The B2B customer is unique and requires a special kind of support strategy. In addition, the metrics that a company uses to measure success are also unique and very important. Utilizing the wrong data can cause a company to miss what it should catch and prioritize unnecessary actions.
Don’t make the mistake of generalizing the information that you should pay attention to, but instead focus on the specific aspects of your business that create the most widespread effects. Best practices suggest that the following four support metrics should be optimized for a better B2B customer experience from a support perspective.
1. Resolution Time
Companies that spend large sums of money with a business rightly expect a good amount of attention focused on the details of their account. There will always be little odds and ends that go haywire during a complex process. However, reducing these little problems as much as possible is a great move for any company, and the efficiency with which your company handles its problems is a key metric to highlight.
Customers want fast results. That’s the bottom line. Most want to handle their issues on their own before going to a support agent, so if they’re reaching out to your team, the experience needs to be positive. Agents should have contact data from support software in front of them along with any other data (i.e. ticket history) that will provide useful context. They should also know how to navigate their internal knowledge base in order to provide customers with quick answers. The last thing anyone wants to deal with is being put on hold or being stuck on the phone for an hour when their problem should take no more than ten minutes to resolve. Always factor in how long a customer has been waiting for the right answer when you speak with them and make resolution time a top priority for your support team.
2. Initial (and Impactful) Response Time
Initial response time is an all-around metric that you can use to analyze the overall efficiency of your company. However, response time can and should be segmented in order to prioritize weak points within your company. This is one of the best metrics to figure out if you have a department that is under-performing and causing bottlenecks in your process. In addition, an initial response is more than just acknowledging a ticket was received; it’s starting the impactful process of resolving the customer issue.
Because initial response time is often an interdepartmental metric, it speaks to the internal communications structure of your company as well. This is often an intangible that is never really addressed until an ultra-expensive consultant points it out. Save yourself the money - look at your initial response time now and work out the kinks internally before they turn into bigger issues for your business. A good start is acknowledging the contact request manually through a real reply within an hour of receiving a ticket. People want quick results and will judge businesses based on response time. With this said, especially in B2B, response time isn’t everything and you shouldn’t be using scripted responses to improve the metric. Being right is more important, and being responsive but genuine as you communicate your way towards the right answer is what support teams should strive for.
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3. Number of New Tickets
The total number of new tickets can be an important measure of how well a company is progressing at achieving its internal goals. Do you catch problems before they begin to face the customer, or are most of your issues reaching the point where they are affecting the live performance of your product?
Reducing the number of new tickets is also another way to quantify customer satisfaction. As you look further into new ticket metrics, you will hopefully discover the bottlenecks in your ticket handling processes and workflows that can be addressed. For example, if there are a lot of tickets around the same topic, some of this new ticket volume can be decreased by creating fresh yet relevant self-service content and promoting it online.
4. Individual Performance Data
All employees should be held responsible for the general metrics of the organization. However, positions that require additional scrutiny should be evaluated by the individual metrics that best describe success for the role. Your executive and management teams should be responsible for defining and enforcing these individual metrics.
Support teams are only as strong as the weakest agent and it’s the job of management to assist and elevate the entire group. Keeping an eye on the efficiency of each agent is a great way for support managers to reach their goals in relation to the overall customer experience. If some agents are doing well while others are struggling, managers can pair the strong agents with the ones that need more training in order to get every agent on the same level. Keeping track of individual performance metrics will ensure managers are aware of the overall effectiveness of the support team.
The Final Word
Although each company is different and may require a slight customization of key performance metrics, the data points above provide a good baseline for every business to consider. If you have the measurement of these four areas optimized, your company is likely moving forward into a better B2B customer experience. This means higher conversions, better ROI, and ultimately happier customers.
About the author:
Reuben Yonatan is the founder and CEO of GetVoIP -- trusted VoIP comparison resource that helps companies understand and choose a business communication solution for their specific needs. Reuben assists SMBs align business strategy with culture and improve overall corporate infrastructure. Follow him on Twitter @ReubenYonatan