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Measuring Customer Service
gibbon




msg:628494
 12:12 pm on Aug 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

In the world of ecommerce there are many metrics to help improve the sales potential of a web store, including conversion rates and log analysis. These are discussed long and hard.

However it seems that basic customer service metrics are rarely discussed.

In this context what measures are the most valuable for improving customer service / customer satisfaction? What are the easiest to get data for and what are the simplest to understand?

It is the one area in our ecom B2C business that we do not measure properly, and we are looking to put in place formal measures of customer satisfaction but are unsure where to start.

 

elgumbo




msg:628495
 2:35 pm on Aug 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'd have thought the only way to measure customer satisfaction would be to ask the customers themselves.

Many stores follow up sales with an invitation to complete an online customer satisfaction report. 3 or 4 quick questions and a short space for any other comments usually does the trick. Make sure the questions are all closed and can give you the data you need.

gibbon




msg:628496
 4:42 pm on Aug 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

we are in the process of doing an online customer satisfaction survey

however how do we go about "scoring" ourselves so that we can benchmark month on month?

we need to know if we are improving or not

OlRedEye




msg:628497
 6:02 pm on Aug 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Strangely enough this exact issue came to my mind yesterday. Many people seem to be complaining about customers, but I wonder how actively customer service is actually being adressed. Witness the 3rd party cc clearance operators.
I spent 25 yrs in IT, starting from a technical base and moving into customer service - which ended up being the largest part of those 25 years. IMHO technical people are bad at customer service, they are too busy perfecting their technology and customers tend to get in the way. I may be way off, but I think the bulk of webmasters on the net probably come from a technical background, developers etc. Great guys generally but focussed on their skill. Marketing is important so that is also focussed on, but customer service is a non-starter so far I think.
Maybe this is where I can find my niche on the net :)
Currently i'm too busy trying to get a site going by finding a processor though :( Terrible job.

gibbon




msg:628498
 8:02 pm on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

"IMHO technical people are bad at customer service, they are too busy perfecting their technology and customers tend to get in the way. I may be way off, but I think the bulk of webmasters on the net probably come from a technical background, developers etc. Great guys generally but focussed on their skill. Marketing is important so that is also focussed on, but customer service is a non-starter so far I think. "

this statement applies to me and my business. too much of a focus on the "fun" aspects like tech & marketing.

poor customer service can kill any advantage gained by excellence in marketing & IT

its just once you have identified this as a weakness, what are the steps to first measure it, then improve it?

Ian_Cowley




msg:628499
 8:48 pm on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Firstly I find that the only feedback store owners get is negative. This is especially true in the UK. Customers are very quick with a complaint but "Happy Notes" as I call them are rare. Becasue of this I agree it's difficult to tell if your customer service team, and in the world of eccomerce, automated systems are doing their job.

I don't know what metrics you could put on this? Customer satisfaction surveys are one thing. Also you could phone 1 in so may customers to ask them about their experience with your store. Customer experience is what it's all about.

Sunshyn




msg:628500
 3:24 am on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

They aren't survey results, just unrequested emails, but we tend to get many more "happy notes" than we do complaints. They are mainly concerning the product quality and our turnaround time, but it's not uncommon at all for them to include compliments on our customer service. I think the ratio of good notes may have gone up this year, but that's probably because, due to limited time, we're becoming less likely to accept an order when the customer seems suspicious or rude from the start.

I don't specialize in customer service by any means. I hated the retail positions I worked when I was younger and am mainly a combination computer geek and artist. However, I do like the main portion of my customers so maybe that has something to do with why they'd be more likely to write when they're happy.

Essex_boy




msg:628501
 5:12 am on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

The only time I ever received hapy notes from customers was when I used paypal exclusivly on my site. Once I started with a CC processor these ntes stopped but sales went up.

Im sure its something to do with paypal - Ebay associations. Touch strange

OlRedEye




msg:628502
 7:32 am on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am most curious to find out how many webmasters and merchants would actually want to know whether their customers are unhappy. I am sure they'll want to know about the happy ones :)
Thing is does CS really rate much on the www or is the attitude more one of there's so many potential customers that a few hundred/thousand unhappy ones really don't warrant any effort? This a question - not a statement.
I believe the high non-fraud chargeback rate on the web is more a consequence of consumer frustration than bad behaviour.
Would many webmasters and merchants really be interested in the effort and even expense involved in improving customer satisfaction and lowering chargebacks?
The fact is if that is your goal you don't look at your happy customers as much as you investigate the unhappy ones.

gibbon




msg:628503
 10:15 am on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>I am most curious to find out how many webmasters and merchants would actually want to know whether their customers are unhappy

WE DO!

What we are after is some simple method of telling:

1. how satisfied our customers are
2. what are the main drivers of satisfaction
3. what are the main drivers of dissatisfaction

simple as that, its just how to turn "qualitative" date like this into some sort of "quantitative" metric - thats the problem i see

OlRedEye




msg:628504
 4:10 am on Aug 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Gibbon
You seem genuinely interested in assessing and improving your CS.
However, unless I am reading you wrong your main problem is turning feedback into useful stats. This I find a little puzzling, because from my experience the hard part is the first part, gaining useful and genuine feedback to use. Depending on the size of your operation (revenue-wise) and your willingness to part with a percentage of that revenue for say 2 months, in order to acquire some useful data, that feedback can be achieved. (Customers seldom bother to give feedback
without an incentive.) If you are a little imaginative you could even turn the exercise into a marketing tool, actually boosting revenue, or at least covering some part of the cost.
Very careful consideration and analysis of your operations' processes is required beforehand to make sure the feedback will be helpful in improving your return business. The average questionnaire sent out
returns very little useful data, if any.
Once you have the feedback it can be broken down to highlight especially weak points. Should you then find the improvement worthwhile the exercise can be repeated on say a 6 monthly basis to enable you to continue improving and find new weak areas that inevitably crop up.
Thatís business, it never ends.
Keep one thing in mind. On the net we like to automate, automate, automate. Customers can get to hate that passionately.

gibbon




msg:628505
 10:38 am on Aug 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

OlRedEye

We do issue surveys for feedback - the data is great.

The only problem is that how do you turn this into data that you can compare over time?

Survey answers are often in likert scales - how do you turn these into numbers that you can easily compare over time?

What we are after is a simple number to show the troops whether we are getting worse/better - to see the trends

OlRedEye




msg:628506
 12:04 am on Aug 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Maybe I can help, I'll need more detail though. If you wish you can sticky me. Don't want this thread to become a problem..

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