As your company grows, of course, the number of customers you’ll need to serve and delight will increase. Are you prepared to scale your customer support strategies so that no one goes underserved or feels undervalued? Do you know when you’ll need to hire more team members?
The first step to creating a strategy for success is to track the support metrics that give you a clear picture of the efficiency of your team, volume of work, and overall customer satisfaction. We wanted to know how the pros measure the effectiveness of their customer support. The results were these top five customer support metrics you should be tracking.
Discover why these metrics are critical and how to calculate each one below.
1. First Response Time
First Response Time is the number of minutes, hours, or days between when a customer submits a support ticket and when a customer support representative provides an initial response. It indicates how long a customer has to wait before being helped. This metric is also called First Reply Time.
“First reply time is more important than overall reply times because it’s an acknowledgment to the customer that their issue is being looked into.” - Jamie Edwards, COO and Co-founder of Kayako
“Speed is king for the first reply. Contrary to what we would assume, most customers prefer a quick but “ineffective” response over a calculated, delayed answer. Immediate “your inquiry has been received” responses are standard, so wow your customers with a quick, personalized first response.” - Tim Woo, Marketing Director for Framed Data
“At Geckoboard, we have found that timeliness and speed has a direct correlation with satisfaction. A first response perceived as fast, can set you in the right track for a positive first impression.” - Luis Hernandez, VP of Customer Success at Geckoboard
How to calculate First Response Time
Time of first response - time of customer request = (# Minutes/hours/days) First Response Time
View the pros, cons, visualization examples, benchmarks and more for First Response Time here.
2. Ticket Volume
Ticket Volume or Total Tickets tracks all tickets in your support queue over a period of time. A variation of this metric is Total Conversations, which counts all engagement with customers whether through an official support ticket, a tweet, or another social channel.
“One of the simplest but most powerful metrics is a count of every single interaction your team has had with your customers over a given period. Tracking this over time can give you a 360 degree view of support trends.” - Jeff Gardner, Director of Customer Support, Intercom
“Total Conversations helps give you a sense for the entirety of support. Tracking this over time can help understand when to hire someone new for the support team, and to give a macro-level view of support trends.” - Micah Bennett, Support Lead at Zapier
“In some ways, more support tickets can feel good. It means your support network of collection forms, live chat, etc. are accessible and that customers are invested enough to get in touch instead of jump ship. But being that support tickets are direct feedback for instances where your product fell short or was confusing, we should always aim to minimize the number of support tickets.” - Tim Woo, Marketing Director for Framed Data
“Tracking the total number of conversations helps you know whether your company has enough agents to cover demand per channel.” - Jamie Edwards, COO and Co-founder of Kayako
“Overall, the ticket-volume analysis provides a general pulse to the health of your support organization and product.” - Luis Hernandez, VP of Customer Success at Geckoboard
How to calculate Ticket Volume
[ Sum of all (#) tickets ] = (#) Ticket Volume
[ Sum of all (#) conversations ] = (#) Total Conversations
View the pros, cons, visualization examples, benchmarks and more for Ticket Volume here.
3. Conversations Per Teammate
Conversations Per Teammate track the number of customer interactions every support team member has. This is most often tracked on a daily basis (i.e. Conversations Per Teammate Per Day).
“At Intercom, we track the number of conversations that each teammate handles (more traditional customer support operations would call them cases). It’s a great way of showing when and where the team is being overworked and needs backup.” - Jeff Gardner, Director of Customer Support, Intercom
How to calculate Conversations Per Teammate
[ Sum of (#) conversation by specific teammate ] = (#) Conversations Per Teammate
View the pros, cons, visualization examples, benchmarks and more for Conversations Per Teammate here.
4. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) is an indication of customer happiness. It’s usually based on a short survey customers fill out, typically after a conversation or ticket is resolved. This survey can take many different forms, but at its core asks the customer to rate their experience on a scale ranging from good/great to bad.
“When it comes to online interaction, customers certainly aren’t shy about letting their opinions be known, all you have to do is listen and provide them with a means of expressing themselves.” - Amar Zagorica, QA Analyst at randrr
“CSAT is a broad term that covers many question types that all attempt to uncover how satisfied current customers are with the product, or a particular interaction they have just completed. It should be remembered that mildly satisfied or dissatisfied customers are less likely to complete your survey thus skewing the results.” - Charlie Cowan, Sales Director, EMEA at Appirio
“There are many ways to measure customer satisfaction. But making it ubiquitous and extremely lightweight is key to getting a large number of users to respond.” - Jeff Gardner, Director of Customer Support, Intercom
“Conducting customer satisfaction research, such as CSAT surveys, can provide your company the insight to make informed decisions related to the retention and expansion of your customer base.” - Luis Hernandez, VP of Customer Success at Geckoboard
How to calculate Customer Satisfaction
(#) positive responses / (#) total responses X 100 = (%) CSAT
View the pros, cons, visualization examples, benchmarks and more for Customer Satisfaction here
5. Ticket Backlog
Ticket Backlog refers to unresolved customer support requests in a particular time frame. These tickets remain unresolved beyond the typical response time (for your company) either because of team member performance, ticket volume, and/or dependencies and complexities that require additional time.
“Backlog is important because every open case means you have a customer waiting to be satisfied and each case has a ‘holding cost.’” - Marci Reynolds, EVP of Service Delivery and Customer Experience at ACI Worldwide
“While speed isn’t the most important thing in customer service, it does matter. When you’re backlogged with support emails, focus on buying yourself more time by responding rather than resolving.” - Len Markidan, Head of Marketing at GrooveHQ
How to calculate Ticket Backlog
[ sum of unresolved tickets open longer than (#) days ] = (#) Ticket Backlog
View the pros, cons, visualization examples, benchmarks and more for Ticket Backlog here.
Track Customer Support Metrics Live
Improve the effectiveness of your customer support team by tracking these key metrics on a live TV Dashboard. When key metrics are easily visible around your office, your team will be able to monitor situations as they arise and take action immediately.
Here’s an example support dashboard to spark ideas for what you might want to put up for your own team.