Define strategies for success

Measuring Customer Service: The KPIs You Need to Keep an Eye On

How can you invest in the sustainable success of your organization with your support? In this article, we show you what strategic course you can set and present the most important KPIs (short for Key Performance Indicators) that you need to keep an eye on for this.

What this post is about

  • Clear strategies are the first step to informative performance measurement
  • Think about what goals you want to achieve - and what that means for the customer journey
  • Determine which KPIs (key performance indicators) reflect your performance well
  • In addition to the numbers, consider what other areas for improvement exist

Good support is not everything. In order to grow as a company and to achieve sustainable customer satisfaction, goals and strategies help. But how do you define these? And how can you tell if you're on the right track? We'll explain it to you step by step - and we'll also look at which relevant metrics are behind such trendy names as Retention Rate or Net Promoter Score.

Step 1: Define Your Support Strategy

Before you can track the right success metrics, you should define which business objective your support is focused on. Or, to put it another way, how is your support team helping you increase your ROI (short for return on investment)?
Three examples of possible objectives would be:

  • Retain users for the long term:
    The primary goal should always be to convince your users to stay through good support. This can be measured through recurring payments in subscription models, or through one-time purchases and longer product cycles.

  • Users pay more / upsales:
    Aim to further qualify users along the customer journey so that they learn about extended use cases and want to access more of your solutions or larger packages.

  • Users drive new users / word of mouth:
    Good support brings referrals within your own network. Set a goal of delighting your users so much that they promote your solutions to acquaintances and colleagues. Word of mouth is the cheapest and most honest way to market.

The more clearly you articulate these possible goals for yourself and coordinate them with your agents (that's what we call support employees), the better your support can contribute to the success of the organization.

Step 2: Plan the Customer Journey

Now you are challenged to set the right impulses at the right points along your customer journey. To do this, define all the goals that are relevant to you and that your agents can support you with, such as:

  • Extend the subscription for a period of X (retain users for the long term)
  • Switch from a monthly subscription to an annual plan (retain users for the long term)
  • Switch from a standard plan to the next level (upsales)
  • Take advantage of additional services complementary to the current product (upsales)
  • Positive mentions in business networks such as LinkedIn or Xing (word of mouth)
  • Writing your own articles about the user experience with your tools (word of mouth)

Now translate your most specific choices into support-specific actions. To do this, use the sentence structure, "If my agents (take an action), our customers will (do something)."

For example, "If my agents respond to each incoming request within two hours, our customers will ..."

  • keep their monthly subscription instead of canceling
  • order more products from the store because we use every contact to further qualify them
  • share their buying experience with their professional network, and that provides new leads

This is how linking your strategic goals with the actions of your support team creates measurable success factors in the next step.

Step 3: Track the Appropriate KPIs

As always, the motto when collecting data is: as little as possible, as much as necessary. Because in the end, it doesn't help anyone if you capture every click but don't evaluate it. So focus on those key performance indicators that will help you analyze your measures defined in "Step 2: Plan the Customer Journey". Because with the right KPIs, you can also immediately see where you need to adjust goals or change strategies.

The choices include:

  • Customer Lifetime Value: How much revenue does a single user generate along their entire customer journey?
  • Cost per Contact: How much does it cost on average to help a user with their support request? How does it look within the different communication channels?
  • Cost per conversation: How many interactions does it take on average to resolve a request? Multiply this value by the cost per contact.
  • Contact rate: Average number of all active users contacting your support.
  • Retention: The percentage of active users compared to the previous month.
  • Support requests to departments: Keep track of which areas in your organization are contacted particularly frequently. Identify areas for improvement!
  • Reported bugs: How many bugs and suggestions for improvement have been received? And what was the cause? Finding the root cause is the first step to a clearer strategy.
  • Customer Satisfaction: How satisfied are your users?
  • Net Promoter Score: Probability that your users will recommend you and your services to others.

All these KPIs can be collected and evaluated with little effort. For example, your smart helpdesk Zammad helps you keep track of the number of open and processed requests at any given time. Compare these numbers with the processing time spent and your user retention.

You can also use the Zammad Reporting. It analyzes various ticket metrics and helps you put them in context so you see every deviation from the target path immediately.

And that's not all: since Zammad release 4.0, you can use Elasticsearch to transfer all data from your ticket history to your own statistics program, such as Grafana or Kibana. This makes the analysis and monitoring possibilities almost endless.

Step 4: Collect More Than Numbers

If you want to evaluate the success of your support, look at the people behind the requests as well. Use every message as a chance to learn more about the needs of your customers, partners, suppliers, and employees. How do they interact with your products, what language do they speak, what do they think about your competition, and how did they become aware of you?

All of this information can indirectly fuel your organization's success if you allow your agents the freedom to query this knowledge and bring it back to the business. In doing so, you turn your support into the best feedback machine.

Summary

The more strategically organized your support is, the more likely it is to contribute to your business goals. So plan precise actions along your users' customer journey that your support agents can use to help you keep customers happy, which will help you keep them longer, earn more from them, or even turn them into brand ambassadors. Direct and indirect KPIs make support a predictable and controllable investment in your organization's success.

  1. Step 1: Define Your Support Strategy
  2. Step 2: Plan the Customer Journey
  3. Step 3: Track the Appropriate KPIs
  4. Step 4: Collect More Than Numbers
  5. Summary
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