Our new economy, both before and after our Covid-19 global experience, is more than ever based on digital, hyper-connected, and knowledge-sharing flows of transactional and interactional activities and opportunities.
In this new world, emerging customer experience imperatives are ushering a new generation of service metrics that go way beyond the traditional indicators of customer success. In addition, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to manage customer service programs is helping companies bolster their relationships with all their various stakeholders: customers, employees, business partners and communities.
CHANGING TIMES REQUIRE CHANGING OBJECTIVES AND ROLES
Today, agents are responsible for not only interacting with customers across a multitude of channels and touchpoints, but also to serve as their advocates and partners through highly personalized and contextualized engagement.
When customers have more choices and access to information than ever, their interactions with agents can make or break an entire relationship.
More than ever, agents are viewed by their companies as brand ambassadors, and high-performing organizations view their interactions with customers as relationship-oriented.
So, can customer service organizations that remain focused on traditional objectives of dealing through as many cases in as little time as possible survive in today’s environment? And if not, what KPIs can they turn to instead?
A NEW GENERATION OF SERVICE METRICS:
Naturally, SPEED continues to be important when it comes to customer service, as both consumers and B2B buyers expect real-time engagement from companies. Therefore,
- Average Handle Time (AHT) and
- Average Response Time (ART)
continue to be universally tracked by most service teams.
However, speed is no longer the sole indicator of success.
When “service” to the customer is truly revered, valued, and held to the highest standards, then new metrics will emphasize value over timeliness.
As new technologies allow customers service to analyze the customer experience with more granularity, the definition of success is being broadened to measure much more, such as:
- Customer Effort Score (CES): How easy is it for a customer to connect with an agent? Can they do so through their preferred channels? Do they need to explain their issue in painstaking details perhaps to multiple people, or do agents have that information readily available? By identifying customers’ pain points that arise after they’ve decided to reach out for service, leadership can implement process improvements that make customer and agent lives easier.
- First Contact Resolution (FCR): When a customer connects with an agent (or a chatbot), can they expect their issue to be resolved by the end of that interaction? Or will it be more likely that they’ll need to call back or be transferred among various departments? Low FCR rates can indicate, among other things, a lack of necessary information among agents, or the need for additional training.
- Case Deflection: the ideal for any service department is eliminating the need for customers to reach out in the first place. Making better
products and services is the obvious way to achieve this, but so is empowering customers to find answers on their own. Armed with his metric, service decision makers can focus on making self-service a major part of their overall strategy.
- Customer Attrition Rate: recognizes the comparative value of a repeat customer versus a newly acquired one.
- Agent-driven Revenue: a nod to the opportunities for agents to partner with sales to not only deepen customer relationships, but also increase the company’s revenue stream.
- Social Promoter Score (SPS): this measure shifts from the “intent” for customer advocacy contained in the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to actual advocacy of your brand to individual personal networks that lead to new business.
NEW METRICS CAN SUCCEED ONLY IF GAUGED CROSS-FUNCTIONALLY
The rise of new metrics signals a revolution in the customer service role, but they won’t mean anything if they are worked toward in isolation. Customers expect connected experiences such as contextualized engagement based on earlier interactions. Customer service can no longer operate in its own silo, and must instead consider a customer’s entire journey – from when they first become aware of a brand to when they advocate on its behalf. That means that ties must be strengthened with teams that were once seen as having completely separate purviews.
The vast majority of service teams now share common goals and metrics with colleagues in sales, production, commerce, and marketing, ensuring that these different teams are working towards the same objectives, rather than their own. Indeed, 90% of service professionals say customer service is viewed as the responsibility of the entire organization – not just their own department.
LEADERS CAN’T JUST RE-DEFINE SUCCESS, BY ESTABLISHING NEW MEASUREMENTS AND EXPECTATIONS, THEY NEED TO SET EMPLOYEES AND AGENTS UP FOR EMBRACING THIS CHANGE!
Holding teams up to elevated standards is an exciting but challenging prospect for business and service leaders eager to demonstrate business value.
Imposing lofty goals on employees and agents without appreciating them and preparing them is tantamount to moving toward utmost frustration and failure.
Your own Employees Experience Score needs to be tracked and measured carefully and consistently, to ascertain their own level of personal and professional Satisfaction, as well as their commitment to the Brand and your company.
Providing the right training and support for their specific role and expectation. Facilitating their own personal success, continued learning, development, and gratification. These are critical investments required by the company leadership to engage your employees and agents toward this new path of transforming the future of customer experience success and customer service.