We’ve established that customer service is a vital component to any successful business and previous blogs have offered all manner of suggestions with regards to good practice, tailoring it according to the needs of clients, dealing with complaints effectively and pitfalls to avoid. But as with any business process, it’s equally important to be able to measure your effectiveness and learn lessons. Capturing these and performing regular reviews will ensure that complacency doesn’t set in and demonstrates a commitment to your customers that are you continuously striving to provide a better service.
But how do you effectively measure the quality of your customer service? There are many good ways for assessing your performance in this most critical of areas, and the following five are up there with the best:
Consider Your Supply and Demand
Tracking how your goods or services are selling is one of the easiest metrics for measuring the quality of your customer service. It doesn’t tally that the best product or service sells more at all costs, and companies that assume this to be true are usually those whose customer service is found wanting. Happy customers tend to purchase more products or services, so if your sales are increasing it is likely to be because your level of service delivers in every respect.
But you should be aware that this method alone will not give you the most accurate assessment on the quality of service; an increase in sales volume could also be attributed to external factors like market dynamics so this gauge is best used in combination with other measurements.
Ask Your Customers
An effective way of determining customer satisfaction levels is to ask them informally through follow-up phone calls or emails. Alternatively you can make the process more formal by creating surveys that ask questions about different aspects of your service and request that your customers fill them out and return them to you. You might not always like the answers, but there’s simply no one better to ask than the people affected by the service you want to measure.
Number of Customer Complaints
Some companies evaluate their quality of service by the number of complaints they receive. Clearly steps should be taken to reduce this number, but it’s short-sighted to think that when the number of disgruntled customers is decreased the quality or service has increased. By focusing on reducing the number of complaints at the expense of paying attention to your quality of service, you may be inadvertently sending those disgruntled customers into the arms of a competitor.
Identify Your Weaknesses
Being able to pinpoint areas of weakness and set about strengthening them is a fundamental attribute of any successful business. Effective measurement of customer service quality is essential because it will help you identify specific weaknesses within your operation. No matter what metric you use to evaluate your current level of service, it will provide you with some valuable insight into what you’re doing well and where there’s room for improvement.
Know the Competition
Having some intelligence as to what your competitors are offering in terms of customer service can also provide a valuable comparative study for assessing how your own service level measures up. Talk to customers who have worked with both your business and a competitor and ask them which service they like better and why.
Implementing any one of these metrics will put you in a better position for understanding your current customer service shortcomings and where you need to improve. Utilising all of them is the ideal scenario and one that will enable you to make the most informed decisions possible when it comes to implementing strategies for improving your customer service.
Treating customer service as a project discipline like any other is more likely to see you establish quantifiable metrics for measuring its success. The best practice project management standards inherent to the PRINCE2® methodology can help organisations acquire the skills and develop a culture that will see this become second nature. Contact ILX Group to see how our accredited consultancy and training courses can optimise the way you measure your customer service performance.