To some who picture the term customer service, the first, and maybe only, thought related to it is that of a call center or helpline. However, anyone with experience on the other side of the proverbial curtain knows customer service has a depth that not many can fully understand. From personal behaviors, satisfaction, social media, demographics, and more, customer service contains so many unique avenues it is impossible to master, let alone operate within all of them. Therefore, companies have a team of customer service representatives. Each person in the said team has several responsibilities which are specific to them. Essentially, they’re a piece of customer service machine and without all the pieces working in unison, the machine fails. Former professional basketball coach, Phil Jackson, summarized this, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”
Speaking of teams, any quality business team should be able to put up tangible results which, hopefully, are relational or financial wins. How does this apply to customer service? Well, technology has brought the industry to the point where nearly every detail can be broken down statistically. There is black and white evidence to point any team leader in the direction their customer service representatives need to be headed. The experts below will help identify essential customer service metrics you should be tracking.
Eric Elggren is the Co-Founder of Andar, a brand offering unique and minimal leather wallets and goods. He suggests looking at measurements related to how content a customer was with their experience.
“One of the first acronyms you should learn in the world of customer service is CSAT which stands for customer satisfaction score. It’s as simple as it sounds – customers rate multiple elements of their interactions with your company on a numerical scale. Like its name, the practice is simple as all it takes is asking for customer opinion and reviewing it. There aren’t crazy algorithms or spreadsheets to wade through. It’s a direct line to the honest opinion of the customer which is accurate provided you survey enough people. Every company should be reviewing and asking for these scores as often as possible.”
The word metric lends itself to the idea that it involves complex math. However, sometimes it is as easy and counting. Arka is a business providing branded and unbranded packaging for ecommerce businesses. Their CEO, Phillip Akhzar, advises others to pay attention to the number of help tickets sent in by customers.
“An issue with a product that has not been replicated outside of its sole instance is an anomaly in two fashions. First, if it’s only happened once, it’s an anomaly by dictionary definition. Second, these things don’t happen nearly as often as you might think in the customer service world. If one customer has an issue, it’s incredibly unlikely that no other customer experienced the same if not identical issue. Therefore, we keep track of request volume and the specifics related to it. How many customers are having this specific issue? When you have information like this handy you can make a much better plan of action.”
Fenix Commerce specializes in shaping the future of retail. Their Founder & CEO, Akhilesh Srivastava, considers it necessary to analyze how long it takes for the customer to receive their first reply to a customer service request.
“Anyone who has worked in customer service in any capacity knows that an unhappy customer is generally a draining interaction no matter the issue at hand. Often, these people are simply tired of waiting for responses or to engage with anyone who represents the company. The longer customers must wait, the less likely they are to stick around. That’s just customer nature. You should be doing everything possible to connect with your customers, especially in this capacity. In this case, not only does it help the business-customer relationship, it also gives your business more time to solve any problem presented to it.”
Jorge Vivar is the Creative Director of mode, a brand offering organic, all-natural, and lab-tested Hemp products. He cautions others to be watchful of how many returning customers a company has in each period.
“In my opinion, we don’t talk enough about customer retention in the business world and yet it’s discussed constantly. That’s just how important it is. Companies live and die on the rate at which they can convert people into regulars. It’s been proven that previous customers are probably going to return to the brand they are familiar with. When you compare a company’s earnings from past customers against first time customers every year, the difference is staggering – it can be 10-fold or more in favor of past customers. That right there should be your motivation to retain them.”
Net Promoter Score
Sometimes, only one question is needed to spawn highly specific information. Spot Pet Insurance is a business providing pet insurance plans. Their CEO, Trey Ferro, proposes using the net promoter score for this reason.
“If you thought there’s no way to measure customer loyalty then you missed the boat on net promoter score, more commonly known as NPS. Through a survey made up of a single question, company’s have been determining for years how loyal their customers are to the brand. If good service is offered, then more people will submit a higher score. It’s no easy number to influence though as the only way you’re going to move that number upward is if your customers give you a nine or ten out of ten. Essentially, there’s a demand for perfection or as close to it as possible.”
HIDE specializes in custom formulated foundations & concealers. Their Chief Marketing Officer, Amanda E. Johnson believes a telling metric is the number of open claims that have yet to be settled.
“There are so many explanations as to why a customer service issue has gone unresolved but like it or not, it will happen more than anyone would prefer. Obviously, you don’t want the list of unresolved issues to build up so its best to frequently give this number some thought. If you see that number growing unimpeded then it may be time to shake things up in your customer service department. Not only is it incredibly hard to play catch-up, but customers who are left unanswered for long periods of time won’t return, or worse, spread a bad word.”
Omid Semino is the CEO and Founder of Diamond Mansion, a brand offering classy, elegant and unique engagement ring designs. He advises others to take stock of how many instances of communication take place between a company representative and the customer.
“It may not be the primary thought that comes to mind regarding customer service, but efficiency is a critical aspect of high-quality service. Here’s what I mean: If you have two employees working to fix a problem bothering a customer, one will outperform the other. The first employee averages three interactions with a customer per case while the second one averages five interactions. While interaction may be a vague term here, it’s safe to say that any interaction demands more time than zero. So, per day, the first employee will help more customers. Now you can see why it’s so critical.”
Customer Effort Score
Customer service is about much more than resolving issues. The Natural Patch Co. is a business providing chemical-free insect repellent patches. Their Founder, Michael Jankie, considers it vital to try to understand the user experience.
“Every company wants to make things as easy as possible for their customers because they know this is how they win their wallets. The customer effort score reflects the customers feelings on how easy or difficult it is to utilize the product or service they’ve purchased. From these results, decisions can be made to simplify whatever is tormenting a customer. A lower score can mean that they will take their attention or money elsewhere and that’s less than ideal so be sure and work closely with this one.”
Customer service and technology have combined to make the industry both more navigable and overwhelming. Specified information lends clarity but arriving at that information may prove somewhat confusing at first. However, it is worth doing as stated by financial consultant Connie Edler, “Excellent customer service is the number one job in any company! It is the personality of the company and the reason customers come back. Without customers there is no company!”