16 meaningful customer service metrics

Being able to measure performance is a key part of growth and improvement. Without measurement, there’s no way to tell if you’re doing well, or failing miserably.

This is particularly true of customer service. Customer experience is a key differentiator — customers will pay more for great service. And creating high-quality, consistent experiences is a must for any successful business.

So, you need to measure your customer service. But how? Here’s a list of the 16 most meaningful customer service metrics to measure.

1.      Customer satisfaction score

Your customer satisfaction score (often referred to as CSAT) indicates how satisfied customers are with your customer service performance.

Typically, a CSAT score of around 80% is considered excellent.

Measuring customer satisfaction scores gives you a clear view of how well you’re performing. Plus, by comparing it to past scores, you can determine whether your service offering is improving or declining — and act accordingly.

2.      Net promoter score

A net promoter score, or NPS, tells you how likely your customers are to recommend your product or service. Or, in other words, how likely they are to become a brand advocate.

Customer service is a differentiating factor for consumers when deciding who to buy from. So, when they find a great service and share it, it does wonders for attracting more custom.

The higher your net promoter score, the more likely it is that customers are having great experiences. (Ones worth sharing with others.)

3.      Customer effort score

A customer effort score (CES) is the first of the customer service metrics on this list where you want a low score.

CES tells you, on average, how much effort customers feel they need to exert to get resolutions. A high score tells you that you’re too hard to reach, or agents aren’t being helpful enough. It tells you there’s a problem with customer service accessibility and efficiency.

4.      Sentiment analysis scores

Sentiment analysis: a powerful tool that analyses customer language use and tells you whether they’re feeling positive, negative, or neutral about interactions.

The sentiment score is one of the customer service metrics that give you an insight into customer feelings. It tells you how customers feel about the brand and the service experience.

The benefit of sentiment analysis is that it doesn’t come from the customer self-reporting. That is, the customer isn’t asked to provide opinions. Instead, sentiment is discerned through the words they use without thinking.

5.      Customer retention rate

Customer retention rate is the percentage of customers kept over a set period. It stands as one of the most important customer service metrics as it is an indicator of business health and longevity.

A low retention rate means customers aren’t sticking around. (Often caused by poor experiences.) A high retention rate, meanwhile, means that customers are happy to do long-term business with you — improving their lifetime value to the company.

6.      Customer churn rate

Alongside retention is churn rate. Churn measures how many customers are leaving. That is, how many unsubscribe from your services, or stop buying your products.

A high churn is a good indicator that there’s a problem. This could be with your products, or the customer service experience you offer.

7.      First contact resolution rate

How many customer queries are resolved at the first point of contact? First contact resolution rate is a key signifier of the efficacy of the first-line customer response team.

The higher the first contact resolution rate, the more efficient your team is. (Or the simpler the issues and questions that customers are experiencing.)

8.      Interactions per resolution

Beyond first contact, the next of the interaction-tracking customer service metrics to look at is the average number of interactions per resolution. This is a measure of how many times an agent and a customer must get in touch before reaching a resolution. For instance, how many emails, on average, it takes to handle a query end-to-end.

Some customer problems are trickier than others — so there are bound to be outliers. As such, the best average to take when measuring this metric is the median number of interactions.

With this median, you can establish a baseline and get a better understanding of the efficiency of your team.

9.      Average reply time

Average reply time is the metric that tells you roughly how long customers have to wait before they get an initial response.

The expectation for this will vary from channel to channel. For an asynchronous channel, such as email, customers may expect to wait a few hours or even days before getting a reply. In a real-time channel, like live chat, customers expect responses within a few minutes, or even less.

10.  Average handling time

AHT, or average handling time, provides an idea of how long customer interactions typically take.

This is another of the customer service metrics that speaks to the efficacy of your team. A shorter average handling time means that customers are being helped efficiently — meaning teams can help more customers in a given period.

However, it is important to note that AHT must not be used as a be-all-end-all metric. Sometimes a good customer experience and trickier problems require longer handling times. Customers don’t want to be rushed and dismissed.

11.  Value of upsells and cross-sells

Sometimes, customer service offers a good opportunity for agents to upsell or cross-sell extra products to customers.

A higher value or rate of this selling means that agents are promoting and improving customer value. However, such efforts should be done carefully, as a ‘sales-y’ experience when looking for help can lead to unhappy customers.

So, this is one of the customer service metrics that can help give insight into the reason behind others.

12.  Ticket volume

Your ticket volume is the total number of open conversations in your inbox/chat client/phone system.

Measuring ticket volume helps you understand how many customers need support. You can compare this to past collections of this metric to get an idea of the trend over time. This, in turn, can show you how updates, new products, and other changes are impacting your customer service efforts.

Understanding your average ticket volume can also help with employee scheduling and understanding staffing needs.

13.  Ticket backlog

Your ticket backlog constitutes the total number of unresolved or ongoing support requests. You measure it over a set period.

This is another of the customer service metrics that provides insight into the performance of your support team.

The goal is to achieve a resolution rate at or above the number of daily interactions your customer service team have. This would mean that all the incoming queries are being resolved, and possibly those in the backlog are being closed too.

14.  Channel volume

Measuring the volume of customers that you get through different channels provides insight into preferred communication methods.

While it’s imperative to offer omnichannel support, knowing the preferred contact channels at any given moment is still valuable. It allows you to predict staffing needs and prioritise channel-centric training. It also means that you can promote the most popular contact options to appeal to prospects and customers alike.

15.  Self-service usage

Many customers these days would sooner help themselves than reach out to an agent. So, measuring the use of your self-service options is rising in importance.

Self-service usage as a measurement includes a few different metrics:

  • – Monitoring visits to your online knowledge base or customer portal
  • – The scores and feedback metrics that come from chatbot-only interactions
  • – The bounce rate of these options
  • – The number of self-service attempts that end up filling agent inboxes

Measuring self-service use and outcomes helps ensure that your resources are helping customers, rather than aggravating them.

16.  Social media engagement

The final of the meaningful customer service metrics on this list is the measurement of social media engagement. That is, how many customers are interacting with your brand across social media channels.

This is another measurement that can contain a few metrics, including things like brand mentions, comments, and questions. (And the sentiment behind them)

This is worth measuring because social media is an opportunity to showcase customer service, as well as build customer relationships. So, you need to make sure that it’s working in your favour.

Meaningful customer service metrics

Customer service spans a host of channels, teams, contexts, and cases. As such an integral part of any successful business, it comes with many metrics to track and learn from.

Many of the customer service metrics are meaningful on their own. Many are even more valuable over time. And others are important for informing other measurements and metrics.

One thing is certain: to have great customer experiences, you need to be measuring these 16 customer service metrics.

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