Customer Support is much more complicated than it seems.
Many people might think that Customer Support it’s just about helping customers and calling it a day. But Customer Support teams have many moving parts and processes.
And when it comes to evaluating the performance of your team, or identifying areas of improvement, it can get a bit tricky.
Enter Key Performance Indicators or KPIs for short. These metrics will guide the way to improvements in your Customer Support team.
Today, we’ll discuss 6 Customer Support KPI’s that you should track and how they can help your business.
How to Approach KPIs
First, we need to stress the importance of the following statement. KPIs are nothing more than indicators and metrics.
As a result, they must be taken as such and you must understand that they exist within the context of a larger ecosystem. After all, a KPI will not tell you what’s wrong or if anything is wrong at all, it will just tell you where to check for sudden changes.
Let’s say, for example, that on a given day the number of issues that your team worked on doubled.
- Was this because the recent batch of product that was sold had a defect?
- Was this because your team became more efficient at tackling issues?
- Was this because of a recent marketing campaign which doubled product sales?
As you can see, some of the scenarios above can be seen as big problems while others might be quite the contrary.
Remember that KPIs are not the end-all-be-all and to always look deeper into what’s causing changes in your metrics.
Number of Issues
Since we already used it in an example, let’s talk about Number of Issues.
Keeping track of the number of issues your Customer Support team is working on can provide valuable insights on team productivity, product issues, sale increases/decreases and more.
Furthermore, you can break up this KPI in four sub-categories
- Created Issues: Number of issues created by customers when they contacted customer support
- Active Issues: Issues that are actively being worked on by customer support
- Pending Issues: Issues that have been created but are not being worked on by customer support, yet.
- Closed Issues: Issues that have been created, worked on and successfully solved or closed by customer support.
Relating back to the first example from earlier, an increase or decrease in any of these metrics can be good or bad news. It all depends on the context in which they occur.
However, in general terms, you’d want Pending Issues to be low and Closed Issues to be high. A large number of Pending Issues might indicate performance issues or the need for additional hiring.
Average Response Time / Customer Hold Time
Average Response Time adds more context to the mix. This metric looks at the average time from when a customer contacts customer support to when they first get a response from an agent (And no, auto-replies do not count as a response!).
In the context of phone calls, you might look at average Customer Hold Time, which refers to the amount of time a customer might stay on hold while waiting to be attended.
Implementing newer and faster technologies, such as email and live chat, can help improve your team’s workflow. Live Chat specifically allows for faster communications and response times.
Why is this metric important? Keep in mind that customers do not like waiting around for help, and that customer support can also be a sales channel. Therefore, high response times could be directly affecting your bottom line.
Average Resolution Time (ART)
Next, let’s look at Average Resolution Time or ART.
This metric is one of the most popular in Customer Support. ART looks at the average amount of time that it takes for agents to resolve an issue from the moment they start working on it.
In general terms, you’d want ARTs to be as low as possible. After all, customers do not like to wait around and appreciate quick solutions to their problems while your business will spend fewer resources (time is money!) solving customer issues.
However, as we’ve mentioned before, everything exists in context.
Your team might be achieving low ART’s but customers are left feeling displeased or with solutions that did not work for them. As a result, higher ARTs might be necessary for efficiency’s sake.
“Perfectly balanced, as all things should be”.
First Contact Resolution (FCR)
This metric is also known as First Call Resolution, but we don’t like that name since you should be able to provide customer support through more channels than just phone.
First Contact Resolution looks at the number of issues that are solved through one single call, chat session or email message. A low FCR might indicate that your support reps do not have the tools to help most of your customers in one single interaction.
And additional interaction means more time wasted for both your team and the customer.
In some cases, you might want to increase your Average Resolution Time in order to increase your FCR. After all, fewer calls that are slightly longer are better than multiple shorter calls.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
While useful, none of the previous metrics look at customer satisfaction. So let’s review some that do.
We’ll start with Customer Satisfaction Score or CSAT. This metric is incredibly popular among the industry due to its simplicity and efficiency.
CSAT is determined by asking users to rate their Customer Support experience after their issue has been closed. In most cases, this can be done on a scale (rate 1 to 5) or as a binary choice (Satisfied or Dissatisfied).
These survey responses are then averaged and used to assess the customer support team’s performance.
In most scenarios, you’d want your average CSAT to be as high as possible.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Net Promoter Score looks at how likely it is that your customer will recommend your brand or business to others.
This metric is a bit more involved than CSAT and has its own formula.
First, the customer is asked how likely they are to recommend your business to a friend or colleague. The customer is asked to rank this likelihood from 0 to 10 and is then categorized depending on their answer.
- Promoters: These are customers that answered between 9-10
- Passive: These are customers that answered between 7-8
- Detractors: These are customers that answered 6 or below.
Then the number of customers in each category are put into this formula:
NPS = Number of Promoters - Number of Detractors / Total Number of Responses
A high NPS usually indicates a large number of loyal and happy customers while a lower or negative NPS might indicate important issues in the customer support operation.
You now know everything there is to know about these essential KPIs.
We hate to repeat ourselves, but remember, all these metrics exist in the context of a larger system. However, it is still absolutely important for you to track them and review them periodically.
What KPIs will you start tracking first?