Managing customer service operations is very important function for every business organization. This is where your employees interact directly with your customers. There are many important outcomes from your customer service such as gathering customer data, analyzing the types of interactions or calls, measuring the trend in customer satisfaction, answering customer questions, helping existing customers, educating prospects, etc.
By going beyond the essential function of a customer service department you can gather valuable information from all these interactions with your customers and prospects.
Examples include understanding customer preferences, learning about major complaints, understanding the main requirements which can help you improve your offering and improve customer service as well.
Every company can develop a long list of important information which can be gathered from the customer service department and based on the type of the business, industry and market there are always company specific or unique issues. However let’s focus on what is the common foundation for the customer service of every organization and understand the framework of managing it successfully.
Effective management of any business function including the customer service function requires efficient and effective reporting which is well organized and developed to perform on an ongoing basis.
The continuous reporting of the most important success factors and key performance indicators of customer service operations allows managers to understand the performance, manage, control and improve the quality of the service and maximize the benefits for the organization.
What are the major KPIs or customer service metrics that you need to continuously track and monitor?
There are three main areas management needs to focus with a customer service performance management. Those areas include the following KPI categories:
- Operational metrics
- Customer metrics
- Product metrics
The first level of operational KPIs include what most customer service and call center operations managers monitor such as average number of calls, average length of a call, average number of callers per day, number of customer service employees per shift, etc.
These are the traditional metrics which are always included on any customer service dashboard or scorecard.
The reason is simple and straightforward – regardless of the type of your company and business it is always very important to manage the productivity and efficiency of your customer service operations.
The next level of KPIs is the customer metrics. While your major objective will always be answering customers inquiries, helping customers, educating prospects, offering different solutions… the important thing you don’t want to miss is analyzing customer needs, wants, preferences… of different customer segments.
When organizations have different customer segments the information gathered from customer service should be segmented and reported separately in addition to tracking the overall metrics.
The key information should include the types of requests, types of complaints and types of customers / accounts in B2B from different customer segments.
The third level is gathering and reporting on the product related metrics. Understanding what products or product types have the most inquiries, complaints, returns, increased interest… is priceless information for your business.
Why? Because this feeds the perfect information you need to develop new successful products, improve your current services, customize customer service to each of your top products, improve training for customer service employees for certain profitable or new products and services, improve overall customer satisfaction by using the 80/20 rule to identify the critical products for your business instead of looking at the overall averages…
As a conclusion, including your KPIs from your customer service operations, customer specific metrics and product specific metrics you can focus on different angles of your customer service performance and improve not only the operations of your service but your products and business performance at different levels such as product development and improvement, customer segmentation and sales and marketing.
If you are working on developing your customer service reports, scorecards or dashboards from scratch you should use these three main areas and start by creating a list of at least 10 KPIs for each group. Start by brainstorming in each of these areas and once you have the list of your metrics you can group them , segment them and categorize them in your reports.
If you already have an organized reporting system you can use the three main KPI areas to step back and review the effectiveness of your current reporting and modify certain KPIs to further improve the quality of information on your reports.