Quality customer service is both a brand differentiator and a necessity. In such a competitive digital marketplace, users will simply switch to your competitors if their needs as a customer are not being met.
On the flipside, great customer service has the power to turn one-time clients into long-term brand champions, helping your brand build a long-lasting community.
We have written about the importance of great customer service delivery in a previous post, where we provided a number of pointers for how you can improve yours. We have also drilled down into how to deal with customer queries and requests to ensure you are leveraging every opportunity to create a happy and loyal customer base.
Now, we’re going to tackle how you can monitor your customer service delivery, to ensure your efforts are actually hitting the mark with those who matter: your users.
On first consideration, winning over customers might not seem like something we could measure. How we make our customers happy and satisfied is difficult to define – it might stem from building rapport on a phone call, having a website or app that is easy to navigate, being available 24/7, or even novel touches like sending messages or discounts on users’ birthdays.
While methods of good customer service are manifold, however, there are a number of indications of just how successfully the customer service process is performing. A query resolved quickly, for example, signals that the customer service team has tackled the problem efficiently and the customer can go back to what they were doing. Meanwhile, comparing customer retention rates over time against any changes made to your process, can indicate whether or not you need to review or update your approach.
Below, we’ll run through some of the key metrics you can keep track of to help understand just how your customer service process is performing and, ultimately, how happy are your customers.
Customer service teams must have clear, well-defined goals that contribute to better customer service delivery. Not only do KPIs provide a company-wide standard for measuring performance, they can be used to recognise personal achievements or milestones or identify areas for development, and motivate agents to deliver their best.
Customer Retention rate is the percentage of customers that your company has retained over a certain period of time. This is an important benchmark, as existing customers are much more likely to make purchases than new ones. In fact, 80% of your future profits will come from just 20% of existing customers. Statistics like these drive home just how important it is to look after and grow a community for your users.
Keeping a watchful eye on Customer Retention rate and aiming to increase it is a crucial exercise for optimising customer service delivery.
Customer Churn is a measurement of how many customers have been lost over a given timescale, and so Customer Churn (or Customer Attrition) is the reverse of Customer Retention. Customer Churn is, obviously, bad news for business growth, as once a customer leaves for another competitor, it is very difficult to win them back, and they are more likely to speak negatively about their previous experiences.
If a customer has a problem with your product or service, they want you to solve it effectively, and they want it done quickly, so they can return to business as usual as soon as possible. Solving problems quickly for customers is also in your interest as a brand: it means customers are spending more time successfully engaging with your product or service and making purchases.
Calculating your Average Resolution Time for each or all of your customer service channels will provide a picture of how efficient and effective your customer service is, or where you need to make improvements. In many cases, minimum resolution times will be enshrined in Service Level Agreements (SLA).
Following on from the above, it pays to be timely in your response to an initial enquiry. From their initial contact, customers want a quick response – they do not want to be kept waiting for days, hours, or even minutes, depending on the channel they are using. Again, your SLA might feature a commitment to respond in a given timeframe.
To find your First Response Time, calculate the average duration between a customer’s first contact and the time at which the customer service team responds.
You can rest assured that if you are providing effective customer service, your customers will not hang up on your call or abandon your chat. However, if you are finding that customers are exiting your conversations before a resolution is provided, your customer service process is not effective and is frustrating customers.
You can calculate your Customer Service Abandonment rate by dividing the number of abandoned enquiries by the total number. You are aiming for a rate of zero.
We have detailed some of the customer service delivery metrics that can be observed passively, without actively involving the customer themselves. However, there are a number of steps that businesses can take to engage customers directly for their opinion on the effectiveness of your customer service.
Your Customer Satisfaction Score benchmarks how satisfied customers are with the customer service you have provided, usually by sending them a short survey after an online chat or support ticket has been closed, or a customer support phone call has ended. The customer will be invited to rate their experience using a predefined scale, such as 1-10, or ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Optional free text fields can be included to gather more qualitative feedback.
Customer Satisfaction Scores are an effective way of gathering authentic insight. However, they must be short enough for customers to take part and require a large sample in order to generate meaningful results.
Taking a similar approach to the Customer Satisfaction Score, the Customer Effort Score will be based on asking the customer how easy it was to complete a certain task. You might ask customers to rank the amount of effort it takes to complete a task from 1-5, or ask them to agree or disagree with a statement, such as ‘MyCompany enables me to complete my intended task quickly and easily.’
The NPS measures customer loyalty by benchmarking how your customers are to promote your business. Customers are asked, ‘How likely is it that you would recommend MyCompany to a friend or colleague?’
The customer will provide a rating from 0 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely). Based on their response, customers will fall into one of the three following categories:
The NPS is a widely used metric, and it demonstrates just how effective your customer service must be in order to earn not just loyalty and promotion, but even customer satisfaction.
Once you have begun generating an influx of customer service delivery data, and have embedded a routine to regularly analyse it, there is only one thing left for you to do – improve, improve, improve! The data you have gathered from your customer service delivery metrics should highlight particular areas or channels for improvement, and these should be your first priorities for attention.
Identifying areas of improvement is just the first step, however. Next, you will need to achieve an understanding of the aspects of calls or interactions that are leading to these outcomes. This is a process that should involve:
Agent feedback. Customer service agents are ‘on the ground’ with customers and will have the most detailed insight into customer expectations, and how your company is delivering on them. Encouraging regular, open and honest feedback from your representatives will help uncover the story behind the data.
In addition, agents should be encouraged to develop their own approaches by listening or reading their interactions with customers, to identify points for improvement.
Customer feedback. As we alluded to earlier, asking customers directly about their experiences with customer service is crucial, and it should be carried out after every interaction. These can be simple prompts after a chat has closed, or a short survey in an email sent after a call.
Clear standards. All agents will have their own unique strengths, but it is important to establish clear standards and procedures. A consistent approach to customer service delivery is much more easily managed. This could include directives such as whether to prioritise reduced average handling time, for example, or whether first call resolution is a primary goal. Certain tools and scripts will be prescribed.
We have said it before, but it is worth saying it again. Customer service is now a key brand differentiator. It is hard work, but get it right and you will be rewarded with a growing community of loyal customers. To achieve this, brands must constantly measure the performance of their customer service operations, and make continued efforts to improve it.
Your Intelastel application will enable your users to level up customer experience and accelerate agents’ efficiency with smart customer service software. Intelastel can be set up to record, log and track enquiries, pooling queries from all channels into a centralised database all care agents can access.
Create configurable triggers to prioritise tickets, integrate and automate your established communications methods to keep your customers informed on query progress every step of the way. A shared team to-do list can keep all members of the customer service application up to date and accountable for ad hoc tasks, while freeing up customer service agents’ time to deal with more complex service issues.
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