It's a truism anymore that modern companies live and die by their customer service. Savvy business owners keep a keen eye on their customer service statistics – but there are so many metrics to choose from. The average CRM software will provide you with a selection of reports, all updated in real time.
How do you choose which measurements have meaning? Which customer service metrics will tell you what you need to know?
Define your metrics: Who, What and Why
In order to choose metrics that are truly important to your company, ask yourself the following questions.
Who wants to know?
- Who is going to read this report?
- Will the owner use it to determine long-term policy?
- Is it to be read out at the customer service team's weekly progress meeting?
- Will it be part of your marketing materials, used to convince prospective customers to sign on with your company?
An individual agent’s daily report, used to track their performance, would contain entirely different information from a presentation to Board members or investors. Find out what metrics are relevant to the people reading the report.
Too much information can be worse than too little.
Maybe all you need to do is discuss the top trends without confusing the issue with too much detail.
What are your goals?
Customer service metrics don’t exist in isolation. You’re not taking these measurements for your health. They’re meant to lead to some kind of action.
Once you've determined your goal – increasing customer satisfaction, decreasing customer churn, lowering staff turnover, improving contact center efficiency – you'll know which metrics are important in that instance.
Why are you tracking this?
For instance – when MailChimp was growing by leaps and bounds, their customer service lead's main job was making sure that there were enough reps to handle the caseload at an acceptable quality level. The most important metrics for them at that time were the number of tickets per agent and customer satisfaction.
Metrics are just numbers on a screen until you place them in context. If you want to be known for your top-notch, personalized, luxurious customer service, resolution time might not matter to you. Your staff works on the case until the customer is absolutely 100% thrilled, no matter how long it takes.
How to tell a good metric from a bad one
When you’re selecting the metrics you need to pay attention to, think about whether they meet the following criteria:
- Is it real?
- There might be a time and a place for padded reports, but your metrics won’t help you unless they reflect the true picture of your situation.
- Can you take action based on it?
- A good metric points you in the right directions and helps you figure out what to do to meet your goals.
- Have you measured it consistently over time?
- Trends give single metrics meaning. A 75% - ---customer satisfaction rating isn’t great, but if it has improved from 70% over the past week then that’s excellent news.
Metrics to measure your customer service support
Now that you know how to separate the wheat from the chaff, let’s go over the most common customer service metrics.
Every measurement should be taken on the level of the individual agent and the team as a whole.
You should also look at the metrics on a case-level basis – are issues clustering around certain customers, products, or timeframes?
Number of tickets
This should be measured on an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. It should also be segmented by channel (phone calls, chat requests, emails, etc). You’ll be able to see your customer’s preferred channel and contact time.
First Response Time
Many customers expect a reply within hours, no matter the day or time. The good news is that 33% of them will be happy even if the response isn’t particularly helpful. Just knowing that you care about them and you’re working on their issue is enough.
Average Ticket Resolution Time
This is a good way to measure the efficiency of your customer service staff. You need a good quality assurance system to make sure that the issues are truly resolved. If there is too much pressure to handle issues quickly, agents might mark items as resolved just to meet a quota.
Take note of what issues or products cause the most complex problems. This is a time when customer service can give good feedback to other departments in the company.
Number of Interactions per Ticket
Too many of these might mean that the customer is getting transferred too many times, or that your staff is not asking the right questions.
Issue Resolution Rate
Make sure this metric is gathered from the customer’s point of view (as determined by surveys), not the agent’s. A backlog might signal the need for more training, more staff, or more efficient procedures.
Metrics to measure customer happiness
These metrics measure how your customer sees your company. You might see them as the real measure of your customer service success. Your contact center might be efficient, but that doesn’t mean much if your customers aren’t happy.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
This measures your reputation among your customers. It asks them to rate, from 1 to 10, the likelihood of them referring you to a friend. A 9–10 is considered a ‘promoter’, a 0–6 is considered a ‘detractor’, and 6–8 are ‘passive’. Your NPS is your number of promoters minus your number of detractors.
The NPS is very helpful but doesn’t tell the whole story. A detractor is likely to be much more vocal than most promoters, especially on social media.
This measures the customer’s feeling after a particular interaction. It should more or less agree with your NPS. If it doesn’t you should look deeper into the matter.
You should make every effort to correlate this metric with the others. If other metrics look good but you have high customer churn there’s a deep-level issue somewhere. Many industries were satisfied with providing decent-enough service, making them ripe for disruption by a startup that offered something better.