Setting Smart KPIs for Digital Customer Service

“What is measured improves.” These words from famous business consultant Peter Drucker would seem to refer directly to digital customer service KPIs.

There’s no doubt that setting KPIs in the contact center is a necessity for monitoring efficiency and improving processes. But it all depends on what KPIs you monitor; these performance indicators tend to set the direction of the contact center and the behavior of agents. Using smart KPIs for digital customer service can be the difference between a streamlined, successful contact center and one that just can’t keep up. To do so, it’s important to realize the differences between the customer service of the past and the present.

Old vs. new in customer service

Besides the obvious developments in technology, ie., social media and live chat rather than phones and letters, the major differences in today’s digital customer service as opposed to what your parents were used to have to do with the changing expectations of customers.

Today’s customers expect service that is efficient, painless and personalized. Those changing expectations—which are inspired in part by changes in customer service technology—mean that companies need to change the way they serve customers. That’s where KPIs come in. Let’s start with two classic KPIs, AHT and FRT.

To AHT or not to AHT (Average Handling Time)

Average Handling Time is a very common customer service KPI and one that we’ve debated quite a bit in the past. AHT measures the average time each agent spends with a customer. The idea is that keeping AHT low means keeping the agents efficient because they won’t be lingering with individual customer service issues when they could be moving on to the next customer.

The problem with AHT is that it emphasizes speed over meaningful connections. Rushing customers is not the way to win hearts and minds. And since today’s digital customers prefer personalized service over cookie-cutter solutions, it’s a good idea to ease off AHT in favor of KPIs that add empathy into the mix.

Finding fault with FRT (First Response Time)

First Response Time is another classic contact center KPI. Again, the idea seems like a good one: low FRT means that customers don’t have to wait too long before hearing back from the company when asking a question or lodging a complaint.

The problem is that emphasizing FRT doesn’t necessarily emphasize a solution. An agent can keep FRT down simply by telling the customer their complaint has been received, without offering any solution. FRT doesn’t guarantee the response-driven service that customers want. Instead, it’s better to make sure that customers don’t have to ask for a solution multiple times or re-enter their information. Enact an “ask once” policy where customers may have to wait slightly longer for a first response, but that response comes with a solution.

The positives of PSL (Personal Service Level)

Personal Service Level is a good way to reward agents who offer personalized service that customers prefer and to encourage them to do so. Setting PSL helps measure the way that agents connect with customers.

PSL is a good way to shift away from service that’s only concerned with efficiency to that which also leaves room for empathy. Putting the onus on the customer service agent to offer more personlized service to each customer can pave the way for the type of service that today’s customers prefer. That leads to better customer experience and more loyalty from customers who are willing to spend more.

Why PEC will prevail (Personal Emotional Connection)

PEC measures whether or not the customer service agent attempts to make a personal emotional connection with the customer. This KPI has worked wonders for brands such as Zappos which have become famous all over the world for their extraordinary customer service.

Here again the emphasis is on empathy rather than strict efficiency. We know that customers want service that makes them feel like individuals and PEC is one way to make that happen. This KPI recognizes the fact that some customers demand fast, streamlined solutions while others want more time to be taken with them. Using PEC encourages agents to go out of their way to tailor their service to the needs of each customer.

Why it’s good to note NPS (Net Promoter Score)

Net Promoter Score is invaluable for maintaining a level of service and customer experience that will help differentiate your brand from the competition. By measuring the way customers feel about the brand, NPS encourages brands to tailor their way of doing business to the needs and desires of customers. It also encourages them to constantly listen to what customers are saying about the brand, so agents and management can deliver on customer demands in real-time.

The bottom line is that emphasizing short call times often leads to hasty interactions that aren’t tailored to the needs of the customer. It’s better to measure agent behaviors and encourage them to offer personalized service that leads to higher customer satisfaction.

Brand Embassy was designed with today’s impatient digital customer in mind. It lets you set the digital customer service KPIs that will help your business run smoothly and win you more loyal customers. Let us show you what we can do to revolutionize the way you serve your customers. Check out our website today or request a free demo to learn more.


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