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5 Key Performance Indicators You Should Be Measuring

Keeping customers happy requires more than tracking customer satisfaction.

July 31st, 2017

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Emma Martins



 If you want to deliver fantastic customer service (CS), you need to be measuring your performance. You can’t improve – or even maintain the same level of quality – if you don’t know how well (or not) you’re already doing. That’s where key performance indicators (KPI’s) come in. After all, your CS is only as good as you can prove it to be.

What is a KPI?

A KPI is a measurable index that is set by the business. They can be as simple as “revenue per day” or more complex like “average customer spend per hour”. It really depends on what you want to measure; the entire point of a KPI is that it is an indicator of success or failure within the company. But you need to make sure you're measuring the correct KPI's to show off your wins, and to identify any shortcomings before they become a problem. In CS, KPI’s are vital to improve your service. They can be communicated to each operator so that they always have tangible goals to work toward. And that’s exactly what we do at FM. Here are the 5 KPI's that we recommend every contact centre measure.

Quality Score: 

Each interaction our operators encounter is measured for its quality. We use our own internal assessment system (we can't divulge the specifics; that would be telling) and combine that with customer feedback to reach our final score. You can decide what you want to include in your own surveys and internal assessment, meaning quality scores can really be based on anything. If the length of interactions is important to your overall calibre, go ahead and include it. 

Quality is the most important aspect of CS to FM

But, most importantly, quality scores should really focus on how happy the customer is. Customers should be saying that their problems were resolved and that they were satisfied by the operator's service for them to receive higher scores.   

There are KPI's that can measure these things to a higher degree of accuracy, such as customer satisfaction and first contact resolution, and these KPI's should in no way be discounted. But, quality scores allow you and your supervisors to get a much broader view of the standard of service your operators are offering. According to our Chief Operating Officer, Sally Chandler, "nothing comes close to quality. Putting the customer at the heart of everything we do is what I love most about FM Outsource." 

Operator Knowledge: 

According to our Head of Customer Care, Daniel Foster, "whilst quality is the most important aspect to FM, it’s not the only one and operators have to demonstrate a good ongoing knowledge of the brand..." Brand knowledge, as well as product and service knowledge, are incredibly important for an operator. And, as such, it's a good idea to measure what your operators know. Whilst every company has some kind of training, it isn't common enough for companies to refresh that training as often as they should.  

At FM, our operators receive weekly quizzes about best practices, brand standards, and product/service knowledge of the client they're representing. By doing this, we're able to measure how knowledgeable our operators are and, by association, what kind of service they're offering customers. Any advisor who is out of touch with the brand may not be giving out accurate advise, or maybe isn't delivering it to level of professionalism the client expects. We can avoid all that by refreshing the knowledge of our operators that have received low marks in their quiz. That means our clients' customers always have a seamless experience with us.  

Customer Satisfaction (CSat) & Net Promoter Score (NPS):

These two KPI’s go hand-in-hand. Although you don’t have to measure both, they use different ways to measure the same thing: how happy your customers are.

CSat is the more broad of the two. CSat simply asks customers 'how satisfied are you with our service?'. Customers are usually asked to pick one of a few answers, such as 'very satisfied'. A percentage is produced by measuring how many of the respondents replied with positive answers. Essentially, a CSat score is an indication of how many of your customers are happy. Your operators should always be trying to push up that CSat score – happy customers are loyal customers, after all.

NPS works a little differently. NPS asks customers how likely they are to recommend a brand by indicating that on a scale of 0-10. This allows you to understand how customers are feeling with a little more accuracy. A '6' and a '7' are obviously different, but they might both fall under 'mostly satisfied' with CSat. NPS focuses on something called detractors. Since customers are more likely to leave a review if they’re unhappy, NPS factors that in. Detractors (often any number below 5 or 6) take away from your score. Promotors (usually numbers around 8 or above) add to your score. This way, you begin to form a more balanced number to see how far you still have to go to improve.

For both of these, however, it can be more difficult to diagnose problems since you haven’t asked customers why they’re unhappy. Both CSat and NPS often require follow-up questions and therefore require a little more work than other KPI’s. But they apply to an entire team, so they’re great motivators and mean CS teams always have something to strive toward. Equally, you can measure them individually if you're using the right kind of communication software. So not only can they bring your team together, they can provide personal goals as well.

Contacts Per Hour (CPH): 

A balance of quality and productivity is critical to providing outstanding customer service.

CPH is one of "the more important KPI's" that we measure. At least that's what our General Manager, Martin Brown, says. At the base of all great customer service is efficiency. After all, a complication with a product is already inconveniencing customers, the last thing they want is for it to take days to be fixed. So a good CS team should really be focusing on resolving problems as quickly as possible. This is where CPH comes in. 

CPH does exactly what it says on the tin; it measures how many contacts an operator has received an hour.

A low number indicates that interactions are taking longer than they should be. This can lead to long wait times for customers which could, in turn, lead to them giving up on the CS team entirely. But it's also important to note that an extremely high CPH is a bad indicator as well. It could mean that an operator isn't spending enough time with customers to fully resolve their queries. Instead, they might be more concerned about their CPH number and be simply ending interactions before they're fully finished. It's important to achieve a balance and to incentivise operators toward that end.  

First Contact Resolution (FCR):

FCR is similar in its transparency; it measures how many queries were solved at the first point of contact. Like CPH, FCR is a great way of measuring an operator’s efficiency. Great CS is all about solving the problems of the customers, whether that be answering a simple question or tracking a lost package. Customers simply don’t want to have to contact your CS team multiple times to resolve one issue. As such, your operators should be aiming for a high FCR. A higher FCR naturally leads to a higher CSat; a 1% increase in FCR creates a 1% increase in CSat as well – it's a win-win. 

However, it takes a trained eye to measure FCR. Not all queries can be resolved at the first point of contact. One of the main problems with FCR is social media. When an operator is responding on a digital channel, the first point of contact can only be as helpful as the information provided in the question. If a customer doesn’t pre-emptively give up their full name, order number, and email address, an operator loses out on their FCR score since they have to spend time asking for this information. The rise of chatbots is slowly helping with this issue. At FM, we’ve introduced our own chatbot so that our operator’s FCR scores suffer less bias and are more accurate.

An increase in FCR leads to an increase in CSat

Achieving a balance: productivity and quality 

Armed with all these new KPI’s you might be thinking 'great, I can go ahead and get down to measuring.' But it’s important to consider what about these KPI’s actually represents a win. As we said for CPH, sometimes a high number isn’t always a positive. Balance is key.

On achieving this, Martin says: "I have seen businesses lose huge numbers of customers by focusing [too] much on productivity; the victim was quality. However, making quality the focus can be cost ineffective and can also mean customers leave in their droves, unable to get through blocked-up work queues. The key is getting the right measurements of both and balancing them. Quality is often subjective, and productivity varies by channel and by context, so getting this algorithm right is critical." 

If you want to provide the best CS, you have to learn what the numbers should look like when you’re at the top of your game. We’ve spent years perfecting our KPI strategy and making sure our operators know what kind of percentages they’re shooting for.

So just how do we do it? We use a scorecard system. We combine the KPI's we were talking about earlier into one scorecard at the end of every month:

  • Quality score = 50%
  • Efficiency score = 30%
  • Operator knowledge score = 20%.

With this, each operator gets their own score and their supervisors know just how well everyone is doing. Advisors are rewarded for high scores and those with lower scores are given a helping hand to improve. This way, in Daniel's words, we build "a great, all-round team". And that means our clients always get the best quality CS, no matter what.

Figuring out what customer service KPI’s you’d like to measure can be a bit confusing. Although the five we’ve talked about are a great start, there’s an endless list of others that you could be considering. But when it comes down to the wire, you want a team that knows exactly what they’re doing. If you’d like someone to help you navigate KPI’s, or want to work with a driven and professional team, contact us today.

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About the author

Emma Martins
Position of Editor & Writer