Customer service is central to how customers perceive your brand – and whether they would recommend you to friends and family.
Nothing in life is perfect, so your customer service team is there to get the customer experience back on track when it goes wrong. When service reps are motivated and informed, they can leave your customers with a positive impression even after a thorny issue.
Like so many aspects of modern business, customer service is driven by data. No one can perfectly measure the rapport customer service reps are able to create, but customer service key performance indicators (KPIs) come in many different forms. Understanding them is essential to customer service leadership.
Any VP of service needs to keep an eye on the big picture, watching where customer service is headed. Not surprisingly, some customer service KPIs are more valuable to this than others.
In fact, customer service KPIs that are crucial at lower levels of the org chart become much less meaningful as you ascend to a strategic role. Many service VPs find there’s a distinct learning curve in figuring out where they should focus their attention after getting promoted.
7 Customer Service KPIs Leadership Should Watch Closely
1. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
Customer satisfaction can be tough to figure out because it’s so subjective. CSAT comes into play when you ask your customers to rate their satisfaction on a numeric scale.
Maintain a narrow scale range to minimize confusion: 1-3 and 1-5 are both common and easily understood. A scale of 1-10 saddles each respondent with too much thinking, making scores tricky to compare.
2. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Net promoter score is one of the most famous customer service KPIs. It poses a simple, yet profound question to each customer: How likely are you to recommend us to your friends?
A score of 9-10 indicates a “promoter,” the score you should shoot for, while 0-6 represents “detractors.” Subtract promoters from detractors, and you’ll end up with your NPS.
3. First Response Time
Fast customer service is a mark of quality everyone recognizes. In fact, research has shown that customers prefer a quick response to one that’s thorough but takes longer – even if the quick response doesn’t solve the issue.
Your service team will always be on target with its answers, of course, but even so: To curb first response time, acknowledge issues immediately, even if by automated message.
4. Customer Retention Rate
It’s not always easy to connect retention rate to customer service interactions. Still, if you drill into the numbers, you may discover a substantial amount of lost customers had contact with your CSRs in the past.
This correlation can indicate service issues that may be “marked” complete actually ended unsatisfactorily.
5. Service + Quality (SERVQUAL)
This multifaceted customer service KPI aims to capture the subjective elements under the hood of customer service. You ask respondents how their recent customer service experience rated compared to their expectations in five critical areas:
- Reliability: Was the service given accurate and consistent?
- Assurance: Did the employees involved create confidence?
- Tangibles: Did employees and surroundings “appear” professional?
- Empathy: Did employees seem to care and give personal attention?
- Responsiveness: Did employees provide speedy customer service?
SERVQUAL is traditionally captured on a seven-point Likert scale – that’s the kind that runs from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.” This will highlight areas of excellence and places to improve.
6. Employee Engagement
Avid Bluleadz readers know about employee engagement: A subjective measure pointing to the motivation and commitment all people need to do their best work.
In general, enterprises with high levels of employee engagement succeed where others don’t. Few other job roles call for high engagement quite like customer service.
When customer service agents aren’t engaged, it shows. They don’t have the energy, focus, or patience to deal with the unpredictable behavior the public can throw at them.
That means fewer problems are corrected the first time. Issues fester longer, and customers lose faith in your ability to deliver the level of quality they want.
But how do you measure employee engagement? It may be the hardest of customer service KPIs to crystallize.
The easiest way is to consistently survey your employees on their level of job satisfaction. Help them stay at the top of their game by providing them with opportunities to improve their skills.
7. Complaint Rate and Complaint Escalation
If the overall volume of complaints is increasing faster than customer growth, it may point to deficiencies in your product or associated documentation. This signals to leadership it's time to make some changes.
Meanwhile, if agents have to escalate issues to managers regularly, they might not have the resources to tackle customer concerns. Look at this data closely so you can pinpoint exactly where your agents might be lacking resources.
What other customer service KPIs do you evaluate? Leave us a comment!