CFOs Benefit from Customer-centric Operations Metrics

July 20, 2021

Knowing — and sharing widely — how operational changes impact user experience can generate alignment on spending priorities.

Whether or not you oversee operations as part of your remit, CFOs would benefit from tracking and sharing customer experience and other operational key performance indicators; it can help in getting alignment on investment priorities across the organization.

It’s common for the commercial team to push for new products or features to sell, but if your metrics are showing customers having recurring problems, or operational teams struggling with inefficient systems, it’s easier to get alignment from everybody on what priority spending should be.

“When commercial folk can see operational teams are manually doing work that could be automated, that really helps with the internal alignment of focus, what we should prioritize as an organization,” Jaclyn Berger, vice president of operations at payments company Adyen, said in a SaaStr webcast.

If your organization tends to limit customer experience and other operational metrics to the operations team, it can be harder to get broad buy-in on spending priorities, Berger said.

By giving broad access to metrics showing the kind of problems customers are having, or whether problems are increasing or decreasing, the entire organization can weigh in on the solution, giving everyone a sense of alignment if spending needs to be reallocated to make improvements.

“If you provide your teams with this information — a single view at the right time and in the right format — you enable teams to engage with them across functions,” she said. “You can troubleshoot faster, and fewer mistakes are made.”

Customer snapshot

Particularly in software-as-a-service (SaaS) models, which depend on steadily growing recurring revenue and minimizing churn, having a window into what the customer is experiencing at different points of their lifecycle is crucial.

For that reason, in creating a set of operational metrics, Adyen followed three principles:

  • The metrics needed to measure how any operational changes impacted customer experience.
  • How the changes impacted growth vs. scaling.
  • Whether the metrics allowed for continuous improvement.

Through the use of the metrics, the company can make no operational change without learning whether it's improving or worsening customer experience.

Although customer experience typically falls into the responsibilities of the operations officer, to the extent CFOs oversee operations or are asked to make budget decisions based on what operational metrics are showing, they can benefit from setting up these types of metrics if they don’t have them.

This article was originally posted on CFO Dive and republished with permission.