There are plenty of posters, laptop wallpapers or even fridge magnets that extol the virtues of great customer service. Maybe some of them are visible in the office where you work.
They might say things like, “Customer Service Is Not A Department. It’s Everyone’s Job,” or “Customer Service Is Not A Single Act. It’s A Practice That’s Performed Every Day.”
These are great slogans to remind yourself of the importance of what you do. If they become so familiar you no longer really look at them, however, they don’t provide a lot of value. Your customer service dashboard faces the same fate if it’s not set up the right way from the very beginning.
Like any other business application, dashboards can offer an incredible number of benefits to employees. This includes productivity, collaboration, and a better experience for customers, which is ultimately what service is all about.
Also like other business applications, though, customer service dashboards can bury the information that employees need to see the most. Or they are set up in such a way that employees get frustrated and simply try to work around them.
This defeats the entire point of dashboards, and also makes it difficult for managers to coach them effectively. After all, some of what might appear in a customer service dashboard will relate directly to an individual agent’s or the team’s performance in terms of volume of issues resolved. If you’re not making the dashboard a part of your process, what the dashboard shows in terms of performance may be poor.
In the early days of dashboards, of course, many organizations were making a pretty big shift from providing key data points to service agents on paper to managing customer data in real-time. In many cases, firms might not have known exactly what needed to be displayed on the front end.
There might still be some unique business needs you need to keep in mind as you set up a customer service dashboard, but a few of the following activities will guide you towards a best practice approach:
Rather than treat a customer service dashboard as a blank slate, it might make sense to imagine what will happen around the table the next time everyone’s gathered to discuss current priorities and trends. Some of the questions to think about include:
Customer service should never be a silo.
While you’ll have a natural disposition towards offering the kind of information in a dashboard that relates directly to troubleshooting and answering questions, think as holistically as possible.
What’s the point of strong customer service, for instance, if it’s not to help reduce churn or turnover of customers? When churn rises, it makes life much harder for sales and marketing teams. A more positive way to look at it might be loyalty or retention rates the team is managing to achieve. This is a key performance indicator (KPI) that’s relevant to the entire organization.
Similarly, the service team — and the organization as a whole — could find a lot of insight by looking at service interactions by channel. If a customer’s primary engagement with marketing comes through something like social, for instance, and they also reach out for support via social, you’re getting a strong message about the kind of experience or journey they’ll want to take with you moving forward.
Most firms started out with a customer service strategy based entirely on employing agents to deal with everything that came the company’s way. Not anymore.
The availability of digital tools like chatbots and online customer communities has gone a long way towards empowering customers to pursue self-service activities or get the most common issues addressed in a rapid, automated fashion. Agents should therefore be able to focus on the more complex or more serious issues that affect your customers.
A great customer service dashboard should help firms get a better view into how much of their service is happening via their highly-trained agents versus self-service tools. It’s the only way you’ll be able to properly allocate resources for customer service as your organization grows.
If you’ve thought through all the areas we’ve touched on above, it might be nice to sit back and just let agents enjoy the customer service dashboard in all its glory.
In practice, dashboards should be reviewed on a consistent basis, and not only to make sure agents are using them. Dashboards may need to be tweaked as the company moves into new product and service areas, new geographies or vertical markets. Senior leadership may also be placing a greater emphasis on certain KPIs depending on their business objectives. The customer service dashboard should reflect that.
Be proactive in how you develop your customer service dashboard, in other words. No matter what it displays, it should give every team member a big picture perspective on what’s needed to best help customers and the company, while also providing data that empowers them to do so.