Whether you’re running your customer service in-house or have sent your calls out to an answering service company, paying attention to the metrics that are being generated really can make a huge difference to the overall health of your business.

Forget the old standbys like handle time and first call resolution, today’s answering service operation should be a holistic experience that considers the feelings and actions of callers when they’re not on the telephone.

Down to the Numbers

Measuring the quality of customer service has always been a bit of a pickle, especially in the days before you could track things like social media mentions of your brand.

The old model looked at each call as an individual transaction, ignoring how one call can build on another and create massive traction due to an increase in customer loyalty and brand advocacy.

Let’s forget handle time and instead look at these values:

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). This metric measures how satisfied your customer was with a particular interaction or agent. It can be used in a more general fashion, but that’s not common.

Even though this is a transactional measurement, when collected and compared with other customers and their scores, you can determine if a live telephone operator isn’t doing their job or if some function or product is really making customers miserable.

Net Promoter Score (NPS). Have you ever asked your customers how likely they are to recommend your product? If you have, you know about the NPS.

It’s handy for understanding how devoted any particular customer is, as well as how loyal your overall customer base may be. Customers are scored as detractors if they are a six or below on a 10 point scale, passives if they score 7 or 8 and promoters if they respond with a 9 or 10.

Customer Effort Score (CES). Customers really hate to have to jump through hoops and repeat their stories again and again to a series of operators. That’s what the CES is all about. The lower the friction, the better your score. Instead of making customers work for their answers, you should always aim to provide a frictionless journey. This metric will help you find the rough spots and smooth them out.

Customer Lifetime Value (LTV). Perhaps the best way to measure the dollars and cents of a customer over a lifetime, LTV looks to repeated transactions and subscriptions and utilizes natural language processing to capture sentiment across channels. This is the metric you want to look for if you’re planning to service those customers long-term.

Creating the ideal customer experience is a difficult challenge, especially when so many different channels for service and resolution exist. Over the longer term, good customer care is what really matters the most to your success. There’s no shortcut or substitution for it.