How do you measure the quality of the hiring

9 practical ways to measure service quality

We like to measure things. How long we can hold our breath, our weight before and after training, the IQ of our children ... Through measurements we can make comparisons, set goals and initiate improvements. But some things are not that easy to measure. As is the service quality.

But capturing service quality is critical. While not the same as customer satisfaction - which has its own methods - there is a strong positive correlation between the two.

Here are 9 handy techniques and metrics for measuring the quality of your service.

SERVQUAL (quality of service + customer satisfaction)

This is the most common way of measuring the subjective elements of service quality. With the help of a survey, you ask your customers to rate the service provided compared to their expectations.

The questions deal with what, according to SERVQUAL, make up the 5 elements of service quality: RATER.

  • Reliability (Reliability) - the ability to deliver the promised service in a consistent and correct manner.
  • Assurance (Guarantee) - the level of knowledge and the friendliness of the employees and the extent to which they create trust and confidence.
  • Tangibles (Material assets) - the appearance; E.g. the building, the website, the facility and the employees.
  • Empathy (Compassion) - the extent to which employees care and give individual attention.
  • Responsiveness (Responsiveness) - how willing the employees are to offer a quick service.

Take a look at a sample SERVQUAL questionnaire here.

Mystery shopping

A popular method that is often used in retail stores as well as in hotels and restaurants - but it can also be used in any other service area. An “undercover customer” is hired to test the quality of your service - or of course, you put on a fake mustache and go yourself.

The undercover customer then evaluates the performance based on a number of criteria, e.g. that of SERVQUAL. This offers deeper insights than just observing the way your employees work. This one will probably be excellent - as long as her boss is around.

Post service rating (rating after service)

With this method, you ask your customer for a review immediately after receiving your service.

With Userlikes Live Chat you can, for example, specify that the chat window changes to a service rating view after the chat has ended. The customers give their rating, maybe also give you constructive feedback and close the chat.

The same applies to ticket systems such as Help Scout, where you can rate customer service responses from your email inbox.

The method is also implemented in telephone support. The service representative will either ask if you are happy with the service or if you want to stay on the line to take an automated survey. The latter option, however, is so annoying that it essentially destroys the entire service experience.

Different scales can be used for post service rating. Many use a number scale from 1-10. However, there may be confusion here because cultures differ in how they rate their experiences.

Individuals from individualistic cultures, for example, tend to choose the extreme sides of the scale much more often than people from collectivist cultures. According to the prejudice, Americans are more likely to use a service than Great "Or" awful "Rate, while the Japanese hardly rate" Well "Or" not so good " go out. This tendency is important to consider when you have an international audience.

Scales kept simple are more resistant to cultural differences and are better suited for measuring service quality. As a rule, customers do not provide a complex assessment of the quality of the service.

Was it a 7 or an 8 ...? Well ... I got a quick answer ... On the other hand, the service employee sounded a bit stressed ... “No, it doesn't work that way. They think the service was " Good ”,“ Great! "Or" Bad! ”.

This is the reason why we at Userlike use a 5-star system to rate the chat, and for the same reason Help Scout offers 3 options (great - okay - not good) and the US government 4 smileys (angry - disappointed - good) - great). It has to be easy.

Follow-Up Survey

With this method, you ask your customers to rate the quality of your service using an email survey - for example via Google Forms. It has several advantages over the post-service rating.

On the one hand, it gives your customer the time and space to find detailed answers. You can send a survey similar to the SERVQUAL, with several questions instead of one. That would be damn annoying in a post-service rating.

It also provides a comprehensive overview of your service. Instead of examining individual cases, the follow-up survey measures your customers' overall assessment of your service.

It is also a helpful method if you do not yet have the evaluation of the post-service rating, but want a quick overview of the status of your service quality.

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But there are also some disadvantages. For example, that the average email inbox looks more like a jungle than a French garden. Nobody waits for more emails - especially not for those that take up your precious time.

In a follow-up survey, the service experience may already have been forgotten. Your customers may have pushed it aside entirely, or they may be mistaking it for another experience.

And last but not least, to be able to send an email survey, you first need to know the email addresses of the recipients.

Example of a follow-up survey.

In-app survey

With an in-app survey, the questions are asked while the visitor is still on the website or in the app, rather than after the service or via email. It can be a simple question - e.g. " How would you rate our service? ”- but there could also be several questions.

Comfort and expressiveness are the main advantages. SurveyMonkey offers some handy tools to embed such a survey on your website.

Customer Effort Score (CES, customer effort)

This metric was suggested in an influential Harvard Business Review article. The authors argue that while many companies aim to “delight” the customer - the expectations of the service to surpass - However, it is more likely that a customer is a company for his bad service punished than that he did it for his good service rewarded .

While the cost of exceeding service expectations is high, it shows that the benefits are marginal. Instead of delighting our customers, the authors argue, we should make it as easy as possible for them to solve their problems. According to their results, this has the greatest positive influence on the customer experience and therefore they recommend measuring this metric.

Do not ask: " How satisfied are you with this service? ”- the answer could be falsified by many factors, e.g. politeness. Pleas e ask your question: " How much effort did it take to get an answer to your question?

The lower the value, the better. CEB found that 96% of customers with a high Effort Score Were less loyal in the future, compared to only 9% of customers with low Effort Scores .

Social media monitoring

This method has grown in importance with the rise of social media. For many people, social networks serve as an outlet. A place where they can let their frustration run free and where they are listened to.

Because of this, they are the perfect place to get the unfiltered opinion of your customers - if you have the right tools. Facebook and Twitter are obvious, but review platforms such as TripAdvisor or Yelp can also be very useful. Buffer suggests asking your social media followers for feedback on the quality of your service.

Two great tools for keeping track of who's talking about you are Mention and Google Alerts.

Documentation analysis

With this qualitative approach, you will read or listen to your written or recorded service records. You will definitely want to see the documentation of low service ratings, but it can also be interesting to read the record of service people who always get high ratings. What are you doing better than the others?

The challenge with the method does not lie in the analysis, but in the documentation. It's pretty easy for live chat and email support, but phone support requires an annoying announcement at the beginning of the conversation: " This phone call is recorded for quality measurement ."

Objective service metrics

These numbers provide an objective, quantitative analysis of your service. They are not enough on their own to judge the quality of your service, but they play a crucial role in helping you identify the areas where you should improve.

  • Per channel (Volume per channel). This keeps track of the number of requests per medium. In combination with other metrics, such as efficiency or customer satisfaction, you can decide which channels should be promoted or restricted.
  • First response time (First Response Time). This metric indicates how quickly a customer receives an answer to his inquiry. That doesn't mean his problem is already resolved, but it is the first sign of life - it signals him that his request has been heard.
  • reaction time (Response Time). The total average time between responses. Suppose your email ticket was resolved by 4 responses, with corresponding response times of 10, 20, 5, and 7 minutes. Your reaction time is 10.5 minutes. In terms of response time, most customers expect their email to be answered within 24 hours; for social media it's 60 minutes. Phone and live chat require an instant response, less than 2 minutes.
  • Problem solving on first contact (First contact resolution ratio). Divide the number of problems resolved by a single answer by the number of problems that required multiple answers. Research from Forrester found that 73% of customers found immediate problem resolution to be an important factor in customer satisfaction.
  • Answers per ticket (Replies per ticket). This shows how many answers your service team needs on average to close a ticket. It is a benchmark for efficiency and customer orientation.
  • Backlog incoming / completed (Backlog Inflow / Outflow). This is the number of incoming cases compared to the number of closed cases. An upward trend indicates that you need to add to your service team.
  • Customer success rate (Customer Success Ratio). Good service doesn't mean your customers will always find what they want. But if you keep an eye on the number of customers who found what they were looking for and compare that to the number of customers who did not find what they were looking for, you can tell if your customers have the right idea of ​​what you are looking for.
  • Handovers per case (“Handovers” per issue). This keeps track of how many different service people are involved in solving a problem. Customers hate redirects, especially in telephone support, where the problem has to be repeated. HBR identified it as one of the four most common service complaints.
  • Things that went wrong (Things gone wrong). The number of complaints / failures per customer request. It helps you to identify products, departments or service employees who should be put to the test.
  • Immediate service / queue (Instant Service / Queuing Ratio). Nobody likes to wait. Immediate assistance is the best service. This metric records the ratio of customers who were served immediately to those who had to wait. The higher the ratio, the better your service.
  • Average waiting time (Average Queuing Waiting Time). The average time a customer spends waiting in line to be served.
  • Leave the queue (Queuing hang-ups). How many customers cancel the process in the queue. These are considered a lost service option.
  • Problem solving time (Problem Resolution Time). The average time it took to fix a problem.
  • Length of a call in minutes (Minutes Spent Per Call). This will give you an overview of who your most efficient employees are.
  • You can find more service metrics here.

Some of these measurements are also financial metrics, such as the minutes spent per call and the number of handovers per case. You can use them to calculate your service costs per service contact. Winning the award for the best service in the world is of no use if the costs exceed the income.

Some service tools automatically collect these types of metrics, like Talkdesk for the phone and Userlike for live chat support. If you are using communication tools that are not dedicated to service, the collection will be a little more laborious.

But a note of caution is advisable: Beware of averages, they will deceive you. If your dentist is doing great service 90% of the time, but has a habit of drinking and pulling the wrong teeth the rest of the time, you probably won't be loyal to them for long.

A more realistic picture emerges if one also keeps an eye on the outliers and the standard deviations. Measure your service, aim for a high average, and improve by reducing outliers.

Also read “The 6 Customer Service Metrics You Must Have On Your Report”.

This article was originally written by Pascal van Opzeeland and translated into German by Mara Küsters.