Key performance indicators (KPIs) give businesses a way to measure and monitor progress toward business goals and ensure leaders are steering their companies toward a great track record with customer satisfaction and business growth. You can monitor KPIs for virtually every facet of your business.
However, some of the most important metrics to track are customer support KPIs, which can provide crucial insights into your operation and the health of your business, from customer satisfaction and retention to cost control and the bottom line.
Why Should Businesses Track Customer Service KPIs?
Your customer support team is the point of contact when customers need help resolving issues or have questions. Moreover, support agents may be the only contact customers have with your brand after the initial sale or onboarding. That fact makes customer support excellence crucial to a company’s revenue and competitiveness.
A survey by Propel Software found that 54% of U.S. consumers would stop purchasing from a company after only one bad experience. The survey also found, however, that good online or social media experiences, such as fast replies and easy access to information could convince them to give a company another try.
Ensuring your customer support team is meeting expectations and providing great experiences is pivotal for building a business with staying power and growth potential.
What are the Most Important Customer Service KPIs?
Businesses can devote several full-time employees to monitoring customer service metrics, but that’s not practical for most companies. A smarter strategy is to select between five and 10 customer support KPIs. Then, monitor them at intervals that provide the information business leaders need to maintain positive progress toward their goals, while detecting issues soon enough to correct them before any damage to the brand occurs.
Customer support KPIs on this list are among the most valuable (and the most commonly tracked) for customer support teams.
1. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
CSAT scores are based on surveying customers on their satisfaction, usually by using a five-point scale. Businesses commonly conduct surveys digitally soon after an interaction, asking customers to click 1 for “very unsatisfied” for rating service as poor or to click 5 for “very unsatisfied” or excellent service.
This customer support KPI enables businesses to focus on one element of service, such as how well a customer support rep handled their issue, or to rate customer support overall.
You can find your CSAT by dividing the number of people who responded to your request for feedback with a rating of 4 or 5 by the total number of responses.
Number of people responding with a 4 or 5 / (Total number of people who responded x 100) = CSAT (represented as a percentage)
How to Improve CSAT
If your CSAT is lower than 75%, it means that at least one-fourth of your customers are dissatisfied with the service your customer support team provides. The number may actually be drastically different if only your satisfied customers participate in the survey. A low score means you need to take immediate action to pinpoint why customer satisfaction is low. You can use the CSAT method to ask specific questions or allow customers to elaborate on their answers to help you identify root causes.
2. Customer Effort Score (CES)
Customer Effort Score indicates how easy your customers consider interacting with your customer service team. Surveys to collect data for the CES usually use a rating scale similar to CSAT, ranging from 1 for “very difficult” to 7 for “very easy.” After a customer requests support, a CES survey asks how easy it was to get the information needed.
If you ask specific questions, CES can provide you with straightforward, actionable information about the customer experiences you provide
Number of customers who rate experiences at 5, 6, or 7 on a seven-point scale / (total number of customers responding x 100) = CES
How to Improve CES
If your CES is low, your customers may find interacting with your customer support team difficult. It’s vital to get to the bottom of why interactions are more difficult than they would like, but you can also walk through processes from a customer’s point of view and make some changes immediately. For example, make sure your contact information is easy to find and give customers the option to connect via a chatbot.
3. First Response Time
First response time (FRT) is the time, on average, that it takes for a customer service agent to respond to a customer. This metric can help managers evaluate individual employees’ performance and the effectiveness of processes in place for responding to customers.
A decreasing FRT may also indicate that it’s time to hire or implement technology that helps address the growing demand for support. It can also give businesses an idea of how their customers perceive them. If a support team responds quickly, customers have the assurance that the company makes their needs a priority. On the other hand, if FRT is lengthy, customers could get the impression that a business doesn’t.
Research shows that customers are willing to spend more from a company that responds quickly to their inquiries. The bottom line: the better your FRT, the better chance you have at growing your revenue.
To calculate first response time in minutes or seconds, subtract the time the customer made the request from the time the customer service agents responded. To find the average time for the entire team, add all FRTs and divide by the number of customer interactions.
First Response Time Calculation
Time of first response – time of customer request = FRT (in minutes or seconds)
Average First Response Time Calculation
Add all first response times / number of customer interactions = average FRT
How to Improve First Response Time
Increasing capacity to deal with the volume of support requests will decrease FRT. However, hiring more agents isn’t always the best course of action. Deploying chatbots can allow customers to receive a response almost instantly, 24/7. Furthermore, chatbots may be able to answer simple questions or point customers in the right direction to find the answers they need. When a handoff to a customer support rep is necessary, the chatbot can collect information that saves time when human interaction begins.
4. Customer Retention Rate
Carefully tracking customer retention rate is another indicator that your customer service team is doing its job well. Great support experiences can encourage customers to continue to do business with your company, which leads to greater customer lifetime value (LTV) and lower acquisition costs. Loyal customers are also more likely to recommend your business to their peers and colleagues, which can contribute to more business growth and a positive brand image.
Tracking customer retention rate, particularly when you make changes to customer support or other elements of your business, is a good way to make sure they don’t result in churn.
To calculate customer retention rate, subtract the number of new customers acquired over a quarter, year, or another timeframe, from the total number of customers at the end of that period. Divide this number by the customers you had at the beginning of that timeframe and represent it as a percentage.
Customer Retention Rate Calculation
(Number of customers at the end of a timeframe – new customers acquired during that time) / (Number of customers you had at the start of that period x 100) = customer retention rate
How to Improve Customer Retention Rate
Many factors go into a customer’s decision on whether to continue to do business with your company. However, one area you can consider improving is your customer onboarding process, which can lay the foundation for long-term success with your business. Also, stay open to customer feedback, whether solicited or spontaneous, and use it to optimize your products and services. You can also consider rewarding loyal customers with special deals that encourage them to continue to do business with your company.
Of course, delightful customer experiences, including prompt, efficient, productive customer support calls, will also impact whether consumers choose your business in the future.
Neil Patel reports that the reason 68% of customers look for new companies is because of the treatment they’ve received. He says poor experiences include lengthy waits for help, continually repeating information, being caught in automated self-service with no way to reach a human, and representatives who don’t know their personal history with the company.
5. Tickets Per Customer
A sign of a great customer support team is the ability to resolve issues quickly. The tickets per customer service metric can provide several insights into how effective support reps are at their jobs. Tickets per customer can also indicate that something within customer support processes or tools is broken and must be corrected so that customers receive the troubleshooting help or answers they need with as few calls or chats as possible.
To calculate tickets per user, divide the total number of customer requests for support by the total number of users that requested service.
Tickets Per Customer Calculation
Total number of support requests / Total number of customers who called for support = Tickets per user
How to Improve Tickets Per Customer
The key to a good tickets per customer number is support desk efficiency. Support teams must be adequately staffed and have tools that streamline their workflows and customer interactions.
6. Average Resolution Time
Just as important as resolving issues with a minimal number of requests from customers is resolving issues quickly. Average resolution time (ART) gauges how well your customer support team meets customers’ desires for quick answers and minimal waiting.
To calculate ART, add all the total time customer support spent on resolving issues and divide it by the number of issues.
Average Resolution Time Calculation
Total time spent resolving issues / Number of issues = ART
How to Improve Average Resolution Time
Although voice support via phone only could create long wait times for customers as reps take call after call, it makes average resolution time calculations easier. When customers engage online, however, their requests may “overlap” as they interact with chatbots, message customer service, or speak directly to a rep.
First, make sure you are accurately representing the time it takes a customer to resolve an issue, and then look at ways – such as smooth handoffs from chatbot to a customer service rep – to minimize the time that resolutions take.
7. Cost Per Resolution
Customer support can contribute to customer retention and new sales; however, it is a cost center. Controlling customer support costs will enhance a business’s potential to operate profitably.
It’s important to recognize that the cost to resolve an issue is more than the portion of a sales rep’s hourly wage. You also need to take costs – including staffing, training, and managing the customer support team, into account, as well as investments in infrastructure for them to use to provide service.
To calculate cost per resolution, divide the total costs of operating a customer support desk by the number of requests from customers.
Cost Per Resolution Calculation
(Cost of customer support human resources + recruiting, training, and management + tech tools and infrastructure for customer support) / Total number of customer support requests = cost per resolution
How to Improve Cost Per Resolution
If the cost per resolution is high, consider automating processes with intelligent solutions to enable higher throughput per customer support rep, which will lower the cost for each interaction.
8. First Contact Resolution
Businesses can benefit from tracking first contact resolution (FCR), which shows how well customer support reps understand customers’ issues and how to resolve them. Getting it right the first time will increase customer satisfaction and contribute to customer retention. When customers need to call over and over again to resolve an issue, it could lead to higher rates of churn.
To find the first contact resolution for your customer support team, divide the number of issues resolved with one interaction divided by the total number of all interactions.
First Contact Resolution Calculation
(Issues resolved with one interaction / all interactions) x 100 = FCR
How to Improve First Contact Resolution
Staffing your customer support desk with well-trained and knowledgeable technicians is vital to ensuring resolutions can occur with one contact. However, you can also deploy technology that enables support via various channels, direct customers to the resources they need, and route customers to a customer support rep who can access all of the information they provided to a chatbot or other details about the problem they need to solve.
9. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
At first glance, Net Promoter Score® may seem similar to a CSAT. However, when you compare CSAT vs. NPS, you’ll see they provide you with different types of information. CSAT is based on a survey that can ask about various facets of your business, such as how happy customers are with products or services or how satisfied they were with a recent engagement. NPS, on the other hand, asks customers just one question: “How likely are you to recommend us to a colleague, friend, or family member?” That question gives businesses insight into how happy customers are with their businesses overall and whether they’re developing relationships with “promoters” who will recommend their brands.
To find your Net Promoter Score, you need to survey customers, asking them to rate their likelihood of recommending your company on a scale from 1 to 10. People responding with a 9 or 10 are promoters, and those who respond 6 or lower are detractors. Discount “passive” people who respond 7 or 8 for your NPS calculation.
Then find the percentage of promoters and detractors by dividing them by the total number of people surveyed and multiplying by 100. Then find the difference.
Percentage of detractors – percentage of promoters = NPS
How to Improve Net Promoter Score
Your Net Promoter Score shows you which customers are promoters and which are detractors. This information is valuable to customer support reps when they interact with your customers so they can celebrate the success of your promoters and look for ways to improve experiences with detractors.
You can also use specific feedback from customers to train staff on areas that need improvement. You can also use NPS data to determine reasons that some customers say they would be unlikely to recommend your company and make changes to improve those areas of your business.
10. Channel Performance and Volume
In an omnichannel world, customer support teams need a clear understanding of how their customers engage with them and which channels are most effective. When calculating any of the other customer support KPIs listed above, it may be beneficial to break them down into the channels where they occurred.
Evaluating which channels facilitate the most support volume and which are most effective at resolving issues efficiently can help you improve overall customer satisfaction.
11. Employee Retention and Employee Satisfaction
Another area of customer support KPIs to measure and monitor is employee satisfaction. When customer support processes or tools aren’t sufficient to provide a high level of support, customers can become frustrated — and this makes work less enjoyable and satisfying for your team.
Monitoring employee turnover in customer support is a key KPI to watch so that you can intervene when the rate increases. However, you may also want to establish a way that employees can share feedback on processes and customer interactions. This will give you a picture of employee sentiment towards their jobs.
Moreover, it can result in ideas that improve customer support processes for them, their colleagues, and your customers.
Want to Improve Your Customer Support KPIs? We Can Help
Each of these key customer support KPIs will provide valuable information you can use to improve operations. For example, these metrics will quantify how efficiently and quickly your team resolves issues, how difficult or easy it is to engage with your business, and how much customer support issues cost your business.
Customer support metrics can help you gauge customer satisfaction and how likely your customers are to recommend your business to peers. Customer support KPIs can also show you which channels are most effective for providing support and how satisfied your employees are in their customer support jobs.
These KPIs underscore the impact customer support has on your business as a whole and how important it is to make sure it operates optimally. If you see customer support metrics declining rather than improving over time, you need to focus on that facet of the customer support your team provides. Sometimes the solution is to recruit more human resources for your customer support team. However, this option adds significant expense — and it may be difficult to find new employees as the labor shortage continues.
Automating customer support processes may be a better option for your business. Solvvy provides customer service and support teams across a variety of industries with a powerful conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platform. Solvvy’s natural language processing (NLP) model provides customers with a quick and easy way to ask questions and get the answers they need. Solvvy’s AI model understands your customers – both literally and in the sentiment they’re trying to convey – and responds with personalized answers on any channel 24/7.
Additionally, Solvvy gives your customer support team smart handoffs. The information customers provide during their chat is transferred to an agent, so they can continue the conversation and deliver smoother, faster assistance. The result is faster, more efficient, accurate resolutions and happier customers.
Solvvy’s AI platform also enables businesses to analyze key data points to see exactly what customers are asking (or confused about) and how the support team is performing. This valuable data can help brands keep their businesses on the right track.
To learn more about customer support KPIs, and how conversational AI can help you move the needle on progress toward your customer success goals, get in touch to schedule your personal, live demo today.