Lies, Damn Lies And Statistics.
On Wednesday, just before being assailed by the sight of Alan Cumming's purple ass, I was eavesdropping on some fellow theatre-goers complaining about the performance of their postal service. They intended to send this year's Christmas presents via a private carrier and were unwilling to make formal complaints because "they'd only get forwarded to our local office and we'd consequently risk retribution."
Yesterday, the UK postal service announced its "best-ever" performance (since records began in 1988).
Today, the media is full of questions as to whether the numbers have been manipulated by virtue of earlier collection and later delivery times just as our trains run more punctually because scheduled journey-times and definitions of lateness have been stretched.
Measurement is not a PR exercise, it's meant to inform you how you're doing and where you can improve. The customer doesn't need to see the numbers, they intimately know their experience of your company and if you tell them otherwise, you're going to end up like Alan Cumming.