Without customers, there would be no business. Customer service is at the heart of sustained business growth and success. No company can expect to prosper if customers are neglected through poor service.
Regular customer service audits are a valuable tool to help businesses get an accurate look at how their company is doing at customer service and what could be improved. This isn’t just for young companies; even established companies should re-evaluate their strategies every once in a while. Adjustments can be made based on an audit’s findings that can make a huge impact in saving a struggling business, or in elevating a business to the next level.
What Is a Customer Service Audit?
Businesses are used to audits in areas like finances and safety. It seems only logical to also conduct audits in such an important area as customer service. Customer service audits capture a snapshot of the customer experience: what your company and employees are doing well, and where the customer service experience could be improved.
Who Should Conduct a Customer Service Audit?
A business can conduct its own audit, but a third-party, or external customer service audit provides an unbiased experience and assessment that may offer valuable insight an internal audit might miss. A good audit will also identify gaps and opportunities for improvement.
While conducting regular internal audits is certainly valuable, an external customer service audit offers the additional benefit of a truly objective overview. A third party can help you see if your service is up to par.
Some Types of External Customer Service Audits
Mystery Shopping Services
Trained staff visit the place of business and report on their experience as a customer, including location, physical facilities, and quality of the products, services, or food.
A telephone audit can be conducted by listening to recorded calls or posing as a customer and placing calls into a business. This can provide an overview of the current level of service provided, as well as gaps in customer service.
Storefront audits answer the question of how a customer sees a business when they walk through the door. Often this involves observing, evaluating, and reporting on a customer’s experience when visiting the store, from parking to purchase to leaving the building.
High-quality customer service is the goal for any eating establishment, whether a casual dining experience or gourmet meal. If patrons have a bad experience with a restaurant, even the best food may not leave a good impression. Mystery diners visit the restaurant and detail their experience, including service, food, and overall impression.
Tips for Conducting an Internal Customer Service Audit
Before bringing in someone to conduct an external customer service audit, a company may find it instructive to do its own internal audit first. Here are some things to look for:
Do employees understand your business?
Customer service will be better with well-trained employees who can answer questions and guide customers to the appropriate product or service.
Is there a well-defined point of contact for customers?
The customer service journey will be off to a better start if customers know where to go for questions, needs, or service.
How responsive is the company to customer inquiries or issues?
This can include determining how long it takes customers to get service, and the ratio of answered calls to unanswered calls.
How many complaints were there in a given period?
Monitor the number of complaints the business receives each week or month, and compare results over time to identify trends of improvement or decline in customer service.
Are there regular staff meetings that address customer service issues?
Consistent meetings to share concerns and complaints allow staff to learn from each other and get any needed additional training on handling customer service problems.
How do staff treat customers?
Employee interactions with customers should be courteous, and always include polite terms like “please” and “thank you.”
Do you follow up with customers?
The best way to know if a customer’s needs have been met is to actually follow up with them after they received service and see how the company did. When a business asks customers what they can improve, the business is better able to meet customer needs.
What are the real costs of providing support to customers?
Looking at how much current processes for customer service actually cost may create the impetus for changes.
If your customer service audit shows that your business could improve customer service, consider outsourcing some of your customer support. ROI Solutions understands the importance of providing excellent customer service. Contact us today to see how we can improve your customers’ experience, and help your business.