Get Started with Service Metrics
Sita Nagappan-Alvarez, the CEO of Ursa Major Solar, sometimes has difficulties falling asleep at night. Even though her solar energy components company is booming across the Southwest, a lot of unanswered questions about her business keep her awake. As she tosses and turns in bed, she wonders:
- Are my customers happy?
- With all this growth, is my service team prepared for change?
- Are we using the right service metrics to measure what we care about?
These questions aside, Sita has been happy with Service Cloud. Ever since Maria, her rockstar admin, helped her learn how to improve customer service and increase support agent productivity with Salesforce, she’s heard great feedback from both customers and employees. And with Ursa Major Solar’s service data in Service Cloud, she wonders what insights and answers she can uncover about her company.
Before Sita sits down with Maria, she knows that she needs a bit of an education on the world of service metrics, one she has been ignoring for too long. So, Sita sits down and does her homework by reading up online, and reaching out to service-focused colleagues. This is what she finds.
Sita discovers that there are mainly two types of service metrics: internal and external. Internal metrics focus on what happens inside the contact center, and external metrics focus on what happens outside the contact center. Some organizations focus on the internal, which means everything from measuring efficiency to overall employee satisfaction and turnover. Other organizations lean toward the external, which includes customer satisfaction and relationships.
This can sound basic, but making sure you have a mix is an important tenet to keep in mind when planning your own strategy. It’s essential for every organization to strike a balance between both types of metrics.
Now that you understand the difference between the two types of metrics, let's talk more about the metrics themselves. Which metrics should your organization track, and how can they help you improve your customer service and business performance?
In general, your service metrics track two things: the effectiveness of your agents (an internal metric) and the satisfaction of your customers (an external metric). Let’s take a look at each one in more detail.
To monitor the productivity of your contact center, it's important to measure the performance of individual agents as well as your entire service team. Using performance metrics, you can learn:
- What agents are doing with their time.
- How effective and efficient agents use their time.
- How much time the contact center staff as a whole needs to get their work done.
An internal metric like average handle time (AHT) tells managers how long it takes for their agents to complete a single conversation, whereas total cases and backlogged cases allow them to assess how much work their staff has to go through. Time is valuable, and these metrics give managers insight into how much of it they have and how it’s being spent.
Customer service has more touchpoints with customers than almost any other department in a company. So using external metrics to assess whether the tide of customers is coming in or going out can start in the service department.
Tracking customer satisfaction (CSAT) and net promoter score (NPS) are great indicators of overall customer happiness and can tell you how they view the overall brand. NPS especially, because it measures the likelihood that your customers will recommend your brand to others—an important characteristic of a pleased customer, which can lead to positive word of mouth. Customers tend to believe other customers’ experiences with a company even more than the brand’s own marketing and advertising. Just look at reviews on Amazon or Yelp. Customers are very vocal about the products and services they receive from a company.
Now, while those are indicators of the tide’s direction, a metric such as customer churn rate can tell you if there are more customers going out than coming in. And all these metrics are indicators of how healthy the customer service organization is and whether the company has put the customer at the center of its business.
Metrics can tell you a lot about your company’s performance, but remember there are two sides to every story. No metric lives in a vacuum. In other words, what’s happening with the business often has an impact on your service metrics. A new HR benefit might help agent retention, or a brand-new product might increase your caseload and backlog.
And even the introduction of a new channel like chat, for example, can require its own set of metrics, because chat conversations tend to be shorter and less complex than others. That can have a dramatic effect on your overall numbers.
As you develop your strategy, keep in mind that metrics are an ever-evolving part of your customer service department, not a static one.
After doing her homework, Sita meets with Maria to get a sense of how Service Cloud can help them with their metrics. Maria knows that analyzing service metrics is the second stage of the general setup process for Service Cloud. (See the Service Cloud for Lightning Experience module for a refresher on that.) She recalls that before any service metrics are available, basic case management must be implemented in Salesforce. Cases are what track customer questions and feedback.
Before Maria clicks anything in Salesforce, she asks Sita and key members of the service team what they want to learn with metrics, and which metrics are important to them. Simple, strategic questions can lead to a better sense of what they really want to measure.
|Who is the primary beneficiary of our customer service activities?||There are two parties we care about: our customers and our employees. Obviously
we want both to be happy.
|What are our core customer service values?||Our most important value is that we solve our customers’ issues. Whether it takes an hour or 5 minutes, we want customers to be satisfied whenever they experience our service and support.|
|What are our core service channels?||Most of our volume comes in from email and phone, in that order. But we should prepare for chat and social channels since customers are starting to prefer digital channels, and we need to plan for those.|
|What are the top issues in our contact center that we’re trying to address?||We know our company is growing, both in business and in products, so it’s hard for our service agents to keep up. We’re working hard to make sure our agents are keeping their heads above water in regard to their caseload and their product knowledge.|
|How do we know if our agents feel valued?||One of the leading indicators of agent job satisfaction is attrition. Attrition is the number of agents that are leaving every month, quarter, or year. Agent attrition is one of the most expensive costs in a contact center. It’s important to create a work environment that encourages retention.|
|How do we know if our agents have the right training?||It’s important to not only train your agents in using the technology, but also in soft skills. As customers are using channels like SMS (text) it’s important for agents to understand how to use the new channels to engage with customers, but also how each channel requires a slightly different type of response.|
|Do we want to track specific things on cases?||Yes, the service managers want to track fields on cases like case owners and case statuses. Also, they want to track the length of time since a case last changed owner or status.|
|Do we want more than one person to create service metric reports and dashboards?||Yes, instead of having one person running and sharing service metric data, we should open the capabilities up to several people so that all teams have input into what is measured and access to the data.|
Sita certainly has a lot to think about now. She defined her organization’s metrics goals, and she engaged her admin to figure out how Service Cloud can help Ursa Major Solar track metrics that matter.
Sita’s next step is to talk to Ryan De Lyon, her customer service manager, to get his take on Ursa Major Solar’s service metrics. Sita wants to make sure their metrics reflect the well-being of the customer service agents and the satisfaction of the company’s customers.