Guest Post Week continues with customer service blogger, Douglas Hanna contributing a post on metrics. You can read more of Doug’s posts at his own blog, Service Untitled.
And now, Here’s Doug:
I have never been a numbers guy. I’ve never really liked math and have tried to avoid numbers since I was a fourth grader. When I started doing customer service consulting, though, I began to like numbers a lot more. I learned that numbers can tell you a lot about many things. And since I learned this, I’ve been working hard to emphasize the importance of keeping track of customer service numbers to customer service managers and executives.
1. Avoid obsessing. To play off of a quote attributed to Albert Einstein, not everything that is important to customer service can be counted and not everything that can be counted is really important. Data is not always important data. Correlations are not always true in all instances (or even related). The numbers that should be most important to you are the numbers that measure how happy your customers are.
2. Consider how numbers affect one another. Much like the point above, if your customers are giving you 9’s and 10’s with 8 minute hold times, it means they are likely just fine with holding that long (or what is on the other end is worth the wait). If you started to push agents to reduce call times, it may reduce the hold times, but it could also detract from the actual customer service experience (which is what seems to matter to these customers). Be sure to remember that a lot of numbers have an affect on a lot of other numbers.
3. Track how you do. I am a huge fan of tracking how you do and comparing how and what you are doing to what you used to do. Keep a historical record of the numbers you collect and analyze and compare them to numbers you get in the future. It is always interesting to look back and see how your company changed over three or four months.
4. Talk about your numbers. Being transparent about your numbers to employees is important. If you put a new policy in place that is designed to improve customer service and find out that it does, by all means, talk about the numbers. You don’t want to obsess on numbers (see number 1), but you do want to make them a part of your customer service culture. Be competitive. Have parties for when you reach goals.
Remember that customer service has both its qualitative and quantitative elements. You should never expect to fully understand your customer service using just numbers, but numbers can help to clarify and explain at least some aspects of it.