How to Tell if Your Online Customer Service is Actually Working

3 minute read

March 14, 2017

How to Tell if Your Online Customer Service is Actually Working

There is a range of potential answers to that question. On one end of the spectrum, you could appeal to objective measurements to show me how you’re doing. On the other end, you might share squishy success stories about improving relationships with customers.

Which one of those approaches is more accurate?

I want to suggest—no, I want to demand—that you need both be measuring success on both ends of that spectrum. While objective metrics will help finely tune your customer service machine, subjective measures will add a crucial human element to your analysis.

In this post, I want to give you a few things to consider in each category. Neither list will be exhaustive, but they will take you a long way.

Objective Measures of Customer Service Success

Here are five metrics to assess your customer service efforts by:

1. Time to Initial Response – According to one study, 53% of customers will get irritated if they’re not immediately connected with a customer service rep. Tracking the amount of time it takes you to respond to customers is vital to developing a smooth operation.

2. Ticket Volume – How many requests are you getting? Do you have the staff you need to service the workload? Also, do you see patterns emerging that would suggest a need to modify the product or develop documentation to address common issues?

3. Ticket Backlog – This metric tags on to the last but more specifically indicates whether you have sufficient staff to manage your current volume of support requests.

4. Interactions per Resolution – How many times does a customer need to reach out to your customer service team to get their issue resolved? By monitoring this statistic, you can evaluate both your team’s efficiency and the quality of its support knowledge.

5. Interactions per Team Member –By keeping up with the efficiency of your individual team members, you can decide which members need more support and which may be ready for added responsibility.

Subjective Measures of Customer Service Success

You can break subjective measures up into three categories:

1. Ask – The simplest way to see how your customer service is doing is to ask your customers. You can use a survey, questionnaire, or an informal interview. Keep in mind, however, that surveys and questionnaires are most often filled out by customers on the extreme ends of the satisfaction spectrum. So, take each one with a tiny (or big) grain of salt.

2. Listen – While direct customer responses are helpful, they will never tell you the whole story about how your customers perceive your support staff. To get a more accurate picture, pay attention to the online conversation around your business. Customers will often take to Facebook and Twitter to narrate their latest customer service experience. Connect with them on social media and see what they say.

3. Stories – This “measure” will tell you more than you’d expect. In 2013, a 7-year-old boy lost one of his Ninjago legos. When he wrote to LEGO for a replacement, the customer service rep not only replaced the toy but “consulted” with Sensei Wu (a Ninjago character) and wrote this young boy a creative letter to go along with the replacement. He even included an additional toy to help the kid complete his set. With a minuscule investment of time, effort, and product, LEGO created a fan for life and a story that has crossed the globe and improved its brand. If that’s the kind of story you regularly hear coming out of your customer service department, then you’re on the right track.

A well-oiled customer service machine will keep your customers happy and engaged with your brand in positive ways. Use this holistic set of measures to make sure you’re at the top of your game.

Your customers will thank you for it.


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Kenny S.

Written by Kenny S.

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