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Customer Health Dashboard Tips

Shawn Phillips Shawn Phillips 01/27/2021
Customer health dashboards are an effective CX tool.

Far too many companies with CX programs cannot show that they are making a difference to the business. This prevents them from being included in decision making and contributing to the health of their companies. There’s a solution to this problem: customer health dashboards.

Customer health dashboards are foundational to measuring and improving (and proving!) the impact your CX efforts. The research Heart of the Customer undertook over the course of 2020 clearly showed that the vast majority of leading programs used customer health dashboards.

That’s not surprising, given the maturity of those programs. But it’s how successful programs used customer dashboards that really set them apart. We found four elements that took their effectiveness to the next level.

Be brief

You have to communicate your main point in 90 seconds or less to be successful in telling the whole story. That’s harder than it sounds.

As Mark Twain famously said, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one.” Brevity is an art and a challenge.

I worked with a national retailer rearchitecting their data warehouse and reporting a while back. When I started, they had over 10,000 pages of reports available each week.

It was almost impossible to manage the business because no one knew what to look at first. As a result, many were reading different reports and working at cross purposes.

To succeed, they needed to prioritize their key metrics and cull hundreds of figures down to only the most important.

Successful CX teams make the same mistake. They cram every metric they can think of into their customer dashboards. I saw one dashboard with 18 slices of the NPS metric. The result? So many numbers…and so little actionable data.

Paradoxically, the most effective programs provide more information by including less information.  When people can get the gist of the message in 90 seconds or less, they understand where to focus. If it takes longer than that, you’re going to lose them.

Be compelling

I interviewed a successful CX leader last year and asked him what measures he shares with other departments to show they are making an impact. His answer was genius: “Whatever measurement is most important to them.”

Just as you won’t please any of your customers if you try to please all of them in the same way, your different departments have different needs and concerns that need to be addressed differently.

The CX leader I spoke to had NPS and CSAT and CES data, but he presented it in the context of what each department cared about. For example, for Finance folks he demonstrated how cost to serve went down when they did a specific project. And he showed how a decrease in customer effort also translated into it costing less to serve the customer.

We normally call this including X (Experience/Behavioral) and O (Operational/Financial) data on a single pane of a customer health dashboard. CX leaders who do this succinctly and with specificity grab their partners’ attention by showing what their partners care about. That makes an enormous difference.

Keep it fresh

Even a site with cute cat videos gets stale if you don’t update the content. We see too many dashboards built to be updated manually. Before long, the data gets old and outdated…and irrelevant.

If you’ve followed the advice above and kept things brief, it might be tempting to think that manual updates are fine, since you’re dealing with limited information. But you doom your dashboard to ineffectiveness if you don’t update content automatically.

At Heart of the Customer, we produce beautiful, impactful, actionable journey maps. They build empathy toward customers and empower our clients to identify and implement significant customer-focused change. But the work doesn’t end there.

We also utilize the robust journey mapping tools now on the market. They bring the evolving journey to life, matching touchpoints to current related metrics.

Our static, graphic journey maps get the ball rolling, increase understanding of critical moments in the journey, and build empathy and enthusiasm. But journey mapping software allows you to perpetuate that success as you implement your improvements.

You can track changes to the journey over time and show the impact they make – you can’t do that if you stop at a static journey map.

A good live journey map is a dashboard that shows those few and compelling KPIs through a journey lens. But the only way to make it work is by keeping the data fresh.

Show the right people

“If you build it, they will come” might apply to baseball fields, but it doesn’t work for customer dashboards. Just creating one isn’t enough.

The purpose of any customer health dashboard is to track and show the progress of the initiatives making an impact. But the freshest, most compelling dashboard won’t make any difference if the right people don’t see and understand it.

There are two main groups you need to reach.

First, the people doing the work, to show them that they are making a difference. Seeing this impact inspires and motivates people, and lets them know they’re on the right track.

The second group includes the people who fund your initiatives to drive customer-focused change. Roles and titles vary from organization to organization, but this typically includes the C-suite, executives, a leadership team and/or a board.

Titles don’t matter – what matters is that you show those key stakeholders that your work has impacted financial outcomes. In doing so, you prove the ROI of your team and your efforts, and present a compelling case that improving customer experience is good for business.

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