Common KPIs That All Customer Service Representatives Should Know
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Breaking Down Performance Metric Acronyms
Raise your hand if, like me, you have a hard time keeping track of acronyms in your head. I usually need a few seconds or a quick Google search to jog my memory when I hear phrases such as ‘CSAT,’ ‘FCR,’ and ‘NPS.’ Sometimes I even need a moment to remember to connect ‘CSR’ to ‘customer service representative’ (hopefully I saved at least one of you opening a new search tab).
That said, ‘KPI’ is an acronym I never have trouble remembering. KPIs, AKA key performance indicators, are always at the front of my mind when I think of how to better improve my own personal productivity and job performance. A key performance indicator, in its most basic form, is a quantifiable metric that we use to measure the quality of our work.
Understanding KPIs not only helps provide us with goals and frameworks for how we can better perform our duties, but they also reveal areas of potential improvement and remind us of the priorities and values of the customers being serviced.
KPIs come in many forms, and if you’re a customer service representative yourself, you may have recognized those acronyms mentioned above. In this blog post, we will dive into the importance of those aforementioned CSR KPIs, along with a couple more, for those looking to level up their customer service skills and stand out among the crowd.
CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score)
Customer Satisfaction Scores or CSATs are used to measure overall customer experience following an interaction with a customer service representative (CSR for those of you paying attention!). CSATs are often considered the most important KPI for customer service representatives to consider, as they can include elements related to other KPIs, such as the ones we will mention below.
CSATs are measured through customer surveys, which are typically distributed immediately after their interaction with a customer service rep. Survey questions vary, but usually focus on variations of the question, “how satisfied are you with this experience?”
As customers ourselves, most of us have been asked to fill out these surveys at one point or another. If you can remember, think back on the last time you filled out a post-interaction survey. What were your incentives for filling out the survey? Were you inspired to do so out of an appreciation for the exemplary service you received or because you were frustrated and disappointed with your experience? These are the questions that customer service representatives should always consider when engaging with a caller.
These surveys are crucial for helping to gauge the interaction. CSATs are very useful for customer support teams to understand the elements of a CSR interaction that customers respond the strongest to, whether it be positive or negative.
FCR (First Call Resolution)
This KPI refers to the number of customer issues and objections that are resolved within a single interaction with a CSR. FCRs are measured by dividing the number of customer cases resolved in one interaction by the number of cases within a set period (day, week, month, etc.).
This KPI is crucial for customer support teams to measure efficiency and can help draw a line between an individual CSR’s performance and issues that affect the entire team or even the organization. FCRs help managers identify problems that multiple CSRs struggle to resolve within a single interaction, as well as CSRs who may have been unprepared to resolve multiple issues within a single interaction. Customer service representatives with a high FCR rate are often well-equipped with a knowledge base that includes directions to resources and solutions for common customer issues.
FCRs are often paired with a complimentary KPI known as FRT, or First Response Time, which measures how quickly a CSR can resolve a customer issue or query.
AHT (Average Handle Time)
AHT measures the average length of time that CSR spends on single customer interactions. Call centers and similar customer service organizations also tend to measure Average Resolution Time or ART.
While commonly used, these KPIs are not the perfect measure of efficiency and performance. A more meaningful connection with a customer may take a little longer than normal. Ultimately, delivering efficient and friendly service are more powerful than stressing that your AHT is 30 seconds longer than usual.
A few significantly longer-than-normal customer interactions may throw off a CSR’s average for either of these KPIs, so we wouldn’t recommend stressing over them too much. An ART average may also be hindered by interactions with customers with speech disorders and disabilities.
CES (Customer Effort Score)
CES measures the ease of use that a customer will rate their experience with a product or service. Relevant to customer service representatives, these surveys are also distributed after a customer interaction with CSR. In these cases, CES is often measured by the ease in which a caller can explain their issue or objection to a customer service representative without the need to repeat themselves or give extra details.
In the context of a customer service interaction, high CES scores are most likely to correlate to the speed at which a CSR can fully understand and resolve a customer objection.
NPS (Net Promoter Score)
NPS is a KPI that measures customer loyalty. While this KPI is similar to CSAT in many ways, it is measured separately because NPS primarily measures how likely a customer is to recommend a business, their products, or services to another person. As customer service interactions are often the only interactions that a customer has with a business, CSR experiences always have the potential to greatly influence how a customer will fill out an NPS survey.
For customer service representatives, keeping track of certain key performance indicators can be helpful for improving certain areas of individual performance and productivity. But KPIs are primarily useful for managers and leaders to uncover common patterns that have emerged throughout the entire team. For example, particularly high or low average CSAT or NPS scores have little to do with individual effort and tend to speak more toward the broader priorities and strategies of an organization as a whole.
So, while often useful for reaching new goals, a singular focus on improving the average of certain KPIs is not necessarily more important than resolving to handle each individual customer interaction with the appropriate, and unique level of care, attention, and time that it demands. The key, as always is to fully understand the balance between efficiency, resourcefulness, and the human connection that serves as the foundation for customer loyalty and satisfaction.