Have you implemented an effective set of metrics and measures within your customer communications management program (CCM)? For some of our clients, these metrics and measures are sketchy at best, or have been implemented as an afterthought. 
When defining your metrics and planning for monitoring and measurement, consider these guidelines.

1. Quantifiable results are a key to effectively telling the CCM program story and sustaining the program over time. Although some metrics will be difficult to capture without supporting technology (e.g., workflow), establishing baselines is essential for monitoring progress as you mature.

2. Start with cycle time and effort per unit of work. Tracking both the effort and duration for working a collection of documents is a key to understanding the capacity of your shop. With this data in hand, you will be in a much better position to provide credible estimates and forecast how much work can be handled at a given staffing level. 

3. Focus your quality on the number of production errors as well as the number of work items that flow through the process with no rework required. Identify pre-production errors on a stage, phase and/or team level, with a focus on analysis of key handoffs between groups.

4. For large redesign or rewrite projects, track the number of iterations with the business area required for review, input and approvals. These metrics are key for understanding efficiencies and impacts on timelines. As the process and resources mature over time, the iteration trend should come down. 

MORE: 5 Ways Customer Communications Management Improves Your Customer Experience Efforts

5. Cycle time metrics should measure the end-to-end process duration as well as key stages in the process. Compare the actuals against delivery targets and service-level agreements (SLAs). As many firms have implemented limited release schedules, be sure to track time spent in staging or waiting for production deployment so as not to skew your results. 

6. Unit cost is a key measure to operating the production process like a “factory.” Determine the level of depth that can be successfully measured to determine effort per unit, and then determine the unit cost per request or category (e.g., by document type, by business unit, by request complexity, etc.).

7. Content or asset-based metrics are valuable for measuring the levels of reuse and its impact on productivity and unit cost. The objective should not necessarily be to maximize reuse but to help define the optimal levels of content reuse relative to productivity and unit cost.

8. Separate run-the-business activities from large redesign or rewrite efforts. Track the metrics by request type, by business area and by size of the request (i.e., number of documents and complexity of work). Data points are likely to be very different between the two types of work, separating the data will provide better insight.

9. Factor in return on investment where possible. Make sure the metrics you capture help to tell your story and sustain the program over time. Usually this means connecting to benefits formulations for cost savings and speed to market.

10. Remember that sometimes less is more. Don’t overcomplicate the metrics and reporting requirements, or you’ll likely do more harm than good. A clearly defined, yet succinct, set of measures will provide what you need to manage the program and make appropriate adjustments along the way.

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