Saturday, March 28, 2015

How to Set Workforce Metrics Linked to Customer Satisfaction

The nutshell version is you need to think about the employee behaviors, knowledge and expertise that is potentially linked to the performance outcomes of interest. 

Being a customer-centric business is a digital mantra for many forward-thinking organizations. How to translate such vision into business logic and step-by-step action scenario, how to set up a reporting-assessment-monitoring process; and how to measure the result? Is there any workforce metrics linked to the quality of the products and customer satisfaction?

Build a “behavioral value chain” map: The overall idea is to build a "business logic" or "behavioral value chain" between the inputs - intermediate steps - outcomes. Unpack the employee inputs - product quality - customer satisfaction chain to determine what constitutes each of the parts and the strength, and direction of the various links in the chain. Identify, understand and potentially take account of various contextual factors or environmental factors in case there is more to the story as well. On another side, do not assume product quality is actually the best predictor of customer satisfaction either... but a very important one, if you actually want something that will be predictive of actual behavior.

A reporting-assessment-monitoring process: Once you have your map, look at what data you have to test or support your new theoretical model, and building the evidence that indeed you have found actual predictive pathways. By this stage you will now be able to determine the workforce attitudes, behaviors, and expertise, you need to shape appropriate workforce strategies that will actually ensure these things happen and put in place a reporting-assessment-monitoring process to act as a feedback loop as things change. The nutshell version is you need to think about the employee behaviors, knowledge and expertise that is potentially linked to the performance outcomes of interest - it would be product quality and through this to customer satisfaction.

Tailored metrics: Any of the prior attempts that have failed have usually been the result of an approach of linking aggregate employee satisfaction with aggregate customer satisfaction. This is far too macro and introduces too many variables. The challenge is that the former is only one driver of the latter, and therefore other ancillary factors such as capital investment, customer expectations, often can impact customer satisfaction and prevent a meaningful trend from emerging. Rather than using standard metrics, you can build your own custom metrics that suit your organization. If you have quality of product data and customer satisfaction data, map them out and start to overlay some HR data over. If you're more maths oriented then start mashing them together and see what correlations you can draw. The caution is: don't necessarily see a correlation as causation, keep asking why until you have it.

Either mapping the behavior value chain or linking the workforce metrics to customer satisfaction, more often, it is not the linear steps, you have to apply system thinking, take account of various contextual factors, make balance of customer satisfaction and business profitability, engage employees and focus on long term business prosperity.


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