We are witnessing a growing focus on the quality of customer support, as companies look for news ways to boost the quality of the service - to improve Net Promoter Score and the overall customer satisfaction.
However, one branch of conversation reviews - self-assessment - seems to be playing the second fiddle in this movement. Most companies see manager and peer reviews as more reliable ways of assuring quality in customer service.
Can self-reviews actually be good for your customer support team, and, moreover, to your company and business in general? Empirical study shows: yes.
P. Gloor et al. published a research on the impact that agent mirroring has on customer satisfaction in the Journal of Business Research. The study concluded that exposing team members to their own communication patterns does, indeed, result in increased customer satisfaction.
"Our findings function as reminder for managers of service-based companies that interpersonal communication has a critical role to play in influencing the customers' total experience and satisfaction."
However, it is important to note that instead of letting agents do self-assessment, the researchers used what they called “virtual mirroring” in this particular study. Agents held monthly team meetings where they received pre-assessed scorecards and then reflected on their performance.
So, they combined specialist reviews with self-assessment and peer feedback sessions. This resulted in an increase in the overall customer satisfaction, as well as in other metrics that contribute to it.
The study by P. Gloor et al looked into how feedback sessions affect different parts of customer interaction: average response time, use of language and the stability of interactions. These findings help us understand why this kind of feedback results in higher customer satisfaction.
Agents who participated in mirroring sessions learned to observe their own communication patterns and modify the way they interact. Reflecting on their previous interactions helped agents gain control over the way they communicate with the customers and change it for the better:
These three components - time, ease of communication, stability - are the pillars of customer satisfaction. These are the qualities to build upon, if you want to see your NPS go up.
The main takeaway of the study is that being aware of one’s own communication behaviours can boost growth in this area. Conversation reviews are the key to it, but they are not enough.
Combining scorecard evaluations with self-assessment and reflections is what helps agents understand and change their behavior. If the realization of what needs to be improved comes from themselves, it is more likely to lead to actual steps towards becoming better.
Also, including peer feedback in the review process is a great way to encourage knowledge sharing. In addition to their own reflections, agents can learn from others and grow in areas that may not have been described in their own assessments. In the light of the study by P. Gloor et al., it is great to see successful companies invest more and more time and resources into conversation reviews. Agent feedback is what drives the quality of customer service and delivers better business results.
As the study on customer support mirroring concluded, raised awareness of their own performance helps agents excel. Improved Net Promoter Scores are a testament to the importance of the self-assessment component in customer service feedback.
Now go and improve your NPS by 5% (or more)!
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