How Does Your Customer Service Add Up?

Many large companies are now implementing customer service score cards to benchmark how they are performing in this important area and how their customers view the service they are receiving.  In this day and age where competition is rife, it’s vital that people interacting with your company leave with as positive an impression as possible for that all important repeat custom and referrals.

It’s easy to forget that in today’s online society customers are no longer just judging you on your customer service team and the correspondence they have with them.  It’s far more complex than that.  How your customer navigates, perceives and responds to your website is paramount to the success of your business and these are areas often forgotten, leaving customers to silently move on.  Customer service scorecards provide a great way for businesses to identify and assess the multitude of areas, condense and categorise them into a workable set of metrics and score each one on its own merits.

But how can smaller companies use a customer service score card to ensure they are delivering the best service they can and continue to do so? Here we outline some tips to get you on your way.

Where to start – There are several templates online to get you started but it is imperative you create a scorecard with a set of metrics that is unique to your company and that relates to your specific KPIs and business objectives.  You will find some useful links at the end of this article, but as no two businesses are the same don’t try and shoehorn yourself into a template that makes no sense to your business.  Use them to get you started, give you ideas and to steer you in the right direction. When identifying your metrics it’s easy to make assumptions about your customers so use this opportunity to conduct some research into your customer base and establish who they are, their buying preferences and the way the wish to be engaged with.

Consider your industry – the elements you choose to constitute your metrics should be reflective of the environment in which you operate.  Are you online?  Do you have a field-based or office-based sales team? Do you operate a retail store?  Web-based metrics will be formed of areas such as visibility of contact information, availability of dispatch information and postal charges and order tracking, whereas a business utilising a call centre facility may look at hold times and customer service hours.  Whatever your industry, keep your list of metrics manageable.  It’s easy to get carried away but stay focused on the areas that are imperative.

Don’t forget your ultimate goal when determining values – When you have your list of metrics you then need to start ranking them with a points value as Linda Bustos outlines in her GetElastic article.  Consider which elements carry the highest importance and are business critical and rank them accordingly.  Remember that yes it’s nice to go above and beyond your customer’s expectations, but at the end of the day your scorecard should highly rate the areas that will positively impact your bottom line.  Don’t fall into the trap of trying to offer your customers too many ‘nice to have’ extras that will eat away at profits and contribute little financially.

Take action – once you have a scorecard in place and have analysed your organisation’s current status, make sure you use the data to make positive changes.  If you have fallen short of where you had hoped to be, then the scorecard will help to highlight important areas that need attention.  Obviously, the higher the value of the particular metric involved, the quicker it should be addressed.  Ensure all relevant staff, such as customer service teams, sales reps and marketing departments, are aware of which metrics hold the highest importance so as to ensure everyone is working towards the same goals.

A forever tool – the scorecard isn’t designed to be a one off exercise.  Diarise regular updates so you can monitor how you are tracking against your historical results.  Over time, if appropriate action is being taken to rectify problem areas, you should see your score increasing.  Regular evaluation in this way will help to highlight problem areas before they become a major issue.   Don’t forget to use this as an opportunity to re-evaluate your metrics and see if there are any additions or adjustments that need to be made in line with any business strategy changes.


Useful links