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Money as a Metric That Matters

March is all about customer service metrics, and we’ve been highlighting the usual suspects of FCR, QA, service level, and CSAT. We will talk more in the upcoming weeks about NPS, social metrics, and the new mobile KPIs. But what about money? In a non-sales environment, is money ever a metric that matters?

Before I answer, let me pose another question that was recently asked of me – “How will you know if you’ve improved customer service?”You may not think these two questions are related, but I will argue that the former can actually be a measurement of the latter. In Jeff Toister’s article, “What Causes Our Customer Service Blind Spots?” he not only creates this linkage, but shows us how any metric CAN be the right one, if it solves an identified problem or creates behavior that drives the ultimate outcome.

So, is money a metric that matters? Sometimes, yes. Sometimes money is not only an appropriate metric, it is the RIGHT one. In the example I will describe below, money truly eliminates a customer service blind spot and clearly acts as a suitable measurement of customer satisfaction improvement.

Here’s the picture - instead of spending last week within the walls of a contact center, or typing away at my desk, I spent my days enjoying a Disney Dream cruise. Ironically, when you are on the boat, money is actually the furthest thing from your mind. It is a cashless society onboard, and everything is either prepaid or bought using your prefunded ship card, (aka your room key). That is until you are asked to provide your feedback near the end of the trip.

Disney not only provides a pretty standard, (albeit extensive), CSAT form asking about everything and everyone that you came in contact with, but they also deliver tipping guidelines that associate back to your numerical customer service scoring. Yes, this is finally where money comes in as a measurement. Here’s how:

  • For each person in your cabin, you are charged a flat gratuity that is added to your final bill. This is for “good” service. In our world it’s a nice above-average CSAT score; think of it as 4 out of 5.
  • Disney also provides a document that has the name of each of your “dedicated” customer service people – such as your room host/hostess, head dining room server, and the assistant server – along with the portion of the flat gratuity that is allocated to each of them.
  • Depending upon the level of service you personally received, you then have the option to modify or add additional gratuity amounts by stopping at the Guest Services Desk.

It is that last part that I found particularly interesting. Why did Disney want to know what additional money I planned to leave my most amazing stateroom host, Bryon? Why did I physically have to go to Guest Services, and not just leave cash in the room? Was this simply for tax purposes? Was it tied to some incentive plan?

It turns out that the extra gratuity is used as a complementary measurement of customer service! Disney believes strongly in their CSAT process and takes the physical feedback forms very seriously. And certainly, with just that formula they can properly measure an individual employee’s CSAT week-over-week and gauge improvement or dissatisfaction trends. In true Disney fashion though, they have taken it one step further! They have proven that the ultimate in guest satisfaction, is the guest willing to part with more money. When they compute their overall CSAT, they look at the combination of the numerical score and the percentage of guests that have elected to leave an additional gratuity. The added power in this arrangement is that they’ve made it so transparent to both the employee, and the customer. The customer service agent, (stateroom attendant in this scenario), knows exactly what they need to do to generate “magical” CSAT and more money, while the customer knows exactly how to express their satisfaction.

Money can become a metric; a metric that really matters.

As with any metric, you have to first know why you are measuring it, what you are trying to accomplish with it, and what to do with it. At our upcoming ACCE conference in Seattle, Jeff Toister will take us back to that early question of, “How will you know if you’ve improved customer service?” and also reveal five of the hidden, unusual, and possibly even counterintuitive causes of poor customer service. He’ll then teach the audience how to create solutions for those challenges. And with the solutions, come the metrics to evaluate success! I do love when we come full circle with customer service.

If you don’t have the opportunity to hear Jeff, our incredible ACCE Speaker of the Week’s , “Tackling the Five Hidden Causes of Poor Customer Service" session , you can learn a little but more about him here.

ICMI: What excites you most about presenting at ACCE this year?
Jeff: I can’t wait to share a fun, experiential session with a great group of dynamic call center professionals. I’m sure I’m going to learn a lot from the audience!

ICMI: What quirky customer service fact would you like our ICMI community to know about you?
Jeff: I failed miserably when I tried to serve my first customer. I’ve never forgotten the lesson I learned from that encounter.

ICMI: What is the one takeaway you hope to give your audience?
Jeff: My session is very hands-on, so I hope this allows my audience to get a deeper insight into the obstacles that can make it hard for agents to provide amazing service.

ICMI: What is the one question YOU hope to get an answer to while at ACCE?
Jeff: My session is all about hidden obstacles. I’d really like to learn about one of my own blind spots by gaining new perspectives on call center customer service.

ICMI: What is the best customer experience you’ve had where you’ve been on the customer side?
Jeff: I hope I don’t offend anyone by saying I don’t want my very best customer experiences to come from a contact center. I’m usually calling, emailing, chatting or whatever because I’m trying to solve a problem and not for the sake of simply connecting with the person on the other end of the phone or computer. However, I do appreciate call centers that offer fast service from a helpful person who is allowed to use their own personality.

And with that, I thank Disney for a great experience and an interesting angle on money, an often unconsidered metric. I also ask you all to consider, “How will I know if I’ve improved customer service?” Perhaps with that, you too will find the magical metric to measure.