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Seven tips for creating a customer-facing dashboard

Maintaining a customer-facing dashboard as an asset can help manufacturers get access to their data more quickly and efficiently. Seven tips are highlighted.

By Dave Hurt October 26, 2021
Courtesy: Cincinnati Incorporated/Steve Rourke, CFE Media and Technology

It can be tricky to show customers the value being delivered when operations are running smoothly. This paradox creates one of the biggest struggles for those looking to demonstrate their worth to clients. Identifying key metrics for services or product and making them available in real-time to clients via a customer-facing dashboard is a visually compelling way to illustrate what is going on behind the scenes.

A customer-facing dashboard can effectively support and exceed traditional reporting measures by enabling customers to see and respond more quickly to updates or issues as metrics are updated in real-time. A customer-facing dashboard continually collects key data metrics to form the most up-to-date overview possible, far quicker and more efficiently than a regular monthly report.

For managed service providers (MSPs), a real-time dashboard of metrics often shows a level of transparency others are yet to provide and gives clients additional reassurance in the value of what they’re receiving. Larger clients, especially, will be able to clearly identify the benefits of using the services provided, rather than moving their IT operations in-house.

So, after identifying the need and reasons for integrating a dashboard into a platform to increase sales and revenue, what’s next?

Here are seven winning strategies and best practices to build and maintain a customer-facing dashboard from a long-term perspective.

1. A holistic approach to implementation: Once a dashboard becomes a centralized source to understand what, how and when data is needed, it simplifies several thought processes. This allows for a holistic approach completely backed by critical metrics to assist with key changes.

2. Add actionable data: Dashboards are best when they are action oriented instead of solely informative. We strive to create dashboards that launch people into action. For example, in Eventbrite, if an event is low on available tickets, the dashboard can direct the admin to the event page to create/manage the tickets. This helps customers save time by directing them to a page within the system to fix an issue or approve a task.

3. The contextual benefit: Dashboards are not always one single page filled with charts providing multiple data. Sometimes, a single chart placed within an event page can provide the necessary information to help users make decisions or understand performance in the context of that page. The beauty of dashboards is that various end users can benefit from different information presented in various ways. That’s why it’s important to understand the “why” behind each dashboard implementation.

4. Track customer usage data: Monitoring overall performance and customer value at a glance can be possible by tracking how often and for how long different users view each dashboard. By keeping up with customer usage data, a manager will understand how and in what way the dashboard is valuable to their team. Product managers must continually monitor the usage and try to improve their use to track overall dashboard performance.

5. Use customer support data: Customer-facing dashboards are a game-changer for customer support teams. Mainly due to the fact that they allow a clear overview and understanding of potential changes around a particular customer request or inquiry. Customer support data identifies questions asked and what metrics should be added thereafter. Product managers should monitor requests to see whether issues are caused by the dashboard or whether the team has reduced the customer requests themselves.

6. Optimize the dashboard’s load time: An optimal dashboard must continually monitor response and loading times. Tracking the load time (over time and not only in the building stages) is important for the quality of the dashboard, regardless of any added features. A dashboard can have as many useful features at once wrapped up in an elegant design—if a dashboard’s loading time is long, users will look for another SaaS implementation build. It’s necessary to analyze and allocate the time needed to manage any ongoing maintenance needed to reduce any potential impact on a dashboard’s performance.

7. Analyze time and resources needed: When creating a dashboard, it’s important to analyze how much time and resources will be needed for optimal management and implementation cost. Before cramming as much information as possible, stop and prioritize maintenance of the SaaS dashboard to prevent slowing down any processes and mitigate any potential impacts on its performance. As the system grows, dashboards must be maintained over time to remain manageable. Understanding the need for a regular maintenance process and allocating time for maintenance in every development cycle is critical to a dashboard’s health and success.

These tips and tricks will help people maintain a customer-facing dashboard as an asset for their platform and customers. A well-curated metrics dashboard will feel intuitive for customers to navigate and provide users with clear and actionable insights. Investing time and resources in a dashboard can reduce confusion or doubt from clients and help them recognize when things are running smoothly and value is being delivered.

Dave Hurt is the founder of VerbData. Edited by Christina Miller, CFE Media and Technology, cmiller@cfemedia.com.


Dave Hurt
Author Bio: Dave Hurt is the Founder of Verbdata.