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Metrics and Morale: How to Keep Your Customer Service Department in Balance

Metrics and Morale: How to Keep Your Customer Service Department in Balance

Measuring how your customer service department is performing is the first step toward better service.

Want to provide better customer service? You’re not alone. Companies large and small have to work hard on this fundamental part of successful business.

Measuring how your customer service department is performing is the first step toward better service. Unfortunately, hyper-focusing on metrics above all else can lead to low morale among your agents. Many managers struggle to balance morale in their customer service departments with tracking employee performance, but these two components don’t have to butt heads. Here’s how to accomplish both at the same time.

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Focus on Your Goals

Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions are a powerful asset to any company. With the Salesforce Service Cloud Lightning Console, for example, you can measure dozens of elements of customer service. Each has the power to illuminate a critical component of customer interaction. Using them all, however, isn’t necessarily the right move for your business.

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” While that’s true, it’s possible to both over measure and over manage.

Imagine you’re a customer service representative. Every morning, your manager shares your numbers with you: a printout of 30 separate metrics evaluating your performance during yesterday’s shift. How long would it take you to look them over? How long to internalize them? Now, imagine that many of those metrics have to do with productivity, such as closing more cases in less time.

You would likely feel overwhelmed.

To keep your customer service agents engaged, consider your goals for the agent and the department as a whole. Avoid over-measurement of performance metrics. Your reps simply can’t internalize and adjust 30 performance metrics without their morale being affected.

Instead of driving your agents batty, examine your reasons for measuring their performance. Focus on metrics that will help you meet your goals for the rep and the department. Keep the others in mind and only call them to attention when they need to improve.

Quality Before Quantity

One of the most popular metrics used in customer service is some variation of how many tickets can be completed in a certain amount of time. Metrics such as average time spent on a call, hourly ticket rate, and after-call time are all helpful stats to discover productivity insights.

Unfortunately, many managers place too much emphasis on them. Then, their metrics backfire: If answering more calls faster is your agents’ primary focus, you end up with poorly handled inquiries, rushed calls that rely on canned scripts and, generally, customers who don’t feel their needs are important to your business.

Instead, focus on the quality of interactions, rather than the quantity. You still want to make sure your agents handle issues efficiently. Even if your business model is built on being less expensive than your competition, and not on offering better service, customers still have baseline expectations for service. This is true no matter how the product is priced.

Measuring quality metrics, such as customer satisfaction, the number of calls required to solve each ticket, and your Net Promoter Score (NPS) is just as important, if not more so, than the amount of time spent on a call.

Many managers experience pushback when they begin quantitatively measuring employee performance. Try focusing on quality metrics first, and you’ll ease your team into accepting measurement without the pressure of a time crunch.

Use Your Findings Wisely

Once you measure performance, the real work begins. Measurement is not management, so simply handing your agents their statistics isn’t enough to improve your customer service.

How would your customers feel if all that seemed to matter to you was how much they spent or how quickly they pulled out their credit cards? It’s about the same way your agents would feel if their job success were defined by 10 to 15 productivity metrics.

To keep your agents feeling productive and helpful, go over their numbers with them. Measure them over time to track changes. If any numbers aren’t satisfactory, use them to coach an agent toward better performance. When an employee knows the metrics will help them do their job better — and will boost the company’s bottom line in the process — you’ll see more improvement.

Sharing Isn’t Always Caring

While you may want to measure a dozen or more metrics, sharing them all with your agents in coaching sessions can be counterproductive. Too many numbers can distract agents from what’s really important. Instead, use these two types of metrics when coaching:

  • Indicator Metrics, such as team averages, are those that show a zoomed-out look at performance and help point managers toward potential problems.
  • Diagnostic Metrics are more detailed and can help managers pinpoint the source of problem. These may include average calls completed after a lunch break or the number of times an agent passes a case up to the next tier of customer service.

Want to improve both performance and morale in your customer service department? Try the Salesforce Smart Agent Console today. Learn more about the Smart Agent Console in our free eBook, “Personalized, Smarter, Faster: How the Smart Agent Console Can Transform Your Customer Service.”

The smart agent console: transform your customer service. Get the ebook.

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