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Customer service doesn’t always have the best rep. Like many an unsung hero of any industry—like the person who operates the reel at a movie theater—we don’t often talk about customer service unless something’s wrong. At least, that’s how it feels.
The good news is that, given how poor of a reputation that side of the business gets, people will also always talk about customer service when it’s really good. People tend to notice great customer service—and call it out. Like JetBlue’s twitter, for example.
But it’s about more than just some fancy tweet-work. There are ways that you can actually monitor your reps—and help them to better understand what it takes to be Jet-level great: start tracking KPIs.
If you’re looking to dial in your customer service reps to ensure that you’re giving your customers the best experience possible, check out these essential KPIs that you can start tracking today.
For many folks, this is the number one most important question to be asking any customer: “Were you satisfied with your experience?”
At the end of the day, everyone’s going to experience a hiccup in a product or service—that’s not the sign of a bad organization. The problem comes when they can’t get the help they need. If your CSAT is low, it’s a canary in the coal mine.
Often your CSAT score is the first place that you might go to start diagnosing problems within your organization. From there, you can dig into different KPIs to get a closer look at problem areas.
When you think of a typical customer service experience in your own life, you probably think of one standout moment in particular: being on hold.
Average Response Time essentially boils down to how quickly you’ve got a rep interfacing with a customer after they try to get in contact with you.
If you’ve noticed that your average response time is high, it means you’ve also likely got a lot of unhappy customers waiting on the other side.
While this may sound very data-scientific, an NPS can be summed up in a simple question: “How likely are you to recommend this product or service?”
Your net score is then based on subtracting the percentage of “non-promoters” from the percentage of promoters.
As should be self-evident, word-of-mouth is worth its weight in gold. Don’t underestimate the value of reps who inspire people to evangelize on your behalf!
You can track support tickets in a number of different ways, but what may be most helpful is to assess how many a rep is able to fulfill on a daily or weekly basis.
Given the number of issues that can arise for a rep, not all of them may be able to be resolved as quickly as others. But what tracking this KPI allows is to show how reps, on average, compare to their peers across any given period of time. This allows both some healthy competition, and the chance for reps to see what it looks like to really excel.
More than just a sad, sad, meme, the trope of “can I speak to your manager” is a very real experience for most customer service reps. And it’s going to happen to everyone eventually. It’s not the sign of a bad rep—we all have to deal with a tough customer from time to time.
But if you see that tickets are regularly being escalated for either a) a similar issue across multiple reps, or b) the same rep for any number of issues, then you can clearly address the problem: either you’ve got a rep who doesn’t know how to problem solve, or an issue that needs further addressing on your back end.
And just like you want a low escalation rate for you reps, you also want to see a high resolution rate: how often they are able to solve a customer’s problem.
Resolution rate, as you’ll find, is something that’s often directly tied to the CSAT score, because ultimately that’s what people are coming to you for. And this can quickly be the first KPI that you go to when you need to further investigate a low customer satisfaction rate. If the CSAT score is low, but the resolution rate is high, then it’s probably not your customer service that’s driving away customers—it’s something more seriously tied to the quality of your product or service.
Slightly different from resolution rate is the average time that it takes to resolve the issue itself. So you may, for example, have two reps with a 98% resolution rate, but for one of those reps the average resolution time is five minutes, and for the other it’s fifteen. While both have a great resolution rate, you can already see the problem: one rep’s slow time to resolve is probably going to lead to more people being on hold for longer, ultimately hurting your average response time.
Lastly, we wanted to address a KPI that often gets overlooked in the customer service world: occupancy.
Occupancy, in short, is how much time an employee spends on their main task. If a customer service rep never took time off for lunch, forewent breaks, and somehow managed to sneak bathroom stops in while they were handling issues, their occupancy would be 100%.
For that reason (and a few more), what we want to stress is that striving for 100% occupancy is a terrible idea. While in a dystopian world of robots and “efficiency” obsession, that sort of non-human excellence might seem like a positive thing for your bottom line, it’s a terrible thing for employee retention, because it leads to lower employee engagement.
Employees need to feel valued and balanced in their work. They need time for training, to reorient their minds, and to stretch themselves outside of a singular task. Otherwise they’ll start to become disengaged, lose their sense of meaning in their work—and ultimately leave. And as we all know, it’s a lot cheaper to keep employees than to replace them.
While KPIs are a great tool to diagnose problems, and even make your organization the best it can be, don’t forget about the importance of empowering and engaging your employees to be their best. You’ll be amazed at what that kind of teamwork can accomplish.
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