Customer service is more than just resolving issues. It is an experience in itself which shapes the brand name.
How do you think companies like Amazon and Zappos know what their customers expect and work with maximum efficiency? It’s the way they use the customer service metrics to their advantage. The insights they derive from the metrics are not limited to checking an agent’s performance or overall customer satisfaction. They use them to create personalized wow experiences for every customer.
Unfortunately, most brands undermine the potential of metrics. But, with customer experience taking the center stage, every brand needs to get its hands dirty with the metrics and extract game changing stats.
If you find the metrics a bit cryptic, here’s a little help on understanding some of the top customer service metrics, their limitations, and how to use the insights to improve your customer service.
1. Average First Response Time
The time taken on an average for a support agent to give the first reply to the customer.
Purpose: The time taken to get back to a customer’s request indicates how the brand treats its customers. A quick first response lets the customer know that their issue is being looked into. In case your team takes hours to reply, it makes your customer feel unheard. This metric influences your customer rating and company score on customer satisfaction.
Limitations: There are two ways to improve the first response time but each comes with a drawback. If you try to reduce the resolution time for your existing agents, there are chances for a hasty or wrong reply from the agent side which affects the quality of response. Another way is to hire extra agents which isn’t economic unless the ticket volume trend is huge throughout the year.
Fix: A helpdesk is an economic option that can be made to send bulk replies in a click thus saving a lot of time. It automates your support process and reduces the number of tickets assigned to the agent. This lets the agent give the first response quickly.
Research says: Extensive automation by helpdesk reduces the resolution rate by a minimum of three times.
2. First Call Resolution (FCR)
The average number of tickets that have been resolved in first response itself.
Purpose: This metric is used to monitor the quality of interaction between your customer and agent. A high FCR means your agents take less number of interactions to close the call which is a good sign. It improves the overall customer experience and keeps the customer happy.
Limitations: It is tough to sustain a good FCR since the complexity of issues vary. Some issues cannot be resolved in one attempt requiring multiple interactions. This frustrates the customer and increases the time taken to resolve issues.
Fix: Self-service tools like knowledge base and chatbot can be implemented to reduce the total number of issues that escalate to support agents. These tools take care of the mundane queries and let the agents focus on more complex issues which require personal assistance.
Research says: Self-service tools like knowledge base and FAQs deflect tickets up to 10%
3. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
The score given by customers at the end of their interaction with support agent.
Purpose: This metric is used to analyze the quality of your customer service. CSAT score in % indicates how your support is doing and whether it needs any improvement in certain aspects. A good CSAT score helps increase your brand reputation and customer loyalty.
Limitations: Customer expectations vary with countries which affect the overall score despite putting your best efforts. Without considering the demographics and factors specific to a region, it is difficult to understand what kind of support is wanted by your customers.
Fix: Get a detailed feedback from your customers as to which areas need improvement. They give more insights than the usual surveys and ratings. This helps you rebuild your support strategy according to your customers.
Research says: Collectivist culture like Asia places higher importance on service whereas individualistic culture like US focus on the product quality.
4. Resolution SLA (Service Level Agreement)
The time limits set by each company within which the customers can expect their issues to get resolved.
Purpose: This metric is necessary to maintain the standard of customer service and establish trust among customers. It is used as a reference to evaluate the agent performance. It’s the maximum time an agent can take to resolve any issue. If the stipulated time exceeds, it is considered a SLA breach and the corresponding agent is given appropriate training.
Limitations: When too much focus is put on resolution SLA, agents try to resolve more number of tickets within less amount of time. This affects the personalization element and the quality of customer interaction.
Fix: Make sure to include CSAT along with SLA to track performance as resolving the issue within SLA need not necessarily mean that the customer is satisfied with the service. This makes sure that the overall customer experience is not compromised.
Research says: Though transportation sector resolves the maximum number of tickets per month, it has the least CSAT of 46%
5. Number of responses to resolution
The number of responses taken by a support agent to resolve a customer’s issue.
Purpose: This metric is also used to evaluate the agent performance based on how many replies the agent takes to complete the customer interaction. Lesser number of replies denote that the agent’s answers are of high accuracy.
Limitations: The agent loses context of the issue when the customer contacts through various support channels for the same issue. This increases the number of responses and the overall resolution time.
Fix: You can combine all your support channels under one roof through a helpdesk software. It provides omni-channel support which converts queries from all channels into tickets. This gives a single path for agents and lets them see the entire ticket history even when the customer contacts from different channels. The number of responses can be reduced thus improving the CSAT score.
Research says: Use of omni-channel support increases CSAT by minimum of 35% across various industries.
With ever-changing trend of customer service, it can be quite tough for the companies to get a hold. These metrics have more insights to give other than their usual purpose and the above research-backed fixes give different approach to the way the customer service metrics are used. They give the opportunity to understand customers and provide an unparalleled customer experience.
The sooner a company capitalizes on their valuable data, the better chance it has against its competitors in terms of customer experience. After all, it’s the metrics that drive every business.
The research facts for this article were taken from the Customer Happiness Benchmark Report 2018.
About the Author
Swaathishree Sridhar creates content for Freshworks. When she’s not mining data for her articles, she creates quotes out of her random thoughts.