Customer Service Metrics

Customer service metrics help you measure how well your customer service team performs and what improvements may be needed.

Pradeep Vasudev
November 19, 2021
14 min read
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What are customer service metrics?

Customer service metrics measure how well a company meets its customers’ needs. Measuring customer service metrics is crucial for company health. These key performance indicators (KPIs) provide the necessary insight to improve customer loyalty, help customer support teams track whether or not they have happy customers, and ultimately drive more sales. Customer service metrics also determine how well service representatives are doing and if they have the right tools and information to meet customers’ needs.

Why is measuring specific customer service metrics important?

Customer service metrics indicate how well your customer support team is doing. Good customer service is vital for retaining customers and driving sales, and without it, your business will likely suffer. Many companies have not yet made the connection between sales and customer service and, when done well, how it can become a powerful driver of both customer satisfaction and revenue.

Because there's no good way to prove the direct correlation between revenue and customer service, customer service teams are often overlooked. But if you don't measure customer service performance, you may be missing valuable opportunities to learn about your customers and improve your offerings. Customer support metrics can guide your support teams to achieve goals and reach set benchmarks.

Experience metrics vs operational metrics

Several metrics can measure customer service, but they all fall into two categories: experience and operational.

Experience metrics

Experience data provides context for why customers feel the way they do about your company. Customers give you feedback based on their experience with your services. You can use this to show what’s really happening rather than what you assume is happening. You can see the big picture and focus on the areas that need the most improvement. These metrics include:

  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

  • Customer Experience

  • Customer Effort Score (CES)

  • Customer Retention Rate (CRR)

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)

  • Customer churn

  • Number of upsells and cross-sells

  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Operational metrics

Operational data is the measure of your customer service team's performance, including data on the number of new customers, website visits, sales figures, call volumes, etc. The "numbers" data shows how well your support team is solving customers' issues. These metrics include:

  • Total number of tickets

  • Call Abandonment Rate

  • Average Wait Time (AWT)

  • First Contact Resolution Rate (FCR)

  • Average ticket resolution time

  • Average After Call Work Time (ACWT)

  • Average handle time

  • Backlog

  • Preferred communication channel

  • Self-service options

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Top customer service metrics to measure

How you measure customer service is essential to your company’s continuous improvement. These are the top metrics to measure to determine how well your support team is doing, what improvements may need to be made, and whether or not you have satisfied customers.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

Customer satisfaction scores indicate your customer’s overall satisfaction with your service or product. To determine your CSAT score, you can create surveys with predefined scales for customers to rate their experience. Customer satisfaction surveys are a simple way to gather important information. Ensure your survey is short, simple, and easy to understand to get the best results. Surveys that are long or complicated often turn customers away, making it difficult to get valuable feedback. A survey question may ask, “On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with your experience today?”

Focus on key points of the customer journey when creating customer satisfaction surveys. For example, a survey can be used after a customer buys a product, before a customer renews subscriptions, or after speaking with customer service.

Following up with customers who provide low scores can help you understand how to improve customer satisfaction.

Customer Experience

Customers remember their experiences interacting with your staff and using your products more than they remember your advertisements. Customer service is one element of delivering an exceptional experience. Customer experience is every touchpoint across the entire customer journey; across your products, marketing, sales, service, and support. The customer experience rating is an important metric that significantly impacts your satisfaction rates, upselling, and customer retention. Customer experience is built on factors such as:

  • How quickly queries are resolved

  • Reply time

  • The tone of your staff

  • How well your support team understands customer issues

  • How eager your team is to solve customers' problems

Many organizations measure customer service experiences across a variety of touchpoints, such as email, phone calls, social media, web chat, or in-person service at a physical location. You can adjust customer service strategies once you get a sense of customer needs.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

Customer effort score measures the amount of effort a customer has to put in to resolve an issue, complete tasks, or talk to a support agent.

Many companies ask questions at the end of shopping sessions about how easy it was to place an order or complete an exchange. They also ask questions about how an agent helped the customer handle an issue. These questions gauge how easy it is for customers to use your services, navigate your website, or get their issues resolved. The easier it is for them to do those things, the more likely they will return.

Customer Retention Rate (CRR)

Customer retention rate is the percentage of customers a brand has retained over a certain amount of time. The probability of selling to existing customers is 60-70% while selling to new customers is 5-20%. This is why knowing your CRR is so essential.

Customer retention comes from positive customer experience and customer service. Providing predictable, consistent, and quality experiences for your customers will increase your retention rate. Monitoring this customer service metric from your support team’s perspective is crucial because the team plays a significant role in customer experience. Once a purchase has been made, your customer support staff becomes the customer’s contact point.

Retaining customers long-term shows that your business has built trust and loyalty with its customers. A rising retention rate shows that your support team is doing well, while a declining rate indicates that improvements need to be made among your support team.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The NPS measures customer loyalty. This score tells you how likely your customers are to return to your company and how likely they are to promote it. A single question is often used to determine NPS: “On a scale from 1-10, how likely are you to recommend [product/service/company] to someone you know?”

  • Those who answer 9-10 are very satisfied and are likely to recommend you to people they know.

  • Those who answer 7-8 are satisfied but will most likely not recommend you to others.

  • Those who answer 6 or below are not satisfied and may steer people away from your business.

Customer Churn

Customer churn is the opposite of customer retention rate. The focus of customer churn is to look at how many customers you have lost. The biggest issue with customer churn is that it’s challenging to get customers back after they leave for competitors. When a customer leaves, they might even persuade others to avoid your business, depending on their reasons for leaving. Obtaining new customers is more difficult and expensive than retaining old ones, so reducing churn should be a top priority for all companies.

Number of Upsells and Cross-Sells

Sales and support teams are becoming more intertwined. Many businesses expect their support agents to upsell and cross-sell to customers while solving their queries.

Upselling involves convincing your customers to opt for a more expensive version of your product. Upselling works best for customers who need the additional features of the higher-priced product. Customers are unlikely to buy the more expensive version if its features don’t add much value for them. Cross-selling convinces clients to purchase additional products to complement their already purchased product or service.

Higher upselling and cross-selling rates show that your customer support teams are doing a great job at convincing customers to buy additional or higher-priced products. This eventually increases the per customer dollar value. Lower rates show that your support staff may need additional training to understand best selling techniques.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Customer lifetime value measures how much money customers are expected to spend over the course of their relationship with your company. Historic purchase information is used to calculate how much future revenue you can expect from existing customers. CLV is a great way to measure success in customer relationships, as it shows that your offerings are valuable to your customers. Keeping existing customers costs less than acquiring new ones and that’s why increasing value for your customers is so important.

CLV will rise over time if your company continues to meet customer needs. A decline in CLV measurements indicates your company isn’t reaching customer expectations and it’s time to reevaluate your products or services to persuade them to come back.

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Total Number of Tickets

Customer complaints are always bound to happen, no matter the quality of your product. Measuring the total number of queries you receive daily, weekly, and monthly will help you determine when you're getting the most complaints. You may see an increase in queries during certain months. This information helps you create benchmarks for your staff. You can also see how often issues occur, which can help you determine if they can be solved with automated systems.

Measuring ticket volumes may also reveal that you have a high number of queries after product releases or big sales. Having this data can help your team prepare for such instances.

Call Abandonment Rate

Call abandonment rate measures the number of calls answered compared to the number of calls your customer support team receives. A higher rate of answered calls shows that a company can efficiently solve customer issues. A higher rate of missed customer calls indicates a large number of customers with negative experiences and low efficiency among customer support staff.

When customers cannot talk with customer support agents, they are more likely to get frustrated and have a negative opinion of your business. A low rate of answered calls could indicate that you need more support agents to handle incoming calls.

Average Wait Time (AWT)

Average wait time is the average of all the time callers are not speaking with a customer service representative. This includes the time customers spend on hold in a queue, being on hold while waiting for the representative to complete a task, etc. No one likes long hold times so the longer a person is on hold, the more irritated they will become. This not only makes them less likely to return to your company, but also more likely to tell others about their negative experience.

Average wait times can be improved by

  • Optimizing your queue. Ineffective interactive voice response (IVR) is a big issue in customer wait times. Ensure your IVR quickly connects people to the right department. This reduces the time customers spend waiting for representatives who often end up transferring their calls anyway.

  • Changing your workforce management strategy. Representatives who can quickly and effectively handle calls are better at resolving caller issues. This reduces the time customers spend waiting while representatives find solutions to their problems.

  • Hiring more staff. If your current staff is working well enough, it may be time to consider adding new members to the customer service team to keep up with the number of calls they are receiving.

First Contact Resolution Rate (FCR)

First contact resolution, sometimes known as first call resolution rate, refers to how successful the servicer is at resolving a customer’s issues the first time they call. FCR is also good for measuring how satisfied your customers are and how efficient your customer service employees are at solving issues without follow-up. When customers contact your company looking for help with an issue, they expect a resolution by the end of the conversation.

A quick first contact resolution rate can help your team members be more productive. When an issue isn't solved in the first interaction, customers have to call back repeatedly. This takes a lot of time from your team members that they could use for other tasks or to help other customers. Fewer repeat calls means fewer calls overall.

Average Ticket Resolution Time

Average ticket resolution time is the total amount of time it takes the support team to solve an issue once it’s looked up. Customer satisfaction relies heavily on quick resolution time, as customers want simple and smooth support experiences.

Average resolution time indicates how efficient your service staff is. A quick response time is important, but taking too much time to resolve customer issues hurts the customer experience.

If the average resolution time is high, investigate the underlying problem. Common issues are inefficient communication between the service and technical teams or inadequate training on more complex issues.

5 Ways to Improve Customer Response Times — and Your Bottom Line

Average After Call Work Time (ACWT)

ACWT tracks how long it takes customer service agents to complete all of the call-related tasks after the call has ended. This includes inputting data, filing paperwork, updating databases, etc. Understanding how your support staff uses their time is vital for creating efficient workflows. Agents need to spend enough time to thoroughly complete their work but if the average call work time is too high, there may be other issues going on. Maybe there’s too much paperwork or maybe routine work is tedious and could benefit from templates. Discuss with your support team what could be improved to help them quickly complete after-call tasks.

Average Handle Time

Average handle time is the amount of time customers spend with support agents. This includes the total time a customer talks with an agent, wait times, etc. If handle times are high, identify the root cause, then coach agents where needed. For example, if agents are receiving a high number of supervisor escalations, coaching agents on de-escalation tactics may reduce these escalations.

Sometimes handle time is affected by factors that are out of the agent’s control. An example of this would be a digital marketer working on multiple tickets at once. Issues outside of agents’ control should also be considered.

If not used properly, average handle time can be misleading. If your support agents attempt to hang up calls quickly rather than fully resolve issues, average handle time can be harmful. Customers will be dissatisfied if they feel like they're being rushed or their issue isn't properly resolved. It’s crucial to find the right balance between quality and speed.


The backlog refers to the number of customer service requests accumulated over a given amount of time. Every company should strive to keep this number as low as possible. The more tickets in your backlog, the more angry customers you’ll have to deal with.

There are many reasons customer requests remain unsolved. Experiencing a high volume of query requests with too little staff can cause queries to remain unresolved. It’s also possible that your team is taking longer to resolve issues than expected, which may need to be evaluated. You may need to resolve processes to determine if extra training, more time, or extra employees are required to prevent a large backlog.

Preferred Communication Channel

This metric tells you about your customers’ preferences. Customers prefer support from various channels, including phone support, email, live chat, social media, and more. The amount of customers who prefer specific channels depends on the nature of your business. This is why it’s essential to track how your clients contact you and optimize the most-used channels.

It’s easy for companies to implement several communication channels, but ensuring you have the correct number of customer service agents for each channel is key. This prevents customer requests from going unanswered. Channels that are not used as much may be better off closed to help you focus on the channels that matter.

Self-Service Options

Most customers prefer to solve issues independently rather than by speaking with customer service, which is why customer self-service software is helpful. Customers can solve their issues without customer support agents through chatbots, website knowledge bases, and more.

Because customers prefer self-service channels, the more options you provide, the better. This also helps support agents focus on more complex queries instead of answering the same questions multiple times a day. If there are only a few requests each day, you may need to decrease the number of agents.

Tools like Sprinklr Service make it easy to track self-service usage, so you can determine the best ways to optimize these tools and reduce the number of phone or email queries.

New independent study finds customer service organizations can achieve up to 210% ROI with Sprinklr Service

Measuring customer service metrics with Sprinklr Service

Accessing and connecting all the data from across your different contact center point solutions can get complicated — and makes gathering actionable insights difficult for agents and managers throughout your organization.

Sprinklr Service provides a single point of truth for contact center intelligence and analytics, unifying data from across 30+ channels to deliver real-time insights with fully integrated dashboards that help to improve your customer service metrics.

Using Sprinklr's sophisticated AI engine, your organization’s teams can access insights — including your top contact drivers, and predicted CSAT scores — that will empower them to make more informed decisions, discover new opportunities, optimize customer care, and better meet customer expectations at every stage of the resolution journey.

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Find out how Sprinklr helps businesses deliver a premium experience on 13+ channels, using foundational AI so you can listen, route, resolve, and measure — across the customer experience.

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