Making critical business decisions based on traditional customer service metrics alone can be detrimental for your brand.
The customer support industry has been transforming in many ways over the past few years. A large part of this evolution is driven by consumers’ changing expectations and the unstoppable spread of mobile devices. Instead of transactional seller-buyer relationships, customers now want to connect with businesses at a meaningful level.
You’d think that because of these shifts, contact centers would start tweaking their performance measurement system, but plenty of them haven’t. Some are still implementing the same call center metrics that have been in place for a long time. In these cases, therefore, the indicators they’re using to measure the quality of their services may no longer be applicable to the existing business environment. In other words, these companies are failing to be customer-centric.
Take for example, AHT or average handle time, which pertains to the length of a transaction between a support agent and a customer. A quantitative metric that almost every customer care provider has used at some point, it has become a subject of debate among customer relationship experts. Some argue that aiming to reduce AHT would force agents to rush through their interactions with consumers, thus possibly damaging the customer experience and hampering problem resolution.
As an alternative to AHT, some companies favor these indicators instead:
• First contact resolution— tells you whether the customers’ issue was resolved during their first interaction with your brand
• Customer effort score— measures how easy or difficult it was for customers to reach your support channels and interact with your agents
• Communication etiquette— allows you to measure the quality of an interaction in terms of etiquette and effective communication
Rethinking your metrics ensures that you’re targeting and measuring the aspects of your services that matter the most to your customers. To make this process more manageable, here are the four general steps you must follow.
1. Examine your existing framework.
You need to take a close look at how you’re currently measuring your performance. During this stage, here are some questions you need to answer:
• What call center metrics are you implementing?
• Do these metrics reflect your goals?
• What are you not measuring?
• What should you be measuring?
Examining your existing performance management system would allow you to identify the gaps in your quality checking processes. This will let you build a monitoring strategy that best reflects your brand’s objectives.
2. Update your customer service goals.
Contact centers must aim for one thing only: making customers happy.
Most customer relationship experts would agree that consumers have relatively simple demands, the most crucial of which is a hassle-free experience. They want fast and reliable customer support and deeply humanized interactions, and you should be able to deliver on all these aspects.
But you should also know which among these must be prioritized, considering the nature of your brand and your market’s preferences. The metrics you’ll be using must let you measure your performance in each of these aspects.
3. Identify the skills and resources your agents need.
As you update your call center metrics, make sure that agents are equipped with the skills and resources they need to achieve these new targets. As you make changes on your quality measurement approach, therefore, it’s best to design and conduct new training programs. In addition, employees must be aware of how their performance will be measured. This way, everyone will be focusing on the same set of goals.
4. Implement your new metrics in increments.
If you’re hesitating to implement your new performance management mechanism across your entire contact center, you can start by testing it out on a single team for a given duration. You can consider this a trial period, during which you can evaluate the changes you’ve made and see whether they’re getting you closer to your customer support targets.
Once you’ve made all the necessary improvements and acquired the resources you need, you can then roll out these updates at a broader scale.