Tracking the right customer service metrics is the key to providing quality customer-facing interactions. If you know how your team is doing, you know what needs to be changed and what should be praised.
We’ve condensed 15 key metrics into one article and an infographic to give you an overview of the choices you have when improving the quality of your customer support. Pick the metrics that matter the most to your company and team.
There are 4 customer service metrics that give great insight into how well your agents are handling their tasks. Make sure you combine quantitative and qualitative metrics, and look at your quality from two perspectives: the customers’ and your own.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) is a metric often used to measure how satisfied your customers are with your support, or the service or product that your company provides. According to Qualtrics, CSAT is usually measured by using variations of the question:
“How would you rate the support you received?”
Respondents give an answer that is something between “Good, I’m satisfied” and “Bad, I’m unsatisfied”. The results can be averaged out to give a Composite Customer Satisfaction Score, usually expressed as a percentage: 100% being total customer satisfaction, 0% total customer dissatisfaction.
If you’re curious about average CSATs in your industry and region, Zendesk has some great benchmark studies that may be beneficial. Also, read how to keep CSAT in focus, when scaling your support team.
While CSAT is a transactional quality metric asked after a specific interaction, Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a more holistic metric designed to measure the customers' overall experience with your company.
NPS asks the question:
“On a scale of zero to 10 how likely are you would recommend us (our company) to a friend or colleague?”
Customers who answer 9 or 10 are considered Promoters and are your best brand advocates, 6 and lower are Detractors and are likely to churn.
NPS is traditionally used as a metric for product or marketing teams. As support should be considered as a part of your company’s product, it can make an impact on NPS as well. It’s a great way to align all teams towards a common goal: the customer.
Internal Quality Score (IQS) is the third most important customer service quality metric that you should track. While CSAT and NPS present your customers’ point of view, IQS rates your customer conversations from your own perspective. This can be done as self-reviews, manager-reviews or peer-reviews.
The values that are important to your support organization and the qualities of a successful support interaction should be defined in your rating categories (e.g. solution, tone, product knowledge). These make up the aggregate internal quality score.
Tools like Qualitista help you conduct peer reviews and calculate IQS for you.
The quality of your support interactions affects almost all relevant KPIs and metrics. By analyzing your interactions, you find gaps in your knowledge. This serves as the basis for improvement in all areas.
Your company’s Customer Effort Score reflects the amount of work your customers have to put in to get a resolution to their inquiry. Much like CSAT, it is measured by asking customers to rate whether they agree with a statement like:
“Your company made it easy for me to handle my issue.”
Start by segmenting your customer base or specific product areas to see if they are consistently ranked as high effort by your customers. Once you’ve recognized the most challenging parts of your customer experience, focus on improving those areas.
Support should come effortlessly and be enjoyable. A customer shouldn’t be pulling teeth to get their problems resolved—and if they do, it probably indicates a larger issue with your product, tooling, or the way you do support.
Time plays an important role in your customer support interactions. Sometimes customers’ dissatisfaction comes from having to wait for too long, not from having a complex issue. Here are the 2 most important time-related metrics to track.
First Response Time (FRT), also known as Time to First Response, is the metric that indicates how long your customers have to wait before they get a response to their inquiry.
Time to First Response = total number of tickets / total time until an agent takes on a case
Some leaders believe that customer reps should not reply to a ticket before they have an answer to their client's problem. But that is often not the case. "... it’s indisputable — a speedy first reply results in higher customer satisfaction.” Anton de Young, Zendesk blog
If you’re looking to set some benchmarks or goals for your own team, check out the infographic above. It contains some good stats about FRT.
Average Handle Time (AHT) is the amount of time that it takes from opening a ticket, chat or phone conversation to hitting Send or hanging up the phone. To calculate AHT, add up the total amount of time spent on resolving conversations and divide it by the total number of conversations.
AHT = total time spent on resolving conversations / total number of conversations
AHT is directly related to other ticket-based metrics such as replies per conversation, ticket volume, and CSAT. One productivity metric that is strongly impacted by handle time is the number of contacts that an agent can handle in a month - the lower the average handle time, the more contacts an agent can work through.
The previously described time-related metrics are closely tied to how many tickets you receive. There are 6 important customer service metrics that you should keep an eye on to make sure your team can handle the load.
This is the main metric when it comes to knowing the pulse of a support team. Conversation volume includes everything from the tickets in your inbox to conversations in social media, phone, and chat support.
Conversation volume = tickets in inbox + social media + phone calls + chat
Tracking conversation volume over a long period of time, e.g. years, can give you incredible insight into your support team trends. You’ll find your busiest periods and understand when you need to hire more staff.
Resolution rate tells you the percentage of total conversation volume that your team has resolved. In other words, it helps you understand how well are your tackling your incoming tickets.
Resolution rate = (solved tickets / total number of tickets)
Ideally, resolution rate should remain the same as your company grows. If you see your resolution rate go down, it means you are not handling tickets as fast as you used to. This might hint you to consider hiring more customer support agents.
Knowing how many tickets are currently open and how long they’ve been open for, is a great metric for analyzing your backlog. Current open conversations reflects the number of customers who are currently waiting for a response.
Open cases = Total number of cases - resolved cases
It's a great indicator for managers if the whole queue response times are getting out of hand. Having more open tickets than normally will likely result in a prolonged average wait time. For team leads, keeping an eye on current open conversations in different queues can help them prioritize their agents’ work.
Replies Per Conversation (RPC) is the average number of answers that it takes to resolve an issue for your customer. In certain cases, this can give you valuable insight into how your team is doing.
Replies Per Conversation = total number or replies / number of tickets
If you see the number of RPC climb up, or if it’s high from the get-go, it may mean that your employees are not paying as close attention to the customers’ problems as they could be.
RPC can also go up when customers prefer to reopen past conversations instead of creating new ones. This inflates the total number of replies when, in fact, you are looking at multiple conversations attached to the same ticket.
Across all forms of contact, First Contact Resolution (FCR) rate means solving the customer’s issue in full with your first response. They do not have to ask anymore questions. Customers love getting their questions solved quickly.
FCR Rate = number of cases resolved on first contact / total number of FCR-eligible cases
Not all tickets are FCR-eligible. For example, sometimes customers make mistakes in their inquiries and it just isn’t possible for you to fix their problems on the first go. Non-FCR-eligible tickets can be tagged manually or with a service like Idiomatic.
In an ideal world, you resolve all your tickets with a single response. However, every now and then you probably face cases that need more interaction. Escalation Rate tells you how many tickets were not solved by first line support agents and were escalated to seniors/managers.
Escalation Rate = Tickets that escalated from first line / total number of tickets
Aim to keep Escalation Rate as close to 0 as possible. If you see your Escalation Rate go up, you should dive into those escalated tickets with qualitative metrics like Internal Quality Score. This will help you understand if the quality of your customer service has gone down or perhaps there are issues within the products that need to be solved.
Customer support is a core part of your company and it has a significant impact on your business results. That's why we'll give you 2 business metrics to analyze from the perspective of your customer support, and a financial metric that's often neglected.
Churn Rate tells you how many customers you’ve lost relative to the new customers you’ve gained in a specific period of time. For companies who offer subscriptions, it’s an essential metric to track, as you want to keep your customers with you forever.
Churn Rate = Lost customers / remaining customers, including new customers
Keeping churn rate as low as possible is a company-wide effort. Customer service has an important role in making sure that customers don’t leave due to lack of information or help.
Retention Rate is the opposite of Churn Rate. Retention Rate refers to the number of clients who have remained your customers over a specific period of time.
Retention Rate = Number of customer at the end of the period / number of customers at the beginning
Retention Rate is a great metric that gives you insight into how your new customer service efforts are paying off. For example, if you’ve published a thorough Knowledge Base, compare your current Retention Rate with that of the pre-Knowledge Base period to see any changes in customer loyalty.
Cost Per Conversation (CPC) is the total cost of operating your team, divided by the total number of conversations that you have across your support platforms. Costs include salaries, health insurances and other benefits, equipment, and everything else that you need to have the support team running.
CPC = total team operating costs / total number of conversations
You can calculate CPC across the span of a year, a month, or any other period. Count for only the time that your agents are dedicated to customer interactions. That’s an important aspect if your team members spend some of their time on responsibilities other than support.
Don’t let the mire of available metrics get your team bogged down in the details. Get an overall picture of how your team is doing and what areas need to be improved. Then pick the customer service metrics that go with them.
Recognize that, when measuring team performance, quantitative data is not always king and sometimes qualitative data - in the shape of peer review or Internal Quality Score - can be just as important for growing your customer service.
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