Important Customer Service KPIs You Should Know


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⏱ Reading Time: 9 minutes

Meeting client expectations is no longer sufficient. The modern consumer expects you to do better. So much so that 82% of clients will look for another service provider because of what they perceive as bad service.

🚀Read Customer Service: A Guide for Successful Business Growth🚀

The emphasis in that sentence, naturally, being on the client’s perception. 54% of clients reported that their service expectations increased between 2019 and 2020. Perceptions vary according to the industry, but not all companies make the grade. According to Statista, customer service ratings of excellent are limited to between 20% and 38%. 


Picture 1. How businesses score on customer service by Statisa

Companies can no longer assume that they’re providing the best possible service. They must, instead, objectively measure their customer service KPIs to see if there’s room for improvement.

In this article, we’ll go through the most important of the customer service KPIs and how to measure them.

KPIs to Measure the Quality of Service

Measuring the quality of service requires a combination of several metrics. As you’ll see,  there’s no one complete metric that covers every eventuality. Using the correct combination and correctly extracting the information may take some skill. The metrics below will give you an excellent place to begin.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

CSAT is one of the most commonly-used customer service KPIs. You ask your client to rate their experience in one or several different areas. It’s a very simple way to gauge past performance, and you’ll recognize it thanks to questions like:

  • How satisfied were you with the consultant’s service?
  • How satisfied are you that your query is correctly resolved?

Firms may use a rating scale of one to ten, smiley faces, or star rating systems as they prefer. They will pose these questions to measure performance across different divisions. They total the answers to find the average satisfaction levels across the board.

Read CSAT: A Guide to Measuring Customer Satisfaction

Picture 2. CSAT survey guide

Why it’s Useful

It’s useful in identifying historical trends. Companies may use it to pinpoint times when service lags during the year. They may also use it to determine when they should overhaul a product or process. The questions themselves may be as specific as you like, and they’re simple for the clients to answer.

Where it Falls Short

While this is the most popular KPI, its value is limited. As it’s a historical measurement, it does not indicate future behavior. It’s best to use this metric as part of your strategy rather than rely on it alone.

To get the best possible results, companies should keep the questionnaires as simple as possible.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The NPS pairs well with the CSAT to provide a picture of how satisfied your client is. Unlike the CSAT, the NPS measures whether or not customers will recommend your business. You’ll ask questions such as:

  • How likely are you to recommend our company to friends or colleagues?
  • How likely are you to encourage your family to use our service?

NPS is a more complex one of the  customer service KPIs. A client might be relatively satisfied with your service in the past, but still have qualms about recommending your company.


Picture 3. Net promoter score

Using the NPS

This metric always uses a rating scale of one to ten, with one being least likely, and ten being most likely. The company categorizes the answers into the following:

  • Nine to Ten Points: Companies consider clients in this category to be promoters. These clients are a valuable asset to the firm as they actively encourage people to use your product or service.
  • Seven to Eight Points: The passive category is where clients don’t have much of an opinion about the firm. They won’t actively criticize your firm, but they won’t promote it either.
  • One to Six Points: The clients represent detractors. They’re likely to disparage your company actively and are the most significant risk to the company.

To get the overall total for these customer service KPI, firms should subtract the number of detractors from the number of promoters.

Read Customer Relations: What Is the Road to Loyal Customers?

Why It’s Useful

It’s an indication of client intent, and it’s not entirely as subjective as the CSAT score. Instead of relying on one particular experience, the consumer rates the company based on all their experiences.

Where it Falls Short

NPS falls short because it doesn’t allow clients to elaborate on their answers. It may be confusing to have a high CSAT score from a passive or detractor. Also, not all detractors are clients, so it’s not necessarily an accurate portrayal of market dissatisfaction with your company.

It is, however, one of the more useful customer service KPIs when paired with others.

Customer Effort Score

The customer effort score measures how easily clients could resolve their queries. You’ll recognize it  with questions such as:

  • How much effort did it take to resolve your query?
  • Rate how quickly your query was resolved

The firm may use a rating scale of one to ten or a simple happy face/ sad face scale instead. Star ratings may also work here. Firms total the answers to obtain an average rating.

Read 10 Essential Customer Experience Metrics

Why It’s Useful

This is one of the newer customer service KPIs. It’s useful because it gives an insight into how effective your query resolution processes are in reality. It allows companies to make real strides in improving protocols and service in general.

Where it Falls Short

It does not indicate the client’s satisfaction with the process. You’re asking them to rate how efficient the session was, rather than the quality of the service they received. It’s more useful when paired with the CSAT or NPS.

First Response Time

The first two metrics rely on clients providing the information that you require. The First Response Time measurement, however, is entirely under your control. You’ll measure how long it takes for your support team to answer:

  • Calls
  • Emails
  • Instant chats
  • Messages on social media

Monitoring these customer service KPIs enables you to measure your team’s performance against client expectations. 77% of customers, for example, expect an immediate answer on instant chat. Failing to meet these expectations reflects negatively on the company.

As service is one of the chief differentiating factors today, firms are beginning to invest more in their support departments. Many opt to hire a third-party operator to ensure that client queries are dealt with professionally.

Firms should ensure that there are sufficient live consultants to answer calls quickly. They should also implement automatic acknowledgements or receipts for queries they receive through other channels.

Finally, firms should use a robust CRM system to ensure that clients’ queries are resolved efficiently. Once your consultants achieve resolution, ask them to rate the service they received.


Picture 4. First response time is entirely under your control

Why It’s Useful

It’s a quantitative metric that is entirely under your control. You may set benchmarks against which to measure performance, rather than relying on subjective measurements.

Where it Falls Short

There’s little input from your clients. The first response time measures one moment and gives little indication of service quality.

Customer Retention Rate

The customer retention rate is another qualitative measurement that forms part of the customer service KPIs. It’s also an essential measurement of customer satisfaction. The higher the churn rate, the higher the levels of customer dissatisfaction.

This could indicate a need to:

  • Overhaul your products or services
  • Monitor customer service levels
  • Perform a careful market analysis on client needs
  • Perform a complete competitor analysis
  • Retrain your sales team

To work out the retention rate, you subtract the number of clients that stopped purchasing from the number of new clients.

Read Customer Retention Strategies Guide

Why It’s Useful

It’s useful as a qualitative assessment. You’ll be able to identify seasonal trends and changes in the product life cycle.

Where it Falls Short

It falls short because it doesn’t provide the reasons why clients left. To improve the results, pair it with an exit interview for clients.

Comprehensive Surveys

The final measurement we’ll consider is not technically a metric at all. It’s more of an extension of the above KPIs. Comprehensive surveys allow clients to elaborate on their answers. Firms often incorporate several of the KPI questions suggested above to obtain more precise insights.

You may, for example, ask them to rate how much effort it took to answer their query. You may further provide them the opportunity to comment on why it was easy or difficult.


Picture 5. Comprehensive survey

Why It’s Useful

It’s a useful tool when you’ve identified an area of dissatisfaction and want to delve deeper into the causes. It’s a combination of open-ended questions and ratings and provides far more information with which companies can work.

Where it Falls Short

It’s one of the most effective tools because of the wealth of information it provides. The downside is that customer effort is significantly higher with surveys. Firms must find a way to get the information they require with the least amount of action from the client.

Companies may need to incentivize clients to answer the survey, and this may prove problematic in itself. Customers may, for example, feel that they must respond positively to win a competition.  Without the correct incentive, however, clients may not think that the effort is worthwhile.

Firms should also take care not to overtax clients with too many long surveys.

Final Notes

Continuous service improvement is a must in today’s market. Clients judge your firm on the service that they receive from everyone else. To perform competitively, companies must monitor these essential KPIs.

Doing so ensures that they’re able to identify dangerous trends in the early stages. It allows them to improve the situation before severe damage ensues.

More importantly, it’s a critical retention strategy. Impeccable service engenders loyalty in clients and improves their lifetime value to the company. By continuously monitoring customer service KPIs and improving service, your firm retains its competitive advantage.

Daria Leshchenko is the CEO and co-founder of Support as a Service company, SupportYourApp. The firm provides a full package of customer support with a focus on the IT industry.

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Important Customer Service KPIs You Should Know was last modified: June 10th, 2021 by Martina Pranjic
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