Who Passed with Flying Colors? Highlights from the 2022 Airline Customer Service Benchmark Report

Written by Can Ozdoruk  on   Jun 20, 2022

It’s time to talk travel. This fondly remembered hobby is now on the minds of many, after being pent up due to COVID-19 restrictions. Demand for flights is soaring – Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian reported that March 2022 had been the carrier’s best month for sales in its history, while the four major U.S. airlines (American Airlines, Delta, Southwest and United) are planning summer schedules that are 4% to 20% larger than one year ago. Amidst this summer travel rush, airline worker unions are warning that travelers could endure months of continual flight delays and cancellations – in other words, travel within the near future is likely to be a bit of a headache.

While airline customer service has been notorious for its long wait times, does this long-standing perception really hold true? How long are customers typically left waiting, which channels are the most helpful, and where are timely responses most likely to be received? We at Netomi were eager to take a deeper dive into how airlines today are delivering customer support via web chat, social media and phone. We visited websites to engage with virtual assistants, called customer service phone numbers and sent messages via social media platforms. After careful analysis of 20 of the largest airlines in North America, the report cards are in.

Netomi’s 2022 Airline Customer Service Benchmark Report: The Top 5 Findings

  • The award for best overall customer service goes to… WestJet: This Canadian airline was found to provide the best overall customer service, with an SPI of 82.56 out of 100 (the Support Performance Index is a 100-point scale that was used to measure the quality of customer support). WestJet performed the best overall in terms of its cross-channel support, scoring well in availability, responsiveness, response time, personalization, relevance and empathy – all of which are key qualities of customer support teams. Spirit Airlines and Porter Airlines round out the top three.
  • When it comes to speedy resolutions, social media reigns supreme: The average response time for inquiries sent via Twitter is 42 minutes, and 75 minutes for Instagram.
  • Twitter is the better social media channel for support: We found that the overall quality of the support provided by airlines was 38% higher on Twitter than on Instagram, with 100% of the responses received through this channel also more relevant to the questions that were posed.
  • Chatbots are few and far between: While chatbots have been widely adopted for customer service, only nine airlines (45%), had a chatbot on their website. Of those who have leveraged chatbots, only WestJet and Spirit Airlines had prominent chatbot pop-ups, while others were hidden within help sections and knowledge bases.
  • If calling airline support teams, it may be wise to have a newspaper handy: The study found that the average hold time across all days and times was 56 minutes – 41 minutes on weekdays, and 1 hour 16 minutes on the weekends. Aeroméxico, Spirit Airlines and Sunwing Airlines take the lead in providing the best phone support.

Where to Next?

As travel picks up steam in 2022, prioritizing responsiveness and timely service across channels is key for airline customer service teams. For many, travel, along with its various elements (flight delays, booking and lost luggage) can be stressful and time-consuming. To scale their support across traditional and digital support channels, many airlines today are turning to sophisticated AI tools, leveraging a unique combination of human and machine intelligence to tackle repeatable and costly support tickets with ease, decrease resolution times, and ensure smoother journeys ahead.

The report cards are in, and we have the results. To view all of our findings, download your copy of Netomi’s 2022 Airline Customer Service Benchmark Report!

Who Passed with Flying Colors? Highlights from the 2022 Airline Customer Service Benchmark Report

Written by Can Ozdoruk  on   May 26, 2022

It’s time to talk travel. This fondly remembered hobby is now on the minds of many, after being pent up due to COVID-19 restrictions. Demand for flights is soaring – Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian reported that March 2022 had been the carrier’s best month for sales in its history, while the four major U.S. airlines (American Airlines, Delta, Southwest and United) are planning summer schedules that are 4% to 20% larger than one year ago. Amidst this summer travel rush, airline worker unions are warning that travelers could endure months of continual flight delays and cancellations – in other words, travel within the near future is likely to be a bit of a headache.

While airline customer service has been notorious for its long wait times, does this long-standing perception really hold true? How long are customers typically left waiting, which channels are the most helpful, and where are timely responses most likely to be received? We at Netomi were eager to take a deeper dive into how airlines today are delivering customer support via Web chat, social media and phone. We visited websites to engage with virtual assistants, called customer service phone numbers and sent messages via social media platforms. After careful analysis of 20 of the largest airlines in North America, the report cards are in.

View the full 2022 Airline Customer Service Benchmark Report! 

Netomi’s 2022 Airline Customer Service Benchmark Report: The Top 5 Findings

  • The award for best overall customer service goes to… WestJet: This Canadian airline was found to provide the best overall customer service, with an SPI of 82.56 out of 100 (the Support Performance Index is a 100-point scale that was used to measure the quality of customer support). WestJet performed the best overall in terms of its cross-channel support, scoring well in availability, responsiveness, response time, personalization, relevance and empathy – all of which are key qualities of customer support teams. Spirit Airlines and Porter Airlines round out the top three.
  • When it comes to speedy resolutions, social media reigns supreme: The average response time for inquiries sent via Twitter is 42 minutes, and 75 minutes for Instagram.
  • Twitter is the better social media channel for support: We found that the overall quality of the support provided by airlines was 38% higher on Twitter than on Instagram, with 100% of the responses received through this channel also more relevant to the questions that were posed.
  • Chatbots are few and far between: While chatbots have been widely adopted for customer service, only nine airlines (45%), had a chatbot on their website. Of those who have leveraged chatbots, only WestJet and Spirit Airlines had prominent chatbot pop-ups, while others were hidden within help sections and knowledge bases.
  • If calling airline support teams, it may be wise to have a newspaper handy: The study found that the average hold time across all days and times was 56 minutes – 41 minutes on weekdays, and 1 hour 16 minutes on the weekends. Aeroméxico, Spirit Airlines and Sunwing Airlines take the lead in providing the best phone support.

Where to Next?

As travel picks up steam in 2022, prioritizing responsiveness and timely service across channels is key for airline customer service teams. For many, travel, along with its various elements (flight delays, booking and lost luggage) can be stressful and time-consuming. To scale their support across traditional and digital support channels, many airlines today are turning to sophisticated AI tools, leveraging a unique combination of human and machine intelligence to tackle repeatable and costly support tickets with ease, decrease resolution times, and ensure smoother journeys ahead.

The report cards are in, and we have the results. To view all of our findings, download your copy of Netomi’s 2022 Airline Customer Service Benchmark Report!

Tell Us How You Really Feel: The Frustrating Reality of Customer Support in 2022

Written by Can Ozdoruk  on   Apr 14, 2022

What are the most dreaded customer service calls to make? Do customers enjoy making small talk with support agents, or prefer to get straight to the point? We polled more than 1,200 consumers across the United States to get a pulse on how they are feeling today, when it comes to interacting with customer support teams. We discovered that, in the fast-paced world of today, customer expectations are not being met, frustrations are high, and patience is wearing thin. 

Download Netomi’s complete The State of Customer Service Report!

Our Top 5 Findings from The State of Customer Service Report 

  • Emotional outbursts are common: 14% of customers report having screamed at and 19% have sworn at a company’s representative, while, out of frustration, 61% of people have hung up the phone mid-conversation. This is true on both sides of the equation, as…
  • Stress is taking its toll on agents: 73% of consumers have had instances of an agent being rude to them, and 44% have experienced an agent grow agitated
  • The desire for instant gratification is real: 39% of consumers have less patience today than they did prior to the pandemic
  • Small talk is not necessary: Only 27% of respondents value situations when customer service agents engage in small talk when assisting them, while 73% find no value in such friendly banter, preferring agents to focus on the issue at hand
  • Many issues are left unresolved, after a single interaction: 65% of consumers have needed to follow up more than once to get their question resolved, and 25% of respondents reported needing to contact a company three or more times in order to resolve an issue

The bottom line: What does all of this signify?

As the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted consumer behaviors, preferences and expectations, businesses need to evolve amid the changing landscape to meet the needs of the modern consumer. In today’s fast-paced world, the pressure to deliver superior customer experiences is on, big time.

AI-powered chatbots can have an enormous impact on support organizations, and greatly elevate the experience of agents and the customers that they serve, by:

  • Swiftly resolving customers’ queries, across channels (such as email, chat, and SMS), for enhanced customer satisfaction and happiness
  • Surfacing relevant answers and links to the agents during support calls, transforming them from agents to super-agents
  • Automatically resolving repetitive, everyday tickets, offloading mundane work from agents and allowing them to concentrate more on complex tasks
  • Working around-the-clock with 24/7 availability, so there are no frustrating hold times for customers

What else do customers have to say? View more insights in Netomi’s The State of Customer Service Report!

CSAT Score: Everything You Need To Know About Customer Satisfaction Scores (Updated March 2022)

Written by Can Ozdoruk  on   Mar 27, 2022

Every company wants to grow. The easiest way to do that is to keep your existing customers. To retain customers, you need to make them happy. Happy customers turn into long-term and profitable loyalists. And in short, long-term and profitable loyalists go a long way toward improving your CSAT score.

How do companies actually know how happy their customers are with their products, services, and experiences? They measure their customer satisfaction score – or their rating for Customer Satisfaction.

Throughout the entire customer lifecycle, there are many moments that add up to a person’s relationship with and feelings towards a brand. This includes in-store and online shopping experiences, customer care interactions and learning to use a product itself. Without a doubt, every one of these standalone touchpoints are important.

That’s why customer experience and support professionals hyper-focus on customer satisfaction score (CSAT). CSAT measures how well your company is delivering against your customers’ expectations in these independent moments.

In this post, we will dive into everything you have ever wanted to know about your scores. Jump to specific sections or scroll down to read the entire post.

  1. What is CSAT?
  2. Why is CSAT important?
  3. How do you calculate and measure CSAT?
  4. CSAT Scores: How do you use them?
  5. How to improve your CSAT score
  6. Comparing CSAT to other popular consumer metrics
    1. CSAT vs. NPS  
    2. CSAT vs. CES
    3. CSAT vs. DSAT
  7. Benchmarks for CSAT Scores By Industry

What Is a CSAT Score?

CSAT scores are the most popular and straightforward way to measure customer satisfaction. The metric measures sentiment towards your product, service or a specific interaction.

Companies often take a pulse after key milestones in the customer lifecycle. For example, after a first purchase, prior to the renewal or following customer support interactions.

It’s important to realize that CSAT differs from Net Promoter Score (NPS), another popular metric. NPS measures loyalty, the probability that someone will buy again and recommend your company to other people.

So what exactly drives satisfaction?

In short, people are satisfied when their expectations are met. Like many things, expectations are fluid and change based on situational context and stage of the customer journey. For example, if you spring for a first-class ticket on a flight, you are going to expect more personal and proactive service from flight attendants. On the other hand, when you purchase a basic economy seat, you expect attendants to simply ask what you need during their food and drink service. In Economy airline travel, there’s no expectation for a glass of champagne before takeoff.


Circumstances change expectations. When measuring CSAT, it’s important to understand the different circumstances of your individual customers to glean actionable insights.


Why Is CSAT Score Important?

Customer retention is fundamental to a thriving business.

This is because it’s cheaper to keep your current customers than attract new ones. Studies report that 70% of companies say this is true.

CSAT can provide insight into where and when your company is at risk of losing customers. In the same vein, it can uncover opportunities to optimize experiences. If used regularly, it gives businesses a pulse for how your company is performing and helps you understand your customer. Of course, you need to look at and measure the entire journey, not solely flashpoints along the way. It can help you realize where your processes are working and where you need to make changes.

Think about this with customer service. In the last year, 78% of U.S. consumers have stopped doing business with at least 1 company or scrapped a planned purchase based on poor customer service. Moreover, 31% reported doing this multiple times. That is to say, only one instance of poor support can lead to immediate customer attrition. And so, understanding what makes people unsatisfied with customer support can identify a few things. Firstly, where more training needs to be done. Secondly, where there’s an opportunity to be proactive. And lastly, where processes need to change.

Impact of Low Customer Satisfaction: Almost half of the consumers have stopped doing business with at least one company in 2019 due to poor customer service.

In essence, a person’s short-term happiness or unhappiness with your company following their customer interaction is indicative of future spend and lifetime value.

Learn how to automatically resolve customer service inquiries at the industry’s highest rate over messaging, chat, email, and voice with our helpdesk AI solutions.

How Do You Calculate And Measure CSAT Scores?

CSAT is often measured by completing customer satisfaction surveys. Surveys are completed through a brief, single question form asking how a customer feels following their most recent experience. This can be done through an email, chat, phone follow-up question, or through traditional paper or postcard satisfaction surveys. It’s typically immediately following an interaction when the experience is top-of-mind.

Customer satisfaction survey questions often look like the one we offer below: 

How satisfied are you with your recent purchase/support interaction/service?

  • Extremely Satisfied 
  • Somewhat Satisfied 
  • Satisfied 
  • Not Satisfied 
  • Very Dissatisfied 

On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied are you with your recent purchase/support interaction/service?

  • <Very Unsatisfied> 1 2 3 4 5 <Very Satisfied>

To calculate your CSAT, take the number of positive responses (i.e. Extremely and Somewhat Satisfied) and divide by the total number of responses. Then, multiply by 100.

For example, say you gather data from 200 customers. If 160 customers scored satisfaction a 4 or a 5, here’s what you would do.

                     160/200=0.8 (80%)

In this example, the company’s score is 80%.

Additionally, companies will often leave a place for people to add specifics as to why they scored the way they did. This unconstrained feedback in particular can provide invaluable insight into things that can be improved.

How Do You Use Your CSAT Score          

For customers who reported being unsatisfied or dissatisfied, carefully review their entire interaction. You’ll first want to identify what happened. Next, see if there was an opportunity where your company could have been proactive. Finally, determine what information could have provided a more pleasant experience. For example, did someone reach out with questions while setting up your product? Or, is there additional information you could have preemptively provided to ensure a smooth, successful set-up?

For dissatisfied customers, identify ways to court them to try and maintain a positive relationship with them. Can you offer free shipping on their next order if this one was delivered late?

Equally important, you’ll also want to learn from your satisfied customers. What are the key components that led to expectations being met? Did you offer the right tools at the right time? Did you quickly resolve an issue within 2 minutes on social media?

In summary, don’t just look at your percentage. Make sure you dissect the outliers to learn how to exceed customer expectations in the future.

How to improve my CSAT Score?

Customer service is one of the micro-moments that dictate customer loyalty and future spend. As mentioned earlier, one instance of poor service is enough to deter a major portion of your customers to move their business elsewhere. As customer service continues to establish its foothold as a business driver, companies need to meet expectations for customer support. Satisfaction, as you may remember, comes from expectations being met.

 So what do people expect today? In short, quick, convenient resolutions on their channels of choice. For example, in our recent study, we found that: 

  • Nearly Half: Expect not to wait for a resolution
  • 47%: Expect convenience
  • 61%: Expect quick resolution

While that may sound simple, companies are finding it harder to meet these quick-rising demands. And even more, scale personal interactions across customer support email, chat, social and voice channels. In fact, more than 50% of U.S. consumers have not seen any improvement in customer service over the last 12 months.


Improve your customer satisfaction. Discover the best help desk software solutions today.


Another way to improve the results of your surveys? Work on improving the response rates of your surveys. According to research done in 2015 by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, “response rates for paper-based surveys were around 10% and the response rates for e-surveys (web, wap and e-mail) were averaging between 5% and 15% – which can only provide a straw poll of the customers’ opinions.”4

Improve CSAT Score with AI

Bringing AI customer service into the workforce enables companies to automatically resolve over 50% of incoming tickets immediately, within seconds, according to our customers. These repeatable, everyday tickets are not routed to human agents. Instead, agents focus exclusively on more complex and subjective issues. All tickets – the simple and complex – are resolved faster. Logically, bringing speed to support will increase CSAT.

One of our clients, the Canadian airline WestJet, has seen an increase of 24% with its virtual agent Juliet resolving issues immediately on Facebook Messenger. Juliet is helping people understand how they can fly with skis, how much it costs for a checked bag and flight status within seconds. Customers, all-too-often packing last-minute or stuck in traffic to the airport, are thrilled to get their pressing questions answered without a long hold time or desperate website search.

Comparing CSAT to other popular consumer grading measures

CSAT differs from other popular customer service metrics that are used by companies. When companies use all of these metrics together, they will have a very rich understanding of how your customer support organization is functioning and delivering against customer expectations.


Click here for more information on customer support.


CSAT vs. NPS

Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is used as a way to capture customer feedback. It measures loyalty and the probability that someone will recommend your company to other people. 

NPS looks at overall, long-term brand perception, whereas CSAT measures short-term happiness with a specific incident. NPS can be an indicator of growth potential for a company because peer recommendations carry so much weight in our society that is social media-obsessed. Nielsen actually found that “more than eight-in-10 global respondents (83%) say they completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family.1

On NPS surveys, customers are asked a simple question: On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend [company] to a friend/colleague? Your customers will fall into one of these categories: 

  • Promoters are people who rate your company with a score of 9 or 10. Promoters are your enthusiasts and loyalists.

    • Advice for how to treat promoters:
      • Keep these customers happy as they are the ones that will be recommending your brand to their friends and family.
      • Give them referral codes or links that they can send to their friends to let them earn points or discounts for the new business that they bring in.
      • If it makes sense, involve promoters in product research and selection, for instance, a meal kit company could ask them which recipes they’d like to see on the menu.   
  • Passive customers are people who rate your company a 7 or 8.

    • Advice for how to treat passive customers:
      • Push passive customers to promoter status by asking for a feedback survey on what could be improved and acting on what they tell you.
      • Like promoters, companies can also provide passive customers incentives in the form of referral codes or links that they can send to their friends and family to encourage recommendations and endorsements.
             
  • Detractors are customers who rate your company with a score of 0-6.

    • Advice for how to treat detractors:
      • Analyze your interactions with detractors to see if you can identify why they are unsatisfied.
      • Are there any trends that you can identify? If there are particular instances that occurred throughout someone’s life cycle, say consistently late deliveries, technical issues or wrong items delivered? If so, address the issues, apologize and communicate how the company is making changes so issues don’t happen again.
      • It’s important to remember that you’re not going to have a fan in every customer, so you also need to realize when you’re not going to change someone’s mind and walk away.

CSAT vs. CES

Customer Effort Score, or CES, measures how much effort a customer puts into completing a task, including resolving a support ticket, making a return, etc. CES measures a specific instance.

Measuring CES is important because customers expect effortless, convenient experiences. Customers are more likely to churn if the experience is difficult. In fact, research has shown that “96% of customers with a high-effort service interaction become more disloyal compared to just 9% who have a low-effort experience.2” 

You can reduce effort in a variety of ways. Such as minimizing time spent to get a resolution, the number of times a person has to reach out or total back-and-forth interactions.

To determine CES, you’ll ask your customers, On a scale from “Very Easy” to “Very Difficult”, how was your experience? If you find that you have a low CES score, identify how to remove obstacles and friction from the interaction.

CSAT vs. DSAT

The exact opposite of CSAT is Customer dissatisfaction (DSAT). DSAT measures whether your customers are dissatisfied with an experience. Companies often don’t think about DSAT, but it’s important. This is because the damage a dissatisfied customer could have goes well beyond the individual not ever purchasing from you again. People talk to their friends and post on their social media channels about poor experiences. In fact, Americans are telling an average of 15 people about poor service3.

To track DSAT, you’ll analyze the data from the same question in which you ask how satisfied a person is with experience. On a scale from 1-10, your dissatisfied customers are the ones who responded 1-5. Once you identify your dissatisfied customers, you can analyze their entire experience to identify what went wrong and address the issues.

Don’t waste your resources by giving detractors referral codes or links. Because at this point in time, they are not going to recommend your business.

CSAT Score Benchmarks for 2020 

Companies are putting more focus on the customer experience as a part of the usual market research. Benchmarking CSAT scores against industry averages is a good way to see if your efforts are enough. But how do you know what a  good score is?

Benchmarks depend on many factors, primarily your industry. Some industries have notoriously low scores due to the nature of their business. For instance, airlines have a lot of aspects of their service outside of their control, such as weather events and other delays. Even longer lines at TSA security checks can negatively impact a person’s perception of flight experience. The airline, though, had nothing to do with security delays.

The same holds true for your home internet and cable provider. Service might become interrupted by things outside of the company’s control (for instance weather or downed utility lines). In short, customers don’t always look at the full picture, but rather zero in on the company that they are paying.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index has outlined benchmarks by industry. It also looks at how they change year-over-year. According to the organization, breweries have the highest CSAT at 84%. On the other hand, internet service providers and subscription television services have the lowest at 62%.

A few other industry CSAT score benchmarks include: 

  • Personal care and cleaning products: 83% 
  • eCommerce: 81% 
  • Banks: 80% 
  • Internet Travel Services: 79% 
  • Supermarkets: 78% 
  • Apparel: 77% 
  • Hotels: 75% 
  • Airlines: 74% 

To summarize, keeping track of how your score is performing against industry benchmarks is something you should be closely tracking.

While this is not the only way to measure your customer service performance, it does offer valuable insight into an important dimension of your customer support. Before you can improve your support organization, however, you need to know your baseline and set a goal for the next 3 months, 6 months, etc. Create an actionable plan on how you’re going to reach these goals and improve CSAT, such as reducing resolution time, implementing more self-service options, offering proactive support and being available on more channels.

CSAT is a valuable tool. And we can boost it an average of 20% in 6 months. Interested? Let’s chat.

References

  1. Neilsen: https://www.nielsen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2019/04/global-trust-in-advertising-report-sept-2015-1.pdf
  2. Qualtrics.com: https://www.qualtrics.com/experience-management/customer/customer-effort-score/
  3. American Express: https://about.americanexpress.com/press-release/wellactually-americans-say-customer-service-better-ever
  4. Customer Think: https://customerthink.com/customer-satisfaction-survey-response-rates-update/ 

The Cryptocurrency Customer Experience: How Global Cryptocurrency Companies are Delivering Customer Support Today [Research]

Written by Can Ozdoruk  on   Feb 24, 2022

It is no secret that, worldwide, interest in cryptocurrency is skyrocketing. Research from the University of Chicago research group NORC revealed that, within the past 12 months, 13% of Americans bought or traded cryptocurrency. In comparison, 24% of Americans invested in stocks over that same time period. Major companies are now accepting cryptocurrency as payment, and, in a “milestone for the cryptocurrency industry,” the first U.S. bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund made its debut in the stock market in October of 2021.

It is clear that the crypto craze is far from over. Yet how are the world’s leading cryptocurrency wallets, exchanges and platforms faring from a customer experience perspective? Are they going above and beyond to deliver cross-channel support, amid this time of digital transformation and consumer demand?

In our new Customer Service Benchmark Report – Cryptocurrency, we analyzed top 101 global cryptocurrency exchanges and platforms, with emphasis on support delivered via email (which we know is a preferred support channel). We also looked at one, three and five-star mobile app reviews for both praise and complaints regarding customer support. Here, we share some of our most intriguing findings from this CX benchmarking report.


Download your copy of our Customer Service Benchmark Report – Cryptocurrency to get the complete picture, with all of our findings!


The Top 10 Key Findings from Netomi’s Customer Service Report – Cryptocurrency

  1. Thorough responses are rare: More than half of crypto companies lack thoroughness in their responses, and 7.7% do not provide an answer to even one of their customer’s questions.
  2. Customer queries are often overlooked: Although 97% of crypto companies have readily accessible email addresses for support-related queries, customer emails are ignored nearly 1 in 3 times.
  3. There is little to no follow-up: 41.8% of companies send an automated email response acknowledging the receipt of an email, yet 22.4% fail to send a follow-up email, to ensure the full resolution of an issue. Meanwhile, 38.8% of companies do not use automated emails at all. 
  4. Oftentimes, responses lack a personal touch: While 32.7% of companies fully personalize their responses, nearly half (46.1%) do not address the customer by name.
  5. Many companies are monitoring and tracking customer reviews, and respond in a timely fashion: 75% of companies respond within the first week, while 10.8% respond within 2-4 weeks and 1.2% respond after 4 weeks. 13% of companies, however, do not respond to reviews at all.
  6. Companies respond more often to negative reviews: Crypto companies are, on average, 2.04X more likely to respond to negative reviews about customer service, as opposed to positive reviews.
  7. For crypto companies, time is of the essence in this fast-moving industry: The average email response time for these companies is 9.5 hours, which is 3X faster than average response times that Netomi has measured across other industries, and highlighted in past Customer Service Benchmarking Reports, i.e., Travel & Hospitality Benchmark Report, eCommerce Benchmark Report and Gaming Benchmark Report.
  8. Response times vary, region-to-region: Companies based in North America and Latin America have the fastest average response time at 2.7 hours, which is 2.6X faster than those based in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa).
  9. Response times also vary, based on company size: In comparison to medium-size companies (between 251-500 employees) which have an average response time of nearly 25 hours, the crypto companies with the most employees have the shortest average response time, averaging 1.7 hours.
  10. The largest companies skim the surface, failing to get to the root of the customer’s issue: Looking at 25 of the largest crypto companies by employee size, 40% of them either do not reply to emails at all or only send an automated email, without providing a full resolution to the issue at hand. Meanwhile, 16% of companies provide no response to customer emails.

Why strong customer service is key for crypto companies

Cryptocurrencies are redefining the global financial system, and are revolutionizing age-old concepts of money management. Unlike the traditional stock market, which is generally limited to set business hours, crypto markets are open 24/7 – meaning that traders are able to buy and sell at any time of the day, or night.

To keep pace in this rapidly evolving landscape and meet heightened customer demand, cryptocurrencies and exchanges need to adopt a similar, always-on approach in their customer support strategies. What if, for instance, a customer is having trouble accessing their account at 2:00 AM, when a financial opportunity has presented itself? What if a website crash or other crisis occurs, and customers need assistance, ASAP?

Netomi’s findings from our Customer Service Benchmark Report – Cryptocurrency underscore the fact that these companies must prioritize responsiveness across channels, and reply to customers in a timely manner, in order to build and maintain user loyalty in the digital banking era. Crypto customers are tech-savvy and always looking toward the future, when it comes to banking and finance trends. It’s time to offer them personalized and convenient support across platforms, whenever and wherever they may be.

To learn more about how some of the world’s leading crypto companies deliver email support, download the full Customer Service Benchmark Report – Cryptocurrency!

References

  1. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/23/13percent-of-americans-traded-crypto-in-the-past-year-survey-finds.html
  2. https://www.euronews.com/next/2021/12/04/paying-with-cryptocurrencies-these-are-the-major-companies-that-accept-cryptos-as-payment
  3. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/10/18/first-bitcoin-futures-etf-starts-trading-tuesday-what-to-know-.html
  4. https://www.vox.com/recode/2021/10/20/22736639/bitcoin-etf-stock-exchange-proshares-wall-street
  5. https://www.businessinsider.com/day-trading-crypto

What Is a Virtual Contact Center?

Written by Can Ozdoruk  on   Dec 2, 2021

A virtual contact center is a digital hub where agents respond to incoming phone calls, emails, social media requests, and other customer service tickets remotely. By definition, virtual contact centers do not need to exist in a centralized, physical location. This is a change from more traditional, brick-and-mortar call centers in which agents work from the same location.  

While traditional, brick-and-mortar call centers used to be prevalent, increasingly companies are turning to virtual contact centers. The tools used by virtual call centers are in the cloud allowing agents to work from home, different offices, even different time zones. Virtual call centers, or VCCs, offer many benefits in both operational efficiency and the customer experience

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies that had not already done so have moved to virtual contact centers. While many companies struggled initially to set up new operations that didn’t rely on on-premise technology and strict policies, the pandemic forced changes. And now today, about 80% of call center agents are working from home1. This trend is likely to be permanent, especially as the industry grapples with a labor shortage and workers increasingly consider flexible work environments when taking a job. In one study, 58% of people say they want to be full-time remote employees post-pandemic2

With virtual contact centers the future of customer service, we’re diving deep into everything you need to know about call centers – from the benefits of taking a contact center virtual to how to run a successful virtual call center. 

A History of Call Centers 

In 1957, the first call center, Life Circulation Co, was launched by Time Magazine to increase subscriptions. While this was more outbound marketing, it had agents working side-by-side in a centralized location (this would later become a major telemarketing firm). 

In the 1960s, switchboards became common which enabled a receptionist to connect calls to the right person. In the 1970s and 80s, new technology like Private Automatic Branch Exchanges and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) brought call centers mainstream with more and more companies using them, but still mostly for sales and outbound purposes.  It wasn’t until toll-free 1-800 numbers became prominent that the inbound call center agent came to life. 

Contact Center
Source: https://www.whoson.com/customer-service/the-history-of-call-centres-and-how-they-became-contact-centres/

In the 1990s, the internet created a huge shift in customer service. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and channels like email emerged as support channels, turning traditional “call centers” into “contact centers” as agents were having customer interactions over many channels. These contact centers relied heavily on on-premise technology and symptoms3

Today, many contact centers are virtual with a remote and distributed workforce leveraging flexible, cloud-based software solutions to provide omnichannel support to customers. Platforms like Zendesk, Freshworks, Gladly, Salesforce and Khoros enable teams to have the same powerful tools from home offices or distributed offices. With flexible CRM integrations, a cloud contact center solution can improve customer experiences, enable accurate forecasting, and provide better workforce management than ever before.

Benefits of a Virtual Contact Center 

Virtual contact centers offer even more benefits today than ever before. This is because of a few key reasons. 

First, the workforce is distributed. Hiring a team of agents in one place is not required, and the talent pool becomes that much bigger. This is critical as there are currently about 25% fewer agents than pre-pandemic. And agent attrition is among the highest of any industry (about 45%). Nearly 60% of people say that if they are not able to work remotely, they would “‘absolutely’ look for a new job. With agent turnover already high due to other factors, offering agents flexible work environments is essential.

Having virtual office hours also enables companies to provide 24/7 support. Agents can have shifts during their regular business hours and companies can have coverage across different regions.

Another benefit to virtual contact centers is scalability. The overhead costs associated with desks, equipment and office space with adding agent headcount are eliminated. Lastly, many companies find that remote workers are actually more productive. Research has shown that $600 billion a year is lost to workplace distractions. And interestingly, remote workers are 35-40% more productive than their in-office counterparts2.


Join us for an honest conversation about how support teams have adapted in response to the pandemic.


How to successfully run a virtual call center? 

When setting up a virtual contact center, there are a few key things to keep in mind to ensure a positive agent and customer experience. 

  • Use a best-in-class agent desk platform: Tools like Zendesk and Gladly centralize everything and make agents’ jobs much easier.  These platforms pull in information from other back-end systems, provide a single view of the customer and even make recommended responses to make agents more efficient.
  • Leverage AI and automation: Every virtual contact center should use AI and automation to offload repeatable work from agents and reduce resolution time. AI lets teams scale up and down in seconds, adding a level of elasticity to a remote team to manage both unexpected and anticipated spikes in ticket volume. AI also allows teams to offer support 24/7, not just within office hours, and every day, including weekends and holidays.  Advanced AI chatbots can skip humans entirely by automatically resolving  simple questions (return policies, resetting passwords, upgrading a plane seat, etc.). 
  • Create a team atmosphere and reward individuals and teams: Create comradery amongst your dispersed team by having daily or weekly check-ins or virtual coffee breaks, rewarding great work such as agents with great CSAT scores or celebrating milestones like work anniversaries. A virtual team can still be a connected team.
  • Analyze and optimize: Transparency is essential. Keep a pulse on how your agents are working, trends in tickets resolved and productivity levels, and how this changes over time. Agent desk platforms come with a suite of analytics that can uncover opportunities to improve both customer support and agent performance.
  • Use intelligent routing: Reduce stress with omnichannel routing. Distribute tickets based on things like the sentiment, the length of resolution and complexity of a query. This can help ensure one agent isn’t getting the hardest tickets or most irate customers again and again. 

Virtual contact centers are here. The workforce is now virtual. To combat the labor shortage and provide a great customer experience, having at least a semi-virtual contact center will be key. Can we discuss how to use AI to ensure consistency and provide scalability with a virtual contact center? Get in touch today

References

  1. https://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Editorial/Magazine-Features/The-Top-Customer-Service-Trends-Contact-Centers-Grow-Use-of-the-Cloud-AI-and-Other-Technologies-142023.aspx
  2. https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/remote-work-statistics/
  3. https://www.specialtyansweringservice.net/the-history-of-the-call-center-infographic/

17 Customer Satisfaction Survey Questions and Templates

Written by Can Ozdoruk  on   Sep 4, 2021

In this post, we’re covering everything you need to know about customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys, including: 

  • Customer satisfaction surveys defined 
  • Are these surveys still relevant? 
  • Types of surveys  
  • Customer satisfaction survey templates and examples

For your business to survive and thrive, measuring customer satisfaction is key. You need to take frequent pulses on how your customers feel about your brand, products, services and interactions to identify pain points and benchmark your performance over time. Customer satisfaction surveys are an incredible tool that marketing, support and product teams can leverage to understand how well they perform in their customers’ eyes. 

Let’s dive in. 

What is a Customer Satisfaction Survey?

Customer satisfaction surveys are questionnaires that measure customer sentiment towards a product, service or a specific micro-level interaction like a customer service interaction or online shopping event. CSAT surveys can be time-based (i.e., sent one day after purchase or three months post-purchase) or event-based (i.e., at the end of a free trial or onboarding process). 

Are these types of surveys still relevant?

To grow your business, you need to know how you’re performing against expectations and uncover customer pain points and points of friction. CSAT surveys provide incredible insights into how a customer perceives your brand and products and can indicate future loyalty and spend.

CSAT surveys are the most direct way to understand if you’re meeting customer expectations. Today’s customer journey is complicated and loyalty is fragile. One poor experience can be enough to drive even your most loyal customers away. 

These surveys enable brands to flag where things go wrong in the customer journey. They allow you to improve your product, services and operations to retain customers.  

Without leveraging CSAT surveys, you’re operating in the dark. Getting feedback directly from the customers you need to impress and asking them directly for things that can be improved is essential to be a company that competes on customer experience (CX). 

The benefits don’t stop there, though. Surveys like this also make customers feel appreciated and listened to. It can also help you identify champions who could be asked (or incentivized) to post reviews or refer friends. 

To download a copy of our 2021 Customer Service Benchmark report, visit here.

Types of customer satisfaction survey questions

Generally, CSAT surveys include between 6-8 questions. There are a few common types of survey questions, including closed-ended questions, which see a person select a response from predefined answers, and open-ended questions, which see a person respond in their own words. 

There are benefits to both types of questions. Closed-ended questions provide clean data that can be used for rich analysis and benchmarking. Open-ended questions provide qualitative data, reveal new insights and alert an organization to problems or opportunities they had not yet thought of.

In your surveys, it’s important to mix question types to encourage participation and minimize perceived effort. 

Here are the different types of questions you can use in your surveys: 

  • Rating scale (or ordinal) questions: Rating scale questions ask the customer how they feel about a product, service or interaction by rating it on a numbered scale (i.e., 1-5). If you use a rating scale question, add context to the numbers (i.e., 1 is poor and 5 is excellent). Here’s an example of a rating scale question:
  • Binary questions: Binary questions limit responses to two inputs, such as yes/no or thumbs up / thumbs down. Binary questions can eliminate any ambiguity present in scale questions as everyone can perceive things slightly differently. One person’s 5 response could be another person’s 4. Here’s an example of a binary survey question:
  • Likert scale questions: These questions are also on a scale but measure extreme views on a 5 to 7-point scale. The medium point represents neutrality, with the lowest number (1) representing one extreme and the highest number (5) representing the other extreme. Here’s an example of a Likert scale question:
  • Nominal questions: When there are limited available responses, nominal questions work well. These are multiple-choice questions in which the user selects one option from a predefined set of answers. Unless there is an “All of the Above” option, answers don’t overlap. Here’s an example of a nominal survey question:
  • Open-ended questions: These questions allow a person to write feedback in their own words. While the insights that can be gleaned from open-ended questions are incredible, customers perceive them as requiring more effort. Limit open-ended questions to one or two in your survey. Here’s an example of an open-ended survey question:

Here are the top 17 customer satisfaction survey templates and examples for 2021

These surveys can measure feedback on customer service interactions, product and services, brand experience, as well as customer effort (CES) and net performer score (NPS).  

Customer Service Questions 

  1. Overall, how satisfied were you with your interaction today?  
    • Very Dissatisfied 
    • Dissatisfied 
    • Neutral 
    • Satisfied
    • Very Satisfied
  2. Did we fully resolve your issue? 
    • Yes 
    • No 
  3. On a scale of 1-5, did we make you feel heard and appreciated?
    • 1 – Not at all  
    • 2 – Somewhat 
    •  3 – Neutral 
    •  4 – Yes 
    • 5 – Absolutely, Yes
  4. How did you feel today during our interaction? Select all that apply.
    • Listened to  
    • Appreciated 
    •  Frustrated 
    •  Annoyed 
    • Other ____ 
  5. How easy was it to get your issue resolved today? (Customer Effort Score question)
    • 😡 – Extremely Difficult     
    • 🙁 – Difficult     
    • 😐 – Average      
    • 🙂 – Easy      
    • 🤩 – Very Easy
  6. Which of the following would you describe the support you received today? Select all that apply.
    • Fast
    • Personal 
    • Empathetic
    • Convenient 
    • Effortless 
    • Incomplete
    • Difficult 
    • Other_____

Product Questions 

  1. Is this the first time you’ve used our product/service? 
    • Yes 
    • No 
  2. How well does our product meet your needs? 
    • 1- It does not meet my needs in any way 
    • 2- It meets my needs, but not in every way I expect
    • 3 – Neutral 
    • 4 – It meets my needs 
    • 5 – It exceeds my expectations
  3. How has your experience been with [product/service]?
    • Very Unenjoyable 
    • Unenjoyable 
    • Neutral 
    • Enjoyable
    • Very Enjoyable 
  4. What made you ultimately choose this [product/service] over others?
  5. Is there anything that you would change about our product/service?
  6. Which features are the most valuable?
  7. How satisfied are you with the quality of our product? 
    • Very Dissatisfied 
    • Dissatisfied 
    • Neutral 
    • Satisfied
    • Very Satisfied

Experience Questions 

  1. How would you rate the onboarding process?
    • 😡 – Extremely Difficult     
    • 🙁 – Difficult     
    • 😐 – Average      
    • 🙂 – Easy      
    • 🤩 – Very Easy
  2. What could we have improved with our online shopping experience?
  3. What could we have done differently?

NPS Questions 

  1. How likely are you to recommend this [product/service] to your friends and colleagues? 

                Very Unlikely [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] Very Likely  

Best Practices for Customer Satisfaction Surveys 

When you’re developing CSAT surveys, there are a few best practices to keep in mind. 

  • Be very clear in your messaging: Keep questions concise. Remove ambiguity and avoid using jargon. 
  • Use a mix of open-ended and closed-ended questions: Start your survey with a low-effort, closed-ended question that will more likely entice the person and get them engaged. 
  • Incorporate open-ended options into closed-ended questions: You don’t want an engaged customer to stop taking the survey because they don’t see a relevant answer in a nominal question. You can get around this by adding an “Other” option with a text box for a person to explain in more detail. You can also follow up on scale questions with a prompt to go into more detail. For instance, after asking: “On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied are you with your experience today?” you can follow up with people who ranked on the low end a follow-up question: “What could we have done better?”
  • Understand your goals for the survey: Are you benchmarking your customer experience over time? Are you looking for specific ways to enhance your product or service? Design your survey to give you the data that will be most beneficial for your team.  
  • A/B Test: You’re probably not going to launch the most effective survey at the first shot. A/B test your messaging, timing of when a survey is sent, and delivery method in order to get the most customers engaged.  

Final thoughts: Why every CX leader should consider using CS surveys 

CS surveys provide invaluable feedback on how your customers perceive your products, services, support and brand. Triggering CSAT surveys at key points along the customer journey is essential for companies to compete and grow their business today. Loyalty is tied closer than ever to CX. Without leveraging CSAT surveys, you will be operating in a vacuum, unaware of friction and pain points that can be detrimental to your business. These surveys enable gathering feedback from your customer base–these will improve levels of satisfaction, customer retention, and create more satisfied customers.

To learn more about improving the customer experience, visit:

Customer Service KPI Metrics: Everything You Need to Know in 2021, Explained

Written by Can Ozdoruk  on   Aug 31, 2021

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are a special set of metrics that help determine whether business is going in the right or wrong direction. At first glance, it seems that customer service KPI scores take a backseat to traditional business KPIs, like profits, costs and regional sales. However, key customer support metrics may paint a more complete picture of success for the long-term viability of a business. 

Jeff Bezos has gone on the record to say that customer obsession is “the first and by far the most important” key to building a successful business. Amazon isn’t alone in this belief: Netflix is one of many other Fortune 500 businesses that believe happy customers are the foundational element of a successful business. So what customer service KPI metrics are worth obsessing over? 

This post will highlight everything you need to know about customer service KPIs, including: 

  • Why are customer service metrics important?
  • What are the most important customer service KPI metrics for teams? 
  • What is a customer service KPI dashboard?
  • Why are top customer service KPIs hard to achieve?
  • How do you improve customer service KPIs? 

Why are customer service KPI metrics important?

Customer service teams have their work cut out for them: the need to optimize margins and cut costs, all while providing a higher level of care that meets the modern customers’ expectations for immediate, personal and effortless support.

It’s now widely understood that for support teams, the stakes have never been higher. People are increasingly making their buying decisions based on the support they receive. Customers will stop doing business with a company after one poor customer support experience. Because of the impact support can have on a company’s bottom and top lines, it’s critical that support leaders are tracking the performance of their support agents, understanding areas for improvement and what’s working, as well as celebrating exceptional performance. To do that, there are specific customer service key performance indicators that need to be monitored on an ongoing basis in order to adjust processes or optimize agent training. 

When you’re tracking the right KPIs, you get an undoctored, objective view of your team’s performance, which increasingly, has an impact on a company’s bottom line. Let’s take a look at what those are now. 

What are the most important KPIs for customer service teams? 

It’s more important than ever for customer service teams to understand how you are performing against your customers’ expectations. There are core KPIs that every customer support team needs to be tracking closely. Some are based on very tangible metrics like resolution time, while others look at your customers’ feelings towards your company and how they perceived an interaction. 

Here are the 15 most important Customer Service KPI Metrics:

1. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

CSAT score is the most popular and straightforward way to measure customer satisfaction. It’s a metric that measures sentiment towards your product, service or a specific interaction. To measure CSAT, you’ll ask a simple question, such as: On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied are you with your recent purchase/support interaction/service? You’ll want to carefully review the interactions for people who responded with low scores to analyze what went wrong to update procedures and responses or conduct additional agent training. 


 Read how we increased WestJet’s CSAT by 24% with AI here 


2. Customer Effort Score (CES)

Minimizing disruption in a person’s life and requiring minimal effort on their part are the cornerstones of good customer service. CES measures how much effort your customer had to put in to resolving a particular issue or answering a specific question. CES depends on a myriad of factors including time spent, total back-and-forth interactions, and the number of times a person has to reach out.

To determine CES, you’ll ask your customers, On a scale from “Very Easy” to “Very Difficult”, how was your experience? If you find that you have a low CES score, identify how to remove obstacles and friction. 

3. Employee Satisfaction Score (ESAT)

Customer service has one of the highest attrition rates of any industry. Measuring employee satisfaction with their job, processes and team can alert you to any issues or attrition risks, and as a result retain your agents (and keep recruiting, training and onboarding costs at bay). Take frequent employee surveys, have 1-on-1 check-ins and encourage open communication to understand your employee satisfaction. 

4. Total Tickets and Tickets Per Customer

The most straightforward KPI for customer service teams is tallying the total number of customers submitting support tickets. In addition to tracking the top-line figure, you’ll want to analyze to identify how volume fluctuates based on times of day, day of the week, or based on seasons. 

You can’t just take the number at face value, though. You need to understand if you are getting more service requests because your product/service is broken or because you are getting more customers. Tracking tickets per customer can help inform resource allocation through the lens of long-term vs. short-term needs.

5. Volume by Channel

Track where your customers are reaching out from in order to optimize staffing and prioritize channels that would benefit most from technologies like automation.

For example, companies generally have been de-prioritizing customer support email as a support channel in favor of social messaging and live chat. In a recent study, we found that customers prefer email support over all other digital channels. By tracking ticket volume per channel, you prioritize and shift resources to where your customers are. 

6. First Response Time (FRT)

Also referred to as First Reply Time, FRT measures how long it takes a company to provide an initial response to a ticket. Valuing a person’s time is the most important thing a company can do with regards to customer service according to 73% of consumers, so decreasing the time it takes to at least acknowledge a person’s request is critical to a person’s overall satisfaction. Across the board, first response time needs to be a key area of focus. Research has found that the average first response time is 12h 10m, but 75% of customers expect it within 5 minutes. It’s important to note that confirmation emails with generic auto-responders skew first response time metrics. If your company uses autoresponders, you may need to define a new KPI that measures “first impactful response time.”


75% of customers expect a response in 5 minutes. The average is 12h 10 min.


7. Average Handle Time (AHT)

Getting back to your customers quickly is one thing, but how long it takes for you to actually resolve an issue is even more important. To calculate AHT, add up the tidal time it takes to close a ticket, from the time your customer initially reached out, hold / wait time, back-and-forth interaction and subsequent tasks, and post-interaction system updates. 

You can minimize AHT by decreasing time your customers are waiting and optimizing each back-and-forth interaction. Using hybrid support models, like human+AI vs. purely human agents can significantly help reduce wasted seconds.

8. First Contact Resolution

You don’t want your customers to have to reach out to you multiple times to resolve a single issue. That’s the recipe for frustration that directly impacts retention. That’s why measuring first contact resolution, or whether or not you resolved an issue in a single chat session, phone call or email response, is a good indicator of how your team is performing. If your customer needs to reach back out or be escalated to another source for support, it does not count as first contact resolution.

To measure First Contact Resolution, ask your agents to check a box or confirm within the agent desk if an issue was resolved at the end of an interaction (you’ll want to audit this on a regular basis), or follow up with your customer and ask if their issue was resolved.

This is a better resolution time measurement than average resolution time (ART). While first contact resolution results in a solution being provided in the initial outreach, average resolution time measures the amount of time it takes to completely close a case. If you are in a service industry where issues escalate or move to other departments, measuring ART takes the true view of your performance out of your hands. 

9. Cost Per Resolution

Let this sink in: 265 billion customer support requests are made every year, costing $1.3 trillion1. Understanding how much it costs to solve a single ticket is critical not only to operating costs and staffing but also serves as a great way to measure the effectiveness and ROI of adopting tools like AI.

To calculate cost per resolution, take your total monthly operating expense (salaries, technology, training, licenses, overhead, office supplies, etc.) and divide it by the total number of tickets. If you have a high cost per ticket, or notice that it is increasing, you’ll need to look for ways to bring efficiency to your group. This could come in the form of new training and employee performance review, a need to review systems used like agent desk platforms or the need to adopt new technologies.

10. Top Topics

In addition to tracking the number of tickets, analyzing the topics and reasons why people are reaching provides opportunities to carefully review processes, responses and policies to ensure a positive customer experience. You’ll also be able to identify opportunities to proactively communicate throughout the customer journey and create ways to surprise customers and catch them before a problem becomes a pain point. 

For instance, if there is a high volume of troubleshooting questions for a particular product after three months, your company could proactively provide steps on how to keep a product working as expected. 

11. Consistent Resolutions

Think about whenever you’ve visited In-N-Out. You know you’re going to get great service and your meal is going to taste the same as every time before. Like with their burgers, people also expect consistency when they reach out to a company – no matter the channel, the agent on the other end or time of day.

In fact, In our own consumer research, we found that consistency in a company’s service and experience is one of the most important factors in creating satisfied customers. Striving to provide consistent resolutions is something that is becoming increasingly critical – especially as people are more than eager to loudly share their negative experiences.

To measure consistency, use AI to analyze how agents respond to different people reaching out with the same query and flag discrepancies.

12. Net Promoter Score (NPS) As A Customer Service KPI

Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures loyalty and the probability that someone will recommend your company to other people. NPS looks at overall, long-term brand perception, and is measured by asking a simple question: On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend [company] to a friend/colleague? 

NPS can be an indicator of growth potential for a company because peer recommendations carry so much weight in our society that is social media-obsessed.

13. Customer Retention

You should track the retention rate of your customers who reached out with an issue. Did they come back and buy from you again? Did you manage their issue well enough for it to not rupture your relationship with the customer? This will require integrating into your CRM platform, and making sure all systems (agent desk, eCommerce, etc.) are feeding data in and out of your CRM for a 360-degree customer view.

This is also a key performance indicator for determining overall customer loyalty to your brand, so the implications of good customer retention go beyond repeat purchases.

14. Employee Turnover Rate (ETR)

Employee Turnover Rate is the percentage of employees who leave a company within a certain amount of time. If you run a large support team, make sure you have a close pulse on your ETR so you can address issues head-on. The cost of replacing employees (recruiting, training and onboarding) is huge and any time you have a new agent, there is potential for inconsistency and other metrics to slide. 

15. Top Performing Agents

You’ll want to track and recognize your agents who have the lowest average handle time, highest first contact resolution, solve a large volume of tickets, deliver high CSAT and more. Ensure your agent desk platform allows you to drill down to specific agent performance, including both human and AI-powered virtual agents.

What is a Customer Service KPI Dashboard?

A customer service KPI dashboard is a place where managers can access data in real-time – whether it’s CSAT, resolution time or effort score. Data is presented in graphs or charts and is continuously updated, enabling leaders to understand exactly how their team is performing. Within a dashboard, you can examine how your team is performing over time. And if you make new hires, change policies or procedures, or adopt technology like AI, you can easily see how performance is affected. 

You can create your own dashboard, or access out-of-the-box data platforms from agent desk software like Salesforce, Zendesk, Gladly or Freshdesk, among other customer experience management platforms. 

Why are Top Customer Service KPI Metrics Hard to Achieve? 

Managing a customer support function is harder than ever. There are more channels to support, higher volume and stretched – and stressed – agents. Here are the top 6 challenges impacting support team KPIs:

1. Elevated Customer Expectations

Meeting modern customer expectations is getting harder to do; people expect quick, convenient high-quality resolutions on their terms. People expect more, and although many companies have been trying to improve their support, whether it’s live chat or online wikis and customer self service options, more than 50% of U.S. consumers have not seen any improvement in customer service over the last 12 months. Twenty-three percent have reported that customer service has grown slightly or significantly worse.

2. Conversation Juggling

With the pressure to resolve tickets quicker, agents on digital channels like live chat and social messaging are often carrying on multiple conversations at the same time. This opens the door for distraction and mistakes.

3. Information Silos

In order to fully resolve tickets with personalization and context, agents often have to access information from various back-end systems of record – whether it’s CRM, order management systems, booking systems, knowledge base platforms, or logistics systems. This creates more work for agents that results in wait time and longer resolution times. 

4. Angry Customers

An article in the Los Angeles Times has referred to customer service agents as the “punching bag” on the front lines2.. The article focuses on the airline industry, but I would argue that agents across all industries deal with difficult customers daily. According to the publication, “Agents are subjected to verbal abuse almost daily. It’s a thankless job requiring patience and thick skin.” Agents often bear the brunt when something goes wrong – whether it’s a missing ingredient in a meal-kit, a lost bag, or lost package. 

5. Unavoidable Crises and Ticket Surges

When the COVID-19 pandemic crept across the world, customer service teams were dealing with a surge in volume, evolving policies and new remote work environments. Many companies stopped measuring customer satisfaction during this time as they were simply trying to get back to customers, which often took days. When a crisis hits, it’s hard to maintain the same level of service previously provided, especially when using a human-only team that is affected by new work environments, external pressure and stress, and can’t scale output as volume surges. 

6. Not Measuring the Right Customer Service KPI Goals

While this might sound very basic, you need to have the right systems in place to actually measure the business-critical KPIs before you can look to improve them. If you use multiple engagement platforms, make sure all of the data is analyzed together to provide a true picture of how your support engine is performing.

How Can You Improve Your Customer Service KPI Metrics?

So how can companies actually deliver against customer expectations and turn support into a business driver? There are 3 specific ways that companies can improve their customer service KPIs: 

1. Hire More Human Agents

To decrease resolution time and first response rate, companies can simply hire more agents. However, hiring an army of new agents to work around-the-clock and man all of the traditional and emerging support channels is cost prohibitive for most companies. The average salary for customer service agents is $35,437 in the U.S. [source]. You must also consider costs for human agent desk platforms, overhead costs, paid time off, sick days and more.

2. Outsource Customer Service

Many companies hire outside teams to manage customer service, but while outsourcing your customer support operations is a popular choice to save on costs, you’ll need to keep a close eye on consistency, agent training and CSAT.

3. Bring AI Into The Organization In The Form Of Virtual Agents

Companies are starting to bring AI into their workforce to automate and augment support. The companies that leverage AI-powered virtual assistants are seeing upticks in customer satisfaction and other KPIs.


Are customer satisfaction surveys still relevant? Click to learn more.


Adopting AI can help improve customer service KPIs in two core ways: 

  1. Automate resolutions to repeatable issues:
    AI can respond instantaneously to high-volume, simple queries like order status and return requests. 
  2. Augment human agent work: AI can help agents work faster by gathering data from a customer prior to handoff, or pulling information from other business systems like your CMS and eCommerce platforms. The AI can package up all relevant data to pass along to an agent who can quickly review, make a decision and communicate with the customer.

Give your customers instant answers to up to 85% of customer service issues with our Zoho chatbot.


How Do You Measure AI-powered Virtual Agents Against Your Customer Service KPI Goals For Human Agents?

Seventy-seven percent of executives have already implemented conversational bots for after-sales and customer service3. With more companies turning to AI, it’s important to understand the relevant KPIs for virtual agents.

Whether you’re tracking the performance of human or AI-powered virtual agents, you need to look at the same key metrics. Yes, that’s right. measure AI like you measure your human employees. Track the impact human and virtual agents are having on CSAT, retention rates, how well they collaborate with teammates, how successful they are at cross-selling, and the underlying metrics related to efficiency in closing tickets. This is a new way of measuring the impact of an automated customer service technology platform. Virtual agents are performing human work and need to be measured in the same way. 

Need help improving your overall customer service KPI? Discover how other companies improved their most business-critical customer support KPIs.

References 

  1. https://chatbotslife.com/chatbot-2019-trends-and-stats-with-insider-reports-fb71697deee4 
  2. https://www.latimes.com/travel/story/2019-11-14/airline-customer-service-agents-mistreated-angry-passengers 
  3. https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/pdf-77/accenture-research-conversational-ai-platforms.pdf 

The 5 Top Customer Centricity Examples in 2021

Written by  on   Jul 29, 2021

Customer centricity. Customer obsession. Customer focus. 

These are not just boardroom buzzwords but rather essential principles for businesses today – from global enterprises to innovative upstarts. Over the last 10-15 years there has been a pivot from being price- and product-focused to centering everything around the customer. Starbucks, Nordstrom, Hilton, Amazon and other brands have created the blueprint for customer experience and customer relationship management (CRM), and have shaped customer expectations for brand interactions. In 2021, all companies need to take a radically customer centric approach. 

In this post, we’re answering questions like: 

  • What is customer centricity?
  • Why is customer centricity important?
  • How to be customer centric
  • What are the top customer centricity examples?

What is Customer Centricity? 

Customer centricity means you put the customer at the center of everything you do. Your products, in-store and digital experiences, and customer service are all designed with the goal of providing a consistently great experience and adding value. The entire company has a ‘customer culture’ and removes siloes to provide a cohesive, unified experience. 

Customer centric companies remove friction, preemptively solve problems and meet customer needs in unique ways. These companies often leverage powerful technology like machine learning, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence, in addition to sophisticated CRM platforms to provide truly effortless interactions and hyper-personalization

Customer centricity can exist across a variety of dimensions of a business including Customer Support, Marketing, and Sales departments.

What is Customer Centric Selling?

In a nutshell, customer centric selling is a selling strategy that values building meaningful relationships with your customers as opposed to pushy sales tactics. Similarly, customer centric service also is about focusing on growing meaningful relationships, but in the context of the customer support role.


 “Human-centric marketing is defined by brands that approach engaging their current and prospective customers via advertising and marketing tactics as whole human beings with hearts, minds, and spirits.” — Philip Kotler


Why is Customer Centricity important?

Customers today expect more. And this comes at a time when customer experience (CX) is the primary differentiator in a sea of sameness. CX now dictates where people spend their money and develop loyalty. Companies need to obsess over providing positive experiences and adding value in order to create a positive view in people’s minds. Every interaction matters. CX expert Shep Hyken says: “Customers notice almost everything. In fact, their brains are wired to make a note of anything they don’t like1.” 

Adopting a customer centric mindset is crucial for many reasons: 

  • Every interaction matters: One in three customers will leave a brand they love after one bad experience2
  • A customer centric philosophy can reduce customer acquisition costs: It’s more expensive than ever to acquire new customers: it’s 5X more expensive to acquire a new customer than keep an existing one. 
  • Customer centricity unlocks revenue: 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience3. Personalization alone can increase overall consumer spending up to 500%4
  • Customer centricity motivates people to recommend your brand: More than 65% of customers said that their experience on the website or app would be at least a “very important” factor in their willingness to recommend a brand. 

How to be customer centric

The first step in becoming customer centric is understanding what your customers need and want. Take frequent pulses on pain points and identify and eliminate friction points: 96% of customers with a high-effort service interaction become more disloyal compared to 9% who have a low-effort experience5. The key to creating such an experience is for the team to be intimately familiar with the customer’s journey through your buying experience.

Customer centricity is also created by personalizing and contextualizing experiences, something that 75% of customers expect today6. This involves surfacing the right products, experiences and information to specific customers at the exact moment of relevance. To do this, companies need to get away from silos and disconnected systems to connect all of the dots of the customer into one centralized view. According to Professor PhD Luigi-Nicolae DUMITRESCU, “You cannot departmentalize a customer centric approach. It must emanate from the very heart of the organization. All departments need to work in harmony, if not complete synchronicity in all communications with customers.7” 

Customer centric brands also understand that you can’t be everything to everyone. In his book, Customer Centricity, Wharton professor Peter Fader encourages companies to look at the “overall customer lifetime value and concentrate efforts on those customer segments that were most valuable and interesting to optimize profit8.” Segment your customers to identify the best ones and develop strategies to provide these segments with the best experience. Don’t put resources into courting customers who don’t pay off in LTV. The most efficient way to accomplish this is by using a customer relationship management platform.

Creating a customer centric mindset needs to be managed by an internal champion overseeing everything to do with the customer. In an indication of the shift away from price focus and product focus to customer focus, the role of the Chief Customer Officer has been one of the fastest-growing. In fact, 22% of Fortune 100 companies and 10% of Fortune 500 companies now have chief customer officers9

The top 5 customer centricity examples you haven’t seen anywhere else 

Companies like Starbucks, Amazon, Netflix and Walt Disney World are often cited for their customer centricity, as they should be. In this post, we wanted to find customer centricity examples that you may have never seen before. 

1. Wayfair uses AI and data for hyper-personalization

Wayfair offers over eight million products, from furniture and décor to appliances and storage10. It has 37,173 kinds of coffee mugs alone, and when you account for different colors, sizes or materials, there are over 70,000 options11. Without taking a customer centric approach, the user experience would be overwhelming and time-consuming. 

The company uses predictive analytics and AI to create detailed buyer personas to show the most relevant products for customers, eliminating the need to scroll through pages and pages of products to find something they like. Wayfair “uses machine learning technology to work out which products complement one another and recommend them to customers. This makes sure that Wayfair isn’t wasting its customers’ time by recommending products that simply won’t work with the items they already own12.”

According to Wayfair Cofounder Steve Conine: “On average, we capture and store four terabytes of data every day and over the course of a year, we track approximately 40 billion customer actions on our site…..Data has been democratized across the organization — it can be accessed and used regardless of whether an employee works in marketing, logistics, or engineering. Data has allowed the company to better execute on its strategy through improved personalization.” 

2. Stitch Fix removes the hassle of clothes shopping 

Stitch Fix is one of the most fascinating customer centricity examples. The company gets to know customers through a personalized style quiz, and then after finding out clothing style and color preferences, favorite brands and styles, and budget, stylists curate pieces and outfits for the individual customer. There’s no subscription, items can be easily returned and you only buy the products that you like. Points of friction have been identified and eliminated. 

The company relies on AI and big data to power its operations. CEO Kristina Lake says, “Data science isn’t woven into our culture; it is our culture13.” The company reviews style trends, preferences, sizing info, and inventory. Stitch Fixes AI algorithms and data experts determine what styles typically work for each type of customer. And this is paying off: Stitch Fix increases its client base by 17% each year and currently serves more than 3.5 million customers14

3. Ikea’s In-Store and Digital Experience Elevate the CX 

The customer centricity at IKEA runs deep. According to Maja Bricevic, a Communications Specialist with IKEA Canada, “IKEA’s vision is to create a better everyday life for the many, and is committed to meeting the needs of its customers by creating a great customer experience, whenever and wherever [customers] want to meet us.”

The Swedish home retailer is recognized for its immersive in-store customer experience. Customers shop carefully furnished and curated spaces, visit a food court and snack on famous meatballs and even take advantage of complimentary childcare. 

Apart from the in-store experience, IKEA’s digital experience is also very customer centric. One way the customer delivers this is through its IKEA Place app. Shopping for home furniture can be challenging to imagine how an item will look in your space. The app gives customers the ability to virtually place true-to-scale 3D models in their own space, furnish a whole room in one tap or find the perfect product by searching with your camera. 

4. L’Oreal mixes up makeup on demand 

Unlike products like toys or books, which are the same for everyone, makeup looks different on every customer. To help customers find the exact right shade, the company launched L’Oréal Perso, an AI-powered smart device that creates custom formulas for lipstick, foundation, and skincare. A customer uploads a picture to the Preso app “which will use AI to identify skin conditions like dark spots, large pores, or wrinkles.” The app layers in real-time contextual data to account for environmental concerns that affect the skin, including pollution, pollen, and UV index. All of this is used to create a custom formula that is dispensed in a perfectly portioned, single-dose. 

The company aims to give consumers more control over their makeup and skincare, according to Guive Balooch, global vice president of L’Oréal Technology Incubator15. “Consumers have been asking to be part of the process of their beauty and have a stronger relationship with how well it’s working. [With Perso], you become part of the process of your cosmetics,” he says. 

5. Hilton treats every loyalty member like a true VIP 

Hilton is one of the biggest hotel brands in the world, boasting 6,110 properties with more than 971,000 rooms in 119 countries and territories. Annually, 178 million guests stay at its properties. Even with these extraordinary numbers, the brand has implemented strategies to be truly customer centric. The driving force behind this is the Hilton Honors guest loyalty program, which has over 115 million members16

With the free Hilton Honors mobile app, guests can book their stay, select the exact room they want, order meals, check-in and out, unlock their door and elevators with a Digital Key, all from their smartphone17. The honors program and app provide a truly frictionless experience from booking and pre-stay to on-site. Because of these digital interactions and building rich customer profiles, “front desk staff can focus on more valuable face-to-face interactions, while guests avoid worrying about losing hotel room keys.” 

Final Thoughts: Customer centricity is here to stay 

Keeping the customer at the center of everything you do is a must for companies to compete, build loyalty and generate revenue. Customer centricity needs to be a fabric of every modern organization, with siloes eliminated and departments working together with the same goal: create positive customer interactions that deliver value across the entire customer lifecycle. 

Are you interested in making one of these customer-centricity lists? Let’s discuss how AI can transform your company into a customer-centric powerhouse. 

For more information, visit:

References 

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/shephyken/2021/07/11/three-facets-of-customer-experience-youre-overlooking/ 
  2. https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/consulting/library/consumer-intelligence-series/future-of-customer-experience.html
  3. https://www.superoffice.com/blog/customer-experience-statistics/
  4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2019/04/29/does-it-still-cost-5x-more-to-create-a-new-customer-than-retain-an-old-one/?sh=706ef3b83516
  5. https://www.ttec.com/sites/default/files/eb-cx-trends-the-2021-edition.pdf
  6. https://www.zendesk.com/blog/digital-tipping-point-mid-large/
  7. http://www.mnmk.ro/documents/2007/2007-7.pdf
  8. https://www.i-scoop.eu/understanding-customer-life-cycle-calculating-value/
  9. http://www.ccocouncil.org/site/cco-study.aspx
  10. https://www.wayfair.com/shop-the-look/dsp/wayfair+catalog-d7033755
  11. https://www.wsj.com/articles/retailers-use-ai-to-improve-online-recommendations-for-shoppers-11604330308
  12. https://etaileast.wbresearch.com/blog/wayfair-using-artificial-intelligence-augmented-reality-to-become-ecommerce-challenger
  13. https://hbr.org/2018/05/stitch-fixs-ceo-on-selling-personal-style-to-the-mass-market
  14. https://sharpencx.com/blog/customer-experience-improvement-program-tips-from-stitch-fix/
  15. https://www.allure.com/story/loreal-perso-customized-skin-care-makeup-device
  16. https://newsroom.hilton.com/hilton-honors/news/hilton-reaches-100-million-hilton-honors-members-milestone
  17. https://hiltonhonors3.hilton.com/rs/hilton-honors-mobile-app/

Email Support: The Pros and Cons of AI Customer Service Tools (Updated July 2021)

Written by Can Ozdoruk  on   Jul 25, 2021

Customers today demand more. To meet expectations for convenience, companies need to offer omnichannel programs and email support system solutions. While channels like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook Messenger and WeChat gain prominence, email support will dominate as the digital channel of choice for customer service in the foreseeable future.

According to Hubspot4, 62% of customers want to communicate with companies via email for customer service. This compares to 48% who want to use the phone, 42% who like live chat, and 36% who want “Contact Us” forms. An aside: the best chatbots can work on email (as opposed to just chat and social channels).

Consumers prefer to communicate with customer service 47% more often over email compared to live chat.

An email support system is superior in many ways. It’s not asynchronous and therefore is inherently more convenient. A person can send an email to a company and walk away, checking for a response when it’s convenient for them. A person is not committed to engaging in a real-time conversation which can get interrupted or lost due to connectivity issues or by simply clicking to a new Web page. Email also keeps a record. Emails can be stored and accessed later. On a phone call or Webchat interaction, no record exists.


Learn more about companies using chatbots for customer service.


Why Aren’t Traditional Email Support Systems Meeting Expectations?

Email is the most used digital customer service channel according to Forrester 1, but 62% of companies do not respond to customer support emails2. This presents a real risk to customer loyalty and satisfaction.

For the companies that do respond by email, they are not doing so quickly enough. Customers expect businesses to respond to their emails within an hour3. The average response time to a customer service request is 12 hours and 10 minutes2. Furthermore, only 20% of companies are able to completely answer questions on the first reply2.

From these numbers, it’s clear that email customer support needs to be improved. Customers want resolutions in their inbox. Making this worse, customer expectations for service in every channel are increasing; they expect faster response times and better responses. Companies like Amazon and Zappos have set the benchmarks for customer service, and people now demand quick, convenient support from every company they do business with.

“The handful of companies that respond promptly and accurately to customer emails increase trust in their brand, bolster customer satisfaction, and boost sales both online and offline.”

How Can Conversational AI Impact Your CSAT?

When launching an AI-powered Agent, email is often forgotten. Most companies start with social channels or live chat. Email, however, offers incredible benefits in terms of training an AI and delivering high customer satisfaction (CSAT).

AI Agents managing email conversations need to be more advanced than those deployed on a website or social channels. This is because email messages are typically longer and contain multiple intents. It’s important that you leverage a conversational AI platform that has the ability to decipher the intent from longer messages within the right context to be able to accurately resolve a ticket and reduce frustration.

Conversational chatbot AI can eventually manage over 50% of emails without human intervention, according to what we see from our customers. This offers the convenience and immediacy customers want on their preferred channel which keeps CSAT high.


Discover the key questions to ask when scheduling a chatbot demo.


Should You Launch a Virtual Agent on Your Customer Support Email?

Training an AI is initially done using historic data.

When you’re training an AI, it’s important to not focus on how you think people ask a question, i.e., the FAQs listed on your online help center or knowledge base, but how people are actually asking questions. In one example, Comcast found that their customers ask the simple question “I want to see my bill” in 7,500 unique word and phrase combinations.

By training with historic data, you’re able to set the AI Agent up for success by giving it knowledge and confidence to correctly classify intents across a larger number of utterances. The more data that’s available, the more accurate an AI will be. Because email has been used by companies for much longer than other channels, companies tend to have a much larger dataset.

Email is the most desired and used channel by customer service organizations and their customers.

When providing and omnichannel experience, it’s important to note that your customers ask things differently based on the channel in which they are seeking support. Chat is usually succinct. An email might contain multiple questions and additional detail. In a nutshell, people will ask things differently on email than other channels. So using your troves of historic email data will be most useful if you’re using it to train an email-based Conversational AI.

How Can Email Impact Reinforcement Learning?

People don’t expect an answer immediately on email like they do on chat or voice. This allows companies to start leveraging an AI Agent “behind the scenes” and conduct reinforcement learning. In this type of training, an AI Agent has no direct interaction with the customer. Instead, an AI reviews every incoming email and suggests a response to a human agent. The AI learns how the human agent responds in order to build confidence over time. Because the expectation for instantaneous support does not exist with an email support system, you have the leeway to train with real interactions without disrupting the customer experience.

Excited to deploy AI for your email? We can kick start improving your email channel by free analysis of AI fit in your organization. Just ask us how.

References