Poor customer service can lead to customers leaving, switching to competitors, and leaving bad reviews. Working towards the efficiency of your customer service team is critical to client retention and acquisition.

This post explores essential KPIs (key performance indicators) to boost efficiency. By setting KPI targets for your customer service team you can:

  • Better evaluate customer experience
  • Better predict consumer problems and be one step ahead with solutions
  • Identify and re-evaluate your goals or business objectives
  • Gain insight into how well your team is progressing towards your goals
  • Improve client retention as well as employee retention
  • Improve cooperation from the team
  • Gain insight into efficiency of your training process
  • Highlights peak times that call for hiring new staff.
  • Compare company’s performance to competitors
  • Predict future results

These are just some of the benefits of having measurable and quantifiable KPI targets in place. It can provide valuable information and help management determine when problems are brewing.

Keep in mind that the quality of support customers receive can result in clients:

  • Upselling– 7 out of 10 customers spend more after they receive excellent customer service.
  • Leaving– More than half of customers forego repeat purchases or transactions with a company they had a bad experience with.
  • Switching to Competitors– Just one experience of poor customer service results in 33% of customers switching to the brand’s competitor.
  • Reviews– Customers are more likely to leave reviews after a negative experience. Those who have a positive experience are more inclined to leave a review only after being asked.

Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of measuring these KPIs, we now dive further into what these are and how to apply them to your own team:

 

  • Customers’ Waiting and Response Time

 

A faster response makes customers feel important. On average, businesses respond to customers within 42 hours. Meanwhile, customers expect a respond within a 60-minute period. With live chat, customers expect a response within a minute and then a follow-up soon after sending a support ticket.

For email, most customers are willing to wait 4 hours and no more than 24 hours. For those who seek customer support through social media, most expect a response on weekends and at night.

Your goal is to put a time crunch on your first response time. Consider canned replies, setting up time-based email alerts, or using email auto-responders. If you continue to notice a longer response time, identify the root causes which may include hiring more agents.

 

  • Abandonment Rate

 

Remember, if you keep customers waiting too long, they could abandon the purchase or switch to your competitor. So keep track of abandoned calls and tickets as well.

Monitor your abandonment across various channels including live chat, phone calls, email, and social media interactions. With this data, you can assess how many concurrent requests every agent can handle to meet KPIs, volume of tickets per channel, requests for extra channel, response time, and if inquiries can be resolved through automation.

 

  • Ticket Volume

 

A high volume of support tickets could indicate bigger issues with the company’s products or services. Otherwise, it could mean customers are unable to find resolutions by themselves with a lack of clear and incomprehensive FAQ page.

Measure the ticket volume in definite periods including after the launch of a product or service and updating the FAQ page. Ultimately, the goal is to lower and keep ticket volume at a minimum. Tracking this KPI can help you determine staffing needs and assess other issues related to the product/service itself.

Be wary of an increase in the number of complaints. How many resolved cases are recurring? How often does the same customer have to contact regarding the same issue?

 

  • Number of articles in the knowledge base

 

Customer service teams should regularly keep the knowledge base up-to-date and communicate updates to the entire team. It’s the team’s responsibility to provide efficient self-service information.

Keep in mind that customers are more likely to turn to the company’s FAQ page and self-service portals before turning to customer support via call, email, or social media.

A good way to minimize a high ticket volume is to predict and answer as many questions before customers ask. Further, it is wise to measure “failed searches” so you could better optimize your knowledge base. 

Also assess the efficiency of knowledge provided to your customers. Incorporate screenshots and graphics to make it easy for them to DIY problem resolution.

 

  • Issues Related to Product Defects

 

Monitor what clients are complaining about. If the percentage of complaints regarding defective units, be sure to determine when the customer purchased the product. Now, divide the number of defective products by the total number of units produced in the period with the most complaints.

When you can pinpoint and resolve the core issue, the volume of support tickets you receive each day will also decrease. 

 

  • How Agents Handle Customers

 

Besides measuring the number of tickets agents are able to respond and resolve over a certain period, measure other factors. These include the first greeting, tone of agent, product/service knowledge, and problem-solving skills. 

Are your agents qualified to provide support or do callers get passed on to different agents without anyone who knows how to help?

 

  • Volume of Unresolved Issues

 

A high volume of ticket backlog is indicative of poor customer service. Prevent agents from forgetting a ticket by teaching them to use email alerts, set up reminders or snooze the email to a time when they expect to receive word from other departments about the product or service in question.

However, ticket backlogs are inevitable as some issues are not easily resolved. Still, the goal is to reduce the number of ticket backlogs. You may also consider improving training to ensure customer support staff not only respond fast, but know how to resolve issues fast as well.

 

  • Average Resolution Time

 

How long does a customer have to wait between getting a reply, getting a support ticket issued, and finally coming to a resolution? A longer handling time is not necessary. Efficient teams are qualified to solve issues in a shorter period. A spike in resolution time needs to be investigated.

Furthermore, your team will want to leverage customer inquiries to prevent follow-up issues. Anticipate any further problems your customer may encounter and provide even more information.

 

  • Number of Replies Before Resolution

 

Monitor the back and forth between customer and agent before a resolution was finalized. How much effort do customers need to put in to get their issues resolved? 

Analyze spikes above the average baseline. Could it be due to changes introduced to a product or service? Were agents able to fully comprehend the situation before responding to the customer? 

Encourage agents to ask for help rather than responding to a customer unprepared. Better yet, equip them with info cards and templates to prevent agents from asking similar questions over and over.

 

  • First Contact Resolution Rate

 

You know you trained your support team well when they are able to fully resolve issues with a single response. However, for purposes of clarity, support agents may need to acquire more information via a second email. Still, by improving first contact resolution rates, you can boost productivity and customer satisfaction.

Tried and tested canned responses may work to your advantage. Moreover, equipping agents with a strong knowledge base and keeping them up-to-date with product/service changes can help boost this KPI.

 

  • Employee Productivity and Satisfaction

 

The crucial element of a support team is your agents. The lower your employee turnover, the more efficiently you can work towards reaching your KPI targets while reducing additional costs to train new hires. To determine turnover rate, divide the number of employees who left the company by your average number of employees.

Further, employee satisfaction results in better interactions between agents and customers. Evaluate your work environment and work culture. It is also vital to reassess how well your company attracts qualified applicants.

For agents who stick with your company for the long-term, it is a must to consistently measure their productivity. This can be measured through resolved tickets, customer satisfaction, feedback, response rates, and the other KPIs mentioned in this article.

Reward your top agents to encourage a more responsive and efficient support team. Encourage healthy competition and monitor agents who may need further training and nurturing.

 

  • Cash flow

 

Poor customer service can directly impact the profitability of your enterprise. Inefficient support can drive old customers away as well as become an obstacle to potential customers’ buying journey.

On the contrary, efficient and satisfactory customer support can boost referrals, repurchases, customer loyalty, and boost company profits.

 

  • Number of Customers

 

You may better understand your customer’s needs by measuring the number of customers gained and lost as one of your key performance indicators. Like profit or cash flow, customer support can also affect whether or not customers will choose to stay with a company after needing assistance.

Further, be wary of a high customer churn rate. You can measure this by monitoring the decrease of repeat purchase, an increase in customers that discontinue their service subscription, or a decline in the number of customers that renewed during a given timeframe. Measure this data within a given period divided by the customers you had at the start of such period.

 

  • Customer Satisfaction Score

 

Encourage customers to complete customer satisfaction surveys or provide feedback through various channels. Customers who have a positive experience are more likely to submit feedback when asked. However, if the customer had a negative experience from customer support, they give unsolicited feedback.

The goal is to measure customer satisfaction with the support they received. However, other factors should also be considered such as overall satisfaction with the product/service and the brand.

To measure this KPI, take the number of satisfied customers you have and divide it by the number of respondents. The higher the satisfaction score, the more efficient your team but the lower the scores, the more you should look into why. Problems may be product-related but at times it could be unfriendly and ineffective agents.

Finally, work on increasing your customer feedback response rate. This will give you a more balanced value to work with.

 

  • Net Promoter Score

 

One of the best ways to determine an enterprise’s growth over the long-term is by calculating NPS score. How likely are your customers to recommend your product/service to their family and friends? Measure the numbers with sales from quarter to quarter.

The simplest way to get the NPS is to let customers give a rate between 0 and 10. Respondents who give 0 to 6 scores are detractors and 7 to 8 are passive customers. Sure promoters will give 9 and 10 scores. Your NPS will be the percentage of supporters minus the detractors.

Granted there are varying factors that affect NPS, a strong support system can boost this score. It builds trust as customers know that they will be taken care of by the brand should something go wrong with the product/service. 

 

  • Quality of Customers

 

Not only should customer support work towards customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention, but should be sure to qualify them. Consider your customer acquisition costs over a certain period. Do this by taking the sum of acquisition costs and divide it by the number of new customers you have in a certain period.

Compare this value with the value your enterprise obtains from loyal customers or their lifetime value. Customer support should be able to determine Customer Acquisition Cost and compare it to Customer Lifetime Value when making tough decisions such as in giving refunds. You want to gain the best customers while minimizing costs.

 

  • Emotional Impact

 

Last but definitely not least important is measuring the emotional connection achieved through customer support. Emotions are elemental to the buyer’s decision-making. Customer support experience can influence actions.

Similar to testing the NPS and Customer Satisfaction, measure the emotional impact of customer support with a short survey with emotions ranging from irritated and confused to neutral and excited.

TAKING ACTION

It is important to know what to do with the data you want to measure even before setting up ways to measure your KPIs. It’s up to you now to take these valuable information and make the necessary tweaks that will create a better service experience for your customers.