Today, customer service is no longer an auxiliary business function; it actively impacts your businesses bottom line and sets your brand apart from competitors. In fact, almost 52% of customers would be willing to pay a higher price for products or services if they could also expect a higher level of customer service.
Customer service and support touch almost every aspect of your company — your products or services, marketing, sales process, customers, and more. They also play a large role in your overall customer experience — because of this, it’s critical to measure the success of your customer service and support efforts
As you read through this guide, expect to learn the customer service and support metrics you can use to measure — and improve — your customer experience.
Customer Service Metrics
- Customer Satisfaction
- Average Ticket Count
- Service Level Agreement (SLA)
- Ticket Backlog
- First Response Time
- First Response Resolution Rate
- Average Response Time
- Number of Interactions per Ticket
- Average Ticket Resolution Time
- Issue Resolution Rate
- Preferred Communication Channel
The following customer service and support metrics are key performance indicators (KPIs) that help you objectively measure and understand the impact of your customer service and support teams.
Wondering how to track, measure, and analyze all these metrics? Don’t worry; there are plenty of customer service and support tools on the market to help with just that.
HubSpot Service Hub includes a Help Desk and Ticketing tool that helps you keep track of customer requests so your team can stay organized, find solutions faster, and analyze inquiry data to improve team performance.
1. Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction measures how your customers feel about the customer service or support they received. It’s typically measured by asking your customers to complete a quick survey post-service, whether by clicking a thumbs up or thumbs down or answering a few questions about their experience. How you collect this data is up to you, but it’s important nonetheless.
Customer satisfaction is also the leading metric that service teams are measured against.
What Customer Satisfaction Tells You
This metric — which is arguably the most important — tells you how effective, helpful, and friendly your customer service team was and if your customer’s issue was fully resolved. It could also tell you whether or not they’d return with a question or concern, based on the questions you ask.
What to Look For When Measuring Customer Satisfaction
Look for positive responses, which mean great customer experiences and a well-functioning customer service team. Negative responses can also help, too, as they tell you how you can improve.
How to Improve Customer Satisfaction
Listen to what your customers are telling you. If your post-service survey doesn’t ask open-ended questions, consider following up with those who reported a negative (or thumbs down) experience and ask them for specific feedback.
Emily Stebbins, Contract Manager, says “I was always the most focused on Customer Satisfaction Rate. If we were not solving the core issue(s) at hand, we were not satisfying our customers. Asking the right questions, matching tone, and using comforting and helpful language…to assure movement and care.”
2. Average Ticket Count
Your average ticket count measures the average number of customer service or support tickets your team receives. You can measure these on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis … or all of the above.
What Your Average Ticket Count Tells You
While more tickets can be a confirmation that your customer service system is accessible and working, it can actually indicate customers are having frequent issues — and that your product or service may be falling short.
What to Look For When Measuring Your Average Ticket Count
Look for fewer tickets, which means fewer problems for your customers.
How to Improve Your Average Ticket Count
Communicate your customer feedback to your product and marketing teams so they can understand what your customers may be dealing with or asking questions about. Depending on the number of tickets you receive, ensure you have enough representatives on your customer service team to handle the ticket volume.
3. Service Level Agreement (SLA)
A service level agreement (SLA) helps teams prioritize incoming tickets based on their importance and any pressing time constraints. They’re typically made between a business and its customer to ensure agents deliver on expectations. HubSpot’s State of Service Report found this metric to be the second-highest metric for performance measurement in 2021.
What Your SLA Rate Tells You
Your SLA rate essentially tells you how well you meet customer expectations, and whether you can meet expectations on time, deliver solutions, and follow through on what you say you’ll do.
What To Look For When Monitoring SLA
When monitoring your SLA, refer back to the initial agreements you set with the customer. If you wanted a solution in a specific time frame, did you meet it? Your SLAs should contain the information that helps you understand whether you’ve performed or not, so it should be your main point of reference.
How To Improve Your SLA
Rachel Ang, a Senior Customer Support Specialist, says “By consistently achieving the SLA for first response time set with customers, it helps build trust.” Workflow automation software can help you and your teams improve your SLA rate, as you can set up tickets, prioritize tasks, and set up notifications for SLA expiry dates, which can help reduce the likelihood of late resolutions or missed follow-up.
4. Ticket Backlog
Your ticket backlog is a measure of how many unresolved tickets are waiting to be handled by your customer service team. This metric can also be measured against daily, weekly, or monthly increments.
What constitutes a “backlog” is subjective. Once you decide on your response time and resolution time goals, any unresolved tickets that last beyond these benchmarks could be considered backlogged. While speed isn’t the most important metric in customer service, it’s still critical to providing a positive customer service experience (as you’ll also see in a few of the metrics below).
What Your Ticket Backlog Tells You
This metric communicates how fast your team is reaching, responding to, and resolving your tickets as well as how quickly tickets are coming in from customers.
What to Look For When Measuring Your Ticket Backlog
Look for fewer tickets in your backlog, as it would mean your team has an efficient and effective response time.
How to Improve Your Ticket Backlog
Understand your customer service process from start to finish. Are there any kinks that slow down your representatives and inhibit them from working on a new ticket? Do you have enough representatives to cover the number of tickets you’re receiving?
5. First Response Time
Your first response time measures how long it takes for a member of your customer service team to first respond to a new ticket or inquiry — essentially how long a customer has to wait before they are helped.
Like I said above, speed isn’t everything in customer service, but it sure provides a positive, enjoyable experience. Nowadays, customers expect to engage with someone immediately.
What Your First Response Time Tells You
This metric tells you how efficient your customer service team is and how long it takes for them to open new tickets and respond to customers.
What to Look For When Measuring Your First Response Time
Look for less wait time for customers, which means a positive customer experience.
How to Improve Your First Response Time
Ensure there’s nothing holding your team back from opening new tickets and sending an initial response. Encourage your team to juggle a few tickets at once so newer customers feel that their inquiries have been heard or seen. As always, make sure your team is well-staffed to handle all of your tickets.
6. First-Contact Resolution Rate
Your first-contact resolution (FCR) rate measures the rate of tickets resolved by your team’s first response to a customer inquiry. This is an important metric as it indicates how clearly and efficiently your team communicates and how much information you ask your customers to share when they first reach out.
FCR has also been directly correlated with improved customer satisfaction. One Oracle study found that a 1% increase in FCR leads to a 1% increase in customer satisfaction. Today, people love speedy yet accurate solutions.
Note: Not every issue is eligible for an FCR, especially if the customer makes a mistake or your representative has to consult with the product or IT teams. Therefore, when calculating this, consider this formula (instead of including all tickets in your calculation):
FCR Tickets/Total FCR-Eligible Tickets X 100 = FCR Rate (%)
What Your FCR Rate Tells You
This metric tells you how efficient your customer service team is and how clearly they communicate and attempt to understand your customers’ problems. It also shows you how precise your customer support “instructions” are before a customer contacts you (i.e. what information you need from a customer to help them out).
What to Look For When Measuring Your FCR Rate
Look for a high FCR rate, which means that your customer service team is communicating clearly and your customers understand what you need from them in order to help.
How to Improve Your FCR Rate
What do you tell customers you need from them to receive support? What form fields do you have in your customer support web form, and what instructions do you provide when you share your email, social media, or phone number? The more information customers provide upon initial contact, the quicker your customer service team can provide support — ideally in a single response.
7. Average Response Time
Your average response time tracks how long it takes for your customer service team to respond to a conversation after opening a ticket. This metric measures how quickly your customers are being helped as well as how quickly each ticket can be resolved. As 60% of customers feel long holds and wait times are the most frustrating part of customer service, it’s important to factor this metric into your service practices.
What Your Average Response Time Tells You
This metric tells you how quickly your customer service team is solving issues and getting back to customers.
What to Look For When Measuring Your Average Response Time
Look for quick response times, which demonstrate to your customers that their issues are your priority … which can lead to positive customer satisfaction measures.
How to Improve Your Average Response Time
Make sure your team is equipped to solve issues and answer questions. If they’re dependent on a manager, trainer, or product specialist, it’ll likely take longer to get back to customers with answers and solutions. Also, make sure your team is handling and resolving the proper number of tickets at once — whether that’s one, five, or 10. If they’re too overwhelmed, it could slow down your customer service process.
8. Number of Interactions Per Ticket
The number of interactions per ticket is a measure of how many times your customer service team interacts with the customer while their ticket is open. Essentially, how many times your team has to communicate with a customer before their issue is resolved.
This can mean the number of interactions one single service rep has with a ticket and the number of interactions that happen if a customer is passed around to different representatives before coming to a solution.
Considering that 92% of survey respondents say they’d spend more money with companies that ensure they won’t need to repeat information, the number of interactions per ticket is a critical metric.
What Your Number of Interactions Per Ticket Tells You
This metric shows you how effective each message or interaction from your customer service team.
What to Look For When Measuring Your Number of Interactions Per Ticket
Look for fewer interactions per ticket, which means that your team is communicating clearly, asking the right questions, and working hard to solve each problem swiftly.
How to Improve Your Number of Interactions Per Ticket
Challenge your customer service and support teams to communicate clearly and reply with thoughtful questions. Ask them to encourage customers to explain their issues exhaustively so your team can help them as quickly as possible … without so much back-and-forth — 31% of consumers say that having to repeat themselves is their biggest frustration.
9. Average Ticket Resolution Time
Your average ticket resolution time measures how long it takes your team to resolve each customer service or support ticket.
What Your Average Ticket Resolution Time Tells You
This metric tells you about the efficiency of your customer service team and, potentially, the complexity of issues from your customers.
What to Look For When Measuring Your Average Ticket Resolution Time
Look for short resolution times, which mean that your customers’ issues are being solved quickly — and more customers are walking away satisfied.
How to Improve Your Average Ticket Resolution Time
Take a look at the initial message your team sends to each customer. Make sure reps ask thoughtful questions and encourage the customer to explain their problem in detail. Also, ensure your team is well-versed in your products or services so they can respond and resolve issues quickly without having to reach out to other teams for help — thus lengthening the process.
In addition, take note of tickets filed for the same issue. Jon Dorosh, Senior Customer Success Manager, says “If tickets related to a certain product or service tend to have an above-average resolution time, it may be a great opportunity to build further knowledge base enablement or schedule training for your internal teams.”
10. Ticket Resolution Rate
Your issue resolution rate measures how many tickets are fully resolved in comparison to those that haven’t yet been resolved. This metric is also measured based on a period of time, like daily, weekly, or monthly.
You can also compare your ticket resolution rate to your ticket backlog to see how many tickets remain unresolved each day, week, or month. What constitutes a fast or slow ticket resolution rate will depend on other benchmarks you set for your team: ticket backlog amount, average response time, etc. Calculate ticket resolution rate using this formula:
Resolved Tickets/Total Tickets x 100 = Ticket Resolution Rate (%)
What Your Ticket Resolution Rate Tells You
This metric tells you how quickly and efficiently is your customer service team solving — and closing — tickets.
What to Look For When Measuring Your Ticket Resolution Rate
Look for a high rate, which means that fewer tickets are being left unresolved.
How to Improve Your Ticket Resolution Rate
Be sure you have enough representatives to handle all of the tickets you receive. Are there other issues or distractions keeping your representatives from handling their assigned tickets and taking on new ones?
11. Preferred Communication Channel
The preferred communication channel isn’t as much a metric as it is an observation of how your customers prefer to contact you. Whether through email, live chat, social media, web form, or phone call, keep track of how your customers reach out to you to ask questions and share grievances. A recent Zendesk report states that 93% of survey respondents would spend more time with companies that offer their preferred option to reach customer service, so it’s an important metric to understand.
What Your Preferred Communication Channel Tells You
This information tells you how your customers prefer to communicate with your business and what channels you should focus on and improve.
What to Look For When Measuring Your Preferred Communication Channel
You’re not necessarily looking for one channel in particular, but take note of customer patterns. These can help guide your customer service and support analysis.
How to Improve Your Preferred Communication Channel
There’s no way to improve this metric, but to improve your customer service overall, pay attention to the channels your customers prefer and then optimize those channels.
Note: Many businesses include certain customer success and customer satisfaction metrics in their customer service and support scoring. These metrics may include their Net Promoter Score (NPS) or customer retention and churn rates. It’s up to you how you organize these metrics; we’ve detailed them in separate blog posts on customer success metrics and customer satisfaction metrics.
All of these metrics are important for building the big picture of how customers interact with and experience your business.
Track Your Customer Service to Create the Best Customer Experience Possible
Customer service and support are multifaceted and multidisciplinary functions. These teams deal with countless customer issues, questions, and concerns regarding your products or services and their experience working with your business.
For this reason, customer experience doesn't have the same cut and dried metrics as other business functions … but that doesn't mean it's not important to measure. In fact, it’s arguably the most important factor to measure, because it’s one of the most direct customer touchpoints in your business.
Well-performing customer service departments lead to happy customers, and happy customers are your best marketers. So, use these metrics to improve your customer service and support processes — and boost your business’s bottom line.