Measuring the quality of your customer service is a no-brainer, if you’re hoping to set a benchmark for your business. It’s easy to make blanket statements about the condition of your customer service – by saying, “it’s poor” or “it’s excellent.” But, if you don’t know the specifics driving each of these statements, you will have a hard time making improvements. (You will also have a hard time proactively recognizing when your service starts to deteriorate.)

You can’t know how to do better – if you don’t know what “better” means. It’s almost impossible to compare your business to competitors’ without some sort of measuring stick. This post is about solving that problem, answering that question: How do I quantify the quality of our company’s customer service?

#1. Define the Details of Your Process
Regardless of how you measure your customer service, you should decide upon certain details in advance.

 

  • Frequency: In order to benefit from the process, how often do you need to measure the quality of your customer service?
  • Follow-up: Before, during and after you measure, who is in charge of implementing the changes? And will you build a timeline that establishes a form of accountability?
  • Communication: During the different stages, how will employees be informed?

#2. Gather Customer Feedback Data
Now, there are various ways to do this. I’ll name a few here, but there are two factors to consider when gathering customer data. First, consider hiring a consultant to help you do this. It’s an art, and if you’ve never done it before, it’ll be helpful to have a partner for the process. Second, seek specifics. If you don’t get into the details – you are simply going through the motions, not obtaining valuable insights.

 

  • Provide customers the opportunity to complete a customer survey. If you think your customers don’t have the time or interest in such a thing, offer an incentive for those who participate. Ensure customers know that their answers are confidential, and that their information will not be shared with third parties.
  • Invite customers to participate in focus groups. Again, if you think customers would be concerned about the time commitment related to this – give them a reason to engage in the group.
  • Follow-up with customers who have written or called your company to voice their customer service complaints. More often than not, these customers are the most willing to voice their opinions, so capitalize on their willingness to share.

#3. Encourage Employees to Express Their Opinions
Your employees are a rich resource of information, so be sure to tap into the potential of this group. The most important thing to offer your employees is the opportunity to provide their perspectives anonymously. Employees will be much more likely to share honest, candid feedback if they don’t have to worry about the consequences of doing so.

#4. Identify Trends, Patterns, Themes and Anomalies
Again, I recommend you hire a consultant to help you with this step, so that you don’t miss anything major. This is clearly the step where you take what you’ve received and put meaning to it. You look for common messages that don’t appear to be random. But, the one thing I always encourage my clients to do that they oftentimes want to ignore…don’t forget to look for anomalies. An anomaly is something that is rarely happening, but despite its infrequency, is a major issue that cannot be ignored. These present organizations with big (and critical) opportunities to change.

#5. Setting Goals and Follow-up Steps
After you have defined the data you’ve collected, it’s time to set realistic goals. You should create both short-term and long-term objectives. And in order to increase your chances of achieving these goals, break down each goal into the necessary and tangible steps that your company can tackle.

After all is said and done, the data speaks for itself. So, listen and act.