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CX Metrics: 6 Ways to Measure Customer Support Success

If your customers are happy, magical things happen. They do more business with you. They spend more when they buy. They reward you with loyalty. They tell their friends. They give you free...

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If your customers are happy, magical things happen.  They do more business with you. They spend more when they buy.

They reward you with loyalty.

They tell their friends.  They give you free word-of-mouth advertising.

So, making sure you are doing everything you need to do to make them happy and keep them happy is one of the best ways to grow your business.  Just a 5% increase in customer retention can have a dramatic impact on your bottom line, increasing profitability by a whopping 75%.

The first step to happy customers is implementing a total customer experience strategy. Customer experience encompasses every touchpoint a potential customer has with your company, from your marketing to your website to your sales team to problem resolution. One of the key components is your customer support strategy.

Once your culture is in place, it is critical to measure how your team is performing against your customer experience metrics.

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”  - Management Guru Peter Drucker

You can’t really know whether you are successful at meeting your goals if you aren’t defining them and measuring them.

6 Steps to Measure Customer Support Success

1. Ask Your Customers:  Customer Satisfaction Surveys

It may sound simple, but the best and fastest way to find out if your customers are happy with your customer support is to ask them.  Many successful companies use Customer Satisfaction Surveys (CSAT) to gauge effectiveness after a customer contact. These measure short-term satisfaction, based most often on their last interaction.

CSAT surveys should be kept as short as possible.  Each subsequent question you ask decreases the response rate.  You also want to pay attention not just to the overall average, but the groupings.  An average score may lead you to believe everything is fine when in reality, you have a large group of satisfied and a large group of dissatisfied customers.

The average may look good but doesn’t give the full picture of both your weaknesses and your opportunities.

Net Promoter scores (NPS) measure brand loyalty.  Since we are looking for happy customers that will do repeat business, this can be an effective way to measure the likelihood a customer will return.  Typically, these surveys use a scale and ask customers if they are likely to recommend your business to a friend or acquaintance. Low scores have a high likelihood of churn or indicate there’s a problem that you should know about.

The more you can customize your CSAT or NPS surveys, the more datasets you will get.  For example, instead of asking if a customer was satisfied with their customer support interaction, asking them if they were able to get their issue resolved by the first person on the first call will net you slightly different information.  That’s called the Customer Effort Score (CES), a measure of how much work the customer feels they have to do to get problems solved.  Think about the times you have had to make multiple phone calls, wait interminably on hold, talk to multiple people, or search repeatedly to get your issue addressed.

2. Find the Pain Points

When you score poorly in these surveys, follow up whenever you can to dig deeper into what caused the low score.  These may be your best way to get at the heart of the problem. Getting past the numbers and getting into the details is where you find the gold.

“Your most unhappy customer are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates, Founder, Microsoft

Often, unhappy customers are the result of unmet expectations.  If you expected to receive the shipment in two days and it took a week, you might be unhappy even if you didn’t need the item by then.  If you promise ease-of-use in your online service, but your website navigation is not intuitive, you will frustrate users.

Aligning expectations with experiences will meet customers’ baselines.  Going over and above those expectations is what leads to loyal customers.  What you need to determine are the places where your customers feel you fell below their expectations and take action.

You need to find your internal pain points by comparing customer ratings versus what your staff thinks.  A Harvard management study showed 80% of companies said they offered superior customer service, but only 8% of their customers agreed.  That disconnect is what causes things to be out of whack. If that’s going on in your organization, you need to know.

3. Set Benchmarks

In this on-demand world, customers communicate across various channels (in-person, by phone, email, chat, or social media). In a survey of 6,700 consumers, 84% of consumers say being treated like a person (and not a number) is very important to gain their business.  They now expect a customized, personalized experience.

In order to deliver that experience, and measure customer experience metrics, you need to set target goals.  For example, in your omnichannel customer support, set specific benchmarks to use as a measuring stick for performance.  What would consider an appropriate time for response to a customer inquiry?

Before you answer, you may want to consider what customers expect.  According to this research by Hubspot.  82% expect an immediate response (10 minutes or less) when they have a marketing or sales question regardless of the way they contact you. Under this metric, answering an email within 24 hours – or even 8 hours - will fall way short.

You can't hide poor performance.  On social media, Facebook now lets visitors to your business page know your typical response time.  It’s right there for the world to see. Even if they never contact you, they will have an impression of your support level.

4. Measure Wide and Measure Deep

Just measuring broad topics will get you some information, but you need to drill down to get specific, actionable data.  For example, below is a list of what consumers say is the most frustrating aspects of getting customer service help. Ask yourself how you measure up on these aspects and what your benchmark should be.  Every time you fall short, you risk losing a customer.

Most Frustrating Aspects of Getting Customer Service Help

Survey of 1,000 Consumers

  • 33% Waiting on hold
  • 33% Having to repeat the same information to different support reps
  • 19% Slow response time
  • 14% Not being able to get issue resolve online

It may provide valuable insight to ask specifically about customers’ response times, wait on hold times, whether they had to repeat information, or were able to get their response handled online in a single contact.  Just asking if they had a positive customer service experience won’t get you to the root of the problem.

5. Test Systems Yourself

Once you have set up the specific benchmarks, it’s easy enough to test the system yourself.  Randomly contacting customer support through different channels may provide personal insight into what may be positive or negative customer experience management metrics For example, how does your team respond to your test for email responses? More than half of consumers expect a response within an hour – at any time of day.

How Soon Do Customers Expect an Email Response?

Survey of 1,500 Consumers

  • 16% Expect an immediate response
  •  37% Expect a response within one hour
  •  80% Expect a response within 24 hours

6. Take Action & Test Again

Once you have identified an issue, you need to take action.

If your customers expect a response time to any inquiry on any channel within an hour and you can’t deliver it, you need to fix the problem.  The solution may be to adjust hours, hire more staff, or outsource your customer support or customer experience execution.

Then, when you've made the adjustments, test again.

Positive Customer Experience Breeds Loyalty

One of the most important things you can do to market and grow your business is to continually improve the customer experience.  While it starts with customer support, it really encompasses your entire organization.

6 Ways to Measure Customer Support Success

  1. Ask Your Customers
  2. Find Your Pain Points
  3. Set Benchmarks
  4. Test Wide, Test Deep
  5. Test Yourself
  6. Take Action & Test Again

The better you measure customer experience management metrics, the more improvement you can make.  The better the customer experience, the better results you’ll get.

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