Everything is measurable

The hard part is deciding what to measure.

A chance conversation this week with someone involved in the delivery of HR services reminded me of my first Rapid Organisational Change programme some years back.

The client was a large automotive distributor, more specifically the after-sales division of the company. The problem was that the number of active customers had been stagnant for many years. Taking away the repeat customers, the growth in the business should yield an increase in the number of active customers using the service and repair facilities.

Unfortunately, because customers were not happy, as soon as they were not obliged to stay for warranty reasons, they left.

The consulting part of the project required investigation and analysis to establish what was going wrong, which then enables the coaching part of the project to kick in; enabling ownership, definition and execution of change. [If you are interested in how that works, read my article on “Alignment of Purpose”]

The first insight for the client was that there are two things to be measured. The ultimate outcome; and the things that had to change in order to get to the ultimate outcome.

The second insight is that you must bring everything down to behaviours (leadership, after all, is just project managing behaviours). Often the conversation is about feelings we want our clients to experience “We want them to be delighted”.
”Interesting; and how will you know they are delighted?”
Which usually leads to describing a behaviour.

The third insight was that you cannot go to the feeling, the “delighted customer”, until you have solved all the problems. And in some areas you may need to accept that there is nothing in the area of “delight”. Or at least nothing that is likely to show up for everyone.

So the perfect service means complete absence of FRICTION. Everything “just works”.

Getting your car serviced or repaired is one of those. “I just expect everything to work”.

The HR services we were discussing is another one. Everything has to just work.

Until you have that sorted out you can’t even begin to expect to see what “delight” might look like.
The first step is to analyse where the friction is. Then define the change required to remove the friction (note we are still on behavioural change).

You measure the singular indicator of the result which will take you in the direction of the desired outcome. For the automotive service it was “Every car goes back to the customer, done right, on time, first time.” In a complex service area there may a singular indicator for each part of the service.

Then you measure the decrease in friction incidents. Repeat work, completion delay, missing parts supply etc. This is the weekly project managing of behavioural change which will lead to the desired result.

Please note, doing this, providing the frictionless service, will NOT “delight” the customer. It is what they expect as the basic standard.

Delighting a customer in this context may be things like proactive reminders for upcoming service in a busy period; arranging a test drive to drop them back at the office for the day they bring their car for service if they are heading into a typical replacement cycle.

And the delighted customer may refer others to you. But they won't all. So that would be an indicator of delight, not a measure you can apply to every customer.

Important Point: trying to do stuff to “delight” will backfire if there is still friction.

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