Generating KPIs is not simply a matter of producing and arranging nice, colorful graphs and charts. A KPI must be thought out and meet specific criteria, which we detail in what follows.

A KPI is an indicator designed to assist decision-making processes.

KPIs can be used to address the specific needs of a given department. For example:

  • the Marketing Department, which needs to analyse the evolution of the level of participation in the events it coordinates, the number of visitors to its website, etc.
  • the Sales Team, who need to study the conversion rate for a new product, while the Sales Manager might want to compare the results of the reps on their respective territories,
  • the Customer Service department, which needs to monitor the reduction in the average time taken to process a request, or the number of complaints per range of products, etc.

KPIs can also be used to help define the global direction of the company’s Customer Relations policy.

A CRM solution can help you produce Operational and Business KPIs.

Key Performance Indicators: first things first…

Often, before calculating what KPIs they would like to produce, companies first want to define and validate the information in their CRM database. This is understandable: if the relevant data does not exist in the CRM, it will be very difficult to produce a KPI indicator for it! That is one way of looking at it.

We recommend you look at the problem the other way around. Think of the KPIs you want to obtain as “a part of the problem”. Defining your KPI expectations while defining your CRM data will help you identify the data you need to capture and manage.

A good KPI is a simple KPI!

In terms of KPI — as for most things in life — perfection is the enemy of the good.

After defining a simple indicator there can be a strong temptation to say “what if I added this?”, “Oh, and then this”, “There’s something else interesting”.

One thing leads to another, and your initially straightforward indicator has become a polymorphic multi-indicator requiring complex interpretation before anything can be learned from it.

o be exploitable, a KPI should provide clear, simple information, instantly readable and easily interpretable.

It’s actually better to have two simple KPIs than one multi-layered and complex one.

The key to a good KPI: simplicity!

A good KPI should provide an overall view of a given aspect of a company’s Customer Relations at a given point in time.

Most often, this “given moment” is only determined after defining KPIs, but in fact, these two elements are closely connected.

Should customer service SLAs be measured on a daily or rather a weekly basis? Should the ROI of marketing campaigns be measured on a weekly or monthly basis? Should the business portfolio be measured twice a day?

The fact that you can calculate a KPI every five minutes does not necessarily mean that you should do so.

By taking measurements too regularly, the information delivered by a KPI loses relevance. For most companies, looking at the number of leads generated in one week makes sense; looking at it every hour does not.

Indicators and frequency are directly linked. Not too much, not too little.

A Key Performance Indicator is relative

An indicator on its own is seldom representative of a trend. Is an 80% resolution rate for SLAs a good or a bad figure? Is having 12 new leads a week worrying or promising? Should an 8% bounce rate for digital campaigns raise concerns or is it satisfying?

Invariably, the right answer is: “it depends!”

It depends on the figures you had last week, last month, etc. If on average you had eight leads, then having 12 is a good thing, but if you had 15, then it’s worrying.

A good KPI is a KPI that gives the right figures, but most importantly, which points toward trends.

KPIs: decide and act on them

A KPI is an indicator to facilitate decision-making.

So why implement KPIs if they are not used in such a process?

We are often tempted to measure everything, against everything, even if that means making the CRM dashboard resemble the dashboard of the cockpit of an A320!

Most often, a few, well-chosen, indicators are much more efficient.

Store past KPIs

To highlight trends, you need elements of comparison, and often, the information against which we would like to compare it against does not exist.

How many pending requests did we have at the end of last week? Too late!

In the meantime, they have already been closed, passed on or closed and re-opened.

So, make sure you store past KPIs. You can then harness this information to identify trends.