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To the Health of Your Technical Support Services

Metrics, or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), are meant to be a reflection of the health of your technical support services. Access to key insights is especially important when using an outsourced service provider. While contract fulfillment is covered by a service level agreement (SLA), it’s equally important to apply business metrics to determine whether or not the relationship is delivering tangible value to the company. With the customer taking charge of their relationship with brands, the KPIs applied to assess the health of technical support must be those that address customer expectations most closely while also improving the company’s ability to meet targeted business objectives. Without this depth of insight, your contact center may be holding the status quo on service provision that fails to satisfy your customers—without the ability to pinpoint the root cause. If this is your current situation, it’s time to consider an outsourced technical support service provider that can bring the expertise to help your contact center become a value contributor to your business. Your customers have high expectations, competition is intense, and sticking with the status quo is akin to moving backwards. Risk avoidance is not the issue; it’s how you manage risk that adds value.

Stretch KPIs that Impact Business Objectives

Once you’ve put a progressive technical support operation in place, work with your vendor to determine which KPIs can be stretched farther. Choose the metrics that will help to provide value and growth to your company in the form of increased customer satisfaction, reduced customer defection and larger share of wallet. It’s one thing to measure customer satisfaction as a standalone metric and quite another to analyze all of the factors that contribute to that outcome and to be able to continuously improve them as required by business objectives. This is where the expertise of a progressive-thinking and experienced vendor can provide added value that’s difficult to attain from ordinary technical support practices. A few KPIs to stretch might include: Service Level (SL): Also defined as responsiveness, this KPI measures agent accessibility—something your customers expect. Whereas most contact centers measure productivity based on average handle time (AHT) and number of calls handled, those serve to improve workflows and processes, but not necessarily customer satisfaction. The ease of accessing a technical support rep must be accompanied by personalized, professional, and accurate service delivery—something traditional productivity metrics don’t measure. First Call Resolution (FCR): FCR is one of the few KPIs that have impact both internally and externally. Swift problem resolution not only impacts customer satisfaction and reduces operational costs, but improves employee morale. Achieving improvement to FCR often flies in the face of productivity metrics, such as rigid AHT times. Instead, the payoff can often be much higher if the processes, practices and training required to resolve first contacts is made an operational priority. If the customer has to call back or leaves the call without resolution, satisfaction can plummet. But, if this metric is stretched by a vendor with the expertise to drive continuous improvement, the transition from satisfaction to loyalty and increased customer value can produce competitive advantages for the business. Contact Quality: An agent’s quality score must be representative of the combination of quality assurance (QA) monitoring and customer feedback, post contact, to obtain a more holistic view. The combination of internal and external ratings within a formalized process provides a healthier assessment of a company’s CSAT scores. This process also serves to direct continuous improvement efforts and coaching to reach the stretch target. Employee Satisfaction (ESAT): While many companies expect employees to do the jobs they are paid for, in a contact center environment, this is sometimes easier said than done. However, when ESAT is high because agents feel they are truly helping to delight customers by resolving their problems, it follows that an increase in CSAT will occur in parallel. When employee morale suffers, so do your customers. Attitude is easily reflected through tone, style of speaking and word choice—not to mention helpfulness.

Take a Strategic Approach to the Health of Technical Support Services

Maintaining the status quo in this rapidly changing business environment will not help your company to achieve growth through happier customers. As customer expectations grow, it is increasingly important to focus on measuring what matters, rather than trying to measure everything. The KPIs from technical service and support that impact customer-centric business objectives may be more difficult to measure, but this is where your selection of a technical support provider can deliver huge rewards. Just as one test often cannot diagnose the health of a human, the metrics that report the health of your technical support services don’t paint the complete picture when assessed individually. Healthy technical support is the result of service delivery orchestrated carefully to find continuous improvement based on the interactive dependencies of KPIs that measure business impacts. An experienced vendor will be proficient in helping to improve the health of your technical support services.