There is no debating the importance of customer service. Businesses that get it right thrive with great customer retention rates and positive word of mouth buzz. Companies that struggle in the customer service realm often sputter as an organization. Customer metrics can reveal valuable insight about your successes and challenges. But which data sets should you be focusing on when it comes to the customer experience?
We’ve polled industry professionals to determine the most important metrics to use. Check out what these experts have to say and use their suggestions to maximize your potential while ensuring customers are receiving the best support possible.
When clients recommend your products and services to friends, it’s a good sign that you’re doing something right. That’s why Marina Erulkar, Founder of Hampstead Solutions ranked referenceability at the top of her list for customer service metrics. She recommends asking, “Would the customer or client advise friend or colleague to purchase your products or engage your services?” As she points out, “The answer to that question tells you 1) how the customer values her/his experience, and 2) whether they have or could become a valuable advocate which will grow your business efficiently. So much intelligence-and opportunity-can be gained from simply asking about referenceability.”
Candace Barr, President of Strategic Resume Specialists agrees. “Beyond a doubt, referrals are the single most important customer service metric that I measure. Improving this number goes beyond simple customer experience and satisfaction to reflect how many clients actually sent someone to me. It’s also a fantastic way to measure organic business growth,” she states.
If you’re designing a survey to see how your company is faring in the eyes of the customer, Hamna Amjad of GigWorker recommends asking how likely they are to refer people to your business. She, along with other respondents, mentioned using a Net Promoter Score (NPS) to evaluate the probability of customers referring your brand. NPS takes responses from your survey and gives you three different groups of customers: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors.
The experience of those who would recommend your services should be analyzed and replicated. By merely asking about reference-ability, you open up a world of opportunity to create brand evangelists.
Repeat customers are a great way of knowing that you are on the right track. On the other hand, a decline in return customers can show that there’s some kink in the customer experience. It’s why Dr. San Ludhra, CEO & Founder of The Global Business Clinic ranked retention rates as her favorite metric to gauge customer service. Keeping current clients around is pivotal as you can save the money and time it costs to acquire new leads and convert prospects.
As a business owner, it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of your customers, as Karla Campos, the Founder of Social Media Sass understands. Her experiences have allowed her to conclude that the most important metric is customer retention.
You’ve got to understand who your customers are, what they want and why they’ve chosen you over the competition. By digging into the psychology of the buyer’s journey, you can better understand why they return – or fail to do so. Customer churn, or the loss of customers, should be considered when analyzing retention rates. It can reveal problem areas that you might have otherwise overlooked.
Reviews are perhaps the easiest way to get an at-a-glance perspective on how you’re faring in the eyes of the consumer. Though more qualitative than other metrics, reviews can provide color to an otherwise black and white data set. Stacy Caprio, Founder of Accelerated Growth Marketing notes that this type of honest, unfiltered feedback isn’t just useful for you. “They are public-facing, meaning potential customers can view them and decide to buy with your company based on your current reviews.”
Obviously, reviews are highly subjective and shouldn’t be the only customer service metric you use to gauge effectiveness. Expect polarized perspectives when reading through customer reviews. Studies have shown that early reviews tend to be disproportionately negative, but positive reviews ultimately outnumber negative ones.
Because they are user created, though, reviews offer a detailed look into the minds of your most passionate and frustrated customers. “Reviews can give you feedback on what you need to improve, and they can be a beacon to anyone considering purchasing from you, influencing your public perception and sales,” Stacy also noted.
They say perception is reality, which is why so many of our polled industry professionals cite perceived customer satisfaction as their most important metric. A study showed that 96% of unhappy customers won’t complain, but 91% of them will never do business with you again.
Mary Patry of ITeffectivity says, “It only takes one negative interaction to set an impression with the customer. Tracking customer satisfaction helps determine whether your customers are happy with their experience and will reveal where you have a challenge.” This insight can help you determine which customers are unhappy with your company and how best to rectify the situation.
This side of customer service doesn’t get a lot of buzz, but one of our respondents focused on this topic and we thought it was absolutely worth including.
Adam Tishman, CEO of Helix Sleep had this to say: “The most important customer service metric is one that most people probably do not monitor – 0% customer interaction tagging confusion. It is vital that all your customer interactions are properly tagged so you can go back and run analytics. But it’s so easy for tagging to go awry which muddies data. Focusing efforts on codifying how you organize your tickets is of paramount importance!”
When it comes to gauging customer satisfaction, the tags you use for each interaction can help paint a larger picture of how you’re doing. It’s crucial that each of your customer interactions is accurately tagged so you can not only follow up on specific cases, but also get a top level view and track your overall efforts. It can be complex, but thankfully, MAP’s web portal can help you track customer interactions.
Whether you’re facing customer service challenges or creating brand evangelists, it’s important to keep a finger on the pulse of your buyers. Try out one or all of the metrics mentioned above to get a detailed picture of how you’re doing, where you can improve, and who you can count on to help grow your business. In a crowded marketplace, it is often our customer service that sets us apart from the competition.
We agree with the importance of each of these metrics and encourage companies to put them to good use. MAP Communications is a leading customer support outsourcing partner and we embrace the opportunities we get to work with businesses to improve their customer service. If you are interested in learning how we can help take your customer experiences to the next level, contact us today!