Metrics That Matter: Assessing Your Helpdesk Solution

Analytics are a manager’s best friend. By collecting massive amounts of customer data into neat reports, they allow management to identify problem areas and set concrete, quantifiable goals. But with so many metrics to consider, analytics can be overwhelming and misleading if numbers aren’t interpreted correctly. So, when assessing your customer service helpdesk’s effectiveness, what are the best measurements to go by?

There are both external and internal measures that evaluate three key areas of your customer service: service, quality, and efficiency. Here’s a breakdown of the most important indicators to watch:

External Measures

Customer Surveys: Direct feedback is among the best ways to judge if your service team is doing its job. Ask your customers anything: was their agent was friendly and helpful, or rude and unknowledgeable? how long they waited to get their answer? and were they offered any follow-up support? Periodically conducting these surveys over the phone or via mail is one way to go about it, but with live chat you can automatically invite your customer to take your survey immediately after a chat session. Their comments are more likely to be accurate and truthful if collected right after your conversation.

Internal Measures

Service:

Speed to Answer: Many call centers strive to reach the standard of answering 80% of all calls within 20 seconds. While a few extra moments won’t make much of a difference in customer satisfaction, it is still important to attend to your callers (or chatters ASAP. This can be achieved with efficient scheduling and department routing, which can be tweaked over time as you track high-volume hours and query types. By adding live chat to your call center, though, you can automatically route tickets to the appropriate department and allow agents to take on multiple chats (if they can), meaning more customers are taken care of in a shorter period of time. Built-in analytics automatically measure wait time for each session.

2. Abandonment Rate: Abandoned calls usually result when wait times break the limits of patience. Calls that don’t lead to a speedy and useful result leave customers annoyed and not likely to spread great reviews for your company. Get to your customers before they give up on you.

Quality:

Etiquette: Your agent’s friendliness makes a huge impact on your customer’s overall experience. Mood is infectious, so tell your operators to smile, even when no one can see. It inspires a happy mood and makes the conversation more positive for both parties. Language and (in the case of chat) proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation also matter for conveying professionalism and expertise. Monitor your agent’s etiquette by skimming chat transcripts, especially those for customers who complained of poor service on their post-chat survey.

Transfer Rate: A high transfer rate indicates that your helpdesk is not functioning efficiently. Transferring too many of your callers wastes times and irritates customers. To reduce transfer rate, build up your internal knowledge base so operators are better able to answer questions without additional help.

Efficiency:

Conversion Rate: This metric should be measured in conjunction with other indicators of quality and service to determine the true, long-term value of each call. For example, a longer call might keep an agent from answering other queries and seem less cost-effective, but if the conversation leaves the caller with a sense of trust in your company, he is more likely to become a loyal, paying customer and recommend you to his friends. In the end, the money lost on an extended call is earned back by the loyalty built.

Approach With Caution:

First Resolution Rate: Often regarded as a powerful metric, this measurement should be read with caution, and never in isolation. Sure, a high FRR may mean that your service desk is extremely knowledgeable and quick…or it could mean that they rush through inadequate answers to avoid transferring the call and end the conversation. If a query is too technical for an operator to handle, it is best transferred to someone with the skills and knowledge to address it. Of course, if this happens too often, it may be time to strengthen your front lines. Overall, though, a high FRR shouldn’t frighten you as long as customers report positive experiences with your customer service team.

Cost Per Call: While this can be a useful measurement to determine how resources are directed to your helpdesk, it is often too complex to paint a clear picture of your customer service’s cost effectiveness. It should be measured against conversation rate, for example, to judge how the call cost compares to resulting revenue. Placing to much emphasis on this measure also encourages agents to keep conversations as short as possible, which may not be beneficial to your customers or your company as a whole.

Conclusion:

There is no surefire formula for assessing your team’s effectiveness; every metric is useful in some way, but should be considered only as a part of a whole. Keep in mind that your help center’s overall goal is to make customers happy and foster positive relationships. As long as that happens, less-than-ideal measurements of call length and cost per call are usually worth it.

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Market Research Web Editor at LiveHelpNow and Azzur Group, LLC Contributing Writer at Greatist Editorial Assistant at The Pennsylvania Gazette Reporter at Penn Law Editorial Intern at Philadelphia Magazine University of Pennsylvania University of Pennsylvania College of Arts and Sciences King's College London, U. of London Connect with me on +Katie Siegel
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