What does a customer nodding off on hold or reaching out on social media mean to you? That's not a riddle for the ages. The ways customers interact with companies are key indicators of actual reputation. Knowing how to respond is especially important in today's digital age, when organizations work across multiple communication channels, often connecting with customers 24/7.
So how can organizations get into the mindset of consumers to find out how they really view their brands? The following four metrics will help increase clarity and take charge of your customer relationships.
1. First Contact Resolution
When you want to know the success of customer service interactions, look at first contact resolution (FCR). This metric is critical for successful customer service, and yet less than 50 percent of contact centers actually measure it. To develop best strategies for measurement, it's important to first understand how FCR is defined.
The first step to getting value out of FCR is to extend the definition beyond first call resolution, with measurement focusing on the percentage of initial calls that don't require additional follow-up to address the original issues. Companies only learn about a fraction of customers when measuring FCR by calls only. Instead, the definition should be broadened to first contact resolution. In doing so, companies broaden the measurements to include all communication channels their customers touch (mobile, chat, email, etc.).
In measuring FCR, organizations must look at how well inquiries are being resolved. Delivering high-quality service means resolving questions in a timely manner, with the majority being resolved on first contact. If the percentage of resolution rates is low, it likely indicates more complex issues and greater customer dissatisfaction. In fact, an increasingly low call resolution rate can signal several, potential problems that impact customers, such as the following:
- More training needed for agents;
- Issues with system routing; or
- Unresolved issues with products, shipping, or billing.
Uncovering how issues are being resolved is the first step in understanding customers' perceptions of your company.
2. Call Abandonment Rate
To resolve interactions on the first contact, you actually need to connect with customers. That's why call abandonment rate, defined as the percentage of customers who hang up before an agent takes the call, speaks volumes about customer satisfaction.
Calls that are abandoned after 30 seconds typically indicate customers are unhappy with the current wait times. In fact, waiting on hold is the leading customer service frustration. According to Accenture Customer Experience Research, 71 percent of U.S. consumers say valuing their time is the most important aspect of good service, making it crucial for companies to eliminate hold time if they want to reduce frustration and abandon rates and increase customer satisfaction.
A note when measuring: If there is an abundance of abandoned calls within the first 10 seconds of dialing, it could be a problem with a wrong number, interactive voice response routing issues, or a hardware problem. If that is the case, getting those technical glitches ironed out should resolve the issue.
3. Active and Waiting Calls
Similar to the call abandonment rate, the number of active and waiting calls highlights what the customer is thinking. By measuring active and waiting calls, companies gain a clear key performance indicator (KPI) that compares the current volume of calls to the number of callers waiting to speak with agents.
This is a real-time metric that organizations can share with agents to help them better understand their performance, as well as a source of data to understand the quality of the customer service being delivered. If numbers indicate that you're not achieving satisfactory service levels, it could be time to incorporate solutions that can help create lower effort interactions without extended wait times.
4. Net Promoter Score
Many companies are currently using Net Promoter Score (NPS) to measure agent performance. However, companies can and should also use this metric to better understand customer satisfaction.
NPS is based on a single question: how likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to friends or colleagues? The answer defines a customer as either a promoter or detractor. In other words, it determines how many customers are assets to the company and how many are liabilities. In measuring NPS, organizations can gain insights into why these customers are detractors and determine next steps for transforming those liabilities into assets.
Routine measurement of these metrics provides insights into customer perception, which is the first step in creating a strategy for success. The real value comes with enabling organizations to implement solutions, like omnichannel callback, that can drive improvements to brand perception. In fact, callback is one of the few technologies that can increase customer service metrics and help leave an immediate, positive impression with customers about your business.
By conducting ongoing checks of contact service operations, organizations will gain the confidence that service levels are being properly maintained and the company is being adequately supported.
Wes Hayden is CEO of Virtual Hold Technology.