Updated: Aug 15, 2022
Customer Support Quality Metrics You Can't Ignore
The global business landscape nowadays realizes that customer support is the face of any company.
When your interactions with clients are more valuable than ever before, it is never enough to deliver "decent" support; it should be a high-quality experience—every time.
Caring about the quality of your client support experience is a key to your company's growth. However, every company has its meaning of "quality." Klaus, the leading conversation review and QA framework for support teams, prepared the Customer Support Quality Benchmark Report to get a deep understanding of how top-notch customer support should look like.
They surveyed many managers, team leads, CX professionals, and executives to determine how they approach to support quality and improve it. In addition, they investigated the industry standards for support teams and the ways support teams concerned with client service are measuring the influence of conversational support.
Below are some of the key takeaways on how the quality of customer support is changing – and what companies need to do about it.
Changes in customer support landscape
The year of the pandemic has caused a drastic change in the way customer support teams operate – and in clients' expectations of the support they receive. But, interestingly, they noticed that clients desire digital-first options that let them get the assistance they require at their own convenience. That's why they are meeting clients in the channels they are using; delivering the resources to them so customers can self-serve when they wish to; and providing empathetic, personalized, conversational experience when needed.
In the survey, we discovered that:
Self-service customer support has quickly become the second most used support channel. 70% of support teams employ a FAQ section, knowledge base, or other additional docs that help their clients self-serve.
Live chat has beaten phone support. 65% of support teams now assist via chat. For phone support, this number is 60%.
Proactive customer support is up-and-coming. 85% of client service teams now provide proactive assistance, for instance, outbound notifications and messages or in-app onboarding.
However, at the time when the customer support approach has gone through a great change, the way that businesses measure their success – and keep track of its influence– hasn't evolved to fit these new objectives.
So what is the issue with the customer support metrics that many teams have been employing before? It is not that they are wrong or something – it is just that well-known indicators do not give you the full picture.
For instance, 'et's consider time to close. It only shows the time spent. This metric tells you nothing about the difficulty of the issue, the relationships with the client, or whether the customer support agent did their best to develop a proper solution. When you are taking time to close as your main KPI, it might unwittingly make your support agents concentrate on the easiest and fastest tasks that will not necessarily have long-term positive results for your customer.
Likewise, an angry client experiencing troubles with your products is likely to leave a negative feedback or conversation rating just because they are disappointed with the answer they don't like, even when your support rep handled the issue in a thoughtful and empathetic way.
Sure thing, customer happiness and timely replies are crucial to providing a high-quality support experience. Nonetheless, as the research company states, the customer support teams have limited information to provide. So, how do you measure quality in customer service? What are customer-centric and quality-minded support teams to do?
Instead of taking into account just one figure, the task is to prepare a combination of KPIs that provide you a comprehensive overview of your support team's performance and that coincides with your organization's value. For example, with a selection of operational indicators that measure things like several resolutions or timing together with more thorough conversation quality revisions, for example, tone and empathy, you can develop a broader set of KPIs that will provide you with a clear picture of the general quality of customer support your agents are delivering.
Defining quality of customer support
Customer support quality is a personalized term – and there is nothing wrong with it. Every business has its view of what its interactions with clients should feel and look like. What matters is that every customer support interaction represents you as an organization and should meet your clients' requests and your internal requirements and standards.
Nevertheless, they found some common aspects to pay attention to. According to the research, nearly 86% of customer support teams verify the solution proposed by the customer agent as a sign of communication quality. Almost 80% check product knowledge and nearly 78% expect to see that the support rep followed all the internal processes to the full extent. This focus on accuracy is reasonable; heat support should rely on helping the client with the things they're trying to carry out in the best possible way.
What is more, they discovered that nearly 84% expect empathy and tone when they're evaluating quality. It is a huge indicator of the customer support quality for the Conversational Support Funnel, the company's framework for delivering effective and personalized assistance at scale. Support team leaders are admitting the importance of empathy and tone to a proper support experience, especially for businesses trying to cherish personalized, long-lasting client relationships.
Since more and more simple support requests can now be solved with self-serve and proactive support, factors like empathy and tone are the fields where the company's human support representatives can shine. At the same time, as the number of complex conversations has grown significantly since the hit of the COVID-19 pandemic, it also remains one of the aspects where support reps can be the most impactful.
Another tendency they noticed is an enhanced focus on proactive assistance as a metric of quality. For example, 44% of respondents stated that they want support reps to send them links to further reading. It's certainly a trend to watch and a good way to begin implementing proactive assistance into your organization's KPIs to be able to assess and measure its influence – especially when 85% of support teams now report delivering proactive help.
How do you measure support?
As soon as you realize what you are looking for – for example, accuracy, empathy, tone, or proactivity – it is time to distinguish the company's internal quality requirements and collect them into a measurable and actionable framework. For this, develop a scorecard that will allow you to track your internal quality score (IQS) based on the criteria you value most.
Having that scorecard, you should start a process for carrying out the reviews. How often should you perform the evaluations? How should you choose which conversations to check? Who will perform the reviews? The thing is, the answers depend on your customer support team's needs. However, there are some market insights for your guidance.
Who performs support team reviews?
According to the research, 43% of customer support teams have dedicated QA staff. The number of such specialists scaled in proportion to the support team size. Otherwise, conversation quality evaluations are carried out by trainers, managers, or even peers.
After going out for remote work, many companies started making peer-to-peer performance evaluations. All their remotely onboarded support agents considered the peer-to-peer reviews exercise effective and called it a valuable method to share best practices between colleagues. The distance that came with the pandemic and challenged many businesses at the same time released new ways of enhancing the quality of support conversations.
How often should you measure customer support quality?
The study revealed that 69% of customer support teams perform regular conversation evaluations, with 53% doing so once a week. If you need more raw information to work with, for example, if you have just started your QA journey and wish to receive a comprehensive baseline – think of setting daily performance review goals that will come with the biggest evaluation volumes.
Keep in mind that the last two questions ("who" and "how often) are intrinsically connected. When your company has a dedicated support QA team, it will result in more data to work with but consider their workloads if you are relying on peer-to-peer or manager reviews. In the latter case, having fewer indicators on your scorecard says that you can include quality evaluations that take a couple of extra minutes without overstretching your support team.
Which customer support conversations to measure?
812% of companies participating in the research tend to evaluate random samples of their customer support communication. It is a useful way of receiving an efficient sample across the entire team and keeping consistency on a regular basis.
They also found that more than half of customer support teams leverage quality evaluations as part of their new agents' onboarding. In such situations, they first evaluate 100% of the new agent's communication, then lower that number as the reps successfully onboard. Reviews of the communication with customers are crucial in coaching as well. Nearly 43% also employ them to correct poor support agent performance.
Nearly44% of support teams find the bright sky in difficult situations by evaluating escalated conversations and using them as opportunities to learn.
Providing customer support quality at scale
Defining what customer support quality means for your business and developing your team's metrics around that meaning shows that you can be sure in providing an effective conversational experience all the time.
And when 82% of teams think that conversation reviews boost the quality of their service, fostering better connecting with your clients isn't the only advantage. The same quantity of respondents also consider conversation reviews useful for their support reps" professional growth.
What makes customer support quality such a critical indicator is that there is simply no alternative for it. This is especially clear when we think of the uniquely personal and human aspects defining "quality," for example, tone and empathy.
Developing your focus on support quality and including it into your team's customer service strategy and KPIs shows that every interaction with clients becomes a chance to create meaningfully, tailored, and personalized customer experiences. And it's what decision-makers and support leaders are to measure.