Want to know perhaps the simplest, most powerful measure that aligns every customer-facing department with the customer? Time to Customer Value.

Here is how to calculate it.

Time to Customer Value = Time to Value (before sale) + Time to Value (after sale) + Time to Smile (after interruption).

Measured in days. If your Time to Customer Value is zero or even negative (days), you are doing really well.

Let’s break this down.

  1. Time to Value (before sale) is a measure of how quickly the customer sees value before they pay for your product or service. Measured in (negative) days.Example:
    A prospective customer researches a possible solution. They may not have heard about your organization, but their search uncovers some superb content that you have made available for free. It not only answers their question but also gives them new insights to accomplish what they were trying to do.

    If they consumed and used your content 10 days before they purchased from you, the Time to Value (before sale) is -10 days.

    How to impact this number:
    Include your colleagues in Sales, Marketing, Customer Success (“most innovative ways companies have used our product/service”) and Customer Support (“most common issues people run into and the easiest way to make sure that doesn’t happen to you”) to coordinate how you can add value to a customer before they purchase anything from you.

  2. Time to Value (after sale) is a measure of how quickly the customer sees value after they pay for your product or service. Measured in days.Example:
    Your prospective customer has seen the value you provide and has decided to take the plunge. 
    If it takes them 20 days after signing the (electronic) paperwork to get value from what they purchased. The Time to Value (after sale) is 20 days.

    How to impact this number:
    Include your colleagues in Professional Services, Implementation Services, Customer Success, Training and Customer Support to coordinate how you can add value to a customer as quickly as possible after they have purchased from you.

    You can quickly see how this gets more complex when you have Logistics and Partners involved.

  3. Time to Smile (after interruption) is a measure of how quickly a customer has their ability to use the product/service interrupted  to the time they got back to a happy state. Measured in hours.Example:
    Your customer has a problem and contacts your Customer Support team for help.  Customer support spends 0.5 hours getting context and trouble shooting with the customer. They spend 4 hours internal to Customer Support reproducing the problem before they determine it is likely to be an engineering level issue. They send it off to Engineering who spends 24 hours (finding the root cause and a workaround), and sends it back to Customer Support with instructions on what to tell the customer. Customer Support spends another half hour closing the loop with with the customer. The Time to Smile (after interruption) is 29 hours.

    Note: Time to Smile was first introduced here.

  4. So, the Total Time to Customer Value is = Time to Value (before sale) + Time to Value (after sale) + Time to Smile (after interruption)=  (-10 days) + (20 days) + 29 hours= 11 days, 5 hours.

What can you do next?

  • Reach out to the teams that influences the Customer Time to Value in your organization. Jointly establish a measure that works within each team with the ultimate goal of measuring customer value in days.
  • Join the discussion in our LinkedIn Group, Metrics, Measures and Madness where we are actively sharing ideas about how to keep customer needs and business imperatives in balance to deliver greater value to both.

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