Today’s customers expect companies to meet them on their terms across many support channels. While this is convenient for the customer, it creates challenges for organizations to deliver a cohesive and consistent support experience. To ensure you’re meeting customer expectations and delivering the same level of support across all channels, it’s important to collect feedback from each channel. In this article, we’ll discuss the metrics you should be measuring and which support channels work best for your business.

Knowing your metrics

Knowing what customer service metrics to measure is the first step to optimizing your customer service. There are two types of data to measure: experience data (X-data) and operational data (O-Data). X-data is the human factor data — the beliefs, the emotions, and the sentiments. It’s the human feedback that points to the gaps between what you think is happening and what’s really happening. Examples include customer satisfaction (CSAT), net promoter score (NPS), and customer effort score (CES). O-data are tangible records of tangible activities such as sales data, finance data, and HR data. Examples include first response time, overall resolution rate, and customer ticket request volume.

It’s important to measure both X-data and O-data to get a complete picture of the customer experience. Many organizations only measure operational metrics, and they miss what the customer actually wants entirely. For instance, your overall resolution rate might be very high but your customers are dissatisfied because it took too much effort to get their issue resolved. Looking at the X-data would show a low CES score and that would be the metric to improve.

Omnichannel support requires omnichannel customer experience

Consumers today expect an omnichannel customer experience where they can put down one device and pick up right where they left off on another. Gone are the days when companies created separate experiences for desktop, mobile, and tablet. Now, there should be one consistent experience that customers can access from any device.

This translates to your support experience as well. Consumers want the ability to contact you on the channel of their choice and get the same level of support. This means your customers should have the same ease of service by calling on the phone and chatting with you online.

Your digital properties have to pull double duty

It’s important to make it as easy to find support contact channels as it is your sales and marketing channels. Customers should be able to find customer service information on your homepage and live chat should always be present.

Corporate website

Most consumers will go to your corporate website to find support options. The support or contact us tab should be easy to find. For example, on the popular project management software maker, Atlassian’s website, there is a support tab present in the top navigation.

Live chat

92% of consumers are satisfied with live chat, making it the highest-rated engagement channel, according to ZenDesk. Consumers love live chat because it’s easy to use from any device and they can multi-task while chatting. On the flip side, your agents can also multi-task and speak to multiple customers at once, saving time, serving more customers overall, and increasing sales.

Social media

Consumers who contact you through social media want a fast response. In fact, 32% of social media users who contact a brand expect a response within 30 minutes, and 42% expect a response within 60 minutes (The Social Habit). Furthermore, a Gartner study found that not responding can lead to a 15% increase in churn rate. You must constantly monitor social media mentions and using a digital tool like SproutSocial or Mention could help.

Phone numbers

Although many customers would rather use a digital channel to contact you, some would still rather speak to a live representative. Your phone support hours should be listed on your website and one support option should be 24/7 available and listed next to the phone number in case the customer wants to reach you after hours.

Email

Email is the most commonly used support channel, according to Forrester, and most consumers want a response within one day. The best service companies target a response time of under one hour.

Use software to keep data centralized

To keep data organized, make sure all your feedback is going to a central place to be analyzed. A single dashboard will allow you to see how your support levels compare on each channel and where you need to make improvements. It will also be easier to get executive buy-in and activate your entire organization.

The customer experience is changing and consumers value convenience when getting the support they need. By measuring and optimizing the right metrics, you’ll be sure to understand your customer’s expectations and stay ahead of the competition.