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There is the old adage: If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it—I couldn’t agree more. There is also an old lyric that states that the road to Three-mile Island was paved with good intentions. The point is, for all the best laid plans most companies are chasing dragons when it comes to setting metrics that are meaningful and actionable.

So, why is that? In an era that is clearly all about data, why is managing by the numbers still an uphill battle? There are a multitude of factors that play into it, ranging from a lack of consolidated data, to far too many silos within organizations paired with a lack of communication, to the inability to create dashboards and reports (reasons could be endless), and the list goes on.

In my decades of experience, the one constant that I have seen in so many companies is having a lack of real and consolidated data. From sales, to marketing, to ops, and more, getting real numbers can be difficult. More so, it’s almost always the lack of ability in connecting the dots for a consolidated global view and cross-accountability. How then do we solve this dilemma and create real success metrics?

Step one is to identify the metrics that are needed to better manage the business. Put aside vanity numbers, or numbers that may seem great for one single department, and begin looking for the Holy Grail that is the single source of truth. As I’ve said a million times, there are only two sides to brand: the message you market versus the unfortunate task of living up to the message you market. Getting KPIs in place that speak to measuring the success of the message you market is the key. And though every company is different, here are just a few suggestions as to what retailers should be measuring every single day.

First, measure the top of your funnel and segment it into actionable and gated stages. If you are measuring awareness for instance, that’s great—but just because you run ad campaigns and outreach doesn’t mean the job of marketing is done. Understanding the addressable market, the number of interactions with targets within the addressable market, and how many are actually “showing up” is just the beginning. But, at the very least, that tipping point should be a KPI that is in constant review to make sure that goals are being set and met.

It’s at this stage that organizations must also track and calculate Revenue-Per-Lead (RPL). This is all about understanding each channel available to targets and knowing that those targets can find the right channel, the one that works for them and their own personal buying habits. But it goes much farther than that. You must also then understand if the experience they are having within that channel is driving them to engage, interact and, of course, buy. These metrics will be a great starting point to fine-tune channels to make sure that ease-of-use and experience are being maximized.

It’s at this stage that experience leads to another key driver and metric, all relating to the tracking of return customers. In the new world of omnichannel customer engagement, creating single-user-profile information about every customer and being able to track customer interaction as they return (also known as loyalty) is an incredible metric to have. It means that you can re-vector marketing and sales initiatives to ensure maximum conversions at all times—and, in time, creating predictive modeling that always translates back to the bottom line.

Another key benefit of single-user-profile information is that real experience metrics can be garnered at all times. Whether online, in-app, or in-store—the way that a customer interacts is always captured. You should know everything including their visits (or lack thereof), interaction with ads and offers, times of interactions, survey results, and the amount of each average purchase. Even down to delivery times, in-store times, and more.

By now, you can see where this is going: a comprehensive dashboard that enables a manage-by-the-numbers approach to the business. By doing so, micro decisions can be made daily to ensure all gauges within the dashboard are flashing green and not red. And though it may seem like this is an over simplification of a greater topic and task, adjusting in real time to ensure all KPIs are within acceptable ranges means little to no surprises at the end of each week, month, quarter, or year.

More so, the ability to create these types of KPIs will almost immediately create a correlation between separated silos, making each division accountable to the others. Good customer experience is by definition “living up to the message you market.” If in-store is booming but in-app is not, adjust and correct. If in-store, in-app, and online are doing exceptionally well, but fulfilment and shipping is lagging, again, the metric will show it and you can then address it and correct it.

Making people accountable for their own jobs is one thing, making them accountable across the board as it relates to the totality of the business leads to one thing and one thing only, success—ongoing success.

Andrew Armstrong

Andrew Armstrong

Chief Customer Officer

Andrew Armstrong is the Chief Customer Officer at omNovos – working globally with customers to design world-class customer engagement programs. He’s a prolific writer and speaker on topics including customer loyalty, personalization, and retail marketing technologies. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter - his open approach to all topics usually leads to a fun discussion and a few laughs.