Are Your Customer Service Metrics Customer-Centric or Self-Centric? (Why you can’t be afraid to ask) Part 1
If you’re leading a customer service organization, you know how much metrics matter. But how confident are you that your metrics are measuring what matters to your customers?
For example, average handle time (AHT) is one of the most used measurements, and yet, does it really reflect customer satisfaction? What if you have a short AHT, but customers are not getting their issues resolved and must contact your agents multiple times? A short AHT would not equate to customer happiness. By contrast, you may have a longer AHT, but the issues are resolved with one call and customers leave the interaction pleased because you helped them. AHT does not tell you how the customer feels.
Looking beyond the metrics is also important to take a deep honest look at your internal process and procedures. While there are procedures that are necessary for a company, many ultimately serve only the company at the detriment of the customer. My favorite example of this is rental car keys.
When you rent a car, you are often handed two huge keys with a big tag, all of which are connected by a steel cable. Great for the rental company so they can keep the keys together and have both keys when they eventually sell the car. Not so good for every customer that rents the car.
When our teams review a process or a metric for improvement we ask “is this like rental car keys”? This simple question is a great litmus test to help you determine how well aligned you are to your customers' needs.
Look at the broader customer perspective
Over my 20+ years working in customer service, I’ve learned the importance of distinguishing between what makes a metric customer-centric vs. self-centric. It’s not always easy to discern, but if you take the time to really dig into your metrics and look at them from your customer’s perspective, you’ll be able to shift what you’re measuring to align with what your customers really care about.
When you have a pulse on what matters to your customers, you will be much better positioned to create exceptional experiences that will differentiate your organization.
Make customer-centric the normal way you talk and work.
Ask any organization today and they’ll say they are customer-centric. But customer-centric has to become a granular, daily way of doing business. It’s not up to marketing to “think of the customer” -- it has to be enterprise-wide. For example, at Five9, our customer-centric approach is at the forefront and is heard in our language. We do not walk into a meeting and say “I need this.” We present and discuss everything through “our customers need this.” Of course, it can’t be just lip service, it has to be authentic and data-supported.
We discuss everything from the perspective of the customer. To ingrain a customer-centric point of view, you have to distill it in the practical, every day work habits of your entire organization. How you ask for something and the foundation of the urgency that you communicate matters.
Over the next week, I will continue to share the key components you need to examine to determine whether your customer service metrics are up to par. Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Customer Service Metrics series!