Top Customer Service Metrics and How to Track Them

Customer Service Metrics

Customer service metrics track the quality and efficiency of your support processes. When you track customer service metrics, you can:

  • Accurately gauge customer sentiment
  • Identify and resolve problems to improve customer service
  • Set KPI (Key Performance Indicator) benchmarks for success
  • Find opportunities to improve productivity and profitability
  • Gain actionable insights that help you meet or exceed customer expectations

The most successful companies measure customer service metrics because they know a great customer experience directly correlates with business success. Customer-focused companies outperform their peers by 80%, and 84% of companies that work to improve the customer experience see increased revenues. The following lists 20 customer service metrics and how to track them so you can reap the rewards of an exceptional customer experience. 

Ticket Volume

This is the total number of tickets you receive within a defined period. It’s one of the most crucial customer service metrics because it helps you understand demand and spot opportunities to offer more efficient support. 

For example, if you have a high ticket volume, you could turn common requests into FAQ pages or knowledge base entries so customers can self-serve, thereby reducing the total number of requests. Knowing ticket volume can also help you improve customer satisfaction and save money via staffing decisions. When volume is high, you can dedicate enough agents to handle the demand; when demand is low, you can avoid wasted person-hours.

Resolution Rate

Resolution rate is one of the most important customer service metrics. It refers to the percentage of solved support requests. A low-resolution rate likely means you have many frustrated customers.

Resolution rate lends insight into your support processes. If you have a low-resolution rate, you can seek the root cause: insufficient training, overwhelmed agents, or an inefficient process.

You can calculate your resolution rate with this formula: Number of Solved Requests/Total Number of Requests X 100. 

Average Resolution Time

Another critical customer service metric, average resolution time, measures how long it takes to solve tickets. The faster you can successfully resolve customer problems, the happier they’ll be. Inefficient, disorganized processes can cause long average resolution times. If you receive support requests from multiple channels and do not have a system to monitor and assign them, customers can fall through the cracks or end up working with multiple agents on the same issue. It’s a reason why many companies use ticketing software to centralize tickets in one place and assign tickets to the most appropriate agents.

Average First Response Time

The sooner you reply to customer service requests, the better. Average first response time measures how quickly agents respond after customers submit an inquiry. First response time is not the same as resolution time, because the problem doesn’t need to be resolved with the first response. Rather, you should let customers know you received their request and tell them what to expect next. While automated responses do not qualify as a first response, the use of personalized canned responses can be used as a first response to a customer.

Average first response time is a KPI that reveals whether you’re replying quickly enough or if you need to improve. For example, you might set a goal to improve the average first response times for each channel, such as email requests within 24 hours, social media messages within 2 hours, and helpdesk tickets within one hour. To determine the average resolution time combine the total duration of all resolved conversations then divide that number by the number of customer conversations that took place in a selected period 

Replies Per Ticket

This metric refers to the average number of responses it takes to resolve a ticket. It lends insight into the quality of your first response as well as the efficacy of the questions you ask when customers submit a ticket. For example, if you average four replies per ticket, you might discover that agents consistently have to ask customers for their account numbers. That wastes time and adds an unnecessary reply to the thread. The solution is to require account numbers when customers submit tickets.

You can calculate replies per ticket for a given period with this formula: Total Number of Replies/Total Number of Tickets. If you have 1,000 tickets and 3,000 replies in a month, for instance, you average three replies per ticket. 

First Reply Resolution Rate

First reply resolution rate is how often you solve customer problems on the first response. Customers like quick resolutions, so a higher first reply resolution rate is better.  This metric reveals insights into your agent training program. If you have a low first reply resolution rate, you might need additional training to improve. 

You might find that some topics have high first reply resolution rates. If so, you can create knowledge base articles so customers can find the answers themselves, which will free your agents to focus on more complex issues.

Use this formula to find your first reply resolution rate: Number of Tickets Resolved on The First Reply/Total Number of Tickets X 100. 

Ticket Handling Time

Ticket handling time is how long agents spend resolving each ticket, on average. It’s an important metric that helps gauge agent efficiency and productivity, but it needs to be taken in context. You don’t want to reward agents who send poor replies just because they do it fast. Don’t sacrifice quality to meet speed benchmarks, but seek opportunities to make agent workflows more efficient. 

To calculate the ticket handling time for an agent during a given period add up the total time that the agent spent on all tickets from all channels: tickets, chat, calls, and video calls. Then divide the total amount of time that was taken by the total number of tickets an agent touched within that same time. 

Tickets Per Rep

Tickets per rep is the average number of tickets each agent handles over a given period. It helps you understand agent workload. If agents must handle many tickets, you risk inferior support or long wait times that could frustrate customers. 

This metric will also help identify inefficiencies in your customer support process. If some agents consistently handle more tickets than others, for example, something may be wrong with how tickets are assigned. Solutions include automated round-robin assignments that equally distribute tickets to the next available agents or load-balanced assignments that assign tickets based on the current workload.

To calculate this metric, divide the total number of tickets by the total number of agents.

Ticket Backlog

Your backlog is the number of unresolved tickets within a defined period. Naturally, you want this figure to be as low as possible. Something is probably wrong with your support process if you have a large backlog so it may be wise to look for correlations to other metrics such as ticket volume and average response time to discover the reason for your backlog.

SLA Breaches

SLAs (Service Level Agreements) are driving forces behind customer service quality. They are the benchmarks you expect agents to meet to deliver exceptional support, so it’s essential to track breaches to identify underperforming agents or an inefficient support process. 

For example, you might have the policy to respond to Facebook Messenger inquiries within 60 minutes. If agents only hit that benchmark 25 out of 100 times, you have a 75% SLA breach rate that needs to be addressed.

Ticket Source

Today’s customers expect to receive customer support through several different channels, such as social media or chat. This is why meeting customers on their preferred channels is so important, and tracking ticket source metrics will give better insight as to which channels to prioritize.

To track the ticket source, track the number of tickets submitted from each channel, including email, online forms, ticketing software, chat, phone calls, Facebook, Twitter, and other sources. Then, use that data to prioritize customer service efforts by the channels that receive high ticket volumes. This metric also helps determine which channels would be most useful to integrate with your ticketing platform.

Ticket Types

Categorize ticket types and count how many requests are received for each type, including sales, tech support, order refunds, and shipping inquiries. Then, use the data to make decisions about staffing, training, knowledge base content, and support workflows. 

For example, if a lot of shipping inquiries are received, it might be a good idea to create a knowledge base article to help customers track their packages. Ticketing software makes it easy to tag and track tickets by category, and these categories can be calculated quickly to see the metrics and trends for each ticket type. 

Cost Per Resolution

This customer service metric reveals how much on average it costs the company to resolve each ticket. To calculate the cost per resolution, divide the total operational cost of the customer service department, by the total number of tickets received over a given time. 

The cost per resolution metric is useful when taken in context with other metrics. For example, if your cost per resolution is $15 and you average five replies per ticket, you might set a goal to lower your cost per ticket to $12 by reducing your average replies per ticket to three. Then, you can develop a strategy to meet that goal. Keep in mind that it’s better to spend a little more for exceptional service and happy customers than pay less for fast service that frustrates customers.

Self-Service Traffic Volume

This metric measures how frequently customers visit your knowledge base and FAQ pages. It’s an important figure because it lends insight into whether your self-service support tools are adequate or whether there are opportunities to improve. For example, you might find that the knowledge base gets 10,000 visits per month and the support team fields 1,000 tickets per month. If you increase the number of articles in your knowledge base by 20%, those figures might change to 12,000 knowledge base visits a month, and reduce the number of tickets to 800 per month. 

While this is a simple example that doesn’t account for seasonal trends, business growth, and many other factors, it is still a good metric to use as an indicator for the company’s overall support efforts. 

Ticket and Knowledge Base Rating

Allowing customers to rate the support they receive is an excellent way to gauge individual agent performance, knowledge base helpfulness, and overall performance. Knowledge base and ticketing software make it easy with simple star ratings, NPS surveys, or 1-10 ratings after each interaction. To calculate the average ticket and knowledge base rating simply take the average 5-star, NPS score, or 1-10 rating for all tickets, or all knowledge base articles. Setting a benchmark to improve the rating for all tickets and knowledge base articles will lead to a closer examination of which knowledge base articles need to be improved, or what types of tickets or agents are receiving the worst ratings. These metrics may lead to larger initiatives to improve individual performance, processes, or strategies. 

Customer Effort Score

Surveys are good ways to understand customer sentiment. You can ask customers to submit a customer effort score, which assigns a numerical rating to how much work customers have to do to get a satisfactory resolution. 

Typically, companies send a survey question that reads something along the lines of, “My agent made it easy for me to get the help I needed.” Response choices are ranked one through seven, with one representing “strongly disagree” and seven representing “strongly agree.” In this scenario, you would strive for a high score. Understanding how easy it is for customers to receive a resolution to their issue is one metric that shouldn’t be ignored. 

Customer Retention Rate

Customer service directly affects customer retention rate, or how many customers stay with your company over a defined period of time. Having a high retention rate is extremely important because it is much easier (and cheaper) to keep existing customers than it is to sell products and services to new customers. 

Use this equation to calculate the customer retention rate.

Customer Retention Rate

Customer Churn

Customer churn is the opposite of customer retention rate. It tells you how many customers leave your company over a defined period. Naturally, the lower the number, the better. If you have a high churn rate, you can investigate whether the product, the platform, the price, or the support is part of the problem. 

Calculate customer churn rate with this formula.

Customer Churn

Net Promoter Score

A Net Promoter Score (NPS), is a customer service metric that measures customer satisfaction and loyalty. NPS is determined by using a simple one-question survey asking customers to rate on a scale of 1-10, how likely they would be to recommend your company to a friend or colleague. 

Those who answer 9 or 10 are considered promoters, those who respond with a 7 or 8 are considered passives and not counted, and those who reply with 0 through 6 are considered detractors. To calculate a net promoter score, subtract the total number of detractors from your total number of promoters. Developed by Bain & Company, having an NPS of  0 is “good” and shows that your customers are more loyal than not. A score above 20 is considered “favorable”, anything above 50 is excellent, and above 80 is world-class. 

CSAT (Customer Satisfaction)

The CSAT, or Customer Satisfaction metric is one of the most critical customer service metrics you can track as it lends insight into the company’s overall performance. A simple 1-5 rating is used to measure CSAT where 1 = Very unsatisfied, 2 = Unsatisfied, 3 = Neutral, 4= Satisfied, and 5 = Very satisfied.

Once the results are in, this formula will calculate the CSAT score.

What is considered a good CSAT score will vary based on industry, but if 75% of your customers are satisfied, that means that 3 out of 4 customers are happy with your company and the service they have received.

How to Track Customer Service Metrics

Follow these tips to leverage customer service metrics to attain measurable business results. 

Identify Priorities

It may not be necessary to track every possible customer service metric. Instead, identify those that are most important to customer success and the goals of the organization. By identifying the top priorities, and making them the entire company’s priorities the company will be aligned and positioned for success.

Develop a Measuring Process

Once you know what you want to track, you need to develop an accurate data collection process. That might include requesting customer feedback, recording agent response times, or manually reviewing emails and messages. However, manual tracking can prove tedious and time-consuming, which is why many companies rely on professional ticketing software to automatically track key customer service metrics.

Set Goals

Measuring tells you where you are now and sets a current benchmark, while goals give you a target to aim for. Establish benchmarks for your KPIs and regularly measure data points to ensure you’re on track to meet your goals.

Create Reports

You’ve identified which metrics to track and how you’re going to measure them, and you’ve set goals for improvement. Create reports to monitor your progress as you work toward those goals. Reports help you measure your impact over time, identify new opportunities for improvement and recognize when you need to pivot if your efforts aren’t moving the needle.

Share Your Results

Share customer service metrics and reports with the right people to influence positive outcomes. For example, if you are measuring ticket types and CSAT, and then find that the support team consistently receives tickets about a bug in the software, you can share these metrics with your development team so they can resolve the issue. This cuts down on support requests, resulting in less ticket volume, and an improved CSAT rating.

Sharing your results can also help you earn buy-in from key stakeholders, which is vital if you need to justify an investment such as adding more support agents or upgrading the ticketing platform or knowledge base.

Customer service metrics quantify the quality and efficiency of your support processes. Tracking key metrics enables you to accurately gauge customer sentiment, identify problems and opportunities, and gain actionable insights that help you make customers happy and your business more profitable.

Decide which metrics are most important to the organization, then develop a measuring and reporting process that makes it easy to share insights with team members and stakeholders. With this strategy, you can leverage customer service metrics and reap the rewards of an exceptional customer experience.

Filed under: Customer service