Direct-to-Customer Commerce


Strategic insights into the direct commerce industry, including ecommerce, direct marketing and related fields

Defining and Measuring Good Customer Service

One of the keywords I monitor is customer service.

I remain impressed with how many people think about it, and how we dance around the edges without really getting to the heart of the matter. (at least, that’s the way I see it)

It seems to me that good customer service can only be measured by a customer.  Yet, many of us try to estimate a measure of customer service by measuring something other than the customer:

  • on-time-delivery
  • speed of answer (in a call center)
  • wait time
  • average handle time
  • percent of calls with 1st call resolution
  • return rates

These are each appropriate measures of something — and I’m not advocating that we stop measuring them.  But they do not equate to good customer service.

Good customer service equals meeting a customer’s expectations regarding how a transaction should go.  From checking out, to getting the product, to handling a return, to dealing with a problem that crops up along the way.

I think we should be making following up calls to a persistent percentage of customers who complete orders and a set of customers who did not complete orders.  Here are the questions:

  1. If you did not complete an order, why not?
  2. If you did complete an order, were you satisfied with how the entire process was handled?  Y/N
  3. If No, what went wrong?
  4. If No, did we handle the problem the way you wanted us to? Y/N

You see, it doesn’t matter if we think we handled an order correctly.  It doesn’t matter whether we think we handled a problem correctly.

The only thing that matters is what the customer thinks.

Do you know what your customers think about your customer service?

There is a direct correlation between customer service satisfaction and repeat buying rates.  And it’s cheaper to motivate a customer to buy again, than it is to find a new, first-time buyer.


Filed under: Direct Commerce, Ideas, , , ,

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