a business guru have promoted metrics as the end-all of business goals. Set a goal, measure key performance indicators, and adjust accordingly.

Which is great. Except they’re always late. No matter how carefully you track your metrics or refresh your Google Analytics screen, the metrics are there to tell you what happened. What has already happened – as in, in the past.

performance metrics

By the time you start examining what those performance metrics tell you, you’re late. Say you examine your Google Analytics to find that 100% of your web traffic comes from Twitter, but 90% bounces out of your site. You may think of ways to improve your site, or you may look for ways to see how to retain users on your site longer. But how long has this been going on? It’s done. In other words, you don’t know what you think you know.

Start investigating now. TODAY.

I love metrics, but I’m often in direct conflict with them. I ask my clients to have faith in me as I evaluate their customers’ true experiences. It’s not easy. It’s difficult to say “ok, go for it,” when you THINK you know what your customers are seeing and experiencing every day. The metrics tell you things are normal. The metrics alert you when there’s a problem.

Except they’re late in doing so.

While you wait for your measurements, customers get frustrated. Email automation breaks. Prospects get lost in the system.

The worst part? You THINK you know what’s happening.

By evaluating experiences my clients THOUGHT they knew about, here are a few of the gems our Customer Experience Investigators™ have uncovered recently:

  • The email system, while reporting “all systems fine,” was actually sending out duplicate emails to several groups of customers.
  • An important “buy now” button on the site, again appearing to work fine on their internal sites, was not working for a majority of users.
  • While the online ordering experience was GORGEOUS and easy, plus gaining them plenty of sales, the actual product arrived with terrible packaging and communication which didn’t match the brand experience AT ALL.
  • Salespeople, all with decent numbers, were missing cross-sale opportunities.
  • Renewal for the best customers was cumbersome, priced incorrectly and leading customers into labyrinthine processes.

performance metrics

Would analyzing the performance metrics reveal these issues?

The short answer – yes, eventually. But not at this moment. There is no way you can know everything going on at any given moment. But using both real-time evaluations with careful analysis of what’s already happened, you can discover where you need to focus.

Where should you put your energy today to improve the customer experience?

Photo credits: Sam Howzitmybulldog via Creative Commons license


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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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