Which Customer Service Metrics Matter Most?

Data analysis is an important part of maintaining excellent customer service, but is there such a thing as too much data? Many businesses make the mistake of tracking so many different metrics that they get bogged down in data and lose focus on what data analysis was supposed to achieve in the first place. If you find yourself in this position, try concentrating on just a few of the most important metrics to get rid of the data bloat and bring that focus back.

1) Customer Satisfaction

There's almost always a very strong correlation between the health and growth of an organisation and the satisfaction of its customers, and that makes customer satisfaction a metric that every business should track and commit to improving.

The question is, what are the most effective ways to track this metric? Generally, it's best to use a mixture of methods, including those that track individual customer service interactions, and those that track customer satisfaction at regular intervals.

In the case of online customer service, for example, emails from customer service staff can include a link that allows the customer to rate each interaction. That allows you to look at the results achieved by particular types of interactions. For tracking long term trends, a short survey sent out to the email subscriber list provides insight into how happy your customers are with the organisation as a whole.

2) Secondary Metrics

Secondary metrics are those that feed into your primary metric of customer satisfaction. Tracking secondary metrics can provide you with useful data about improvements you might make to fine tune your primary metric, and as long as you limit the number of metrics you track to just a few of the most important, you're not at risk of getting bogged down in unnecessary data.

Some of the metrics that are most important to your organisation may depend partly on the kind of customer service system you're operating, but there are several general metrics that are universally useful.

·       Average length of wait: how long does a customer have to wait before receiving a reply to an email enquiry, or before talking to a service rep on the phone?

·       Average handle time: how long does it take to resolve a customer enquiry? What kinds of enquiry are resolved the fastest, or the slowest?

·       Average number of contacts required: how many times does a customer need to contact the customer service department before their problem is resolved, and how many different service reps do they interact with?

Averages are important for an overall look at each metric, but it's important to note the outliers too. Those occasions where a customer waits a particularly long time, or is shunted to half a dozen different reps during a single phone call warrant investigation, both to determine why it happened, and to prevent a recurrence.

Getting Customer Service Staff Oriented

Once you've defined your most important metrics and created an organised plan of data tracking, collection, and analysis, there's one final step, and that's getting your customer service staff up to speed with the new plan. One or more simple customer service training sessions is typically enough to acquaint staff with whatever changes are required. Then, when you run customer service courses for new staff in the future, it's an easy matter to slot that information into the programme.

About the Author

Alison Brattle is a marketing manager of global sales & customer service training firm AchieveGlobal UK, specialises in providing exceptional customer service courses, leadership training and sales force training which helps organisations develop business strategies to achieve sales success. Alison enjoys sharing her insight and thoughts to provide better sales and leadership. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.

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