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Key Metrics for Measuring Outsourced Customer Support Success


Hello there, my ever-inquisitive reader! Have you ever wondered if there’s a magic spell to instantly assess the success of your outsourced customer support? Well, sorry to break your Hogwarts dreams, but magic isn’t real (or is it?).

Just kidding! In the muggle world, we use something far more potent than a waving wand or a flying broomstick to measure the quality of our customer support. Brace yourself for the world of – drumroll please – Metrics!

Yes, you read that right! Those nifty little numbers and percentages can tell you the entire story about your customer support performance. They are not only efficient but just as magical as any potion or incantation. Curious about how to make the most of these metrics? Explore the Ways to Track the Success of Contracted Customer Support. So, dust off your invisibility cloak, and let’s dive into this enchanting world of customer support metrics!


Why Metrics Matter

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Before we embark on this journey, let’s understand why metrics matter. When it comes to outsourced customer support, there are numerous variables at play. There’s the response time, resolution time, customer satisfaction, and a whole lot more. While your support provider might tout their impressive service quality, how do you know if it’s actually making the mark?

Enter metrics! By distilling complex processes into quantifiable data, metrics give you an objective assessment of your customer support’s performance.


The Various Types of Metrics

There’s a whole array of metrics waiting for us to explore. Here are a few to whet your appetite:

  1. First Response Time (FRT)
  2. Average Handle Time (AHT)
  3. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
  4. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

While each metric plays a unique role, together, they offer a comprehensive view of your customer support landscape. Intrigued? Well, hold onto your wizard hats, because we’re about to dive deep into each one!


Unlocking The Metrics Magic

Now, you might be wondering, why all this fuss about numbers? Can’t we just ask our customers if they’re happy? Well, we could, but will that give us the whole story?

Sure, a customer might say they’re satisfied, but how quickly were their issues resolved? Were they delighted with the service or just ‘meh’? Did they tell their friends about their experience? These are the questions that metrics can answer.

To truly unlock the magic of metrics, you need to understand and measure the right ones. And that, dear reader, is exactly what we’re about to do. So, ready for a whirlwind tour of the world of outsourced customer support metrics? Let’s go!

In the following sections, we’ll dive into each metric, exploring what they mean, why they’re important, and how to measure them. Along the way, we’ll also sprinkle some practical tips and insights to help you get the most out of your outsourced customer support.

So, strap in, and let’s get this magical metrics ride started!



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First Response Time (FRT)


Why a Prompt Response Matters

Have you ever found yourself helplessly staring at a railroad crossing, watching a never-ending train go by while your important meeting starts without you? That’s the kind of frustration your customers experience when their inquiries aren’t addressed promptly. Enter First Response Time (FRT), the superhero we need and deserve in such scenarios.

FRT measures the time gap from when a customer submits a query until they receive their first response. It’s the equivalent of a firefighter arriving on the scene—speed is of the essence. FRT has a significant impact on your customer’s overall experience. The faster the response, the happier the customer. According to a study by SuperOffice, customer service response time on social media has increased from 12 hours to almost 24 hours between 2015 and 2020. This is an alarming trend that businesses need to address.


FRT: A Key Player in Customer Satisfaction

Imagine customer support that responds faster than a roadrunner on a caffeine rush. An immediate response to a customer’s query is like a soothing balm, assuring them that help is on the way. The CMO Council reported that the most important attribute of good customer service is a fast response time. In fact, a study by Forrester found that 66% of adults feel that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer experience. This is where a low FRT shines, enhancing customer satisfaction.


Beyond Just a ‘Received Your Message’ Response

However, let’s clear up a common misconception. A quick response doesn’t mean an auto-generated “we received your request” message. No sir, that’s as satisfying as a cold coffee on a chilly winter morning. A meaningful first response is the key. It involves understanding the customer’s issue, empathizing with their situation, and providing an assurance that a resolution is underway.


Impact of FRT on Business Outcomes

Reducing FRT doesn’t just appease impatient customers, it has far-reaching benefits for businesses. A faster FRT means issues are addressed quickly, reducing the time a customer has to dwell on their problem. This, in turn, prevents minor problems from escalating and reduces negative word of mouth. According to Zendesk, 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a consistent experience. A consistently low FRT can help businesses achieve this and improve overall customer loyalty.


Improving Your FRT: A Few Tips

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Getting your FRT down requires a few strategic steps:

  • Empower your support team: Ensure your team has the right tools, training, and resources to respond to customers quickly and efficiently.
  • Leverage automation: Use AI-powered tools like chatbots to provide immediate responses to common queries. This allows your human team to focus on more complex issues.
  • Prioritize requests: Not all requests are created equal. Prioritize urgent issues to ensure they’re addressed first.

In conclusion, a low FRT is not just about speedy replies but providing quality assistance in record time. So buckle up, and let’s get that FRT down to a bare minimum. You’re not just racing against the clock, you’re racing towards improved customer satisfaction.



Average Handle Time (AHT): The Pizza Delivery of Customer Support


Who doesn’t love a good pizza? It’s the gold standard of fast food – delicious, fast, and satisfying. Let’s imagine, for a moment, that every customer inquiry is a pizza delivery order. Stay with me here, it’s not as cheesy as it sounds.


Unpacking the Pizza Box: Understanding AHT

To explain, Average Handle Time (AHT) measures how long it takes for your customer support team to “deliver” a resolution to a customer’s issue. This includes all the time spent talking with the customer, on hold, and the follow-up work after the call. Like getting a pizza from order to your front door, it’s a measure of speed and efficiency.

According to data from Call Centre Helper, the average AHT across all industries sits at about six minutes. But of course, this can vary widely depending on the complexity of the issues dealt with by your support team.


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The Toppings Matter: Components of AHT

AHT comprises of three main parts, just like your favorite pizza:

  1. Talk Time: The time spent actively speaking with the customer, like deciding what pizza you want.
  2. Hold Time: When the customer is placed on hold, akin to waiting while your pizza is being baked.
  3. After-Call Work (ACW): The tasks completed by the agent after the interaction, such as the pizza delivery journey.

Each part is crucial to ensure the delivery of a “hot” solution to your customer. However, just like pizza toppings, the balance of these components is key to satisfaction. Too much time on hold (extra cheese, anyone?) could lead to a frustrated customer and a sub-optimal experience.

The Toppings Matter: Components of AHT

AHT comprises of three main parts, just like your favorite pizza:

  1. Talk Time: The time spent actively speaking with the customer, like deciding what pizza you want.
  2. Hold Time: When the customer is placed on hold, akin to waiting while your pizza is being baked.
  3. After-Call Work (ACW): The tasks completed by the agent after the interaction, such as the pizza delivery journey.

Each part is crucial to ensure the delivery of a “hot” solution to your customer. However, just like pizza toppings, the balance of these components is key to satisfaction. Too much time on hold (extra cheese, anyone?) could lead to a frustrated customer and a sub-optimal experience.


Getting the Temperature Right: Balancing Quality and Time

As you strive for lower AHT, remember – we’re aiming for a piping hot, tasty pizza, not a rushed, undercooked mess. Pressuring your agents to speed through calls can result in unresolved issues, creating more work in the long run (think: cold, sad pizza).

On the other hand, spending too long on a single ticket could mean other customers are left waiting, growing hungry for solutions. It’s all about finding that sweet spot – delivering complete, satisfying resolutions in a timely manner.

According to a report by Zendesk, a well-resolved issue can lead to a 76% chance of the customer leaving a good review. So, it’s always worth it to take that extra minute to ensure the problem is fully addressed.


The Recipe for Success: Improving AHT

Improving AHT is like perfecting a pizza recipe. It requires consistent effort, the right ingredients, and a dash of creativity. Here are a few tips:

  1. Train your agents thoroughly: Make sure they’re well-versed in common issues and solutions, like a pizza chef knowing his recipes.
  2. Equip them with the right tools: Effective software can drastically cut down after-call work, much like a good pizza oven ensures the perfect bake. For a detailed look at these solutions, check out The Ultimate Guide to Tools and Software for Customer Support.
  3. Encourage first call resolution: Resolving an issue in the first interaction reduces overall time spent, leading to a fresh and hot delivery.

In the end, remember, while AHT is a crucial metric, it’s not the be-all and end-all. No one metric can give a comprehensive view of your customer support performance. But by keeping a close eye on your AHT, you can ensure your customer support service is as satisfying and reliable as a delicious, timely-delivered pizza. Who’s ready for a slice?



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Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

Decoding the CSAT

CSAT, the Customer Satisfaction Score, is a business’s trusty old compass. It’s the direct measure of how satisfied customers are with a specific product, service, or interaction. Just like asking, “How satisfied are you with our service?” on a scale of 1 to 5 or 1 to 10. It’s a simple question, but don’t underestimate its power, for it can light up the path for your business success.


The Importance of CSAT in the Business World

Scoring high on the CSAT scale is akin to getting an ‘A+’ on your report card, except your customers are the ones grading you. This reflects that your support team is hitting all the right notes in pleasing the customers.

But wait, there’s more! CSAT not only gives you a rating of your customer satisfaction but also an array of rich data that can guide your business strategy. Remember, a satisfied customer is not just a repeat customer but can also turn into an advocate for your brand.


CSAT: Not Just a Number

Let’s crunch some numbers, shall we? According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), as of 2020, the average CSAT score across various industries was 74.4 on a scale of 0 to 100. This indicates there’s ample room for businesses to improve customer satisfaction and differentiate themselves in the market.


Unpacking CSAT Survey Questions

Typically, CSAT surveys consist of one main question – “How satisfied were you with your experience?” – and are followed by several additional questions to gather more detailed insights. These might include:

  1. “How would you rate our customer service?”
  2. “How likely are you to purchase from us again?”
  3. “How well did we understand your questions and concerns?”

By combining the responses to these questions, you can paint a comprehensive picture of customer satisfaction and identify areas where your service excels or needs improvement.


CSAT Calculation and Interpretation

To calculate CSAT, add up the responses to the satisfaction question, and divide by the number of responses. Multiply this by 100 to get a percentage. For example, if you have five responses with a total score of 18, your CSAT is (18/25)*100 = 72%.

CSAT scores can vary across industries and regions. Generally, a CSAT score above 75% is considered good, and above 90% is considered excellent. However, strive for continuous improvement rather than settling for ‘good enough.’


Your Turn to Ace the CSAT Exam

Ready to ace the CSAT exam? If you’ve been treating CSAT as just another number, it’s time to reconsider. It’s an invaluable tool to measure customer satisfaction, understand customer needs, and improve your business. So, go ahead, charm your customers, win their hearts, and let the high CSAT score be the testimony of your outstanding service!
Net Promoter Score (NPS): The Customer Loyalty Index

Ah, the sweet joy of personal recommendations! The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is like that. It measures customer loyalty by determining how likely they are to recommend your services to others. Who doesn’t love to be the topic of their customers’ brunch conversation, right?


How NPS Works: A Quick Dive into the Nitty-Gritty

So, how does NPS work? It’s as simple as asking your customers one question: “On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our business to a friend or colleague?” The responses to this question classify your customers into three categories:

  1. Promoters (Score 9-10): These are your super fans, the ones who rave about your services to their friends and followers. They are highly likely to stay loyal and contribute to your revenue growth.
  2. Passives (Score 7-8): These are your satisfied customers, but they aren’t your cheerleaders yet. They’re pleased with your service but could switch to your competitors if a better offer comes along.
  3. Detractors (Score 0-6): These are the customers who had a less than satisfying experience. They’re unlikely to promote your brand, and worse, they could even dissuade others from using your services.

The NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. The score can range from -100 to 100. Anything above 0 is generally considered good, above 50 is excellent, and above 70 is world-class.


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The Why and What of NPS: Unpacking the Benefits

Why Is NPS Important?

NPS is important for several reasons:

  1. Customer Insights: It offers insights into customer loyalty, which can be more valuable than just customer satisfaction. Because, let’s face it, a satisfied customer might not necessarily be a loyal one. But a promoter? They’re loyal through and through.
  2. Growth Predictor: NPS is a strong predictor of business growth. High NPS indicates a lot of promoters who act as free marketers for your business. Who doesn’t love some organic growth, right?
  3. Benchmarking: It allows for benchmarking against competitors and industry standards. In the world of customer support outsourcing, knowing where you stand vis-à-vis competitors is crucial.

What Can You Do With Your NPS?

Once you have your NPS, there’s a lot you can do:

  1. Identify and Address Issues: You can look at the feedback from detractors and passives to identify areas of improvement. Remember, every piece of negative feedback is an opportunity to improve.
  2. Leverage Promoters: You can engage with promoters, perhaps offer them referral benefits to encourage them to continue promoting your services. After all, happy customers are the best marketers.
  3. Set Goals and Monitor Progress: Set NPS goals for your team, and regularly monitor progress. This could be a great morale booster and performance enhancer for your team.

The Golden Standard: How Some Industries Fare

Let’s take a quick look at the NPS standards for some industries, according to the 2021 NPS Benchmarks:

  • Telecommunications: 24
  • Healthcare: 24
  • Financial Services: 34
  • Technology: 41
  • Consumer Brands: 45

So there you have it, my friends. The Net Promoter Score is not just a number, it’s a mirror to your customers’ loyalty and a compass pointing towards your business growth. So, are you ready to ride the NPS wave? Remember, in the world of outsourced customer support, it’s not just about pleasing the customer, it’s about making them your promoters!



As a Final Point


Metrics are like your secret decoder ring to understanding the performance of your outsourced customer support. They strip down the complexities and present you with the bare facts about your customer support service. Whether it’s the swiftness of your response time, the efficiency in handling inquiries, the satisfaction level of customers, or their willingness to advocate for your business, these magical metrics tell it all.

But don’t let the numbers fool you into complacency. There’s always room for improvement. After all, who doesn’t like to push the envelope and outdo themselves?

In this ever-evolving world of customer service, it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of your customers. To do that, you don’t need a magic spell. Just pay attention to your metrics. So, are you ready to embark on this enchanting journey with your metrics map in hand?

That’s it for now, my fellow metrics wizard. But wait, there’s more where that came from! Need more help navigating the intricacies of customer support? Perhaps understanding The Unseen Force: Delving into Back-office Support and Its Outsourcing Benefits might be of help. Don’t hesitate to reach out, let’s start a conversation, and together, we can create some real magic!

Author

  • Jim Coleman

    Jim is the Co-Founder of xFusion, and is a seasoned SaaS operator with a background in leadership at LTV SaaS Growth Fund. Jim’s also a passionate SaaS business owner, and is eager to help others in the industry. Outside work, he devotes himself to adoption and raising foster children, and he aspires to maximize his impact on developing countries.

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