The Sounds Bosses Make.



Trust and the human condition

To some degree we can be successful in a challenging environment but it’s often hit or miss, and a lot of hard work, and frankly, I’d rather not expend that kind of energy if I don’t have to.

The following vignettes are drawn from life experience and describe six working scenarios.  The vignettes describe the challenges that work against trust and how I managed them, for good or ill.

You make up your mind.

Vignette 1

My first introduction to the cosmetic business was a bit of a surprise.

It was a retail business in rapid growth with a managing director I couldn’t decide I liked or feared, or whether I was just fascinated.  In the end fascination rose to the top and I began to respect her for making decisions where none would, and for having ideas and “wanting them now”.

She was, in turn, always respectful.  Where others struggled I warmed to her management style and looked forward to the Monday huddle.

She always came prepared.  She always had a list.  She always was on top of her game. Her directions were simple, and short, and she left you to figure out the rest.  And, she gave feedback.  Who could ask for more?

The only other time we heard from her was if we hadn’t met her deadline.  Generally it wasn’t pretty at that point so we firmly limited that eventuality.

I remember her for saying “are you ready, you should be by now”, and “what other options did you look at” and “does everyone agree?.”

Yes, there was a pretty large sword of Damocles hanging over our heads but she was concerned about how we worked together and the working process.  And, in the end she respected what we said and what we recommended.

When we did the right thing we knew it!

Good job team.

“The minute you settle for less than you deserve,

you get even less than you settled for.”

Maureen Dowd


Vignette 2

I sat down in his office and put my 90 day plan on the table and he said “before we get in that let’s talk about how you see yourself fitting…I want to make sure you get the right start in the department.”

How often have you had a boss say that to you?

How often has your boss expressed some form of concern for your success and well-being?  Fit doesn’t happen by itself.  Success is work.

The good news is that for the most part I’ve worked for individuals who believed in their team, believed in how the team functioned together, and understood the value of alignment.  Team Alignment enables teams of all types, at every level of the organization, to rapidly accelerate performance, deliver consistently higher business results, and work together as unified, self-directed entities.

The leadership of most companies talk about it but, in practice, it seems to be largely missing.

In this particular situation it was recognized that I was highly independent and could work with little direction.  And I did.  He was happy.  So was his boss.  We trusted each other and all was right with the world.

But with all good things comes change.  That change was fairly radical and took the form of a new SVP.

You’ve all been there – that first team meeting and the troubling sense that life would never be the same. Anxiety descends upon the floor.  Ambiguity replaces clarity.  Trust flees.

Needless to say it was time to make a change.  First my boss did, and then I and others followed.

In the end she pushed herself out.

“I’m working with two speeds today;

slow and fuck you. Which one do you want?”

Nicole Hill

Vignette 3

I went to work for this company because I perceived a tremendous potential for the company based on reported marketing investment.  I engaged friends to introduce me into the company and the VP of marketing.

Over a six month period I interviewed with more than 15 people, and for more than four roles and opportunities.  Feedback was always the same – “we were really impressed by your background but we are just finalizing the department structure and can’t move forward right now”.

I was still wanted to be there!

Finally my hire was confirmed for a long term analytics contract. The confirmation came indirectly and in what I was soon to learn was the style of my manager, the VP of marketing.

Trust would never develop on this ground.

My relationship with her was built on benign neglect.  I was irrelevant unless needed.  Initially I took this personally.  Don’t we all want to believe we are at the center of the universe sometimes?

There were insiders and outsiders in the marketing department.  The insiders heard the news first, got to discuss the direction of the department and gossiped about those they perceived as having a weakness.  And, you just live with it.  I was just a contractor and didn’t have a chance.

In some respects this made my work easier because her focus was always on the task and the immediate deadline.  Help couldn’t be expected but the good news was that I rarely needed it.  If you delivered to deadline there were never any challenges.

As time passed and as I was entering my 3rd year with the company I saw very little of her.  Status reports were sent; feedback was given; new projects came; results were delivered and presentations made.  The numbers were very solid and well received by the executive leadership.

But neglect, however benign, does take its toll even if you are doing a good job.  Indifference follows and then it’s definitely time to move on because self-destruction sets in.

“You know, I used to think it was benign neglect, but now

I see that you are intentionally screwing me.”

Parker Selfridge

Vignette 4

The first sign –

I was walking from the Penn State Smeal School of Business with the President of the company to the parking lot when he paused and turned to me saying:

“you shouldn’t trust me…you really shouldn’t…I’m not a very nice person”.

I paused, tried to be polite, smiled weakly and said something about not believing him.

We continued our walk, got into our mutual cars and went on our way.

Those 13 words resounded in my ears and screamed – ‘Get out!’

The second sign –

Just after I started with the company I presented to my boss a schedule for touchbase meetings and marketing finance reviews.  He said it was too much.  He then said:

“you and I don’t need to meet very often when something is wrong I’ll find you…”.

Getting out was doubly reinforced.

Trust in a job is a fundamental.  And we all learn from various small signs to not trust.  This was definitely one of them and only into my first 60 days.

My work carried on.  I met deadlines, worked within impossible budgets and worked diligently behind the scenes to find another job.

On the positive side there were two senior managers I reported into and who I have kept touch with to this day.  The heads of product development  and EMEA marketing.

Both looked for value and added value to the working lives of the people around them. Both are now working for ‘A’ list companies and are  in ‘A’ list roles today.

They deserve it!   I’m honored to know them.

I’m sick of giving creeps money off my soul.”

Bob Dylan

Vignette 5

I’ve always moved from job to job because I’ve known someone.

Through a referral I was introduced to the head of omnichannel.  I’d heard good things and thought this would be a tremendous opportunity.

A mentor once told me : “In an interview process we learn 30% about and opportunity.  The balance is either a terrible or wonderful surprise.”

It was.

On the one hand I was able to practice some of the more sophisticated CRM strategies I had in my kit and on the other I was able to watch up close a boss who was so totally unlike me as to be incomprehensible.

His starting point was always “I have an idea…, or meet you in the meeting room…”  The challenge was that it was typically the day before whatever we were working on was due.

I come from a world of pre planning.  I’ve been very well trained.  I had terrific mentors.  I’ve worked for big companies that believe in minimizing risk. Direct marketers do this extremely well.  The time line drives everything and those timelines are sometimes very long.

I was entering new territory here — a world of hyper last minute.

My biggest challenge was trying to determine if we were working together.  Alignment is very powerful and critically important for a successful executive leadership team.  Some days, as I would stand in my boss’s office drawing org. charts, or discussing goals and objectives, I would think I’m supported, valued and trusted.  The feeling looked mutual in those instances.

At other times I would see his self-interest in his own agenda emerge.  At those times I would be thrown under the bus.  The good news is that I did, for the most part, see it coming and could struggle with evasive actions.  But there wasn’t a lot of trust.

This went on for 4 or more years.  The ideas and the frantic pace continued.

In the end his self-interest won and trust went out the window as he sought to protect his acolytes.  I had been recruited out by that point and was able to watch with some neutrality as the department imploded.

Does trust exist where trust is fleeting?

“I’m not upset that you lied to me,

I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”

Friederich Nietzsche

Vingette 6

I was fascinated by the intersection of entertainment, marketing and  personality.  The work was easy, the organization less so.

The witty repartee that I was introduced to ran in parallel with strategic conversations and planning meetings.  It was a heady mix.  But what was most fascinating was the shining political acuity.

“Let’s see what we can do…” was a frequent starting point.  He was never really about producing work himself but he was good at keeping the priorities straight and managing up.  The operations teams viewed him as a hothouse specimen but he was tolerated and sometimes respected.

But it was still the trust problem.

I’d learned from my history.  I worked at building commonality, shared intent, and a  high level of comfort in order to support a high level of mutual trust.  But the mutual part never happened.

I was expendable. So was my team.  They knew it.

So I thought that if I delivered outstanding work, quickly, that this would mitigate the expendability problem.  It looked like it did for a while but it was just an illusion.  While he said “great work” what he really meant was don’t lose me any points.

It was just as well that the project ended.

“Truth is beautiful, without doubt; and so are lies.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Work is all about trust in my view.

Building it. Maintaining it. Adapting it to changing circumstances.

Trust is what keeps you at the job, generates the most rewarding collaborations, and delivers the highest level of innovation.

And trust will not exist when there is no trust at the top – the president, your boss, the COO.    If your boss is a no trust kind of guy you are, to some degree, sunk before you get into the boat.  Yes, sometimes you’ll manage through, but frankly, that’s just because you’ve been lucky.

Or, maybe you are both not trustworthy and you both manage to get along just fine.












































































































































































































































































Good to Great, or how to not fall into the rabbit hole

When we begin asking ourselves what is this life really all about clearly the implication is that something puzzling has confronted our sense of order and sent it careening into the wall. My last 6 months have been something of that sort.  And, yes, my sense of order and the universe has been challenged, severely.

I have worked in retail marketing most of my career and there are very clear pros and cons to that business.  If you are like me taking pleasure in my busy list and liking to keep busy generally the retail life is for you.  But…at times we question what has seemed to work and think that far fields are greener. Yes, I fell victim to the siren call and the earnest desire to avoid Black Fridays; to shun “holiday”; and to keep well away from the life and death of the 4th quarter.  I longed for a flat horizon where the peaks were in any other quarter except the 4th and where, I truly believed, a higher plane of rational thought drove logical and more strategic customer marketing decisions.  I fell hard and fast and was seduced by my own inventions of what that outside world looked liked.  What followed was a startling revelation!

I was recruited by Wiser Partners into a global CRM & Loyalty project with ABG Group by a very thoughtful practitioner of the art of retained search, Ruth Frantz.  She was extremely thorough.

We worked together to rationalize my work history of headcount and non headcount roles and emerged with a resume focusing on the highlights of a very successful career in global CRM.  Many successes and many innovations littered my career where, to a large extent, my sweet spot was to bring order and align process to deliver efficiencies across the marketing operation.  I’m one of those people who are like a search light where dysfunction exists.  I love to take ambiguity and massage out the wrinkles then align ALL the stakeholders behind a unified effort.  What fun. It is fun! And, it’s necessary but not always appreciated.

I’m often confronted by that deer in the headlights look and the realization that no matter how much I might work to outline the benefits, demonstrate the cost savings, or show the long term benefits it just doesn’t resonate.   More often than not, however, in my retail experience the story had resonated.  Retailers are always looking for ways to squeeze out another sale and CRM holds the keys to the kingdom.

When I review the leaders I’ve worked for – Delphine Hibon, Tyler Heiden Jones, Sue Lewis, Fabrice Gautron, Jay Hirschon, Andrew Dubin, and Paige Havens – what has differentiated them from so many others is the willingness to listen and explore a new idea and to give back at the right time.

In my retail world the tactical CRM conversations had evolved to the point where profiling best customers and building look-a-likes in the offline world was almost regular business.  Digital and offline integration was a no brainer.  The idea of washing a data set through Experian or MasterCard to enhance a propensity view, or to add additional channels of contact was no longer considered unusual while the application of the CRM disciplines to the field now embraced store segmentation and all the geo fencing applications you can think of within a lifecycle view of the customer. Whew!!

So now we’ve set my benchmark and expectation considerations.  Combining this with far fields are greener produced a toxic combination.  The Emerald City is real, isn’t it?

Now back to Ruth – she and I worked through a rigorous process of vetting and validation before I was presented to ABG Group.    I provided a list of 20 references including all my bosses back into my dim dark past.  We analyzed my various roles from an accomplishments perspective then dissected my management style, handling of ambiguity, leadership and on and on.  I emerged at the other side of this process with a very clear and positive view of where I came from and what I am capable of delivering.  I was presented and my capabilities were both admired and desirable from the perspective of ABG’s leadership.  Yes, I interviewed with more people than really made sense.  I was pleased. They were pleased.  The deal was done.

The first few months were bathed in the glow of our differences — between the car rental business and retail between high value and commodity and between high customer investment vs. low.   It was all so very different yet in so many ways much the same but I wasn’t seeing the sameness or the important strategic gaps between where I came from and where I was.  The gaps emerged over time with questions like – Who owns the marketing calendar?  No one, we don’t have one.  How is marketing aligned through the channels?  It’s not, there is no process.  The questions I raised were pretty fundamental and had to be answered in order to proceed with the project I was hired to make happen.

Oops, I forgot about that part.

Let’s step back – the project I was hired to launch was the ABG loyalty program.  This was the holy grail  that would level set the Avis value proposition versus competition, e.g. Hertz, National, etc.  Avis had completed a cost/benefit analysis prior to my starting which framed in infinite detail how the program was to be launched and marketed going forward.  What the cost/benefit didn’t do was answer those basic and fundamental questions that the loyalty marketer would look at including impact on field and fleet; point’s budget relative to customer lifecycle objectives; integration into the customer lifecycle plan; customer migration patterns; integration across media touchpoints, and marketing systems.

The weekly and monthly status meetings were in place.  The right stakeholders were invited but responsibility was too distributed to work.  What ensued was a debacle with the reality of the situation bumping into the cost/benefit and the executive leadership’s weekly, daily, hourly…moment by moment changes of direction.

The most discussed question other than the fleet implications was the value prop and how to deliver it to market within the budget authorized by the already approved cost/benefit plan. The loyalty vendor layered additional constraints that severely limited the ability to apply real marketing thinking to the program aka the “platform can’t do it”. Around and around we went on a daily basis with senior leadership second guessing itself and everyone out there pitching their own version of reality.  And, we had a hard date for the launch of November.  Well, we all know about hard dates.  They change and they did almost daily.

Oh and I forgot to mention the very challenged existing technology backend that required untold soft dollars in people and system work arounds  to support its integration into the loyalty program.  The structure of this system was neither documented nor did any one person have a solid understanding of all the component parts and how they worked together.  Yes, there were a few translators of this byzantine “platform” but they operated with their own agendas which largely involved keeping their jobs while sustaining the chaos indefinitely.  So how was it possible to deliver a strategic proposition in this environment?

And the final straw?  One of the senior leadership had made a commitment to the street to deliver a billion $ EBITDA in 2015.  At the time they neglected to figure out how.

All of these independent streams of dysfunction eventually bumped into each other and doomed the loyalty launch to second fiddle and my project to something less than necessary.  Around me people were being laid off, my boss stood aloof and kept his hands very clean.  Our CMO’s feet staid off the ground while executive leadership made every effort to cut expenses to the bone to ensure delivery of that billion $ EBITDA. Exciting times!

So we have a challenging financial context, a non-strategic marketing department, a budget plan built out of context to reality, and a strategic outcome predetermined by a plan that just didn’t work.  An important secondary factor was the ruthless outlook and limited valuation of the human asset. In other words the human capital had no material consideration in the decision making process.

My friends were agog. They had a small window into another industry and couldn’t believe what they saw.  They were all like me.  They had assumed those far fields really were greener and anything must be better than a retail marketing life.

So – what’s the lesson?

I think it would have been better to have learned more about Avis before I jumped. The positive side is that all projects have an end date.

A good friend of mine many years ago said to me that you learn only 30% about a company and your boss to be in the interview process, and the other 70% is either a pleasant or horrible surprise.  When you also overlay on top of this the 80/20 rule – Yikes.  This means that 2 out of 10 companies you interview with are good to great and the balance is varying degrees of pretty god awful.  Sounds bleak.

But I’m an optimist and have faith in people – the right people. This still doesn’t answer the question of how to vet the audience better but we know great companies are out there.

Check and Done!

The customer would be satisfied with consistency — the metrics of Customer Experience.

The past is where we want to go

The explosion of digital channels has created a fragmented Customer Experience where each channel seems to have its own face to the customer. The majority of shoppers out there are frustrated with the inconsistent marketing experience across channels. Why?

Direct marketers had this all figured out a long time ago while the retailer of the 50s and 60s knew that remembering a customer and keeping files on the best would somehow pay off.  It did!  Direct marketers knew the 40/40/20 rule – 40% of success is based on the right product/offer; 40% is based on the right target audience and 20% is based on the creative.  In other words direct marketing had figured out the analytics necessary to drive acquisition and increase retention.  What’s happened with the digital explosion is that we’ve forgotten our disciplines, if anyone outside the direct marketing community ever knew them.

The fragmented experience is the result of disconnected technology, data and analytics.  With marketing systems running in silos the majority of CMOs are as frustrated as their customers being unable to view customer interactions across channels, and across brands.

We all agree the personal experience we enjoyed more than 50 years is where we want to be now. Isn’t that what all this technology is for?  Corporate leadership wants marketing to become more ROI-focused with clear attributions but marketing is also being tasked to innovate and lead on the digital front to deliver a unified Customer Experience.

We are all looking for solutions and this article is intended to solve one small but important part of the puzzle — the structure of experience metrics in relation to the current state of customer analytics.


Users versus Customers

I’ve carefully listened to strategy conversations where User Experience and Customer Experience issues have been tossed around.  In the end both the UX and CX practitioners are, for the most part, confused.  This leads us to the question of what’s the difference and why do we care.  The difference really is a very important one in order to drive that ‘unified’ and ‘integrated’ Customer Experience.

Now I’ve given you a hint at the difference and where I’m going.

Customer Experience works broadly across multiple touch points and multiple platforms while User experience flows out of usability architecting the touch points of the digital interface.  The point is that the Customer Experience leader today is the multi touch direct marketer of 20 years ago aligning digital, offline, promotion, retail and web store experience into a single ‘voice of the customer’.

The bottom line is that within an optimized Customer Experience world the experience is personalized to increase Engagement, Advocacy, and Revenue

Bot to do this effectively the Customer Experience leader has to enable, within a set of marketing objectives, the existing connections customers and prospects have with other people.

Customer Decision Journey and the quantum leap forward

David Edelman transformed the way we think about this connection process.  We’ve jumped from a linear and progressive analysis to a complicated circumnavigation of the buying process and the analytics that go along with it.

So the funnel is dead and now we all talk in terms of the customer journey, touch optimization, and multi touch aggregated impact.  If only our database were big enough to deliver multiple statistically valid consumer ‘pathways to purchase’ within our RFM segmentation structure!!  Who said this was easy.  And where is this really actionable except in the large corporations with the resources to support both the infrastructure requirements and the necessary intellectual capital.

Where the funnel was simple the concept of the decision journey within a multi-dimensional structure on interconnected experience pathways is daunting for even an experienced marketer to think about.  Ultimately, however we structure our marketing campaigns, the marketing mix really hasn’t changed all that much if you consider, for example, display as an extension of media, email as an extension of direct mail, and so on (you get the idea).  Of course the analytics that tie this all together has changed but again not that much.  We are still looking at the same cross channel implication we looked at 50 years ago.  We just have a lot more touch points to manage and evaluate.

Here’s how we mapped the complexities of “new media” at Brooks Brothers for planning purposes:

Charles de Gruchy - Trading area experience management integrated all customer touchpoints plus customer profiling and segmentation to achieve a set of marketing and sales objectives

Performance metrics – strategic, operational, optimization and experience

Three groups of marketing KPIs tell us what’s working or what needs to change.  These three groups deliver a “direct” metric based on direct measurement of customer behaviors.  I’ve categorized them into the following groups:

  • Strategic
  • Operational
  • Optimization

There is a fourth group I look at as defining metrics for Experience alone but these measures are self-reported and not based on direct measure of customer behaviors.  As a consequence I view this group as indicators and enhancements to the first groups.

The following summarizes the Universe of Customer Experience KPIs as I understand it.

Summary of CX metrics by category

Where does Customer Lifecycle fit in?

The customer lifecycle continues to be the standard planning model for customer marketing with key emphasis on Acquisition and Retention.

Customer Lifecycle Model

Acquisition is still out there to acquire new customer and increase topline sales, brand equity and market share.  The challenge with acquisition is building and rationalizing multiple opportunities that will drive incremental non buyer (new and returning visitors) traffic to the store or the web-site creating opportunities for conversion and sale. But in order to benefit from the associated increase in brand equity the marketer has to be consistent, or in other words, has to stick to the brand proposition and not discount the hell out of the product.

The outcomes of successful acquisition programs are increased brand equity and market share. The equity builds shareholder value and has a ripple effect across the business in sales, share price, conversion rates and average sale.

Market share on the other hand delivers a wide array of tools to build a better financial positon for the business like pricing power, vendor leverage, and positive energy in the marketplace.

Retention and acquisition go hand in hand because in the end the overarching objective is to keep the customer database healthy.  One of my favorite analysis tools to accomplish that objective is ‘net customer analysis’ which looks at new and returning customer patterns on a daily basis (rolled up to weekly, monthly, etc.) netting out  to what the business has either gained or lost. The region or trading area views are highly compelling during the Monday call.

It’s at this point that analytics must enter the discussion.  Only analytics will find those upward migrators that need a little more attention, or those downward migrators who are at risk of attrition.  Retention, in my view, is an art based on integrating what we know about customer behavior with the fuzzy stuff that defines customer sensibilities.

Sensibility and how do I know we are making money

Customer Experience as an analytics universe adds a few metrics that we might not normally consider important (see Optimization and Experience metrics above).

If we buy that concept the rest is pretty straightforward.  A strategic view of KPIs forces a causal view of the numbers, for example, if ‘x’ happens than my numbers either tank or go up. See, it’s easier already.

A comprehensive approach to customer analytics is always most successful.  Customer Experience analysis is not different and, in fact, requires a strategy, a plan and training to avoid confusion.  We all know how to do that.  In the end the mix and emphasis will need to be directed by the demands of your organization and its stage of development.

Now let’s look at defining what each KPI means:



  1. Traffic — either direct, indirect, or unknown to the web or the store.

Direct – any traffic that is the result of a company action, for example, through the marketing calendar.  This includes all the usual suspects like email, sponsorships, direct mail, catalogs, a call centre program, search display, traditional media, social initiatives, etc.  Simply the activity must tie back to that customer traffic.


  • # of customers (not matched to the customer database)
  • By program, channel, store
  • Sales
  • Average sales
  • YOY change

Indirect — think of indirect traffic as the result of the brand halo.  Marketing programs drive a brand perception.  Alignment, consistency and personalization drive an ever improving/growing positive brand halo and the result is range of traffic unassociated to a marketing program or company initiative. Examples might include product placements, celebrity endorsements, customer initiated positive comments, and viral brand endorsements.


  • # of customers (not matched to the customer database)
  • By program, channel, store
  • Sales
  • Average sales
  • YOY change

Unknown – this is any traffic that can be associated with a source either another site, a promotion or any other associated program.


  • # of customers (not matched to the customer database)
  • Sales
  • Average sales.
  • YOY change
  1. Conversion Rate — the percentage of interactions that result in a completed sales transaction by channel, product, or other segmenting factor. For example. A web page visit is considered converted if the visitor places the order


  • Total the number of completed sales transactions and divide by the total number of interactions handled, e.g. the total number of converted calls divided by the total number of sales calls and with Google Analytics or Omniture.


  1. Rate of Engagement– the spread of an idea, technology or service within an identified prospect of customer population.


  • After defining ‘engagement’ within the organization take the total number of engaged prospects or buyers and divide by the total segment, group, and audience.


  1. Average Order Value (AOV) — the mean value (in monetary terms) for purchases. Reported in aggregate, by channel, segments, seasons and store trading area.


  • Frequently advanced organizations will calculate this on customer segment (e.g. income level, or geography)
  1. Churn Rate – the percentage of buyers who fail to make a repeat purchase or cancel a service


  • Total non-buyers divided by the total number of active customers over a required period of time.
  1. Net Promoter Score (NPS) – the percentage of customers that would recommend an organization to their friends,


  • Measured through customer survey with the key question “How likely are you to recommend X to a friend or colleague?” with an accompanying 0-10 scale. The Net Promoter Score is the percentage of Promoters (9-10) minus the percentage of Detractor (0-6).


  1. Campaign Performance –the return on investment for a given campaign initiative measured in incremental impact on business.


  • (net campaign revenue – marketing expense)/marketing expense


  1. Pages per Visit — the average number of web pages which are viewed during a single visit to the website.


  • More pages viewed frequently indicate higher engagement, a pre-cursor to sale based on the assumption that the site works efficiently. This is a primary metric in all web analytics tools.
  1. Shopping Cart Abandonment — the percentage of times a potential shopper puts an item in a real or virtual shopping cart and then removes it or fails to complete a purchase.


  • Measured through a custom configured 3rd party analytics tools.
  1. Cross Channel – defined as the percentage or frequency a buyer crosses channels to make a purchase.


  • Frequency of the behavior measured in # by period by channel of last purchase and percentage of total active file, group and segment
  1. Visitors, new vs. returning percentage — refers to the mix between visitors who are new and visitors who previously visited and are now returning for another visit.


  • This is a basic measure in all 3rd party analytics tools
  1. Frequency – is exactly what it sounds like. The number of repeat visits or purchases completed by day, week, month, annual.


  1. Items per Order – the average number of products or services added to a sales order


  • The total number of unique items ordered divided by the total number of orders


  1. Offer participation — looks at the performance of the offer strategy, for example, expedited delivery, free shipping, bonus products, etc.


  • Take the number of offer participants and divide by the total contacted.


  1. Sales per buyer and visitor — the average revenue a company derives from a single customer or visitor over a defined period of time.


  • Total revenue divided by the total number of unique buyers or visitors over time period as required.


  1. Cost of Sales – costs associated with selling products or services


  • Sum of all sales costs including sales salaries plus marketing expense.
  1. Marketing Expense – costs associated with activities to promote the company, brand, products or services


  • Sum of all related marketing costs including advertising and resources both internal and external.
  1. Service Costs – costs associated with supporting the customer’s use of the product or service.


  • Total ongoing costs required to do business including product/service support, infrastructure, product development.
  1. Cost per Interaction – business costs required to process or handle a given item, for example, call centre, customer contact/interaction, order, click, etc.


  • Total of $ invested in each activity divided by the number of associated activities that were completed.
  1. Self Service Rate – the percentage of all customer interactions that are completed using self-service channels


  • The number of customer interactions completed without sales assistance, divided by the total number of interactions handled by the organization across all assisted channels.
  1. Cost of Acquisition (COA) – the cost required to gain a new customer.


  • Total $ invested in acquisition marketing divided by the total number of new customers.
  1. Cost of Retention – the cost required to keep an existing customer


  • The total $ invested in loyalty, retention, points programs, pricing mark downs making the product more attractive to repeat purchase divided by the total number of customers who were offered these incentives
  1. First Contact Resolution – the number of customers whose question or request is resolved on the first attempt.


  • Typically measured by a post-interaction survey asking buyers if their issue has been resolved.
  1. Average Handle Time (AHT) – the average time it takes to handle a call, chat, email or other interaction. Includes time spent directly on the interaction and follow-up time to finish the sale, e.g. delivery, special services.


  • Calculate the average amount of time taken to handle a customer interaction from start to end when all follow up work is completed.
  1. Initial Training Time – is the amount of time required to get a new employee up to speed and become productive?


  • Count the total number of training days or hours required for new employees possibly including re training time for current employees.
  1. Content Effectiveness – the average number of site self-service answers viewed per buyer, non-buyer or visitor.


  • Available through all 3rd party analytics providers
  1. Escalation % — the percentages of buyers, non-buyers or visitors who start using self-service but escalate their issue to assisted service because they were unable to achieve resolution.


  • Available as a standard report with most 3rd party providers, e.g. RightNow CX.
  1. Channel Costs — the cost of a customer interaction per channel of communication.


  • Costs associated with a specific channel



  1. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) — mean satisfaction score of customers for a given experience.


  • Measured through a customer survey that asks customers to rate their satisfaction with X on a defined scale with adjectives that range from ‘Not at all satisfied’ to ‘Very Satisfied. Often measured by interaction type.
  1. Customer Effort Score (CES) — a score that determines the relative effort required by the customer to work through an interaction.


  • Measured on a defined scale through a post-interaction survey.
  1. Emotion Scoring — a linguistic analysis of free text comments on social interactions.


  • Use of a scoring algorithm will codify individual comments on a scale of positive to negative. Scoring can be done on an individual interaction basis, aggregated to an individual level over the full life-cycle, or can be aggregated by segment or across the brand.
  1. Average Resolution Time — the time it takes to resolve a customer problem.


  • Typically this number is segmented by contact driver (why someone is calling) or channel (phone, chat, email, etc.). How to measure: The meantime, beginning when the customer first brings the issue to attention and ends when the issue is fully resolved.
  1. Channel Accessibility — For each channel (Web, Mobile, Email, Social, etc.), the channel should be “Accessible” to persons with disabilities, e.g. screen readers


  • Audit against accessibility standards