Customer service metrics

Scaling Customer Service and Measuring Success

If you're the manager of a support team, you have a billion things to think about every day. You need to make sure your team feels supported, deliver metrics and information to the executive team, and, every now and then, answer a few escalated tickets yourself. It's a lot.

How, with all of that, are you supposed to be scaling your customer service effectively as the company grows?

Here is a list of the top six customer service metrics to focus on, when scaling your customer service team. Learn how to analyze them as your team and company start to get bigger and your needs shift.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

As your company grows, measuring customer satisfaction becomes more and more important. With more going on in the product, customer support and other teams, you should put extra focus on maintaining the quality of your interactions.

Giving users the possibility to rate conversations right in the middle of the interaction allows us to capitalize on an excellent response time. It will also quickly punish us, if we are not fast enough.

Ratings asked and given at the end of the interaction are likely to include a more global appreciation of the service provided as a whole.

Think about this: are you interested in your enterprise’s loyal customers, or are you focusing on the people who have just started to use your service or product? Then, figure out the best place to target them.

For example, GetFeedback changed their CSAT survey strategy so that the form was embedded directly into their message, once a case was closed. While they saw a drop in CSAT score, the qualitative insights that they gained from this shift were super useful for their support strategy as they grew.

Internal Quality Score

When scaling customer support, keeping track of every single support conversation will quickly become impossible. This means that you should define a percentage of the total ticket volume that you review every month.

The percentage of reviewed conversations can eventually become rather small. For example, if you have 50 000 customer conversations per month, it may be very difficult to review more than 5% of the total volume.

The most important thing, especially when scaling your team, is consistency. Make sure you are reviewing a sample that represents the total mass of conversations fairly and that reviews are distributed as equally as possible among the agents.

Larger companies often hire dedicated training/QA specialists for this job. If you don’t have designated resources for doing conversation reviews, then doing reviews manually in a spreadsheet can become very cumbersome.

This is where Qualitista can help - it is a tool that allows you to ditch the spreadsheets, do reviews seamlessly and assess the results of your efforts.

Conversation Volume

Comparing Conversation Volume over different periods of time, helps you predict your future customer support needs. When you’re able to view everything that has happened in the past few years, you’ll understand when and how you need to hire. Knowing how much volume you get outside your business hours will help you decide when to start offering real-time support.

For example, if your volume spikes every Christmas, you should think about hiring seasonal support people or using a service provider like FCR. If the general trend is going upwards, it may be time to start hiring.

If you have a handle on how your volume normally trends, you can even start the hiring process in a low point of volume. This way you’ll have someone ready for when you really need them. That's the trick to scaling your customer support effectively.

Cost Per Conversation

As you get larger, you may need to find ways to automate some of the tickets and run a larger-scale support team easier. Knowing your how much each customer support interaction costs for you can be a helpful way to determine if a new tool will be good cost savings or make a huge impact on your bottom line.

CPC is especially useful when it comes to comparing different channels. For example, if email is cheaper than chat, it may indicate that it’s more efficient and should be scaled up in your offering.

Similarly, if you notice that your CPC is steadily rising, it may be time to see if there is something about your strategy that you can shift.

However, those “costly" conversations might have some other positive impact, so pay attention to other metrics that align with it.

For example, maybe the customers who get phone support convert to paid accounts at a significantly higher rate? Don’t look at the cost strictly within the context of support, but the whole business.

Calculating your CPC can also help you understand if your improved documentation or ticket deflection have paid off. For example, Lance from Raven Tools noticed a clear shift after spending 6 weeks with his team updating and improving their documentation’s searchability.

First Contact Resolution Rate

First Contact Resolution Rate (FCR) should continue to remain the same as your company grows. If you start to get bigger, and your FCR is getting worse, it may be a sign that your customer support representatives are rushing through a first response.

If your team is growing but your FCR is going down, there are a few things this might tell you about how your team is scaling:

  • Your new employee onboarding and training might not be as effective as it once was;
  • You have more tickets than your team can effectively support, so the quality of their responses is starting to diminish;
  • You’ve automated the easier tickets so that what remains is difficult to resolve in a single response - well done!

Consider which of these might be the case for your team and go tackle it!

Time to First Response

As the company grows and conversation volume spikes, keep an eye on your team's Time to First Response. If you allocate more resources towards your first response, your CSAT goes up. Zendesk has done a number of studies on customer satisfaction, and all of them come to the same conclusion: people love fast reply times. This is the easiest way to underpromise and overdeliver to your customers.

It is not about finding a direct answer right away, it’s about reassuring that a human has looked over what they’ve said.

To maintain a fast response time:

  • Assign specific team members to individual platforms. So, for example, one person could be responsible for Twitter, while another manages the first response in your inbox.
  • Utilize the round-robin ticket assignment: distribute cases to team members evenly as they come in. This prevents cherry picking and lowers your FRT.

Eventually, when your AI becomes smart enough, it can take on the responsibility of triaging the tickets and handling first responses.

Or, alternatively, a categorization machine like Idiomatic’s can help you categorize cases more accurately. It will also identify problem areas that can be fixed to free up resources for quicker first responses.

Measure what’s important for scaling your customer service

Don’t let the mire of available metrics get your team bogged down in the details. Take advantage of your customer service tools and the metrics that you already use. Then scale them.

Your metrics will grow with you as long as you know how to best track them and scale them for the needs of your team and company.


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