Three customer service KPIs that actually benefit your customers (and your business)

There’s a saying that the important thing about your key performance indicators (KPIs) and the data-driven insights gained from them is the actions taken as a result. Wait, is that not a saying? It should be.

What good is it knowing your customer service journey inside and out if you don’t use that information to optimize that journey? The key to effective use of customer service KPIs lies in choosing those that provide data-driven insights that truly impact business, and then taking action based on those insights to increase customer satisfaction and ultimately give a boost to the organization’s bottom line. The remaining question, then, is where does one even begin in this jungle of a near infinite number of analytics? A good place would be right here with these three KPIs.

Essential customer service KPI #1: customer effort score (CES)

How hard do your customers have to work to ask for assistance, information or otherwise interact with your brand? If they have to work hard at all, you have a problem because it’s reduced customer effort more than anything else that creates loyalty and keeps customers coming back time and time again. The CES metric helps brands focus on providing an effortless customer service experience – an absolute essential.

Actions to be taken: If your customer effort score is indicating anything other than total ease convenience, there’s one easy solution to look into: automated customer service. By using a chat bot that interacts with customers over a chat interface using a natural, conversational tone, you can have instant customer service right where your customers already are: on major messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and even in their text messages. This eliminates the need for your customers to take the extra steps of going to your website or social media or hunting for contact information, not to mention waiting for a reply. Speaking of which…

Essential customer service KPI #2: response time to first reply

response time

This KPI tracks how long it takes customers to receive a first response to a customer service inquiry. Ensuring customers looking for support receive a reply as quickly as possible is imperative, especially since according to the Interactive Intelligence Group’s Customer Service Experience Survey, when it comes to valuable customer service attributes timely responses rank higher than professionalism, efficiency and first-call resolutions.

Actions to be taken: This is another area where automated solutions like chat bots or virtual assistants are valuable, but human customer service representatives can be valuable as well, so long as quick responses are clearly prioritized within the customer service department of an organization and representatives have been trained accordingly. As customer service solutions provider Nanorep says in their guide to customer service KPIs, this KPI tracks average and median response times across every customer service channel, which means it can identify exactly where a bigger emphasis on speed needs to be placed for increased customer satisfaction and decreased churn.

Essential customer service KPI #3: personal emotional connection

Once upon a time, average handling time – which is how long it took to resolve a customer service issue – was considered one of the top customer service KPIs. Aside from being used to determine where customer service resources are allocated, this KPI is largely irrelevant these days, bumped aside for KPIs that take empathy and meaningful connections into consideration. Personal emotional connection measures whether or not a customer service employee tries to create an emotional connection with the customer.

Actions to be taken: Often customer service representatives will feel pressure to resolve issues as quickly as possible, and while there is merit to an efficient and streamlined approach, this emphasis on being ultra-fast may come at a cost: customers may not feel as though they’re receiving personalized service. Personalized service is essential for creating a relationship between customer and brand, which is essential for inspiring the customer loyalty that results in increased customer lifetime value. Simply using this KPI will help customer service employees feel empowered in spending more time creating meaningful connections with customers and providing personalized service, even if it takes longer, but if personal emotional connection scores are lacking it may help to give customer service reps more leeway when it comes to offering rewards, discounts, special offers and special service to loyal customers who have encountered a pain point or need a bit of support that’s out of the ordinary.

Key performance actions

In this age of endless data and analytics, it can be tempting to track anything and everything to gain the most comprehensive pictures of the customer journey. However, it will have a much bigger impact on your customer’s satisfaction if your organization can hone in on the KPIs that provide the insights that lead to concrete actions that improve customer experience. After all, as someone wise once said, KPIs are only as good as what you do with them.