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CPH vs. CSat - Which KPI is Best?
Here, we take a look at the KPI's that can be used to assess the quality of Customer Service.

November 17th, 2016

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Jonny Campbell



Businesses are in a constant battle of trying to work out what customers care most about. Do they want a speedy, efficient response or do they require a personal, more quality feel? Either way, it’s difficult to satisfy every customer out there unless you stick to the tried and tested.

Quality Customer Service (CS) appears to be something of a “Loch Ness Monster” in recent times – it’s very difficult to spot it, if you can spot it at all. If you have it, great. If you don’t, you might come unstuck going forward.

Within a CS environment, the best opinion out there is that of the customer because, after all, they are the ones who make up your bottom line. A lot of companies have implemented various strategies to measure their CS levels over the years and the one that has stood the true test of time is customer satisfaction – or CSat for short.

What is CSat?

CSat is a method of measuring quality that involves customers rating the service they received on a company-specific, pre-defined scale. The results of this feedback are then collated and a quality score given as a percentage which is logged against the operator who served the customer.

So, how does this help a business? Well for one, you can publish your CSat on your website and have it as pride of place within your branding.

CSat measures customers' satisfaction with a product or service and is generally recorded as a percentage.

In 2015, John Lewis was knocked off its lofty perch atop the CS tower and the powerhouse of Amazon has now moved into the lead for the best CS offering in the UK with a CSat of 86%.

The company then announced its first financial results in Quarter 1 of 2016, and they make for interesting reading. Up to 31st March 2016, Amazon turned over an eye watering $29.1million – a rise of 28% on 2015. Is this a coincidence? That’s for you to decide.

By focusing on CSat as a key performance indicator (KPI) for your operators you can track anyone who is performing well (and reward them) or performing poorly (and therefore you can help them improve). You are ultimately improving the overall reputation of the business in the public eye. But, what happens if you focus on it too much? Quality is great, but if you have 97 customers in a queue for 10 minutes it doesn’t really matter how good the operator is – you’re bound to have some pretty irate customers coming through to you.

In an era where time is money, you need to react fast. Customers don’t want serving in an hours’ time, they want serving yesterday. They have an issue and you need to deal with it which is exactly where the performance indicator of contacts per hour (CPH) joins the party.

What is CPH?

CPH is a measurement of the number of contacts an operator or business handles in an hour.

CPH does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a measurement of how many contacts the business – or specific operator – can deal with in an hour. When we look at “contacts” it can be a measurement based on the service that you provide. If you offer webchat facilities, it’s based on the number of completed chats. If you provide phone lines, it’s the number of calls you take – and so on.

Focusing on CPH allows a business to see where they are winning or losing. By having a higher CPH, you can essentially get through more customer enquiries in a shorter period of time. Not only is this great for the customer, but it could also reduce the number of operators that are needed.

What happens if you focus on CPH too much? Essentially, as CPH increases, CSat decreases. As we previously discussed, the level of CSat is vital to generating a positive reputation. CPH is therefore clearly not the one, defining metric for you to measure your performance on.

It's not one or the other...

If you try to focus on one of these too much you might as well spend your day pushing square blocks through round holes. The trick here is balance.

When you look at these you need to look at them both as a single entity –  one can’t exist without the other. At FM, we set targets for all operators across the board. On Webchat, we expect a CSat of 80% and CPH (chats per hour) of 15. We took a look at last month’s figures for a client of ours and found CSat to be 80.23% and CPH to be 16.7 – which would place it as one of the  highest ranking companies in its sector.

By using the right combination, you can ensure that your CS always packs a punch. Here at FM, we provide services to some of the UK’s biggest companies helping them to find the right balance of quality and quantity in the process. Interested? Contact us to find out more. When the CS figures are released for 2016, where will your company stand?

balance between cph and csat is vital
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About the author

Jonny Campbell