For any business that wants to succeed in the long term, top-class customer service is essential. While marketing and sales are needed to get that initial traction, your customer service can make the difference between whether or not those customers stick around.
While it can be tempting to just ‘do better,’ identifying and measuring the right metrics for customer service is the best way of ensuring you’re making real progress. This post will explain exactly why customer service metrics are so important, how to measure customer service, and how to use the results to drive improvements.
Why are customer service metrics important?
The popular saying is that ‘what gets measured gets managed.’ Customer support metrics replace a subjective gut-feeling assessment of those outcomes and processes with concrete numbers that you can use to benchmark and track performance. Rather than wondering whether or not your support is up to scratch, you can look at the customer service metrics and see exactly what’s working and where there’s room for improvement.
When those services metrics are used as customer service KPIs, they can move you closer to your customer service goals, such as improving customer retention, increasing loyalty, satisfaction, and customer lifetime value.
How to measure customer service
Customer service metrics are a measurement used to track and assess different aspects of the customer service process. However, there are two distinct types of metrics that can be used for measuring customer service.
Operational services metrics cover the efficiency of customer support. These customer service performance metrics help directly assess the productivity of your reps, such as how long it takes to fully resolve an issue, how many queries are solved during the first contact, etc.
Organizational metrics — also known as experience data — are more concerned with what customers think of the product/services. Rather than just being the result of your customer service reps’ actions, these look at how the organization as a whole has met your customer’s expectations. Examples could include customer reviews, positive mentions on social media, survey results relating to satisfaction/loyalty, etc.
When choosing what services metrics to measure, you’ll want to include both types to ensure a balanced approach to get the best results, as shown in the customer service matrix.
Focusing exclusively on operational metrics for customer service could lead to highly productive reps who can close out hundreds of tickets each day, ignoring the fact that most of those customers are deeply disappointed.
On the other hand, organizational metrics might help track customer satisfaction, but they won’t stay happy for long if it takes days to resolve the simplest issue.
At the same time, you don’t want to become overwhelmed, trying to track and optimize for every possible metric. Instead, companies should identify the key customer service performance metrics according to their specific business requirements, then use those metrics for measuring customer service and driving positive action.
With that in mind, here are six customer service metrics examples you should be assessing.
Customer service metrics you need to measure
First Response Time (FRT)
This customer service metric measures the average amount of time it takes for your agent to respond to a customer’s initial inquiry. Expectations vary between channels; 24 hours to respond to an email may be acceptable, but waiting the same amount of time for a reply to an on-site chat is not. A slow response time can alienate customers who may already be feeling annoyed. Waiting days for an email response or hours on hold are only going to make matters worse. On the other hand, a quick response (even an automated one) reassures customers that you are aware of their issue and are doing everything in your power to resolve it.
First Call Resolution (FCR)
Also known as First Contact Resolution, this metric refers to the rate at which customer service staff are able to resolve customer issues within the first contact, with no follow-up needed. When a customer’s issue is resolved in the first call, customers are happier and support staff are able to move on and help more users.
Average Handle Time (AHT)
Average Handle Time helps you measure how long each customer support interaction takes on average, from initial contact to resolution. This customer service metric includes all the time spent communicating, any time spent on hold or being transferred, and all associated work carried out after the call. Resolving your customers’ issues in the shortest time allows support staff to handle more calls and improve customer experience.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
How do customers rate their overall satisfaction with your product or service? By seeing how many gave you the positive ratings and comparing that to the total number of respondents, this metric shows your percentage of satisfied customers. Customer satisfaction is a great way to quickly assess how customers are feeling at any given moment. Because it’s based on just one simple question, it can also be used at different points in the customer journey to pinpoint which moments may need more work.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Your Net Promoter Score is based on how likely a customer is to recommend you to a friend or colleague, used to measure and understand customer loyalty. By seeing how many promoters, passives, and detractors your company has, you can identify whether there are any issues that need to be addressed and predict potential growth. Like CSAT, this metric is a quick way of assessing customer attitudes. However, NPS goes beyond a one-time feeling of satisfaction and attempts to identify the likelihood of long-term loyalty and referrals.
While CSAT and NPS tell you what your customers are saying, it’s also important to see what they’re actually doing. No matter how satisfied or loyal they say they are, it doesn’t count for much if they switch to one of your competitors next week. This is where churn comes in. For a SaaS or subscription-based business, this represents how many customers stop using your service. While churn might be harder to define for e-commerce, it can still be measured by assessing purchase behavior and the time between purchases.
Whether you’ve just started your business or you’re well-established, offering high-level customer service should be a priority. By using both organizational and operational customer support metrics, you can ensure that your reps are efficient and that your customers are happy with your products and services.
However, bear in mind that, by themselves, customer service performance metrics don’t change anything. Rather than tracking every possible metric just for the sake of it, track the right ones and use them to drive improvements to your customer service.
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