Metric This

I was talking to someone the other day who actually told me his metric for success was that his clients were calling him for help with the processes he implements in their organizations. That is the WRONG metric!

Imagine if I kept calling my car dealer for help because I couldn’t understand the owner’s manual. That means I haven’t been equipped with the information to use it; or that I’m not all that bright; or that the manual is lousy. Moreover, it’s immensely labor intensive for the customers to keep using staff time.

Getting back to my consultant, he asked me what would be the metric if he didn’t hear from clients with problems. I suggested:

• Unsolicited referrals
• Unsolicited testimonials
• Repeat business
• Expanded existing business
• Promptly returning your calls and email
• Calling you for advice on other matters

You get the idea. When clients call you because you’ve not enabled them to do something themselves adequately, you’re disempowering them AND yourself, since you’re eroding your discretionary time.

I once worked with a consulting firm in New York which had a metric of how many proposals were submitted each week. Not proposals accepted. Not proposals requested. But proposals submitted! “Okay,” I told the owner, “let’s start right here.”

A quiet client is often a happy client. You need legitimate and effective metrics to determine the extent of their happiness and how you can further capitalize upon it.

But if you’re sitting there waiting for them to complain, you’d better take two aspirins an call me in the morning.

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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4 Responses to Metric This

  1. Very useful post Alan. I have been thinking about these metrics myself lately and this helps me to instantiate my thoughts.

    Richard Martin

  2. Determining metrics for your organization seems very subjective and as with most quantifiable data the collector already has a bias on what they are looking for.
    Alan the mention of unsolicited referals is a great one.
    If you do a great job and a company is sustaining w/ out more of the same and they tell another company about you, that is a metric worth having!

  3. Alan Weiss says:

    Nothing like success, right!

  4. Ash Waechter says:

    This will be short since the last time I wrote this it got gobbled up and deleted by an browser/internet issue. Anyway, I really like the analogies(i.e. car dealership); it really helps to understand these concepts. I don’t think it would be “dummying down” to your audience to include these on future posts.

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