Every business has to develop effective customer-service strategies to maximize performance, drive improvements and achieve ongoing success.
That’s common knowledge and simple enough, in theory. As a manager, you should have a clear understanding of your business’s goals, values and priorities, but actually building an effective strategy that takes your company’s customer service in exciting new directions is another matter altogether.
That involves hard work, energy and resources. It demands commitment from your entire team, from management down to the newest support agent. Without any of this, your strategic impact could be minimal and you may end up in a worse position than before implementing those ill-conceived changes.
That’s why you have to be careful when planning your decision making, drawing on evidence and hard data. You can gather both through a well-designed quality assurance program, focusing on the current performance of your customer service team and determining how to enhance it in future.
Using the right performance KPIs is critical. Let’s take a close look at what this means.
Performance is Everything
Your customers have certain expectations when it comes to the level of service they receive. At the very least, they assume your agents will treat them with respect, be responsive and meet their needs. But you should be looking to drive your customer service team to go well beyond delivering the minimum level of experience consumers expect.
You have to aim to be the best in your sector and ensure every single interaction reinforces the customer’s loyalty to your business.
It doesn’t matter which channel an agent uses to communicate with a consumer, they need the right training and the proper motivation to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Phone calls, live chat, emails and social media interactions are equally important to your customer experience strategy: even if your support team handles more live chats than anything else, you can’t afford to prioritize that channel over the rest.
Why? Because a survey by Salesforce reveals 75 percent of consumers expect a consistent experience across all channels offered by a brand. And 73 percent are willing to abandon your business and jump to a competitor if they don’t get what they want.
Implementing a quality assurance program to evaluate performance and measure customer experience is vital to create the most relevant, effective strategies. The more solid the foundations your planning is built on, the more impact you can expect to make.
Understanding the Performance KPIs that Matter
A quality assurance program offers you the chance to gain real insights into both your team’s performance and your customers’ experience. Appointing quality assurance analysts responsible for evaluating your agents’ work ensures yourself and the rest of your management group have access to valuable data, which you can use when planning everything from future marketing to hiring decision making.
Certain KPIs are more important than others in a successful QA program based on good decision making, though. You have to measure those aspects of an interaction that really affect the customer’s satisfaction.
For example, average response rates tell you how long consumers contacting your business can expect to wait. This should be as brief as possible. A Consumer Reports survey found 66 percent of respondents agree long waits on hold are ‘highly annoying’, while 75 percent feel the same about being unable to actually reach a live worker (as opposed to an automated service).
Anyone who’s ever felt their rage building as they listened to that same ‘your call is important to us’ message for minutes on end will understand these stats. It’s a universal irritant every business would do well to avoid. And it applies to all channels too, not just phone calls — your live chat, emails and social media service should all offer consumers a fast response too.
In this case, if your QA program found that your average response rates were poor and corresponded with low customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores or abandonments, you would recognize a new strategy was required to ensure support requests were addressed as soon as possible.
Other performance KPIs you should focus on in your quality assurance program are first-call resolution rates, customer satisfaction, Net Promoter Score (NPS), average handling time and ticket backlog.
As another example, your Net Promoter Score metric measures how likely customers are to recommend your business to others or if they’re at risk of becoming a detractor. Any interactions that result in a poor NPS should be reviewed to identify what caused the customer to feel so unsatisfied, and to decide what strategy you should implement to eliminate the likelihood of further problems.
These give yourself, the rest of your management team, team leaders and agents the insights you need for planning strategies with the power to make a significant impact.
Shining Light on Problems and Adapting to Changes
Measuring performance using the KPIs discussed above will shine light on the common problems affecting your employees’ work and your customers’ experience. And, by developing strategies to tackle all these, you’ll be able to drive your agents to improve their quality of service over time.
However, you have to make sure that all workers receive the training and support they need to adapt to changes. Remember: your company is made up of individuals, and some find learning new working methods harder than others. You can’t expect everyone to transform the way in which they address customers or prioritize tasks overnight.
Allow for growth time and adaptation in your strategies. Give employees the leeway to integrate new processes and techniques into their routines at a comfortable pace. You’ll still have to set targets, but be generous when establishing dates etc.
Measuring performance is an ongoing process too. You must be able to add new KPIs or return to older ones if your QA program seems to be losing its impact.
Developing strategies to improve your customer service, boost productivity and enhance the overall experience your customers receive is difficult, no matter how much management experience you have. You need to gather data from across all aspects of your customer service team’s work and base your strategies on the insights you gain.
This way, you can be sure your strategies are more likely to make the level of impact you’re aiming for. Don’t try to guess what will work or what your customers expect — measuring performance gives you the answers you need.
What do you think the most important performance KPIs are? Share your thoughts below!