How to turn “good” customer service into “exceptional”
Updated: Jun 13
Just as every company's department is measured by KPI's, so does the Customer Service team. Quantifying the performance of how a company supports its customers enables it to understand how good the service is and how it can turn "good" into "exceptional". Customer satisfaction hints at repeat business from those clients and may lead to new business as a result of "word-of-mouth".
Understanding the numbers measured of the customer support team, simply the customer service metrics will determine customer loyalty and retention as well as the potential for new and future satisfied customers for the company. No customer journey is complete without the measurement of customer service KPI metrics.
Why are customer support metrics important
A customer's journey does not end when he purchases the company's product or the service. If a company wishes to maintain high customer satisfaction and customer retention, it must measure how its customer service agents are performing. Such measurement is carried out by using important customer service metrics for great customer service evaluation. How many customers are happy customers are a question determined by measuring several different key performance indicator factors. Then every company can better figure out how much effort has already been taking place and what are the necessary actions to further improve customer approval rates.
Measurements can answer performance questions such as:
How well does the support teams function to provide the best service possible? Customer service teams which include customer support agents are working hard to live up to customer expectations and to keep high client satisfaction. The support staff can only find out if it provides good customer service by exact measurements of its team members' efforts.
How easily does the company make it for customers to engage with it? Companies try to manage customer lifetime value and avoid customer attrition. Such effort includes constant communication with existing customers in order to respond to all customer queries or complaints. When a customer submits a question or a request, initial response and resolution time, as well as its content, are important. Companies also take notice of a customer's preferred communication channel, which may vary from one customer to another, and try to offer as many channels as possible for submitting a customer query or request.
How do such key messages about product, service, or brand resonate with customers? Customers' opinions of how they perceive the company and its brand determine its progression and success. A good customer experience and good customer satisfaction scores can show a company how its products, services, and brand are performing and exactly what the customers are thinking and feeling about them. A customer service operation with its support teams must gather as much information as possible about what the company's customers expect from the company and whether the messages the company delivers to its clients are efficient and successful.
How efficient are the marketing and sales processes within the company? The efforts of the marketing and sales teams within an organization, which are aimed at gaining new clients as well as avoiding customer churn, can also be measured by customer surveys as well as other top customer service metrics. Customer service metrics can help understand just how well the marketing and sales teams are functioning and just how much effort is still required to improve their work.
And finally, what do the company’s customers really think about it? Customer satisfaction scores are one example of a key performance indicator that provides important information to every company about how its customer service efforts are doing and what the customers think and feel about it. Satisfied customers and customer loyalty, as shown in the customer satisfaction score and other customer service metrics, can direct a company to better understand its position in its market. Other indicators, such as the customer retention rate or the customer effort score add more information to the company to measure how its customer service efforts are doing.
Understanding experience (X-data) vs. operational (O-data) metrics
Customer service metrics important enough to measure can be divided into two categories: experience and operational. Using both methods leads to a better understanding of customer satisfaction and assists with customer retention.
Operational data refers to open data, the one that your brand receives, such as sales figures, the number of new customers, a company's website visits, and more. Your support team and other department's members can learn just how well the company is doing from that data alone. However, the company performance picture is not complete without the deeper learning of what the customers are actually feeling about the company.
Experience data allows companies to gather customer experience and thoughts about products, services, and brands. That answers the "how" and "why" they relate to brands and such data complements the operational data to learn exactly what customers expect, how does their customer journey continues, how fast a company reacts to customer requests, what is the average response time to customer queries and how likely is there expected to be customer churn.
Customer service metrics can tell every company just where it stands about taking care of its customers. Every customer service metric counts and adds to the bigger picture and enables companies to learn and improve by which upon which their customer service team is operating.
The leading customer service metrics to measure
Each customer support metric that is listed here represents an important part of customer experience as well as customer satisfaction. A company can learn a lot about the way it treats its customers by combining all the data from the following metrics. Such customer service metrics include some of the things to learn such as the handling of a customer's problem, how a company takes care of support requests, how to improve customer retention and how to avoid customer churn, and what do customer service teams and customer service agents can do to improve their overall performance.
The customer service KPI metrics include the following:
Customer satisfaction (CSAT): a customer satisfaction score CSAT measures how happy your customers are with your products and services. Once they fill customer surveys, or they answer over the phone questions, they also rate your brand on a scale of 1-5. Then a company can calculate the 4's and the 5's (The positive rankings) out of the total survey responses and multiply by 100. This score is usually a good indicator and predictor of customer retention.
Customer effort score (CES): the customer effort score shows how much effort a customer must perform in order to resolve a problem with the company. This includes returning an item, asking a question or a support request from the support leaders, etc. Customers want to connect to a company by the easiest way possible, so this measurement can tell a lot to a company on the quality of its customer service. The way to measure a customer effort score CES is to ask the customers to rate it on a scale of 1-7 and then total the scores to figure out the overall result. Customer effort scores may also tell a company if it lacks manpower and whether more customer support people are needed.
Net promoter score (NPS): This measurement tries to establish how likely customers are to recommend a brand to other people and how loyal they are to the company's products. In the net promoter score NPS, those who give a score of 9 or 10 are considered "promoters" of the brand; Those who score 7 or 8 are called "passive" and a 6 or below earns those customers the title of "detractors". When you subtract the number of promoters from the number of detractors, you get the NPS. For example, if 80% are promoters and 20% are detractors, your score is 60%. Every company will aim to receive a score as close to 100 as possible, so the 60% score may be somewhat positive but not enough for it to feel good about its performance.
The net promoter score NPS is considered by many to be the single most important brand reputation score, but it does not provide a company with a more detailed understanding of its overall customer service situation.
Social media monitoring: the idea here is to compare monthly and quarterly social media mentions of all kinds. A company has to count such features as positive vs. negative brand mentions, customer engagements such as technical questions or account comments and queries, and more. However, in the basic sense, this relates to quantity measurements only and misses out completely on qualitative analysis of the data.
Customer churn: when a customer stops using your product or service, it means that he is churning. It is a tricky factor to measure and companies choose different methods of calculating it, depending on factors such as time-periods comparison of customers not doing any new purchases vs. them buying in the past. Customer satisfaction surveys may give some indication of customers planning to leave while customer retention rate actions may help in helping more customers to keep buying.
First response time/Service-level agreement (SLA): how quickly does a company team member reply to outreach from a customer? Response time can be crucial as it serves both how a company tackles a problem as well as how well it treats and respects its customers. Companies make up different benchmarks for the first response to a customer, but usually, a day or less is accepted when answering an email; 1-2 hours is "safe" to respond to a social media comment; The average response time to a phone call is up to 3 minutes, and the expectation to act upon a live chat and messaging is instantaneous.
Calculating the first response time is simply the time difference between the first customer request and the first company's response. A first response tells a lot about a company's ability to serve its customers so the measurement of the first response may be a key indicator for the overall customer support system of organizations.
Overall resolution rate: A customer retention rate and their brand satisfaction depends also on how well a company resolves their problems and issues with it. When a customer files complaints, support tickets are opened. The idea here is to close and resolve all open support tickets so that the client gets a good response from the company. Understanding the data from this metric happens after calculating the total number of support tickets and dividing them by the total number of tickets resolved.
First contact resolution rate: customers don't like to be moved around between support agents when they contact a company. With this metric, a company finds out how many tickets require only one contact from the customer. The calculation to do here is to factor in the number of customer tickets resolved with only one company's contact and to divide it by the total number of support ticket cases.
Customer ticket request volume: customers' engagement with a company is generally the desired situation unless there is a high volume of complaints. To avoid such a problematic high volume of calls and requests from customers, a company needs to measure the overall ticket volume of its clients. To calculate ticket volume, simply add them all up by the end of every week or month and compare it to the previous same time frame. The difference in the support ticket totals is yet another indication of whether the customers are happy with the company's service or not. Sometimes more customer support agents are required in order to take care of such volumes.
Average ticket handling time: The final metric measures how much time it takes for an agent to work on a single ticket/case. The shorter it takes, the more efficient the agent is. It is recommended to measure this metric wisely so that agents do not rush to meet the low handling time and do not give customers the best service possible. Calculating this metric asks for a time-period comparison of a contact resolution rate. The less resolution time the better but a company needs to double-check the quality of service as well here.
The average time to resolve customers' issues is also a good indication of your company's overall time and personnel management. Resolution time comparison can also help set benchmarks for improvements. The average resolution time can also shift from period to period, depending on different factors, so it is important to correctly compare between the two or understand what has changed based on specific situations.
The benefits of Affogata’s customer support measurement and analysis
Many of the metrics mentioned are true indicators of the service a company gives to its customers, but they are also a bit old-fashioned and do not meet the standards of today's fast and dynamic business pace. Currently, huge data volumes of customer feedback must be tracked and analyzed quickly for better and more accurate business decisions made by companies.
Affogata's all-in-one service offers companies a detailed analysis of their customer support situation. While companies can gather the operational data metrics by themselves (how many new customers they have, website visitors, etc), Affogata offers real-time 24/7 comprehensive measurement and analysis of the experience type of data. Such evaluation allows companies to fully capture how they serve their clients and what the customers really think about their products and services.
Companies are able to analyze all rates and metrics within minutes, based on millions of data points from all over the open web. They can also respond to all mentions from our response area, regardless of where the comment came from. They can also be alerted about peaks of positive or negative mentions.
When the accumulated conversations at any specific time show a high negative sentiment, they can figure out immediately where and what the problem is and move to both fix it and respond to customers and show the company's support. So, the first contact resolution rate is high, the average resolution time becomes quicker and more timely, and the customer retention rate can remain high due to the better and quicker service that the support team is performing. The data also enables us to measure the support people's performance in order to constantly look for ways to improve it.
Finally, the brand reputation score goes much more in-depth and is much more detailed and objective than other measurements such as NPS, CES, or CSAT. The score itself is actually a temperature check of the company’s reputation situation, but the addition of the detailed analysis of the conversations and feedback presents companies with a fuller understanding of what their customers think about their brand. Their roadmap for further improvement of their product, based on what their customers say, should be clearer now.