Those who invest and go deep on messaging are able to provide a whole host of seamless experiences from booking appointments to making purchases all within apps such as Messenger, WhatsApp, and Apple Business Chat.
While that’s great, we never advise brands to run before they can walk. The first step should be shifting customer support away from expensive traditional channels such as phone and servicing queries through messaging and automation.
After all, a human agent is able to handle 5 concurrent customer conversions over messaging channels in the same time it would take them to handle just one call. That’s the beauty of asynchronous communication!
But how can you get buy-in to start turning off the phones and tuning agents into messaging channels? As a data-driven company ourselves, we find the best way is to prove the effectiveness of messaging and automation alongside its more-traditional counterparts.
In search of a tangible metric that could be used to benchmark customer service channels, we created the Service Index.
The formula is simple: efficiency x customer satisfaction = service index score.
*FTE = Full-time employee CSAT = Customer Satisfaction
To measure the efficiency of a channel, start with the volume of queries you receive on a daily basis and then work out how many full-time employees you need to service those queries. Divide the number of customers you have served by the number of people it took to serve them and you’ll have your efficiency metric: essentially the number of people each employee can serve each day.
We then take the efficiency and multiply it by the channel’s average CSAT score to find the service index – it’s that simple.
The beauty of the Service Index is that it can be used to make direct comparisons between the performance of different channels.
The Service Index of a brand that’s added WhatsApp Business as its first messaging channel may look a little something like this:
At this stage, human agents are providing customer service over WhatsApp Business and it’s already become the second-highest performing channel. The customer satisfaction score is the highest across the board but it’s not quite as efficient as live-chat.
Having proven that WhatsApp Business is clearly an effective support channel for the business, it’s time to scale with the use of bots.
As we’ve already suggested in this guide, the first step to adding automation to your customer service should be identifying your most common customer service queries and assessing whether they can be resolved by a bot. In the example below, an airline has implemented a bot to respond to customers inquiring about their flight status. The bot is able to contain 50% of these inquiries, and hand the other half off to a human agent to resolve.
The Service Index for this specific intent looks like this:
Without a bot in place, the agents would have to handle all 220 inquiries. However, as the bot is able to contain half of the incoming customer contacts without the need to involve a human agent, the total number of inquiries are handled twice as efficiently. This leads to an efficiency score of 110.
In terms of CSAT, the bot has received a CSAT score of 3.6, slightly below the agent CSAT of 4. The average CSAT score of 3.8 multiplied by the efficiency score of 110 gives us a supercharged service index score of 418 for this intent.
As we add more bots with the intent to improve messaging efficiency, and fine-tune automated conversations to improve customer satisfaction, we start to see messaging Service Index scores supersede all other customer service channels.
In the example above, the volume of customers served via Whatsapp has increased to 4,500. To handle the influx of messages received over Whatsapp, an additional 32 full-time employees have been assigned to the channel. By introducing bots, agents are able to service inquiries at an improved efficiency of 55 customers served per agent with only a minor 0.1 drop in average CSAT. This leaves us with a new leading customer service channel – Whatsapp Business with a Service Index score of 214.5.
As great as all of the above may seem, you are left to ask, “where do we get those 32 extra agents?” Well, with 2,000 customer queries deflected away from both email and phone to Whatsapp Business, we’ve been able to reduce the number of full-time employees by 40 and 25 respectively. As you scale your messaging customer service, these additional agents can be re-assigned to your new, more efficient channels to handle the increased volume of inbound inquiries.
By providing your C-suite with a tangible metric to compare channels and understand where to invest, you’ll be able to secure the buy-in you need to scale and future-proof your customer experience offering.