Measuring Customer Service Effectiveness

“Biggest question: Isn’t it really ‘customer helping’ rather than customer service? And wouldn’t you deliver better service if you thought of it that way?” – Jeffrey Gitomer

Possibly the most crucial element for any business to become and remain successful is customer service. Companies understand this fact and invest huge amounts of resources to ensure that customers receive top class experiences through the service they provide. However, customer satisfaction is highly subjective (and ephemeral), making it imperative for companies to consistently measure customer service effectiveness to remain assured that they are keeping pace with customer expectations. Nurturing and enhancing customer satisfaction is one of the top ways to gain customer loyalty and profitability. It is then rather surprising that a large number of companies still do not measure customer service effectiveness or invest in managing the quality of the service they provide. This is despite the scary fact that a single poor experience or a single instance of shoddy service can quickly escalate and a company could potentially lose not just the one customer, but others too – potential ones included.

Measuring customer service effectiveness is not a nice to do any longer. It is quintessential to serving customers to guarantee the company’s success and long-term profitability. As mentioned, believing that your company is doing a great job with regard to customer service without checking back with your customers is a sure recipe for failure. Measuring customer service effectiveness enables your company to improve whatever is going well and make amends for whatever is not before customer satisfaction levels drop. As pointed out several times in the past, if customers do not complain it is not an indication that they are happy with your company. In fact, silent customers can cause more damage since they could be biding their time before they leave you unannounced and will possibly let others know of their poor experiences once they do walk away. Without a robust strategy to measure customer service effectiveness, you could be harming your company in a number of ways. It makes poor business sense to leave this critical part of your business to chance or guesswork.

As is known, attracting new customers is a lot more tedious than retaining existing ones. Companies spend huge sums of money and vital yet their limited resources in growing their customer base but ignore satisfaction of their existing customers. This is because they have not made efforts to measure customer service effectiveness and hence never know whether their customers are truly happy or on the verge of leaving. Conversely, companies that make time and effort to understand their customer’s perceptions and views would be able to build a solid base of customers who would be willing to remain with the company for long. Great customer service and measuring customer service effectiveness, therefore has a major and direct impact on the health, profitability and reputation of a company. Is your company aware of how its customers perceive the service they receive? Whatever the methods, the fact is that accurately assessing the quality of the service you provide to customers is critical and essential.

When customers are happy with a company, it is never for one reason but the service they receive is a huge contributor. The happier customers are the more number of times they return to do business, spend more and encourage others to do business with your company too. However, since customer needs keep changing, the way you serve them must match their expectations if this profitability is to remain consistent. There are a number of metrics by which, a company can assess customer satisfaction – companies must invest in these to measure accurately, customer service effectiveness.

Perhaps the most often used method of measuring customer service effectiveness is by asking customers directly. There a number of methods of gaining feedback from customers and whatever method a company uses, it must succeed at understanding the customer’s perception of service. Companies send out feedback surveys, online forms, email enquiries, customer calls and even informally when they visit the company’s facility, to ascertain and measure whether they are providing effective customer service.

Even though, it may not be the most accurate measure, a rise in customer complaints should tell your company that it is not serving customers the way they want. By ignoring and not measuring customer service effectiveness, it could be too late before a company discovers that customers are highly disgruntled and nothing could save the association. Keep a close watch on any adverse customer reactions and assess the flaws and weaknesses in service levels by consistently measuring customer service effectiveness. Very often, there are very minute and not easily discernible reasons for a drop in customer satisfaction levels and unless a company makes every effort to understand these reasons, they could soon lose a number of their customers.

As a customer if you have ever called a company’s customer service number, you would have heard an automated message telling you, “the call would be recorded for quality and assessment purposes”. This is the company’s way of measuring and assessing customer service effectiveness and the quality of the interaction with their customer service representative. The company would have some service standards and the manner in which service representatives handle customer calls, would enable the company to understand whether their customer service is effective or not. By hearing the calls, the team leaders and managers would be able to assess the areas for improvement and which, of the representative’s need further training and monitoring.

Whenever the subject of measuring customer service effectiveness arises, most companies seem to ignore the positives. It is a given that customers complain and that they complaints are feedback that must be attended to seriously. However, there are times when customers are happy with what they receive and compliment the company on their performance. While companies have a system to handle complaints, they forget about managing these compliments. By not acknowledging and thanking customers for their support, a company is giving customers the impression that their support means nothing. Customers do not take such oversights kindly – they might just stop providing compliments in the future and only look at your company’s shortcomings and service flaws. Compliments too are a great way to measure customer service effectiveness. A company could improve on their strength or discover a strong point they did not know they had – in either case a company would have something additional to show-off about and probably even use as its unique selling proposition.

Research has proved that speed and timely responses are amongst the top expectations of customers. By measuring the time your company takes to respond to customers against customer expectations, you would be measuring customer service effectiveness. The faster and more effectively your company is able to resolve a customer’s problem, the higher would be the level of customer satisfaction and if this level drops, you would know what to set right. Your customer service representatives must understand the importance of getting it right the first time for the customers. This not only saves time and effort for the customer, but also reduces costs and effort for the company. They must be aware that their efficiency would be measured against customer service effectiveness scores and should be part of their key performance indicators.

Focusing on and measuring customer service effectiveness could enable you to improve your business results significantly and conversely ignoring the monitoring could damage your business in irreparable ways.

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