Customer service is a very measurable activity. There is an almost endless supply of data that can be measured to assess overall performance and quality: call volumes, chat times, resolution rates for a start.

But while it may be tempting to simply measure everything, sifting through mountains of data is unlikely to be an effective way to determine how good your service really is and highlight areas for improvement. So what exactly should you be measuring to get the most enlightened view of your customer service performance?

Let’s have a look at how you can choose the best metrics for your business and some examples of the metrics for success.

Choose your own metrics

Quantifying your customer service efforts is a fantastic way to maximize your potential to improve the way that you communicate with customers and ultimately your brand image. However, not all metrics will be useful for everyone.

Don't chose generic metrics.Metrics should be chosen to be specifically useful to your business.

Every company is different and while there are some general rules, simply copying another business’s metrics is unlikely to give you the best results. Instead you should carefully consider which metrics will be most useful for your own goals and deliver useful insights into your own processes.

When deciding which metrics you should be measuring within your business first consider:

  • Why are you reporting? It seems like a basic question but it really gets to the heart of your ultimate goals. Understanding ‘why’ will give you a solid foundation to pave the way for later detailed decisions.
  • What are the desired outcomes? Everything you’re measuring should have a direct link back to your overall objectives. If a number isn’t helping you to achieve the insights and actions you want to see, it is effectively useless. Be ruthless with your metrics – fluff numbers waste everyone’s time.
  • Who will be looking at these reports? Understanding who your audience is can help you to better leverage your insights. If it’s a C-level who has little on the ground experience, broader data points will be more useful than specifics. However, someone with a deeper insight into customer service may benefit from an overview of the nitty gritty. Also consider how often these reports will be communicated and in what format.

An important point to remember is that there is no single magic metric that will be able to show you the whole picture. Your metrics are most useful in relation to each other. Choose them based on the combined insights they give you, rather than their perceived unique value.

What makes a good metric?

There are several key attributes that good metrics have. They should be:

  • Actionable: It is not only pointless but frustrating for your team to be measured on things that they can’t impact. Make sure your metrics reflect your customer service performance and highlight avenues for improvement.
  • Authentic: All of your metrics must tell the true story. Fabricating results to create a more pleasing picture is not useful for improvement.
  • Meaningful: We have mentioned this before, but it’s worth doing so again. Everything you are measuring should have a direct link back to your overall objectives. If it’s not then it’s a poor metric for your business.
  • Consistent: Trends over quarters or even years often give a more useful insight into your processes than specific daily or even hourly data. Metrics that can be measured consistently over prolonged periods will be much more use to you in the long run.
  • Contextualized: Raw data presented in isolation isn’t desperately useful when looking at a complex process like customer service. Make sure that your metrics can be contextualized at every stage to give them more value.
Customer service metrics should give you the best insight into your processes. The best customer service metrics give you a clear insight into how to improve further.

Metrics you can measure for success – some suggestions

For those actively looking for some tried and tested metric ideas to monitor your customer services, here are some suggestions:

1. Resolution rate

This metric represents the overall percentage of issues that your customer service staff resolve. A higher percentage indicates efficiency and expertise from your staff and lower percentages could indicate a number of issues preventing a resolution.

When tackling this result you should consider whether you need to hire more staff, or whether there are systemic issues that take up time or hold up processes.

2. Reply time

This simply refers to the time taken for customers’ queries or complaints to be followed up. This metric is often a great indicator of customer satisfaction and your businesses’ success at effectively communicating with customers.

If it’s taking a long time to reply, you may wish to consider whether you need to increase your number of staff or whether there are broader issues that are preventing reps getting back in touch with people sooner.

3. Customer satisfaction

This can be a complex metric to measure as it has some subjective aspects. It also relies on a lot of external factors such as how the measurement is designed and even how people are feeling on the day of the survey.

This metric is most often measured by a quick, simple survey after a significant interaction with a member of your team. The results of these surveys are most useful when aggregated over a substantial period of time.

However, it is important to think seriously about how you can most effectively measure customer service in relation to your own specific business structure and customer base. For example a younger, digitally-savvy customer base may prefer an online survey, while an older demographic may like to give their feedback on the phone. Also take time to think about your questions and how ranked levels could be interpreted by the audience. For example,four out of five may be very good for some people and only OK for others.

With this measurement, you should consider whether your staff may need further training to improve their customer facing skills. It may also indicate more systemic issues with your user interface.

To learn more about improving and measuring the quality of your customer service get in touch with Call Design today. Our training and solutions in areas such as performance and quality management can help you identify measurable weaknesses in your delivery, and work to improve them.