To have a meaningful discussion about measuring success, you need to understand that it will be completely different for each digital product. It’s not possible to perform well and achieve great results if you don’t have a clear view of what you are trying to achieve, and why. 

With a clear definition of success, you can understand goals; align teams and focus effort where you can achieve measurable results; and report on ROI effectively. However, in a recent survey of 450 healthcare professionals, only 4% said that their digital pharma product launches regularly succeed. One in five said that they didn’t know the level of success of their launches as they don’t measure anything.  

Why is measurement important?

Measurement should be a key element of your digital or customer experience strategy. Without it, you would struggle to prove if your work made a difference for the business. It will be challenging to understand any value created for the customer. 

It can also be difficult to make a case for additional investment beyond the initial launch of a digital product. This means you won’t be able to put together an organisational structure to support broader objectives. 

To measure success, you will need key performance indicators (KPIs) to understand the performance of your product in relation to objectives. In order to do this successfully, you should:  

  1. Understand the overall objectives of the business 
  1. Build your product strategy around achieving a few of these objectives 
  1. Create a measurement strategy that will indicate current and future performance against these objectives  

Starting at the end

Often, teams will end up struggling to backfill KPIs for a product that has already launched. But to truly understand if your launch has been successful you need to build in measurement from the project’s beginning. Essentially, start “at the end”.  

Develop a shared understanding of what ‘good’ looks like. Then, agree how you’ll prove this. Plan what needs to be done to acquire this information, and what you’ll do with it. For a digital product launch, it is important to work through the following steps:  

  • Why does your product exist, and what assumptions were made?  
  • What are the desired outcomes that you are looking for from the business and customer perspective? 
  • Work backwards from these high-level outcomes and create measurable objectives 

Whichever way you end up calculating it, once you have KPIs it is only the beginning of your journey. You’ll still need to confirm which people across the business should be involved, and agree on a regular monitoring plan to follow. A flexible and agile approach is also critical. It’s better to know something isn’t working rather than continuing to try and hope for the best!  

Taking the lead

Working in CX, you are likely to need to have these types of conversations with stakeholders. Ultimately, being able to understand and explain leading and lagging indicators is crucial to getting value from your measurement strategy. 

Broadly speaking, a lagging indicator is a measure of past performance. Popular because they can be presented as absolute facts, but problematic because it’s already happened. They’re also missing a really key, useful component — “why?”.  

Leading indicators are designed to look forward and predict change. They measure progress towards bigger goals and don’t consider only single points in time. In other words, the leading indicator predicts the likelihood of achieving a goal, sooner.  

In CX in the context of healthcare, you might look at leading indicators such as how many customers (in this case, doctors) have to contact a pharma rep because they couldn’t get the samples platform to work or their order never arrived? Or what percentage of our patients regularly complete their re-ordering journeys with a successful outcome?

A holistic approach

Aim to develop an insight-led and holistic approach. Analytics alone won’t provide all the information you need to make a great CX, so it’s vital to have a method for getting feedback directly from customers. NPS probably won’t be enough — you’ll need some customer research in order to understand their context, allowing you to make improvements.  

Different types of research are required to understand the full picture. Simple quantitative studies will provide easy-to-communicate objective data, but a larger sample size is needed for definitive feedback, context behind the data will still be lacking. 

In order to secure that context — speak to your customers! Qualitative research in the form of a field study, user interview or moderated usability testing allows for more flexibility in responses, and you could learn a lot from simply watching someone use your digital product. 

Research doesn’t need to be complex and expensive, but it does take planning. You could benefit from using an online research tool to get up and running quickly.  

So, how do you know if your digital product launch was a success? Understand what it is you are trying to achieve, build a plan to measure performance, talk to customers to get their feedback and importantly, act on the insights you collect.

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