You know all about how important customer service is for your business and, by extension, how important customer service metrics are. If you want to know what’s working and what’s not, you need to take some measurements.
Not all metrics give you the same insights into your business. In fact, some of them are downright misleading. If you want to be sure you’re getting the best information about your customer service possible, steer clear of these four metrics.
1. Call Length
Call length is one of the most popular customer service metrics because it’s relatively easy to measure. You simply record how long a call was. From there, proponents of this metric argue you can draw conclusions about customer service. If the call was long, the rep took a long time to resolve the situation and probably delivered bad service. If the call was short, then the customer went on their way satisfied.
In practice, the “long calls equal bad service” formula just doesn’t hold up. Sometimes your customers do have complex or complicated issues, and it’ll take reps a long time to work through them. But that doesn’t mean the customer is unhappy with the resolution or your rep’s effort to resolve the issue! Similarly, a short call could mean bad service was rendered.
2. Conversion Rates
If your customers are interacting with reps employed in your outbound and outreach programs, you might be tempted to measure their conversion rates—that is, how many calls or outreaches they turn into sales. Good conversion rates show reps converting on lots of their customer contacts, while poor conversion rates mean most of your customers simply don’t buy.
The problem with conversion rates? They don’t account for those customers who take time to think things over. Today’s consumers are much more involved in purchases. They might contact you to get some more information or listen to a rep’s spiel about a great new service, then say, “I’ll think about it.” A few days later, they might make the switch—which isn’t captured in the conversion rate. You’ve won the customer over, but you’d never know from this metric.
3. Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction seems like it should be one of the best customer service metrics: You ask customers if they were satisfied with the service they received. If they were, great! If not, you’ve got a problem. If the majority of your customers walk away dissatisfied, you have a big problem.
Dig a little deeper, however, and the issues with customer satisfaction become more apparent. What is satisfaction, really? Satisfactory service isn’t necessarily great service.
Instead, measure customer happiness and ask for actionable feedback. Was the customer happy with the resolution? If not, what could you have done to make them happy? You may not be able to give customers everything they want, but gathering feedback from your customers can show you the way to improve.
4. First Call Resolution
Another option among customer service metrics is first call resolution, which is up there with call length/average handle time. Basically, you determine whether the customers’ issues were resolved on the first call. If they had to be transferred or call back later, the measure will decline.
Supposedly, you should be able to resolve all customer issues on the first call. That’s not going to be true for all customers or all problems. Some complex problems may take several calls to resolve. Similarly, a first call could “resolve” a situation without satisfying your customers. Simply saying “we can’t do that” ends a call pretty quickly, and the customers probably won’t call you back—they’ll take their business elsewhere.