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Other of Interest 5/29/12

Metrics for Running an Effective Social Care Operation

The right blend of service, quality, and effectiveness measures can ensure top-notch customer service delivery via social channels.

Social customer service, which uses social media to serve customers, is rapidly becoming the new, critical channel to drive satisfaction and loyalty. Organizations are at different stages of maturity in their social care programs: some are only listening to customers to improve marketing, products and support, while others regularly engage with customers to reduce contact in other support channels.

While two years ago only five percent of companies used social customer service, Gartner predicts that by 2015 peer-to-peer support projects will supplement or replace tier-one contact center support in more than 40 percent of the top 1,000 companies with a contact center.

Despite this progress, measurement remains a challenge for almost all organizations regardless of how advanced the social care program. There are many key performance indicators (KPIs) that can assess your team’s social care efforts; you need to decide which metrics add the most value to your business.  Three main categories to choose from include:

  1. Service measures
  2. Quality measures
  3. Effectiveness measures

Service measures

Service measures calculate performance relative to demand. For example, demand can be measured by:

  • Listening volume, which measures the total number of posts in a given time
  • Service level, which calculates the percentage of incoming posts that an agent answers in a given time

Service level is one of the more important indicators of success for social care platforms. An industry best practice is to measure service level every half hour and report it as a weighted average over the entire day. If this is too much, then companies should find a feasible increment of time for measuring service metrics and move towards the ultimate goal of measuring in half hour increments.

To measure demand, contact centers should also calculate the “abandon rate” by measuring the percentage of posts that are never responded to or looked at by the social media team. A significant abandon rate means the volume is too high for agents to handle and usually occurs after an issue or big event. It’s worth monitoring this metric to ensure that you have enough staff to satisfactorily respond to inquiries that need a response. 

Quality measures

Measuring the quality of social care responses is complex. However, KPIs that measure quality are valuable, providing an indication of how well social interactions are handled as a whole.

For example, you can measure quality by:

  • Evaluating the written quality of response given by an agent. This should be evaluated using a customer survey
  • Calculating “first-post resolution.” If an issue is addressed on the first response then the advice given was clear and on point. Agents must be competent to write concise answers on a broad range of customer issues

Quality measures should also include an evaluation of the number of channel re-directions or escalations that occur. Channel redirection occurs when a customer asks a question on a channel that is not able to support an appropriate response. For example, on Twitter agents can only respond in 140 characters, so they may ask the customer to move the conversation to another channel to answer the question fully.

Used effectively, channel redirection ensures that customer questions are answered efficiently. However, it can make measurement tricky because issues may arise in one channel and be resolved in another, and the technical solutions to these measurement concerns are still evolving.

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