When it comes to the customer service area of our business, we tend to make a rough guess at performance. If I were to call you out of the blue and ask how your team performs in that area, most of you would answer something like, “I think we do a pretty good job.” But if you did have me on the other end of the phone I would be asking for more detail. How many calls did you answer yesterday? How many of those calls turned into appointments? How does this compare to last month, your last six months, or this time period last year? You need to stop guessing at your customer service team’s performance and know how they are doing.

If you have no tracking or reporting readily available in your current system, a very simple method will give you the information you need to improve. Most phone systems have the ability to report calls answered by operator or extension. You take the number they booked in your system, divide it by the number they answered, and you will have their raw conversion rate. I say “raw” because no judgment was made on any of the answered calls. It doesn’t matter if they answered a telemarketing call or a live customer. Everyone will be rated on the same scale.

Once you have that number, you need to begin coaching toward small incremental improvements. Don’t get hung up on the actual conversion rate unless you have everyone on one level and someone greatly underperforming. Then it will be a question of coaching up or coaching out. I need to stress the small improvements point: Go for little attainable wins and consistency. All too often, we post insurmountable goals and the frustration hinders progress. Challenge your people to improve by one or two percent with a prize of some kind awarded for a five-percent sustained increase.

Once they reach and maintain the higher level, wash-rinse-repeat your initial coaching. And don’t let the knowledge stop there. Again, if I were on the other line of your phone, I would want to know how many calls you need every day to keep your technicians busy. Then I would be asking how many calls you have on your board today, tomorrow, and the next day. Your team should be focused every day on capturing as many customers as possible and overfilling your call board so your company can grow.