7 Essential Customer Support KPIs (including some that you haven’t considered)

You’ve probably got goals and objectives coming out your ears. Whether it’s market share and penetration, active users, profit margins, CSAT or NPS — numbers and metrics are essential for evaluating, and achieving, success.

And this is every inch as true for your customer support activities, as it is for other aspects of your business. When armed with Key Performance Indicators, your support staff are empowered, motivated and working together to deliver the best possible Customer Experience.

… but there’s a lot more to customer support KPIs than meets the eye.

In this short guide, we’ll put customer support KPIs under the microscope, giving you the lowdown on some fundamental — and some not-yet-appreciated — Key Performance Indicators. Each of which will keep your business moving in the right direction!

What role can Key Performance Indicators play in customer support?

Put simply, a KPI is a metric or measurement used to track progress across different areas of activity. KPIs play an essential role in a well-structured business plan — keeping not just the business on track, but specific teams and employees focused, too.

For customer support teams in particular:

  • KPIs act as a yardstick to measure performance. Customer Support departments are busy places. This is true whether you’ve got a team of 10, 100, or just one person juggling it all. With so many moving parts, it’s tough to know exactly how well your reps are doing. Tracking specific KPIs can give you an at-a-glance measure — one that’s invaluable for continuous improvement.
  • KPIs help you identify the source of critical issues. With anytime access to support performance metrics, you’ll know which areas are underperforming — using that info to nip issues in the bud.
  • KPIs are good for your customers and your employees. We all need goals to keep us focused, so KPIs help your employees feel like they’re making progress in their career. In addition, meeting KPIs often goes hand-in-hand with great customer experience. So it’s a win, win.

4 fundamental KPIs for your customer support team

It goes without saying that the customer support team is your front-line when it comes to preventing issues and ensuring customer satisfaction. When 70% of a customer’s brand perception depends on how they’ve been treated, you know you need to invest in great CS.

But which metrics should you be tracking, exactly?

Let’s start with the basics...

#1: Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

Of course, the top of the pack when it comes to customer support metrics has to be the Customer Satisfaction Score, or CSAT.

Usually taking the form of a quick survey, the CSAT offers insight about how your customers feel after an interaction, transaction, or experience — on a numeric scale (say, 1-5 or 1-10) based on their satisfaction.

By tracking CSAT as a KPI, you can make sure customer satisfaction stays at a certain level (‘Satisfied’ or above), which brings many benefits of its own.

Better still, though, CSAT scores also flag up disappointments in the customer experience. Knowing is far better than not knowing, and you’ll have some of the knowledge you need to take action.

#2: First Response Time (FRT)

When it comes to great customer support, it’s the little things that matter most — like First Response Time.

FRT refers to the time between a customer submitting their case or ticket, and the support team responding to them. This doesn’t mean resolution, mind you, but simply a response to say, “Thanks, we’ve received your case and we’re working on it”.

This is an essential first step in showing your customers that you care. But a word of warning: it needs to be genuine, too. There’s zero point in boasting a super-speedy FRT, then taking days (or weeks) to reach out.

If that is the case in your business, our next KPI will make it clear...

#3: Customer Retention Rate (a.k.a. churn)

There are few metrics in a business as important as the Customer Retention Rate, also known as churn.

It makes no difference how many new customers you’re onboarding if you’re losing twice that amount each month. To really succeed, your business needs to win new customers and actually retain them — otherwise, new sales are really nothing more than a vanity metric.

Leveraging churn rate as a KPI for your support team is an excellent way to stay focused on your main goal: business growth.  

Plus, for some business types, like SaaS, churn rate is also directly linked to your Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR), meaning poor retention has a hard impact on your company’s bottom line.

#4: Net Promoter Score (NPS)

It’s hard to overstate how much of a holistic impact customer support has on a business.

In fact, you could have the greatest product known to man, but poor customer support could still be its Achilles heel.

If you’re worried about how your customer support setup is impacting the overall experience of your product or service, you can use what’s known as Net Promoter Score, or NPS.

Essentially, NPS is a single question on a scale of 1-10: How likely are you to recommend this product or service to a friend? The results of your NPS survey are then broken down into three buckets from 0 to 10: detractors, passives, and promoters.

The more ‘promoters’ you have, the better! And tracking NPS as a KPI is an excellent way to ensure you’re delivering the product (and customer service) your target audience really wants.

3 more (yet-to-be-appreciated) KPIs to take your customer support to the next level

The KPIs we’ve covered so far will give your business a solid foundation for a great customer support experience.

But what if you want to go further? What if you want to really understand the impact your customer support is having?

For that, we’ve compiled 3 more KPIs — which you might not have considered for your customer support team.  

#1: The ratio of positive vs. negative feedback

“You can’t be everything to everybody” — it’s one of the first lessons we get in building and marketing a business. So some of the negative feedback you receive will simply be from people who weren’t right for your brand, or who didn’t (for whatever reason) get on with your product.

The problem is, those people will still talk.

And they may well do so in a public domain.

In the fickle world of peer reviews, just one bad review can undo the value of 40 good customer experiences. Your customer support team plays a crucial role in keeping this under control.

When met with a disgruntled customer, CS agents have a unique opportunity to stop that buyer becoming a negative review. That’s why the ratio of positive vs. negative feedback is such a crucial KPI.

#2: Month-on-month business growth

In a growing business, founders and owners will keep a close eye on MOM and CMGR — month-on-month and compounding monthly growth rate, for those less au fait with these initialisms.

But have you ever considered these metrics as a measurement of customer support success?

After all, the happier your customers are, the more your business will grow. But there’s a hidden depth to this KPI, as well.

Growth isn’t typically a customer support responsibility. It’s the CEO, founder, or owner who takes the lead. And when growth rates are slow, fingers tend to point to them.

But it’s not that they’re lazy, or that they aren’t trying. They may just be focusing their attention elsewhere — on customer support.

If we flip this on its head, then the stronger your business growth, the more you’re allowing customer support to do their job (while leaders focus on theirs).

#3: Your employee turnover rate

Another big indicator of a company’s health is how fast they’re losing staff. (Although it’s a metric many businesses struggle to confront).

In reality, your employee turnover rate is a real reflection of your customer experience — and it shouldn’t be ignored.

Why? Because overburdened, burnt-out employees don’t give the best customer service. That much is a given.

Engaged employees, on the other hand, actively contribute to business success. So much so, that companies with 50% employee engagement retain more than 80% of their customers.

Employee turnover rate looking a little too high? Get out there and find out why — or risk derailing all the other KPIs we’ve explored today.

Ready to delight customers and unlock real business growth?

At The SaaSy People, we know customer support inside-out and back-to-front.

That means we also know just how time-consuming and resource-dependent running a business without a dedicated CS team can be.

So, if you’re looking to spend less time focused on the KPIs, and more time focused on your business growth, we’re here to help. From day-to-day customer support to user onboarding and managed services, we offer a complete, on-demand, end-to-end outsourced service based in the UK.

Get in touch today and see how Support-as-a-Service could supercharge your business.

Reece Couchman