Do you know what is going on in your customer service team - are agents treating your customers nicely and providing the best possible solutions? How is your team doing?
In other words - are you in control of what is happening in your customer service department? If your aim is to provide a high level of support, you need to be aware of how your team is functioning. Losing control over your customer service will, sooner or later, lead to a decline in the quality of your interactions.
This will quickly escalate to a point where your managers put pressure on you to improve your KPIs because customers are slipping away, but you feel out of control, scattered and frustrated. If you are not quite sure if you’re still holding the reins of your support, here are three signs to look out for.
Most companies track at least some customer service metrics to understand how they are performing. Whether it’s CSAT, NPS, IQS, or CES that you’re watching, never turn a blind eye to an apparent drop in your quality KPIs.
You can also track your support team’s performance with time- and volume-related metrics. An increase in First Response Times and Average Handle Times or a spike in how frequently your team is escalating conversations are also things that you should keep an eye on.
If, as a manager, you notice important KPIs take a turn for the worse, it could be a sign that you are losing control over these aspects of your support interactions. Excellent support hits the mark in all categories, and not just that - they do it on a regular basis.
So, maintaining consistency in customer service is something that all successful teams should be striving for. Aim to avoid any declines in your performance to stay in control.
Leaving aside the occasions when customers are unhappy about things that are out of agents’ control - e.g., product changes, or new pricing plans - if you notice any negative trends, you should always ask yourself why your support metrics are trending down.
If you detect a decrease in quality that does not coincide with any significant changes in your product or company, and you don’t know why this is happening, you should be worried. If you cannot pinpoint the aspects that are causing adverse outcomes, how can you improve on them?
You likely have a normal distribution of quality responses across your interactions- this means that the majority of customer interactions are usually handled OK, but you also have some amazingly handled cases, and probably a few terribly handled tickets that are bringing your KPIs down. Break this data down into separate agents’ performance and try to find any noticeably negative patterns.
Though you aim to push everyone to perform better in all aspects, in the case of a quality emergency, you should shift your focus to the weakest performers. They are the drivers of customer dissatisfaction, so the quickest way to turn that around is by fixing those red flag interactions.
Here’s your third and final warning: your customer service quality is decreasing and you know what’s causing it, but cannot do anything to keep it from getting worse. This is quite likely the most definite sign that you have lost control over your support team.
If you know which agents are bringing your quality metrics down but are unable to help them improve, it might be a case of a dysfunctional team or a lack of proper tools and techniques to change things for the better.
The same goes if you see other metrics like Handle Time and Escalation Rate increasing. For example, if you see that poor product knowledge is causing your team’s failures, but you’re unable to level up your agents in their knowledge, you are probably working with the wrong tools or with the wrong people (which is less often the case).
If you’re still reading this post because you check at least some of these three boxes, fret not. We’re not just delivering bad news. We’ve got the right tools to help you out.
Conversation reviews - i.e., internal support quality assessments - will help you get to the bottom of things as soon as you notice even a slight dip in your customer service metrics. By systematically looking at how your team interacts with your customers, you will quickly feel like you’re back in control of what’s happening.
Moreover, conversation reviews are not about rating tickets to find someone to blame. Their main goal is to provide constant feedback to help your agents grow professionally. Regular internal assessments let you notice changes in your agents’ communication before these changes build up into a wave of customer dissatisfaction.
Discussing the findings of conversation reviews in 1:1 meetings will add an extra layer to your feedback. This will help you become aware of how your agents interact with your customers, and how they operate as a team. If you aren’t giving internal feedback to your support team yet, you can read more about the whys and hows of conducting conversation reviews here. Also, see how companies like Automattic and PandaDoc are doing peer reviews with the help of Klaus.
Klaus is a conversation review tool that helps you stay in control of your customer service quality. Give it a go and see how it works for you.