Many consumers are ahead of the game with technology.  This means their expectations on how they can interact with suppliers is getting increasingly complex.  They can also be inconsistent on how they engage – mobile, phone, face to face, web – or several channels at the same time. 

For example, I once looked at mortgage products online, rang the provider for more information but got held in a queue. So, whilst waiting I tried their web chat and got through quicker, dropped the landline connection but stayed online.  I agreed to go with one of their products – but which channel got the profit?  More to the point, was it more or less profitable, and was it a good customer experience?

Tackling the experience first, the answer is “it depends”.  I was happy as I got a good result, a little frustrated by waiting on the phone but pleasantly surprised to get through quickly on the web chat.  Part of me wishes the phone route had worked quicker – I could have had a nice chat and saved myself from the embarrassment of my poor typing skills.  Another person may have taken a less tolerant view depending their mood, digital propensity or personal preference.  Companies today have to be able to cope with many types of communication across many channels which means significant investment in their digital capability and, for some, moving in or out of bricks-and-mortar.

So, how does a company know where it is making or losing money?  If someone researches a product on a company website but then buys it in a store instead, does all the profit go to the store?  There is, of course, no option if you do not know the customer who has visited the website.  The profit goes to the store and contributes to its performance with no recognition for the online team.  However, engaging your customers online and capturing their behaviour can allow a company to better attribute credit for the sale. 

For many companies that means rethinking their KPIs and redesigning their dashboards to provide performance measures that drive the right behaviour.  The trigger for this could be designing a new Digital Operating Model to deliver an all channel customer experience with a review of the appropriate organisational Profit and Loss structure to understand true channel profitability.

Is this cost allocation gone mad?  Just because the technology to analyse and manipulate data is getting cheaper and easier, is it the right thing to calculate profit down to the Nth level?  If you do not, how do you measure the true profitability of your customer experience investments?  Every organisation is different and if a good customer experience is central to its strategy then its KPIs should reflect that.  Reporting on those KPIs means capturing the right data at the right time and having the tools to deliver actionable information to those who most need it.  For the customer, that means now and on the nearest device to hand!