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What Metrics that Matter Most?

Updated: Jan 23, 2018

January 1, 2014


Before determining the metrics matter the most for managing customer engagement, it is important to understand what we value most. In customer engagement, we value customers who are committed to our brand and connected to us physically, emotionally, psychologically, and digitally. And we value highly engaged customers, but what does that mean? 

Customers that are highly engaged use your product or service and possess a deep connection to your brand. So deep that the connection becomes part of their identity.   These customers are more likely to:

  • Recommend your brand to other individuals

  • Maintain positive engagement with your brand in social networks

  • Dedicate a greater share of wallet to your brand, and

  • Avoid bad-mouthing you through social engagement even when they have a negative experience

You can think of a highly engaged customers as an “influencers.”  And to track and measure metrics for them it is important to use the  perspective of their entire journey with your Brand.

Looking at the customer journey

A customer journey perspective makes it easier to understand the disruption that social network-driven customer engagement has had on traditional contact center metrics. And as we evolve to omni channel, we need to extend our metrics beyond the points at which our customers have traditionally initiated contact with the brand.

For example, in the customer journey below, the person may initiate contact only at the point of order and maintenance services. But this represents a narrow slice of the lifecycle. Taking a broader view, we see a customer’s engagement with the brand provides opportunities to increase or decrease their loyalty throughout the entire journey.

It starts with a potential customer researching social network reviews, followed by comparison shopping and subsequently placing an order, to name a few engagement points in the journey.  As a result, when discussing the metrics that matter most, a Brand should step back and looking at the entire customer journey. And establishing a common language of metrics across marketing, sales, service and IT to an understanding of which matter most.

Structured and unstructured data

To improve the customer journey, it is important to not rely too heavily on any one metric. It’s also important to understand the metric’s source -  whether it is derived from structured or unstructured data.

Examples of traditional structured data include Net Promoter Score and Operating Metrics such as first-contact resolution, handle time, and “engagement” transfers. These are derived from simple survey questions or measuring enterprise workflows.

There is also a lot of value to be derived from unstructured data. Examples include answers to open-ended survey questions and measurement of social sentiment. Today’s technology allows us to take data from across various media types and languages. Such as contact center recordings, Facebook comments, tweets, blog posts, online product reviews, and surveys to name a few. Organizing the data by relevant categories reveals trends that can translate into action to improve your customers' experience.

Not all metrics are created equal

Metrics and their supporting solutions are not all created equal. The critical difference is the lag time between the metric capture and the execution of the action for improvement.

It is important to focus on where your biggest opportunities will arise: for example, focusing on customers who generate the most return on investment (ROI) for the enterprise.  Turning a somewhat-engaged customer into an influencer may be easier and give you a better return than finding new customers.

Another example is focusing on the are of the journey which where negative sentiment prevails. If your order process is rated significantly below other areas of your customer journey, then improving the process could translate into increased revenue through higher completion rates.

The metrics that matter most

You’re probably already tracking structured data metrics such as Facebook fans and Twitter followers. And you are also well versed in other structured data metrics that help you reduce operating cost. But metrics can do much more to create opportunity for your business by helping you identify and grow influencers.

You can begin to get a better grasp of your return on experience (ROE) by focusing on specific metrics that allow you to answer questions like:  

  • What is the sentiment on specific areas of the customer journey?

  • What is the value that a customer is getting through social engagement?

  • Are social engagements positively impacting the customer experience?

  • Does purchase activity improve after positive engagement experiences?

  • How do social networks contribute to brand equity?


Influencers represent an average 23% premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth. Non-influencers represent a 13% discount in those same measures.1 Brands increase revenue by improving the following metrics:

  • Cancel/save percentages: Increase the percentage of customers who do not cancel their account when expressing negative sentiment.

  • Conversion rates: The act of converting a digitally connected individual into paying customers. and upsell rate on existing customers

  • Completion success rates: Engagements that are successfully resolved.

  • Influencers: Define the attributes of influencers for your Brand and increase the percentage of fully engaged customers

  • Revenue per engagement: Increase in revenue as calculated by engagement handled, products sold, revenue per cycle, or revenue per Agent

  • Upsell percentages: Increase the percentage of engagements where higher margin, “add-on” features are offered and purchased by the customer.

Customer satisfaction and loyalty

Boost customer loyalty resulting from service interactions through better:

  • Customer effort index (scores): the measurement of how “difficult or easy” the engagement is for your customer

  • Net promoter scores: the measurement of how likely the customer will promote our products and services to others

  • Share-of-wallet metrics: Increase the amount of money each customer spends with your Brand

  • Top-box customer satisfaction scores: Increase the percentage of satisfied scores in the Top Box (for example, box 5) on a 1-to-5 scale of customer satisfaction ratings

Operating efficiency

Thinking of customer experience in a general way, we know from Forrester research that 71% of consumers agree that “Valuing my time is the most important thing a company can do to provide me with good customer service.”2 You can optimize both operating efficiency by tracking:

  • Automated engagement: Increase the percentage of engagement successfully addressed by self-service or virtual agents

  • Engagement handle times: Decrease the end-to-end engagement duration including routing, resolution, and post engagement processing

  • Engagements handled by top-tier agents: Increase the percentage of all engagements that are directed to and handled by your top performers (top15%)

  • First-contact resolution: Increase the percentage of engagements resolved at the first point of contact or social interaction.

  • Sentiment by customer journey segment: Benchmark and increase positive sentiment on journey segments (such as research, shop, and order)

So what is the biggest challenge for Brands to define the metrics that matter most?  In my opinion it is

1. Prioritizing what is most valuable your Brand's Cx

2. Defining Brand values in terms of measurable metrics

3. Turning those metric into an evergreen action plan.

Applying the right metrics helps provide a clear vision to transform business goals, results, and the customer experience.


1. Gallup Consulting, “Customer Engagement, What’s Your Engagement Ratio?”

2. Forrester Research, “Forrester Data Shows an Explosion of Channels for Customer Service with Inconsistent Satisfaction Ratings,” Kate Leggett, April 29, 2013



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