Quality customer service has become the latest “must-have” in the modern marketplace. Research studies and surveys point to its importance, time and time again:
- 59% of Americans would try a new brand for a better customer experience.
- It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative one.
- A loyal customer is worth 10 times more than their initial purchase.
Measuring the “success” of a customer service team, however, presents difficulties. Unlike sales or even marketing, it can be difficult to measure the ROI of their actions.
So it helps to track the right customer service key performance indicators (KPIs). None of these tie directly to revenue, but they allow you to determine how quickly, efficiently and helpfully your team responds to customer questions.
Critical Customer Service KPIs
1. Resolution time
How long does it take your service reps to close a case or issue, on average? The quicker your team successfully answers questions, the more satisfied your customers will be.
2. Percentage of first-time issue closures
An offshoot of the previous customer service KPI: Whenever your service agents can resolve an issue in one phone call or email, it not only makes your customers happy but allows your reps to work as efficiently as possible.
3. Initial response time
How long does it take your support agents to respond to a customer the first time? How does this differ by channel, whether it’s picking up the phone, answering an email or live chat, or responding to a social media post? The first touch typically represents the most important one to customers — think about your own frustration at being stuck on hold when dialing a support number.
4. Interactions per issue
Similar to “time to close,” this KPI measures the same concept in a different way: How many phone calls, emails or posts does it take to resolve a case or question (on average). Customers don’t just want their questions answered quickly; they also want to minimize their effort in solving these issues.
5. Issue escalation rate
“Let me speak to your manager” — case escalations will always happen, but the goal is to minimize the number of them. Each escalation represents a frustrated customer, someone whose issue hasn’t been resolved or who was irate to begin with — so it’s more difficult for your team to satisfy a customer once the case has already been escalated.
6. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) score
While the first few customer service KPIs all revolve around internal performance attributes, this one is more direct — asking customers: “How are we doing?” The CSAT score is an easy way to do so. It uses a 5- or 10-point scale to let customers rate their satisfaction after a meaningful interaction. Tracking this score not only allows you to understand how customers gauge your performance but enables you to identify shifts over time or changes as customers interact with different departments.
7. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Like CSAT, the NPS system offers a way of tracking your customers’ opinions of you. Initially developed by Bain & Company, it asks your customers how likely they’d be to recommend your services to a friend on a scale of 0-10. Responses of 9 or 10 come from what the survey calls “promoters,” 7 or 8 marks “passive” respondents, while 0-6 identifies “detractors.” Then you calculate your overall NPS by finding the number of promoters minus detractors, over the total number of responses.
So if used correctly, it gives you insight into how well “word of mouth” is working in your favor. This KPI also requires a survey tool, but serves as a robust measure for your business — it’s well worth the investment.
8. Cost per call
These last two customer service KPIs seek to understand the cost-effectiveness of your support team, instead of its performance. Measuring cost per call is a simple way to do so. It merely requires you to multiply average call length by the average salary of your CS reps (per second). If this metric comes out too high, consider ways of deflecting customer calls (by maintaining online help resources, for example) or shortening them.
The best way to measure this metric involves integrating your phone system with your customer service suite, using a product like TenFold, for automatic call data logging.
9. Number of cases per customer (vs. customer value)
Finally, this metric presents a twist on the others mentioned because it allows you to measure your customers rather than your support agents. By plotting the average caseload of each customer (its “cost”) against the revenue you get from it (its “value”), you can determine which customers might cost more than they’re worth.
Of course, cutting the cord should not be the first answer for low-value, high-cost customers. Before resorting to that step, try to determine other ways of reducing cost while improving value, such as preventing the common issues the customer is calling about or using service calls as opportunities to upsell or cross-sell them on other products.
What other customer service KPIs do you find most helpful? Comment below to let us know!