KPI measure and increased outcome

Choosing the right KPIs for customer service

KPI measure and increased outcome

Choosing the right key performance indicators for customer service - what to measure and why

Customer service is a core process of a company, and it is growing. This serves both to attract and retain customers. Trust is built by positive experiences that WOWs the customer. A smooth customer service enables customers to become proud ambassadors to the company. As well as the opposite, a dysfunctional service function increases the risk of having both dissatisfied customers and employees. 

A well-functioning customer service not only solves the customer’s problems but also contributes to the company’s business goals and strengthens the company brand and customer relations. Does your present Key Performance Indicators measure the customer and employee satisfaction and in the end also pleases the management?

Do you have the most satisfied customers in your industry, does your management praise you, does your Customer service have high internal status, are your employees proud and committed? Is your organization continuously evolving and improving? If this is your everyday life – congratulations! Or if this is your vision, please continue reading. Also if you already live your dream, you are still able to make improvements by updating your targets and goals.

What you measure is what you manage, but why?

For example, let’s start with your regular follow-up morning or weekly meetings. What topics do you bring up? How many calls you managed yesterday and how many you lost? How many emails did you respond to?

Nowadays there a numerous amount of data to collect and analyze. With the appropriate tools, you will get a better understanding of which KPIs are important to your business and targets. Several customer service organizations measure only what they have measured historically, being most simplistic. Everything that is measured indicates something and has an impact. Everything you do, or don’t do, contributes to the outcome. By analyzing how many calls you receive you can staff properly. But to improve results, it’s important to also follow up relevant KPIs with your employees.

Download guide: The most successful KPIs  for customer service

Improve outcome by assigning new KPIs for relevant target groups

The customer service staff can usually not influence the number of calls you receive. Large volumes of incoming calls often indicate shortcomings in other departments of the company. 

Instead, focus on what employees at the customer service can influence and that also engages them. E.g. measure First Call Resolution to find out how many customers that don’t get their cases resolved during their first contact and need to reconnect. This is something employees can make a difference to. On the other hand, the management team may be interested in the number of customer interactions customer service handles.

The bottom line is, measure everything you want to measure but make sure to follow up the results with the relevant target groups.

Improve Customer service employee commitment by using KPIs they can influence

Commitment is increasing when measured on activities that can be influenced directly in the customer contact. As seen in the picture below, those end up inside or at the edge of the circle. These could be measured daily. If you do not feedback on these on a regular basis, there is a risk that the employee’s commitment will decline. Also if there is a delay in presenting the results, it is no longer as motivating.

Inside the circle there are things employees can influence themselves. At the edge are results that employees can influence to some extent or proactively work on to improve. What is outside the circle, employees can usually not influence. Employee engagement increases when measured on KPIs they can actually influence. And increasing engagement often leads to increased customer satisfaction.

The KPIs you should measure

In the illustration above, we have listed some of the most common KPIs to measure in a customer service. Some are located at the border? of what the employee can or cannot directly influence. This can be further analyzed, both with the employees, in teams and with other company departments. More details are available in the White Paper.

There are several KPIs that employees can not influence, yet of management team interest. It is important to define KPI stakeholders. A well-working customer service is today a hygiene factor for business success, this is where you build and maintain customer relations and also generate new businesses.

But what kind of service do the customers want?

That’s really what it’s all about, to make customers as happy as possible at the right cost. Customer service works every day to handle customer matters by taking phone calls, responding to emails and communicating with customers also in other channels. Customer service tasks are not only to solve problems but also to turn the customer’s experience into something positive and when possible, also sell more. Customer service gives companies a second option to avoid losing a customer, to avoid negative reviews and bad publicity. Customer service holds lots of valuable data and information about the customers, what they think and want. This makes Customer service a core company function, being critical for the company’s long-term success. 

Surveys from Survey Monkey show that 72% of customers are much more likely to shop from companies that are known for excellent Customer service.

72% are much more likely to shop from companies with excellent Customer service

Maybe you consider your customers being fully satisfied with your Customer service. But do you have any proof of this or is it only your gut feeling? Maybe you think there seems to be some staff that is more efficient and handles more cases than others? Does the new employee seem more committed than those who have been with the company from the start? If your gut feeling is not backed up by numbers there is not much to present to management or employees. And what new actions could then be taken?

Maybe you consider your customers being fully satisfied with your Customer service. But do you have any proof of this or is it only your gut feeling? Maybe you think there seems to be some staff that is more efficient and handles more cases than others? Does the new employee seem more committed than those who have been with the company from the start? If your gut feeling is not backed up by numbers there is not much to present to management or employees. And what new actions could then be taken?

What customers want today, according to Brilliant’s survey, below are Top 3 parameters for several different industries:

1. The overall experience

2. Simplicity

3. Commitment and Response times 

Several KPIs can be linked to the various parameters, thus it is important to only include and manage those that are relevant to your business. Customer service affects much of the overall experience, including both simplicity and commitment. The Customer service employee has an immediate impact on customer experience by how he or she communicates with and treats the customer. By tone, words and sentences used, how well you listen, in what sequence information is given, how well you adapt to the customer’s situation and ways of communicating e.t.c.

Define what you want to explore. E.g. if you lose many customers because you have long call queues, call duration time would be an important parameter. On the other hand, if you instead want to find out how committed your staff is perceived by the customers, call length is not of interest, then you should measure customer satisfaction (CSAT). 

The benefits of measuring and managing

What are the benefits of KPIs? These support you from only believing to actually knowing. This is the benefit of measuring. Once you know how your team is doing, you can take relevant actions to also improve the outcome. So, what is measured also needs to be managed. Follow up and feedback is something several team leaders need to improve. Without follow up there will not be any improved results. So please ensure to both measure and follow up the relevant KPIs in the right forums and with the right target groups.

Brilliants survey shows that it is in the contact with the customer that you build strong customer loyalty long term. Customer service holds the best options to transform any customer to loyal customers in every customer contact. First, you have to engage and motivate your employees.

Make it easy for employees and management to understand. By defining which KPIs are important to customer service and what purposes and why. Both management and employees will better understand KPI targets and also how to get there. Start by measuring only the KPIs you need to get the results you want. By analyzing KPIs regularly, improvements will become visible to everyone. This includes employee productivity and customer satisfaction, which all impacts the bottom line of the company. 

A challenge today is that there is so much data available, which makes it difficult to find, compare and analyze in a simple way. It might be hard to find the data you want, to compare different channels and also to present it in an understandable way. Time is spent measuring KPIs that do not support the targeted impact but instead creates stress for the employees. Sometimes same KPIs are measured that have always been measured without anyone really being able to answer why they are still being used. To get more satisfied customers, employees and management, you need to measure and follow up on what develops the organization and also provides targeted results. You could measure pretty much anything at a customer service organization today, however, please make sure to focus on topics that are important today.

So what should you measure to get more satisfied customers, improved employee commitment and present to your company´s management? Please have a look at the White Paper below to get started or to enhance your existing methods for a world-class Customer service. 

Download guide: The most successful KPIs  for customer service

Contact us if you want to create better conditions for providing excellent customer service at your company

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Choose channel for customer service

Choosing the right channels for customer service

Increasing customer satisfaction by choosing the right channels for customer service

“The waiting signal echoes loudly from the mobile speaker while you make breakfast and dress your kids. A woman’s tired voice once again repeats “Thank you for waiting, we will take your call soon” and you reflect on how much the tone affects both your perception of the brand and your mood. You cannot find the information you are looking for in the FAQ on the company’s website and there is no other way to contact them. You have been waiting in line for 25 minutes, that is almost an entire episode of Friends, and still have no idea how much longer you will have to wait.”

Ever had a similar experience? There are few things as frustrating as long phone queues when you do not really have time to call but there are no other options.

Bain & Company looked at 362 companies in a study called “Closing the delivery gap“. The study showed that only 30% of the companies organized their customer service functions in a way that created the right conditions for a really good customer experience. Another conclusion of the study was that 80% of the companies thought that they delivered good service while only 8% of the customers thought that they got good service. To be able to provide great service and get satisfied and loyal customers it is important to have a channel strategy.

Simplicity, accessibility and speed with channels

The currency we all trade with today is time. The companies who will win the race for the most satisfied customers are those who understand that their customers save time, energy and money when your company and customer service prioritizes speed, simplicity and accessibility. On the other hand, according to a study made by Accenture 36% of Swedish customers are willing to pay more for better service.

In the example above, there was only one contact way to customer service, which meant that there was no other choice but to call, although the easiest thing would probably have been to email them the questions. One option would have been to be able to choose to be called up when it’s your turn. An even more customer-focused solution would have been to also add some employees who monitor Facebook, respond to emails and write a functioning FAQ.

Companies that deliver wow-service have a channel strategy. They have the tools and processes for delivering a wow-service. A customer service software where you have all customer support cases and self-service solutions in one place makes that possible and helps you answer and manage more customers. Easy, accessible and quick.

Wow your customers

The customer service team is the face of the outside world, they can create loyal customers who become the company’s ambassadors. It is through your service that you stand out from your competitors. Because today it is not enough to have a satisfied customer.

Let’s say you have a supermarket across the street that you often buy various items that you forgot to buy in the larger store further away. You come in, find what you need, pay and leave. Your expectations are met but are you a loyal customer who always will choose this supermarket? If a new supermarket opens nearby, you would probably try it and if they have better service, well, then it is not certain that you will return to the first supermarket. A satisfied customer can potentially go to another supplier just to test. Satisfied customers are no longer enough. You need to wow customers to make them come back and become your loyal marketers and ambassadors.

Increased customer satisfaction leads to increased profitability

In a study conducted by Swedish Quality Index in collaboration with, among others, Stockholm School of Economics and Chalmers University of Technology, after 30 years of collecting data from thousands of companies in various industries in Sweden, the conclusion is that 1% increased customer satisfaction gives 5% increased profitability. Customer service has a key role here since they often are in contact with dissatisfied customers and those are the customers you can turn into the best ambassadors.

Step into your customers’ shoes

A good way of understanding your customers better to be able to choose the right channels is to determine your customer journey. The collective events your customers go through before, during and after they become a customer of yours. It can be used as a tool to map all your customers’ experience of you from start to finish from their perspective. It provides insight into what your customers need in different situations, so you can design your customer service accordingly and see which channels are needed. Add your target group to the customer journey and step into their shoes to get further perspective on how different parts of the target group want service. Think about the situations that can arise in the customer journey, because in certain stressful situations customers want to be able to call you and not get stuck with a chatbot or an email form where no alternative fits the case. Look at your company values and your customer promise to make sure that they match how you choose channels for customer service. These values should determine how you resolve issues and how you communicate.

Download our 6-step guide: Choosing the right Channels for Customer Service

Let the customer choose

When digital services become more accessible, there is a risk that the distance between the company and the customers grows and that the customers feel abandoned when problems arise. In recent years, the companies that get the best ratings in surveys conducted by the EPSI Rating Group are those that succeed in combining digitalization with a high degree of personal service and the ability to respond and adapt quickly to changing customer needs. An example is when we recently wanted to change our email address to our website. It is primarily via email that we have our customer contacts so this could affect how our existing and new customers reach us in the future and whether they will be able to reach us at all. The company we are a customer of mainly wants us to solve it ourselves via various FAQs with guides on how to proceed to change our address. In this case, we are technically uninterested customers who would have been more reassured if we had been able to call customer service to get step by step help to do this while a more knowledgeable person probably would have been perfectly happy with this solution.

Some of us absolutely love to solve the challenge ourselves or have more knowledge to do so while others want to be able to pick up the phone and call customer service to get help. It depends on what your preferences are but also on the situation. If you want to stand out, you should be easily accessible in several different channels so customers can make their own choice.

According to the study Global Consumer Pulse Research 63% of Swedes prefer personal contact when they seek service and advice, rather than getting help from a robot or other digital services. The study shows that you need to put the human and physical elements back into customer service and make it easy for customers to choose the channel they prefer.

Is it enough to be available in several channels?

Incredibly important for the customer experience is HOW you treat the customer, regardless of which channel the customer chooses. You need a common tone and a common way of communicating in all channels and different types of cases require different mandates, treatment and competence. If customers receive reactive service without a focus on a solution, it is irrelevant how many channels you are available in and how easy it is to get in touch with you. The human factor is what binds it all together. Employees who are professional in meeting customers in different channels are the key to excellent customer service. They are the ones who can really show that you understand the customers’ needs and can leave a positive impression of your brand.

A customer who contacts you has received or seen an offer and have expectations that you need to live up to and you can do this through these tools:

  1. The channels you choose to be in.
  2. The treatment that the customer experiences in each unique contact with you.
  3. The knowledge you possess.
  4. The processes and routines that exist.

All of the above will affect how customers experience your level of service, how well you match their expectations and how much you stand out from your competitors.

Avoid common mistakes

You create the feeling and image of the brand already in the channel choices you make. Do you need service around the clock? Do you want to provide personal service? Should it be quick to get service? This continues in the IVR, in your email auto-reply or by answering or not answering in social media. Tone and word choice in the IVR or in the auto-reply affect how the customer perceives the brand. Once the customer service employee gets to communicate with the customer, a bad tone in the IVR may have already triggered and irritated the customer. Here are some tips from us that can help you avoid some common mistakes and can be applied in all channels, in fact in all communication:

The importance of using the right words

The words used can be decisive for the whole customer experience. Whether via a chatbot, an IVR or a real person. Try to avoid words that trigger irritation and create insecurity and instead use words that are positive and focus on the present, the future and the solution.

Examples of words that in our experience are good to use:

Thank you, of course, absolutely, have a nice day.

Examples of words that in our experience are less good to use:

Must, unfortunately, can not, maybe.

Of course, the word choice needs to match the context.

The importance of tonality

Set a confident and trustworthy tone right at the beginning of the customer meeting. If suitable for your business, you can have a committed and positive tone to enhance the customer’s experience in a positive direction and avoid triggering a negative feeling.

Also, keep in mind that body language and facial expressions can often be heard even if the customer does not see the speaker on the phone or in the IVR. You can often actually hear if the person you are talking to has a committed body language or smile.

Think about which contact areas the customer has with your customer service and how you can apply the above. How your tonality is and what words you use in your chat, email, FAQ on the website, in social media and the IVR.

The importance of simplicity and solution focus

Always focus on the present, the future and the solution. If you do this in all channels without getting entangled in explanations or focusing on what can not be done, the customers will be more satisfied and you will usually avoid misunderstandings. In many cases, it can be good to offer the customer some options for solutions, at least two, so the customer gets a feeling of being part of the decision-making.

Example:

In an IVR, it can be as simple as giving the customer information about how long it is estimated to take before the call is answered. A good idea is to offer the customer the choice of waiting or to be called back.

Why is all this so important?

Simply put it has to do with how our brain works. What we usually unconsciously look for in a first impression, in a meeting, text message, email or conversation, is empathy and kindness so that we can feel safe. This is because part of our brain, which we have had for millions of years, exists to protect us and seeks security. If we sense anything similar to uncertainty or danger this part of the brain responds faster than any other part. You can avoid triggering this by having a confident tone, body language and facial expression that matches what you want to communicate and also by taking ownership.

Join the customer service revolution!

Your goal now is to find the right balance between personal service and automated service and to find the right channels for your customers and their needs. Few things are as annoying as long waiting times when you need to get in touch with customer service, so make sure that the customer can get in touch with you quickly and that there is more than one alternative for the customer to do so. Start by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes, then choose the channels where you need to be to give your customers the best possible customer experience!

To increase customer satisfaction, download the guide and learn about how to make the right channel choices.

Download our 6-step guide: Choosing the right Channels for Customer Service

Contact us if you want to create better conditions for providing excellent customer service at your company

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Acronyms for Customer Service

Acronyms for Customer Service Professionals

Acronyms for
Customer Service Professionals

Learn the useful terms for better customer experiences

Working in customer service usually involves certain new words and acronyms in your daily work. And it can be confusing if their meaning is not entirely clear to you. But they are very useful for Customer Service, and the acronyms might even help your department to understand and work faster towards your common goals. These acronyms are often used in conversations regarding effectiveness, data gathering, improving the software and CX in general.

We have listed the most commonly used acronyms for Customer Service Professionals in contact centers, customer service departments or any customer-focused company. Use it as a dictionary for when acronyms like AHT, FCR or VOIP are getting too complex, because it can be difficult to keep track of them all.

Dictionary for Customer Service:

  1. AHT - Average handle time, is a frequently used metric that tracks how long it usually takes to solve a customer service ticket. Commonly used to track how well the agents are performing and providing quick responses to customers.
  2. AI - As you might already know, stands for artificial intelligence, is becoming more common in conjunction with technical customer support tools. For example, using AI for more accurate chatbot answers to frequently asked questions.
  3. API - An application programming interface is usually shortened down to API and it is a computing interface that defines interactions between multiple software.
  4. CEM - Stands for customer experience management, and is used for improving and understanding the customer journey of your business.
  5. CRM - Customer relationship management, is used to facilitate your relationship with prospects and prospects and customers. From the first interaction with your company throughout the time as customers.
  6. CSAT - Is a commonly used term for customer satisfaction, it describes a score produced by surveys, when asking customers how they experience the service.
  7. CSS - In customer service, CSS stands for customer self-service, where the customer can search for the answer to their question on their own, without getting in contact with a human agent. For example, provide these answers with help from AI and chatbots (don't get confused - CSS of coding and style sheets, it is another CSS).
  8. CTI - Is a computer-telephony integration that allows companies to integrate their phone and digital interactions into one interface.
  9. CTR - Stands for click-through rate, and describes the percentage of clicks that a link gets, due to the number of views or chances of clicks. It is often used in marketing, but it is also useful when measuring how well your knowledge base (point 11) is performing.
  10. CX - Customer experience, describes a more comprehensive aspect of a customer's usage and interaction with a company or product. Performing outstanding customer service is a part of the overall CX.
  11. FCR - Is short for first call resolution in the call center context, and shows how frequently the customer's questions are solved within their first contact with an agent.
  12. KB - Knowledge base, is a collection of questions and answers. It enables self-service and is very useful to customers that search for quick answers to common problems. It can also be used internally to collect and organize business information.
  13. KPI - Key performance indicators, are the metrics a department or business chose to track and prioritize, to measure the performance towards their fundamental goals.
  14. NPS - NPS means net promoter score, and is a very important customer service metric. It describes how likely the customers are to recommend your company or product to a friend or colleague.
  15. ROI - ROI stands for return on investment, and is a term for measuring the outcome from the amount spent on a product or service.
  16. SBR - Skills-based routing, is a technique customer service departments use to ensure the incoming ticket gets delivered to the right agent. Simply, to make sure the agent's skills match the ticket subject.
  17. SLA - A SLA or service level agreement, is a written statement and a commitment from the customer service team, involving standards and approaches.
  18. UI - Stands for user interface and is the part of a software that the user sees and interacts with. It usually has an impact on how often the customers contact the support team and how often they can solve the issue on their own.
  19. VOIP - Stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and it is the technology that enables phone calls over the internet.
  20. WOM - Word of mouth describes the expressed opinions from your customers regarding your company's products, services and brand. To develop a positive customer behavior that results in customers spreading good words about you, are a sign of great customer service success.

But be aware, these acronyms are frequently used within the industry of customer service. Our recommendation is to spell out the full explanation as well, just to be safe and avoid misunderstandings around these acronyms for Customer Service.

Contact us if you want to create better conditions for providing excellent customer service at your company

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Omnichannel for contact center

3 reasons for your Contact Center to use an Omnichannel

3 reasons for Contact Centers
to use an Omnichannel

...and how you get the most out of an omnichannel at your Contact Center.

As long as your customers can contact you and you can contact them, there shouldn’t be any issues with either communication or contacts for your business. But contact points have shifted over the past decade – both customers and businesses now explore new channels to communicate with each other.

Even though the classic over-the-phone voice channel still is the most commonly used, customers now demand multiple contact Contact points for increased accessibility at companies and providers of all kinds. An omnichannel solution would help you get there and keep your customer experience on top.

1. Leave no channel behind and increase your Contact Center success

Many businesses have started their journey to become more flexible based on these new demands. And usually – the more channels, the greater the expense. Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, E-mail, Phone, the list is growing and in the end, your Contact Center benefits from an omnichannel to stay organized and improve efficiency. By reducing the consumption of resources, the omnichannel solution monitors all incoming cases and flawlessly creates a single queue for all agents to work on.

The difference between using a multichannel plan and an omnichannel strategy is narrow minor, however, it makes a difference to your average customer experience. The omnichannel manages all your incoming cases equally and makes it almost impossible for your agents to ignore or miss out on a client who needs support.

Omnichannel for contact center

2. The omnichannel solution fits multi-skilled agents

Repetitive tasks are difficult to avoid at Contact Centers. Although when agents are able to manage multiple channels, this turns to a valuable asset for the company and also provides a more diversified workday for the agents.

The omnichannel is in particular useful to your multi-skilled agents when switching between platforms while supporting your customers. Instead of assigning agents to different platforms that never really reach full occupancy, it would make your Contact Center operate more effectively and save resources. By training agents to use multiple channels and with more variety, this often also increases employee retention at your Contact Center.

3. The best way to track your KPI´s is with an omnichannel solution

With a cloud-based omnichannel your agents can always support your customers, regardless if they work at the office or from home. With an intelligent measurement tool (Skyview and Insights), every KPI is available in the cloud solution. This means that you as a team leader can follow real-time performance as well as historical, both at team-level and down to individual coaching. The performance reports could of course also be shared directly with agents for own performance improvement actions.

Contact us if you want to know more about how to implement an omnichannel at your Contact Center

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