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Identifying Relevant Customer Service Measurements

May 13, 2008
To determine how a company is performing in terms of customer service, some customer service measurements are used regularly. These measurements are designed to assess how satisfied customers are with the services provided by a company.

Customer service is commonly defined as a series of activities that are organized to increase customer satisfaction levels so that a product or service will exceed customer expectation. Customer service may be extended in an automated manner through self-service means like support Internet sites, or by persons like sales and customer service representatives. Usually, the main basis of customer service is customer data collection or demographics. Today, a wide variety of customer service tools are now available. Aside from support websites, databases that determine individual customer preferences and buying patterns and specialist software are now used. Moreover, companies also have come up with new ways to capture feedback from customers. A few of these new feedback channels include mobile email and text messages. By knowing the perceptions and opinions of customers, companies are able to find ways to enhance the quality of the services they provide as well as improve the experience of their customers.

Several companies have integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technologies to their operations. CRM is a multifaceted process that allows companies to have better knowledge of the needs, wants, and buying patterns of their customers. By making these data available for customers, companies are better able to anticipate the needs of existing and prospective customers. However, CRM initiatives should be aligned with customer-based strategies, as this technology will be useless if its implementation ends up with its installation. CRM usually supports several business processes including sales, marketing, and customer service. This technology enables a company system to compile a customer's contact history and allows customer service representatives to retrieve these data when needed. By keeping tabs of a customer's contact history, customers would no longer need to disclose the subject of his previous interactions with a company customer service representative.

Setting customer service standards is a crucial step in assessing the quality of service provided to customers. When setting these standards, managers and other mid-level managers should make sure that they are realistic. These standards should not be too low for these would just encourage complacency and idleness. At the same time, they should not be too high that they are impossible to achieve. Moreover, the company must determine the standards that they need to measure and the most efficient way to measure them. When establishing measurements, it is recommended that managers determine why key customers patronize their product or service instead of the competition. Also, obstacles that hinder the company's internal customers, or employees, from providing quality customer service should be identified. Processes that are critical for product and service delivery should also be regularly evaluated so that bottlenecks are eliminated early. Lastly, there should be balance between production cost, product or service quality, and cycle time. When fully and effectively utilized, customer service measurements will be instrumental for companies to achieve higher profit margins.
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