Auditing Your Customer Service: A Quick and Dirty Guide for Practitioners

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Whether you are managing a small company, midsize boutique, or big business, you need to keep a close eye on how your customer service team is doing, and the best way to check in on the state of your customer service model is to conduct an audit. 

If you’ve already heard some talk about audits, you may be wondering whether they’re just another trend or something you really should be diving into, and the truth is that customer service audits are an incredibly valuable tool for identifying issues in your customer service model and ultimately improving the consumer experience.

With that being said, the following no-nonsense customer service audit checklist will help you take a deep dive into the state of your service model.

What Is a Customer Service Audit?

In its simplest form, a customer service audit can be likened to a health check-up of your customer service operations. It is a thorough look into how your service team interacts with customers, the kinds of experiences those customers have, and where there might be room for improvement. 

Why Is It Important for Service Companies to Audit Customer Contact?

There are plenty of reasons why you need to audit your customer service. At the top of the list is that doing so creates a better experience for your customers. 

Consumers can be quite impatient, especially when it comes to negative customer service experiences, with roughly 61% of them stating that they would switch to a brand’s competitor after just one bad experience. On the other hand, 64% of businesses report a spike in sales growth when they improve their customer service. 

Customer service audits also provide valuable insights about the state and efficiency of your customer service operations. You can identify sources of waste, make sure your team is fulfilling its responsibilities, and turn your customer service workflows into some of your greatest strengths. 

Auditing is about ensuring that each interaction between your team and your customers is smooth and positive in such a way that leaves those customers wanting to do business with you again. In contrast, news of bad customer service can spread like wildfire, and you don’t want your business to end up trending on social media or review platforms due to lousy customer service.

By the Numbers: Metrics to Consider During an Audit

Before getting into the internal audit customer service checklist, you first need to crunch some numbers. Looking at quantifiable metrics is the best way to obtain actionable insights about how things are going in your customer service department.

With that in mind, some metrics you need to have on your radar include the following:

Ratio of Calls to Unanswered Calls

If many of your center’s calls go unanswered, you have a major problem on your hands. Most of your customers wouldn’t stand around in your store for minutes for someone to show up at the register, but by leaving calls unanswered, you are practically asking them to do the same thing. 

Your goal must be to minimize unanswered calls, and you should strive to reduce wait times so that customers can receive immediate support when they need it.

First Call Resolution Rate

If customers have to call multiple times to resolve the same issues, it becomes undeniably frustrating. A customer may endure one follow-up call, but they are going to give up on your company if they get bounced around to multiple support agents. 

Two factors have a major impact on your first call resolution rate: staff training and call routing capabilities. Having a well-trained staff, alongside ensuring that support requests are routed to the right departments, will help resolve more calls the first time around.

Total Customer Contacts

Customer contacts aren’t just about calls: You need to think of your emails, live chats, comments on social posts, and even direct messages. Your total customer contacts is a measure of your service team’s workload, and monitoring it will reveal a few things, including whether the demand for support is trending up or down and whether you have the staff necessary to meet the needs of your customers. 

Number of Escalations

If a wealth of issues are moving up the chain, it could indicate that your frontline staff requires more training. Another potential issue is that your support agents have to obtain supervisory approval for too many tasks.

As such, providing your team with greater autonomy can decrease total escalations. Likewise, investing in more staff training can empower your team to resolve issues independently and take more calls. 

Average Call Handling Time

No one wants to be rushed, especially when they are attempting to obtain help, but none of your customers want to spend half an hour or more on the phone with your staff either.

Optimizing call handling times requires striking the perfect balance between efficiency and quality customer service. Providing your team with a loose guide of talking points can help them demonstrate empathy toward customers while also keeping the conversation concise. 

Internal Audit Customer Service Checklist 

Below is a short and sweet checklist to turn to when you’re ready to dive into your customer service audit:

  1. Listen to Recorded Calls: Pay close attention to things like tone, the flow of the conversation, and how the customer’s mood changes during the course of the call
  2. Check Out Written Correspondence: Whether it’s emails or live chat logs, see how your team is communicating and ensure that they are clear, helpful, and respectful
  3. Survey Customers Post-Interaction: Customers will tell you like it is, especially if you keep your surveys anonymous
  4. Review Training Protocols: Make sure your teams are equipped with the right tools and knowledge to serve your customers
  5. Track Metrics: Numbers can provide a clear picture, so adopt modern analytics tools and create a dashboard to make these metrics easy to track
  6. Get Feedback From the Frontline: Your customer service team knows the strengths and weaknesses of your operations better than just about anyone else, so talk to them
  7. Implement Changes and Track Your Progress: Apply what you have learned to improve your customer service operations, track your progress, and repeat

With these tasks in mind, you are ready to conduct your own customer service audit and enhance the consumer experience.

Get Proactive With Customer Service Audits

Customer service isn’t just about reacting to issues; it’s about proactively ensuring that each customer interaction is better than the last. Take the leap, dive into an audit, and elevate the customer experience.

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