Everyone running a business wonders at some point if what they are doing is enough for the clients and how satisfied (or dissatisfied) they might be. In our every day more competitive and automated world, something will remain and always make the difference: the human interaction of a customer service. And we all know that a satisfied customer is key for the success and sustainability of a business. So how can one know if the customer relationship is good enough, satisfying? How can we evaluate it?
The answer is simple: customer service analytics. Management thinker Peter Drucker famously said that “you can't manage what you can't measure”, which means that unless success is defined clearly and tracked, you can’t say if you are successful in your activities. This is why your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), specific values pre-set according to your company’s objectives, will be of a great help all along your journey for an enhanced customer support.
Defining clear and measurable objectives to achieve and measuring them at different points in time is indispensable for a good customer support strategy. In this article, we will go over the five main KPIs one needs to do so.
1) Average Wait Time
No one likes to wait – all the less when we could be doing something funnier. When your customers call, write, or go to the after sales service, it hardly is for good news or a congratulation note: something is not working with your product and they want it fixed. This is the most important of the KPIs you will track, as it is the first (and most important) impression you will give.
The Average Wait Time is probably measured more easily with calls rather than emails. An Oracle study states that 50% of the consumers do not give more than one week to a brand to address their problems before they stop doing business with them.
When applied to calls, the Average Wait Time is directly linked to another KPI, the Call Abandonment rate. OrderlyQ came up with an interesting graph which shows the number of customers who prefer to hang up by the minutes passing: after the first minute, already 35% have hung up, a figure that doubles after three minutes.
Your point, is, of course, to decrease the Average Wait Time as much as you can, in order to provide a fast and efficient service. Keeping your customers on hold for too long will not only make them feel frustrated but also push them to hang up. Moreover, they are more likely to rant about your company on social media, harm your image, avoid recommending you to friends and family, and of course, complain about the customer service.
To ensure that this indicator stays as low as possible, these are the things you need -
- You need enough staff members to answer the volume of calls or tickets accordingly. (We will discuss this metric later in this article).
- Provide enough training to your staff for them to face the various problems that can happen.
Over-optimizing the team of agents needed might save you in the short run, but can become harmful in the long run.
2) First Contact Resolution
Second important metric is the First Contact Resolution (via ticket, email, call) and will talk about your efficiency in helping out and addressing your clients’ problems.
As we already said, the first act of resorting to customer service is problematic and people are usually not happy with it – this is why an efficient customer support is all the more satisfying. Indeed, in an article written by ICMI, we learn:
A problem solved on the first call, the number of customers at risk of going towards your competitors is only 3%, a figure relatively low in comparison to the 38% of customers likely to leave if the issue is not solved on the first contact.
How do you measure this KPI? Simply evaluate a couple of factors:
- How many times the customer contacts you in, let’s say, a week?
- Implement an automatic short feedback survey with questions like “Are your issues resolved?”
Keeping this metric as high as possible is key for a better customer retention. If ever you witness a drop in the numbers, you should investigate the causes and address them as quickly as possible.
3) Volume of Calls or Volume of Tickets
We mentioned it earlier; the volume of calls or tickets will directly impact the average wait time of your customers calling.
It is highly important for your business and for the care of your customer teams that you measure this metric to know what are your busiest hours of the day, days of the week and months of the year. That way, you can point out trends in the contact volumes and not being taken off guard overwhelmed by a sudden rise. Anticipation is essential and having an idea of what is to come will help you manage your staff appropriately.
To complete this metric, you can evaluate it in comparison to the number of clients you have to know an average ratio of a problem per client. Monitor this KPI over time, because a sudden increase can be the translation of a bigger problem.
4) Customer Effort Score
This metric simply answers the question: “How easy was it for your customer to find what they were looking for?”
This can be applied earlier in the customer journey (when they are browsing your products and services for instance), however, we will focus on the last part, after the purchase. It is important to keep track of whether or not the information provided in your FAQ is relevant to the clients, and if the way such information is brought to them (via an internal search box/question box for instance) is efficient.
By knowing how difficult or how easy it is for your customers to find the help they need, you can adapt and adjust your different help channels accordingly. It is important for future issue resolution – how can you appropriately help a future client, if you do not manage to assist them now?
To do so, there are several possible ways:
- Asking plain and simple to rate on a scale from 1 to 10 how easy it was for them to find what they want
- Observing the time spent on your “help pages” and the research queries
- Interacting with your customers on social media and ask for feedback
Don’t overlook this metric as it is an important one that will directly affect the next and final KPI that we will see hereafter.
5) Customer Satisfaction Score
Last but not least, you may need a more “qualitative” metric, that does not rely solely on figures.
Your Customer Satisfaction Score is as easy as it sounds, and everyone, from business professional to customer -especially customer- have come across this simple little satisfaction survey at the end of a conversation. Pressing red-yellow-green buttons, or ticking box on a scale from 1 to 5, leaving a written feedback or not, there are a lot of different ways to measure the overall satisfaction of your clients.
Make it personal, make it as you like, and more importantly make it relevant to your business, products or services. Customizing the questions according to the services you deliver, asking for a more specific feedback on particular pain points that you are aware of will definitely help you improve your service to a whole new level, and work harder on the things that don’t work.
Remember: feedback is a gift, don’t abuse it! After a usually long call for resolution, your customers will not be so eager to spend 10 more minutes answering questions and elaborating long written answers.
Now That I Have My KPIs Ready, What should I Do?
It is one thing to collect and analyze data, it is another to understand it clearly. When it comes to data, in particular, the complexity and abundance of it can be overwhelming. Using an efficient KPI Software will help you in the management of all your metrics and help you display them under comprehensive, professional business dashboards.
Having all the metrics that matter to enhance your customer support and visualizing them all in a glimpse will save you a lot of time. It will also help you greatly when you will need to share your data story with your teams, management, colleagues, etc.
In a nutshell, customers today are expecting more and more from the after-sales support, which stresses the need to implement customer-centric metrics to evaluate the service provided. Once you have set the indicators you want to track, measure them over time and compare them with the objectives you had set in the beginning, trying to reach them in the expected timeframe.