5 Customer Service Metrics You Should Track

Knowing key customer service metrics will improve your team's performance. Learn what to track and how to build a better customer experience.

Building a high-performance customer service team takes so much more than just hiring good people and training them on your systems, company culture, and the products that you support. 

Of course, you need to do all of the above, but you also need to understand how your team is performing on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis so you know how your team is performing and how they can improve.

At the end of the day, understanding your team’s performance not only helps you build an all-star team, but it also helps create an experience that customers rave about — building customer loyalty and sales.

Why should you track customer service metrics?

Without a dashboard to report on the key performance metrics for your customer service team, you’re flying blind. It would be like flying an airplane without an instrument panel and gauges that tell you your speed and altitude. 

Here are a few key reasons why you should track your team’s metrics:

Know how your team is doing

As a starting point, you need to establish a benchmark for how your team is doing today. Think of your team as an athlete who’s trying to improve her time in the mile. To know if she’s getting better and making progress, she needs to do a test run at the beginning of her training program to figure out where she’s starting from. Once she’s established that benchmark time, she can compare future times against that first run to see how she’s doing.

Know where you need to improve

With benchmarks established, customer service metrics will tell you where your team needs to improve. For example, you might want your team to respond faster to incoming email than they currently do or to solve customer problems with fewer back-and-forth email exchanges. Knowing and tracking your metrics will help you figure out where your weak spots are and how you can do better.

Make your team more efficient

The more efficient your team is with customer email, the more time they’ll have to work on other key aspects of your customer experience, such as documentation or additional product training. Good customer service metrics highlight where your team is wasting time and highlights areas for improvement. Once you improve in those areas, an efficient team can improve in other areas.

Grow your business

Good customer service is more than just ensuring that you have a happy and productive team and satisfied customers. It’s about business growth as well. According to Qualtrics, 52% of U.S. customers have switched service providers in the last year alone because of poor customer service. That means that poor customer service drives customers to your competitors and can potentially sink your business. But, when you track the right customer service metrics, you’ll be able to ensure that customer service is converted from a cost center into a profit center, retaining and delighting your customers.

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Which customer service metrics should you track?

There are potentially hundreds of metrics that you could track for your customer service team, but in this article, I’ll focus on the core metrics that will help you improve your productivity and give you insights into your customers so that you can improve your quality of service and grow your business.

1. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

Customer satisfaction, commonly referred to as CSAT, is a point-in-time measurement that tells you how happy your customers are with your products and services. You can also use this tool to measure what customers think of their most recent interaction with your company. 

CSAT is typically measured using a 1-to-5 scale: 

  1. Very unsatisfied
  2. Unsatisfied
  3. Neutral
  4. Satisfied
  5. Very satisfied

From there, take the number of 4 and 5 votes and divide by the total number of votes to get your percentage of customers who are satisfied with your product or service.

A great way to collect CSAT data is to send an email after a customer interaction with your company and ask your customers how satisfied the service you just provided to them. This measurement will indicate if your customer service team is doing a good job and keeping your customers happy.

2. Net Promoter Score

Unlike CSAT, the net promoter score provides you with broader insights into your customer’s loyalty to your products and services.

A typical net promoter survey is phrased like this: “How likely is it that you would recommend [company/Product/Service] to a friend or colleague?”

Customers answer on a 1-to-10 scale. Customers that answer with a 9 or 10 are promoters. Customers that answer anywhere in the 1-6 range are detractors. 7s and 8s are considered neutral.

You calculate your net promoter score by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. The closer your score is to 100, the more loyal your customers are to your company, product, or service and the more likely they are to recommend it to others.

Strong net promoter scores typically lead to increased sales, increased word of mouth marketing, and high customer lifetime value. 

Customer service teams can have a big impact on net promoter scores, as they are often the primary face of the company to most customers. How good your service is, impacts your customers’ view of your company and their loyalty.

3. Contact Volume

Contact volume is simply the total number of times that customers contact your business over a given period of time. Tracking this number over time can tell you a few important things.

First, understanding what days of the week you receive the highest volume of contacts will help you staff appropriately. You may need more people early in the week and fewer people later in the week. If your staffing is consistent and not variable, you may need to communicate with your customers on your peak days to set expectations for when they should expect a response. 

Second, you can drill in even further and look at the peak times of day that your customers contact you. Again, this can inform staffing decisions and help you prepare to triage large volumes of contacts during peak hours.

To help your team handle peak times, you can use things like email templates and routing rules to ensure that routine inquiries can be handled quickly, and more advanced questions can be automatically routed to the appropriate people.

4. Response Time

Keeping track of how quickly your team responds to customers is critical. This metric lets you know how long your customers are waiting for a response. Fast responses typically lead to happy customers which can lead to more business.

But, you don’t want to just look at your overall average response time. You’ll want to slice this data in a few different ways to get the most value.

  • Response time by person will help you figure out who on your team is able to handle large volumes of customer requests. It is worth looking at the types of questions your team is answering, though. Someone on your team who has a very fast response time may only be answering simple questions while someone with a slower response time may be handling more difficult requests. Regardless, exploring response times for individuals on your team will highlight where you might need to provide additional training for your team.
  • Response time by day of week/time of day can complement your contact volume metric. It’s likely that response times drop during peak volume days and times as your team gets overwhelmed. Template replies and automatic replies can help here.
  • Response time by channel or inbox is useful to determine if certain contact inboxes are overlooked by your team. Another issue you might discover is that certain inboxes get more difficult inquiries than others. For example, an inbox for marketing@yourcompany.com might contain inquiries about potential business partnerships that take more time to respond to than inquiries to your orders@yourcompany.com inbox.

There are a few key tactics you can use to drive response time down. First, examine the types of inquiries you get and see if you can create template responses that your team can use over and over again. You should also consider posting these common answers on your website so that customers can self-serve. Second, explore what automation (or routing rules) can do for your team. 

Different members of your team may be better suited to answer different questions, so use your customer service management tool to automatically assign certain types of inquiries to certain team members. Finally, help your customers learn about self-service options by providing links in your emails to additional information on your website. Instead of including all the information in your emails, link to the right page on your site to help train customers to self-serve.

5. Churn

Churn is the percentage of customers that stop using your products or services. While there are many reasons why a customer might leave your company, it’s an important metric for customer service teams to track. Customer service teams have the ability to reduce churn and retain customers by giving customers the solutions they need to stick around and continue working with your company. 

Tracking churn and comparing that to changes in customer service policy, response times, and customer satisfaction can indicate that the work you’re doing to improve your team and the service your customers are getting is having a positive impact on the business.

Tools for tracking customer service metrics

Tracking customer service metrics by hand is time consuming and challenging to do. It’s difficult to convince a team to slow down and record their actions instead of moving on to helping the next customer. 

That’s where customer service management tools come in. Using tools like a customer email response manager will typically help you automatically track the key metrics you need to watch and also provide you with the tools you need to improve those metrics. 

Here at Outpost, that’s what we focus on. We’ve developed a simple customer service email tool that helps you efficiently manage your customer interactions, automatically track key metrics, and help automate repetitive tasks.

Make email your best customer service tool with Outpost

Many customer service teams struggle to respond to a never-ending flood of emails in their info@ or support@ inboxes. Missed messages, duplicate replies, and inbox confusion are common because traditional email wasn’t designed for teams

Basic email isn’t enough, but pricey ticketing software is overkill. That’s why businesses love using Outpost.

With Outpost, your team can work together in the same inbox, without sharing passwords or stepping on each other’s toes. Outpost is simple because shared email should be. Team up on email, stay organized and take better care of your customers.

Plus, you’ll get total visibility, real-time reporting, and knowledge sharing to improve the way you respond to customer emails.

If you’re interested, you can start a free trial of Outpost today, or schedule a custom tour to learn how Outpost will help you save time and get more done. 

Posted in: Customer Service

Noah Parsons

Noah Parsons

Before joining Palo Alto Software, Noah Parsons was an early Internet marketing and product expert in the Silicon Valley. He joined Yahoo! in 1996 as one of its first 101 employees and become Producer of the Yahoo! Employment property as part of the Yahoo! Classifieds team before leaving to serve as Director of Production at Epinions.com. He is a graduate of Princeton University. Noah devotes most of his free time to his three young sons. In the winter you'll find him giving them lessons on the ski slopes, and in summer they're usually involved in a variety of outdoor pursuits. Noah is currently the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of Outpost and the online business plan app LivePlan, and content curator and creator of the Emergent Newsletter.

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