The Three Customer Experience Metrics You Should Care About
By: Matt McConnell
In my previous post, I took a look at eight common problems of customer data overload, and how organizations can overcome these challenges to deliver an improved customer experience. But that is only the start.
Today’s consumers have multiple preferred communication channels and limited patience when interacting with a company. Therefore, understanding which metrics to focus on to improve customer experience is not a nice-to-know – it’s a necessity.
So, how do you manage all the incoming data to measure the customer experience and determine if your customers are well-served? When it comes down to it, there are really just three metrics you should care about. Here’s a look at each:
Speed of response
First and foremost, your customers expect a quick response when they reach out to your organization. And given the rapid speed of social media and other online channels, today’s customers have higher expectations than ever before.
Your organization has to move faster than it did yesterday – reacting in near real-time across all communication channels. Whether it’s answering an incoming call, tweet, IM or in-person request, your organization must be prepared to address the customer’s needs quickly.
To determine if your organization is reacting fast enough, first define the ideal response time for each communication channel that you’ve made available to your customers. For example, your goal may be to respond to a customer’s tweet within 10 minutes, but you would never want to leave a customer on hold for that same period of time. You’ll be able to set more accurate goals by determining your best response times for each individual channel.
Once you’ve done that, pull together your customer data to determine the average response times you’re actually delivering for each of those channels. By doing so, you can get a picture of how fast your organization is responding and if you’re meeting your target response times.
If you look at the data and see your response rates aren’t meeting expectations, you’ll need to adjust. As a solution, ensure that more than enough employees are always available to handle customer inquiries. Staff to the demand of customer volume across all the channels you manage, shift them around as needed and find a way to make downtimes productive by integrating other important work that needs to be completed in between answering customer inquiries.
Level of accuracy
While it’s important for your employees to deliver a speedy response to customer inquiries, it is even more critical they are prepared to answer those inquiries correctly. An employee must be able to deliver the right response and provide an exceptionally high level of service to delight the customer.
So how do you know if you’re on track? Again, dig into your customer data, and this time, use the information you’re collecting to gain an understanding of how well your employees are responding to customer needs.
For example, some companies look at the organization’s first contact resolution rate and compare it against benchmarked industry standards. You can also refer to customer survey data to review candid comments and overall experience ratings based on customers’ interactions with your organization.
Having done this, you will be able to determine if your organization is missing, meeting or exceeding your customers’ expectations. If you’re missing the mark, it is likely that your customer data will point to a specific issue causing the disconnect in the level of service. For example, your employees may not be up-to-date on their product knowledge because of a new launch or release.
In this case – and in many other cases – the solution for improving customer service levels is delivering regular employee training. In fact, training and coaching programs are essential for empowering employees to deliver a consistent level of service that meets or even exceeds expectations.
And while training takes time, you may be able to find hidden opportunities within your organization to improve your employees’ workflow to incorporate more training, especially when the common excuse is lack of time. For companies operating contact centers, automating intraday management operations and other manual processes is the answer. By doing so, these companies push training to employees during slower periods of the work day and immediately assign qualified employees to resolve customer inquiries using their new training. As a result, you can deliver both speed and accuracy to your customers.
Ability to be nimble
Despite detailed planning to meet customer demands, any number of events can occur and consequently add unanticipated obstacles – derailing your organization’s best efforts to deliver a consistent customer experience. Unexpected events touch every business, and your ability to quickly react and respond to those events will ensure customer experience doesn’t suffer.
For companies operating multiple communication channels, one channel can experience a spike in volume causing response times to lag, and it’s a matter of how soon you can reassign employees to handle requests in that specific channel that can make a big impact on the customer experience. Or, how quickly employees can be assigned to specific channels after they complete new skills training will ensure customers can always reach the right person to handle their inquiries.
As the business environment becomes more complex, savvy companies have embraced technology that allows them to react to changing conditions in real-time and maintain consistency across all channels. The quicker your organization is able to react to a breakdown in response time or accuracy, the quicker you’ll be able to resolve the issue before your customer walks away from doing business with your company. And that’s a real competitive advantage.
The bottom line
In today’s fast-paced, multi-channel environment, customers expect companies to keep up. Now more than ever, customers want their questions answered quickly, accurately, and on the first try.
When metrics focus on the customer, employees embrace their role and feel like advocates for the customer. When metrics measure contact quality and issue resolution, employees listen more attentively to customer needs. They are also able to find what customers are looking for more quickly without mistakes, resulting in fewer callbacks and customer frustration.
If your employees aren’t providing exceptional customer service, what’s in the way? Can there be any valid excuses? By focusing on these three customer experience metrics, you improve employee performance, customer satisfaction, and bottom-line results. There’s not a much better payoff than that.
Matt McConnell is the CEO at Intradiem.