Thursday, May 26th, 2016 | 9 min read
In the noisy world of social media customer service, many people swear by a slew of complex metrics that seem better suited to an advanced calculus class than a company’s help desk.
Often, these are wordy measurements such as “Total number of social posts that meet the requirements of the listening platform for a pre-defined interval of time” or “Percentage of posts never responded to or looked at by social team during a pre-defined interval of time.”
These advanced measurements have their place, but they are ultimately unnecessary, aside from a few special circumstances. When it comes to determining whether a company is helping customers through social to the best of its ability, it’s important to keep things simple.
Below are five social customer care metrics that actually matter, regardless of your industry. They answer the most important questions of social customer care: How many people are getting in touch with us? How well are we handling their needs? How is this affecting our bottom line?
An SLA (service-level agreement) is a core method of measuring how quickly a company handles a customer inquiry. To track social customer care performance via an SLA, a company will set a goal such as responding to all tweets and Facebook messages within two hours. If all such inquiries receive responses in two hours or less, then the company’s SLA is 100%.
Some companies take SLA compliance to the next level by setting goals for how long it takes to actually fix a customer issue. An SLA can be used to track individual team members or an entire department. The measure is a valuable way to assess your organization’s against its own goals, which can shift up or down depending on performance.
SLA is also useful for holding employees responsible for the level of customer care they provide. Having such a specific goal sets a very clear standard, that when met, ensures a satisfactory response time to customer concerns.
Another one of the most basic—and important—methods of assessing a company’s social media customer service is the customer satisfaction score. After a customer’s issue is resolved via social media, he or she is asked to rate the interaction on a scale of 1-5 (1 being “poor,” 3 “neutral” and 5 “satisfied”).
If a customer answers with a 3 or less, then a company will typically make a follow-up inquiry to determine the reason for the rating.
More and more, customer service representatives use Twitter (instead of email or even snail mail) to capture this vital information, sending customers a direct message with a link to the survey questions after a particular issue is resolved.
Twitter helps brands design more seamless interactions with customers, who simply have to rate their service experience with a mouse-click.
It’s a simple and effective way to gauge how well a customer care department is working. Companies can track their average scores on a monthly basis, assist customers who have given low scores, isolate larger trends, and identify best practices that may ultimately improve their standing in the eyes of customers.
It’s one thing to be prompt and responsive to customer concerns, and it’s another to tackle these issues in a strategic and effective way. The customer satisfaction score provides the insight necessary to do just that.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a bit more nuanced than the customer satisfaction score. To establish the NPS, a company will ask a customer how likely—on a scale of 1-10—they are to recommend the company to somebody else.
As with customer satisfaction scores, companies are turning to social media—Twitter, especially—to conduct NPS surveys.
Some companies send questions to customers s set amount of time after they’ve purchased their product and then again when they’ve purchased another project or reached a particular benchmark. This approach allows for a steady cadence of feedback about the customer experience as companies can track how customer happiness changes over time.
Other companies opt to send NPS surveys to consumers sporadically, which helps paint a vivid picture of how well a brand is performing among consumers at any given time.
Regardless of when and how often an NPS query goes out, the scale it uses is more or less the same across the board. A respondent who gives a ranking of 0-6 is considered a “detractor,” a respondent who gives a 7 or 8 is considered “passive,” and a customer who gives a 9 or 10 is considered a “promoter.”
The actual NPS is the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors. Companies generally aim for a score between 30 and 50. As with customer satisfaction scores, they track the NPS on a monthly basis to spot any useful trends.
According to Nielsen, recommendations from friends and family is the most credible form of advertising. Considering the amount of information that consumers see from their friends on social media, it is critical for companies to treat customers with a level of care that turns them into advocates.
In some cases, the best service is that which prevents a call to customer service.
Companies can keep track of call/issue deflection, which is generally determined by measuring website traffic versus the amount of calls received. This ratio helps show how many customer issues are diffused by content on a company’s website and, more important, social media channels.
Social platforms that anticipate and solve customer issues can be extremely beneficial to a company’s bottom line. Experts have determined that a call center interaction can cost a company up to $12, while a social interaction costs less than a dollar.
Because of the inherent trickiness of measuring something that didn’t happen, it can be difficult to quantify call deflection. Companies often look at the traffic on their help topic pages or ask customers whether a certain tool or resource prevented the need for a call to the customer service line—inexact methods that provide a general sense of how effective a website is.
Social allows for more precise measurements. Companies can guage call deflection by tracking how often customers use social care tools versus how often they call or email. Brands measure how many likes, replies, and messages they receive, compared to how many customer care inquiries come in via phone calls and emails.
The result is a valuable, ever-shifting ratio that shows the popularity of social in relation to more traditional customer resources. Armed with this information, companies can optimize their customer care capabilities so that the most popular outlets have the proper resources.
A fundamental way of tracking social customer service is to keep count of inbound volume, which is the amount of support-related social mentions that a company receives in an hour or day.
While it’s a simple measurement compared with more advanced metrics, inbound volume is a straightforward way for a company to keep tabs on its customer care capabilities and determine how consumers react to certain products and initiatives.
Perhaps most important, by tracking how many customers interact with the brand on social media around customer care issues, a company will become more attuned to what people are saying about them—a critical, but oftentimes overlooked, consideration when it comes to customer care.
With social emerging as the de facto way for customers to communicate with brands—and vice versa—it’s imperative for companies to measure their customer care efforts with these five reliable metrics. There may be a few additional metrics that compliment your brand’s unique social customer care goals , but the five listed above will provide any brand with the feedback it needs to ensure the best possible social customer service.