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October 2013, Volume 1, Number 5

Customer experience metrics: How do you measure happy?

Kelly Wolske, a senior trainer at Zappos.com, recounts a call to the retailer's customer service department that lasted more than 10 hours. You might think it dealt with a catastrophic shipping problem or a hopping-mad customer, but no. The call, which resulted in the sale of a pair of Ugg boots, was mostly about living in Las Vegas. In many call centers, managers would be furious over such a lengthy call. Not at Zappos. "We encourage our agents to take whatever time needed to help the customer," Wolske said. And if that means raving about the steak at a Vegas buffet -- for hours -- that's just fine. Rather than use metrics based on call handle time or calls per hour, Zappos measures the quality of the customer experience. How satisfied are customers with the calls they just made? Did the agents solve their problems? Or more simply put, Are they happy? And Zappos isn't alone. There is a growing consensus that a cut-and-dried approach to metrics isn’t the best indicator of how well customers are being served. Sarah Stealey Reed, ...

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