The value of the customer service department is often taken for granted. As companies grow, the client service role tends to evolve over time. It begins with someone handling in-bound phone calls and questions and turns into a full-fledged department. When it is grown organically, there is a tendency to manage as situations arise instead of pre-planning for the types of scenarios that can happen and create guidance around how they should be driven.
The customer service department is the heart of any organization; it’s the main connection to a company clients have. Your customer service agents are the voice of your company and they are creating a great experience for your clients and prospects or are turning them off.
Why is this department so critical to your success? Consider these factors:
- Customer Retention – Most companies have a cost of six to seven times more to acquire a new clients. It is exceptionally cheaper to sell again to an existing customer who has had a positive experience with you than it is to acquire a new customer. Some companies (like wireless phone or credit card providers) have a subset of specialists dedicated to saving and winning back clients. If you have high customer turn-over, deploying someone in this specialty to figure out the issues and change your clients’ experiences will be well worth the investment.
- 6X’s More Revenue – An entirely satisfied customer contributes on average about 14 times more revenue that a somewhat dissatisfied customer. That alone is enough to think differently about your strategies in your customer service department. Your Customer Lifetime Value is a metric that can help you determine if you are moving in the right direction from a client service perspective.
- Brand Differentiation – Companies like Zappos and Nordstrom pride themselves on their outstanding customer experience, and it has become their differentiator in comparison to their competitors.
- Word of Mouth – Word of mouth is the most important and least expensive form of advertising that you will ever have. Why not take advantage of today’s social media platforms and create great experiences that people want to talk about socially. This is the least expensive way to grow your brand. With today’s marketing automation products, you can listen to social conversations plus track if your WOM is positive and if you are gaining new customers from it.
- Net Promoter Score – Your Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the measurement of customers that will either promote you or not help your business and what that says about your brand. It is the response to the question: “On a scale from 0-10 would you recommend XX brand to a friend or colleague?” The response in the 9-10 are promoter and 0-6 are considered detractors. If you took the percentage of 9-10 answers and subtracted them from the rate of 0-6’s you will get your NPS score. This score if negative shares that you have negative sentiments out there about your company and you may be slowly going out of business if you don’t change. Positive scores indicate how fast your growth pattern is in relationship to others in your industry. This is the only predictive indicator of future revenue that is out there.
Key Performance Indicators
Your customer service department is at the helm of assisting your organization with either growing or decaying. To you assist you in planning for success, here are a few key performance indicators you can use to measure, analyze and improve your customer service department’s performance.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) – Your NPS can be one of the predicting indicators of future revenue and growth. This requires you to ask your customers this questions in the form of a survey and to calculate the response.
- Customer Churn – Analyze how many customers have left (if you have regular purchases or services) or how many do not continue to buy. You need to have details of your customers and their purchase information in a customer relationship management (CRM) product in order to create this metric.
- CLV – Customer Lifetime Value is a great metric to look at. This is can be determined if you have the ability to see your customers purchases over time from some tracking system (like a CRM). Learn your CLV by calculating your average value of a sale X the number of repeat transactions X average retention time in months or years for a typical customer.
- Escalations – If you are tracking incoming calls, you should be able to have different escalation protocols. Follow up on these issues with a ticketing system that can either be a part of your customer relationship management system (CRM) or one that integrates with it.
- New Customer Acquisition Rate – If you are tracking the new customer acquisition rate, it will help you determine the variance between how much it costs your organization to sell a new customer verses retaining an existing one.
- Average Customer Sale – You should know what your average customer sale is so that you know what the value is of one interaction with a customer.
- Cases – There are a few metrics here like open cases, resolutions, first-time response and any backlog. These keep your finger on the pulse of your customer service department issues and if anything needs to be escalated to a higher level.
Article reprinted from the Spring 2016 issue of Bellwether.
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