Businesses across the globe seem to have reached a consensus that every decent company needs a support department to take care of their customers and help them with their issues. However, we don’t see that degree of certainty when it comes to topics related to customer service quality.
I bet you’ve asked yourself questions like why is our CSAT so low? How can I improve the quality of our customer service? Does quality actually matter at all?
We’ve all been there. And, as the makers of the support-quality-boosting conversation review tool Klaus, we’ve cracked the answers to most of these questions. Here are our answers to your most FAQs about customer service quality.
Why does support quality matter?
The quality of your customer service has a huge impact on your business results. Excellent support can boost your revenue and customer retention, while bad customer service experiences can only drive churn.
Not convinced? Take a look at these numbers:
- 7 out of 10 customers in the USA have spent more money on companies that offer excellent support. Great customer service is a competitive advantage that helps your company stand out from your rivals. Customers need to know that your team is there to help and they are willing to pay for this feeling of security.
In addition to that, support teams that make use of the support-driven growth techniques can drive sales with every interaction they have with your customers. Support agents can play a crucial role in increasing product engagement and upselling products.
- To increase profits by 25% (and more!) you only need to increase customer retention by 5%. Support quality can make or break your customer retention rates. Every time a user faces an issue and nobody’s there to help them, the risk that the customer will churn skyrockets.
If you’re looking for ways to keep your customers around and build customer loyalty, you need to shift focus to your customer service. Your customer-facing folks are the voice of your company. Make sure that it’s saying the right things.
- It will cost you 5 to 25 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. Your retention-increasing support efforts pay off big time when you look at your business results and revenue. Keeping loyal customers around is a lot easier and cheaper than wowing new leads.
If you put a little extra effort into providing top-notch customer service to your existing customers, you’re not just building a neat customer-centric brand, you’re also making a wise business decision.
- Companies tend to question whether they can spend their money and resources on support quality, while, in fact, they should really think if they can afford to provide anything but excellent customer experiences.
How do you define customer service quality?
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to customer service quality standards. The definition of support quality depends on the company: aspects that are essential for one support team might not play any role for another team.
According to Klaus’s study, most teams rate their support quality based on the following criteria:
- Correctness and completeness of the solution;
- Empathy and tone expressed in customer interactions;
- Accuracy in product knowledge.
However, another study focusing specifically on large support teams, revealed that “Adherence to internal processes” is the third most popular quality criteria for teams with 25 agents or more. So, though we can see some trends in support quality standards, each support team usually creates their own definition of support quality, based on what matters most to them.
The process of creating quality criteria should always start with defining customer service goals. Internal standards for customer interactions have to align with the goals set for the entire support team.
How can I measure customer service quality?
There are loads of different customer service metrics for teams to follow. However, if you’re looking strictly at support quality, you need to combine the following perspectives and metrics:
- External evaluations (collected in customer surveys like CSAT, NPS, CES) reflect your customers’ attitudes towards your product, support, and company in general.
- Internal evaluations (i.e. conversation reviews measured with IQS) rate your agents’ interactions based on your internal quality criteria.
It’s important to measure your support quality from both of these perspectives because:
- Customers don’t know your quality standards and often use feedback surveys to express their attitudes towards other parts of the business, such as, for example, the product and its (missing) features.
- Analyzing your support interactions without taking into account how your customers feel might mislead you. Customer surveys help you stay on track towards your end-goal: making customers happy.
There are also other support KPIs that track aspects like your team’s response times, ticket volumes, etc, but if you’re interested in measuring the quality of your service, you need to keep an eye on your customer satisfaction metrics and internal quality scores.
Why is our CSAT so low?
First of all, if you’re looking at CSAT to understand how your support team is doing, you’re looking at the wrong metric. Only a part of this user feedback reflects their opinions towards your support quality (not the product, company, or other aspects); and out of those, only some provide objective and constructive feedback (not reflecting disappointment about things that are out of agents’ control/).
If you want to find out why your CSAT so low, look into what’s happening in your customer interactions:
- If your IQS (Internal Quality Score) is also low, then you’re probably offering an underwhelmingly low level of support. Map out your areas of improvement and start tackling those issues ASAP.
- If your IQS is high but your CSAT is low, then your customers are either leaving negative ratings based on other parts of your company (e.g., product and features), or your support strategy doesn’t suit your customers’ needs (i.e., you need to raise your quality standards).
Conversation reviews will provide context to your customer feedback and help you understand the reasons behind low CSAT ratings. If support is not dragging those numbers down, then you can still use your customer interactions to pinpoint the causes of your customers’ dissatisfaction that might be rooted in other departments.
How can I improve support quality?
You can only improve what you measure. So, if you analyze your agents’ interactions and give feedback to them, your support team will become better at what they do and your support quality will improve. Taking the following steps to systematically review your customer service quality will create a positive feedback loop and continually improve your service level:
- Review a random sample of your support interactions.
- Evaluate support conversations based on your internal quality standards.
- Give feedback to agents to help them improve their performance.
- Repeat the process consistently.
Conversation reviews are by far the most efficient means of boosting your support quality. With constant feedback, agents will learn how to improve their performance and you will quickly achieve an evenly high level of service across your team.
How can I make conversation reviews feel less intimidating?
Most people don’t feel comfortable with the thought of being graded, which is what “conversation reviews” can sound like. How you communicate the process to your team plays an important role in how well it is received.
Here are the three main guidelines for making conversation reviews feel less intimidating:
- Explain the reasons for doing conversation reviews. If your agents are on board with your customer service goals, they’ll understand that internal reviews will help them achieve those objectives.
- Describe what agents will gain from this. Conversation reviews give a nice boost to agents’ professional development and help them advance their careers.
- Use the right feedback techniques to make internal evaluations more constructive and emphatic. Conversation reviews only work if you really do them and if you provide honest and helpful (negative/) feedback.
Though negative feedback might sound scary at first, your team will soon learn to love it because it’s really the only way your agents can become better at their job. If you communicate the process in the right way, you’ll soon have your team asking for more and more negative feedback. Don’t disappoint them!
When should I start using Customer Service Quality Assurance Software?
All quality-oriented support teams will, sooner or later, find themselves in the position when they need to start assessing the quality of their support interactions by doing internal conversation reviews. There is no other way of knowing whether your agents deliver the same customer experiences across all support channels.
So, the question of whether we should start doing conversation reviews quickly evolves into the question of whether to do those reviews in spreadsheets or invest in a dedicated customer service quality assurance tool.
Spreadsheets are usually enough for small teams with low conversation volumes, as long as the maintenance of the document doesn’t take up the largest part of the time dedicated to internal feedback. For large teams, data management can eat away more than 70% of the review time, which is why they often opt for dedicated software.
QA tools like Klaus save time on conversation reviews as they:
- Automatically pull in conversations from your help desk (no more manual copy-pasting!);
- Allow custom filtering to detect the interactions that need your attention right now;
- Create random samples to provide systematic feedback across all interactions;
- Notify agents about the feedback they’ve received;
- Create reports and calculate your Internal Quality Score for you.
The benefits of using a dedicated conversation review tool are substantial for all customer service teams. That’s why more and more teams prefer support QA tools to spreadsheets, making it a reasonable choice for smaller teams, too.
To conclude our answers to the most burning questions about customer service quality: if you want to see your business thrive, you need to pay attention to your support team’s performance.
Conversation reviews give insight into how your team is doing, provide context to your customer survey results, and help you improve the quality of your customer service. If you’d like to start doing systematic conversation reviews in your support team, check out Klaus. It’s the quickest and easiest way to set up your quality program.
What other questions do you have about customer service quality? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll be happy to share our thoughts.
More on this series: FAQ: Customer Service Conversation Reviews on Klaus