September 20, 2019
Stay in the Know
How well are your customers being served by your customer support contact center? Are your agents delivering the best possible experience when customers engage with your business?
Knowing how well your customer support team is performing is essential for continuous improvement. It is important for managing these frontline workers more efficiently, reducing cost and increasing agent satisfaction which in turn can impact sales and customer retention.
A recent report by PwC, Experience is Everything, found that customers are willing to spend as much as 16% more with companies that offer a great customer experience. Moreover, 63% are willing to share more personal information and opinions when a company provides a great experience. On the flip side, 59% of consumers will stop doing business with a company after several bad experiences and 32% will walk away from a brand they favor after just one bad experience.
The potential for increased profits from exceptional customer support requires that you track how quickly your agents are resolving issues and addressing complaints. The first step to gathering baseline and ongoing performance data is to define key performance indicators (KPIs). Once you have this information, the next step is to constantly motivate agents to do better.
Step 1: Define Customer Support KPIs
KPIs provide insight on how well agents are performing relative to company goals and department objectives. But how can you be sure that you are tracking the right metrics? After reviewing several sources on the “best” customer support KPIs, we have compiled a Top 7 list. These are the KPIs that appeared most often in the greatest number of sources.
First Contact Resolution (FCR)
FCR refers to the percentage of support tickets that are resolved on the first contact by a customer. This contact could be by phone, email, chat or social media interaction. It is calculated by dividing the number of issues resolved on the first contact by the total number of contacts with the support department. FCR measures the efficiency of the support team and how good they are at ensuring that customers do not have to call back regarding the same issue. It also indicates how good agents are at quickly navigating a knowledge base and addressing issues on their own without having to transfer a call or get help from a supervisor. FCR correlates to customer satisfaction so it is important that you know how effective your agents are and work to continuously optimize it.
Average Handle Time (AHT)
AHT is a metric for the average length of a transaction – from the time the call was initiated to the time it is resolved including hold time, talk time and after work time. It is an important metric for deciding staffing levels. When AHT is too long, it may indicate that the agent is having difficulty handling the request. If it is too short, the agent might be rushing through the call. Hastening a call without truly resolving the issue could result in customer dissatisfaction. Improving AHT should be defined as decreasing handle time and at the same time increasing customer satisfaction.
The calculation for AHT is:
talk time + hold time + after work time / total number of calls
There are a number of things contact center management can do to improve AHT.
- Optimize call routing
- Build a knowledge base
- Streamline processes
- Hone agent training and coaching
- Monitor performance
- Implement gamification
No one likes to be put on hold or wait in a queue for a long time. When this happens, a customer is more likely to abandon the call before they speak with a contact center agent. Not only does this result in a lost opportunity, it also leads to customer dissatisfaction and potentially lost revenue.
Abandon rate refers to the percentage of calls made into the customer support center where the customer hangs up before they ever talk to an agent. It is represented as a percentage and calculated by taking the number of calls abandoned divided by the total number of calls. Some companies exclude calls that are abandoned in under five seconds as these calls typically represent wrong numbers. One way to reduce the abandon rate is to institute a ring-back program giving customers the option to request a call back as an alternative to holding in a queue.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
Ultimately, the aim for all customer support teams is a satisfied customer. A customer that is satisfied might tell a friend or two, whereas a dissatisfied customer will blast it to the world on social media.
CSAT measures customer sentiment about your support services. The CSAT score is most often based on the results of a post-call or post-issue resolution survey. You may simply ask “how satisfied are you with the support services you just received?” You might ask the customer to rate the experience from 1 to 5, with 1 being the least satisfied and 5 being the most satisfied. Or you can get granular with your survey and ask questions about how well the agent treated the customer, how helpful or empathetic the agent was, how well the agent resolved their issue and how the customer would rate the overall experience.
Learn how a global customer support operation leveraged gamification technology to reduce costs and increase service levels, while engaging employees to help improve productivity.
Service level is a calculation of the support team’s capacity to meet the standards set forth in your Service Level Agreement to your customer. The service level outlined in your agreement may state that all customers with support requests will be contacted back within 24 hours. Or you might guarantee that you will replace a product if the same issue occurs more than twice. Once you publish these commitments to your customer, it is essential that you deliver on them.
Customers can be fickle. The interaction you have with customers while resolving an issue could determine whether or not that customer will remain loyal or jump ship. Loyalty is fundamental to business success. It costs much less to retain a customer than to get a new one. To many businesses, repeat customers are the holy grail.
The save rate is calculated by dividing the number of repeat customers by the total number of customers.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
NPS measures the likelihood that a customer would recommend your business. It can be a great way to measure your support team’s performance.
Customers rate how likely they are to recommend your business to a friend or colleague based on a scale of 1-10. The higher the rating, the better. NPS responses from 0-6 represent the detractors. Ratings from 7-8 are categorized as passives. Ratings of 9-10 represent the promoters. To calculate the NPS score, take the % of promoters minus the % of detractors. Your CSAT survey answers can help you understand the areas that you need to improve.
Apple, considered to be a leader in customer loyalty, achieves an NPS score of 75-85%.
Step 2: Motivating Agents to Constantly Do Better
Motivating agents to first do the things you need them to do is not any easy task. Motivating them to always do better can be even more of a challenge. Enter gamification.
Gamification applies game mechanics to other areas of activity to motivate and engage agents to continually improve by adding an element of fun to the work they do. This leads to greater support agent satisfaction. When your support team is happier, so are your customers. Gamification can be leveraged during hiring and onboarding, as well as for perpetual performance monitoring, training and coaching. It fosters positive and friendly competition among individual agents as well as teams. With the use of leaderboards, points, badges, contests, avatars and virtual currency, support agents can level up to achieve greater recognition and reward for goal attainment. It also promotes collaboration and social sharing.
Gamification is not just about having fun. You can gamify the Top 7 support team KPIs to engage agents, make them more satisfied with their job and motivate them to provide an ever-better customer experience.
What have you used successfully in your business to motivate customer support agents to continually improve the customer experience?