Transactional ratings have a great advantage over relational ratings since they provide instant feedback to the agent who handled the issue. When the agent gets positive feedback from a customer it feels good and greatly increases motivation. Getting negative feedback allows the agent to take a closer look at what happened. This makes it possible for the agent to handle a similar issue differently next time around and maybe get positive feedback instead. Agents are also able to reopen a case and find a better solution with the customer.
For the manager, transactional customer ratings make it possible to get an overview of the agents’ performance as perceived by the customers. As with FCR, I consider this an excellent basis for the manager to provide feedback to each agent. Apart from that, the manager is also able to reopen cases that could have been handled differently and get back to the customer. This can turn a bad customer experience into a really good one.
As a side note, getting bad ratings overall for a type of contact can also help uncover problems with certain products or services. This is exactly the type of information you can bring with you to other parts of your organisation to instigate important changes to your business.
A note on Customer Effort Score
Another KPI that can be used transactionally is Customer Effort Score (CES), in which you basically ask customers to consider the statement “the company made it easy for me to handle my issue”. I won’t get into the details of how smart I actually think this is, except to say that in my experience it’s generally a good idea to track, and it works better the closer you can get to real-time and connect it with a transaction.
Remember, one of the best things you can do is respect your customers’ time.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one way to very efficiently measure customer satisfaction with your company. It gives a holistic view of the way customers feel about your product, service and company as a whole by asking them to consider the statement “how likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?”. In that sense it’s a great measure for the entire customer experience.
What’s important about NPS and similar satisfaction metrics is that you act on the feedback you get. Not changing the way you do things renders the entire survey process moot and practically worthless (to your customers and therefore also to you).
I cannot stress this enough: all the time and energy you spend on things that don’t improve the customer experience is time that you want to spend differently. One of the pitfalls of surveying is not doing anything afterwards. Don’t fall into that deep, dark hole.
If you have ever visited a rating site, be it for a seller, a hotel, a shop or company, I’m pretty sure that you, just like I do, find the negative reviews and see what went wrong and how the company responded.
There are sites like Trustpilot, Yelp and the review section on Facebook, and they represent an opportunity for anyone serious about their customers’ experience. Know that your customers will find these sites and rate you whether you want them to or not.
A negative review is a great chance to show the public how you react when you make a mistake or give a customer a bad experience. And it’s an opportunity to rectify a bad situation with an individual customer. If you have to apologize – and chances are you should from time to time – don’t be shy about it, show that you take responsibility and then find a solution with the customer.
Try to think of review sites of a good way to get external and objective feedback for your company. Therefore, I recommend that you establish a presence to answer their questions or complaints and do it as soon as possible. A negative review on sites like these have a big impact and can spread like wildfire through social media, and that’s just one reason a customer review without any response doesn’t look good.
Getting positive reviews
Having a lot of reviews and a high average rating can make existing and especially new customers much more confident in your company and will benefit you in the long term. As most organic reviews tend to be negative, you’ll often have to do something actively to get positive ones as well. This is where it gets a wee tricky. You probably don’t want to invite everyone of your customers to rate or review your product (if you can pull that off and get exceptional reviews, let me just say this: you rock! Keep it up! Please share what you’ve done).
More than likely, you’ll want to identify customers with a positive experience. This does cost a few resources, either because you have to do it manually, or because you need to invest in a bit of development to get it done. I suggest two things: 1) Invite those of your core customers who have bought something that you know you generally handle well, and 2) empower your agents to invite customers to review your product manually.
At one of the previous companies I worked at, after a long while of doing this, we found that we received the most positive reviews on two specific days of the week. For us it was Mondays and Fridays. To this day, the reason for this trend still evades me. If anyone has any ideas as to why this could be so, please share them. It does, however, emphasize the importance of slicing your data as these are the kinds of insights you wouldn’t get intuitively.
Refocus your KPIs on the customer
In case it isn’t clear by now, customer satisfaction is extremely important to a business’ well-being, and a large part of the customer’s satisfaction is their experience when contacting the business. In a recent report, Forrester compared direct competitors in the UK and Germany with big differences in their customer experience, and not surprisingly found that companies that deliver a better customer experience retain more of their customers, sell more goods, and in general has a more positive word of mouth.
In order to get an edge, I really do suggest you look at the value that your KPIs create. To summarize:
KPIs that DO NOT measure customer satisfaction:
- Service Level (ie. 80% of calls answered within 30 seconds)
- Average Wait Time
- Average Handling Time
KPIs that do measure customer satisfaction:
- Answered calls
- Transactional customer ratings per conversation
- Review site reviews and scores
I advise all contact center managers to look at their current KPIs and consider what perceived customer satisfaction they measure. If you don’t have KPIs that actually reflect customer satisfaction, you should probably reconsider your KPIs and change a few or even all of them.
It’s going from asking questions such as:
- How long do our customers wait in queue/for a reply?
- How long time do we spend per case?
- What’s the index on our service levels?
- How many customers had their problem solved immediately?
- How many customers are currently waiting for us?
- What do the customers think about product or process X and why?
If you, like many, have to get support for such a decision from your organization and/or upper management, I’d advise you to make the case for customer satisfaction and its business value and then tie in the new set of KPIs to that single metric.
Exactly how to go about it will differ from company to company, so I can’t really go into more details without sounding vague. But a nifty trick is to label it as ‘refocusing on the customer’ rather than ‘what we’re doing is wrong – we should do this instead’. If you do have specific questions, don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter or even just contact me directly.