Your Guide to Delivering Quality Customer Service

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No matter what line of business you’re in, it’s critical to pay attention to the quality of your customer service delivery if you want to keep your customers happy. Read on to find out how much of a difference quality customer service can make — and how you can start taking action today.

Quality Customer Service, by the Numbers

The importance of delivering good customer service becomes all the more significant when it’s quantified. Consider these numbers that speak to the value of quality customer service:

What business wouldn’t want to reap the benefits of word-of-mouth exposure and loyal customers who keep coming back?

But, sometimes, the dramatic results and exciting possibilities make it easy to forget where to start. Let’s zoom out and establish a clearer vision for what quality customer service can and should be.

Before You Can Deliver a Great Customer Experience, You Need to Define It

An important first step toward delivering great customer service is understanding what quality service actually looks like — to your customers and to your employees.

What It Means to Your Customers

One way to find out what the ideal customer experience (CX) looks like is to dig into the most common customer expectations. If you understand what your audience anticipates when they reach out to a support agent, you can model your customer service systems and procedures around that vision.

We’ve previously highlighted the top 10 customer service qualities that can contribute to top-notch customer care. Here’s an overview of the characteristics your customers expect to see from support agents:

  1. Respectful: Show an appreciation for customers’ time, energy and business as well as the situation that caused them to reach out.
  2. Attentive: Use active listening skills that uncover what the customer is and isn’t saying, and show that you’re invested in helping them.
  3. Caring: Exhibit empathy and emotional intelligence to demonstrate a genuine concern for your customer’s feelings.
  4. Positive: Transform customer complaints into positive touchpoints with the brand by leading with a positive attitude and a warm, friendly tone.
  5. Patient: Demonstrate plenty of patience when attempting to fully understand someone’s frustrating situation and work toward the type of resolution that leaves them a satisfied customer.
  6. Communicative: Employ strong communication skills to ensure that your responses are as clear, informative and helpful as they can be.
  7. Knowledgeable: Be prepared and forthcoming with expert knowledge about products or services, giving your customers the support and answers they’re looking for.
  8. Determined: Prove that you’re actively committed to discovering the root of the issue and arriving at a solution that meets your customers’ needs.
  9. Creative: Use outside-of-the-box thinking and sharp problem-solving skills to tackle more nuanced and complex issues with personalized solutions.
  10. Efficient: Find ways to minimize the time and effort you put into your support services while maximizing the results to improve the customer experience.

If you’re not sure how your business stacks up against the ideal customer experience, take a look at our ultimate CX checklist.

What It Means to Your Agents

Excellent customer service starts with empowered employees. As these customer expectations show, your audience expects to interact with highly skilled agents. But having the right customer service skills is just the baseline.

Customer care agents must also possess:

  • Expertise to represent your products and services.
  • Data to gain a 360-degree view of the customer.
  • Authority to take action on behalf of a customer.
  • Tools to manage their work efficiently.

However, they won’t show up with these resources and capabilities on day one. It’s your responsibility to ensure that your staff is adequately trained and that they have access to industry-leading software solutions designed to support quality customer care delivery.

Easy Ways to Start Improving Your Customer Service Right Now

With a better idea of what superior service looks like, you can start making informed decisions and steady progress toward improving your customer service and experience. Here are some simple steps to take right away. While they don’t require too much effort, they can lead you in the right direction and result in a much-improved experience for employees and customers alike.

Get Used to Measuring Customer Service Metrics

Your customer interactions can generate valuable data — if you’re prepared to collect it. With the right insights at your disposal, you can identify service gaps, bottlenecks and other pain points for customers and agents.

For example, a high abandonment rate could mean you need to respond to each customer inquiry sooner than you do right now. A high resolution rate paired with a low satisfaction rate could indicate an issue with how customers feel they’re being treated.

If you haven’t done so in the past, take some time to craft and distribute satisfaction surveys and generate internal reports to see where things stand. Focus on measuring and interpreting these important customer service metrics (and learn more about what they mean here):

  • Customer service abandonment rate
  • Customer retention rate
  • Resolution rate
  • Average resolution time
  • First response time
  • Customer effort score (CES)
  • Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)
  • Net promoter score (NPS)
  • Sentiment analysis

Start Anticipating Your Customers’ Needs

Shifting from a reactive mindset to a proactive one can have a dramatic impact on the quality of your customer care. Getting ahead of customer needs and concerns is a great way to promote a more positive CX and better prepare your agents.

For instance, retailers heading into the holiday rush can beef up their customer support teams with seasonal employees. Companies can anticipate continued COVID-19 complications and prepare with contingency plans and clear communications.

Additionally, brands can adopt an omnichannel approach and provide customer service via phone, mobile chat and even social media. This allows customers to access the help they need no matter what device they’re using to reach out. Even better, customers can switch channels seamlessly, without skipping a beat or losing context. And companies that plan to embrace remote work for a longer duration can implement the right tools to let customer care teams work from anywhere.

Discover the Impact of Upgrading Your Customer Service Software

Bringing the vision of superior customer service to life requires the right infrastructure. Kustomer’s leading customer service CRM platform can help you achieve those goals faster and more seamlessly by providing the data, automation and customization your business needs.

To discover more, request a free demo today.
 

Top Metrics and Strategies for How to Measure Customer Service Performance

How to Measure Customer Service Performance TW

In our Customer Service Retail Report, we discovered that nearly eight in 10 customers said they would be less likely to shop with a brand again after experiencing poor customer service. Unless you want to potentially lose about 80% of your business, you need to stay on top of your customer service performance.

If you’re not exactly sure how to measure customer service performance, consider the following methods and metrics. You’ll get the most valuable insights if you find ways to combine a well-rounded selection of key performance indicators (KPIs) in a way that complements your overall growth strategy.

Top Benefits of Monitoring Customer Service Satisfaction

Before diving into practical tips on how to measure customer service, let’s highlight some of the top benefits of monitoring customer service:

You Can Identify Areas for Improvement

As a smart business leader, you want to serve your customers as best as you possibly can. The right data will show you exactly what aspects of your customer service and the customer experience (CX) you’re providing could use some attention. By gathering and monitoring customer service data, you’ll have the tangible evidence needed to inform decisions and process improvements.

You’ll Discover What You’re Already Doing Well

Understanding how to measure good customer service is just as important as knowing how to gauge poor performance. You might have a sense that you’re doing well in certain aspects of customer service, but, with the data to prove it, you can celebrate your successes, keep useful solutions in place, and allocate more time and energy toward strengthening weak points. Without these insights, you might waste precious resources gilding the lily.

Satisfied Customers Are Critical to Business Success

Finally, knowing how to measure customer service success and where to make the necessary improvements will help you retain happy, loyal customers. If one negative customer care experience will send customers running, just imagine the disastrous bottom-line impact of repeatedly poor service quality. Building out a solid, data-driven customer service strategy helps to mitigate these types of risks.

Ways to Measure Customer Service

When considering how to assess customer service at your company, you will quickly realize that there are quite a few different factors that you could measure. It might also become apparent that focusing on just one area at a time will leave major blind spots.

For instance, how many customer inquiries can your team accommodate each day? The number might be high, but if you’re leaving hundreds of customers unhappy at the end of each interaction, that’s not exactly a sign of success. So, it’s important to find out, within that volume, how satisfied each customer really is with the support they’re receiving.

To do this, you not only need to know how to quantify customer service success from a quantitative operational standpoint, but you must also monitor quantitative and qualitative customer experience metrics. In other words, it’s essential to track the success and efficiency of your workflows and software solutions, to assess the time savings, cost-effectiveness and other intangible benefits for your business. And it’s equally important to send out customer satisfaction surveys to collect immediate feedback on your performance.

As we highlight the main ways to measure customer service success, remember that the best way is really a holistic approach.

9 Metrics for Measuring Customer Service Performance

Below are the top customer service metrics examples businesses can monitor. When used in combination with each other, these KPIs can provide a well-rounded view of your performance and success.

1. Average Resolution Time

Consumers are usually happiest when their issue can be resolved quickly. This metric will help you see how your performance stacks up. To find your average resolution time, find the sum of all case resolution durations, then divide this by the total number of customer cases.

2. Customer Service Abandonment Rates

We’ve found that about seven in 10 consumers will hang up a call or exit a chat if they’ve had to wait a frustrating amount of time without receiving customer support. Ideally, your call or chat abandonment rate would be zero. To calculate it, divide the number of abandoned customer service inquiries by the total number of inquiries.

3. Customer Effort Score (CES)

CES is one of the newer customer service measurement metrics to monitor. It essentially tracks how much effort your customers feel they have to dedicate toward resolving an issue. The more effort required, the more frustrating the experience. Following a customer service interaction, you can capture these feelings with a Likert scale question.

4. Customer Retention Rate

This customer satisfaction metric is the opposite of customer churn rate, but both show how likely your customers are to stick around. To calculate retention rate, first subtract the number of new customers from the total at the end of a specific period of time. Then, divide the number of customers you retained by the total number of customers you had at the start of that period. A figure close to 1 indicates high retention.

5. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

CSAT measures your customers’ feelings immediately following an interaction with a customer service agent. As with CES, you can send out a Likert scale survey question to capture your customer’s satisfaction level on a scale from one to five.

6. First Response Time

Customers expect immediate assistance, and you can find out how quickly they’re getting support by calculating the first response time. Simply calculate the average duration between the moment a customer reaches out and how long it takes a customer service agent to respond.

7. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS is a popular metric for how to measure customer service effectiveness and gauge customer satisfaction. As with CSAT and CES, you can gather customer feedback with this type of survey question: “How likely are you to recommend our brand to a friend?” High responses indicate higher levels of satisfaction with your company and the customer experience.

8. Resolution Rate

To calculate the overall resolution rate, subtract the number of unresolved cases from the number of customer inquiries, then divide this by the total number of inquiries. The fewer left unresolved, the more successful your customer service has been. You can adapt this metric by figuring out the first contact resolution (FCR) rate, which identifies just the cases resolved during the first interaction.

9. Sentiment Analysis

Also known as opinion mining, sentiment analysis involves scanning the language a customer uses to see if it skews positive, negative or neutral. Conducted through natural language processing technology, this is a great way for agents to get an immediate read on customers’ emotions and adjust their approach accordingly.

How Do You Measure Success in Customer Service?

Now that you’ve gained some insights on how to measure customer service effectiveness using various strategies and KPIs, take a look back at your own processes. Are you utilizing these methods and metrics? And is this all happening manually, or do you have a software solution in place to help with the data collection process?

If you’re still scrambling to gather data the old-fashioned way, request a personalized Kustomer demo to see how our smart solutions can make a difference in your customer service performance.

 

Everything CX Leaders Need to Know About Customer Satisfaction Metrics

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Customer service leaders have a lot of data to track and interpret, with customer service satisfaction metrics as some of the most important. But these satisfaction metrics aren’t just for evaluating the efficacy of support agents. They also correlate strongly to customer loyalty and can help inform business decisions across various departments.

We’re covering some of the most frequently asked questions our CX team receives about the most valuable customer satisfaction metrics and the best customer service measurement methods. Use this guide as a quick reference point when measuring and tracking customer satisfaction.

Why Is Customer Satisfaction Important?

The core reasons to prioritize customer satisfaction are customer loyalty, customer lifetime value and word-of-mouth brand promotion.

However, customer satisfaction can also be correlated to agent satisfaction (ASAT); when one side’s satisfaction levels improve, so do the other’s. Higher agent happiness supports improved performance, employee retention and decreased business and recruiting costs.

What Are the Benefits of Monitoring Customer Satisfaction?

As we’ve established, delivering a great customer experience makes good business sense from all angles. Measuring customer service satisfaction metrics allows you to find out whether or not you’re actually delivering exceptional CX.

You can identify what you’re already doing well and stick to those strategies. And, you can discover new pain points and areas that need improvement. With a data-driven customer service strategy in place, teams across your company will be empowered to formulate the best customer journey possible.

How Do You Measure Customer Service Performance and Success?

Finding the right customer satisfaction measurement system requires setting clear and actionable goals. When choosing metrics for measuring customer service and developing customer satisfaction survey questions, make sure these are aligned with higher-level objectives.

For instance, do you primarily want to track brand loyalty, improve case resolution time or monitor agent effectiveness? You’ll use different parameters to measure customer satisfaction than you would use to track agent performance.

If you’re seeking a 360-degree view of the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of your customer support, you might want to combine operational metrics with customer experience metrics for a more well-rounded perspective.

What Types of Metrics Measure Customer Satisfaction?

Here are the top four customer service satisfaction metrics to measure client satisfaction:

  1. Net promoter score (NPS)
  2. Customer satisfaction (CSAT) score
  3. Customer effort score (CES)
  4. Sentiment analysis

In essence, a quick customer metrics definition would be that NPS is a measure of loyalty, CES is a measure of effort, CSAT is a measure of satisfaction and sentiment analysis is a measure of emotion. Let’s take a closer look at each of these customer service satisfaction metrics.

What Is NPS?

Net promoter score is a calculation of the percentage of a company’s true advocates, and one of a surprisingly versatile customer satisfaction level measurement.

When asked a question such as, “How likely are you to recommend our brand to a friend or colleague?” and prompted to respond on a 10-point Likert scale (with 10 being “highly likely”), advocates are the customers who respond with nine or 10. Detractors are those who respond with a score from zero to six.

NPS is helpful in identifying strong brand advocates, but it also identifies those who are reporting a negative CX. If a customer leaves a low response, it’s good practice to reach out to find out where things went wrong and to offer proactive support.

Armed with more specific knowledge about why a customer gave a certain rating, customer service agents can directly address those issues, thereby potentially improving CX for all customers.

What Is CSAT Score?

Customer satisfaction score is one of the most insightful and specific customer satisfaction survey metrics. It’s used to measure an individual customer’s feelings about a specific interaction with your support team. Again, CSAT is measured through a Likert scale question.

“One of the benefits of CSAT surveys is that you can gather feedback from customers immediately after an interaction with your team,” explains Kustomer’s Senior Product Manager John Merse. “This helps you better understand customers’ experiences in real time. You can segment the results by agent, team and — most importantly — channel.”

For the most accurate assessment of customer satisfaction, you’ll need to measure CSAT across different channels and review the results collectively.

“In a true omnichannel environment it’s important to understand that each channel is unique and requires a specific communication style,” Merse adds. “For example, while you may have a 90%-plus satisfaction via email, if you are not tracking chat or SMS, you might find that your communication is not as effective and your overall customer satisfaction is not as high as you think.”

If you’re wondering what a good CSAT score is, check out this list of benchmarks segmented by industry from the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

What Is CES?

Customer effort score is a customer service metric that provides deeper insights into CX during a support interaction.

“You can essentially think of CES as tracking the effort a customer puts into using your product or service,” Merse says. “The more effort that is needed over time will likely erode their loyalty.”

A CES survey might ask to what extent a customer agrees with a statement like, “This company made it easy for me to handle my issue.” This score helps measure the overall effectiveness of support.

Gartner, which developed the CES metric, reports that customer effort is the most significant factor in a customer’s loyalty or disloyalty. Monitoring CES can help CX leaders uncover and remedy high-effort pain points in customer interactions for more frictionless support.

What Is Sentiment Analysis?

Sentiment analysis — also known as opinion mining — is the process of determining whether a customer’s language reflects positive, negative or neutral sentiment. Using natural language processing capabilities, CX professionals can gain automated insights into the emotions driving customer interactions.

Sentiment scores assign a numeric value to the message, conversation and customer. Reports based on sentiment changes or themes related to positive or negative sentiment can help you better understand your customers and the service they’re experiencing.

Can I Use CES in Combination With Sentiment, CSAT or NPS?

Absolutely! By combining customer service satisfaction metrics, you can access a more complete understanding of the customer support experience. For instance, although a CES score tells you effort level, it doesn’t get to the why of the customer’s response or how they feel overall about your brand. For that, you need additional customer service satisfaction metrics.

What are some strategies for improving customer satisfaction?

Here are six strategies that can have a huge payoff on CX and customer satisfaction rates:

  1. Utilize best-in-class customer service as a brand differentiator. Many customer-first brands and category disruptors have already done this, but it’s never too late for change at your own organization.
  2. Segment your satisfaction scores by demographics, products and support channels to uncover underlying problems in specific areas.
  3. Reinvest in your customer support team with new, customer-oriented skills and training programs.
  4. Deliver proactive support to minimize negative CX. This could involve sending notifications about shipping delays, getting ahead of negative reviews with offers or product exchanges and similar strategies.
  5. Provide customers with easily navigable self-service content. A strong knowledge base or FAQ section helps customers resolve basic issues on their own.
  6. Evaluate whether your customer service technology is truly empowering your agents to deliver exceptional quality. Have high expectations for your technology partners and find software solutions that support a unified omnichannel experience.

Got more questions about measuring and interpreting customer satisfaction metrics? Connect with a CX expert at Kustomer.
 

Kustomer Adds Native Satisfaction Measurement

Deliver effortless service and measure performance in one powerful platform.

At Kustomer, we pride ourselves on helping companies deliver support that satisfies customers, builds loyalty, and drives retention. That’s because our customer-centric platform is different from the legacy ticketing systems that create cumbersome and fragmented service experiences. Through a single workspace that unifies customer data, agents are empowered to meet customers’ needs on any channel they use.

And while SLAs and productivity metrics are incredibly valuable when measuring support success, we believe the best indicator comes from customers themselves. Their feedback drives continuous improvement for businesses and their support operations. And while satisfaction measurement solutions can provide powerful insights, they require additional budget, splinter customer data and agent experiences across multiple systems, and fail to account for the varied communication experiences on each particular channel.

That’s why we’re proud to announce the launch of Kustomer Satisfaction—our native tool that measures, tracks, and manages customer satisfaction across all your support channels, directly in the Kustomer platform. With Kustomer, providing effortless service and gaining incredible insight into how your customers feel regarding their interactions exist together in a single platform.

Kustomer Satisfaction is built on the backbone of the Kustomer platform, enhancing your ability to gather feedback and incorporating satisfaction information into the agent workspace, making customer satisfaction or effort highly visible and actionable. Surveys are simple to set up, designed to make survey taking easy and engaging, and optimized for each of your channels to ensure high response rates and confidence in how your team and agents are performing. Go a level deeper in your satisfaction evaluation by targeting and surveying specific customer segments.

Tailor surveys for an optimal experience on each channel.

Each channel is unique, and requires a specific style of communication. Customize Satisfaction questions and survey styles on Chat, Email, SMS and Voice conversations to ensure high response rates anywhere your customers communicate. Chat and Email Satisfaction surveys are built natively in Kustomer, so customers provide feedback directly from the conversation, without interruption.

Collect feedback from whomever you want, whenever you want.

Don’t rely on a single overall score for your entire customer support operation. Segment and survey customers at any time based on any desired criteria (VIP status, lifetime value, products, demographics, etc.), expanding your ability to rate customer experience and providing a more detailed picture of satisfaction.

Analyze your results.

Monitor topline trends, and drill down into results for specific channels, teams, agents and interactions to identify coaching, content, and policy opportunities that will take your support team to the next level.

To learn more about Kustomer Satisfaction, check out our Knowledge Base Article.

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