As a Customer Support leader you know that reporting on your team's KPIs is a crucial part of maintaining excellent standards in customer service.

For many Support teams, reporting usually takes the form of a weekly or monthly update, which helps you reflect on what is and isn't working, so you can focus your efforts in the future. 

But should your customer service reporting go one step further? Should you also be utilizing the power of real-time data? 

According to the International Customer Management Institute, access to a real-time KPI dashboard can:

  • decrease staff costs by up to 10%
  • reduce agent absenteeism by 9%
  • achieve Service Level Agreements with 5% fewer staffed hours
  • reduce abandon rates by as much as 60%

If you're undecided on whether or not real-time reporting is for you – read on. In this article we'll explore the business case for real-time, and hear from leading Customer Support professionals who have embedded real-time dashboards into their customer strategy.

Spot problems before it’s too late

Though weekly (or even daily) reporting can flag general performance areas where you can be proactive and fine-tune things, it can’t help you in the moments when the sh*t hits the fan! 

You know the times, when all of a sudden what seemed like a few rogue tickets escalates into a much bigger issue. In those cases, you and your team need to be reactive to the situation unfolding before it gets out of hand. 

This is where real-time reporting really makes a difference, you can change the outcome of an issue rather than have to deal with the repercussions when it’s spotted late.

“Thanks to a line chart we were referring to on our Geckoboard, we were able to discover a surge in the number of tickets which were being created. This allowed me to jump into the tickets, take a look at the anomalous requests which we were receiving which were actually linked to a mass scale spoofing attempt. We were quickly able to mitigate the impact that this could potentially have had on our customers.” Oliver Jackson – Head of Customer Happiness at Mailbird

If you’re relying on daily reports, a situation like Oliver’s may already be out of control. It’ll require investigation and then mitigation which all takes time. Seeing an unusual spike in your live data, allows you to get ahead of the problem to minimize the impact on your customers.

Empower agents with live data

When agents have access to live data they’re able to take action based on what they’re seeing. 

What does this mean?

Well, if your team only gets data about their past performance then there’s a limit to what they’re able to do to change things. By giving them access to live KPIs, they’ll be empowered to act in the moment. 

Let’s say an agent is due to go on their break. They look at their real-time KPI dashboard and see that currently the queue is growing and that there’s already another agent offline. They’re able to make an informed decision to wait for the other agent to come back before taking their break and help the team managing the queue until then.

Without access to live data, this agent wouldn’t know the state of the queue at that moment, nor would they necessarily know who’s on or offline.

“We used to have big TV screens everywhere so that on the call center floor, everyone could view the queue just by looking up to a screen. When we shifted to working remotely there was no live queue of how many calls were holding, how many chats we're on, what’s coming in. So it became very hard to manage. Because we have representatives that aren't always on Support, their backup role is to jump in if our volume gets high. We found it challenging managing that in Zendesk. There was no live queue to show what representatives were on, how many calls, chats, all of that was coming in at once.” Tina Baljian – Associate Director Customer Support Technology at Hay House

Hear from Customer Support leaders Tina Baljian (Associate Director Customer Support Technology at Hay House), Anish Ravi (Head of People Services at Flink) and Oliver Jackson (Head of Customer Happiness at Mailbird) on the importance and impact of real-time data for their teams.

Motivate the team

Motivating a team can be hard. People are motivated by different things.

Part of the challenge of being a manager is learning how to light those little fires inside everyone. 

But you know what? Whether they like to admit it or not, most people raise their game when competition is involved. 

One of the best parts about real-time data is that you can use it to create agent leaderboards which naturally draw out friendly competition. When used alongside other incentives such as pizza, leaving an hour early or even a medal, a live leaderboard can make a remarkable difference to the team’s motivation.

“During my last round of one-to-ones, there was an enormous request to have access to real-time data in relation to our core KPIs so that they could see how they performed against each other. This created a sort of dynamic which I was not familiar with before, and always hesitated to implement because I didn't want to seem as though I was pitting people against each other. But it acted as a powerful stimulus to really enhance each individual performance and get the most out of each person.” Oliver Jackson – Head of Customer Happiness at Mailbird
“Sadly, it's historical that Customer Service is not a very highly paid job role. So I find that sometimes it's difficult to motivate the team. If you can get some competition going with them, something to really whet their appetite for what they're doing, then they get involved and they do a better job. An example is that we have the top ticket solvers on the monitors at the moment, and you can hear the buzz around the office, people that really buy into that, they get competitive, they want to do more and they want to be top of the leaderboard. Very effective tool for motivating the team.” Sally Jackson - Customer Service Manager at The Entertainer

Enable managers to adjust workflows

Do you worry that sometimes the team isn’t operating as efficiently as it could be?

Do you ever check your reports and find one of your channels had a much higher volume of tickets than usual but you hadn’t allocated extra agents there?

It’s likely that had you been viewing this information in real-time you would have redistributed your workforce to make sure that no single channel becomes overwhelmed. 

No one wants to arrive at work in the morning to see a big backlog before the day has begun!

Acting fast avoids the backlog and mitigates complaints meaning a better experience for both customers and agents.

“Without real-time data we really couldn't manage our workforce in terms of where our time was going. Since implementing Geckoboard, I can really monitor and get an accurate picture of where my team's productivity is going. I’m able to reorganize our days and make sure that the priorities are being handled as they should be.” Anish Ravi – Head of People Services at Flink

How do I share real-time Customer Support data with my team?

Different support platforms have different capabilities when it comes to real-time reporting. For example, with Zendesk your plan you could have data refresh rates ranging from hourly to daily. In most Customer Support teams, this isn’t quite quick enough. Sure, it’s great for those end of the day reports or your weekly roundups but an hour can make a big difference to your queue.

If you’re looking for a way to share real-time Customer Support data, Geckoboard allows you to build real-time KPI dashboards with your most important metrics from Zendesk, Intercom, Klaus, Freshdesk, Aircall, Gorgias, and 80+ other data sources

Whether your team works in an office or remotely, you can make sure your live data is always seen with connections to TV screens, Slack, and sharing options for email and URLs. Empower your agents, allow your team leads to make informed decisions around workforce management and motivate everyone with a real-time Support dashboard.

Want to know what other leaders are tracking on their real-time Customer Support dashboards? Check out our dashboard examples.