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What Makes an Effective Customer Service Program? (Part 2)

In our last blog we wrote about building an effective customer service program. As technology and communication has advanced, just providing good customer service is not enough. Today, people are looking for a complete customer experience that goes far beyond the call center. This week we will share some insights into the different platforms a customer can use to interact with your company, response times, and ways to measure the effectiveness of your customer service efforts.

With the addition of social media as an avenue to connect people and the companies that they have purchased from or used services, the number of platforms that customers can use to seek support has increased. From traditional phone support to social media, each platform has its own expectations for response time and the type of support or interaction that is expected.

  • Phone: According to an American Express survey in 2014, the maximum time a person was willing to wait on hold was 13 minutes. Just three years later, in 2017, an Arise survey showed that 2/3 of people surveyed would wait for 2 minutes or less. 13% said “no wait time was acceptable”. 14-15% of those surveyed said they do not call because of the perception the wait time will be too long. With that in mind, phone calls should be answered in 2-3 rings.

  • Email: Email is still the most commonly used digital avenue to access customer support. According to a Forrester survey, 54% of consumers report having emailed a customer service department in the last year. Upon the receipt of an email, an automated response should be sent to the customer advising when they should hear from a representative. 41% of consumers expect a return email within 6 hours.

  • Live Chat/Text: This is a growing area for customer support and an area that is beginning to utilize chatbots and AI (Artificial Intelligence) in addition to human interaction. According to an American Express survey, 6 out of 10 consumers use chat as a digital self-service tool and it is the preferred method for Millennials and younger customers. Customer satisfaction ratings are usually higher than other support channels because of the speed and conversational nature. As AI technology improves, representatives are free to answer more complex questions.

  • Social Media: You may not have a presence on every social media channel, but some of the most popular are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. People have come to expect a real time response when they interact with companies on social media. You should be monitoring your social media accounts and acknowledging both compliments and complaints. Respond quickly, ideally within one hour. In the event of online complaints, take ownership and acknowledge any mistakes. Take complaint conversations to direct messaging (DM) to resolve the problem.

If you cannot quantify the effectiveness of your Customer Service Program, you are unable to judge its success or improve its performance. There are several metrics that should be looked at.

  • Customer Satisfaction Score: This is directly asking your customers to rate their satisfaction. For example, choosing to rate you on a scale of 1-5 stars. The average of your responses is your score.

  • Customer Request Volume: Keeping track of the number of customer inquiries can help to strategize staffing requirements as well as provide feedback on the quality of your goods or services.

  • Resolve Rates: This is the percentage of requests that reps successfully resolve from the number of support requests assigned to them.

  • Reply Times: Keeping track of the amount of time it takes to respond to a support request allows you to maintain a level of good support as well as determine staffing needs.

  • Net Promoter Score: This is a score that measures the willingness of a consumer to recommend your products or services to others. It is scaled on an index of -100 to 100 and it can be based on a single question. “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend this company’s product of service to a friend of colleague?” Anyone scoring your company from a 0-6 is considered a “detractor”, 7 and 8 are “passives”, and 9 or 10 are “promoters”. The score is derived by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. The Net Promoter Score gives you insight into the loyalty of your customers.

Customer service is not just one department, it is one part of the customer experience that your clients and customers have with you. As Jeff Bezos of Amazon, noted for its exceptional customer experience, has said, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better”.

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