Blog | Link Feedback With Business Metrics Through The Winning Triangle

Published July 24, 2017 by Andrew Cocks

Employee Insight
Link Feedback With Business Metrics Through The Winning Triangle

Adopting the Service-Profit-Chain model has enabled many businesses to boost revenues and financial performance by focusing their attention on employee engagement. However, while it is extremely powerful, there is one potentially limiting factor about the Service-Profit Chain - it flows in one direction only, from employees to customers and on to business growth. 

In the 1990s the Service-Profit Chain model was developed, setting out the relationship between traditional soft metrics such as employee engagement and customer satisfaction and hard business KPIs such as profitability. Essentially it postulated that engaged, happy employees deliver better, more valuable service to customers, which leads to satisfaction, loyalty and consequently profit and growth.

Adopting the Service-Profit-Chain model has enabled many businesses to boost revenues and financial performance by focusing their attention on employee engagement. However, while it is extremely powerful, there is one potentially limiting factor about the Service-Profit Chain - it flows in one direction only, from employees to customers and on to business growth. 

Adding greater value with the Winning Triangle

The Winning Triangle refines the Service-Profit Chain concept to better reflect the reality that businesses are facing. It understands that customers, employees and business outcomes all interrelate and that you need all three to align in order to achieve sustainable success. This new approach brings together customer experience, employee engagement and business KPIs to develop a holistic view of organisational performance.

It embraces and reflects the idea that every point of this triangle affects the others, in a non-linear manner. It is an all-way relationship. If there is one element out of place it will impact your business success – essentially you are juggling with three balls simultaneously. Listening to feedback from employees and customers and understanding the dynamic relationship to business metrics has the potential to transform your operations and strategy in real, concrete ways. By linking people metrics to core business measures in this way the Winning Triangle underlines the importance of people issues in boardroom discussions, and raises the profile of this issue within the C-suite.

These ideas are supported by the findings of the Questback Enterprise Feedback study, in which 83% of companies who linked feedback from customers and employees said it helped to achieve an improved customer experience. 75% felt it contributed to more motivated and engaged employees, and nearly six in ten (58%) said it allowed them to gain insight into activities that linked directly to business objectives. Over half (51%) were able to identify a relationship between positive customer experiences and individual, engaged employees. 

While it can be useful to analyse the data from these areas – Business and Finance KPIs, Employee Voice, and Customer Voice in isolation, this doesn’t give you the same granular, multi-layered insights you can enjoy by integrating them. For example, being able to assess the financial savings of increasing staff retention rates or the sales impact of improving the customer experience provide powerful business-level insights. Identifying how feedback impacts financial KPIs in this way demonstrates its importance to the business in concrete terms, and shows how it can be a core part of how organisation operates, increasing agility and performance.

To better incorporate feedback insight into business decision making, many organisations are now adopting fully integrated management platforms that aggregate data from across the enterprise. These deliver the ability to pull out high level management insights with easy to use dashboards, linked to business KPIs, as well as supporting more granular analysis.

Adopting the Winning Triangle means you can identify where engagement and business metrics are aligned and are delivering sustainably improved performance. You can then drill down and identify high performing teams, categorise them and see what they are doing to deliver success. By focusing on behaviours, this best practice can then be rolled out across the organisation, driving practical improvements that are tangible and replicable.

With more demanding customers, falling customer loyalty and increasing competition, it’s crucial to make informed decisions and respond quickly to head off threats and exploit opportunities. The Winning Triangle between customer, employee and financial KPIs is an important approach that can provide the insights to do this.


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