Improving the customer journey: The importance of customer service KPIs and metrics

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This is a guest post that has been written by Debbie Fletcher on behalf of Nanorep.

Mapping the customer journey – understanding the touchpoints that clients have with a business as they move through the buying process – has become one of the most important parts of understanding the interaction between businesses and consumers. When 89% of companies say they intend to compete on customer experience, it’s clear that actionable, data-driven insights are an essential.

It’s always surprising how many businesses relegate customer service metrics to the bottom of the pile. While there is an abundance of other data worth measuring, customer service KPIs are able to provide the honest truth about the experience that consumers have when dealing with a brand. This is absolutely crucial – because improving customer loyalty, and refining the process so it’s as smooth as possible, ensures that they’re worth a lot more to a business in the long run. Achieving total customer satisfaction isn’t a game of guesswork, however, but one that requires valuable analytics and insights.

Response and resolution metrics

Discussing the wide range of customer service KPIs and metrics that can be measured, cnsumer satisfaction experts at nanorep put a great deal of emphasis on the process of responding to, and resolving, customer queries. There are key metrics to study in order to ensure future satisfaction, including:

  • Response time to first reply: Does the customer feel you can even hear them, much less actively listen to them?
  • Average hold time: Are you keeping customers waiting, increasing their frustration and the belief that they’re ‘wasting their time’?
  • Number of rerouted contacts: A customer wants to know that they have a single, firm point of contact – an ally, of sorts, who knows and understands the issues they’re facing.
  • How long it takes to resolve a case: Clean and efficient is how people should think of customer care, resolved as quickly as possible with minimal fuss for the customer.
  • Churn incidence: How many people never get to see a resolution, giving up before an adequate response to their problem is found?
  • Service rep behavior: Companies need to know how their reps are performing, whether they’re meeting targets and, most importantly, how well they interact with the clients they help.

With increasing numbers of brands offering online customer service – whether through social media, or through instant chat options – customers are becoming used to a quicker, less drawn out process. We’re all now accustomed to the insta-click mentality, from booking a holiday to ordering a pizza; a solid customer care experience should be no different. Not only is that a reasonable expectation thanks to technology, but it reflects poorly on brands who can’t compete on speed and simplicity while their competitors can.

Gathering this data is certainly half of the battle, but once the information has been collected it also needs to be used in the right way. By drilling down into these KPIs, and asking further questions, businesses can turn their statistics and figures into actions that improve satisfaction; satisfaction which, in turn, leads to far greater loyalty from a client who believes that company is ‘on their side’.

Crunching the data in this way makes it far more useful, both for managers and the teams with which they work. From one initial question – how long does it take to resolve a case – a business can now know facts such as which channels are most efficient and therefore worth investing in and which stages of the process are causing hold-ups or bottle-necking.

Understanding separate channels

One point that crops up again and again, is the need to segment data by channel in order to get a full picture of what the customer service experience is like from the client’s perspective. Businesses can use KPIs to find out whether their customers are using multiple channels to resolve a single case, to understand whether different channels are being used for different types of query, and to investigate factors that may be unique to specific channels.

Perhaps the most interesting tool for businesses is social media, unique among customer service platforms in that the conversations between clients and company representatives are often public – and have the potential to solidify the crowd’s perception of a brand, be that positive or negative. Twitter have even started handing out awards to the companies that make the most effective use of their platform as a customer service tool, with Apple scooping up the first award thanks to their ability to engage with clients and respond to queries within minutes.

Similarly, metrics focusing on how customers feel about the service they received can give a clearer sense of how an audience is actually responding to it. For instance, it’s safe to assume that taking a long time to reach a resolution is always negative, but if clients feel that the business genuinely cares for them during the process, that the company was fighting the customer’s corner, they are more likely to be satisfied.

Making the most of customer service data

What matters here, though, is not so much which metrics are used, as why they’re chosen and how they’re ultimately used. The right KPIs are the ones which uncover a business’s strengths and weaknesses; they’re the ones which delve a little deeper into areas of interest and concern.

This is the type of information that a company can distribute effectively, and turn into the real actions that make for a better service team – and a better customer journey. Understanding the process and experience from the client perspective can completely change not just how a company does business, but how much business they actually get.

This is a guest post that has been written by Debbie Fletcher on behalf of Nanorep.

Bio: Debbie Fletcher is an enthusiastic, experienced writer who has written for a range of different magazines and news publications over the years. Graduating from City University London specialising in English Literature, Debbie’s passion for writing has since grown. She loves anything and everything technology, and exploring different cultures across the world. She’s currently looking towards starting her Masters in Comparative Literature in the next few years.

Photo Credit: _M-j-H_ Flickr via Compfight cc

1 comments On Improving the customer journey: The importance of customer service KPIs and metrics

  • You’re right Debbie, it really is so important to stay on top of targets in business, especially when customers are involved! We noticed a slump in our customer experience due to miscommunications with our call centre staff. To tackle this, we decided to invest in software from Autom8 and it’s made a significant improvement!

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