. . . and how to address them in the most cost-effective manner.

The three primary drivers of customer satisfaction are:

  1. Response time — the time it takes for the customer to get a response from a qualified person (i.e., someone who is going to attempt to resolve the issue)
  2. Resolve time — the time it takes for the customer to get the issue resolved to their satisfaction
  3. Status updates — keeping the customer informed of progress on their open (unresolved) issue. When I worked on Wachovia Bank, they called this the “sundown rule.” The customer would hear back from the banker or CSR before the end of the day, with an update, if their question had not been answered or their issue had not been resolved.

These are the top three priorities in order. Everything else is secondary.

According to TSIA (Technology Services Industry Association) research:

  • Customer service skills ranked 80%
  • Technical knowledge — 78%
  • Time to respond — 74%
  • Effectiveness — 72%
  • Time to resolve — 71%

Case resolution is second most important to customers but is rated lowest in satisfaction surveys. This indicates there is a lot of room for improvement and the improvement will have a big impact on customer satisfaction.

Research conducted by Dave Brown at Support Center University showed customers who have their issue resolved during the initial call (first call resolution or FCR) or with very quick follow-up, one hour or less, had essentially the same level of satisfaction.

However, customers who had to wait more than one hour from the initial conversation were twice as likely to give a low customer satisfaction score.

If the time to resolution was greater than six hours, the likelihood of a low satisfaction score was triple.

There’s a strong positive correlation between the time to resolution and customer satisfaction.

Reducing time to resolution and increasing first call resolution are also the quickest ways to reduce costs.

According to the TSIA, the cost per case resolved at each level are as follows:

  • Tier 1 = $44.80
  • Tier 2 = $102.63
  • Tier 3 = $149.40
  • Developer = $220.70
  1. Skills-based routing — making sure the most qualified people get the call initially
  2. Knowledge management — increasing the number of subjects someone is able to resolve
  3. Desktop collaboration and screen-sharing — so CSRs know if this, or other, customers has had this problem before and how it was resolved



Tom Smith

Experienced marketing professional who has worked with more than 120 clients in 18 different vertical industries. ♦ Differentiate products and services by improving UX and delivering memorable CX to create an emotional connection to the brand. ♦ Obtain insights from analytics to solve business problems and drive revenue. ♦ Develop and implement marketing campaigns that double traffic and leads in three months. ♦ Certified Marketing Automation Professional ♦ Certified Voice of the Customer (VOC) Professional