It’s the one component all businesses have in common. It’s the goal that we’re all shooting towards. We all want to enhance our customer service and ensure customer satisfaction is at an all-time high, outshining our competitors and keeping a steady stream of customers coming through the door or clicking through to convert sales online.
Honesty really is the best policy
You want your customers to trust you, but can you trust them? You might have a gleaming statistic stating that 98% of your customers are satisfied, but what about the other 2% and how do you know whether every one of your customers is leaving feedback and not secretly slamming your business without leaving the constructive criticism you require?
By ensuring customers have an outlet for their opinions – whether positive, negative or neutral means that they’ll start to see you as a fair, non-biased organisation, keen to improve on their behalf.
Research by the Institute of Customer Service at the Ashridge Business School revealed that businesses believe that understanding their organisation from a customer’s viewpoint can increase ROI.
The investigation found that 81% of organisations though it is very likely to achieve positive ROI by gaining an understanding of service ‘from the customer viewpoint.’
Anita Holley at Maximizer calls it “a multi-frustration” world. The more technologies proliferate, the greater the opportunities to become frustrated at a lack of customer service. Many organisations are stuck in a single-channel universe whereas their customers operate in multiple different channels, and the lack of response has a financial cost.
Many companies simply do not poses the skills to fully understand that poor levels of customer service costs the British economy £50 billion annually which equates to an average of £248 in lost business from each UK citizen.
With that in mind, let’s now look at some practical ways to turn that around…
Five ways to effectively measure customer service levels
1. Consider Your Supply and Demand
One of the easiest metrics for measuring the quality of your customer service is simply your number of sales. Happy customers tend to purchase more products, so if sales are increasing, it could be attributed in part to your level of service.
However, this method alone will not give you the most accurate assessment on the quality of service; an increase in sales could also be attributed to the season, economic climate or recent price markdown. This gauge is more effective when combined with other measurement tools.
2. Ask Your Customers
One way to determine whether customers are happy with your level of service is to simply ask them. You can do this informally, by inquiring when they come into your establishment. You can offer follow-up phone calls or emails to ask customers about the quality of their last visit to your business. Or you can make the process more formal by creating surveys that ask questions about different aspects of your service and ask customers to fill them out and return them to you.
3. Number of Customer Complaints
Some companies evaluate the quality of service by the number of complaints they receive. A common assumption is that when the number of disgruntled customers is decreased, that the quality of services has increased. Take note: by not paying attention to your quality of service, you may be inadvertently sending those disgruntled customers down the street to a competitor.
4. Identify Your Weaknesses
Effective measurement of the quality of your customer service will help you identify specific weaknesses within your operation. For example, perhaps customers are not happy with the length of time they have to wait for assistance, or they are frustrated because a certain product always seems to be on backorder. No matter what metric tool you use to evaluate your current level of service, it should be able to help you identify very specific areas where you have room for improvement.
5. Assess the Competition
Knowing what your competitors are offering in terms of customer service can also help you know whether you are on track with your own service level. Send an employee down the street to act as a customer and find out how they are treated. Talk to customers who have worked with both businesses and ask them which company's service they like better and why.
Measuring your customer service will help you know if your service level is on par and where it can be improved. Through these easy tools, you can get an accurate idea of whether the quality of your customer service is where it needs to be or what you can do to raise the bar on your current service level.
Gareth is Director of Digital Marketing at Clever Little Design. He's interested in B2B marketing, search, technology and customer service - and essentially how the customer should be placed at the centre of all marketing (and business) strategy.