10 Key Customer Service Metrics You Should Be Tracking

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Too many companies focus on their customer service goals but they fail to keep track of key metrics. While you might be able to recognize when you’ve reached a certain milestone for your brand, how will you understand why or how? 

This is where key metrics come in, but what metrics actually matter? When it comes to understanding your brand’s customer service strategy, you need to focus on the things that drive real results and progress. While not all brands are created equal, there are 10 key customer service metrics that help your company stand out. 

In this guide, we’ll share the top customer service metrics you should be tracking as well as what you can learn from them. It’s not enough to simply track your progress. You also need to translate these stats into real change. With a reported 90% of customers making a repeat purchase from companies with outstanding customer service, it’s time to drive action.

Support Request Count

First, you need to understand just how many of your customers need help regularly. Support request count literally refers to the number of conversations in your support inbox. Over time, this number is likely to rise or decrease. (Hint: you want it to go down!)

Keeping an eye on these support requests is a must. During “good” times, they should remain relatively steady. If you notice any spikes during a specific week, month, or day, this might indicate that customers were unhappy with a change or something that happened.

How to use this metric: 

Your support request count is a powerful way to understand your customer’s understanding of your product or service. If you get a large number of questions, this might be a sign you need clearer communication during your sales funnel. Whether you released a new product, ran into tech issues, or something else, it’s important to get to the bottom of what went wrong and how you can improve. 

Request Response Time

When a user requests support, they expect this to be handled quickly and easily. If there are significant delays in your response time, this results in a negative experience overall. This is why your request response time is so important. 

This key customer service metric is different from resolution time. It refers to how long it takes for a member of your team to respond to the initial request. Your users want to feel their concerns are heard and understood. While you don’t need to fix the problem immediately, you do need to let the customer know you received their request as soon as possible. 

How fast is fast enough? Just look at the statistics. A reported 82% of customers rate an immediate response within 30 minutes as important when they have a question related to sales, marketing, or support. 

A prime example of this in action is the @Netflixhelps Twitter account. This account exists only to help with customer’s tech problems. With a comprehensive team that’s online all day, their request response time is within 30 minutes (if not sooner). 

How to use this metric:

There are a lot of ways to improve your request response time, from automated messages to live support. This metric helps you understand whether your process is fast enough for your audience. 

Support Resolution Time

On the other hand, your support resolution time refers to how long it takes for a customer’s concern to be fully solved. When your support resolution time is small, this shows that your customer service team is equipped to handle customer problems efficiently. 

However, if you notice this resolution time is running high, this is a good time to investigate. There might be a lack of coordination amongst support tasks, or you might need further training for your team. Either way, it’s important to take action to make sure your customer’s concerns are handled quickly.

How to use this metric:

A low support resolution time is a sign you have a healthy support strategy. Though it might take some time, it’s a good goal to bring this average time as low as possible. A higher resolution time means it’s worth investing in more training for your team.

Communication Method Usage

Next, you should keep a close eye on your communication method usage. This refers to the platform your customers use the most for support requests. Most companies offer a combination of options:

  • Self-service portal
  • Automated chat
  • Email
  • Social media
  • Phone

There is no one-size-fits-all option, but you’ll need to understand which method your customers prefer. This allows you to invest more staff and technology into these methods vs. wasting time on platforms your users don’t prefer. Each industry and business is different. What works for one brand might not work for another, so it’s key to tap into your specific audience. 

How to use this metric:

Make sure you’re investing in the right method for your users. Your budget should align with your communication method usage stats, so this metric is essential for saving you time and money. Confirm that what you’re spending the most time on is, in fact, what your audience wants to use when it comes to communication.

Customer Satisfaction Rating

While customer satisfaction is subjective, you can create a way to quantify this progress. Your customer satisfaction rating or customer satisfaction score (CSAT) is a way to measure your customer experience throughout every interaction. 

In most cases, you get your customer satisfaction rating by having customers rate their experience after they’ve received support in some way. They might rank it between 1 to 5 stars, or it might break down even further. Over time, this analysis shows whether you’re effectively meeting customer’s needs. This is an area where you want the highest score possible long-term.

What’s a company that continues to rank high with its customer satisfaction ratings? The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) talked to 23,000 customers in 2020 to rate satisfaction with national restaurant chains. The highest-ranking restaurant was Chick-fil-A due to its customer-first business model

How to use this metric:

This is one of the most straightforward metrics to use for your brand. The higher your score, the better you’re doing. A low score, on the other hand, is a call to action to adjust your customer experience throughout every interaction. 

Net Promoter Score

Next, the net promoter score (NPS) is the percentage of customers who are likely to recommend your company, product, or service to someone they know. This is how you create superfans who love to rave about your company. 

The NPS is simple. In asking customers how likely they are to recommend your brand, they give an answer between 0 to 10 with 10 being most likely. Brands strive for a score between 9 and 10, and this only comes if you have a strong customer experience in place. 

The grocery delivery service Instacart sends emails to existing customers to determine their NPS. By selecting a number on the scale, Instacart learns more about how their customers view their brand. 

How to use this metric:

Use NPS to understand how you currently stand with existing customers. For those who leave a low score, ask follow-up questions to identify where you can improve. 

Percentage of Repeat Customers

Customer loyalty is worth its weight in gold. According to InMoment, 77% of customers maintained loyal relationships with their preferred companies for over a decade. It’s always more cost-effective to encourage repeat customers than to constantly seek new ones. 

To determine your percentage of customers that are repeat customers, you’ll need to know your repurchase rate. This is simply how many customers have made more than one purchase. This is used by companies that don’t have a subscription model. 

Here’s a simple example. Let’s say you have 500 customers, and 100 of those have made at least 2 purchases within a specific period (like a year). This means your repurchase rate is 20% for that year, or 20% of customers are repeat customers. 

How to use this metric:

By knowing your repeat customer rate, you can recognize customers who are more likely to make additional purchases and continue marketing to them. Additionally, you can determine your best products and services to convert more repeat customers. 

Percentage of Customers That Have Referred New Customers

Similarly, how many of your existing customers referred new customers? These are your shining superfans, and they’re worth paying close attention to. 

Again, let’s do some simple math. Using the example of having 500 customers within a year, let’s say 50 of these purchases came from a referral. This means you have a 10% effective referral rate. While not all recommendations result in a sale, this is a good sign that your best customers are speaking highly of you.

Some companies invest a lot of time (and money) into encouraging referrals amongst existing customers. Blue Apron, a meal delivery subscription, asks current customers to send 5 meal kits for free to friends and family. To redeem their free boxes, each referral has to register for the service. 

How to use this metric:

If you have a high percentage of customers who have referred new customers, it’s time to start a conversation with these superfans. What is it they love about your brand? What can you do better? These are your biggest advocates, so make sure they feel appreciated. 

Customer Churn Rate

Your customer churn rate is also known as the rate of attrition. This is the rate at which customers stop doing business with your brand. Though in a perfect world we would keep every customer forever, this isn’t realistic. Customers come and go, but we can keep a close eye on our churn rate.

For example, if you have 100 customers and you lose 10, you have an average churn rate of 10%. A high or rising churn rate could indicate there’s a problem in your overall customer experience, and you need to work on your satisfaction. On the other hand, a small churn rate is a sign you’re doing something right. 

How to use this metric:

You should always have a close eye on your churn rate to make sure it’s as low as possible. It’s an effective way to gauge how connected your customers feel to your brand, your offerings, and so on.

Average Lifetime Value of a Customer

Last but not least, it’s important to understand the average lifetime value (LTV) of a customer. In simple terms, this is the average revenue you expect to earn from every customer. While you’ll have some outliers, most customers likely fall within a certain revenue range. 

Of course, your goal as a brand is to make this average as high as possible. Not only do you want to earn more from your customers, but you want them to stay loyal to your brand. This is earned through trust, and it’s a sign your company is moving in the right direction. 

One of the most well-known case studies about LTV is for the coffee chain Starbucks. The average customer at Starbucks spends $5.90 per visit, and the average number of visits per week is 4.2. When they calculated the retention rate and average customer lifespan, it’s determined that the LTV was $14,099. That’s a lot of frappuccinos!

How to use this metric:

Your lifetime value is a key customer service metric you can improve simply by making customers happy, retaining more customers (reducing churn), and putting your customers first. This is one of the best metrics to keep at the forefront of your strategy.

Are You Focused on the Right Metrics?

With these 10 key metrics in mind, you know what to focus on if you want your business to succeed. Paying close attention to these customer service stats and numbers might sound like a lot of work (because it is), but it pays off long-term. 

Ultimately, it’s easy to assume you’re nailing customer service from start to finish. What matters more isn’t how you feel about your customer service and experience. It’s how you can use data and statistics to back this up and show real results.

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