Tracking customer experience with key performance indicators

null

Your service desk customers typically have the last word about the services you provide, like it or not. There’s a bit of the old adage here – “the customer is always right.” While that thinking has a long legacy in the business world, there is a bit of movement to such philosophies like “the employee is always right” that reflects the sentiment that without properly empowered employees customers can’t be properly serves. Nevertheless, in the organisations where service desk customers typically have the last word, it is increasingly important that you track how they feel about their interactions with you. But how do you actually measure how well your service department resonates with the user base?

This is no easy task, though. Quality customer experience is as important as it is difficult. Satisfaction among your customers depends on how you’ve helped to solve their issues rather than what you did to solve it. In other words, your customers don’t want to know what it’s the sausage, they just want the sausage.

Quantitatively measuring that may otherwise be defined as qualitative can be a bit tricky, but there’s no reason to panic. There are ways forward.

Why track customer experience?

Why should you do it in the first place? The obvious most reason for tracking a customer’s experience is by evaluating and understanding interactions with clients and what they need. But more importantly, by focusing on points other than resolution time can show customers that you care and that you’re more than just a robot who executes because you’re supposed to.

There are reasons to track other key performance indicators (KPIs) and not everything handled by the service desk should be driven by customer experience, but there must be some measure of customer experience satisfaction baked into your service desk.

How to track customer experience

When tracking customer experience, simplicity is key. It’s not realistic to ask or even assume that your customers will tell you exactly how they felt about an interaction with the service desk. Complaints usually drive customer responses; it’s less so that positive experiences will be documented no matter the sector, but complaints are almost universal in their telling.

There are some easy ways to gain accurate feedback and it usually boils down to convenience. Customers are usually willing to provide feedback as long as it doesn’t take them too long to do so and is not very taxing. Building short and quick surveys that get to the core of the sentiment experienced is an easy way to generate customer responses. If you need more information to improve one of your processes consider creating a focus group, and refrain from asking your users about every aspect of your service at once. Additionally, simple and effective ways to track customer satisfaction can be as plain as basic star ratings or surveys.

What customer experience KPIs are there?

Tracking customer experience might help you examine a number of ways to improve your customer service efforts; net promoter score; customer effort scores; and self-service. It’s also a great idea to keep track of the quality of services provided by your operators and communications, and investigate problems that may be perceived from the customer perspective.

Perhaps one of the primary things to ignore focuses too many introspective metrics like resolution time. Just because you solve something on time, doesn't mean your customer is happy.

How can I survey service desk customers?

There's tons of ways to measure customer experience. Here's some common classics, along with some KPIs you can track with them:

In-the-moment surveys

“In-the-moment” surveys can be one of the best ways to capture customer feelings. Sending out a short and specific survey takes less than a minute to complete and is a good way of making sure customers respond to your questions. These surveys are an excellent way to gain real-time feedback as the feedback is usually still fresh in the customer’s mind.

What to measure: Use a star rating and aim to keep customer satisfaction above a certain amount of stars.

SERVQUAL:

If you prefer having periodic measurements rather than continuous measurements, SERVQUAL could be a good option for you. SERVQUAL is a research model that divides the quality of services into five dimensions, including reliability, assurance, tangibles, empathy and responsiveness. When asked about their experience based on the five dimensions, your customers will point out which dimension matters the most to them, as well as where you need to improve.

Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter Score is a metric used to gauge customer loyalty and its aim is to determine customer satisfaction scores of those interacting with and using your services over time. Net Promoter Scores are meant to show how likely your customers are to recommend your services over others, and can track your department’s reputation within the organisation.

These scores provide a figure that indicates the percentage of your business’ audience that is happier than average with the services you provide. Typically, this figure fluctuates very little. However, if your Net Promoter Score is bad, you may want to follow up quickly to investigate the reason why, and address the reasons for it so being.

Global guideline is that between 30 per cent to 40 per cent net promoters is a good score, so aim for that outcomes.

Tracking Customer Journeys

Tracking your customer journeys may be the best way to drill into your service delivery. Those doing so, allows you to give them proper service at each touchpoint from ticket logging to resolution. Essentially, examine every scenario, such as the onboarding of a new employee, and research how they experience the interaction, using the methods above.

Measure specifically average customer satisfaction score on multiple touchpoints.

Setting KPIs for the service desk
Don’t set too many key performance indicators. Any set of metrics does not mean a KPI has been set, and the word “key” in the abbreviation loses its purpose slightly if everything you track is treated as equally important. That’s just not a practical approach to measuring performance. Next, identify the top five ways of measuring your performance, and how you can make sure to infuse much customer thinking into your approaches.

Finally, ensure that your key performance indicators are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound.

Nancy Van Elsacker Louisnord,  president, TOPdesk USA
Image search: Shutterstock/nenetus