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Learn how to measure customer service and get the most out of your data. Ready to start collecting customer feedback? Use a template to create and send a survey in minutes.

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According to our SurveyMonkey 2023 State of CX Report, 90% of consumers say customer service and support are important for the brands they like. 

In fact, more than half (57%) say they’d stop doing business with a company after a poor experience. Scary, right? The good news is that customer service is one channel you can control and measure more easily than others, like social media or word-of-mouth.

And customer service makes a difference. Only 2% say customer service and support aren’t important at all.

So, how can you meet (and even exceed) customer expectations? The first step is to make sure you’re paying attention to the customer service metrics that matter.

In this article, you’ll learn about customer service metrics companies use to evaluate success. You’ll also see customer service rating scale examples that enable reliable data.

When professionals talk about the customer experience (CX), they talk about the entire customer journey, from brand discovery to purchase and beyond. It’s every interaction a customer has with your organization across every channel—and their overall impression of your brand.

Customer service is one piece of the customer experience. It’s how your organization directly supports both prospective and current customers. The goals of a customer service team are to answer customer questions and solve issues quickly, efficiently, and with care.

Organizations use customer experience metrics to proactively track brand loyalty, customer satisfaction, consumer sentiment, and more. Some of these metrics are specific to customer service, which is more reactive versus proactive. 

There are two types of metrics you can use to understand your customer service performance. First, you can collect customer feedback by sending customer satisfaction surveys to customers after they interact with your support team. The feedback you collect is subjective, even if it yields quantifiable data.

The second type of customer service metrics you can track are your input metrics, like how long it takes your service agents to respond to customer requests. These inputs can help you draw conclusions between your objective performance and the feedback you’re getting from customers.

Here are the different types of customer feedback metrics and inputs that customer service teams use to evaluate their performance.

You might know of the Net Promoter Score® (NPS) question: “How likely would you recommend this company to a friend or colleague?” Customers choose a number from 0 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely). Your results show how loyal customers are to your brand.

You can send a Net Promoter Score survey at any point in the customer experience. The NPS question works well in different contexts because it’s usually not tied to one specific event.

When you ask the NPS question in a customer service feedback survey, you’re able to understand how your support may impact customer loyalty to your brand.

When you send a SurveyMonkey survey that includes the NPS question, your score is calculated for you. If you need to calculate your own score, you can use an NPS calculator. Here’s how it works:

  • Customers who choose 0 to 6 are detractors. Their opinions may harm your brand image.
  • Customers who choose 7 or 8 are passives. They’re satisfied but may not stay loyal to your brand.
  • Customers who choose 9 or 10 are promoters. They’re the most satisfied and may recommend you to others.
  • Passives aren’t included in your NPS. Figure out the percentages of promoters and detractors you have from your total number of respondents, then use the formula % of promoters - % of detractors = NPS. 
How to calculate NPS equation
  • Your NPS can range from -100 to +100, and NPS customer service benchmarks differ by industry. For example, the average score for the ecommerce industry is 62, while it’s 4 for internet and software services. See how you compare to others in your industry with Net Promoter Score benchmarks
  • NPS provides a quick snapshot of your team's performance. It’s one number you can easily track over time. If you see the number consistently decreasing, it’s time to dig into the data.
  • Include an open-ended survey question asking customers why they gave you a particular rating. For example, if someone gives you a 6, include the follow-up question: “What changes would this company have to make for you to give it an even higher rating?” You can look at individual responses or use a powerful text analysis tool to quickly understand data trends.
Product satisfaction survey for market research

While you should use NPS to understand your team’s impact on customer loyalty, you need the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) to measure how well your team is supporting customers. (Read more about when to use NPS vs. CSAT.)

There are many different examples of customer satisfaction questions. For a customer service survey, ask a question like: “How satisfied were you with the response time of our customer support team?”

Customer satisfaction survey answers are usually on a scale of 1 (extremely dissatisfied) to 3, 5, or 10 (extremely satisfied). To get your CSAT score, you only consider customers who are satisfied with your customer service.

Calculate CSAT by dividing the number of satisfied customers by the total number of respondents and multiplying by 100. 

CSAT equation

Our research shows that 91% of consumers will likely recommend a company after a positive, low-effort experience. The Customer Effort Score (CES) measures how easy or difficult it is for customers to achieve tasks when interacting with your product or service.

For example, in a Customer Effort Score survey, you could ask: “How easy was it for you to resolve your recent issue with our customer support?” Answer choices can range from “Much easier than I expected” to “Much more difficult than I expected.”

Your resulting CES will be between 0 and 100, which shows the total number of customers who respond positively to the question.

To calculate CES, divide the sum of the responses by the total number of responses and multiply by 100. 

Customer effort score (CES) equation
  • You can calculate your CES for any type of customer service interaction, like phone, email, social media, chat, and in-person support.
  • Why should you care about CES? You can significantly improve your customer service by figuring out exactly what is frustrating customers the most.
  • Just like NPS, the Customer Effort Score is one number. You should track it over time but also make sure you’re collecting open-ended feedback so you can understand why customers gave you the rating they did. Learn more about how to use CES.

Also known as first reply time, first response time (FRT) measures the average time a customer service agent takes to respond to a customer request or ticket.

(Total first response times / Total number of resolved tickets) x 100 = FRT

  • FRT differs by industry, product, and channel. For example, it generally takes organizations longer to respond to emails than a phone call. It can be difficult to understand what’s considered a good FRT. A good place to start is the Customer Service Quality Benchmark Report, which shows the average FRT for 2023 is 4 hours and 42 minutes.
  • Our 2023 State of CX Report shows that 80% of consumers expect a response to customer service requests within one business day.
  • Use automated responses to let customers know you received their request and that you’ll get back to them soon. This doesn’t replace an actual reply, but you can set expectations for how long customers can expect to wait and give them confirmation that their request went through.

Total handling time / Total number of calls = AHT

*Total handling time includes total talk time, total hold time, and after-call work

  • AHT differs by industry, and this Talkdesk 2021 Global Contact Center KPI Benchmarking Report doesn’t include after-call work in their calculation of AHT. But you can get a good idea of industry benchmarks like healthcare (3 minutes, 11 seconds) or retail, ecommerce, and consumer goods (3 minutes, 29 seconds).
  • Remember that AHT is only part of the picture. Although it’s generally better to have a lower AHT, it’s a good idea to benchmark against yourself, too. You may only have service agents working on the most complex cases, while chatbots or AI resolves simpler cases.
  • You can reduce AHT by ensuring your service agents are well-trained and have short, clear scripts to help them solve common issues. It’s also a good idea to create checklists for your service agents so they can be consistent and efficient when responding to tickets.

First contact resolution: This is the percentage of customer service requests and calls that are resolved during the first customer interaction.