Make 2015 the year of no pivot tables

Do you love pivot tables? They are great, aren’t they?

Great, perhaps irreplaceable for analyzing data and delving into what-if scenarios, that is. But if you are using pivot tables to run routine metrics, you are likely spending a lot of time and effort to get metrics you could consume instantaneously and automatically with a well-designed dashboard.

Most commercial tools, including the very popular Service Cloud from Salesforce, allow you to automate delivery of your standard metrics so you can (1) run them without raising a finger, freeing your time for more important pursuits, such as improving the product and the customer experience  (2) access them in real time, so you can take action promptly as needed and (3) share them with others, so everyone in the support organization and beyond can get instant feedback on what’s going on with customers. Doesn’t that sound good?

The most difficult part of the process of creating a dashboard is often selecting and defining the metrics to be displayed. (After all, pivot tables allow you to mess around without having to commit to any particular metric!) Before you create a dashboard, you will need to select meaningful metrics and targets. This is a great opportunity to review your existing metrics and ensure that:

  • They capture outcomes rather than activities. For instance, resolution time rather than frequency of case “touches”
  • They match your corporate goals. For instance, customer satisfaction rather than incident rate if the overarching corporate goal is loyalty and renewals.
  • They are computed against targets rather than using lame averages. For instance, if you promise a response time of one hour, customers care about whether you ever exceed the target, not that your average response time is 42.3 minutes.
  • They allow your team to self-manage. For instance, if your team is organized by product line you need to have metrics that show product line performance.
  • They can drive product improvements. For instance, the percentage of cases associated with bugs gives usable feedback to the development team. Don’t be selfish, share!

Most tools (including Service Cloud) can deliver visual displays such as graphs and charts. Use visuals as much as possible, especially to share historical information. They are so much more effective than pivot tables when it comes to quickly grasping the situation and making decisions.

Need help crafting and implementing dashboards? We can help you define metrics and implement dashboards for Salesforce Service Cloud as part of our Smarter Service Cloud Implementation suite of services. Contact us for more details.

And please add a comment to share your experience with pivot tables and dashboards.

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