Since I became Senior Manager of Technical Support at WinMagic about seven months ago, my mandate has been to take the support organization here to the point where they were consistently delivering an exceptional customer experience. To do that, I needed to build a solid foundation using the skills and observations that I have acquired from elsewhere. My first step in this was to audit the technical support team and identify areas where improvement was needed or more focus needed to be applied. Through observation, looking at the metrics that were being gathered, and even learning the product so that I could take customer calls in the interest of seeing firsthand what customers experience was, I was able to come up with these key building blocks as part of my foundation for exceptional customer experience. Since February 1st, we’ve been tracking these key items:
- Answering a call in 60 seconds or less 95% of the time: Why is this important? Nobody likes to be on hold waiting to speak to someone to get help with an issue. Thus that’s why I set a target for my team to answer calls in 60 seconds or less 95% of the time because we respect our customers time and want to get you into the hands of someone who can help you as quickly as possible. We are close to achieving that goal as at the moment as we are answering calls in 60 seconds 94.26% of the time.
- Having an abandon rate of 5% or less: The abandon rate is the percentage of callers who hang up before getting to a technical support agent. This is one metric that I am absolutely passionate about as I strongly feel that if a customer hangs up before speaking to a technical support agent, we have failed that customer. While there is no standard for this metric as such, the target for contact centers is generally 5%. I’m happy to say that we are doing much better than that by achieving a 2.54% abandon rate and I think there’s further room for improvement.
- Customer Satisfaction Scores of 90% or higher: Feedback from our customers is something that I covered in my first blog post from a few weeks ago. It is important that we find out what our customers think about the service that we provide so that we can make whatever adjustments that are required to meet their needs. And it is important that my technical support agents know what our customers think about us and use that information to deliver an exceptional customer experience. So we ask our customers what they think of the service that they receive, and we are looking to consistently get scores in the “Agree” and “Strongly Agree” categories in the five questions that we ask. At the moment, we are doing that 92.08% of the time.
- We’ve increased our focus on developing our staff. That includes training on our products, areas related to our products such as different operating systems and hardware, and soft skills development. Because a better trained, better equipped and better prepared technical support agent will consistently deliver a better customer service experience.
- I’ve given my agents the latitude to do what is required to completely satisfy a customer’s needs. I spoke about that in my last post, and I feel that it is important that they have that latitude as you can’t set a limit on how long it will take to completely address the needs of a customer. That’s backed up by the call quality screening and case reviews that I spoke of in that same post.
While these items are the key building blocks to providing an exceptional customer experience, there is one other area that I would like to highlight that is also key. It is the commitment of an organization to fully support these initiatives. The sorts of things that I’ve outlined can be major changes for any organization as it often takes them outside their comfort zone. And asking your customers for feedback can be very scary as there are times where the feedback is ego bruising. Thus it is easy for many organizations to not go down this road at all, and instead simply choose to maintain the status quo.
So, what’s next? I believe that in the areas that I’ve outlined, we have room to improve further. We need to decisively act on the feedback that our customers provide so that we can raise our customer satisfaction scores into the 95% range or higher. Tied in with that is continuously making sure technical support agents are as skilled as possible. But you cannot stop once you’ve hit whatever targets you set for yourself. You need to constantly raise the bar as providing an exceptional customer experience isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. And it’s a journey that I am glad to be on.