The Top 5 Customer Support Metrics That Really Matter

If you're a customer support leader, then you know that tracking and measuring your team's performance is essential. But metrics are everywhere and there’s not one KPI that guarantees success. Sometimes… It feels like the harder you try to make sense of all the data available to you, the worse your analysis paralysis gets. Or is that just me? 

So instead of giving you literally every support related metric that you can track and measure, we’ve narrowed it down to the top five customer support KPIs that will help you make the biggest impact on your team and your customers.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

Okay. You probably already knew this one. It’s one of the most popular metrics for customer support teams to track. And for good reason! Similar to Net Promoter Score (NPS), CSAT measures how happy your customers are. Depending on the tool you’re using to send the CSAT survey, you may be able to create additional custom questions that allow you to go beyond the basic “On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with your experience?” to get deeper customer insights. Once you’ve done that, you can segment the CSAT responses by customer attributes, product/feature, support agent, customer account, etc, to understand customer satisfaction in a more granular way. Need further inspiration? Check out how Everbridge increased their CSAT to 99%

Agent Satisfaction 

There's something that a lot of organizations and managers tend to forget: happy employees make happy customers. Customers are four times more likely to switch to a competitor if the problem they’re experiencing is service based (Bain and Company), and with support agents usually being the first human interaction customers have with a company... It's obvious why you should be measuring your agent's satisfaction. Agent satisfaction measures how happy/engaged/motivated your support team is. Think of it like an NPS or eNPS score, that you send out quarterly, but with a lot more qualitative feedback. 

Pro tip: Make sure that you’re acting on as much of the feedback as possible. Employees hate it when they are asked for feedback, but that feedback isn’t taken seriously. Remember, happy employees... Happy customers. 

First Reply Time (FRT)

First response time is key to capturing how long it takes your support agents to respond after they receive a request or ticket. It’s calculated from the moment the customer creates the ticket and the first time an agent responds to it. If you notice that there seems to be an abnormally long wait time, that’s an indication that there might be a spike in ticket volume, or your team is struggling to keep up with demand. One of the reasons we’ve found that the FRT can be delayed is due to the agents not knowing the answer to the customer's question, or having to search across several disparate knowledge sources for a potential answer. FRT can also help you identify new ways of deflecting tickets, such as beefing up your knowledge base with missing content, or automating ticket replies based on topic. 

As I am writing this, I realized it’s been more than 3 days since I’ve submitted a high priority ticket to a vendor (who shall not be named!) and I’ve yet to receive a response. Time to follow up, I guess. 

Requester Wait Time 

You might be wondering, what is the difference between Requester Wait Time and First Reply Time? It’s true, they sound similar - but they are completely different. Requester wait time is more of a measure of effort: the combined time that a support ticket is actively being worked on by a support agent. It measures how long a customer is waiting on a response & resolution, but does not count how long you are waiting for the customer to reply back. First Reply Time and Requester Wait Time are commonly tied to Service Level Agreements (SLAs), so it’s best to keep these as low as possible to ensure the best customer experience. 

Customer Effort Score (CES)

Sometimes CSAT is not enough of an indicator of customer satisfaction. So that's where CES comes in. It’s used to measure the effort a customer must take to get an answer, resolve an issue or get whatever they need from you - it could be anything. Customer effort is the strongest driver of customer loyalty or disloyalty, and is 40% more accurate at measuring loyalty than CSAT (according to Gartner). That’s why we recommend combining CSAT and CES to get a holistic view of customer satisfaction, and using them as an early indicator to reduce churn and improve your customer experience. 

Questions in the survey look something like “On a scale of 1-10, how easy was it to find a solution for your problem today?” and “What was the most difficult part of this experience?”. You’re going to want to time these surveys strategically, by sending them after customer touchpoints such as after a purchase or after a customer support interaction. 

Measure what really matters 

While we think these are the top metrics that Support should be measuring, in reality, you need to assess the key metrics that really matter to your team, business and ultimately, customers. It’s best to have a combination of metrics that measure team performance, productivity, and customer satisfaction. Think about the things that your team can actually influence. To get the best picture of the state of your support team, be sure to have a combination of metrics related to productivity, performance, and satisfaction. 

But whatever you do, don’t get stuck in the metrics rabbit hole or report on things that have little impact or matter. It’s easy to get distracted from what you’re trying to accomplish – improving agent satisfaction and productivity, customer experience aligning your team’s performance to your organizational goals. 

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