Quality Vs. Quantity in Customer Service
Which metrics are more important, and how do you achieve a balance?
October 21st, 2021
Deciding on the best way to measure your CS performance can be tricky. You need to understand what your customers care most about. Is it a speedy and efficient answer, or a high-quality response with a personal feel? Quality and speed are often seen as opposing forces – it can be tricky to prioritise just one; that’s why finding a balance between the two is important.
First, let’s take a look at some of the most popular metrics and how they’re useful.
Important Quantity Metrics
Calls Per Hour
By focusing on contacts per hour (CPH), a business can see how quickly operators are answering customer queries and focus their efforts on improving the number of customers answered in a shorter period of time.
CPH measures how many contacts a business - or a specific operator - can deal with in an hour (we know, we’re stating the obvious).
In this case, a contact is a measurement based on the service you provide. If you offer webchat facilities, it’s based on the number of completed chats. For social media channels like Facebook, it's the number of responses you send - and so on.
Customer expectations are becoming increasingly challenging; customers no longer prefer a fast response, they demand one. In fact, 79% of customers now expect a response on social media within 24 hours.
By setting targets for your advisors that prioritise CPH, advisors will focus on resolving queries as quickly as possible. More queries worked in less time leads to happy customers. Not only is this great
for the customer, it could also reduce the number of operators a team needs to effectively handle contact volume. But you have to be careful to not overwork your team or underservice your customers. CPH at the expense of customer experience is never a great thing. That’s why you have to measure more than one metric.
First Contact Resolution
First contact resolutions (FCR) happen when an advisor is able to solve a customer’s query at the first point of contact with that advisor. It’s a good indication of speed of service. The more FCRs your team can achieve, the faster they’re resolving queries and the more queries per hour they can resolve. This improves your service overall and can have a positive impact on customer happiness.
The problem with judging your operation on FCR alone is that they’re often only possible with a good customer relation management system and some form of automation to pick up customer information. Without good processes in place, your FCR may be low, but that doesn’t mean your advisors are doing a bad job. It doesn’t even mean that your customers are unhappy with your service, just that there’s room for improvement.
The issue is similar with CPH. Although more calls per hour may seem like a good thing on the surface, it only matters if the quality of those responses are high. It’s just as important to satisfy your customers as it is to service them quickly.
Important Quality Metrics
This is where customer satisfaction (CSat) comes into play. CSat is a method of measuring quality that involves asking customers to rate the service they received on a company-specific, pre-defined scale. The results of this feedback are then collated, and a quality score given as a percentage. This can be logged against a range of factors such as the operator who served the customer, channel used to contact the business, or even reason for contact.
You can track anyone who is performing well (and reward them) or performing poorly (and help them improve). This allows you to be as close as possible to your operation and monitor the quality of responses sent to your customers.
CSat is also fantastic for highlighting any bad processes, practical issues, or technical challenges that are routinely impacting your customer experience. If you notice that the CSat is fluctuating across teams, you can begin to diagnose why. Does the team with a poor CSat need different escalation routes? Or are they suffering without a particular system integration? Measuring CSat can give you valuable indicators to look for those pain points.
Another good indication of customer happiness is your review score. If a customer is truly happy with your service, they’re likely to leave a positive review. And, if a customer is unhappy, they’re even more likely to leave a negative review! And, although we all know it can be difficult to get customers to leave reviews in the first place, there are ways to encourage it.
Popular review sites like Trustpilot not only act a barometer for you internally, they’re also an indication for customers. With as many as 52% of customers saying they wouldn’t buy a product from a company with less than 4 stars, your review score is not something you can afford to ignore.
However, reviews can be tricky to measure alone as they’re not just an indication of your customer care quality, but of the
customer experience as a whole. Your care team have an opportunity to turn negative reviews around and can head off negative reviews if a customer reaches out. But if they don’t contact customer care, that negative review is not a gauge of your team’s performance.
That’s why quality metrics need to sit alongside quantity ones. It’s about achieving a balance.
Which Metrics Are Right for Me?
At FM Outsource, we usually find that the answer is “as many as possible”. But, you don’t want your reporting to get unwieldy. That’s why it’s important to have the right software in place so your team don’t get bogged down. Manually sorting data into spreadsheets and preparing graphs for reporting takes a lot of time; time your team could spend elsewhere.
The best communication platforms automatically collect that data
for you and present it in customisable reports. At FM Outsource, we always suggest our clients try Gnatta for a simple way to measure and manage their quality assessments (but we would, wouldn’t we?). To learn more about why Gnatta works so well for this, check out their website.
But even the best software can’t account for the changing needs of your business. You don’t always have to measure the same metrics. And it’s not wrong – at times – to prioritise one over the others.
If you’ve noticed your review score slipping, allow your CPH to dip a little in favour of VIP treatment to improve those reviews. Or consider adding automation into your process to improve your FCR and give your operators more time to focus on going the extra mile for the customer.
Once everything is where it should be again, you can always change tactics and favour all the metrics in balance. But it’s vital that you’re measuring them all to be able to achieve that golden ratio. You can’t fix anything you’re not aware of.
Ultimately, achieving the right balance looks different for every company. And it can look different at various points in the year! That’s why we work alongside our clients to provide a bespoke solution. We help them transform their customer care operation using our years of experience in the industry and make sure that they achieve the balance that is right for them. If you’d like to chat to us about how we can help your business, get in contact with us today.