In today’s world, business performance needs to be constantly monitored, especially across the three divisions that communicate with end customers: sales, marketing, and support. Fortunately, the performance of these departments is relatively easy to measure. And there are several methods to get meaningful numbers that describe the situation.
If done right, these departments and outsource services or call center outsourcing will have a positive impact on company profits. But how do you know what is right?
As with sales/marketing, you need to evaluate support by metrics and KPIs. If the numbers show that you’re not meeting your goals, you need to adjust your strategy. That said, you can’t measure: without objective data, you can’t improve service, especially in today’s environment of rapidly shifting customer preferences.
We will focus on customer service metrics, customer service KPIs, and customer satisfaction measurements. There is nothing complicated about this. But keep in mind that the key metrics to keep track of depending on the goals of the department or the business as a whole.
Average First Response Time – Average First Response Time (AFRT)
Or “response time.” The metric indicates how long, on average, a customer has to wait before they receive their first response to their support request. Customers are said to be willing to wait if the support is really good. However, observing AFRT ensures that customers get a response in an acceptable amount of time.
- The shorter the response time, the better;
- the response time may be different depending on a number of factors, for example, depending on the category of the client (VIP customer requests can and should be answered faster), on the time of the request (day or night), and so on. And in some Help Desk systems you can set up such “dependencies” yourself
- it is worth setting targets, depending on different factors, and control them;
- if reality is far from the target, set the reasons. It may be, for example, that there are not enough employees on the first line.
Average Reply Time (ART)
Unlike AFRT, this metric is a measure of how quickly your customer issues are resolved.
As with AFRT, the faster you get back to the customer with a final response, the better. Set goals and achieve them;
If the result is negative, find out what’s causing it and take steps to streamline processes.
Total number of requests – Number of Support Tickets
A large number of requests is a twofold metric. On the one hand, it is good when the support team copes with the volume. But on the other hand, a high number of requests can indicate a problem with products or services.
- Fewer requests are for the better. Set a goal of reducing their volume;
- monitor the number of requests per unit of time – keep track of changes in this indicator;
- identify factors that lead to an increase in the number of requests.
Number of Ticket Backlog
As noted above, customers don’t mind waiting as long as their complex problem is actually solved in the end. And, understandably, there are some problems that can’t be solved in a notional 2-3 days. But it’s important to keep an eye on the number (and ideally the percentage, which is possible with SaaS Support software) of such requests and not allow for an imbalance between them and requests that are resolved quickly.
- The fewer such requests, the better. Set appropriate goals;
- Perhaps more support staff needs to be hired to reduce the number of overdue requests?
Percentage of requests closed during the first contact – First Contact Resolution Rate
Customers do not like to repeatedly contact the support team to finally get an answer to their questions. Therefore, the number of requests resolved during the first contact (for example, in a single chat session or phone call) is directly related to customer satisfaction.
Understanding the percentage of requests actually resolved by support staff (of the total number of customer calls) gives insight into individual and team efficiency and productivity.
Average Handle Time
This indicator allows quantifying the effectiveness of daily support work.
- The lower the average handle time, the better. It is worth periodically monitoring this indicator and aim to reduce it over time;
- Identify the factors that increase or decrease the time spent on the request. Make changes to your requisition management processes as needed.
Naturally, there are other metrics and key performance indicators that can provide insight into the level of customer service. It is not necessary to follow all of them. It is necessary to choose several metrics which are crucial exactly for your business (and your customers) and closely monitor their changes.