How to Assess Your Team's Customer Service

Do your 2015 plans include working on customer service?

Many companies have service on their radar. The challenge is knowing where to get started. 

Do send your customer service reps through training? Perhaps you should invest in new technology? Will a new incentive program energize the team?

A great way to begin is by assessing where your team is now.

A good assessment compares your team’s current performance to where you want to be and provides detailed recommendations for closing the gap. It allows you to save time, focus resources, and get better results from your customer service initiatives. 

For example, a call center wanted to reduce the number of calls they sent to an outsourced call center. The third party call center gave them flexibility to handle spikes in contact volume. The trade-off was they could offer better service at a lower cost when they kept calls in-house.

A customer service assessment revealed some low-hanging fruit. Within just one week, the call center was keeping 50 percent more calls in house. 

There are three steps required to conduct a really good customer service assessment:

  1. Define what “good” looks like
  2. Select an approach
  3. Take action


Define Good

It’s hard to find something if you don’t know what you’re looking for. That’s why the first step in any assessment is defining what good service should look like. 

On a strategic level, this involves defining outstanding service for your team by creating a customer service vision.  

On a tactical level, this means defining what is supposed to happen for a certain process or interaction. Examples include establishing service standards, procedures, or contact guidelines.


Select an Approach

The next step is to select the assessment that best fits your needs. 

Large-scale assessments take several weeks to complete but offer an in-depth review. For example, ICMI offers an operational assessment for contact centers that takes a holistic look at the entire operation including management, employees, and technology. 

The time and expense of a large-scale assessment might be a bit much for many smaller organizations, but there are less-expensive alternatives available that are still very effective.

The Toister Performance Solutions onsite customer service assessment focuses solely on employee performance. It takes less than a day to complete, and you’ll have a detailed written plan the next business day. 

If you prefer to try the do it yourself approach, try using the Customer Service Alignment assessment for a strategic view of your operation. You can also use the Quick Fix Checklist to hone in on the solution to a particular problem. 


Take Action

An assessment isn’t worth your time if you don’t take action. 

There are many reasons why companies don’t take action after an assessment. Comfort level with the findings, the strain of other initiatives, and a lack of focus can all play a role.

It’s important to approach customer service assessments with an open mind. After all, why conduct an assessment just to tell you something you already know? The whole point is to look at things from a different angle.

It’s also imperative to conduct the assessment at a time when it will have your full attention. 

Assessments can be a powerful tool for improving customer service. That’s why they’re number three on my list of ways to take service to the next level.

Incidentally, training is all the way down at number seven.