The essential KPIs for great customer service

A company’s success depends on its customer service. Whether you are promoting your company image, working to earn customer loyalty, prospecting new customers, or personalizing your interactions, the quality of your customer service is critical to your revenue. Since customer service is a strategic component for your company, it must be managed by an exemplary customer service department, whose performance is measured continuously to deliver optimal customer experiences. Why should you use key performance indicators in your customer service ? Which KPIs should you choose? How can you put them in place ? Take a look at the essential KPIs for customer service.

The NPS (Net Promoter Score)

The NPS aims to evaluate and analyze your customers’ level of loyalty and satisfaction, through their ability to recommend your brand, products, or services. The task consists of asking your customers a simple question such as, « Would you recommend this product to a friend ? » and to provide them a response scale of 0 to 10. Your customers will then be defined as « promoters » (ready to recommend your brand), « detractors, » (susceptible to talking negatively about your brand), or « passive » according to the score given.

NPS = [(Number of promoters – Number of detractors) / (Number of people surveyed) X 100]

A positive score means that you have more customers who would recommend your brand than customers who would speak of you negatively—what may be considered an “adequate” score. A score exceeding 50 is considered good or very good, and one which exceeds 70 is excellent. The analysis of NPS and its evolution over time allows your company to capitalize on and earn the loyalty of promoters, anticipate potential risks with detractors, and better engage your passive customers.

The CSAT (customer satisfaction score)

Unlike the Net Promoter Score, the CSAT analyzes short-term customer satisfaction immediately following an interaction. It is an indicator that evaluates in real time, which allows your company to take initiative quickly and oversee customer service in a “live” fashion. It is obtained by asking a simple question such as, “Are you satisfied with your last interaction with our customer service?” The answer to the question can be given in three ways: the customer may answer “yes” or “no,” give his response with a star or smiley, or provide a numerical score on a scale from 1 to 5 or 1 to 10. The calculation of the score is simple:

CSAT = [(Number of positive responses /Total number of responses) X 100].

The CSAT is a strong reporting tool since it is simple, is measured in real time, and allows your company to take action quickly if a customer is unsatisfied. However, this score does not allow your company to understand the “why” behind a customer’s answer or score and therefore know the reasons for potential dissatisfaction.

The CES (Customer Effort Score)

The CES is a KPI also linked to the measure of customer satisfaction and deals with customer perception, by measuring the effort your customers make to interact with your company (buying a product or contacting customer service, for example). The CES consists of asking once again a simple question such as, “How would you evaluate the effort you made to contact our service?” The numerical scale offered would range from 0 to 5 (with 0 being no effort, and 5 being great effort). The weaker the score, the less the customer will feel he has to take difficult steps to contact your customer service, in this example. The CES is inspired by the idea of NPS and can be seen as a complement to the NPS as it is relevant for evaluating the difficulty of necessary customer actions for specific phases of the customer journey (e-commerce payment for a purchase, product information research, contract cancellation…), with the NPS serving as a more overall scale for customer satisfaction.

In addition, other KPIs can be used for your customer service:

  • The ART (average response time), a measure of the time elapsed from the time your customer tries to contact your company—via a contact form, chat, email, instant messaging, social media, or phone—and the moment he is connected with one of your agents for proper service.
  • The AHT (average handling time) analyzes the time your agents spend talking to a customer (wait time + interaction time + post-interaction time for completing a request). This data is accumulated, and the average obtained determines the AHT. This number varies depending on the channel used, but it remains an important KPI for measuring your brand’s reactivity.
  • The FCR (first contact resolution) measures the ability of your customer service department to resolve a customer request during the first interaction, without the customer having to call back or change channels. The FCR allows your company to avoid customer obstacles, such as being transferred from one agent to another and repeating requests multiple times, or changing from one channel to another to get an answer.
  • The CRR (customer retention rate) evaluates your company’s ability to earn customer loyalty during a specific time period. The CRR is also called the loyalty rate. 
  • The churn (attrition) rate measures the rate of lost customers. The attrition rate is therefore the opposite of the retention rate. The sum of these two data sets represents 100% of your customers.
  • The SERVQUAL (customer perception of service quality) measures both service quality and customer satisfaction through 5 criteria including: your brand’s trustworthiness, your brand’s tendency to inspire confidence, tangible material aspects (such as your website design, for example), empathy, and your agents’ listening ability as well as the reactivity of your teams when satisfying customer requests.
  • The abandoned call rate analyzes the proportion of abandoned calls among the total number of calls received. The number is considered acceptable if it is around 5%. These abandoned calls are often due to long wait times or a poorly designed IVR. As for outbound call campaigns, the abandon rate signifies the proportion of calls answered by those who received them but were not properly served by an agent.
  • The service quality rate (or call pickup rate) calculates the number of calls handled during a specified time period by dividing the number of calls handled by the number of inbound calls. It can be useful for analyzing overall customer service or the performance of each agent.


Since many essential KPIs exist for maintaining smoothly functioning customer service, there is another often underestimated but nonetheless essential one to remember: employee engagement. The employee experience echoes the customer experience: an engaged employee will be your best ambassador, allow you to optimize the customer experience, and turn your customers into brand ambassadors as well.


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