Happy and satisfied customers are crucial for a successful business. But do you know if your customers are happy? How can you improve it? The first step is to measure it. This article will introduce you to practical ways of collecting customer feedback and how to turn them into actionable KPIs.
How to measure customer service metrics
Every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to collect information: the more data, the accurate the results. Modern technology lets you be as straightforward or as sophisticated as your business needs, budget, and personal preference dictate. The fastest, no hassle-way is the famous customer satisfaction survey triggered automatically after certain conditions are met: e.g., bi-annual survey or instant feedback after a ticket was closed. On the other end of the spectrum, you can employ social listening to find out what customers are saying about your brand and service online.
Social media is an excellent source to gauge your customer satisfaction levels: from the star rating on your page to your customers’ detailed comments and reviews. However, it is good to keep in mind that dissatisfied customers are more likely to leave a review; the results can be skewed to the negative. Unlike the other sources where the customer gives their opinion in private, these are public. They are a source of data and an opportunity to show that you care about your customers. A negative review is often not as damaging when a reply and an apology, ideally even a solution proposed by a service agent, is following it.
A third, valuable, and often overlooked source: exit surveys – why is a customer canceling their subscription or uninstalling the software? They can highlight potentially critical issues, saving you a lot of headaches and angry customers later on.
Which customer support metrics to track?
Generally speaking, the 3 areas that you want to track with your metrics are:
- Company-Customer Relationship
- Agent performance/ efficiency
- Team performance/ efficiency
The most commonly used metric is the Customer Satisfaction Score – CSAT. It is possible to look at it from different angles, depending on your business goals:
- CSAT over time
- CSAT per channel
- CSAT by customer persona
- CSAT by product/service
And many more. A similar KPI is the Customer Effort Score (CES). Businesses typically use CES instead of CSAT. Some transition to CES after gathering all possible information on CSAT. Whichever you choose, both have the same goal: make the interactions as effortless and painless as possible for the customer.
You can look at the NPS- Net Promoter Score for an even better insight into your relationship with your customer. The idea here is that satisfied customers are your best brand ambassadors. Remember, most consumers prefer to listen to their friends and family when deciding on a brand.
How to improve your customer service metrics
It is important that you can make informed decisions about your business. Tracking metrics alone will not suffice. It is important to put them into context.
- Always measure the qualitative and quantitative aspects of your service delivery. Your goal should always be to improve your relationship with your customer.
- Measure the effort a customer has to undergo to contact the support team. Set up baselines for your team and ticket queue, e.g. average waiting time or ticket backlog. Utilize self-service options and enable your customer to help themselves. Track these interactions to improve your knowledge base. Self-service is a growing trend, with more and more customers preferring this option for problem resolution.
- Set up operational baselines and survey customers about their overall experience. This will let you set realistic performance goals for your team. For example: does your team need to improve resolution time, response time, or another crucial aspect of your customer success.
- Make sure that all your channels are performing equally. The customer satisfaction survey might be giving you a bird’s eye, but zooming in on individual channels will reveal bottlenecks. Performance across channels can vary widely. Different customer personas will have different preferences to contact the support agent. By providing consistent quality standards, you will avoid alienating them. Use this to find out what is working and what is just a drain on your resources – quality over quantity.
- Don’t neglect the metrics that look good, either. Automation and macros can inadvertently cover-up core issues causing easy-to-solve problems. Self-service will let the customer solve the issue quickly and efficiently, and they will leave positive feedback. Address recurring issues at the root to avoid more problems down the road. Resolving small issues will have an incremental impact on your relationship. Leaving larger ones unresolved can do much harm. You cannot tell how effective your team is at resolving issues, big or small, if you don’t measure them. Tag your tickets by issue category, and you will have a window into your agent’s issue resolution performance.
Building a relationship with your customers, and providing a service worthy of their loyalty is not easy. Even if your CSAT score is low, knowing where the issues are is the first, crucial step to improvement. Else you will fly blind, and that is guaranteed to fail.
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Net Promoter and NPS are registered U.S. trademarks, and Net Promoter Score and Net Promoter System are service marks, of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc. and Fred Reichheld.