Top 4 Customer Service Metrics to Follow in 2022
Customer service has always been one of the most important aspects of running a business. No matter what kind of product or service your company offers, stellar customer service is often one of the best ways to stand out from the competition.
With the rise of Amazon, customized suggestions, and 1-hour delivery, consumers have grown to expect to get what they want, right when they want it. According to one study, 50% of consumers in the U.S. reported that COVID-19 increased the importance of customer service for them when choosing a company to do business with. In order to survive in the current market, companies need to deliver excellent customer service. Fortunately, the technology to gather and analyze customer data is improving at a rapid pace as well.
The Changing Landscape of Customer Service
Customer service has gone through many developments in recent years but its importance has only grown. While customer needs have grown in number and complexity, we now have the tools to anticipate these needs with great precision.
In today’s enterprises, customer service permeates the business as a whole. Customer service as a term is becoming obsolete. The focus is now on the customer experience (CX) which encompasses the complete experience that a customer has from the research stage to the conversion stage and beyond.
Providing a great customer experience starts with gathering the right data so that the experience is completely tailored to your customers. Read on to find out the most important customer service metrics for 2022.
Average Handle Time (AHT)
Average Handle Time tells you how long it takes, on average, for an agent to work on each customer interaction. The clock starts running as soon as the customer connects with the business and ends after all after-contact work is completed. It includes time spent on hold or waiting for a response to a text, email, or DM.
How to Measure AHT
AHT is measured by adding up the total talk time, total time waiting or on hold and total follow-up time for an agent in a day and then dividing this number by the number of conversations handled by that agent during the day.
Why AHT Matters
As you might imagine, the longer customers spend interacting with customer service, the more unhappy they generally become. Having a high AHT number overall could be a sign that your business needs to employ more agents or set up better self-service options. An above-average AHT number for one agent might be a sign that the particular agent needs more training.
AHT does not tell the whole story. Because it is calculated as a daily average, there may be times when a particularly complex customer issue skews the average high. And for omnichannel contact centers, there may be certain channels that get more attention than others, and the AHT will not necessarily reveal where the inefficiency lies. Further, a high AHT could mean a long time on hold, a long time conversing with an agent, or a long time spent on follow-up, but you can’t tell which from the number. This leads us to the next important metric.
First Response Time (FRT)
First Response time, also sometimes called First Reply Time, is the time it takes from the first contact that a customer or prospect has with an organization until the time they receive a response from an agent. Automated responses do not count as a first reply.
FRT applies to all communication channels. This means that whether a consumer sends an email, social media DM, text message, or voice message to a company, the time that the company takes to make that initial reply will be tracked and analyzed. A similar metric is first call resolution, which signifies how many of your callers have their issues resolved on the first call.
How to Measure First Response Time
In order to measure FRT, simply track the number of minutes, hours, or days between a received customer question or issue and the first reply from a customer service agent. You can also calculate the average FRT by adding up all of the first response times and then dividing that number by the number of resolved tickets.
Why FRT Matters
The amount of time that a customer or prospect waits for that first reply is crucial. This communication is often the first impression and the only chance a brand will have to establish rapport with a new customer or prospect. Even for a loyal customer, a lag in the first response time will cause frustration and could result in the loss of their business.
Keeping tabs on FRT allows your company to see what channels have the slowest response time so that better systems can be put in place where needed. This ensures that no matter what communication platform your customers use, they get a response quickly. This will broaden your customer base, build trust and increase customer loyalty.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
Customer Effort Score (CES) is a number that represents the average amount of effort a customer puts in to resolve a customer service issue. The individual scores are decided by the customers themselves, usually by way of a customer survey.
How to Measure Customer Effort Score (CES)
Generally, customers will be asked to rate how much effort they had to put in to obtain a resolution to a customer service issue on a numerical scale. The average is then obtained by adding up all of the scores and dividing by the number of responses.
Why CES is Important
Because CES is obtained through surveys, there are some limitations to this metric. You will only get data from people who choose to fill out the survey and the ratings will be somewhat subjective, however, customer effort score is becoming more vital for modern businesses.
CES is one of the few metrics that measure the efficacy of customer self-service, which is becoming more popular. Customers want the option to be able to handle issues themselves and AI-powered self-service tools are becoming more popular and advanced.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
Customer satisfaction remains one of, if not the most important metric for predicting the longevity of a company. Generally, customer satisfaction is measured as an average. As with CES, customers rate their own satisfaction level on a numerical scale.
How to Measure Customer Satisfaction
Most often, customer satisfaction is measured on a scale from 1-3, 1-5, or 1-7. Ideally, customers are asked to rate their satisfaction level within 15 minutes of a communication or transaction with the company. The average is obtained by adding up all the scores and dividing by the number of respondents.
Why Customer Satisfaction Matters
An average customer satisfaction score can give you a benchmark to improve upon. Once you know where you are at, there are many avenues to improve customer satisfaction. UCaaS tools can give you important information about which customers need to be escalated quicker, which would be most likely to enjoy certain promotions and which could become your most loyal customer advocates. This allows for effective customer segmentation and marketing campaigns.
The cost of keeping your existing customers happy is a fraction of the cost of obtaining new customers. Keeping a constant eye on customer satisfaction is the key for this.
In the years ahead, customers will expect nothing less than fast, personalized, excellent customer service. Long hold times, multiple connections to resolve an issue, having to repeat oneself and other customer service aggravations will soon be a thing of the past as consumers refuse to give their business to companies that don’t value their time.
The four customer service metrics above will help you make sure your company is providing the best customer service possible.