Reports. We all have to run them, and read them, and receive them, or submit them, and definitely explain them. But sometimes we get so caught up in the actions surrounding reports that we neglect to actually understand them.

As a customer service professional, you have all sorts of data at your fingertips. From time to first response to hourly ticket totals to the number of chat sessions per day and everything in between, a good customer service system can provide you with the metrics needed to improve your service operation. But if you don’t understand them, you can’t build the strategies and appropriate actions to make a positive impact. Then it becomes reporting for the sake of reporting.

Quality data—and the right customer experience management tools–-enable you to view what is actually happening in your support operations, spot trends, and ultimately make good business decisions.

This blog series explores how to interpret key data and implement strategies as a result

Ticket open and close times: Monitoring the number of tickets your team is opening, the time to first response, and the length of time to close them gives you a window into trends that may be developing behind the scenes.

What it means: Long delays for an initial response can set the tone for your customer. If it takes hours or even days to acknowledge the ticket, it starts off that interaction on a negative note that you may not recover from. Couple that with long close times and the customer’s frustration heightens as the process goes on. Even when the issue gets resolved, the lost time and annoyance remains.

Strategies: Set a standard for an initial response to a ticket and put systems in place that enable support teams to meet the standard. For example, MachMotion’s standard is to first respond to a ticket within four hours. Once you master that and get off on the right foot, develop similar standards for resolution times.

Determine if the trends indicate a development issue—such as multiple tickets regarding the same technical problem—or a customer agent training issue that can be helped with some one-on-one coaching.

In Part 2 of this blog series, we’ll explore how to use reporting to determine how happy your customers are and what to do if they’re not.