Tracking the right customer service KPIs is vital. But modern helpdesk software suites are often guilty of information overload. Among the bewildering morass of data enabling you to track a multitude of customer service metrics, which should you choose?

Tracking the wrong KPIs is inefficient, leads to poor decision-making, and wastes time and budget. Identifying and tracking the right KPIs allows you to focus on what’s important. New CSAT Measures are cropping up all the time. 

We’ve collated the top 7 customer service KPIs you can implement right now. Each is designed to provide the actionable insights you need, without overloading with too much data.

CSAT score: The number 1 customer satisfaction KPI

CSAT score, or customer satisfaction score, is sometimes called the ‘Happy Customer KPI’. CSAT is generally measured using just one key question along these lines:

“How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the product / service that you have received?”

Respondents then select their answers from a scale of choices. The results from multiple respondents are then averaged to calculate a composite customer satisfaction score.

The calculation is usually based on the respondents selecting either #4 (satisfied) or #5 (very satisfied). This is called the ‘top-2-box measure’ as it only considers the top two choices.

The KPI itself is commonly represented as a percentage. A CSAT score of 100% indicates that all customers were satisfied. That’s the optimum goal and there are plenty of clever strategies for improving CSAT score.

Net Promoter Score (NPS): The most well known KPI example

NPS is a measure of how likely it is that your customers will recommend your brand, product or service. Customers are asked what is sometimes called ‘the ultimate question’.

“How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?”

They are prompted to select from a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is ‘very likely’ and 0 is ‘never’. Respondents are categorized as ‘promoters’ if they choose scores of 9 or 10. ‘Passives’ are those who choose 7 or 8 while ‘detractors’ choose from 0 to 6. NPS is determined by subtracting the percentage of ‘detractors’ from the percentage of ‘promoters’. 

Everyone wants to know how to get a better NPS score. Higher positive scores tend to indicate a healthy business with good customer relations. Negative scores indicate poor levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty which should ideally be investigated.

Take a look at our Ultimate guide to Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Customer Effort Score (CES): The KPI for simplicity and ease of use

Is your company easy to do business with? Do you offer a frictionless customer experience? These are high on the priority list for many organizations, and CES is ideal for measuring their progress. 

Calculating CES begins with a simple question about how easy it was to complete an action or use a service, using an answer scale of 1-5 /1-7. Alternatively, customers can score to what extent they agree with a statement about ease of use/effort. The resulting data presents much like the CSAT score detailed above.

In their book, The Effortless Experience, authors Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman and Rick DeLisi argue that the key to customer loyalty is simply ’making things easy’.

According to their research, customer service interactions are nearly 4 times more likely to lead to disloyalty than loyalty. This is because so few interactions are genuinely low effort. They found that 96% of customers who invested high effort to resolve their issues are more disloyal, compared to just 9% of those in low-effort interactions.

The attraction of CES is that it can be deployed in relation to various different customer processes. This can produce a number of different CES scores corresponding to each one. These can be easily averaged out to provide a single score if desired.

First Contact Resolution (FCR): Our top customer support KPI

First Contact Resolution (sometimes called First Call Resolution) measures how efficient customer service calls are dealt with on the very first customer contact.

This is the first of the pure customer support metrics on our list. It’s part of best practice in service desk environments and call centers.

FCR is a great way to determine how fast and efficient your service agents are at resolving issues autonomously. It’s never ideal to need to escalate the customer to another agent or have them call back again. The first contact resolution rate is typically shown as the percentage of contacts/calls resolved on the first call.

Related to FCR is the escalation rate KPI – a measure of the proportion of requests which needed to be escalated beyond first-line support. If this rate is growing it could indicate problems with a product or service. These would need to be investigated and resolved to bring the escalation rate back down.

ART (Average Resolution Time): A close cousin of FCR

The Average Resolution Time (ART) is considered by many to be among the top KPIs for customer service. It is simply a measure of how long, on average, it takes agents to resolve customer issues.

It presents as a time value e.g. 2 minutes and 13 seconds. This risks being meaningless without a benchmark to measure against. Hence some organizations track ‘resolution rate’ which applies the ART against a target resolution time. This presents as a percentage, where 100% is all issues being resolved within an acceptance timeframe.

The time it takes to resolve customer issues is important to customers. They want effective solutions to their problems delivered quickly. But it’s an important internal business KPI too. The longer it takes to resolve customer issues, the more it costs.

Active Issues: A great customer service KPI for technical support

Monitoring the number of active issues logged to your helpdesk system is another useful KPI. If issues are being efficiently resolved on the first call then the number of active (or ‘open’) issues will never be very high.

But if the number of active issues escalates, alarm bells should start ringing. It could indicate that agents are struggling to cope with the volume and need more resources. It could even signal underlying product or service quality issues. In any case, spikes in this KPI would benefit from the additional investigation.

Resolved Issues: A good KPI for team performance

The number of resolved issues, over a specific period, is a valuable KPI that reflects the customer service work carried out by your team. This metric is also very useful when viewed in conjunction with other KPIs.

For example, the number of resolved issues associated with specific service agents can tell you where additional training would be beneficial. Spikes in resolved issues should also be a cause for recognition and reward for individuals and teams. You could even tie this into measurable customer service goals.


Escalation Rate

The escalation rate KPI relates to the first contact resolution metric. It’s a measure of the proportion of customer support requests which needed to be escalated beyond first-line support.

If this rate is seen to be growing it could be an indication that there are problems with a product or service which need to be investigated and resolved in order to avoid the need for escalation.

Hopefully, this succinct list of important KPIs for customer service provides what you need. Use it to hone your monitoring processes, save time and gain valuable insights to continuously improve your customer service.

If you want to improve your customer feedback rates and track important KPIs, Customer Thermometer’s 1-click survey will up your feedback game and give you valuable insights into where your customer service and support can be improved. Create a completely free account to start tracking and improving your customer service teams KPIs.