20 Customer Service KPIs You Need To Know

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Rami El-Abidin
Rami El-Abidin



Either way, tracking service desk KPIs was a big part of my life at HubSpot Support. On an individual level, I always had my eye on the number of cases I closed daily. Keeping track of that number motivated me to work hard and solve as many tickets as possible. On a team level, support management tracked a slew of service desk KPIs to keep a pulse on the team and how well we solved for the customer.

customer service desk kpis

In my experience, tracking these metrics works. It keeps the whole service team accountable and unveils actionable growth opportunities.

Do you want to learn more about service desk KPIs? I’ve got you. Read on for service desk KPI examples and everything you need to know about critical metrics for your customer service team.

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Top Service KPIs for 2024 [State of Service Data]

Every year, we conduct a worldwide survey to find out the latest trends in service. I took a deep dive into our State of Service data (so you don’t have to) to determine the top-ranked KPIs most service reps are focused on in 2024.

1. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

Customer satisfaction is always at the top of customer service reps' minds, management, and the organization. CSAT is a cornerstone metric for measuring the quality of customer service interactions.

As a former customer service representative, ensuring my customers were satisfied was a top priority. I think this enduring KPI will always be relevant to service reps. According to our State of Service data, improving customer satisfaction scores is a top goal for 30.6% of service reps globally.

example of prompt to measure customer satisfaction

2. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net promoter score and CSAT are similar KPIs. While CSAT measures satisfaction with service interactions, NPS measures customer loyalty and willingness to recommend service to others. In my experience, this is a crucial metric for evaluating the long-term health of customer relationships and customer retention.

Our State of Service report highlights that improving customer loyalty/retention is a primary focus for 31% of service teams.

3. Customer Retention Rate

Improving customer loyalty/retention is also a significant goal for 31% of our State of Service survey respondents. Accordingly, customer retention rate is a top metric to track in 2024. In my experience, customer retention rate is highly correlated to NPS. If you can increase your NPS scores, customer retention rate will likely follow suit.

4. AI Utilization Rate

Most top service desk KPIs have remained unchanged over the years. However, this is a new one. I think the usage of AI in customer service is bound to skyrocket in the future, and many service reps agree. Our report shows that leveraging AI throughout the customer experience is prioritized by 24.2% of service representatives.

AI utilization rate tracks the extent to which AI tools are implemented throughout the customer service process. High AI utilization rates can indicate advanced automation and efficiency in the customer service process, allowing reps to handle a higher volume of cases easily.

That being said, it's important to note that AI must be intentionally implemented to serve the customer. Simply using an AI chatbot to increase AI utilization is not worthwhile if it doesn’t improve the customer experience.

5. Customer Effort Score (CES)

Customer effort score is a service desk metric that measures how much effort customers have to put into interacting with your service team and resolving issues. Of course, we want this number to be as low as possible.

Streamlining customer experience operations was identified as a critical goal for 25.3% of service representatives in our State of Service report.

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    Customer Service KPI Examples

    Key performance indicators are a measurement tool used to measure employee and company performance. They are necessary for businesses to establish, measure, and evaluate goals. Customer service KPIs include:

    1. First Response Time

    First response time (FRT) is the time that elapses between a customer sending their first support ticket and an agent’s response.

    Using this metric helps a company measure the effectiveness of its team regarding the promptness of support staff and whether teams have enough resources to respond to requests on time. Delays in response time can negatively affect a customer’s interaction with a business, making it one of the most monitored customer service KPIs.

    How to track: Using your customer service software, tag the timestamps of incoming tickets and compare them to the initial response time. You can get an overall first response time with the following calculation.

    service desk kpi, first response time

    Why it matters: I’ve found that a timely first response is valuable to customers. Improving FRT is likely to increase customer experience overall. Customers want to have their issues solved and feel like their time is valued.

    2. Average Resolution Time

    Average resolution time is how long it takes to solve a support ticket from start to finish, and the length usually varies based on the issue's complexity. However, lower resolution times are a better marker for success as they ensure quick resolutions of customer calls.

    How to track: You can track this by monitoring the time stamps from ticket creation to resolution. The calculation follows.

    service desk kpi, cost per resolution

    Why it matters: In my experience, solving customer issues is paramount. It improves customer satisfaction and retention if you can meet customer needs promptly.

    3. Average Handle Time

    Average handle time (AHT) is similar to average resolution time, but there is a slight difference.

    AHT is the average time an agent spends on a ticket. For example, suppose a support rep resends a package to a customer. The handling time ends when the agent communicates the new shipping information to the customer and closes the ticket. The resolution time ends once a customer receives the product.

    How to track: Record the time agents take to handle an interaction. Then, use the following calculation.

    Why it matters: I find this KPI to be especially relevant for phone support. It indicates the team’s efficiency in handling customer issues.

    4. Consistent Resolutions

    In addition to resolution times, providing consistent resolutions is also an important metric. Consider your customer service operation as McDonald’s, where customers get consistent customer service (the McDouble is the same everywhere). No matter what agent they speak with — whether via chat, email, or phone — they provide consistent answers to customers reporting the same issue.

    Pro tip: You can leverage AI software to help you track how service agents respond to the same customer queries and note any discrepancies in communication.

    How to track: Use your service desk software to categorize types of customer inquiries and analyze resolutions for consistency.

    Why it matters: Providing a consistent experience to customers is crucial for customer satisfaction. In my experience, customers especially appreciate consistency if they have to work with multiple team members or departments.


    5. Top Topics

    Analyzing the reasons why customers contact support is just as important as how fast their issues are resolved. Monitoring customer-reported issues can help you determine gaps in your instruction and training materials. If you find a pattern or that folks are reporting the same issue, it may be a sign of a more significant problem.

    Pro tip: If customers consistently report issues troubleshooting the same problem, you may need to revisit your knowledge base or build new help features.

    How to track: Categorize and analyze support tickets. When I worked in support, the rep was responsible for applying one of many predetermined categories to each ticket they worked on.

    Why it matters: Keeping track of why customers contact your support team will illuminate areas of your product/service that need attention.

    6. Cost Per Resolution

    Calculating how much it costs to resolve each ticket is critical to determining staffing and operating costs. To find your cost per resolution, take your total service department costs for a given period and divide them by the number of tickets resolved for the same period.

    Your total operating costs are $20,000 monthly, and your team resolved 2,000 tickets. Your cost per resolution would be $10.

    Pro tip: Adopting AI technology to help you respond to tickets can lower your cost per resolution.

    How to track: Gather data on the total costs of your service department and compare it to the total number of tickets solved in a given timeframe.

    Why it matters: This is an essential KPI for budgeting, especially when considering hiring and purchasing new service tools. In my experience, this is a very consequential number for upper management and other stakeholders.

    7. Number of Tickets

    A necessary part of customer service is anticipating how many issues can arise. Problems are bound to happen. This metric indicates whether the team is equipped and available to handle the number of tickets.

    How to track: View the number of tickets in your customer service software over a given timeframe.

    Why it matters: In my experience, certain times of the day/week/month/year are known for yielding a heavier flow of incoming tickets. Understanding these trends means you’ll be prepared for times when you need a heavier lift from your team.

    8. Number of Resolved Tickets

    This KPI refers to the number of tickets an agent or team has received and resolved within a given period.

    How to track: Your customer service software should display the number of resolved tickets and allow you to break it down by time frame.

    Why it matters: Ideally, every ticket that comes in gets resolved. Keeping track of this number shows how effectively your support team handles oncoming tickets. If there is a backlog of unresolved tickets, you might need to make some changes or bring on extra help.

    9. Number of Tickets by Medium

    The number of tickets by medium KPI refers to the number of tickets per different channels customers use to reach out to support teams. For example, the total number of individual tickets opened over the phone, via email, live chat, or social media.

    How to track: Tally the number of incoming tickets per medium. Your service desk software should do this automatically.

    Why it matters: Understanding where your customer inquiries come from indicates where you should allocate resources. When I worked in support, we had separate teams for phone and email support; both were staffed differently according to incoming ticket volume per channel.

    10. Escalation Rate

    The escalation rate is a percentage that represents the number of support tickets that escalate to a person with more experience or specialized knowledge. The person receiving the escalated ticket is typically a supervisor or manager.

    How to track: Keep a tally of the total number of escalated tickets.

    service desk kpi, escalation rate

    Why it matters: Escalations are generally something you want to avoid. Sometimes, it‘s unavoidable if a technical issue goes beyond scope. High escalation rates may indicate the team’s need for additional training or resources.

    I’ve found that escalations are sometimes unavoidable, and the customer is happier if they get to speak to someone higher up. So, I think it’s important to analyze each escalation and understand whether or not the service rep is at fault.

    11. Customer Retention Rate (CRR)

    Customer retention measures a company’s ability to retain customers over time. It’s one of the more important metrics to know because customer retention is integral to your success as a company. Plus, it increases customer loyalty, boosts ROI, and helps recruit new customers.

    First, define your time period, then use the following formula to calculate the customer retention rate:

    service desk kpi, escalation rate

    Why it matters: Customer retention rate indicates customer satisfaction and loyalty. If you are experiencing low customer retention (high churn), something in your business needs attention.

    12. Customer Satisfaction Score

    Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT) show how happy customers are with the service provided and how well customer service team members handle customer issues and complaints.

    How to track: Send an automated survey to each customer at the resolution of their support case.

    Why it matters: In my experience, customer satisfaction is more than just solving problems. From a service perspective, the key to customer satisfaction is making the customer feel valued and understood. Giving customers a positive experience benefits the bottom line and boosts customer loyalty and brand advocacy.

    13. Net Promoter Score

    The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a satisfaction benchmark that measures how likely your customers are to recommend your business to someone else. You get an NPS score by surveying customers and asking them, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend?” Customers who rate you a 9 or 10 would be considered promoters and, as the name implies, will most likely promote your brand. The rest of the scores break down as follows:

    • Detractors: scores 0 to 6
    • Passives: scores 7 and 8
    • Promotors: scores 9 and 10

    To calculate Net Promoter Score, subtract the percentage of detractors (wouldn't recommend you) from the percentage of promoters (would recommend you).

    Pro tip: NPS scores aren’t just for customers. You can deploy a similar survey to your service team to measure job satisfaction.

    example of NPS rating from CitiBank, service desk KPI

    Why it matters: I think NPS is perhaps the most important service desk KPI of all. It indicates customer satisfaction (and, by extension, the effectiveness of your service) and the likelihood of word-of-mouth marketing, which can be super beneficial to your company.

    14. Customer Effort Score

    Part of offering excellent customer service is reducing friction for your customers. After all, customers shouldn’t feel like resolving their issue is a worse experience than what they were contacting the service team about in the first place.

    The customer effort score measures how much effort your customer puts into resolving their issue.

    How to track: To determine the customer effort score, ask your customer to rate their resolution experience on a scale from easy to difficult. You can collect customer feedback after they’ve had specific touchpoints or interactions with your company, like making a purchase or contacting the service team.

    Why it matters: CES is a vital service desk KPI because it highlights friction in your customer service ecosystem. Perhaps reps need training, or submitting a support ticket needs to be streamlined. I think understanding CES is important because it indicates a smooth customer experience.

    15. Top Performing Reps

    Your service reps are at the frontlines of customer interaction and satisfaction.

    Once you identify your top performers, you can reward their hard work and tap into their successful strategies to help improve the rest of the team.

    Not all businesses can have large customer service teams, and many rely on service desks to manage their budgets, resources, and customer service simultaneously. Customer service KPIs and service desk KPIs are relatively similar, but it’s essential to understand their different applications.

    How to track: Many KPIs indicate performance in reps, but the main ones to track are number of tickets solved, first-touch resolution, and customer satisfaction scores. You should be able to track all of these KPIs in your service desk software.

    Why it matters: Tracking and recognizing top-performing reps encourages hard work and dedication from your team.

    I can certainly attest to this. When I worked in support, we had a leaderboard for the number of tickets closed daily, which motivated me to go above and beyond. However, the most important thing is to recognize and reward hard, effective work instead of just pushing for high ticket numbers for the sake of it.

    Free Customer Service Metrics Calculator

    Calculate your business's key metrics and KPIs for customer support, service, and success with this free template.

    • Customer Acquisition Cost
    • Customer Lifetime Value
    • Customer Satisfaction Score
    • And More!
    Learn more

      Download Free

      All fields are required.

      You're all set!

      Click this link to access this resource at any time.

      Service Desk KPIs

      A service desk, often automated, is a program that manages the communication between a company and its customers. Most platforms give businesses a collaborative system with features that include a shared inbox, canned responses and actions, app integrations, and advanced metrics reporting.

      The key performance indicators of service desks are similar to those of standard customer service KPIs but focus on the timeliness and effectiveness of the automated systems through metrics like average resolution time, resolved tickets, and CSAT.

      In addition to those already featured on this list, the following metrics are used to measure service desk performance.

      1. First Contact Resolution Rate

      First contact resolution rate is different from the average resolution time as it measures the percentage of tickets solved during initial content. While it is a marker for efficiency, it can skew metrics as some issues are more complex and require more time to resolve.

      How to track: Measure the number of tickets closed after an initial message, email, or phone call.

      Why it matters: A high first contact resolution rate indicates an efficient and knowledgeable rep. In my experience, customers appreciate it if you value their time, and solving their issue at the first touch is a big time saver. Overall, a first contact resolution rate should indicate customer satisfaction.

      2. Average Reply Time

      Average reply time measures how long it takes agents to respond to customer queries across all communication with a customer, not just how long it takes to respond to initial outreach. For example, the amount of time it takes the agent to respond to each customer's chat message.

      How to track: For each customer inquiry, calculate the time difference between the received and response timestamps. You can then gather an average reply time by dividing the total reply times by the number of customer inquiries. Service desk software like HubSpot can do this for you automatically.

      Why it matters: Faster reply times generally lead to higher customer satisfaction. I think this is a great metric for gauging the performance of individual reps and the support team as a whole because the average accounts for the varying complexity of customer requests.

      3. Agent Touches per Ticket

      Agent touches per ticket is the number of times an agent communicates with a customer before resolving an issue. A high number of touches per ticket can negatively affect the customer satisfaction rate.

      How to track: Tally the number of email responses or chats sent by the rep before a ticket is resolved. Add up this number for all cases and divide by number of cases to get the average.

      Why it matters: Customers appreciate having their problems solved quickly, so they typically dislike the constant back and forth to solve a problem. Agent touches per ticket indicate efficiency and, by extension, customer satisfaction.

      I think it’s important to note that this KPI does not take into account the complexity of individual tickets. Some customer issues may be very complex, necessitating an extended back-and-forth. That’s why understanding the average number of touches per ticket is important, rather than scrutinizing an individual high-touch case.

      4. Knowledge Base Views

      Knowledge base views have nothing to do with customer interaction with an agent. This metric measures the number of page views on FAQ or support pages.

      How to track: Use a tracking code to keep track of page views on your site.

      Why it matters: The most popular knowledge base articles will illuminate product areas that customers struggle with and can perhaps be streamlined. It also shows areas where your support team may want to focus some extra training.

      In my experience, knowledge base articles are an excellent resource to point customers towards so they can help themselves in the future. Understanding the most popular articles is important because you’ll likely be sharing them a lot.

      5. Abandonment Rate

      A metric reserved for phone calls, call abandonment rate measures how many callers hang up before speaking to a service agent. Talkdesk reported that the three industries with the highest average abandonment rate were the government and public sector (7.44%), transportation and logistics (7.4%), and healthcare (6.91%).

      While monitoring all these KPIs can become overwhelming, especially for small businesses, programs like Plecto are effective for keeping track of KPIs. Plecto is an engagement and motivation platform that enables companies to build custom KPIs while providing real-time reports, contests, and achievements for their staff.

      While they offer solutions for customer service, the all-encompassing platform has assistance for other departments like sales, marketing, and development.

      How to track: Use your helpdesk software to track the number of calls that are dropped before speaking to an agent. Phone support software likely tracks this automatically.

      Why it matters: High abandonment rates likely indicate long wait times and poor customer experience. If you’re experiencing high abandonment rates, then you may need to bring on additional team members to help with the volume of incoming cases. I think this is a big red flag of a KPI, and it’s important to keep it under control!

      6. Service Level Agreement (SLA) Compliance

      SLA compliance is the percentage of tickets solved within a certain time frame specified in your Service Level Agreement. The calculation is straightforward:

      How to track: Keep track of the number of tickets resolved within your SLA. Then, divide that number by the total number of tickets.

      service desk kpi, escalation rate

      Why it matters: I think this is a crucial KPI because it demonstrates an adherence to customer service commitments. Keep in mind your SLA is unique to your business situation and should be mutually agreed upon with the customer.

      7. Self-Service Utilization

      Self-service utilization tracks the use of resources such as your knowledgebase, FAQs, chatbots, and online forums instead of directly contacting support.

      How to track: Use analytics tools integrated with your customer service platform to monitor the views and usage of your self-service resources. If possible, track the total number of self-service interactions over a given time frame and divide by total customer interactions to get the self-service utilization percentage.

      Why it matters: These days, many customers actually prefer to solve issues on their own if possible. I’m one of those people. I’d much rather find an answer online than have to call anyone up on the phone. It saves time and lets me avoid a social-anxiety-inducing situation (I think a lot of the younger generation can relate).

      In addition, self-service reduces the load on support teams, lowers support costs by reducing the need for as many live agent interactions, and makes customers feel empowered. I think self service utilization might be my favorite service desk KPI of them all.

      8. Reopen Rate

      Reopen rate measures the percentage of support tickets that are reopened after being closed. The reopening of a case indicates that the rep did not fully resolve the issue on the first attempt.

      However, it is important to note that customers will sometimes reply to an email thread of a closed customer service case with a new inquiry. This will be flagged as a reopened case when, in reality, it's a new one. It happens more than you think, trust me!

      How to track: Use your service desk software to track tickets that are reopened after being closed. (Number of reopened tickets) / (Total number of tickets) * 100 is your calculation. Your software will likely do this for you automatically.

      Why it matters: High reopen rates may indicate a poor customer experience and persistent product issues. It may also highlight areas for improvement in support processes or rep training.

      It is also important to consider that if case quotas are too high, reps may be incentivized to rush cases closed to inflate their numbers at the expense of fully solving for the customer.

      KPIs Are Always Right

      In business, one often hears the customer is always right. Customer service KPIs, such as NPS, CES and CSAT, are a great indicator of what is actually right in a business. They allow companies to measure the success of their support staff through the efficiency of their work and the satisfaction of their customers. Satisfied customers = successful business.

      To track KPIs while providing personalized, AI-powered support to your customers, consider using HubSpot’s Customer Service Software. You can also manage and gather feedback given by your customers by creating survey forms, even if you don’t have any coding experience.

      Editor's note: This article was originally published in January 2022 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

      customer service metrics

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