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Smarter, Together: Measuring Customer Influence at Plex (Part 3 of 4)

Smart Manufacturing, Smarter, Together
February 9, 2022
Smarter, Together: Measuring Customer Influence at Plex

In the first post of this series, we explored the concept of customer influence that permeates the culture here at Plex - how we and our customers influence one another through open dialog and feedback using four essential actions: focus, listen, share, and engage. The second post discussed the platforms in which Plex captures this valuable customer input – the purpose of which is to deliver positive customer/user outcomes. 

Many organizations can tout these same concepts, but those who hold themselves accountable measure both customer feedback and input and do not stop there. They also measure the outcomes they deliver and then adapt the business to ensure that those outcomes are optimized. 
In this post, we will explore the first part described above - measuring influence via KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and metrics to enable a first-hand view of the success of our engagement with customers. 

  • NPS (Net Promoter Score): NPS is the best-known measure for customer loyalty and, by proxy, the ability to deliver positive business outcomes to customers. Plex uses it as a barometer of influence by measuring whether customers are deriving value and identifying areas where they need us to up our game. Because NPS can be a lagging indicator, we also look at proxy metrics to help us measure customer influence in real time, like the following leading indicators:
  • CSAT (Customer Satisfaction): Case surveys capture quantitative and qualitative feedback after a customer’s support issue is resolved. Plex’s case surveys, which provide real-time assessments on a tactical level, help us tailor our approach to customer engagement. Each case that doesn’t meet our - or our customer’s - expectations gets reviewed for opportunities to improve our process and engagement approaches, including areas of new product we need to consider. For example, we often find the new product areas that will deliver the most value are less complicated than one might expect. User experience changes that drive efficiency including new fields or new/modified reports can be delivered quickly and often have an outsized impact on customers. This is a big win for both customers and Plex.
  • Customer Sourced Requirements: Every release, large or small, should have customer fingerprints on it. To ensure we are leveraging influence in a predictable, repeatable, and accurate manner at scale, it is necessary to have a process and framework. Plex built a customer influence framework that allows us to consistently engage our customers and understand the problems and functional requirements we need to address for them to achieve those outcomes and goals. This process clarifies expectations for customers willing to participate and enhances the results for all users, ensuring 100% customer-driven releases.
  • Engagement: While process and frameworks are crucial, it is equally important to make sure customers have an open and direct channel to product management for real-time engagement. For example, at Plex we have a space within our community called The Exchange. This was purpose-built so that customers have a direct line to the product team to provide suggestions for the software that will help their business. Plex product management engages with our customers in The Exchange every day, clarifying their needs, understanding the business impact, recommending solutions, and incorporating the highest impact items into our product. We hold ourselves accountable to engage with our customers regularly and in meaningful and value-added ways, measuring ourselves on the overall number and frequency of conversations. We’re happy to report that every single suggestion submitted by our customers is reviewed and responded to by our product management team.
  • Throughput: Engagement and discussions are important but acting on the suggestions and feedback is the crucial piece. The best way to measure is how many of the suggestions you are delivering against and whether you are delivering more suggestions based on community feedback year-over-year. We measure ourselves against the number of suggestions we deliver and whether we are increasing each year.

As we’ve been talking about in each post, influence is best measured through outcomes. Are customers achieving positive business outcomes from your products and services? Are they improving their business in tangible and measurable ways through engagement? 

The answers to these questions are the ultimate focus of all efforts to make the business product-led and customer-driven. Plex tailors our approach, processes, and product to deliver on the promise to make customers and their businesses more successful.  

So, how do we measure outcomes and what are some examples? In the upcoming fourth and final post of this series, we will tie it all together to reveal some of the real, tangible customer outcomes resulting from this philosophy. Learn what PBOs are, how we measure outcomes, and a few examples of the impact of customer influence.

About the Author

Anthony Murphy Vice President; Head of Product Management, Application Group

Anthony is Vice President and head of Product Management for the Application group and is responsible for Plex's core customer facing products such as ERP, MES, and QMS. Prior to Plex, Anthony worked in manufacturing, holding a variety of roles across functions such as IT and software development, Logistics, Operations, and General Management. He has a deep passion for manufacturing and Plex's customers and engaging with them to solve key problems and deliver competitive advantages.