Metrics are everything. Only when something is measured can it be improved upon. Often, deciding what to measure is the most critical piece, and it's not a job for copy and paste. When Wearable brand Kiddo launched its wearable for children, it did away with the standard metrics for adult wearables (movement and heart rate), and instead tracked things like perspiration and temperature; vital bio-signs for child health. Rather than measure what those around you are measuring, or take on the standardized metrics for your industry, companies that get customer service right have taken the time to think more creatively and strategically about what they track. While there are lots of great ideas to deliver customer experience, metrics are needed to make sure they happen. Here are some unique metrics to contemplate when designing a customer service program.

Track Relationships

Customer service used to be measured by Average Handle Time, but this is a limiting model - especially as times have changed. Measuring call times makes sales agents abrupt and abrasive, and consumers can feel that. Zappos have become famous for their open, flat and dynamic working culture. And this attitude extends to their customer service. Rather than measure Average Call Time, Zappos measures the percentage of their time that an employee spends on the phone to a customer. This doesn't mean the call has to be short. In fact, the longest call on record is a staggering 8 hours; and this feat is celebrated and visibly rewarded. The focus at Zappos is on relationships, not minutes. Building relationships builds loyalty, and is most often a cheaper strategy than acquisition efforts.

Consider: how can you stop tracking time, and start tracking intimacy?

Track Initiative

Warby Parker noticed lots of the same consumer questions were coming in about things like prescriptions, cleaning and care so staff took matters into their own hands and made videos that addressed the problem. These videos performed exceptionally well; consumers shared the videos so extensively, that some have an impressive 50,000+ views (not bad for a how-to video). Part of the reason they worked was because they were so clearly authentic, atypically low budget and genuinely useful. These videos gave Warby Parker a new metric for rewarding staff that take the initiative to solve consumer problems in their own ways.

Consider: how you might empower staff to think about consumer problems holistically and solve them in their own ways?

Track Customer Involvement

Starbucks launched My Starbucks Idea, as a way to seek customer feedback and improve upon the customer experience. The program started in 2008, with just 25 ideas launched. By 2012 that number had almost tripled to 73. Over the years, the program has produced ideas like cake pops, splash sticks, free birthday coffee and even Wifi in cafes. Starbucks measure how many ideas are submitted (to date, there's over 150,000) and how many people vote each year. There were 2 million votes in 2015, that happened to be more than Chicago's mayoral election. This is a different way to track customer service. Not only do Starbucks invite customers to be a part of their improvement, they invest in the program's ideas and tracks its success.

Consider: how might you actively invite your customers to better your experience?

Track Conversation

Chewy, a pet supplies delivery business, invest heavily in customer service. They call their customer service team the 'WOW' team and empower them to deliver meaningful customer experiences as they see fit. Staff are encouraged to take measures such as write handwritten thank you cards, send customers a pet portrait of their dog (completed by one of Chewy's 20 artists), include free products or gift cards to a customer's local restaurant. These tactics all promote buzz. Frequently, customers post photos of their cards, notes and pet portraits on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These can become important metrics to measure 'WOW' and let Chewy know they are on the right track. Similarly to Zappos, they invest in customer loyalty and turning existing customers into evangelists.

Consider: how can you track social media activity and link it to your customer service efforts?