7 Crucial Customer Service Metrics

You can track hundreds of different metrics. The problem isn’t finding the data. It’s knowing which metrics to track to improve your customer service and business performance.

Customers expect companies to deliver exceptional customer support, and they’re willing to pay a premium for it too. According to Accenture, a staggering 45% of customers will pay more for your products if it ensures a higher level of service.

Sadly for customers, most companies don’t meet these expectations. That’s great news for you, because you can still make a name for yourself through superior customer service.

To know what’s working and where you should improve, you’ll want to keep your eyes on a few metrics. Today we’ll focus on some easy to track metrics that will help you improve your customer service.

Customer Request Volume

First you’ll want to get an overview of how many customer requests are coming your way in a given period.

By measuring your total customer request volume, you can assess:

  • The weight of your workload.
  • Whether you have enough people to maintain customer satisfaction.
  • Whether you’re answering more or fewer questions, over time.

Also be aware of any spikes of incoming requests during certain times of the day and week. This will help you allocate resources accordingly, so you have the right number of reps online to answers customer questions.

Average Number of Replies per Request

The average number of replies tells you how many replies it takes to resolve a customer request.

Average number of replies per requests = Number of replies on resolved requests / Number of resolved requests

Ideally you’ll want to keep this metric below two replies, as it reduces the effort for your customers to resolve their issue. According to a Forrester survey, 73% of customers find “first contact resolution” to be an important factor for customer satisfaction.

A high number can indicate that customer service requests are not being directed to the right person on first contact. Another reason could be that your reps are giving incorrect responses, which leads customers to get back in touch with their rep.

Resolution Rate

Out of all the customer support requests you received, how many did you actually resolve?

That’s the question your resolution rate answers – it’s the percentage of requests you solved in a reporting period and reflects your effectiveness.

Resolution rate = Resolved requests / Support requests

One important thing to keep in mind, is to not set your requests as ‘resolved’ until the customer actually confirms it is. Your team may feel pressured into doing so to meet their goals. But prematurely closing requests can lead to them being reopened, which will affect your resolution rate.

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To take things a step further, you may also want to track your first contact resolution rate. The difference here is that you’re tracking the percentage of how many requests were resolved with just one reply.

First Response Time

There’s nothing worse than waiting in line to get your problem resolved.

A Salesforce: study found that 33% of customers felt positive about companies that offered a quick first response. Even if it didn’t solve the issue, customers preferred a response that was quick, instead of one that was calculated but delayed.

Which makes measuring the time before your customers receive a first reply a crucial customer service metric. You’ll want to make sure your reps respond within a reasonable time frame, so your customers aren’t left hanging for a reply. Here at Userlike, we try to respond within fifteen seconds of receiving a request through our live chat widget.

First response time will also vary across different channels, such as email and social media.

Jay Baer from Convince and Convert says, “42% of consumers complaining on social media expect a 60 minute response time.”

But when it comes to email, a study by Kissmetrics showed 50% of respondents expected a reply within a day.

Customers will have different expectations depending on their channel for contacting you, and it’s important to keep this in mind when benchmarking response times across channels.

Average Reply Time

With average reply time you’re measuring how long it takes your customer service team to reply to each message.

Average Reply Time = Total reply time / Total number of requests

This metric helps you evaluate whether requests are followed up on in a timely manner. Nobody likes to be left waiting, and when a customer contacts you with an issue you can be sure they want it resolved as quickly as possible.

Additionally, your average reply time can tell you whether you have enough people to manage request volume.

Average Time to Resolution

To measure the efficiency of your customer service efforts, you’ll want to take a look at average time to resolution. This metric tells you how long it takes your team to resolve issues.

Average time to resolution = Total resolution time / Total number of requests

The faster, the better, of course. Because that means the happier your customers will be. But some issues will take longer than others. For issues that aren’t resolved within two replies, aim for a resolution time under 48 hours.

While this is a good indicator for your customer service team’s speed in resolving requests – make sure customer satisfaction isn’t sacrificed for the sake of speed.

A short resolution time shows that your team is working hard and productively.

Customer Satisfaction

Amazon’s first Vice President of Global Customer Service summed it up nice when he told OpenView Partners, “customer satisfaction is everything.”

Customer satisfaction is a metric that applies to all aspects of your business and gives you a deep insight as to how your business is perceived by your customers. A Livework study found that 96% of unhappy customers don’t complain, but 91% of those will never buy from you again.

Tracking customer satisfaction helps determine whether your customers are happy with their experience with you. Businesses with happy customers flourish and grow – while businesses with unhappy customers tend to crash and burn.

For such an important metric, tracking it is not as straightforward as say total request volume or average response time. However, there are some easy ways around it with tools such as SurveyMonkey (for surveys) and Wootric (for NPS).

Post-service satisfaction surveys are also a built-in feature for most customer service products. A customer is asked to rate their experience and leave feedback with the service they’ve just received.

Post-service survey, a powerful tool to collect customer service metrics
Post-service satisfaction surveys are a built-in feature of most live chat solutions.

Tracking these metrics is easy and can be measured with most customer service products.

The beauty with customer service is that it gives us an excellent opportunity to stay close with your customers. The best way to deliver an exceptional customer experience, is to understand what your customers expect from you. By tracking the metrics above, you can develop an objective overview of how your customer service operation is performing and what your customers are experiencing.

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