A couple of years ago, Tommy Reese, Deloitte’s Contact Center Strategy Manager said, “If you treat the client like gold, then they’ll continue to buy from you and other sales will follow.”
And, while that doesn’t necessarily shed any new light onto our customer experience outlooks, isn’t it what all of our strategies are trying to do? When you treat your customers like a valuable piece of your corporate puzzle they’re going to be more loyal. And those loyal customers pack on a higher LCV and ROI than new customers.
Reese found that customer-centric companies fulfill the big picture needs of customers. They build a business around serving and supporting their customers. Then, it leads to even more revenue flowing in through a base of satisfied customers. And, those customers are perfectly happy to provide good reviews and recommendations. Plus, it’s 5 to 25 times more expensive than keeping current customers.
But how do you, as a manager, contribute to this?
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How can you identify the successes of your contact center? How do you know what metrics to measure to see if your customers are satisfied and loyal? And what about your agents?
Let’s take a look at what metrics to measure in your contact center to become a more customer (and employee) centric company.
1. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
Customer Satisfaction is a foundational measurement to track customer happiness. What’s the best way to guarantee retention? Avoid giving your customers a reason to walk away. And definitely avoid them leaving angrily. In today’s consumer climate, there are an overwhelming number of brands to choose from. Customers who are dissatisfied, for any reason, won’t hesitate to abandon your brand if they discover better service elsewhere.
The worst part? They’ll be quick to share their complaints to anyone who looks you up on the internet. In fact, Zendesk reports that 95% of customers tell others about a bad experience.
I don’t mean to freak you out. But building brand loyalty with your customers is worth every penny. Keeping track of customer satisfaction is the best way to gauge how many of your customers are ripe for loyalty. Measure CSAT through surveys sent after an email interaction, or as a quarterly email blast. These survey responses then give you a sense of how happy your customers are.
How to Measure it: Number of satisfied customers (4 and 5) / Number of survey responses) x 100 = % of satisfied customers
Boost the Metric:
Customer satisfaction captures how all the components of your service and product work together. Measure it company-wide across a variety of customer touchpoints. Use the following metrics to understand the pain points in your service delivery. Often times, customer satisfaction can be helped along with stronger training for agents. Or, with better product feedback loops and user-friendly service that’s convenient for your customers.
Learn how improving your agent experience improves CSAT and boosts revenue, too. Get 9 facts to build a business case for a better agent experience.
2. First Contact Resolution (FCR)
First Contact Resolution is one of the most essential performance metrics to measure. And, it has a direct impact on your customer’s satisfaction. FCR is the percentage of times your customers get their issues addressed the very first time they reach out to you versus those that need callbacks.
FCR acts as a measure for customer experience, operational performance, and efficiency. Of course, it’s unrealistic to think that every issue can be resolved on the first contact. For most organizations, there will always be situations that require further research, work, or help.
But, think about how many of your customer interactions could be figured out with just one phone call or email if your agents feel empowered and sufficiently trained to provide the answer. With a high FCR metric, your team can help more customers, your customers will save time, and customer happiness will increase.
How to Measure it: Time of first response – time of customer request = (#minutes/hours/days) first response rate
Boost the Metric:
To boost FCR, your processes, technology, agent training, and coaching programs all need to work for your customer’s experience. Carefully review how you monitor issues. And, look for barriers that keep agents from providing answers to customers in the first interaction. Do they need more training? Better resources? Access to customer information? Find the areas that stall your agents and coach to empower them to tackle issues on their own.
3. Service Level
Service Level, similar to Customer Satisfaction, is a broad, all-encompassing metric. It’s in our rundown of what metrics to measure because it’s super useful for measuring service efficiency of your inbound contact center. It tells you how accessible you are to your customers and gives you data to forecast and predict agent scheduling for better workforce management. You may have an idea of when your busiest times are and when you need the most staff, but measuring Service Level shows you the impact of staffing on your customers.
Service Level is best used as an efficiency metric. Essentially, it can determine your team’s ability to handle the moments when it feels like all of your customers are reaching out to you at once. Service level will also track how these moments of chaos directly tie into to your CSAT scores. After all, no customer likes being left waiting and being left in a hold queue.
Now, Service Level shouldn’t ever encourage your agents to push through customer inquiries just to get to the next caller in their queue. It can be iffy to use it as a quality measurement because of this very reason. You don’t want your customers to be pushed through your contact center like they’re on an assembly line.
How to Measure it: (number of calls answered in x seconds / total calls offered) x 100
Boost the Metric:
The best way to help your service level is to know when your team needs more agents available. Use the metric as a standard of when your contact center is busiest and when you can send agents home. Then, use WFM to help you manage it. When you’re properly staffed and your agents know how to answer incoming interactions, you can service every customer quickly and help them avoid the dreaded hold music.
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4. Agent Satisfaction
So we discussed Customer Satisfaction, but Agent Satisfaction is just as important (if not more) for you, as a manager, to measure. It’s not just a cliché to say that when employees are happy, your customers are happy. When agents are cared for and have sufficient training, they’re much more motivated to deliver the quality of service you require. Some managers may think that it’s not possible to control agent satisfaction when half your agents are on the way out the door., Or, some think it’s not possible to measure it. But that’s not true.
So, what plays into agent satisfaction?
Some of the most important factors in Agent Satisfaction are improving training materials and onboarding experiences, providing ways for agents to develop professionally, and giving them a pathway to greater career development. Others are avenues for feedback, a strong company culture, and of course, reasonable pay. Read up for some other practical examples of how to further engage your employees and encourage your agents.
Agent satisfaction has a massive impact — it can reduce costs that come with turnover, it reduces absenteeism, it drives employee engagement. And when you have happy agents, they’ll more likely contribute outside of their job description.
How to Measure it: The percentage of agents on the service desk that are either satisfied or very satisfied in their jobs
Let me break that down a bit more. Managers often wonder what metrics to measure when it comes to the employee experience. Satisfaction is qualitative and often measured through a semi-annual survey. But, it can be assigned a variety of metrics/scores and measured through Agent Scorecards as well. Different performance and engagement metrics let you focus on long-term change and development instead of short-term activity to improve job satisfaction and, in turn, your customer experience.
Boost the Metric:
As mentioned above, improving your Agent Satisfaction involves better training, more coaching, feedback opportunities (yep, that means asking for your agents to critique you). It also can be helped through finding ways to build team spirit, building stronger culture, giving your agents areas that they can grow in so they know how to grow as professionals. Ultimately, AX can improve when you invest in your people. Find creative ways to do so, and you will likely see more agent retention over time.
5. Abandon Rate
Contact center agents handle even more interactions, and more kinds of interactions than ever before. Long hold times and low service levels can grow gradually more commonplace. In light of all of this, on the list of what metrics to measure is Abandon Rate, or the percentage of inbound inquiries that are abandoned by the customer before they can even reach an agent.
Abandon Rates soar when you’re understaffed or are unable to uphold a reasonable Average Speed of Answer. They represent missed opportunities and lead to customer dissatisfaction and ultimately, lost revenue.
How to Measure It: (Number of calls offered – Number of calls abandoned in 5 seconds – Number of calls handled) / (Number of calls offered – Number of calls abandoned in 5 seconds) x 100
Boost the Metric:
Don’t let your customers abandon you. If customers can’t even reach you to ask a question, think of how quickly they’ll run to your competition. Combat Abandon Rate through staffing (helped by your service level metric). Many prospective abandoned calls can be caught by staffing up or down based on interaction volume. It’s important to weigh the cost of extra staff vs. the cost of keeping your customers satisfied. An omnichannel IVR can also be helpful in guiding your customers to the answers before they even need to reach an agent. And, consider strong self-service tools, so your customers don’t even need to call in the first place.
Save the Customer
As the manager, you and your contact center are the first and last line of defense with your customers. You’re the superheroes the company needs to trust to save customers who are close to leaving you. Customer retention starts with customer happiness. And customer happiness often relies on the quality of customer service you deliver.
With the help of metrics and measurement, your team can evaluate where growth needs to happen. They’ll be your guiding light as you endeavor to set up your agents and your customers for the success they long for.
Keeping customers happy feels like it’s only getting tougher in this world of high expectations and strong competition.