The 6 Most Important Customer Service Standards & Metrics
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The 6 Most Important Customer Service Standards & Metrics

Social media and review platforms gave consumers a megaphone to share their experiences with brands. The good, the bad, and everything in between.

Setting customer service standards to meet and exceed expectations isn’t just important. It’s absolutely critical. But which are the customer service standards you should care about? 

These standards aren’t just some abstract concepts. They are the pillars that uphold your business. They shape your brand image and influence customer loyalty. So, let’s dive into interactions and customer service standards.

What Are Customer Service Standards?

Customer service standards refer to the quality benchmarks customers expect when interacting with a service representative. These can range from quick delivery times to prompt responses on calls or chats. 

Setting service standards isn’t just a casual thought. It’s a key factor influencing your business growth. Customer service standards influence:

  • Customers who have specific expectations
  • Potential clients discovering your company
  • Your team members, who need to uphold these standards
  • Managers tracking and measuring performance

By maintaining high service standards, you’ll have better customer relationships. It creates a win-win situation.  Customers feel valued, and your brand successfully meets their needs.

6 Customer Service Standards to Live Up To 

necessary customer service standards

Customer service standards are like a guidebook for your customers. They clearly show what your customers can expect from your business. They also serve as instructions for your team. They give rules to follow when dealing with customers.

These standards guide you in delivering an exceptional customer service experience. They remind your customers that they are indeed your top priority.  

Quality Standards 

Quality in customer service isn’t just a gold standard.  It’s the lifeblood of any successful business. You risk losing your competitive edge if you overlook quality assurance and estimation.

Delivering top-notch service isn’t just about keeping clients happy. It’s a powerful tool that can drive referrals, recommendations, and ultimately, higher profits.

There are many ways to validate your customer service. Start by encouraging your team to discuss challenging cases.  Focus on the entire customer journey and make data-driven decisions.

Here are some metrics to help you measure quality:

  • SERVQUAL. This questionnaire helps gauge if your service meets customer expectations. It’s a valuable tool that brings insights straight from your customers. Utilizing SERVQUAL not only helps you gauge if your service meets customer expectations but also allows you to effectively compare companies based on perceived service quality.
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). This score reveals how customers feel after interacting with your service. It’s calculated based on responses from post-service surveys. The goal? Making every experience a good one.
  • Social Media Performance. Keep track of customer mentions about your business on social media. 

Speed Standards 

speed standards for proper customer service

Delivering service quickly is the essence of customer interactions.  And speed is a firm pillar in customer satisfaction. Let’s delve into the vital metrics that help maintain this standard:

  • First Response Time. This measures the average time customers receive an initial response to their inquiries. It isn’t about resolving the issue but simply acknowledging it. The response should be immediate for live chats and phone support. Preferably kept under 2 minutes. While email responses might take longer, ideally they should be within 24 to 48 hours.
  • Response Time. This is the average time between responses. For example, if an email ticket is answered in three responses at intervals of 20, 3, and 10 minutes, the response time averages 11 minutes.
  • First Contact Resolution Ratio. This metric indicates the ratio of issues resolved in the first contact to those requiring additional replies. Not only is this a key factor in customer satisfaction, but it also reflects your team’s efficiency.
  • Instant Service/Queuing Ratio. This ratio represents the number of customers who received immediate support versus those placed in a queue. Everyone is queued for email support, this metric is for live chat, messaging, and phone support.
  • Queuing Waiting Time. This measures how long customers are held on hold before they’re served. The goal is to keep this value as low as possible, as prolonged waits can result from understaffing or inefficient routing.

Speed in service doesn’t just mean fast but being efficient, responsive, and proactive. It’s about valuing the customer’s time as much as they do.

Efficiency Standards

Efficiency is a critical standard in customer service. It isn’t just about speed, but also about the effective use of resources and time. An efficient multichannel support system operates with a sense of urgency. If you find your profits are shrinking due to wasted resources, it may be time to look closer at your customer service efficiency.

efficiency standard in customer service

Here are the key metrics to measure customer service efficiency:

  • Answers per ticket. This metric reflects your support agents’ effort to resolve a ticket. Aiming for fewer answers per ticket indicates a more efficient process. However, the ideal number can vary.
  • Average occupancy. This refers to the average time your team spends dealing with a customer. It includes the follow-up work after the conversation. While there isn’t a universal standard, some industry benchmarks include resolving 83% of calls within half a workday. 80% of chats within 20 minutes, and responding to all emails within 24 hours.
  • Underperformance. This is measured by comparing the number of tickets received and opened against those resolved. If this ratio is increasing, it might indicate that your team is understaffed. A good service standard to aim for is processing at least half of the tickets by the end of the day.

Enhancing efficiency in customer service means:

  • Quick responses
  • Effective problem-solving
  • Optimal resource allocation
  • Expanding your team as needed

An efficient customer service team not only meets but exceeds customer expectations consistently. While monitoring your efficiency standards and performance metrics manually would be tedious, time-consuming, and inefficient, for the most part, you can do it much more effectively by leveraging the reporting and analytics capabilities of omnichannel contact center software. With complete visibility into your efficiency metrics, you can better allocate your resources and make the necessary improvements to ensure your team delivers efficient service with every interaction.

Accuracy Standards 

Accuracy standards are a promise we make to our customers. Imagine this: A client approaches with a specific, technical query. Our representative, committed to responding swiftly, dives into extensive research. The answer is delivered promptly.

But what if the client returns, frustrated because the solution provided didn’t work? Speed, it seems, isn’t always the hero of the day. Here’s where the Accuracy Standards shine. Customers anticipate accuracy and proficiency above all. Even though a precise but slower response may test patience, it ultimately earns respect.

So, how do we measure accuracy? Enter the ‘Customer Success Ratio’. This metric compares the number of customers who left satisfied with an answer to those who didn’t. 

Even the best service agents have their off days, and this ratio helps identify when and why they occur. By defining what constitutes as a “customer success”, we can add up the numbers. A higher ratio equates to more successful customers, and that is our ultimate goal.

Honesty Standards 

honesty standard as an important customer service

Honesty standards are a beacon of customer trust. They quash any doubts your customers may harbor about the worth of your offerings. You show honesty in your policy by being truthful about your products and services, including their possible faults.

But how do we measure honesty and trust?

  • Share of Voice (SOV) Monitoring. Keep a pulse on your brand’s buzz – mentions on social media, comments on your blog, etc. This helps you understand public sentiment towards your brand. Social media monitoring tools help you measure your SOV.
  • Brand Search Volume Tracking. Monitor the traffic that comes to your site via branded keywords from search engines over time. This is a reliable method to monitor your brand awareness.

To dig deeper, use surveys and polls. Include a questionnaire in your next email newsletter with questions like:

  • How did you discover our service?
  • When did you last use our product?
  • Has your perception of our brand changed over the past [time period]?

Honesty Standards are not mere guidelines; they’re our commitment to building a relationship of trust with you.

Availability Standards

availability standards

Availability Standards make sure that customers know when and how to reach you. Ideally, your accessibility should be so good that it borders on proactivity. These metrics measure whether you’re readily available when needed.

  1. Customer Effort Score (CES).  This metric gauges the effort, based on a scale you set, that customers have to put in to resolve their issues or get answers. Customers are more inclined to penalize poor service than reward exceptional ones. Ask your customers how much effort they had to exert on a scale of 1 – 10.
  2. Handovers per Issue. This metric counts how many different service reps have to handle an issue before it’s resolved. Phone customers particularly detest handovers, as they have to explain their issues again.
  3. Queuing Hang-ups. This measures the number of customers who abandon the queuing process. Each instance represents a missed service opportunity and likely a lost customer. This specific ‘things gone wrong’ metric is closely linked to your standards of queuing waiting times. A lower value equates to satisfying service.
  4. Clicks to First Contact. This tracks customers’ clicks from opening a new browser tab or a search engine’s homepage until the first message is sent. It can be tracked per channel – phone, email, or FAQ page. Maybe you even have a live chat app on your ecommerce store,. For phone, you would track how many clicks a customer needed to find your number.

Availability standards are guidelines and our commitment to being there for you when you need us.

Concluding Customer Service Standards 

Start by applying at least some of these guidelines to increase customer satisfaction. Even if you believe speed is your ultimate value, don’t underestimate the power of polite and professional communication.

Encourage your support reps to exceed the standards, aiming to deliver extraordinary service. These high customer service standards are more than just guidelines. They are your pledge to deliver top-tier customer service every time.

Frequently Asked Questions about Customer Service Standards 

What are the 4 Customer Service Standards?

The 4 customer service standards are professionalism, speed, effective communication, and personalization. 

  1. Professionalism is treating all customers with respect, maintaining a positive disposition, and possessing deep knowledge of the product or service. 
  2. Speed is how swiftly your team can address a customer’s issue or respond to their questions.
  3. Effective communication involves clearly articulating solutions so customers can easily grasp them, coupled with active listening to the customer’s concerns. 
  4. Personalization requires adjusting the service to suit each individual customer, making them feel valued and understood.

 These four standards are the pillars of excellent customer service.

What are Good Customer Service Standards?

Good customer service standards are:

  • Responsiveness. Your response to customers should be quick. No one likes to wait. So, when a customer has a question or concern, be there, ready to help them.
  • Accountability. ​It’s all about owning up to it. When things go south, the real test of a business is how it handles the situation. Taking responsibility and making things right shows your customers that they truly matter to you.
  • Over-delivery. ​It’s a little extra something just for you. Customers love it when they get more than they expected. So, why not exceed their expectations? It’s a sure way to wow them and make them feel special.
  • Availability. Provide customer service on multiple channels. These include email, phone, and social media. This makes it easy for customers to reach out to you.
  • Honesty. Trust is the bedrock of any relationship, including business. So, keep it real with your customers. Show them the true face of your business. When they see you’re genuine and transparent, they’ll stick with you through thick and thin.

This set of guidelines makes sure customers receive consistent, high-quality service.

What are 5 Important Customer Service Qualities?

The 5 important customer service qualities are

  • Empathy. In customer service, empathy helps you connect with customers on a more personal level. This shows them that you truly care about their needs and concerns.
  • Communication Skills. Effective communication is a great customer service standard and quality. You need to clearly convey information to customers and understand their needs. This also includes listening skills, as understanding a customer’s issue or question is the first step in being able to assist them.
  • Patience. A customer interaction often requires a great deal of patience. Customers may be upset, confused, or just need a bit more time to understand information. Good customer service teams are patient and take the time to help the customer fully understand the situation.
  • Problem-Solving Skills. Often, customers reach out to a customer service rep because they have a problem they can’t solve on their own. Thinking critically and coming up with solutions to these problems is crucial.
  • Product Knowledge. Knowing the ins and outs of the product is essential. This allows a proper customer communication channel where you can offer a slow but correct answer to customer queries accurately and troubleshoot issues effectively.
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