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Why You Need to Go Beyond a Single Score to Improve Customer Service

You’re doing all you can to ensure that your contact center is providing customers with optimal service. Perhaps you’ve measured your performance using metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) and first contact resolution, or have looked even deeper into customer satisfaction by measuring your customer effort score (CES). These are all laudable attempts to get to the bottom of any customer service issues you may need to correct.

Yet, to what degree can these metrics provide an accurate reflection of the customer experience your organization delivers? After all, they are each derived from asking customers one question, such as “How likely is it that you would recommend XYZ to a friend?” But customer experiences, with all their psychological nuances, involve greater complexity than one question can address. If you want to gather customer feedback that can generate valuable, actionable insights, you’ll need to dig a little deeper.

To weigh all the various elements that impact customer satisfaction requires research and analytics—across all customer interaction channels. There’s no silver bullet number that will provide all the insight you need to manage your contact center efficiently and effectively.

The answer to this dilemma, however, is not outside the realm of normal practices. To measure the customer experience with more certitude than a single score can produce, a survey is your best tool. Yes, a simple survey that asks a handful of questions and allows the customer to leave comments can be invaluable for gaining insights into agent performance and overall experience.

Develop a survey that will provide you with information for the achievement of a specific goal. For example, do you want to increase customer loyalty or sell more with each customer interaction? Only by pinpointing a particular element of your customer dealings will you learn how to actually improve. Conversely, NPS and similar metrics only allow you to track progress over time; they are limited general performance indicators. It’s the smaller elements—word choices, thoroughness of answers and the like—that are better indicators of performance, and they allow you to uncover gaps and opportunities.

For example, imagine asking a customer to score an interaction with one of your Communicators on a scale of one to 10. The customer rates the interaction a six. What does that tell you about your Communicator that you can actually improve upon? Nothing. Imagine the better insights you’d gain from instead asking whether the customer found the Communicator to be polite, thorough in resolving the issue or knowledgeable. With responses to these sorts of inquiries, you’d be armed to address the underlying factors that inspired the mediocre performance rating.

Align your goals, metrics and methods so that they complement each other. Once you’ve captured the nuances of the customer experience, you’ll be in a good place to fix anything that’s amiss. Next steps can include coaching, training workshops or workplace forums. Don’t miss out on opportunities to improve customer service. Brand loyalty and bottom line gains will be your reward.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

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