What are some ways we can measure the performance of our customer service representatives so that we are taking into account the way they relate to customers and the influence they have on the customer experience and creating customer value?
What an excellent question! Just asking how to measure the performance of your customer service center puts you on the right track. The problem with most call centers and other service organizations is that they try to measure the costs of service, rather than the benefits. It's easier, after all, to measure inputs rather than outputs. It's much more difficult to measure customer satisfaction – it's always easier to track how much you have to spend just to handle the interactions. But if you simply try to minimize those costs, you will rapidly come to appreciate that customer satisfaction is being put at risk.
So, rather than gauging the success of your service center in terms of the cost of handling the average call, or...
talk time per call, it's far better to try to measure such things as "complaints resolved on first call," and to monitor customer service by "mystery shopping" your own call center. Unfortunately, these metrics are more difficult to compile, and often require a more integrated approach to managing your business than many companies are prepared to take. Surveys, test calls and probing questions are the main tools you have to work with.
For an absolutely wonderful review of some of the practical steps you can take to minimize the costs of service while maximizing customer satisfaction, I would highly recommend a new book by Bill Price and David Jaffe, The Best Service is No Service, based on Price's experiences as the chief customer service officer at Amazon.com.
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