Article | 3 min read

Raising the bar as a customer support leader

By Ka Lau, Growth marketing manager

Last updated September 21, 2021

You can learn more about being a customer support leader by watching our recorded “Raising the Bar” webinar.

“That which is measured, improves.”

That famous quote attributed to Karl Pearsons, one of the founders of mathematical statistics, has taken on a lot of meaning to a lot of people in the era of Big Data. But to move your business forward, you can’t just to quantify and measure your efforts – you must do something worthwhile with the data and always be thinking about how to be innovative with your actionable approach.

This is extremely true as a support leader in customer service. There are lots of metrics that come out of customer service, but success in assisting your customers goes beyond mere awareness of them. On that matter, our recent “Raising the Bar” webinar had a great quote from Cyrus Dorosti, Support Director at Optimizely: “It’s not about which metric you use, but how you use it.”

Finding what matters in a metric

To some degree, it does matter which metrics your organization makes use of. Some will find that particular (and popular) metrics don’t always necessarily provide the context that you’re looking for.

For example, Cyrus mentioned that he doesn’t solely rely customer satisfaction (CSAT) for insights into the customer experience. He says that customer effort score (CES) is able to get into the proactive nature of the customer and Net Promoter Score (NPS) gives good insight in the health of their organization. While CSAT is good for real-time results about the customer’s interaction with the support agent, the information that needs to be shared with the customer service team and other stakeholders requires a holistic approach.

Finding operational baselines from where new efficiencies can grow

Once you’re aware of what to look for, there needs to be baselines set in order to figure out how healthy your customer service operations are. One example is to set a cost per unit, which is simply your total budget divided by those meaningful units (like tickets, if you’re using Zendesk).

With those baselines set, they can be broken down into different categories, like channels, customer segments, and cases. From there, support leaders are able to pilot new initiatives with efficiencies in mind. Optimizely did this by validating a hypothesis based on increasing ticket deflection and used a Javascript-based overlay modal to test it – and eventually proving it with a 50% increase in ticket deflection.

Setting goals and closing the loop

To move the KPI’s that matter, you’ll want to give your team’s goals to shoot for. Ben Collet, Director of Global Advocacy at Zendesk, recommends giving your team “stretch goals”; goals that are just beyond your internal SLAs but are still attainable by your agents. For example, if you want to improve your first reply time by 10%, give your agents a 15% goal.

You’ll want to constantly experiment and test all that you can, but you have to do something actionable with that data (Cyrus notes to look out for “data paralysis”: when you have so much data that you don’t know what to do with it). Take your information and close the loop on it. Being actionable with your findings is the best way that you can develop your organization and provide value to your customers.

Watch the recorded “Raising the Bar” webinar here.

The Zendesk guide to customer service metrics

Learn the ins and outs of the most important customer service metrics that matter the most to your company.

The Zendesk guide to customer service metrics

Learn the ins and outs of the most important customer service metrics that matter the most to your company.

Download the full guide