According to the 2016 Global Customer Experience Benchmark, 71.5% of customer support leaders say analytics enable better rep performance; yet, 20% of contact centers don’t measure the benefits of training. As peak season gets closer and closer, priorities shift to preparing for the onslaught of customer calls, emails, and chats. In the midst of this surge, it can be difficult to keep tabs on seasonal hires, but setting measurable goals for their training beforehand can have an immense impact on team—and business—performance.
Countless metrics can be tracked, but which ones truly have an impact on the seasonal support rush? And how can you effectively track them? We interviewed various customer support thought leaders and practitioners and asked them to weigh in on which contact center KPIs are worth tracking and why your team should start today.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) is an index score, rated on a 0-100% scale, calculated by surveying the customer’s perceived value and quality of a support interaction. CSAT has risen in importance because it measures the customer’s resulting satisfaction regardless of whether the contact was via phone call, online chat, email, or any other channel. Lessons that train your team on should focus on who the customer is, how your team interacts with them, and how they can go above and beyond the normal level of support to increase the overall CSAT number.
“We put together an algorithm based on actual CSAT, but that could also account for many other variables including: How long did the customer wait on hold? Had they been to the website? How long was the call? Did they get transferred during the call? It’s an interesting way to think about what big data enables us to do going forward. In the best of all possible worlds, we’d be able to measure every single call.” – Sheila McGee Smith, Principal at McGee-Smith Analytics
First Contact Resolution
First Contact Resolution (FCR) measures the percentage of times that a customer’s issue is resolved on the first contact with a support rep. This metric has remained a good measure support team efficiency in solving customer issues. Training your team on FCR can be a bit of a different speed, because sometimes, the a quick resolution time can come at the expense of customer satisfaction. Make sure that your support team knows what issues your customers are usually running into so that they can be better prepared for the customers who do want their problem resolved quickly.
“For phone FCR, it’s been really interesting. I can almost predict the weekly customer satisfaction rating by looking at the FCR for phones—because they are almost identical. So what we’ve talked about as a team is, on that first phone call, how can we do everything possible to handle the issue and any other questions they might have. It really influences how the customer views the interaction in the long run.” – Geoff Zentz, Customer Support Manager at Readers.com
Net Promoter Score
Net Promoter Score is used to measure customer experience on a 0-10 scale by asking customers “how likely are you to recommend [this company] to a friend or colleague?” A 9 or 10 rating means customers are actively promoting the company and can be a fantastic indicator of health in the customer support department. NPS can be hard to explain and understand sometimes, so make sure your team understands how you measure it as well as what a good and bad score means. Giving them lessons on how to turn neutral conversations into positive ones is a great place to start.
“I love Net Promoter Scores, and they tell you a lot. If you’re going to survey customers, make it easy on them. If they called and spent 6 minutes on the phone with you, don’t send them a 15-minute survey—that’s ridiculous. But a 1-minute or 2-minute survey can net some really important information.” – Shep Hyken, Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations
Percentage of Time on Hold
Percentage of Time on Hold measures the amount of time that individual customer support reps place their customers on hold. By examining this, support managers can take a look at how long people are waiting during their support contact. The smaller the percentage, the more time reps are communicating and solving customer issues. No one ever likes being put on hold when they’re calling into customer support for help. Build training topics around teaching your team empathy so that your reps can better understand what being placed on hold does to someone’s overall satisfaction of an interaction.
“We used Percentage of Time on Hold as a mini-KPI to keep an eye on how often we were using hold. To get away from the culture of calling in and being placed on hold while the rep is working, we don’t want to put customers on hold except for extreme cases….Fixing something as small as Percentage of Time on Hold has an impact on CSAT, quality assurance, and even production.” – David Tull, Support Manager at CoverMyMeds
Employee Longevity is a measure of how long a certain employee has been with a company since they were hired. There is often a correlation between employees that have been with a company for long periods of time and the high levels of customer service. This is an interesting KPI, but a powerful one when presented correctly. Make sure that your team knows the benefits that the company receives when they are better trained, do better work, and make happier customers.
“If you’re going to look at KPIs, one I’ve found very interesting is employee longevity. It’s a really interesting KPI. Support centers that are able to retain employees long-term are probably employee-focused. When they’re employee-focused, guess what? They’re probably customer-focused. Now, it’s not always the case, but if you look at the correlation, it holds up pretty well. “ – Shep Hyken
Contacts Per Hour
Contacts Per Hour (CPH) measures the volume an individual support rep, or an entire support team, can take in an hour. This can also be measured in Contacts Per Day. As a volume metric, CPH is a good sign for how productive a support team is being, but doesn’t shed light onto the quality of each interaction. Don’t make this metric the end-all-be-all for how your team is doing as far as production. Instead, use it as a bellwether for trends so you can make changes before things get difficult. Front-line reps might not understand this as well as a customer support manager, so be sure to explain it thoroughly in lessons so your team can act accordingly.
“CPH was specifically useful in balancing out the other major metrics. Customer Satisfaction was always kind of the guiding star so we could see how we were doing as a team. But then, we could look individually and say, “Yeah, they’ve got one of the highest CSAT scores on the team, but they’re not doing a lot of work,” based on their Contacts Per Hour. It helped keep us honest and to keep our reps honest at a performance level. “ – David Tull
Average Response Time
Average Response Time measures how long a customer has to wait before a support representative speaks with them. Generally speaking, the shorter the queue time, the better. This indicates customers are waiting less and support reps are being productive. Again, make sure that your team feels what the customer feels when they sit on the phone waiting for long periods of time. This type of empathy training can really go a long way in boosting your reps’ productivity and drive to get through calls quicker so they can cut down on the average response time.
“Email, phone, and chat response times are three pieces of our puzzle that give us a bigger-picture look at the quality of service we’re providing. In today’s instant satisfaction world, it shows us how quickly we are getting back to our customers.” – Geoff Zentz
Knowing the Key Performance Indicators that impact your customer support team is only half of the battle. Focus on onboarding seasonal employees faster, while also providing development for your existing customer support reps. When you combine training and development with customer service KPIs, you’ll begin to see a real return on investment from your seasonal hiring plans.
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