In today’s competitive market, the best advantage an organization can have is exceptional customer service. With nearly three-quarters of consumers indicating they would change companies over perceived bad service, it is imperative for firms to be sure their customer service is the best it can be.
The best way to ensure your customer service is up to snuff is to measure it. There are many different metrics that companies use to measure just how they’re performing when it comes to satisfying customer expectations. Ultimately, measuring customer service can help your organization succeed.
Some organizations simply like to believe they have great customer service. Others think that truly “great” service is difficult or impossible to measure—after all, metrics tend to quantify things, but customer service is dependent upon quality.
But customer service metrics can give you important information about your organization and your customers. Perhaps most importantly, using metrics can help you understand what your company does well and what it could work on improving. Moreover, this information comes straight from your customers—not from a management think-tank, which means you can be sure that the areas identified for improvement are those your customers think you need to work on.
How Does It Help?
Measuring customer service helps organizations improve their service offerings to their customers. It really is that simple. So long as your firm employs the right metrics, you will gain valuable insight into where your company already delivers great service and where it needs to improve.
That translates into a strategic plan for improving your customer service: You can work on the areas you know you need to work on. By getting measurable feedback, often from customers themselves, you can be sure you’re making improvements where and when you need to make them. That, in turn, creates happier and more satisfied customers.
Happier customers are more likely to be repeat customers; they will stick with you. They may even increase their purchase frequency or their purchase volume. They might also recommend your business to family and friends. Word-of-mouth marketing is still the best possible PR a business can get, and customers referred in this manner are more likely to be loyal.
Many businesses fumble around in the dark, trying to guess what their customers want from them. That means they might focus on improving a service or function customers did not think needed improvement, while neglecting another aspect of service that is frustrating people. That can lead to wasted efforts—and sometimes, more dissatisfied customers.
Measuring customer service is like switching on the lights: You don’t need to guess at what needs improvement. That means you can commit your scarce resources to focus on specific areas that have been identified. That can save you time and money as well as help you make your customers even happier.
Picking a Yardstick
Obviously, one of the biggest tricks to measuring customer service is making sure you’re employing the right metrics. Some metrics are not very good yardsticks for measuring customer service. Average handle time (AHT), for example, does not provide a clear picture about the quality of service your representatives are providing; it only measures the length of a call. A short call does not necessarily mean a quick and satisfactory solution, just the same way a long call does not automatically translate into poor service.
There are plenty of metrics out there, so picking the right ones can be difficult. Determine first and foremost what you want to measure—what are you interested in knowing about? Then look for a metric that will offer insights about that aspect of your customer service.