You may think that your team is providing excellent customer service, but at the end of the day, that’s up to your customers to judge.

By tracking specific customer service metrics and analyzing qualitative feedback from customers in surveys, you can measure customer service effectiveness. This will allow you to identify what’s working well (so you can replicate it) and pinpoint areas where you can improve.

We caught up with industry expert Shep Hyken to learn more about how to measure customer service effectiveness.

InsightSquared: How do you think customer service teams should measure their effectiveness?

Shep Hyken: There are different ways to measure customer service effectiveness. The easiest way is to track Net Promoter Score® to determine whether or not you’ve done a good enough job to make customers want to recommend you.

Did they get their problem resolved? How many times did they have to call to get it resolved?

If you’re looking at a self-service metric, you want to say, “Okay, if we’re sending somebody to this self-service solution, like a video, how many calls are we getting on that particular problem after the customer has watched a video?” In other words, is the video working or not?

Everything can be measured. And the old adage is: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” So look at those measurements and find out what’s working. See what the response rate is, the feedback rate. And see how many times customers are calling back for the same issues.

Ask your employees what the top complaints are that customers experience. Once you have a list of what these are, just take the top two or three and work on those. See what you can do to eliminate or mitigate them.

How important is it for support teams to have a high first contact resolution rate?

Paramount. How important is it? That is it. That’s what customers hope for. If they have a question, they only want to ask it once.

If they have a question, they only want to ask it once.

How important do you think it is to resolve problems quickly after getting back to your customers and have a low handle time?

The idea is you want to restore confidence. If you manage get back to customers quickly, you will, in effect, restore that customer’s confidence.

What does your ideal survey look like?

My ideal survey is as little a hassle to the customer as possible. I know my auto dealership is very much into getting a perfect score on their surveys. And I recently said, “I’ll be happy to fill out your survey when it doesn’t take me 10 or 15 minutes to do it.” I believe short and sweet is best, which is why I like the Enterprise Rent-A-Car three question survey, which takes less than a minute or so. If you have enough customers, you can change up your questions and get some different ideas of where things are trending.

But at the end of the day, if you make a customer take 15 or 20 minutes to answer a survey, all the goodwill you have created may go away once they realize that you’re taking valuable time away from them right now.\

Do you think customers should be surveyed after every interaction? Or randomly? Or quarterly?

Ideally, if it’s a customer that keeps on coming back, there should be some consistency in surveying the customer. Going back to the auto dealership that I do business with…every time I do business with them, they send me a survey. There’s another company that I do business with – they’re an Internet-based company – and I get a survey from them once every quarter or so. Sometimes, companies send out surveys annually. I don’t know if annual is the right timeframe or not … What happens if something is wrong and just last month did the survey? Well, it’s going to be 11 months before you realize that they haven’t come back. The goal is to get consistent feedback.

Are quantitative surveys all that’s needed? Or should companies provide a space for customers to leave qualitative feedback?

I prefer the latter – having both. You definitely need the quantitative, but if you can get a response to the why a customer gave the answer that they did, that gives you a valuable insights. You can start to look for similarities and trends.

Want to learn more from Shep about how to measure customer service? Download our full interview here: The Keys to Customer Service Excellence with Shep Hyken.