The Two Ultimate Questions For XM Metrics

Experience Management (XM) programs often rely on one or more key metrics that track items such as likely to recommend, satisfaction, effort, or engagement. As I’ve written in the past, the success or failure of these metrics often has little to do with the actual metric. Instead, the key to success is the program that is wrapped around those numbers (see our 5 steps for an effective CX metrics program). 

Many organizations, however, treat the metric as the core focus of their efforts; overly-obsessing on the data. They regularly spend (actually waste) hours and hours of valuable leadership bandwidth discussing and debating numbers, acting as if a discussion about the metric will magically improve the business.

Let’s think about this situation in a completely different realm… golf. Consider two new golfers. One spends his time debating how to keep score and whether or not his scorecard is accurate, while the other one looks at where she’s losing the most strokes and focuses her time on making improvements in those areas. Which of these golfers do you think will get better faster?

Senior Leaders: Ask These Two Questions

While there are many reasons why organizations fall into this metric-obsessive behavior, senior leaders have the ability to stop it and create a much more productive environment. How? By asking questions that drive the right behaviors.

Here’s my advice for senior executives… Whenever your staff shows you any XM metrics (this includes CX, EX, PX, or BX measurements), ask these two questions:

  1. What have you learned?
  2. What improvements are you making?

That’s right, don’t ask about the data. These two questions will push the organization to focus on the right things and avoid unproductive discussions about numbers.

If people aren’t learning anything from the metrics then you need to encourage them to look deeper (if it continues, then you might need new metrics). If people aren’t making improvements, then you need to ask them “why not?” The only exception to this process is for organizations that are happy maintaining the status quo.

Don’t ask those two questions once or twice; ask them all of the time. This simple change in leadership behavior will have a dramatic effect on how the rest of the organization behaves. As you repeat these questions (over and over again) and stop obsessing about the actual numbers, I’ll bet that your metrics will actually improve even faster.

The bottom line: Leaders can improve XM metrics by simply asking two questions.

Written by 

I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

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