We live in a hyper-connected digital world where the customer is not only always right, but also more demanding, empowered, tech-savvy and time-poor than ever before. If your business isn't providing exceptional and swift customer service, your commercial growth and development could become seriously stunted — and that’s why it’s so important to keep an eye on customer service performance metrics.
“Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.” ~ Donald Porter, British Airways
Fortunately, we live in an age where digital data is readily available from a number of valuable sources. By using customer service performance metrics to your advantage, you will be able to monitor the standard of your customer service efforts over time, giving you the power to turn your business into a lean, mean consumer-serving machine.
Why track customer service performance metrics?
A Harvard Business Review study suggests that the most critical factor in consumer loyalty is a reduction in customer effort. Moreover, 77 percent of people confirm that valuing their time is the most important thing a business can do to provide customers with an exceptional standard of service.
Essentially, the service you offer to your customer base is the very lifeblood of your organization, particularly in a day and age where there are so many channels on which a consumer can express their satisfaction — or dissatisfaction.
By tracking key customer service performance metrics, you’ll not only be able to understand how your primary customer-facing channels are performing, but you’ll also be able to spot trends and make invaluable efficiencies, ensuring your business is performing to an optimum level on a continual basis.
Yes, that does mean increased brand loyalty. And yes, it also means more sales.
First response time and resolution time
It's simple: today's consumers want a timely response to their queries, questions or issues — and by offering an incredibly punctual response, you'll leave an excellent first impression. Whether the communication is via phone, email or social media, customers expect a swift first response — they also expect a timely resolution to their issues.
How long is too long to wait for a response? In terms of customer service performance metrics, that's subjective and dependant on the communication medium (email will ultimately take longer than social media, and social media perhaps longer than a call, in some instances).
But, by setting response time parameters for all of your customer service channels and measuring the data over time, you'll be able to gauge your first response and resolution performance.
Measure these customer service performance metrics over a set time frame, and it will become apparent which channels need work and which are performing well. From this data, you'll be able to make the necessary improvements, offering an optimum first response and resolution time as a result.
Net promoter score (NPS)
Your NPS is vital to your entire operation, as this is how your service levels are perceived in the public domain. In a nutshell, it determines how likely someone would refer you to someone else. It works like this:
You ask your customers how likely they are to recommend you from 1 to 10. Their responses place them into one of three main categories:
- Promoters (9-10)
- Passives (7-8)
- Detractors (0-6)
By taking the percentage of the respondents that fall below the “promoter” category (10 - 9) and subtracting that figure from the “detractors” (0 - 6), you'll get your overall NPS.
Because today's consumers value the opinions of their peers over all else, this is one customer service performance metric you need to track on a regular basis.
Customer retention rates
When it comes to a superior customer experience, 86 percent of consumers will pay more. If you offer your customers an almost flawless level of customer support, you will ultimately encourage loyalty, in turn boosting your customer retention rates.
Plus, enticing new customers is expensive, costing a business five to 25 times more than it takes to keep an existing one. What’s more, research reveals that the most successful eCommerce businesses enjoy more than half of their revenue from returning customers. It's safe to say that your customer retention rate one performance metric you need to track, carefully.
Here’s how to calculate this most valuable of customer service performance metrics:
- Customer Retention Rate = ((CE – CN) / CS)) x 100
- CE = Number of customers at end of period
- CN = Number of new customers acquired during period
- CS = Number of customers at start of period
To help you make full sense of the equation, here is a sample calculation:
If you start the month with 1,000 customers and by the end of the month, 150 people have left, but you've managed to gain 200 fresh customers — you now have 1,050 customers. Here's what your retention rate will look like:
((1050–200)/100) X 100 = 85%
Make efforts to improve this on a steady and continual basis and you’ll reap the rewards of increased loyalty and of course, healthy profits.
Top support agents
Top-performing agents (or similar metrics of this kind) is a performance metric that is all too often overlooked, but it's one of the most essential of them all. A satisfied, motivated, engaged customer service agent will not only remain productive, but will also offer your customers an exemplary level support and service on a consistent basis.
It's that simple.
And, if that wasn’t enough to convince you, fully engaged businesses usually enjoy a 10-percent boost in customer ratings.
By using statistical performance data including customer praise, individual satisfaction levels and calls or queries handled and the number of successful resolutions within a week, you'll be able to reward and recognize your staff, resulting in a happy, well-oiled ship that works for everyone — your customers in particular.
Customer service a core element of any modern eCommerce business — big, medium or small. Track these customer service performance metrics, and you'll see the benefits in no time.