As communication channels have evolved over the last 50 years, so have the communication expectations that customers have with companies. With the mass adoption digital technologies — email, social media, and the smart phone — it’s vital to have an excellent omni-channel customer service strategy where all communication channels are integrated to deliver a holistic view of the customer. 

While companies work to keep their customer-service capabilities up-to-date with the times, they also need to re-evaluate the metrics used to measure the success of its customer-service agents. While several traditional metrics to evaluate success are still valid, including satisfaction, defection rates, first-call resolutions, average handle time, and costs to service the customer, there are newer metrics that are raising the customer experience benchmark.

Following are some emerging social support metrics which take into account the true value of omni-channel strategy and should be considered for evaluating today’s customer service teams:

Customer effort – Customers don’t necessarily need to be wowed by your customer service. However, if you make it easy for them to contact you, this will lead to better retention and loyalty.

Customer sentiment – In today’s social media landscape, customer sentiment can make or break a company. When used correctly, social media is a fantastic way to minimise negative sentiment and encourage positive sentiment.

Self-service usage – Self-service is a win/win. It reduces cost while satisfying the customer, and many customers these days actually prefer to self-service. In fact 70% of companies surveyed in The State of Salesforce Report said self-service was important, with 40% saying it was extremely important. By evaluating your customer service team on self-service usage, you encourage them to provide good self-service strategies and content.

Cross-sell/up sell rates – As well as solving customer issues, it’s important to train and empower your customer service agents to cross-sell and up-sell, especially those that are using Live Chat. This helps take the customer service department from being a cost centre to a revenue generator.

Conversation volume – With an omni-channel strategy, you have conversations happening everywhere, across many different channels. Instead of just monitoring call volume, you should be tracking conversation volume.

Links, retweets, etc. – Just like positive sentiment, your customer service agents will have a direct impact on the growth of your social community and social sharing.

Net promoter score – Finally, your NPS can be affected by everything discussed above, so you definitely should evaluate your customer service team against the movement of your NPS.

So what does a high-performing omni-channel customer service team look like when measured by these metrics? Let’s take Vodafone AU, a Bluewolf customer success story, as an example. 

Vodafone is a leading mobile telecommunications company covering 94% of Australians. In late 2010 it began experiencing major network outages and difficulties accessing voice and data. Consumers took to social networks and other digital media to voice their concerns. The company saw a 2,500% growth in negative social media interactions.

To quickly re-engage their customers and change brand sentiment, Vodafone engaged Bluewolf to design and execute a multi-channel customer strategy that enabled the company to monitor and manage brand sentiment and integrate social conversations as live cases in the Service Cloud.

With this additional functionality and the appropriate processes, Vodafone was able to quickly route feedback internally so that they can engage with customers faster, thereby improving customer satisfaction. 

Vodafone now leads the industry in social media response and social customer service. Some key metrics include:

4x the number of positive social interactions with their customers.

2x the number of customers using self-service.

2x visitors rate online help and support as “yes, this was helpful.”

At the end of the day, if you want your customer service team to succeed, you must set them up for success. That means not only providing the right training and tools to do their job well, but also recognising their efforts and rewarding them appropriately. This can only happen if you use the right metrics for evaluation.

Bob Furniss is the  Customer Care Practice Director at Bluewolf