Practical Application: Interpreting Customer Service Metrics

Instructor: Scott Tuning

Scott has been a faculty member in higher education for over 10 years. He holds an MBA in Management, an MA in counseling, and an M.Div. in Academic Biblical Studies.

Customer service metrics are an important way to measure performance in a business-critical application. In this scenario, you'll interpret some metrics and recommend changes to improve customer service.

Collecting, Analyzing & Using Customer Service Metrics

Customer service is an important part of any business, but good customer service is the business for many industries. In fact, in industries like healthcare, technology, or hospitality, a poor customer experience may be powerful enough to offset top-notch technical expertise. In other words, an expert surgeon with a terrible bedside manner is likely to lose patients not because her clinical skills are poor but because she is terse and dismissive when talking to patients. Likewise, a surgeon with questionable skills may have a very high level of customer satisfaction because his demeanor and bedside manner are excellent. That's why it's very important to understand how to improve customer service using metrics that really matter.

Scenario: Improving the Customer Experience

To apply the knowledge you acquired from the lesson, How to Interpret and Improve Customer Service Metrics, imagine that you're a consultant advising the chief executive officer (CEO) of a communications company. Based on recent survey results and industry data, service calls rescheduled without a customer request are having a negative impact on overall customer satisfaction. Your mandate is to provide concrete, practical ways to improve customer service and the customer experience. At the time you begin your assignment, customer satisfaction with service calls (as indicated by surveys) is poor when compared to industry counterparts, and customer satisfaction with obtaining technical support and service calls is at an all-time low for the company you're advising.

Questions for Reflection

  • How will you begin your consulting assignment?
  • What data will you need to analyze as part of your assignment?
  • What is your deliverable?
  • How will you know if you were successful?

Choosing Your Metrics

If you take a time-tested approach, you'll probably choose to begin your assignment by thinking carefully about what metrics should be part of your project. You'll need to understand some basics about the industry, its benchmarks, and your client's present state. In the information age, a researcher can collect (directly or indirectly) almost any metric conceivable; however, not all metrics matter, and too many metrics can cause ''analysis paralysis.'' At the outset of your assignment, you'll want to find a limited number of metrics to monitor.

Analyzing the Data

The best metrics will be data points that are accurately collected, consistent, and reliable. You'll also want metrics that are certain to have a significant influence on customer satisfaction. Metrics vary by industry, but here's a few that matter in just about every customer experience regardless of the industry.

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