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Top 14 Customer Service & CX Metrics

Which customer service or CX stat do we need to pay attention to? I’ve been writing about Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Customer Effort Score (CES), and other metrics that should be considered when trying to understand how customers experience the companies and brands they do business with. It’s time to put them together in a list to help you decide which metric is best for you. So, here are 14 customer service and CX metrics you should consider:

  1. Net Promoter Score (NPS): This is one of my favorites and is brought to us by Fred Reichheld of Bain & Company. The simple description of this metric is learning if the experience you delivered to your customers was good enough that they would recommend it to their friends, family members or colleagues. The typical question is: On a scale of 0-10, what is the likelihood you would recommend us to a friend, family member, or colleague?
  2. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): This measures how satisfied the customer is with the product, service, or any other aspect of the customer’s experience. It is typically measured on a scale of 1-5 or 1-10.
  3. Customer Retention: This measures the percentage of customers that return. The flipside is a metric measuring how many don’t return, typically called customer churn. Measuring the percentage of customers returning or not is about customer behavior.
  4. Customer Lifetime Value: In addition to knowing how often your customers come back (Customer Retention), you also want to know how much they spend over their lifetime with you as a customer. Understanding this number can help you make good decisions about how much to spend to retain a customer.
  5. Time Well Spent (TWS): This new metric was introduced to me when I interviewed Aransas Savis, an experience designer at Stone Mantel, for my Amazing Business Radio podcast. This metric is a new look at customer satisfaction, in that it measures if the customer felt their interaction(s) with the company was Time Well Spent. This ties directly into customer satisfaction (CSAT) and a high TWS score will most likely mean a high Net Promoter Score (NPS).
  6. Customer Effort Score (CES): This measurement is used to measure how hard or easy it is to do business with you. Many companies look at CES as part of customer support. My suggestion is to look at all interactions a customer has with you, from learning about your products, buying your products, getting customer support, and more, and then assessing how easy you make it for them to do business with you.
  7. First Call Resolution (FCR): This ties into the Customer Effort Score (CES), as it measures how often a customer gets their problem resolved or their question answered on the first try. Typically, as the name of this metric implies, it is tied to a phone call to customer support. And even if you’re transferring the customer from one rep to the next, if the customer doesn’t have to call back, then it counts as a win so far as an FCR score, but that doesn’t mean the customer is happy with the experience.
  8. First Attempt Resolution (FAR): If First Call Resolution (FCR) had a first cousin, it would be First Attempt Resolution (FAR). With an increase in the quality of self-service support, a company should consider including the concept of resolving the customer’s issue on the first attempt, regardless of the method they use first; a self-service method, which could include an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page on a website, video tutorials, AI-powered chatbots, etc. Or it can be the traditional phone. Whatever method of customer service the customer uses for their first attempt falls under the First Attempt Resolution metric. The goal is obvious: Get it done on the customer’s first try!
  9. Average Handle Time (AHT): Typically, this is measuring how long the customer support agent spends with a customer. Often the company uses it as a measurement of the agent’s productivity. I disagree, and the focus should be on the customer’s happiness, not how fast the agent can get the customer off the phone.  In addition, as digital self-service gets better, the calls agents will receive will be about the complicated issues that AI or self-service couldn’t resolve. The effect will be longer calls. So, if you’re going to use AHT as a metric, be sure to understand what you really want to measure. 
  10. Average Hold Time (AHT): The metric used to measure how long a customer has to wait to talk to someone in customer support or sales is referred to as Average Hold Time. (Don’t confuse this AHT for Average Handle Time, the other AHT.) Obviously, a shorter hold time is better. Our customer experience research found that 61% of customers feel companies don’t value their time when they call customer support. And 47% of customers stopped doing business with a company or brand because of being on hold for too long. Respect your customers’ time. At a minimum, if you’re going to make them wait on hold for a long time, let them know how long the wait will be. Even better, offer the option to have the call returned when it’s their turn. Our research found that 76% of customers who are put on hold want the company to give the option of a call back instead of holding.
  11. Call Abandonment Rate (CAR): If you make your customers wait on hold too long, some of them will hang up. (Can you blame them?) Unfortunately, some will also choose to discontinue doing business with you. Go back to number ten on our list, AHT, and re-read the stats. This makes the case for reducing hold times and giving customers the option of a return call.
  12. Average Wait Time (AWT): This metric is related to Average Hold Time, but it goes beyond hold times on the phone. It’s like being placed on hold, but AWT is used to measure how long a customer has to wait for a return call, email, text, social media post, etc. Also included is how long a customer must wait for a company to respond to or follow up on a support ticket.
  13. Time to Happiness (TWC): This measures how long it takes for an unhappy customer to be happy with the company. It measures the moment they start the process of resolving their complaint to the final interaction which ends in happiness. This journey could include time spent on a website, with a chatbot, on the phone (including holding on the phone) with customer support, or any other interaction the customer has with the company. The goal for a company is to understand their customers’ most common problems and if they can’t eliminate them completely, create the process that creates a fast and frictionless solution. 
  14. The Most Important Measurement – Does the Customer Come Back: I saved this one for last, because it may spark a little controversy. First, is this really the most important? It ties into Customer Retention in that you are measuring actual behavior. Your customers may be willing to recommend you (NPS) and like your product (CSAT), but that doesn’t mean they are coming back. Also, consider the frequency of the customers that return and monitor their behavior. It doesn’t take sophisticated software to measure individual customer behavior and get notified if they break their pattern. And if they do, go into retention mode, which is an outreach that helps you get the customer back, find out why they didn’t come back, and more. One other thought to knowing the customer’s frequency, you also want to understand why they keep coming back. Don’t think a customer is coming back just because you believe you offer a great experience. As an example, some customers may love your low prices, which means when a competitor offers a lower price, the customer moves on. Don’t just measure when they come back. Understand why they come back.

In addition to these 14 ways to measure customer service and CX, there are others to consider. A simple Google search will give you more for consideration. For now, you have a list to start with. And remember what the famous management guru Peter Drucker said: You can’t manage what you don’t measure.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, award-winning keynote speaker, New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, and the Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations. Shep helps his clients create amazing experiences for their customers and employees.

© MMXXIV Shep Hyken || www.Hyken.com

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