Customer service metrics

Customer Service Metrics to Measure Client Satisfaction

by Ian Miller

When it comes to measuring the success of your customer service operation choosing the right set of metrics is essential. By creating a Balanced Scorecard made up of your most important deliverables you will be able to track your clients' satisfaction and report stakeholders’ key success factors.

The Balanced Scorecard was created by Harvard Business School Professor Robert Kaplan and Renaissance Solutions President David Norton and includes financial and non-financial indicators.


The scorecard aims to align key performance indicators (KPIs) with the organization's strategy, keep management informed of business operations, enable communication and understanding of goals at all levels and facilitate feedback and learning.

To get started you need to identify the metrics that are most important to your stakeholders. To do this you will need to understand the goals and objectives of your organization. By keeping these metrics at a high level they will be of interest to senior executives.

At an operational level you may want to create a process map which clearly identifies not only customer touch points, but internal ones to. You will then be able to incorporate your key performance indicators.

Here are some examples of customer service metrics at an operational level in a contact centre.

Average handle time, average talk time, average whole time, agent productivity, rework, number of escalations, agent turnover, schedule adherence, case management time, first call resolution rate or FCR, time to resolution.

Obviously these operational metrics need to be customized for your business. In addition to call centre or contact centre performance measurement, other useful metrics can include number of complaints received, complaint handling time, on-time delivery success, number of damages and returns, number of billing errors.

Do not over focus on measuring quantity when it comes to call time. A mistake that some managers often make is to measure the call 'wrap up' time. It's not always the best policy to keep incoming calls as short as possible. Sometimes long calls build the best customer rapport and result in more loyal customers.

One company that doesn't focus on call time is Zappos. Famous for customer service excellence, Zappos encourages its customers to talk with them, sometimes for hours. The key here is choosing the metrics that are right not just for you, but your clients too.

When creating your metrics take a look at your industry standards. By benchmarking organizations in a similar industry to yours, you will be able to gather additional ideas. For example in the airline industry, key performance indicators may include departure times, lost baggage, and customer satisfaction.

If you really want to keep things simple, take a look at the net promoter score. NPS is quite possibly the ultimate customer service metric as it asks and measures only one question. That question is “how likely are you to recommend us to your friend/colleague?” This is also referred to by some companies as the recommended index.

Be sure to include the human factors, i.e. soft metrics when creating your balanced scorecard. Don't underestimate the importance of people when it comes to performance measurement.

Finally, and probably the most important point of all, always make sure that your customer service metrics are aligned with your customers' needs.