Customer Dashboard? This Is Why You Need One—Now

  • Ed Thompson, CTO
  • March 14, 2014

Customer Dashboard? This Is Why You Need One—NowIf you’ve got a business dashboard, then the odds are good—extremely good—that corporate sales feature fairly prominently on it. So you might ask: Why might I need a customer dashboard as well?

The reason: your existing sales-oriented dashboard might be doing a great job of telling you how the business’s sales are progressing. But it’s probably doing an abysmal job of presenting you with a picture of how things look things from the customer’s point of view.

And that’s because the distinction between corporate sales and customer satisfaction isn’t as joined at the hip as salespeople fondly imagine. Simply put, when it comes to customer service and customer satisfaction, the business might be leaving a lot on the table. Which is where a customer dashboard comes in.

The customer dashboard and customer experience

From a customer’s point of view, how does it feel to be buying from your business? Do you keep your promises? In short, are you a reliable trading partner, trusted to get on with the job of delivering on-time, in full, as promised?

A customer dashboard can provide answers to such questions, by highlighting your business’s performance on a number of key customer-facing metrics.

Which metrics, exactly? The list of suggested metrics below isn’t exhaustive, but should serve as a useful starting point:

  • How many orders are overdue?
  • How late are the ten oldest overdue orders?
  • How long are delivery lead times?
  • Which items are on the longest lead times?
  • What is the current defect / quality failure rate?
  • How is this trending?
  • What number of invoices are disputed?
  • What are the top five reasons for these disputes?

It’s not rocket science, to be sure, but it’s certainly a view of your business that you might not already have.

The customer dashboard and the ‘listening business’

Some companies spend a small fortune on a Customer Relationship Management system, only to discover that a customer dashboard could have provided a great deal of that vital customer-specific information instead.

Again, these suggested metrics aren’t cast in stone. But their broad outline is certainly applicable for the vast majority of product-centric businesses, and adapting the list to create your own customer dashboard shouldn’t be too difficult.

  • How many customer complaints are we receiving?
  • What are the top five reasons for customer complaints?
  • How many unresolved customer complaints are outstanding?
  • How old is the oldest outstanding customer complaint?
  • How many customer suggestions have we solicited?

The customer dashboard and your most important customers

Finally, a customer dashboard is perfect way to keep an eye on how the business is performing when it comes to serving its most important customers—the dozen or so customers (or whatever number) who buy the most from you, and/or generate the most profit.

Again, the metrics aren’t rocket science. And indeed, a good number are simply the metrics that we’ve already looked at. But, by populating a customer dashboard and helping the business to focus firmly on the customers who matter most, they do a great job of making sure that what matters most, actually happens.

Why delay? Start a customer dashboard today

Taken together, the arguments in favour of a customer dashboard are pretty difficult to refute. Not to mention blindingly obvious, once pointed out.

But the fact remains that many supposedly blindingly obvious ideas in business often only seem so in retrospect.

So if you don’t already have a customer dashboard—and the odds are that you don’t—then consider building one. Today.

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