Five ways to effectively measure customer service

Monitor repeat business

What’s the first and most obvious measure of customer service? It’s when your clients come back for more.

If you have an encouraging initial pick-up followed by a low returnrate, it’s a strong signal your customer service is not up to scratch.

This is when you need to checkout who are first-time buyers and who are repeat purchasers. Have your buyers increased the quantity and frequency of their purchases? If they have, then you’re on the right track. However, it’s necessary to take into consideration outside factors. There could be seasonal reasons for an increase in trade or simply a lack of competition in your area for that product.

Ask the customer

You need to maintain the right balance when it comes to consumer surveys. Too many, too frequently, and you’re asking a lot from your clients. They’re not there to do your job for you.

Try to ask questions in an undemanding manner. A simple phone call or email to establish a consumer’s level of satisfaction is often appreciated. An extensive list of long-winded questions is tiresome and can lose goodwill.

If you do create a survey, the number of responses you receive will be dependent on its ease of use. Make sure the questions are straightforward to understand and easy to answer.

Analyse customer complaints

It’s essential to monitor the number of complaints received in a set period. Clearly a high level of criticism means you have a serious problem. Conversely, don’t be too complacent if you maintain a relatively low rate or see a reduction.

People complain about bad customer service. They rarely bother to complain about an average experience. Yet mediocrity is not your goal.

Take the time to read the details of every complaint. Then make sure you follow up with the client at the earliest opportunity. Avoid being defensive. Take the attitude that your patrons are doing you a favour by pointing out where they think you’re going wrong.

Collate their feedback and take immediate remedial action. Otherwise, you’re inviting your disgruntled clients to head straight to the opposition.

Record phone calls

Often you will hear the phrase, “This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes.”

This practice is commonly used in call centres. Calls can be monitored without intruding on the conversation. The customer service representative doesn’t know which calls are being recorded so cannot adjust their presentation. Evaluation can take place and recurring issues noted.

This way, companies can monitor the quality and consistency of their service by monitoring all of their agents. Therefore, it’s based on all customer service representatives’ performances, rather than just one employee.

The crucial aspect to making sure this type of appraisal is effective is to ensure staff are measured against the same criteria. Those listening to the calls must all work to the same standards. And they must evaluate on issues that are of concern to buyers and not just matters that are only relevant to internal company practices.

Employ a mystery shopper

This is a technique that has long been employed by a range of consumer industries. Traditionally, the ‘mystery shopper’ is a person who is paid to pretend to be a shopper or a diner in a restaurant. They’ll engage in various exercises to test the efficiency of the staff of the targeted organisation.

The shopper has a score sheet and again, it’s vital that their review is consistent. For the assessment to be fair, all mystery shoppers should judge on the same points. They cannot let personal bias sway their view. Ideally, you should canvass more than one evaluator’s opinion. The problem with this method is that it’s fairly labour intensive.

Try more than one of the above

In summary, to avoid external circumstances distorting findings, look at more than one method of customer service measurement. Depending on your type of business, try simultaneously implementing two or three methods.

Put the results side by side and review them together. This should give you a pretty good overview of the level of service your organisation is currently offering its clients.