How to Run a Customer Service Metrics Healthcheck

The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and spring is on its way.

There’s no better time to do a little spring cleaning on your metrics.

Below, we walk you through the things you should be checking on at least every year, if not more frequently!

Why do a customer service metrics health check?

“There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.” – Mark Twain

The problem with metrics and statistics is that they are only as reliable and valuable as the data used to create them. If your metrics are calculated on inaccurate or flawed data sources, your results won’t be reliable. If you don’t know where the data is coming from, you can’t trust your metrics. And if you don’t trust the metrics, you can’t make any decisions based on them.

This is what a metrics health check is designed to do. You want to make sure you’re tracking the right thing, and that you’re able to confidently use those metrics to improve the customer service experience. Without taking dedicated time to ensure everything is working as expected, you’ll be left with a mess of numbers on dashboards and reports that don’t mean anything.

When your metrics are in order, you can speak up in meetings with the confidence you know what’s happening in your help desk queues. You can advocate for more staff, schedule agents more efficiently, and run your team more effectively.

If you’re convinced about the merits of a health check, let’s get started.

customer service problem solving

Start with your goals

The most important part of any metrics is that they help you meet your goals. Start by re-establishing your company, department, and team goals. What do you want to accomplish this month, quarter or year?

Common goals you might be working towards are:

  • Reducing customer churn
  • Improving customer happiness
  • Reducing the cost of customer service

Identify the customer service metrics you need to track

From your goals, you can see which metrics you actually need to be tracking. How will you know that you are taking the right steps to meet your goals? The most helpful metrics are just like indicator lights on your car. You’ll know exactly how you’re doing when you are measuring the right things.

Common customer service metrics include:

  • Customer Satisfaction: measured through a survey, customer satisfaction (CSAT) will help you understand how your customers are feeling, and achieve goals around customer happiness and customer retention.
  • Reply Time: measured by how long it takes a customer to get a helpful, human response after sending a message. This metric is key to understanding how quickly your customers are getting help, which if left unchecked can cause frustrated customers to cancel.
  • Customer Effort: measured by a survey, customer effort (CES) will help you understand how easy it is for your customers to get the assistance they need. Studies show that high-effort interactions are a leading cause of customer churn.
  • Resolution Time: measured by how long it takes a customer conversation to be resolved. A high-resolution time may mean there are some issues with your internal processes, or that you’re understaffed, leading to customer unhappiness.
  • SLA adherence: measured by how often your team meets their SLA (service level agreements). If SLA deadlines are getting missed, it means your customers aren’t getting the reply times they expect (and are often contractually obligated to receive), so they are likely to be frustrated.
  • First Contact Resolution: measured by the percentage of tickets that are resolved with the first response from your customer service team. Because it means that customers get a fast, low-effort resolution, it improves customer happiness and also reduces the cost of supporting your customers.

Understand how they are measured

It’s time to dive deep into each of your metrics. Where does that number come from? What does it mean? What inputs are used to calculate it? Is it only certain channels? Is it business hours or calendar hours?

Understanding where your metrics come from is key to understanding how to impact them. You might just find that what you *thought* your data meant, wasn’t actually accurate at all. This happens the most often when you’re relying on custom metrics created by previous employees (or your own past self!). Why did that tag get added? How did we set up our business hours before? All of these are great questions to ask when diving into your metrics.

Find any outliers

Check your data to make sure it’s distributed in a way that makes sense to measure as an average. For example, if you have a couple of data points that are extremely skewed, your average won’t be representative of your team’s work, meaning that you can’t key into what needs to be changed.

This might look like:

  • Fraud tickets are automatically closed, setting the resolution time to zero minutes. A possible solution would be to filter out tickets labeled “fraud” from the calculation.
  • A couple of tickets got filed incorrectly and didn’t receive a response for 3 weeks. (oops! It happens!). You may need to remove these from your calculations in order to see your overall response rate trends.
  • Your team sorts tickets from different languages into different queues. Spanish tickets receive a much faster response than English tickets. Instead of measuring the overall response time, in this case, it makes more sense to track it by language.

Make them easily shareable

Tracking metrics helps everyone in your organization know how you’re doing. But… only if they actually can see them. Does everyone who needs it have access to the data? Can they easily review the data when they need to?

  • Check who has access to reporting systems and clean up any logins that need updating.
  • Create dashboards that are easy to review at a glance. Delete any reports that aren’t accurate or you don’t regularly look into.
  • Schedule reports to be sent weekly/monthly to anyone who needs to see them.
  • Post dashboards where they are visible to everyone, either in your online employee portal, a screen in the office, or as a printout in the bathroom stalls.

Time for a deep dive into your customer service KPIs

If you’ve just been chugging along, monitoring the same old metrics, this is your sign: it’s time to make a change! At the very least, it’s time to amake sure you have a clear understanding of why you’re tracking the metrics you are. Are they serving their purpose? Are they accurate? And can your organization use them to make a better customer experience?

Your spring cleaning customer service metrics health check can have a big impact on your success! It’s time to dive in.


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Sarah Chambers Sarah Chambers

Sarah Chambers is a Customer Support Consultant and Content Creator from Vancouver, Canada. When she’s not arguing about customer service, she’s usually outdoors rock climbing or snowboarding. Follow her on Twitter @sarahleeyoga to keep up with her adventures.

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