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The Ultimate Guide to Customer Support KPIs

  1. What are customer support KPIs?
  2. Why do customer support KPIs matter?
  3. What are the most important customer support KPIs to measure?
  4. How to improve customer support KPIs
  5. 3 Tools that improve customer support KPIs

Providing high-quality customer support is essential for building customer loyalty. When people become brand loyal, they’re more likely to come back and purchase more from your company. More purchases equal higher revenue, which increases profit margins for the business.

So how can you measure your customer support efforts and their impact on brand loyalty? In this guide, we’ll look at some of the best ways to quantify customer support and suggest tips and tricks to help you move the needle towards greater customer loyalty.

What are customer support KPIs?

Customer support KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are quantifiable values used by customer service teams to measure their impact on the business. According to Gartner, larger companies can use upwards of 200 metrics to measure the impact of customer support on the bottom line for the business. However, there is no set amount that’s right for everyone: it all depends on the needs of your company, and what impact satisfied customers have on the future trajectory of your business.

Why do customer support KPIs matter?

Customer support KPIs help you understand the type of relationship you have with your most valuable customers, put into quantifiable numbers. You can use these KPIs for things like predicting the likelihood of customer churn. For example, according to Statista, how a customer perceives the way your company handles support indicates whether they choose to continue purchasing from your brand. And if you have the ability to anticipate a higher surge in customer churn, you may be able to secure more budget to manage new acquisition or optimisation campaigns.

Customer support KPIs also help you justify investments made in customer-centric technology and support services used to create a well-designed customer experience. If you can prove the value earned from your investments, it’s much easier to go to the people in charge of the money to ask for more budget. Then you can scale further and consistently satisfy customers.

What are the most important customer support KPIs to measure?

What are some examples of the most important customer support KPIs your business can measure and use to set customer satisfaction benchmarks? While the exact metrics for your brand may be unique to the nature of your business, these 10 examples are great starting points to help you evaluate the nature of your company’s relationship with your customers.

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Customer satisfaction (CSAT)

Why it matters:

Customer satisfaction (CSAT) is one of the main methods of measuring how your shoppers feel about their experiences with your brand. CSAT can be evaluated in the form of post-purchase surveys, product reviews, mystery shopping scores, delivery timeliness, and many more pieces of data. For a company to remain successful, the goal should always be to maintain or even improve the CSAT.

How it works:

A recent study analysed the impact of customer reviews on future sales prospects. The findings determined that brands with more positive customer reviews were more likely to experience higher sales and greater customer loyalty. Those that had more negative reviews would see fewer sales and less loyalty. These findings make sense: people often do their own research into a product or a brand before considering making a purchase. Reviews from previous customers are the greatest influencers for whether a new shopper should make a purchase or not.

Customer retention

Why it matters:

Customer retention is a highly important metric for almost any type of business. After all, if you can’t retain customers, your business won’t last long. In the e-commerce space, customer retention helps determine overall satisfaction and can influence how you manage working revenue for customer acquisition campaigns. Stronger customer retention rates mean you don’t need to be as aggressive with acquisition strategies, whereas weaker customer retention rates mean you have fewer repeat purchase customers that require more new shoppers to fill the gap.

How it works:

Purchase frequency and average order values (AOVs) indicate that you have satisfied customers who are more willing to engage more with your brand. Companies that successfully increase their AOVs are more likely to have a loyal base of shoppers that become repeat buyers.

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For example, Helly Hansen is one brand that managed to increase AOVs by 25% simply by enhancing their website experience using Conversion Optimisation technology. This tool allowed Helly Hansen to personalise product recommendations and make it easy for customers to get the items they needed.

Customer enquiries

Why it matters:

The more that customers must ask common questions about your products or services, the less likely they’re getting all of the information they need to make an informed purchasing decision. When you track the amount of inbound enquiries coming to your support staff, you can monitor the rate of fluctuation over a fixed period of time. Should the trend move up, you likely have a problem with how you communicate information. If it’s going down, things are moving in the right direction.

How it works:

If you’re in an industry that provides onboarding services as part of a welcome guide to new customers, you can use those programs to minimise the rate of inbound enquiries. Norwegian Block Exchange (NBX) used a Conversational AI Chatbot to refer more customers into onboarding programs that would help them manage their own cryptocurrency accounts. This proved to be successful as it handled 90% of inbound enquiries.

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Response times

Why it matters:

Response times are a huge factor that impacts customer support. According to Forrester, 55% of online shoppers will abandon their purchase if they can’t get fast answers to their questions. The faster you can give people the information they need, the more likely they are to commit to a purchase. In the same Forrester study, 77% of respondents said that valuing their time is one of the best ways companies can demonstrate customer support.

How it works:

Some companies receive many common enquiries from customers in different corners of the world, especially in the travel and hospitality space. It’s important that companies in those industries have the tools to respond as quickly as possible to maintain customer satisfaction.

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Thon Hotels is a great example of a brand that used an AI support chatbot to respond to FAQs immediately and reduce the response time for customers everywhere. They successfully reduced call centre and email enquiries by 30%, giving employees time to focus on more complex enquiries, and handle less repetitive enquiries.

Average conversion rate

Why it matters:

Conversion rates are a calculation of the most important actions you want people to take on your website. This of course includes purchases, but can also be actions like newsletter sign ups, downloads, CTA clicks, and more. The more you can improve your conversion rates, the more likely you are to satisfy your customers and increase the potential for repeat business from that audience.

How it works:

To give a concrete example, Elkjøp is a brand that proved very successful at improving conversion rates and customer satisfaction. Using an automated chatbot, they were able to provide 24/7 real-time support to customers. The chatbot eventually managed over 3,000 conversations per day, and 50% of those conversations were resolved without needing to be passed on to an employee. This helped them produce an 80% user satisfaction rate, while boosting conversions.

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Average time to answer

Why it matters:

People don’t want to be stuck waiting on the phone for service, especially younger buyers. In fact, 75% of millennials admit they avoid calling any customer service line whenever possible. When companies measure the average time for agents to answer inbound calls, they’re hoping to deliver on a promise of fast and efficient customer service.

How it works:

According to HubSpot, the average hold time for customer service is 13 minutes, but most people will get frustrated after waiting for a mere 3 minutes. By using technology like Conversational AI Chatbots or live chat solutions, you give shoppers alternative ways to interact with your brand and get the answers they need. This means fewer people have to wait on hold, which improves the overall experience with your brand.

Abandonment rates

Why it matters:

Abandonment rates (more widely known as 'Call Abandon Rate' in the industry) measure the average amount of time that people are willing to wait on hold before they give up and hang up. This is similar to the previous point: people only wait for so long before they get frustrated. If companies can lower the amount of time that people wait on hold, they provide a better buying experience for the shopper and improve the overall perception of the brand. More satisfied customers increases the odds of earning brand loyalty, affinity, and advocacy.

How it works:

Norwegian Airlines, which fields calls from many people each and every day, invested in Conversational AI technology to help improve call centre experiences that would reduce abandonment rates. By being able to answer frequently asked questions (FAQs) in their Conversational AI Chatbot, Norwegian Airlines lowered their inbound call volume by 5%. Today, one out of five inbound customer enquiries are managed by the chatbot, meaning that customers are helped quickly with their FAQs, and employees can spend time on the more complex enquiries that require the human touch.

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First call resolution (FCR) rates

Why it matters:

First call resolution rates analyse how efficiently companies solve customer problems and answer questions on the first try. If brands force customers to call back again or schedule a follow-up call, it means the support was not as satisfactory as it could have been. Impressive first call resolution rates allow companies to promote themselves as leaders in satisfying customer service.

How it works:

Well-trained and capable support agents can find answers to virtually all inbound enquiries. Investing in the best and the brightest to expand your support team improves your company’s performance in this regard. You can also use Conversational AI Chatbots as support agents since they’re programmed to interpret the meaning behind customer enquiries and provide the best possible solution to the question. This two-pronged approach increases your odds of delivering exceptional customer service without exception.

Average handling time (AHT)

Why it matters:

Referring back to the above HubSpot findings, if people get frustrated waiting on the phone for more than 3 minutes, how long will it take for their frustration to set in while interacting with a support agent if the enquiry isn't quickly resolved? When customers get answers to their questions, they are more satisfied and more willing to buy. In fact, 96% of customers say that quality customer service determines if they remain loyal lifetime customers of a brand.

How it works:

Kahoot! is a game-based online learning platform that’s used by thousands of people worldwide. The size and geographic span of their audience means servicing that many people, in that many time zones, can present a challenge. They invested in a Conversational AI Chatbot (named Robyn!) to provide real-time answers to customer enquiries, meaning that they can handle many FAQs and support enquiries without needing to involve support. They can also use the chatbot to support sales and marketing initiatives, which directly contributes more revenue to the brand.

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Phone etiquette

Why it matters:

Phone etiquette is a weighted quality management metric that agents use to review phone recordings and determine the effectiveness of their teams. Phone etiquette is extremely important, as support agents represent the brand. If their tone is hostile, the shopper’s feelings about the brand as a whole will be soured. That’s why it’s so important to have people who can maintain a sunny disposition on your support team.

How it works:

In the event your team’s phone etiquette is not as effective as it needs to be, you can use Conversational AI Chatbots to help solve the problem. Unlike support agents, chatbots are not spoken to orally, so there is no tone in response to the customer. AI chatbots are programmed to be friendly, engaging, and helpful for shoppers. By encouraging more customers to use the AI chatbot as their go-to resource for support, customers will experience the best that a brand has to offer and avoid experiencing poor phone etiquette that turns them off.

How to improve customer support KPIs

Now that you know which customer support KPIs are important to measure, how can you work towards improving them? We recommend these three methods to move the needle in the right direction.

Method 1: Provide a pleasant greeting

It all begins with an introduction. Customers are automatically put at ease when they receive a warm greeting, and this reassures them about any challenges or hesitations they have about your business. An effective greeting also sets the course for the entire buying journey, as you should be able to pinpoint the shopper’s needs so that you can already formulate personalised product recommendations that directly address their needs.

Method 2: Be a helpful buying guide

As the experts of all things related to your brand, your job is to be the buyer guide to help shoppers find what they need. Elevate your brand to greatness by using conversational marketing to build customer relationships and loyalty. Support them on their purchase decisions, ensure they get the best deal, and provide fast and efficient service to help them close out the purchase.

Method 3: Be available 24/7 on demand

Patience is not something you want to test with your shoppers, especially when it comes to customer service. According to Forrester, 53% of online shoppers will abandon their shopping experience if they can’t get instant answers to their questions. If yours is an e-commerce business, you’re servicing customers who may be shopping on the other side of the world. Make sure you have the tools and the resources available to properly service all customers across every time zone to maximise your CSAT scores.

3 Tools that improve customer support KPIs

Finally, what are some of the tools that you can put to good use in order to improve your customer support KPIs? These are three resources we recommend that help you better service customers and also drive up revenue.

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Tool 1: Conversation AI Chatbot

What it is:

An AI-powered chatbot uses human-like dialogue in order to answer customer questions and guide them on the easiest path toward conversion. Unlike customer service agents, an AI chatbot never sleeps and can provide the same quality of service all day, every day. This is one of the best resources you can use to service shoppers at their convenience so that you convert more website traffic into paying customers.

How it works:

AI chatbots are powered by natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning technology to identify the intent behind customer enquiries. It learns more human-like dialogue as it becomes exposed to shoppers and their frequently asked questions so that it can engage in a helpful conversation resembling a traditional in-store sales representative. Our AI chatbot is fully customisable and can be used for every purpose imaginable - and it doesn’t slow down your site.

Tool 2: Conversion Optimization

What it is:

At Kindly, our conversion optimisation solution is nicknamed Nudge, and we named it that for a reason. Nudge provides shoppers with personalised recommendations that improve the customer experience and increase conversions. Essentially, Nudge is designed to help customers find the specific items they need based on their unique interests and browsing history on the website. This ensures that their shopping experience is fully customised for them, and only for them.

How it works:

Nudge blends unique and helpful pop-up software with personalised product messaging and recommendations. Rather than annoying or cumbersome pop-ups that irritate browsers, Nudge deploys helpful messages, imagery, and product categories based on specific customer behaviours. Nudge is also extremely helpful when upselling or cross-selling items that can enhance the value of a selected product, thereby increasing satisfaction as well as boosting the average order value (AOV).

Tool 3: Cart Abandonment Emails

What it is:

Cart abandonment messages are a great resource to service shoppers who may have left the site prematurely. Cart abandonment messages are deployed using an email marketing solution that encourages customers to return to their abandoned carts. This is a great way to bring shoppers back to your website if they accidentally closed their window or to salvage a lost purchase that can satisfy the individual shopper as well as increase revenue for the brand.

How it works:

Did you know that almost 80% of online shoppers abandon their carts before completing a purchase? Cart abandonment emails help reduce that lost business by reconnecting with those shoppers and guiding them back to the checkout so that they can complete their purchase. Craft personalised messages for those abandoned shoppers and win them back with the incentive they need to complete that final step towards checkout.

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