When trying to improve their customer service, company managers are often faced with a difficult problem. The most common issue is not that there is nothing to improve. The issue is that you cannot figure out what to fix first. Customer service agents will complain about a certain aspect of customer management software while your sales team may have a completely different set of problems to face. And separate from them, you have customers and their various complaints. So, among all of that information, how are you to determine what to do? Well, this is a prime example of where data-driven decisions boost customer service.
What are data-driven decisions?
For those that are new to business management, we will first give a quick explanation of what data-driven decisions are. Namely, these are decisions that you make based on gathered data. This, in the case of customer service data, usually comes from customers. But, it can come from whatever source you chose to monitor. Your employees, your services, your marketing… All of them can yield valuable data that you’ll use to make decisions.
The difficult part lies in determining how you are going to gather the data, and later interpret it. For this, you need to have the gata gathering tools, and the experience to make the right interpretations. If you manage to gather and interpret data properly you will make decisions based on objective parameters, not intuitive feelings or personal impressions. These decisions usually have a much better chance of yielding results. After all, they are based on objective facts while your impressions can only be based on personal experiences.
How data-driven decisions boost customer service
As you can imagine, data-driven decisions can help improve almost every aspect of your company. This includes customer service, where finding the issue is usually the most difficult aspect. Luckily, there are ways to set up parameters so that you track the right aspect of customers service and ensure that they are improved in a timely fashion.
Finding the issues at hand
The first thing to do is to come to terms with the fact that you cannot boost your entire customer service at once. Customer management can be a terribly complicated process, which is why it requires CRM software. Therefore, trying to tackle it all at once will only bring confusion. Instead, you need to carefully outline what the primary issue is and then focus your efforts on it.
Here is where objective data helps. Every member of your customer management team will likely have their own idea of what the issue is. While their input is valuable, you should see it as more of a guide. It will likely point you to the issue, but not show it entirely. To track it down you need to build a theory and set up parameters to track it. For instance, if you believe that one of your agents isn’t performing properly, you can implement performance metrics to keep track of them. If you believe that your customer management team takes too much time to tackle repetitive issues, you can implement metrics to track their performance. After that, you can compare your measures to average results that you find online, to see if there are any outliers.
Coming up with effective solutions
Once you’ve outlined the issue at hand, you need to come up with a solution. Most solutions will not provide an overnight fix. In most cases, you will need to wait for a while before you can see the effects. This is why, apart from finding the issues, you also need to gather data in order to see if the solution is taking effect. The more precise you are with your measures, the more you can determine what is actually going on.
If the solution is doing what is supposed to, great. If, not, you will at least have a better of what the issues are. This is why historical data is so important for forecasting. With it, you are able to learn from prior mistakes. Most customer service problems require a bit of trial and error, especially if you have little prior experience. But, the better you are at gathering and interpreting data, the easier it will be to hone into the real issue.
Keeping track of your decisions
As we mentioned, customer management is a complicated problem. Therefore, to keep track of your decisions, you best rely on data. Apart from monitoring the issue, you are trying to solve, you should also see how your changes impact the company as a whole. Some solutions can cause more problems than the issue they are trying to solve. And to avoid this from getting out of hand, you need to keep track of the changes in your company, in real-time. Relying on impressions or employee input is usually ineffective, as there is always a delay.
Final thoughts on making data-driven decisions
No matter what your business is, you are going to use personal impressions and intuition to run it. While it may seem that data-driven decisions are the way of the future, we simply cannot take stock of all the factors. The main reason data-driven decisions boost customer service is that they negate much of the negative aspects of personal impressions. But, nevertheless, relying solely on them will simply render you blind to the personal aspect.
Instead, you need to use data as a tool and help it boost your understanding of your company. When used properly, data-driven decisions can give you the power to make the right calls at the right team, and come up with solutions that none even considered. But, it takes experience, the proper software, and a bit of intuition to make those kinds of decisions.
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