A Secret to Continually Improving Your Customer Service

Constantly measuring and monitoring your service levels can help improve customer service and acquisition. Here's how.
Contributing Writer, SmallBizTrends.com
October 10, 2016

In a world where social media, online reviews and word-of-mouth are key to attracting new customers, customer service is vital to customer acquisition. Whether you sell B2B or B2C, your customers' standards for good service are continually rising, which means your service level must continually improve.

Continual improvement can be tough, but it's not impossible to achieve. The secret to better service—and successful customer acquisition—is to monitor and measure your customer service metrics.

What Should You Measure?

The specific customer service metrics to measure will vary depending on your industry, your customers, the type of service you are providing and your business. However, some general metrics you may want to consider include:

  • average time spent to resolve a customer problem,
  • average number of touch points before customer's issues are resolved,
  • average time customers wait on hold or in phone queue,
  • call or chat abandonment rates (how many customers hang up or leave a chat window in frustration because they're on hold or waiting too long for a response), and
  • customer satisfaction with employee interactions.

Consider setting goals for each of the areas you're measuring. What does satisfactory and unsatisfactory customer service look like? Making these standards concrete and measurable (such as percentages or time frames) wherever possible can help improve your company's customer service efforts.

Communicating your expectations and making sure employees have the knowledge and tools they need can help improve the way they deliver customer service.

Technology can help you to measure your customer service quality based on the metrics and goals you choose. For example, call center services or customer service software can automatically track things like call abandonment rates or average time on hold.

Motivate Employees to Improve

If you want your employees to provide the kind of high-quality customer service that drives customer acquisition, help them understand the goals you want them to reach and how you're measuring them.

Communicating your expectations and making sure employees have the knowledge and tools they need can help improve the way they deliver customer service. For instance, you can create an internal database of answers to common customer questions or customer service procedures to follow so employees can access this information quickly.

Providing great customer service often requires emotional energy and effort. One way you can energize your staff and make the job more fun is by “gamifying” the process. For example, set up friendly competitions among employees and offer prizes for the winners. Or motivate employees to surpass their own past achievements by tracking their numbers and trying to improve by a certain percentage each month. Setting both departmental and individual goals can help employees keep aiming high.

Learn From Your Data

You can use the data you collect to do more than assess employee performance. By digging deeper, you may be able to gain valuable knowledge you can use to boost customer acquisition by making your customer service better.

Consider reviewing your data at least once a month to look for big-picture trends. If you've recently hired several new employees and customer problems are suddenly taking longer to resolve, perhaps your new employees need additional training so they can work more efficiently.

Listen to Your Customers

You can also learn a lot from monitoring what people are saying about your business's customer service on social media and online rating and review sites. You can use social media monitoring tools to keep on top of posts and reviews so you can immediately respond to anything negative that might hinder customer acquisition. Consider asking customers for additional feedback—for instance, if you own a restaurant and a customer gives you a three-star review, thank them for the review but also ask, "What could we do better next time to improve?”

By setting goals, measuring progress and talking to both employees and customers, your business's customer service may begin to improve continually.

 

For more tips on how to keep customers engaged, access 4 Growth Hacks for More Engaged Customers, with insights from CEO of Growth Hackers, Sean Ellis.

 

Read more articles on getting customers.

Photo: iStock
Contributing Writer, SmallBizTrends.com