18 essential customer service metrics to measure in 2021
From customer satisfaction to resolution time, these are the key customer service metrics that measure performance and drive revenue.
Published November 14, 2018
Last updated September 30, 2021
Tracking customer service metrics in 2021 is like monitoring your business’ vital signs—its importance cannot be understated. Insights from customer service metrics are invaluable when it comes to improving customer loyalty and your bottom line.
But with so many customer service metrics out there, it’s hard to know which ones to prioritize to ensure the best customer experience. Our free downloadable guide will help you gain an in-depth understanding of the most critical metrics and data points. But first, read on for a preview of why these common KPI metrics for customer service matter and what tools you can use to measure them.
Customer relationship metrics
Customer relationship metrics provide insights into buyers’ interactions with your company. They help your customer support team gauge customer churn and customer retention. They also show whether buyers are likely to recommend your product or service to others.
Customer satisfaction (CSAT) score
Collect this metric by sending out customer satisfaction surveys that ask customers to rank their recent support experience on a scale of 1 to 5 or to rate it as “good” or “bad.”
To gain more context about CSAT scores, also include open-ended survey questions that prompt customers to give more details about their interaction. For example, you can ask, “In ways did this experience meet your expectations?” to find out what your support team is doing right. You can also state, “Tell us what we can do better” to identify areas of improvement.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
Customer Effort Score evaluates how easy it is for customers to resolve their issue, complete a task, or speak to an agent.
The score is collected via surveys that ask customers to rate the ease of their interaction on a scale of “very easy” to “very difficult.” Send CES surveys shortly after a customer makes a purchase or engages with a support agent so the experience is still fresh in their mind.
Net Promoter Score℠ (NPS)
Net Promoter Score℠ (NPS) measures customer loyalty and satisfaction. Track this metric by asking buyers how likely they are to recommend your business to someone else on a scale of 1 to 10.
- Promoters (respondents who answer 9–10) are very satisfied, happy customers and will most likely recommend you to others.
- Passives (respondents who answer 7–8) are satisfied but not likely to recommend your products or services.
- Detractors (respondents who answer 6 and below) are dissatisfied and will not encourage others to patronize your business.
Agent and team performance metrics
Performance metrics track the efficiency and productivity of individual support agents and the team as a whole. Managers can use these insights to identify problems that reduce agents’ quality of service and then come up with solutions.
First reply time (FRT)
First reply time, or first response time, captures how long it takes an agent to initially respond to a support request or ticket. Long wait times might indicate that agents are struggling to keep up with a high volume of tickets or that there are slow, inefficient support processes in place.
If you provide a customer service-level agreement (SLA), check whether the agreement has a specific first-response time frame. If so, consistently track FRT to ensure you’re meeting your SLA requirements.
This customer service metric shows how many attempts it takes to solve a customer’s problem.
A large number of reopens might mean customers have complex support requests, which could point to an issue with your product or service. A high reopen rate could also suggest that agents close tickets before customers’ issues are fully resolved. In this situation, customers will likely be unsatisfied with the support they receive and have more questions about their problems.
Resolution time refers to the amount of time it takes for a support agent to solve a problem. Your resolution time really matters—73 percent of customers say fast resolutions are the most important aspect of a good customer service experience.
When monitoring this important metric, look for trends across different customer issue types and individual agents. You may find that certain problems are more complicated and require additional time to resolve. Or, you might see that certain support agents are slower than others and need further training.
This metric measures the number of updates an agent makes to a ticket.
A high number of touches indicates that support agents are faced with complex issues that take a lot of time and effort to resolve. It might also point to a problem in your product or gaps in your knowledge base.
Tools for tracking customer service metrics
Manually keeping tabs on every essential customer service metric at once is near impossible. Luckily, there are tools that automate the tracking process for you, so you can easily capture, process, and iterate on customer service performance metrics.
Customer relationship management (CRM) tool
A CRM houses all customer information in one unified place, allowing support agents to quickly access important details and personalize customer interactions. The tool automatically collects and analyzes customer data, too, which saves support teams time and provides them with key insights to deliver better support.
Managers can also set goals for agents and track team progress within CRMs like Zendesk. Our software enables you to gather, analyze, and leverage customer support metrics. You can even create custom views using advanced reporting and dashboards to spot trends and improve customer support.
Use survey tools to create, distribute, and analyze customer surveys. These tools reduce errors that often occur during manual survey creation and allow respondents to access surveys from a number of devices—making for a better, easier experience.
With an online tool like SurveyMonkey, support teams can gather customer feedback through various channels such as email, social media, and text. SurveyMonkey also provides templates, integrates data with apps in your tech stack, and automates the analysis of survey results.
Social media monitoring tools
These tools track brand mentions, mentions of competitors, and keywords related to your brand on social media.
Manually monitoring mentions across numerous social channels is time-consuming, so use social media tools to automate the process. These platforms can also create reports to highlight trends and capture social sentiment, helping you gauge the mood of online conversations.
Hootsuite helps brands stay on top of social media conversations by tracking their mentions on all social channels. The software integrates with a review tracking tool, too, so you can monitor opinions from review sites and find positive reviews to share.
Download the full guide to learn more about customer service performance metrics
Regularly measuring customer service metrics allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of your customer experience—and stops it from flatlining. Tracking key metrics also provides the right benchmarks your support team can work toward and helps ensure you deliver great customer service.
Download our “Customer service metrics that matter” guide for step-by-step instructions on how to measure the metrics covered in this post, plus several more. You’ll explore various metrics—including first contact resolution rate, average response time, next issue avoidance, and average handle time—to gauge your customer service team’s strengths and development areas.