Customer expectations are changing, and the old ways of doing customer service are being forced to change with them.
In the past, internal KPIs were the ultimate goal to reach, with metrics such as average call length and abandon rate being used to assess performance. Recently, however, there has been a shift to external factors such as quality scores and customer retention rates.
These shifts reflect a much bigger change in how companies approach customer service. Businesses are moving from a focus on quantity to a focus on quality, and creating a customer centric marketing strategy.To understand this shift, we have to look at the wider trends in the world of customer service, and the rise of customer experience as a concept.
The Rise of Customer Experience
The concept of customer experience marks a change in how companies view their customers, and how they view customer service. It’s a concept that puts customers first and builds everything around them.
This change comes as a result of a broader shift in how people feel when it comes to buying things. For example, in a report by Merkle, 66% of customers said they cared more about the experience than the cost when dealing with a brand.
Having a pleasant buying experience is so important that customers will prioritize brands that prioritize customer experience. And they’ll vote with their wallets – with 86% of customers willing to pay more for a good customer experience.
In fact, CX is expected to be the key brand differentiator by 2020. According to Adobe, half of all brands are planning to increase CX spending next year.
A Digital Revolution
The growing importance of customer experience is tied closely to other shifts in the world of commerce, like the move from high street retail to online shopping.
Today, 65% of shoppers purchase most of their products online, and they have high expectations, with 67% saying they would avoid a brand if the buying process was too tedious.
That means companies are focusing strongly on how to make the buying process as easy as possible for their online customers. One way to do this is through better communication options: 68% of customers prefer live chat and chatbots over forms or phone.
Many of these approaches are easy to integrate, but the bottom line is that if you aren’t investing in CX, you really ought to be.
So let’s look at some of the changes, and what’s involved in terms of metrics and KPIs when moving to a more customer-centric approach to sales.
Internal Efficiency KPIs
The old way of doing customer service tends to place a lot of importance on assessing performance according to what’s known as internal efficiency Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Basically, these KPIs are restrictive, and ask staff to work within rigid frameworks and follow norms rather than applying a personalized experience to each customer query.
Innovation and taking initiative is discouraged and sticking to the book is rewarded. Here are some examples of what companies would typically measure:
– Staff shrinkage — this is the number of staff who are available and doing their job, compared to the number of staff that aren’t (for reasons like sickness, team meetings, and vacations)
– Average call handle time — the average length of time customers spend on a call
– Abandon rate — the percentage of calls made to a company that is abandoned before any customer service staff are reached
– Average speed of answer — the average time taken for staff to answer a call or contact attempt from a customer
This traditional approach has tended to result in high levels of churn and staff turnover, and it also creates a less than optimal experience for customers since the individuality of each customer is not considered of priority. We need a new approach, and that’s starting to happen with more focus on external experience KPIs.
External Experience KPIs
Measuring performance according to external experience KPIs is a very different way of doing things. Instead of dwelling excessively on the staff and processes of the company, this approach looks outward, focusing on providing an outstanding experience for the customer instead of hitting concrete metrics.
It’s much more fluid and comes with more scope for creativity, initiative, and improvisation. Some of the metrics to keep track of here would include:
– Customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores — calculated by asking customers to rate their experience
– Customer retention rates — the percentage of customers that stay with the company over a given period of time
– Customer effort scores — a measure of how much effort a customer has to put in to achieve a given task (such as contact a staff member or return a product)
So how can a company achieve this new approach? One of the best ways to do it is through a platform that relies on conversational sales. Let’s take a look at what that would look like.
What Does a Conversational Sales Platform Look Like?
A good conversational sales platform allows customers to engage with your business easily and whenever they want to. It focuses on building relationships with visitors and fostering genuine, useful interactions.
Here are some features of good conversational sales platforms:
– They use chatbots to answer basic questions and optimize efficiency around the clock
– While chatbots are a great starting point, the best approaches will also allow easy access to real staff members, since 55% of people say talking to a live human represents a better customer experience than using a chatbot
– They offer lots of options for making contact, from video calls to web-shares. There should be enough to suit a range of customer preferences.
– They provide a more personalized, human approach
– They allow customers to engage and interact with the business on their own terms
Moving to more externally motivated KPIs that place customer experience front and center is a great way to reduce churn and provide better customer service all-round.
It’s the natural trend of the industry, and companies that make this a priority now will be rewarded with a head start over the competition.
To find out how Whisbi can help your company delight its customers and get ahead of the crowd with conversational sales, take a tour today.