Top 6 Customer Service Metrics You Should Measure

Building a successful brand starts with providing an excellent customer service experience.

Companies that fail to deliver superior customer service severely limit their growth opportunities. Most upset customers won’t tell you why they’re displeased—91% of dissatisfied customers abandon a brand without a single complaint.

How can you tell if your help desk is keeping customers happy?

You have to track your customer service metrics.

This blog will define customer service metrics and identify which are essential for your support team to measure.  

What are customer service metrics?

To know how your team is impacting the customer journey, you can’t rely on your gut feeling.

Determining the quality of your customer support needs to be based on accurate, real-time data.

Data-driven customer service can boost effectiveness, customer satisfaction, and customer retention.  

Customer service metrics are measurements that depict how well a company is meeting its customers’ needs. These metrics can answer the following types of questions: 

How long do customers have to wait to get a response?

Are customers getting their questions answered correctly?

How do customers feel after interacting with a brand?

In turn, they’ll give leaders action insights to set up key performance indicators (KPIs) and improve performance. These metrics should serve as benchmarks to form a comprehensive customer service strategy that will bring delight to any customer.

What are the most important customer service metrics?

There are dozens of different customer support metrics that teams can keep track of, but we’ve identified six that are essential to making sure your team is operating effectively.

1. First Contact Resolution

No customer service metric impacts customer satisfaction as much as first contact resolution rate (FCR).

FCR is the percentage of customer requests that were resolved right after the customer’s first interaction with a company. The customer’s issue gets taken care of after a single question.

FCR is measured as follows:

When issues get resolved with a single interaction, customers tend to be quite pleased. Each successive interaction, though, makes them more and more dissatisfied.

In call centers, for example, each additional phone call lowers customer satisfaction by 15%.

Apart from delighting customers, a high FCR lowers operating costs and improves employee satisfaction too.

2. Average Resolution Time   

Another critical customer service metric is average resolution time (ART)

This is defined as the average amount of time it takes an agent to fully resolve a ticket. 

ART is also known as average handle time.

How do you calculate ART?

Divide the total time needed to resolve tickets by the total number of tickets.

ART doesn’t just measure how efficient your customer service agents are. It also indicates the complexity of your team’s support tickets.

This is why you need to be careful when using ART to set customer service KPIs. Focusing on getting ARTs as low as possible isn’t the best strategy because it doesn’t take issue complexity into account. 

Longer resolution times aren’t necessarily bad. As long as your customer service team provides customers with regular updates and successfully resolves issues, you’ll have happy customers.

3. First Response Time

A third important metric every customer support team should be measuring is first response time (FRT).  FRT is defined as the time it takes a customer service agent to send their initial reply to a customer’s inquiry. 

The first reply doesn’t need to answer a customer’s question or resolve an issue—it’s just a response.

Most customer service teams will focus on their average FRT over a specified time frame. To calculate average FRT, divide the sum of all first response times by the total number of tickets.

Customers expect to get help from companies in under 5 minutes by phone, less than 1 hour via social media, and below 24 hours over email. 

For live chat, a response should be “immediate.” Live chat’s instant support is why 79% of customers say it’s their preferred communication channel.

If you’re not reaching these response times, that could mean you’re experiencing backlogs that are preventing you from promptly handling your customers’ problems.  

Want to see how customer service chatbots help agents with more than just their metrics? Check out our “Do Chatbots Help Customer Service Agents? Yes!” blog post.

4. Customer Satisfaction Score

Your customer satisfaction score (CSAT) is a customer service metric that shows how pleased customers are with your company’s products or services.

CSAT is measured through post-service surveys that contain questions like:

  • How would you rate your experience with our tool?
  • How satisfied are you with the advisor that you spoke to today?
  • How satisfied are you with your 7-day trial account?

Customers will select their level of satisfaction using a scale. The most common templates use 1-5, with 1 meaning “very dissatisfied” and 5 meaning “very satisfied.”

To calculate your CSAT score, divide the number of positive answers (a 4 or 5 using the above scale) by the total number of responses and convert it into a percentage.

A good CSAT score generally falls between 75% and 85%.

For more in-depth information on CSAT scores, read our “All About CSAT” blog post. 

5. Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric that tracks customer loyalty over time.

Questions for an NPS survey usually look something like this:

  • How likely are you to recommend this product to a friend?

How does NPS measure customer loyalty? 

An NPS survey normally uses a 0—10 scale, with 0 meaning “Very Unlikely” and 10 meaning “Very Likely.”

Respondents answering 9 or 10 are called “promoters,” while those who give a rating of 6 or less are “detractors.” 

To calculate NPS, use the following formula:

Any positive NPS is good. Scores above 50% are considered excellent. 

Measuring your NPS is useful because you can follow up with your customers and pinpoint which areas need improvement.

6. Customer Effort Score

Customer Effort Score (CES) is an important customer service metric that measures how easy it is for customers to interact with a company and get their issues resolved. 

A typical CES survey presents customers with questions like:

  • Was it easy to handle your issue today?

Respondents can choose between a series of options that range from “Very Difficult” to “Very Easy.”

Different scales are in common use, so there’s no average number that customer support teams should aim for. Scores that indicate lower customer effort are linked to a better support experience. 

Companies that use CES as a customer service metric can: 

  • Improve self-service channels so customers can solve their own problems
  • Enhance the overall customer experience by keeping satisfaction high
  • Keep customer service costs down

How can you improve your customer service metrics? 

Once you start tracking your customer service metrics, you can create KPIs to start improving them and your customer experience.

With these metrics, customer service managers can train support agents to specifically refine their strengths and mitigate any problem areas. Teams can also expand their knowledge bases to include the information that customers demand most.

Improved customer service performance means lower customer churn and a higher customer retention rate.

In addition, companies can take advantage of customer service software platforms like chatbots. 

When support teams automate, they typically see their metrics improve.

For example, chatbots bring major improvements in FRTs and wait times that even customers can notice. 

About 55% of customers say the biggest benefit of chatbots is their ability to give instant answers.

Chatbots improve customer satisfaction and loyalty as well.

Once you start tracking your customer service metrics, you’ll quickly learn which kind of automation tools will be most effective for your business.