Boulder, Colorado based digital marketing agency, The Creative Alliance, has a new resource on customer service KPIs and user experience design.
If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a frantic call from a customer, you know that it takes a great deal of patience and understanding to de-escalate the situation, address their concerns, and turn their disappointment into delight at a satisfactory resolution. It also takes a great deal of empathy, which is an important common thread between great customer service and exceptional user experience (UX) design. In growing companies that don’t have UX design teams, customer service representatives often bear the burden of compensating for poor interface design by filling in the information gaps and handling tasks a user can’t complete on their own. This can leave a customer service team feeling like it’s drowning in a flood of calls, emails, and endless negative feedback.
Leveraging Metrics to Inform UX Design
When you’re ready to make the long-term investment in better UX in order to take some stress off your customer service team (and to increase conversions as a bonus!), where do you begin?
How might you better understand the unmet needs of your customers? And if your goal is to reduce the friction customers experience when interacting with your website or apps and support higher interaction volumes, how will you gauge the success of the UX enhancements you make?
The key is to gather data both before and after a UX-improvement initiative. Changes in customer service metrics can not only help you identify the areas that need attention, but they can also help you determine the effectiveness of the UX changes implemented to address those customer roadblocks.
A Deeper Dive for More Helpful Insights
Many customer relationship management (CRM) systems can track key customer service metrics, like:
- Call and email volume
- CSAT (customer satisfaction)
- FRT (first response time)
- AHT (average handle time)
These are great metrics when you want a bird’s eye view of your support operations. They not only indicate how your customers feel about the support they’re receiving, but also the products or services you’re offering. However, these figures are really just scratching the surface.
Let’s say you’re experiencing a spike in email volume and a drop in customer satisfaction. Your natural response will likely be, “Why?”
Undesirable changes in KPIs should prompt research into the cause or causes of those changes. Capturing and analyzing both quantitative and qualitative feedback can help you pinpoint the source of poor customer experiences and then develop and implement changes to correct the problem.
In our example, you might begin by determining why an increasing number of customers are calling and emailing. Can you and your team identify the top five reasons for customer calls and emails? Of this list, are there any tasks a user can complete on their own, without customer service support? That might factor into the solution you implement.
You may have a tool like Qualtrix to help automatically categorize customer interactions based on topics and sentiment. However, you don’t necessarily need a tool of this caliber. Instead, you can devise ways to track topic and sentiment using your CRM system.
For example, in Zendesk, you can create “macros” or canned responses with preset tags to categorize customer emails for data analysis. This helps quantify the types of requests or topics of feedback. You may also simply collect so-called “voice of the customer” information-meaning dialogue from your customers around a given area of concern—to share internally with your team.
Using all of the data and insights at your disposal, you then modify your UX to address the problems you have uncovered. With the solution in place, you can and should update your KPIs and use the new targets to measure the effectiveness of your designs.
A Real-World Example of UX Enhancement
In a case study shared by Qualtrix, ComEd, an electrical utility company, observed a dip in customer satisfaction that prompted research into the customer experience they were providing.
Through customer feedback, ComEd was able to identify that the design of their billing statement was a serious pain point for their customers. Many people misunderstood their statement and thought they were being billed more than they actually were.
Using these findings, ComEd launched a redesign of its billing statement. The updated document does a better job of communicating actual energy costs, which has produced a measurable increase in customer satisfaction.
Great customer service and outstanding user experience design work in unison to help create happy, loyal customers. By monitoring customer service KPIs, you can not only identify opportunities to improve your UX design, but also assess the performance of changes you make to your products or services in order to fine-tune them.