Customer Service KPI Metrics: Everything You Need to Know in 2023, Explained

Written by Can Ozdoruk  on   Aug 31, 2022

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are a special set of metrics that help determine whether business is going in the right or wrong direction. At first glance, it seems that customer service KPI scores take a backseat to traditional business KPIs, like profits, costs and regional sales. However, key customer support metrics may paint a more complete picture of success for the long-term viability of a business. 

Jeff Bezos has gone on the record to say that customer obsession is “the first and by far the most important” key to building a successful business. Amazon isn’t alone in this belief: Netflix is one of many other Fortune 500 businesses that believe happy customers are the foundational element of a successful business. So what customer service KPI metrics are worth obsessing over? 

This post will highlight everything you need to know about customer service KPIs, including: 

  • Why are customer service metrics important?
  • What are the most important customer service KPI metrics for teams? 
  • What is a customer service KPI dashboard?
  • Why are top customer service KPIs hard to achieve?
  • How do you improve customer service KPIs? 

Why are customer service KPI metrics important?

Customer service teams have their work cut out for them: the need to optimize margins and cut costs, all while providing a higher level of care that meets the modern customers’ expectations for immediate, personal and effortless support.

It’s now widely understood that for support teams, the stakes have never been higher. People are increasingly making their buying decisions based on the support they receive. Customers will stop doing business with a company after one poor customer support experience. Because of the impact support can have on a company’s bottom and top lines, it’s critical that support leaders are tracking the performance of their support agents, understanding areas for improvement and what’s working, as well as celebrating exceptional performance. To do that, there are specific customer service key performance indicators that need to be monitored on an ongoing basis in order to adjust processes or optimize agent training. 

When you’re tracking the right KPIs, you get an undoctored, objective view of your team’s performance, which increasingly, has an impact on a company’s bottom line. Let’s take a look at what those are now. 

What are the most important KPIs for customer service teams? 

It’s more important than ever for customer service teams to understand how you are performing against your customers’ expectations. There are core KPIs that every customer support team needs to be tracking closely. Some are based on very tangible metrics like resolution time, while others look at your customers’ feelings towards your company and how they perceived an interaction. 

Here are the 15 most important Customer Service KPI Metrics:

1. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

CSAT score is the most popular and straightforward way to measure customer satisfaction. It’s a metric that measures sentiment towards your product, service or a specific interaction. To measure CSAT, you’ll ask a simple question, such as: On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied are you with your recent purchase/support interaction/service? You’ll want to carefully review the interactions for people who responded with low scores to analyze what went wrong to update procedures and responses or conduct additional agent training. 


 Read how we increased WestJet’s CSAT by 24% with AI here 


2. Customer Effort Score (CES)

Minimizing disruption in a person’s life and requiring minimal effort on their part are the cornerstones of good customer service. CES measures how much effort your customer had to put in to resolving a particular issue or answering a specific question. CES depends on a myriad of factors including time spent, total back-and-forth interactions, and the number of times a person has to reach out.

To determine CES, you’ll ask your customers, On a scale from “Very Easy” to “Very Difficult”, how was your experience? If you find that you have a low CES score, identify how to remove obstacles and friction. 

3. Employee Satisfaction Score (ESAT)

Customer service has one of the highest attrition rates of any industry. Measuring employee satisfaction with their job, processes and team can alert you to any issues or attrition risks, and as a result retain your agents (and keep recruiting, training and onboarding costs at bay). Take frequent employee surveys, have 1-on-1 check-ins and encourage open communication to understand your employee satisfaction. 

4. Total Tickets and Tickets Per Customer

The most straightforward KPI for customer service teams is tallying the total number of customers submitting support tickets. In addition to tracking the top-line figure, you’ll want to analyze to identify how volume fluctuates based on times of day, day of the week, or based on seasons. 

You can’t just take the number at face value, though. You need to understand if you are getting more service requests because your product/service is broken or because you are getting more customers. Tracking tickets per customer can help inform resource allocation through the lens of long-term vs. short-term needs.

5. Volume by Channel

Track where your customers are reaching out from in order to optimize staffing and prioritize channels that would benefit most from technologies like automation.

For example, companies generally have been de-prioritizing customer support email as a support channel in favor of social messaging and live chat. In a recent study, we found that customers prefer email support over all other digital channels. By tracking ticket volume per channel, you prioritize and shift resources to where your customers are. 

6. First Response Time (FRT)

Also referred to as First Reply Time, FRT measures how long it takes a company to provide an initial response to a ticket. Valuing a person’s time is the most important thing a company can do with regards to customer service according to 73% of consumers, so decreasing the time it takes to at least acknowledge a person’s request is critical to a person’s overall satisfaction. Across the board, first response time needs to be a key area of focus. Research has found that the average first response time is 12h 10m, but 75% of customers expect it within 5 minutes. It’s important to note that confirmation emails with generic auto-responders skew first response time metrics. If your company uses autoresponders, you may need to define a new KPI that measures “first impactful response time.”


75% of customers expect a response in 5 minutes. The average is 12h 10 min.


7. Average Handle Time (AHT)

Getting back to your customers quickly is one thing, but how long it takes for you to actually resolve an issue is even more important. To calculate AHT, add up the tidal time it takes to close a ticket, from the time your customer initially reached out, hold / wait time, back-and-forth interaction and subsequent tasks, and post-interaction system updates. 

You can minimize AHT by decreasing time your customers are waiting and optimizing each back-and-forth interaction. Using hybrid support models, like human+AI vs. purely human agents can significantly help reduce wasted seconds.

8. First Contact Resolution

You don’t want your customers to have to reach out to you multiple times to resolve a single issue. That’s the recipe for frustration that directly impacts retention. That’s why measuring first contact resolution, or whether or not you resolved an issue in a single chat session, phone call or email response, is a good indicator of how your team is performing. If your customer needs to reach back out or be escalated to another source for support, it does not count as first contact resolution.

To measure First Contact Resolution, ask your agents to check a box or confirm within the agent desk if an issue was resolved at the end of an interaction (you’ll want to audit this on a regular basis), or follow up with your customer and ask if their issue was resolved.

This is a better resolution time measurement than average resolution time (ART). While first contact resolution results in a solution being provided in the initial outreach, average resolution time measures the amount of time it takes to completely close a case. If you are in a service industry where issues escalate or move to other departments, measuring ART takes the true view of your performance out of your hands. 

9. Cost Per Resolution

Let this sink in: 265 billion customer support requests are made every year, costing $1.3 trillion1. Understanding how much it costs to solve a single ticket is critical not only to operating costs and staffing but also serves as a great way to measure the effectiveness and ROI of adopting tools like AI.

To calculate cost per resolution, take your total monthly operating expense (salaries, technology, training, licenses, overhead, office supplies, etc.) and divide it by the total number of tickets. If you have a high cost per ticket, or notice that it is increasing, you’ll need to look for ways to bring efficiency to your group. This could come in the form of new training and employee performance review, a need to review systems used like agent desk platforms or the need to adopt new technologies.

10. Top Topics

In addition to tracking the number of tickets, analyzing the topics and reasons why people are reaching provides opportunities to carefully review processes, responses and policies to ensure a positive customer experience. You’ll also be able to identify opportunities to proactively communicate throughout the customer journey and create ways to surprise customers and catch them before a problem becomes a pain point. 

For instance, if there is a high volume of troubleshooting questions for a particular product after three months, your company could proactively provide steps on how to keep a product working as expected. 


Learn more about Intercom vs. Zendesk if you are looking for a new solution to give your customers a more personalized experience.


11. Consistent Resolutions

Think about whenever you’ve visited In-N-Out. You know you’re going to get great service and your meal is going to taste the same as every time before. Like with their burgers, people also expect consistency when they reach out to a company – no matter the channel, the agent on the other end or time of day.

In fact, In our own consumer research, we found that consistency in a company’s service and experience is one of the most important factors in creating satisfied customers. Striving to provide consistent resolutions is something that is becoming increasingly critical – especially as people are more than eager to loudly share their negative experiences.

To measure consistency, use AI to analyze how agents respond to different people reaching out with the same query and flag discrepancies.

12. Net Promoter Score (NPS) As A Customer Service KPI

Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures loyalty and the probability that someone will recommend your company to other people. NPS looks at overall, long-term brand perception, and is measured by asking a simple question: On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend [company] to a friend/colleague? 

NPS can be an indicator of growth potential for a company because peer recommendations carry so much weight in our society that is social media-obsessed.

13. Customer Retention

You should track the retention rate of your customers who reached out with an issue. Did they come back and buy from you again? Did you manage their issue well enough for it to not rupture your relationship with the customer? This will require integrating into your CRM platform, and making sure all systems (agent desk, eCommerce, etc.) are feeding data in and out of your CRM for a 360-degree customer view.

This is also a key performance indicator for determining overall customer loyalty to your brand, so the implications of good customer retention go beyond repeat purchases.

14. Employee Turnover Rate (ETR)

Employee Turnover Rate is the percentage of employees who leave a company within a certain amount of time. If you run a large support team, make sure you have a close pulse on your ETR so you can address issues head-on. The cost of replacing employees (recruiting, training and onboarding) is huge and any time you have a new agent, there is potential for inconsistency and other metrics to slide. 

15. Top Performing Agents

You’ll want to track and recognize your agents who have the lowest average handle time, highest first contact resolution, solve a large volume of tickets, deliver high CSAT and more. Ensure your agent desk platform allows you to drill down to specific agent performance, including both human and AI-powered virtual agents.

What is a Customer Service KPI Dashboard?

A customer service KPI dashboard is a place where managers can access data in real-time – whether it’s CSAT, resolution time or effort score. Data is presented in graphs or charts and is continuously updated, enabling leaders to understand exactly how their team is performing. Within a dashboard, you can examine how your team is performing over time. And if you make new hires, change policies or procedures, or adopt technology like AI, you can easily see how performance is affected. 

You can create your own dashboard, or access out-of-the-box data platforms from agent desk software like Salesforce, Zendesk, Gladly or Freshdesk, among other customer experience management platforms. 

Why are Top Customer Service KPI Metrics Hard to Achieve? 

Managing a customer support function is harder than ever. There are more channels to support, higher volume and stretched – and stressed – agents. Here are the top 6 challenges impacting support team KPIs:

1. Elevated Customer Expectations

Meeting modern customer expectations is getting harder to do; people expect quick, convenient high-quality resolutions on their terms. People expect more, and although many companies have been trying to improve their support, whether it’s live chat or online wikis and customer self service options, more than 50% of U.S. consumers have not seen any improvement in customer service over the last 12 months. Twenty-three percent have reported that customer service has grown slightly or significantly worse.

2. Conversation Juggling

With the pressure to resolve tickets quicker, agents on digital channels like live chat and social messaging are often carrying on multiple conversations at the same time. This opens the door for distraction and mistakes.

3. Information Silos

In order to fully resolve tickets with personalization and context, agents often have to access information from various back-end systems of record – whether it’s CRM, order management systems, booking systems, knowledge base platforms, or logistics systems. This creates more work for agents that results in wait time and longer resolution times. 

4. Angry Customers

An article in the Los Angeles Times has referred to customer service agents as the “punching bag” on the front lines2.. The article focuses on the airline industry, but I would argue that agents across all industries deal with difficult customers daily. According to the publication, “Agents are subjected to verbal abuse almost daily. It’s a thankless job requiring patience and thick skin.” Agents often bear the brunt when something goes wrong – whether it’s a missing ingredient in a meal-kit, a lost bag, or lost package. 

5. Unavoidable Crises and Ticket Surges

When the COVID-19 pandemic crept across the world, customer service teams were dealing with a surge in volume, evolving policies and new remote work environments. Many companies stopped measuring customer satisfaction during this time as they were simply trying to get back to customers, which often took days. When a crisis hits, it’s hard to maintain the same level of service previously provided, especially when using a human-only team that is affected by new work environments, external pressure and stress, and can’t scale output as volume surges. 

6. Not Measuring the Right Customer Service KPI Goals

While this might sound very basic, you need to have the right systems in place to actually measure the business-critical KPIs before you can look to improve them. If you use multiple engagement platforms, make sure all of the data is analyzed together to provide a true picture of how your support engine is performing.

How Can You Improve Your Customer Service KPI Metrics?

So how can companies actually deliver against customer expectations and turn support into a business driver? There are 3 specific ways that companies can improve their customer service KPIs: 

1. Hire More Human Agents

To decrease resolution time and first response rate, companies can simply hire more agents. However, hiring an army of new agents to work around-the-clock and man all of the traditional and emerging support channels is cost prohibitive for most companies. The average salary for customer service agents is $35,437 in the U.S. [source]. You must also consider costs for human agent desk platforms, overhead costs, paid time off, sick days and more.

2. Outsource Customer Service

Many companies hire outside teams to manage customer service, but while outsourcing your customer support operations is a popular choice to save on costs, you’ll need to keep a close eye on consistency, agent training and CSAT.

3. Bring AI Into The Organization In The Form Of Virtual Agents

Companies are starting to bring AI into their workforce to automate and augment support. The companies that leverage AI-powered virtual assistants are seeing upticks in customer satisfaction and other KPIs.


Are customer satisfaction surveys still relevant? Click to learn more.


Adopting AI can help improve customer service KPIs in two core ways: 

  1. Automate resolutions to repeatable issues:
    AI can respond instantaneously to high-volume, simple queries like order status and return requests. 
  2. Augment human agent work: AI can help agents work faster by gathering data from a customer prior to handoff, or pulling information from other business systems like your CMS and eCommerce platforms. The AI can package up all relevant data to pass along to an agent who can quickly review, make a decision and communicate with the customer.

Give your customers instant answers to up to 85% of customer service issues with our Zoho chatbot.


How Do You Measure AI-powered Virtual Agents Against Your Customer Service KPI Goals For Human Agents?

Seventy-seven percent of executives have already implemented conversational bots for after-sales and customer service3. With more companies turning to AI, it’s important to understand the relevant KPIs for virtual agents.

Whether you’re tracking the performance of human or AI-powered virtual agents, you need to look at the same key metrics. Yes, that’s right. measure AI like you measure your human employees. Track the impact human and virtual agents are having on CSAT, retention rates, how well they collaborate with teammates, how successful they are at cross-selling, and the underlying metrics related to efficiency in closing tickets. This is a new way of measuring the impact of an automated customer service technology platform. Virtual agents are performing human work and need to be measured in the same way. 

Need help improving your overall customer service KPI? Discover how other companies improved their most business-critical customer support KPIs.

References 

  1. https://chatbotslife.com/chatbot-2019-trends-and-stats-with-insider-reports-fb71697deee4 
  2. https://www.latimes.com/travel/story/2019-11-14/airline-customer-service-agents-mistreated-angry-passengers 
  3. https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/pdf-77/accenture-research-conversational-ai-platforms.pdf 

CSAT Score: Everything You Need To Know About Customer Satisfaction Scores (Updated March 2022)

Written by Can Ozdoruk  on   Mar 27, 2022

Every company wants to grow. The easiest way to do that is to keep your existing customers. To retain customers, you need to make them happy. Happy customers turn into long-term and profitable loyalists. And in short, long-term and profitable loyalists go a long way toward improving your CSAT score.

How do companies actually know how happy their customers are with their products, services, and experiences? They measure their customer satisfaction score – or their rating for Customer Satisfaction.

Throughout the entire customer lifecycle, there are many moments that add up to a person’s relationship with and feelings towards a brand. This includes in-store and online shopping experiences, customer care interactions and learning to use a product itself. Without a doubt, every one of these standalone touchpoints are important.

That’s why customer experience and support professionals hyper-focus on customer satisfaction score (CSAT). CSAT measures how well your company is delivering against your customers’ expectations in these independent moments.

In this post, we will dive into everything you have ever wanted to know about your scores. Jump to specific sections or scroll down to read the entire post.

  1. What is CSAT?
  2. Why is CSAT important?
  3. How do you calculate and measure CSAT?
  4. CSAT Scores: How do you use them?
  5. How to improve your CSAT score
  6. Comparing CSAT to other popular consumer metrics
    1. CSAT vs. NPS  
    2. CSAT vs. CES
    3. CSAT vs. DSAT
  7. Benchmarks for CSAT Scores By Industry

What Is a CSAT Score?

CSAT scores are the most popular and straightforward way to measure customer satisfaction. The metric measures sentiment towards your product, service or a specific interaction.

Companies often take a pulse after key milestones in the customer lifecycle. For example, after a first purchase, prior to the renewal or following customer support interactions.

It’s important to realize that CSAT differs from Net Promoter Score (NPS), another popular metric. NPS measures loyalty, the probability that someone will buy again and recommend your company to other people.

So what exactly drives satisfaction?

In short, people are satisfied when their expectations are met. Like many things, expectations are fluid and change based on situational context and stage of the customer journey. For example, if you spring for a first-class ticket on a flight, you are going to expect more personal and proactive service from flight attendants. On the other hand, when you purchase a basic economy seat, you expect attendants to simply ask what you need during their food and drink service. In Economy airline travel, there’s no expectation for a glass of champagne before takeoff.


Circumstances change expectations. When measuring CSAT, it’s important to understand the different circumstances of your individual customers to glean actionable insights.


Why Is CSAT Score Important?

Customer retention is fundamental to a thriving business.

This is because it’s cheaper to keep your current customers than attract new ones. Studies report that 70% of companies say this is true.

CSAT can provide insight into where and when your company is at risk of losing customers. In the same vein, it can uncover opportunities to optimize experiences. If used regularly, it gives businesses a pulse for how your company is performing and helps you understand your customer. Of course, you need to look at and measure the entire journey, not solely flashpoints along the way. It can help you realize where your processes are working and where you need to make changes.

Think about this with customer service. In the last year, 78% of U.S. consumers have stopped doing business with at least 1 company or scrapped a planned purchase based on poor customer service. Moreover, 31% reported doing this multiple times. That is to say, only one instance of poor support can lead to immediate customer attrition. And so, understanding what makes people unsatisfied with customer support can identify a few things. Firstly, where more training needs to be done. Secondly, where there’s an opportunity to be proactive. And lastly, where processes need to change.

Impact of Low Customer Satisfaction: Almost half of the consumers have stopped doing business with at least one company in 2019 due to poor customer service.

In essence, a person’s short-term happiness or unhappiness with your company following their customer interaction is indicative of future spend and lifetime value.

Learn how to automatically resolve customer service inquiries at the industry’s highest rate over messaging, chat, email, and voice with our helpdesk AI solutions.

How Do You Calculate And Measure CSAT Scores?

CSAT is often measured by completing customer satisfaction surveys. Surveys are completed through a brief, single question form asking how a customer feels following their most recent experience. This can be done through an email, chat, phone follow-up question, or through traditional paper or postcard satisfaction surveys. It’s typically immediately following an interaction when the experience is top-of-mind.

Customer satisfaction survey questions often look like the one we offer below: 

How satisfied are you with your recent purchase/support interaction/service?

  • Extremely Satisfied 
  • Somewhat Satisfied 
  • Satisfied 
  • Not Satisfied 
  • Very Dissatisfied 

On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied are you with your recent purchase/support interaction/service?

  • <Very Unsatisfied> 1 2 3 4 5 <Very Satisfied>

To calculate your CSAT, take the number of positive responses (i.e. Extremely and Somewhat Satisfied) and divide by the total number of responses. Then, multiply by 100.

For example, say you gather data from 200 customers. If 160 customers scored satisfaction a 4 or a 5, here’s what you would do.

                     160/200=0.8 (80%)

In this example, the company’s score is 80%.

Additionally, companies will often leave a place for people to add specifics as to why they scored the way they did. This unconstrained feedback in particular can provide invaluable insight into things that can be improved.

How Do You Use Your CSAT Score          

For customers who reported being unsatisfied or dissatisfied, carefully review their entire interaction. You’ll first want to identify what happened. Next, see if there was an opportunity where your company could have been proactive. Finally, determine what information could have provided a more pleasant experience. For example, did someone reach out with questions while setting up your product? Or, is there additional information you could have preemptively provided to ensure a smooth, successful set-up?

For dissatisfied customers, identify ways to court them to try and maintain a positive relationship with them. Can you offer free shipping on their next order if this one was delivered late?

Equally important, you’ll also want to learn from your satisfied customers. What are the key components that led to expectations being met? Did you offer the right tools at the right time? Did you quickly resolve an issue within 2 minutes on social media?

In summary, don’t just look at your percentage. Make sure you dissect the outliers to learn how to exceed customer expectations in the future.

How to improve my CSAT Score?

Customer service is one of the micro-moments that dictate customer loyalty and future spend. As mentioned earlier, one instance of poor service is enough to deter a major portion of your customers to move their business elsewhere. As customer service continues to establish its foothold as a business driver, companies need to meet expectations for customer support. Satisfaction, as you may remember, comes from expectations being met.

 So what do people expect today? In short, quick, convenient resolutions on their channels of choice. For example, in our recent study, we found that: 

  • Nearly Half: Expect not to wait for a resolution
  • 47%: Expect convenience
  • 61%: Expect quick resolution

While that may sound simple, companies are finding it harder to meet these quick-rising demands. And even more, scale personal interactions across customer support email, chat, social and voice channels. In fact, more than 50% of U.S. consumers have not seen any improvement in customer service over the last 12 months.


Improve your customer satisfaction. Discover the best help desk software solutions today.


Another way to improve the results of your surveys? Work on improving the response rates of your surveys. According to research done in 2015 by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, “response rates for paper-based surveys were around 10% and the response rates for e-surveys (web, wap and e-mail) were averaging between 5% and 15% – which can only provide a straw poll of the customers’ opinions.”4

Improve CSAT Score with AI

Bringing AI customer service into the workforce enables companies to automatically resolve over 50% of incoming tickets immediately, within seconds, according to our customers. These repeatable, everyday tickets are not routed to human agents. Instead, agents focus exclusively on more complex and subjective issues. All tickets – the simple and complex – are resolved faster. Logically, bringing speed to support will increase CSAT.

One of our clients, the Canadian airline WestJet, has seen an increase of 24% with its virtual agent Juliet resolving issues immediately on Facebook Messenger. Juliet is helping people understand how they can fly with skis, how much it costs for a checked bag and flight status within seconds. Customers, all-too-often packing last-minute or stuck in traffic to the airport, are thrilled to get their pressing questions answered without a long hold time or desperate website search.

Comparing CSAT to other popular consumer grading measures

CSAT differs from other popular customer service metrics that are used by companies. When companies use all of these metrics together, they will have a very rich understanding of how your customer support organization is functioning and delivering against customer expectations.


Click here for more information on customer support.


CSAT vs. NPS

Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is used as a way to capture customer feedback. It measures loyalty and the probability that someone will recommend your company to other people. 

NPS looks at overall, long-term brand perception, whereas CSAT measures short-term happiness with a specific incident. NPS can be an indicator of growth potential for a company because peer recommendations carry so much weight in our society that is social media-obsessed. Nielsen actually found that “more than eight-in-10 global respondents (83%) say they completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family.1

On NPS surveys, customers are asked a simple question: On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend [company] to a friend/colleague? Your customers will fall into one of these categories: 

  • Promoters are people who rate your company with a score of 9 or 10. Promoters are your enthusiasts and loyalists.

    • Advice for how to treat promoters:
      • Keep these customers happy as they are the ones that will be recommending your brand to their friends and family.
      • Give them referral codes or links that they can send to their friends to let them earn points or discounts for the new business that they bring in.
      • If it makes sense, involve promoters in product research and selection, for instance, a meal kit company could ask them which recipes they’d like to see on the menu.   
  • Passive customers are people who rate your company a 7 or 8.

    • Advice for how to treat passive customers:
      • Push passive customers to promoter status by asking for a feedback survey on what could be improved and acting on what they tell you.
      • Like promoters, companies can also provide passive customers incentives in the form of referral codes or links that they can send to their friends and family to encourage recommendations and endorsements.
             
  • Detractors are customers who rate your company with a score of 0-6.

    • Advice for how to treat detractors:
      • Analyze your interactions with detractors to see if you can identify why they are unsatisfied.
      • Are there any trends that you can identify? If there are particular instances that occurred throughout someone’s life cycle, say consistently late deliveries, technical issues or wrong items delivered? If so, address the issues, apologize and communicate how the company is making changes so issues don’t happen again.
      • It’s important to remember that you’re not going to have a fan in every customer, so you also need to realize when you’re not going to change someone’s mind and walk away.

CSAT vs. CES

Customer Effort Score, or CES, measures how much effort a customer puts into completing a task, including resolving a support ticket, making a return, etc. CES measures a specific instance.

Measuring CES is important because customers expect effortless, convenient experiences. Customers are more likely to churn if the experience is difficult. In fact, research has shown that “96% of customers with a high-effort service interaction become more disloyal compared to just 9% who have a low-effort experience.2” 

You can reduce effort in a variety of ways. Such as minimizing time spent to get a resolution, the number of times a person has to reach out or total back-and-forth interactions.

To determine CES, you’ll ask your customers, On a scale from “Very Easy” to “Very Difficult”, how was your experience? If you find that you have a low CES score, identify how to remove obstacles and friction from the interaction.

CSAT vs. DSAT

The exact opposite of CSAT is Customer dissatisfaction (DSAT). DSAT measures whether your customers are dissatisfied with an experience. Companies often don’t think about DSAT, but it’s important. This is because the damage a dissatisfied customer could have goes well beyond the individual not ever purchasing from you again. People talk to their friends and post on their social media channels about poor experiences. In fact, Americans are telling an average of 15 people about poor service3.

To track DSAT, you’ll analyze the data from the same question in which you ask how satisfied a person is with experience. On a scale from 1-10, your dissatisfied customers are the ones who responded 1-5. Once you identify your dissatisfied customers, you can analyze their entire experience to identify what went wrong and address the issues.

Don’t waste your resources by giving detractors referral codes or links. Because at this point in time, they are not going to recommend your business.

CSAT Score Benchmarks for 2020 

Companies are putting more focus on the customer experience as a part of the usual market research. Benchmarking CSAT scores against industry averages is a good way to see if your efforts are enough. But how do you know what a  good score is?

Benchmarks depend on many factors, primarily your industry. Some industries have notoriously low scores due to the nature of their business. For instance, airlines have a lot of aspects of their service outside of their control, such as weather events and other delays. Even longer lines at TSA security checks can negatively impact a person’s perception of flight experience. The airline, though, had nothing to do with security delays.

The same holds true for your home internet and cable provider. Service might become interrupted by things outside of the company’s control (for instance weather or downed utility lines). In short, customers don’t always look at the full picture, but rather zero in on the company that they are paying.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index has outlined benchmarks by industry. It also looks at how they change year-over-year. According to the organization, breweries have the highest CSAT at 84%. On the other hand, internet service providers and subscription television services have the lowest at 62%.

A few other industry CSAT score benchmarks include: 

  • Personal care and cleaning products: 83% 
  • eCommerce: 81% 
  • Banks: 80% 
  • Internet Travel Services: 79% 
  • Supermarkets: 78% 
  • Apparel: 77% 
  • Hotels: 75% 
  • Airlines: 74% 

To summarize, keeping track of how your score is performing against industry benchmarks is something you should be closely tracking.

While this is not the only way to measure your customer service performance, it does offer valuable insight into an important dimension of your customer support. Before you can improve your support organization, however, you need to know your baseline and set a goal for the next 3 months, 6 months, etc. Create an actionable plan on how you’re going to reach these goals and improve CSAT, such as reducing resolution time, implementing more self-service options, offering proactive support and being available on more channels.

CSAT is a valuable tool. And we can boost it an average of 20% in 6 months. Interested? Let’s chat.

References

  1. Neilsen: https://www.nielsen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2019/04/global-trust-in-advertising-report-sept-2015-1.pdf
  2. Qualtrics.com: https://www.qualtrics.com/experience-management/customer/customer-effort-score/
  3. American Express: https://about.americanexpress.com/press-release/wellactually-americans-say-customer-service-better-ever
  4. Customer Think: https://customerthink.com/customer-satisfaction-survey-response-rates-update/ 

Are KPIs Keeping Your Customer Support Team Down?

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Mar 20, 2019

How AI-powered automation can deliver on a customer support organization’s most critical KPIs

It’s not easy being held accountable to customer support KPIs these days.

Agents are pulled in a million different directions; forced to jump between various systems to answer a single question while interacting with often frustrated customers. They’re having to do so on an increasing number of channels as well: email, chat, social, mobile and so on. It’s no wonder that the turnover rate in customer support is among the highest of any profession. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Meeting modern customer expectations is also getting harder to do; they expect quick, convenient high-quality resolutions on their terms. We live in an on-demand, personal world. Leveraging AI to automate support is a means to get there.

There has been a lot of talk on how AI customer support can be used within a support organization for years, with many organizations wondering how much of it is hype…. What impact can it really have? Will it really make a difference in what’s important to your organization and customers?

When deployed correctly, AI can have an immediate and immense impact on customer service by automating responses to expensive, repeatable tickets (usually about 50% of all tickets) and uplifting agents to do their work more efficiently. The customer support KPIs that AI can improve include:

  • First Response Time (FRT): Customers do not like to wait. It’s pretty astounding how long it takes companies to respond; the average response time is 36 hours over email, while 75% of customers expect it within 5 minutes. Leveraging AI to automate customer service responses, whether it’s providing an instantaneous resolution or acknowledging the customer’s needs and collecting necessary information before a human gets involved lets the customer know that they are being heard. The automation effect is noticeable from day 1: our customer WestJet gets back to customers in less than 1 second.
  • Average handle time (AHT): Getting back to your customers quickly is one thing, but how long it takes for you to actually resolve an issue is even more important. AI-powered automation helps in a few ways:
    • Automating resolutions to repeatable issues: Leverage AI to respond instantaneously to the high-volume, simple queries like order status and inventory checks.  Make sure your AI has the authority to resolve issues by connecting with core business systems. Set rules to minimize business risks like enabling the automation of refunds under a certain dollar amount or free upgrades based on loyalty status.
    • Empowering human agents to work faster: Use AI to gather data from any customer, such as account or order number, and pull information from other business systems like your CMS and OMS. The AI can package up all relevant data to pass along to an agent who can quickly review, make a decision and communicate with the customer.
  • Consistent Resolutions: Leveraging AI in customer support also promises to provide standardized resolutions. There is no human bias, subjectivity or bad days. A bot will review the facts and based on how it has been trained, act consistently every time. If there are any questions or uncertainties, a human agent will always be looped in.
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): According to Forrester, 73% of Americans say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good customer service. In our own consumer research, we found that quality and consistency in a company’s service and experience is key. As discussed in the points above, automation delivers on all of these.
  • Employee Satisfaction Score (ESAT): Automation allows you to give your agents back their time:  the time spent doing mundane tasks is now spent on more fulfilling and high-impact work. Agents no longer have to dig deep to find specific information needed to make a decision from various systems. AI gathers it for them before they even get involved. Agents are empowered with the information to make a quality decision quickly.
  • Cost Savings: The cost benefits of automation fall into two primary buckets:
    • Deflection from human agents:  By automating repeatable tickets, you will see a significant deflection from your call centers of tickets that are never even created.
    • Less agent turnover: With happier and more fulfilled agents, turnover will decrease resulting in savings tied to hiring and training new employees.

For further reading on KPIs, please check out our post on 15 customer service KPI metrics you need to know.

We’ve worked directly with our partners to learn the pain points companies are facing to design an automated solution that is designed to create an immediate, measurable impact. Are you ready to have a customer support organization that delivers on what customers and agents need? Let’s chat

For more information on customer support, click here.