When you offer customer service, your customers are judging you. They’re carefully evaluating your speed of service, quality of service, and ability to resolve their issue. These are just a few of the help desk metrics that you should be watching. The stakes are even higher when businesses are forced to deal with customer complaints.
If you don’t meet their expectations, customers will leave you and maybe badmouth your company to others. It’s a fact of life that there is incredible pressure on businesses to deliver excellent customer service at all times.
You should also be judging your own customer service efforts, using help desk metrics which help you analyze your performance. Choosing the right metrics will enable you to understand where you’re doing well, what’s not going so well and what needs to be improved.
Drilling down into the data and looking at your help desk metrics is the only way that your business can accurately understand its successes in customer service.
What are help desk metrics?
A help desk metric is a performance metric relating to your business’s customer service and support activities. Help desk metrics enable you to track and measure key components of your help desk, ranging from first response times to ticket volume.
You can find out whether your customer support efforts are meeting the needs of your customers and the business, and change your approach accordingly.
Your help desk (or service desk) software should allow you to track common metrics and gain insight into the performance of your team as well as customer trends.
Sometimes people confuse metrics with KPIs, but a metric is slightly different to a KPI – Key Performance Indicators are goals that are tied to a particular metric. Metrics are numbers that feed into your KPIs and they are usually static.
The importance of tracking help desk metrics
It’s crucially important to track help desk metrics as you’ll reap significant business value.
Help desk metrics allow you to improve your business and increase customer loyalty and satisfaction. Metrics allow you to see where performance could be enhanced so you can use them to offer a better service to your customers. They offer genuine insight into the effectiveness of your operations and are an indicator of success.
Service desk metrics help you organize your as they tell you when you’re likely to have spikes in ticket volumes. You can spot trends in the data and use them to predict future ticket volumes. They can tell you when it’s time to hire more agents, or at the very least increase staffing around certain times.
Customer service metrics add more transparency when it comes to the successes of your team. They help you track the effectiveness of individual agents and identify who needs further training or support. High performers can become examples to the rest of your team and you can learn from them when it comes to delivering customer service.
Being faced with metrics makes your employees more accountable for their work. With more accountability comes higher morale and employees who are more motivated to deliver outstanding customer service.
8 help desk performance metrics to track
1. Ticket volume
Ticket volume simply refers to the number of incoming new tickets within a particular time frame. You can use this metric to determine the number of incoming customer support tickets and identify how many agents you will need to handle the volume. If you have a significant spike in support tickets then it might be time to hire more agents.
Without understanding ticket volume, you won’t have a grip on the number of agents you will need to manage the workload.
2. Ticket volume by channel
Ticket volume by channel tracks how many tickets you receive through the different channels that your business offers. For example, are customers more likely to send a support request via email, pick up the phone, or send a message through social media or live chat?
When you understand the number of support requests you get through various channels, you can allocate the right amount of resources to cover them. You can understand the particular channels that customers tend to favor as well as their popularity during different times of the day.
55% of customers have a more favorable view of brands who respond to customer questions and complaints on social media. It’s vital to closely monitor all your channels.
3. First response time
First response time is the time it takes for a customer to receive a first reply from your support team. This is the wait time that your customer experiences after submitting a service request. When you take a long time to respond to customers, this results in a negative perception of your brand and customers are likely to become more irate as they are kept waiting.
Even if you don’t have a way to fix their problem just yet, shortening first response times is a good way to help customers feel like you are acknowledging their problem and you care about their needs.
81% of customers say a quick response to their initial inquiry impacts their choice of company.
4. First contact resolution rate
First contact resolution rate is when a customer’s issue is solved in a single service interaction, or the first time that the customer makes contact with the business. Resolving issues quickly leads to higher customer satisfaction.
First contact resolution rate is an indication of how highly trained your agents are with the ability to solve a customer’s problem in one sitting. A high FCR rate reflects well on your team and is a big factor in outstanding customer service.
28% of customers rate getting an issue resolved in a single interaction as the most important part of good customer service.
5. Tickets solved
Tickets solved tracks the percentage of tickets that are actually solved out of the total volume of tickets your team receives. This metric shows whether your team has enough resources to handle the current volume or whether they are overwhelmed with tickets and need extra help.
It’s important to make a comparison of the number of new tickets against the number of tickets solved to find out whether your team is coping over time. Regularly receiving more tickets than are being resolved in a sign that you’re understaffed.
When the number of tickets coming in exceeds the number your team is able to solve, these unsolved tickets form part of the backlog in your ticket queue. Keeping an eye on the backlog is a way to assess how well your team is handling your customer support requests.
A growing backlog suggests your need to either make your agents more efficient, hire more staff, or invest in self-service technologies so customers can solve problems on their own. A shrinking backlog means your team is doing well to get through a large number of customer queries.
7. Agent satisfaction
Agent satisfaction rates how satisfied agents are with the current working conditions and team. High agent satisfaction has a strong correlation with customer satisfaction and better customer service overall.
When you understand your agents and their motivations, the easier it is to incentivize them to offer exceptional customer support. When agents are happier in their jobs and feeling invested, that positive sentiment carries over to customers. You can use internal surveys to measure your agent satisfaction.
30% of customers said a friendly and knowledgeable representative was the most important aspect of good customer service. Your agents are the frontline of customer support and they should hopefully enjoy their job and find their work meaningful.
8. Customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction ratings, or a customer satisfaction score (CSAT), is a measure of how satisfied a customer is with a particular interaction with your support team. Customer satisfaction score is usually a rating out of five asking the customer how satisfied they were with their experience. You can perform customer satisfaction surveys to measure CSAT.
It’s crucial to keep track of customer sentiment and how they feel your business is performing. Feedback can be captured by sending out an email directly after customers have interacted with your support team.
When customers rate their support interactions highly, you know your customer support team is doing well.
Help desk metrics best practices
Beyond just answering incoming service requests and gathering customer feedback, here are some best practices to better understand your customer support operation.
Implement a self-service knowledge base
When you’re keeping an eye on help desk metrics, one surefire way to keep the numbers down is investing in a self-service knowledge base. A knowledge base can be helpful for agents because it provides them with a resource that they can use in solving problems, and it also assists customers in enabling them to solve simple queries themselves.
A self-service knowledge base lowers overall ticket volume and therefore shortens first response times. It creates more satisfied and loyal customers by providing 24/7 service through self-help content.
Send customer satisfaction surveys
It’s crucial to regularly survey your customers to find out how your business is performing, as well as relying on other help desk metrics. Surveys can uncover problems that you were previously unaware of, such as an under-performing agent or a glitch with the help desk software.
Customer satisfaction surveys allow you to find out whether your business is helping your customers to achieve their goals. It gives you valuable insight into the mindset of your customers and whether your help desk team is meeting the highest standards of customer care.
Automate what you can
You should automate away as many processes in your help desk as you can for more efficient workflows. For example, in Keeping, you can set up workflows which allow you to automate repetitive tasks such as automatically assigning a ticket or applying a tag. Workflows save you valuable time and reduce the need to perform the tasks manually.
You can also use chatbots to categorize and assign new tickets to the correct agent, ensuring customers have an immediate response and eliminating the need for an agent to manually perform the task.
Tools to use for service desk reporting
Keeping is help desk software that sits directly on top of Gmail to create a full-fledged help desk ticketing system. It’s simple to learn without the excessive functionality of weightier help desk tools.
Keeping makes it easy to keep track of key help desk metrics like total support enquiries, average enquiries per day, and average first response time. These metrics are displayed in Keeping’s simple-to-use reports dashboard.
Even more metrics are available in the Advanced Reporting plan, including total new tickets, current open tickets, average new tickets per day, and average response time. Keeping allows you to track the performance of your help desk as whole along with individual agents.
Zoho Analytics gives you actionable insights with help desk analytics and dashboards. You can use it to visually understand your customer support team’s performance with insightful reports that track your key metrics.
The software allows you to follow metrics like number of tickets, backlog, resolved tickets, first call resolution, and average resolution time.
You can monitor agent performance based on parameters such as average response time, customer happiness, ticket traffic, and expertise.
Help Scout is help desk software that comes with handy reporting analytics tools. You can monitor the volume of incoming support tickets during a certain time period, see how busy you’ve been, how your customers contact you and what types of issues come up the most.
Help Scout’s email report tells you how your team is interacting with emails, and enables you to keep track of how your team is performing with regards to time spent responding to email conversations. You can also gain insights into your team’s chat, and phone conversations.
Company and user reports give you awareness of how individual team members are doing with high-level metrics for each person.
Tracking significant help desk metrics allows you to keep on top of your team’s performance and adopt a culture of continuous improvement. Metrics help you stay ahead of customer trends and to allocate resources accordingly.
If you’re tracking metrics like ticket volume and first response time, rising rates will alert you to the fact that you need more agents to help you get through the ticket queue. You can meet the customer demand without being overwhelmed which enables you to continue to deliver a high standard of service – no matter what happens.
It’s impossible to track the right metrics if you’re not using the appropriate software. Consider Keeping’s help desk tool for Gmail which will help you stay on top of all the most important metrics for your customer support team.