This month we talked a lot about the benefits that big data and analytics can have on the customer experience. But there's a lot of information flowing through your organization's fire hose. How do you what to measure and what metrics to use? 

Identify the Problem, Measure Accordingly

Working backwards can help you to define the problem your company needs to solve so you don't spend time tracking the wrong information. Looking at your customer experience, customer service and customer reach are good places to start. Do you know if your customers are happy with the experience you're providing? Identify key indicators -- feedback, sentiments expressed in online reviews, among others can help you learn more about their satisfaction. Furthermore, identifying the sources of their frustration can also help. Once these indicators are on your radar, members of your marketing, sales and social media teams can know what to look for and what to work to improve the customer experience. 

For customer services teams, do you know how long it takes for an issue to be resolved? Or how many touch points a customer has before an issue is resolved? Be sure you're not measuring the wrong thing -- time spent on the phone isn't a bad thing, provided the issue has been resolved to the customer's satisfaction. Additionally, it may not matter if a customer has to encounter multiple touch points to resolve an issue. Many customers start on one platform only to close the loop on another. What's important is to understand what the customer prefers and the efficiency of which information is expedited to the customer. 

Go Confidently in the Direction of Your Data

Collecting data for data's sake isn't very intelligent. It can wear on your resources and take you away from more important issues. Most organizations, whether they realize it or not, have the luxury of using the data that meets their needs. Rarely, are you stuck with a limited amount of information.  

Measuring the wrong thing can lead in the wrong direction. Everyone wants to improve and optimize the customer experience, but if you're spending time looking at the wrong metrics, it's slowing you down, while the competitors move ahead. Probably the most basic metric organizations can use is reach. Particularly helpful for measuring impact on social media -- if you're not reaching the people you want it could be for a variety of reasons -- of which you'll need to identify and experiment with. Perhaps you're not using the right messages or maybe you're on the wrong platform. Additionally, monitoring the amount of web traffic you're generating can tell you a lot about how and where you're reaching constituents. 

The idea of customer analytics is provide you with information so you can make better, more informed decisions. But even the most advanced data can't help you if you're trying to solve the wrong problem.