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In the first post of this series, I discussed the definition of influence - adapting behavior, products, and processes based on communication, information, and shared understanding - and the four ways that Plex approaches customer influence. Here in part two, I’m going to dive into how we capture and eventually measure it. Importantly, there is no ‘one metric to rule them all’. And while there have been reams of research and scores of scientific studies outlining how to measure influence, the actual measurement is more nuanced and cadenced than just metrics.
I have spent my career building and implementing enterprise software. In my early years, I studied all the major software providers, learned from their practices, and tried to model them. One thing that has stood out to me is that most of the enterprise software companies tout that their roadmaps and releases were derived from some percentage of customer feedback. That’s good!
But that seemed like it was just a first step. Influence is not fully measured at the input (customer requirement), or even at the output (the release), but at the outcome (the business benefit and value derived by the customer). Using this approach, success is measured by whether the customer’s business changed - and their experience - in tangible and measurable ways for the better. While we tend to communicate influence in terms of new product, we look at it in terms of our processes and engagement with our customers. The importance of fine-tuning processes can be as great as any particular change or enhancement, and it’s of utmost importance to clearly trace progress and effectiveness.
At Plex, we leverage a variety of channels capturing customer input and then utilize it to influence our direction, as well as measure the impact of the influence.
Each of these input channels provides a platform for customers to flex their influence, which results in positive customer/user outcomes. And sometimes the things that will deliver the highest outcomes are small improvements that make the customers’ workflow a few minutes simpler. Talk about a win-win!
The diversity of approaches is designed to meet users where they are – from jumping on the Exchange for quick community support to leveraging industry expertise in a CAB/PAG and lobbying for enhancements that benefit similar customers. There are opportunities for inputs that hit both transactional (surveys) and predetermined (meetings) cadences and the goal is to provide both breadth and depth.
While all of this is extremely valuable for creating an optimal outcome environment, much of it is only an academic exercise until customers’/users’ perception of these interactions – and their impact on customer business outcomes - are tangibly measured via KPIs and metrics. In our third post of this series, we will dive into those tangible measurements.