3 essential customer service metrics you need to measure

Published November 14, 2018
Last updated September 22, 2020

What’s the best way to track how well we perform in customer service? Customer service metrics are valuable, but which ones do we rely on to effectively measure our success and guarantee that we’re making smart business decisions? What customer support metrics make a difference when it comes to ensuring customer satisfaction?

Top three types of customer service metrics:

  1. Customer relationship metrics
  2. Agent performance and efficiency metrics
  3. Team performance and efficiency metrics

You can learn all about them in Customer Service Metrics That Matter, our guide to getting the most out of your customer service metrics.

How to measure customer service metrics

A quick, no-hassle way for customers to provide feedback is with a customer satisfaction survey. Zendesk takes a simple and effective approach for measuring customer support: ask if the interaction was good or bad. They also have the option to add a comment about their customer experience if they want to give you more feedback.

After you’ve gathered satisfaction (CSAT) ratings, there’s a lot a customer support team can do with this data. In fact, it’s a metric you can look at from many angles. For example, you can track and measure the following:

  • A customer’s CSAT rating over time
  • CSAT ratings, by customer types
  • CSAT ratings, by channel
  • CSAT ratings, by product or service
  • Average CSAT ratings for agents and teams

Tracking these customer support metrics can shed light on the customer experience, which can inform everything from how your customer service team operates to the product roadmap your business uses to guide future development.

Other companies might use metrics called "Customer Effort Score" (CES). Companies that use the CES typically use it instead of CSAT ratings. Some companies move to CES after having used CSAT, feeling that they gathered all the useful customer service feedback they could from that survey. Either way, it's vital to gather a customer satisfaction score from as many customers as possible.

Whether you use CES or CSAT, the message is clear: focusing on effort reduction should be one of your team's primary goals to improve the customer experience and overall customer satisfaction, as a result.

To get to the bigger customer relationship story, beyond single support interactions, there's also Net Promoter Score℠ (NPS). The net promoter survey helps companies gauge customer loyalty, the likelihood of repeat business, and whether the level of service has led customers to become advocates for the brand to others. A promoter score asks how likely customers are to recommend a business to someone else.

Social Media Metrics
Using social media-monitoring tools, companies can easily collect and analyze feedback for their customer service. Using these kinds of support metrics help to determine the following:

  • How many comments appear to be written in a time of frustration, perhaps after a poor customer support experience in person or online?
  • How many are technical or account-specific questions?
  • How many comments provide feedback, positive or negative?
  • How many questions can be answered using links to existing help content in your knowledge base?
  • How many times would a brand mention benefit from a response?
  • What time of day are your customers most active on social media?

Churn Metrics
Another excellent way to collect feedback (especially for subscription-based business) is to prompt customers to say why they’re canceling their account. This will help your business measure its churn rate, and from this metric, you can create a report of your churn activity over time. The response rate will be much higher if this survey is embedded in the user interface.

How to improve customer service metrics?

To gauge the success of each metric and note areas for improvement, measure both short-term and long-term customer satisfaction and happiness in the following areas:

  • Look at satisfaction scores for support interactions. Use your metrics to measure both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of delivering customer service, but always stay focused on improving your customer relationships.
  • Measure the level of customer effort required when contacting the support team. Use a robust set of reporting tools to continuously monitor your customer service team's performance against the baselines you’ve set for managing your ticket queue, average response time, and the health of your customer relationships. You can also see how customers utilize a knowledge base. Self-service options like a knowledge base are important for your business, since they enable customers to help themselves, something increasing numbers of consumers desire.
  • Survey customers about their overall experience with your company. Setting operational baselines helps you establish realistic performance goals for your teams and company over time. For example, are your loyal customers asking for a live chat option, does your support team need to work on factors such as resolution time, response time, and other factors that affect customer success?
  • Monitor all your metric channels and analytics. These include social media and the valuable metrics you get when your customers decide to stop doing business with you. Be sure to think about things like the average time it takes an agent to close a ticket, or whether the customer service team is lagging on ticket handle time.

Remember your ticket backlog as well. A ticket backlog is the total number of unsolved tickets. This is important to follow because it provides insight into incoming ticket volume and how well a company can keep up with its given resources. Sometimes, support issues take a longer time to solve than the customer expects or the performance targets you’ve set for your team. The longer it takes to solve a customer’s issue, the more likely customer satisfaction will suffer; as a result, customer loyalty will drop.

Download the full guide to learn how to track customer service metrics

The how-to's for tracking support metrics related to customer support can be found in our Customer Service Metrics That Matter guide. You can explore the various support metrics that indicate success in your customer service, including resolution effort, resolution rate, first-reply time, next issue avoidance, and many more.

Net Promoter and NPS are registered U.S. trademarks, and Net Promoter Score and Net Promoter System are service marks, of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc. and Fred Reichheld.