Shut up and listen to your customers

Scrabble tiles that say listen more : gartner certinia customer experience

Not very nice, sure, but it got you to click on the link and keep reading, didn’t it?

My team has been discussing customer satisfaction tracking and metrics recently and one of my co-workers, the one with access to Gartner’s research, forwarded an excellent research note on the topic How to Manage Customer Experience Metrics, authored by Michael Chiu and Don Scheibenreif.

I found it so helpful that we obtained access rights so we could share it with customers and prospects like you. Click here to get the report.

Do you still need convincing, or maybe you just want a summary? Fair enough. I took three primary elements from the article: simplify, focus and listen. Let’s dig into those three.


The Gartner research here is mind-boggling. They state that, “the majority of large organizations with revenue of more than $1bn have more than 100 CX metrics – some have as many as 400!”

See what I mean, mind-boggling. The fact that these metrics are owned and managed by a range of people across multiple departments with no consistency makes the entire exercise pointless at best and ends up being more of a departmental ‘CYA’ activity than something that will ever improve customer satisfaction.

The simple answer here is, to no surprise, simplify. Gartner recommends shrinking that portfolio of metrics down to, “two or three per business unit or department or division,” which makes sense to me.


Gartner makes some strong recommendations here around focus, “not every metric is a CX metric.” Makes sense, as does the recommendation to focus on these five areas: customer satisfaction, retention/churn, advocacy/brand, quality of service delivery and employee engagement.

Regardless of the metrics, the advice to “focus on outcomes – measure the results delivered, not the steps taken,” keeps the focus where it belongs, on the outcomes from activities and investments, not the quantity.

It is important to not take that focus advice to the extreme, as the article makes clear that executives picking just one CX metric, like “CSAT (customer satisfaction)” or “Net Promoter Score (NPS),” over a short time period, such as six months, “are putting their jobs at risk”. Great advice!


It was in the blog title, so of course it makes the list. Listening to your customers should be a no-brainer, the trick is that your customers and prospective customers talk to all parts of your organization, not just your customer support team or your salespeople.

Your marketing organization, particularly your marketing technology and service delivery people, have a ton of data from your customers: what they are looking for on your website, what webinars they are signing up for (and not signing up for), what change orders or enhancements they ask for around your service offerings and what questions they ask your chatbot sites.

These are all great signals you should be listening to. Other departments like finance or even legal are having conversations with your customers that contain important pieces of information. Consolidation of customer information across all your departments, both front and back office, is a great way to start listening to both your customers and your people.

Here’s one more chance to read the Gartner report yourself. Do you agree with my summary? Did I miss anything? Would you have read this blog if I went with “Simplify, focus and listen to improve customer satisfaction?”

Feel free to email me your thoughts at I’d also love to hear your ideas on measuring and improving customer satisfaction.