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5 Ways To Determine If Your Customer Service Is Good Enough

5 Ways To Determine If Your Customer Service Is Good Enough

Determining if your customer service is good enough can involve a mixture of both formal methods as well as more qualitative indicators that can be discussed in team meetings.

Sometimes, while stuck in traffic or during a particularly busy morning on the road, you might find yourself coming up behind a corporate vehicle with a bumper sticker that reads, “HOW’S MY DRIVING?”

For organizations that want to ensure their fleets aren’t creating a bad impression on the highway, such decals can be one way of showing they’re continually evaluating their own performance. Sadly, it takes more than that to figure out if the customer service you’re providing is meeting expectations.

Companies usually have a pretty clear indication when their customer service is really poor, of course. When it becomes nearly impossible to keep up with a barrage of criticism on social media, sales start to plummet or they’re increasingly having to offer “make-goods,” senior leaders are usually quick to see how they can improve the way questions and complaints are handled. By the time you reach that point, though, it might already be too late to hang on to valuable relationships or prevent your brand’s reputation from having a permanent stain.

Instead, the most successful companies have learned to stop, take stock and make changes where necessary based on the volume and variety of customer service issues they see coming through. To use another driving analogy, this is like taking a good, hard look in the rear-view mirror before continuing on, because you might have missed important markers on your journey.

Determining if your customer service is good enough can involve a mixture of both formal methods as well as more qualitative indicators that can be discussed in team meetings. Think about these ones and determine which represent the right mix for your needs:

1. Define what ‘good enough’ customer service means

There are plenty of customer service metrics to choose from, and a lot of it will come down to what’s common across your industry, the data you can most readily capture for such purposes and what ties back most directly to the business.

Some of the most popular metrics include Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Effort Score (CES). Even once you’ve settled on one or more of these, though, it’s probably not realistic to think your firm will reach 100% on any of them. Determine what’s “good enough” based on factors such as increased revenue per customer, customer churn and so on before you go any further.

2. Establish the most effective feedback loops

Most companies have used some kind of survey to gauge the quality of their customer service at one point or another. This can still work if you have a solid email database or a convenient point in the customer experience where buyers will be willing to complete a questionnaire.

In other cases, though, you’ll want to offer simple online forms on your website to gather feedback on your customer service experience, or a hashtag they can use on social media channels like Twitter and Facebook. Also think about dedicated phone lines and email addresses, even a physical mailing address — we’re living in an omni-channel world for marketing and sales, and customer feedback loops should be no different.

3. Carve out the proactive, unasked-for feedback

Even as you find the right metrics and set up channels to get their opinion, there will be customers who share their experiences of their own accord — good as well as bad. It might be a comment made to a sales rep the next time they approach a customer about a new product. It might be something someone says about a company in a public forum, whether on social media or even onstage at an industry event. And yes, there are still people in the world who take the time to send email messages or “snail mail” when they’ve been particularly pleased (or displeased) about the customer service they’ve encountered.

Pay special attention to this unprompted feedback because, much like marketers look at “aided and unaided” awareness of a brand, it shows what’s happening organically and may draw attention to the areas in most need of attention. Or, if the customer service is good enough, some celebration.

4. Track the trust in DIY tools

A company might develop a solid owner’s manual for a product, or even create a library of documentation and other content online to help their customers help themselves. If most of that goes unused, however, it’s a pretty obvious commentary on how well those resources have been developed or marketed.

This might seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked: self-service is also customer service. Whether it’s something as simple as an online community where customers can brainstorm answers with their peers, or something as sophisticated as a chatbot, their usage will show how well they trust the firm to empower them with do-it-yourself capabilities. If self-service tools don’t meet the “good enough” test, it’s going to put more strain on your other customer service resources, and you don’t want your team overworked.

5. Audit your ambassadorship efforts

If you’re working in a B2B environment, having a healthy number of case studies and testimonials is vital to growth. If it’s like pulling teeth to get customers to take part, however, the service experience is probably among the reasons. Take a quick look at the number of times you’ve asked for case studies and testimonials and your acceptance rate versus your rejections and you’ll be able to measure this effectively.

Those in B2C environments can do something similar with referrals. Much like B2B buyers, a willingness — or even eagerness — to encourage friends and family to use the same company they use is a healthy sign of strong service. This can be captured through simple enquiries about how new customers first heard about you, or by including a question about whether they’d recommend you following the sale of a product or service.

As a final note, consider how technology will make it even easier to assess the quality of customer service. Now that artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities like Salesforce Einstein have come to tools like Service Cloud, for example, organizations are going to take a more predictive approach in how to give customers the help they need. And if AI makes it clear what they’re going to get isn’t going to be good enough, the time to change that, is now.

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