I first came across the term ‘Measurebation’ via a TEDTalks session by Rory Sutherland; yes it is a bit of an odd word, and it comes from the world of photography but it sums up exactly what it’s describing (the following definition was taken from Urban Dictionary):

Measurebator (in photography): Someone who gets so caught up in the technical specifications of a camera to the point of endlessly repeating stats in numerous online forum postings and arguing which camera is better solely on specs; who conversely almost never takes any pictures.

In other words they get so caught up in the numbers that they miss the obvious – in the case of photography that a camera is for taking pictures.

Whilst the term comes from the world of photography, it doesn’t take a huge leap of the imagination or faith to see that it can easily be applied to the world of Customer Experience – in particular Voice of Customer programmes.

There are numerous ways of gathering VoC, and in the main the output of most includes some from of metric; this can include Customer Satisfaction, Customer Effort, Customer Recommendation and the perennial favourite Net Promoter Score (NPS).

In my experience, this means that for most the number becomes the focus.

If this is you – and I’m sorry to say this – then you are a Measurebator.

If this is you, then you’ve missed the point of VoC programmes.

Don’t get me wrong, I like numbers as much as the next human being, but the number is not the only focus. Yes it’s a good way to track your service levels or to track progress of service initiatives (to see what impact they are having), but there is much, much more you can do.

In my opinion the most important thing you can do with any VoC programme is to ask your customers why they gave you a particular score – that way you get to hear what you are good at and why, as well as what you need to be better at; this is the real value of such programmes.

You’ll then be able to highlight any issues or problems that you customers highlight much easier, and this will then help you focus on specific actions.

As I highlighted in my blog post Lessons from Mr Benn: No 2 there are three simple steps for any VoC programme:


If you’re a measurebator, you’re not doing any of these and you’re not valuing your customers opinions.

If you don’t value your customer’s opinions, do you value your customers at all?