What would you consider as the most valuable asset to your business? Does your awesome product come to mind? Is it your phenomenal team? Or perhaps it’s your amazing shareholders? While these answers aren’t wrong, and are more than likely responses from many business owners, it’s a reflection on how much more we all need to think about our customers.
Customers are vital to the survival of a good business. And if you’re already surviving as a good business, then going the extra mile to make customers feel valued can make you a great business. Specifically, data from an eMarketer study shows that Americans will choose small businesses for better customer service and are willing to pay more for it.
But how can you gauge what “better” means?
Understanding your customers' wants and needs won’t necessarily require asking them outright. Tracking the right metrics according to your business can provide an unbiased and honest representation of overall experience and satisfaction.
Customer service is paramount to GearLaunch’s success. Our partners trust us to be a reflection of their brand’s promise while customers trust us to fulfill that promise at every point of interaction. We’ve learned first hand how experience and satisfaction from both parties can directly affect our bottom line. Here’s a breakdown of what we measure and how we constantly adapt each area to be even better:
1. FIRST RESPONSE TIME
This metric is rather straightforward: customers expect a timely response to their inquiries. As more companies get hip to offering support beyond the 1-800 number (e.g. live chat, Twitter, Facebook, email, etc.), this expectancy has risen to much more immediacy than ever before.
We’ve learned that a large part of customer satisfaction is tied to first response times. This is the average first response time of our phone and email channels combined:
Gone are the days of dreading the 20-minute queues for phone support. A Forrester study shows that 80% of customers now actually prefer to pick up the phone for inquiries. This is not surprising considering the phone should provide a more immediate resolution.
A quick look at our own records reveal that GearLaunch’s current wait time sits at under 1 minute (and in most cases, there is no wait at all).
The rule of thumb for business emails is to respond within 24 - 48 hours, but you’ll find that expectancy for email response is growing each year. eDigitalResearch found that less than a quarter of customers surveyed were happy to wait more than 24 hours.
As an ecommerce business, your company needs to strive for impressive response times because it's a great way to differentiate yourself.
2. FIRST CONTACT RESOLUTION
First contact resolution, or FCR, measures how many interactions are resolved upon initial engagement. It’s an important metric because it captures both efficiency and effectiveness – higher FCR rates correlate with higher customer satisfaction.
In order to improve FCR, it’s firstly important to note that not all inquiries can qualify for a resolution upon initial contact. For example, extensive troubleshooting or issues handled by a completely different department are unlikely to be resolved in a first and single response. Additionally, studies show that well-trained reps are more likely to achieve higher FCR rates. This means you should consider ramping up training efforts for your team.
According to MetricNet’s benchmarking database, the average FCR for service desks worldwide is about 74 percent. You should aim to meet or exceed this with cases that qualify. As an example, GearLaunch’s own FCR is 75.8%.
3. OVERALL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
While FCR can greatly contribute to a positive customer experience, it doesn’t just end there. For issues that require a multi-touch resolution process, you should be concerned with whether or not the issue was successfully resolved and the time it took for resolution.
Customers who have an overwhelmingly positive experience are not only more likely to repeat business with you in the future, but they will also openly commend and refer you to others. Don’t underestimate how quickly this information can get around, and get working on your customers’ happiness. Before you know it, you’ll be bringing in new customers through referrals.
Check out how awesome happy customers can be. These are just a few of our delighted customers:
"WHOA! You guys are amazing. I was CALLING the customer service number when you sent this message. STRESSED because I've NEVER exchanged an item I've ordered online.
My husband and I will be on the lookout for fellow ROYALS fans in MI.
BTW: the shirt is BADASS. Superior quality t-shirt used. VERY nice."
"Thank you very much for getting this resolved. I understand it was an accident and I appreciate you refunding me for the previous purchase. I will now gladly purchase the other shirt I was talking about. Your response time and correction of the error is very satisfying and I can now look forward to doing business with you guys in the future. Thanks again, xxx"
"Thank you so much! I must say your customer service is amazing. I didn't expect a response so quickly, within hours of sending the email. And to have a solution less than 24 hours later? Amazing! I will definitely be purchasing from you guys in the future."
4. CONTACTS BY CHANNEL
Another tactic we’ve found to be crucial to customer happiness is to pay attention to the source of calls and inquiries. Looking for spikes in your data can help you appropriately dedicate resources to accommodate the volume and region. Devote more employees and resources to be on hold or online during rush hour.
Unfortunately, this means it may not always be up to you determine when you should be available. If there is a flux in calls or emails at midnight because your customers are international, then you need to make adjustments to handle the volume.
This is a very important lesson we learned at GearLaunch and quickly made the necessary adjustments:
We noticed an increase in international inquiries and added Spanish, German, and French to our supported languages. We also extended coverage beyond our normal business hours to 4AM PST to 6PM PST Mon - Sun.
Companies are getting ahead of the competition by providing customers with a delightful experience at every touch point. How are you ensuring your customers’ satisfaction?