The Ultimate Guide to Customer Support Metrics

customer support metrics

When it comes to customer support, the ability to experiment, tweak, and improve your service is a huge part of making your customers’ experience great.

In order to see what impact any changes you make to your support processes have, you need to be able to observe trends, set goals, and measure the results.

We have put together a list of key customer service metrics, so you can be sure that your support team is doing the best it can to help your customers.

On this page you can see a complete list of all the customer support metrics that matter, and why.

You can also download our free cheat sheet with details of how to calculate each of these metrics.

Navigate this guide:

the ultimate guide to customer support metrics cheat sheet

Customer support productivity metrics

Use these metrics to see if any further training is needed to keep your customer support team from repeating the same problems over and over.

Download the free Ultimate Guide to Customer Service Metrics Cheat Sheet for how to measure customer support productivity metrics.

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Average reply time

What is average reply time?

This metric lets you see how long it takes your support team to get back to a customer.

Why should you measure average reply time?

Knowing how long it’s taking to reply to customers and resolve their cases can be an indicator of whether you have enough staff to manage demand.

Recommended read: 14 Steps to Create the Perfect Live Chat Customer Experience

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Average first reply time

What is average first reply time?

This metric shows how long it it takes for your support team to get back to a customer’s first request.

Why should you measure average first reply time?

First reply time is more important than overall reply times because it’s an acknowledgment to the customer that their issue is being looked into.

It also indicates how quickly your team is addressing new tickets, and helps you see if you have enough team members to deal with volume.

Different channels have different expectations for first reply time, but in general a high first reply time means that customers may channel switch because they aren’t sure if you’ve received their message or are working on their case.

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Average resolution time

What is average resolution time?

This metric looks at how long it takes from a case being opened to being closed.

Why should you measure average resolution time?

Short average resolution time shows managers that their team is working fast and efficiently.

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Average number of replies per case

What is average number of replies per case?

This metric shows how many replies it takes for the customer to have their issue resolved.

Why should you measure average number of replies per case?

This metric, along with average resolution time, can show how effective your team is, and indicates how much effort your customers have to put in to get their issue resolved.

A high average number indicates the queries are probably not going to the right person straight away, and indicates a high effort customer experience.

Customers usually don’t want to waste time going back and forth – they expect the agent to solve their issue quickly.

A high number of replies could also mean the agents aren’t properly digging, or are giving incorrect responses that means customers have to get in contact again.

Recommended read: Use Your Average Number of Replies to Improve Your Support

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Average handle time (AHT)

What is average handle time?

This is the total average duration of a single interaction, including hold time, talk time and the follow-up or related admin tasks. Also relates to chats and tickets.

Why should you measure average handle time?

A long average handle time will show areas consistently causing problems and highlights which queries are costing your team the most time.

It also helps forecast hiring needs – if you know your AHT and the number of tickets you receive, you can work out how many hours it will take to answer them.

Recommended read: Why Average Handle Time Is a Terrible Metric

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Customer support performance metrics

These metrics let you see how well your support team is performing by the quantity of cases, replies, and escalations they go through.

Download the Ultimate Guide to Customer Service Metrics Cheat Sheet for how to measure customer support performance metrics.

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Number of conversations

What is number of conversations?

This metric looks at the total number of times your customers interact with your support team across any channel that you support.

Why should you measure number of conversations?

Total conversations extend further than just your support tickets.

For example, if you have an email thread with one customer, a chat with a second and a Twitter conversation with a third, that’s three conversations.

Tracking the total number of conversations helps you know whether your company has enough agents to cover demand per channel.

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Number of customer replies

What is number of customer replies?

This is the total number of replies customers send in their entire case, from start to resolution.

Why should you measure number of customer replies?

This helps you see how much effort your customers need to put in in order to get their issue resolved.

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Next issue avoidance

What is next issue avoidance?

This metric looks at how many customers have more than one issue in a given time frame (often looked at over a week or a month).

Why should you measure next issue avoidance?

This shows if your customer agents are thinking proactively and anticipating future questions that the customer might have, so customers do not have to come back and open a new query.

It’s a good balance to FCR – while you (and your metrics) might think you’ve solved an issue in one contact, the customer doesn’t feel that way because they had to contact you again.

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Customer churn

What is customer churn?

This is the proportion of customers who stop using your service or product in a certain time frame.

Why should you measure customer churn?

This metric tells you how many customers no longer use your product or service. It helps identify whether you’re retaining enough customers in order sustain growth.

You can look at the details and see what is causing churn. For example, are customers churning at a specific time? What size accounts are more likely to churn? Are there patterns that lead to churn?

Recommended read: Reduce Churn and Win New Customers with Powerful or Flawless Onboarding

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Percentage of escalations

What is percentage of escalations?

This metric looks at the number of cases which need to be taken to senior levels of management in order to be resolved.

This can also mean cases that have not been replied to within timeframes set by SLAs.

Why should you measure percentage of escalations?

This helps you measure how often your customers are experiencing pain – if you’re not escalating a lot of cases it means your agents are empowered or trained to provide an effortless experience to the customer.

It also helps you to see how frequently your are missing your SLAs.

Recommended read: How SLAs Make Customer Delight a Business Policy

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Number of replies per day

What is number of replies per day?

This metric looks at how many replies your team sends per day in total.

Why should you measure number of replies per day?

This metric is useful to show how quickly your team is working and if demand is growing over time.

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Number of positive social mentions

What is number of positive social mentions?

This social customer service metric looks at how many positive mentions or reviews your company has received on social media.

Why should you measure number of positive social mentions?

Word of mouth is an effective lead generation source.

If a customer publicly praises your company, it might encourage their own followers to check out your service or product.

You can use this metric track increases in positive mentions to see if any new initiatives have led to more positive feedback.

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Number of swag packages sent

What is number of swag packages sent?

Number of welcome packs, free gifts or vouchers your team has sent out in a given time frame, and for what reason.

Why should you measure number of swag packages sent?

This metric helps you keep track of how many gifts you’re sending out and what you’re sending them for.

There are several reasons you could be sending free swag out to people, such as thanking them for:

  • Participation in debugging/beta testing
  • Positive feedback
  • Reporting bugs
  • Reporting security issues

If you find you’re sending lots of free gifts to make up for security issues or bugs, this could warrant further investigation.

On the other hand, you might want to set a goal for the number of handwritten letters or swag you send out to customers, because they result in positive interactions.

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Call abandonment rate

What is call abandonment rate?

The number of callers who hang up the phone before being connected.

Why should you measure call abandonment rate?

Understanding when customers abandon support requests helps identify how long you’re forcing them to wait, and how this affects their experience.

If your call abandonment rate is high you can look at things such as: is the hold message setting good expectations, is the hold music annoying, how long are people waiting on average before they hang up?

It’s worth noting here that disconnections can also occur due to technical or network problems.

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Call wait time

What is call wait time?

The average length of time customers who call wait before before being connected with an agent.

Why should you measure call wait time?

The longer customers have to wait, the more time it takes for their issue to be resolved, which means more effort.

If your call wait time is high, it indicates that you need more support agents to answer calls, or need to provide customers with alternative support channels, such as self-service, to reduce the volume of calls.

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Multi-channel attribution

What is multi-channel attribution?

This metric lets you see where your customers are connecting with you and how often.

Why should you measure multi-channel attribution?

Having an idea of which channels are used more frequently and the kinds of questions that come through them allows you to effectively focus your support as well as knowing where you may need to work on building your brand.


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Customer support quality metrics

These metrics help you see whether the service you’re providing meets the expectations of your customers and give you benchmarks that you can use to improve customer loyalty.

Download the Ultimate Guide to Customer Service Metrics Cheat Sheet for how to measure customer support quality metrics.

In this section:

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Customer effort score (CES)

What is customer effort score?

This metric shows how much effort the customer thinks they had to put in to have their problem resolved. It’s a survey question “How easy was it for you to get your problem solved?” (scale of 1 to 5)

Why should you measure customer effort scores?

Knowing your CES allows you to see what needs to be done to improve the way your support team interacts with your customers.

It is a strong predictor of future customer loyalty – those with high effort scores are less likely to become return customers.

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Top tags

What are top tags?

This refers to topics or themes that crop up most often for your support team as issues customers get in contact about (as measured by “tags” or categories in your helpdesk).

Why should you measure top tags?

If certain topics arise repeatedly, it could mean you need to address the issue in a different way such as improving your self-service support content or making updates to the product.

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Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)

What is a customer satisfaction score?

A customer satisfaction score indicates how satisfied your current customers are with your product or service.

Why should you measure your customer satisfaction score?

This metric shows how happy your customers were with the whole process: from finding out how to contact you, the actual conversations and also any follow up correspondence you might have sent.

It also helps identify pain points in order to see which aspects of your support could be improved.

You can get an indication of the quality of replies, too. You can use this information to identify what aspect of your support you can improve.

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Rating response rate

What is rating response rate?

This metric looks at the number of satisfaction surveys that customers fill out, compared to the number sent out.

Why should you measure rating response rate?

If only a few customers are returning surveys, it usually means they are only ambivalent towards your service.

Only either really angry or really happy customers take the time to give feedback.

You can provide more personalized, more delightful service to push “meh” customers into enthusiastically satisfied customers willing to return a quick survey.

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First contact resolution (FCR)

What is first contact resolution?

FCR means fully resolving a customer’s issue the first time they contact you.

You can measure it by tracking the number of interactions in a case and calculating the number of one touch responses.

Or, measure it by asking your customer if their issue has been solved, and track the “yes” responses against the number of interactions in the case.

Why should you measure first contact resolution?

Tracking your FCR rates helps you to see what you can do to keep the average number of interactions low. This helps reduce customer effort and improves the customer experience all round.

You can also use this opportunity to gain customer feedback by asking how the user felt their interaction went. Use this feedback to make improvements to your support processes.

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Net Promoter Score (NPS)

What is Net Promoter Score?

Net Promoter Score was developed to measure customer loyalty. It indicates the likelihood that your current customers would recommend your product or service to people in their network.

Why should you measure your Net Promoter Score?

Net Promoter Scores are very effective at indicating customer loyalty (the likelihood that a customer will purchase from your company again).

It helps you identify which customers are at risk of churning. It also helps identify your promoters who are helpful for case studies and referrals.

This survey usually includes a follow up question that helps identify why customers are demoters or why they are promoters, which is equally as important.

Recommended read: What Your Net Promoter Score Isn’t Telling You

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Self-service support metrics

Knowing how effective your self service is will allow you to improve it and reduce the number of customers who have to contact you.

Download the Ultimate Guide to Customer Service Metrics Cheat Sheet for how to measure self-service support metrics.

In this section:

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Knowledge base views

What are knowledge base views?

This refers to how many times customers have viewed any pages of your knowledge base.

Why should you measure knowledge base views?

Monitoring knowledge base views allows you to see how often your customers attempt to self-serve using your knowledge base.

You can compare this metric to how often customers contact you via other channels, to see how effective updates to your knowledge base articles are.

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Pages viewed per session

What is pages viewed per session?

This metric looks at which articles are viewed each time someone visits your knowledge base.

Why should you measure pages viewed per session?

You can use this data to track visitor behavior. You can see whether certain articles are viewed more frequently than others, which ones are viewed in succession, and which ones aren’t viewed at all.

This information gives you clues as to what information customers need and which articles could be improved.

For instance, if you find that customers are viewing certain knowledge base articles frequently but you’re still receiving lots of calls or emails about those topics, you ought to think about updating those articles.

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Ratio of views to submitted cases

What is ratio of views to submitted cases?

This looks at the ratio of people who are able to self-serve rather than needing to talk to an agent. You want to increase this over time.

Why should you measure ratio of views to submitted case?

Looking the ratio of knowledge base views to submitted cases helps you to see how well your customers are able to self-serve.

You want to have more people self serving than talking to your agents.

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Number of positive votes

What is the number of positive votes?

This metric refers to the number of upvotes (or likes) articles on your knowledge base receive.

Why should you measure the number of positive votes?

This helps you to see which knowledge base articles are the most helpful to your customers, and are often those that are read the most.

These articles are the ones that you should prioritise keeping up to date.

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Bounce rates

What are bounce rates?

This metric refers to the frequency that visitors leave your knowledge base after visiting just one page.

Why should you measure bounce rates?

Measuring your bounce rate helps you to see whether users are using the content on your knowledge base effectively.

If you have a very high bounce rate it’s likely that customers aren’t able to easily find what they need, and are choosing a different support channel instead.

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New vs returning users

What is new vs returning users?

This metric looks at how many people are visiting your knowledge base for the first time, compared to users who have visited it before.

Why should you measure new vs returning users?

Looking at new vs returning users allows you to see what proportion of customers are turning to your knowledge base for self-service support.

If you find that you have higher volume of returning users, it may mean that new customers (or existing customers) are unaware that your knowledge base exists.

If you have a higher volume of new users and few returning users, it could mean that your knowledge base isn’t helpful, so your customers are turning to alternative support channels instead.


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Make sure you download the cheat sheet for the calculations you need to measure all of these metrics, for free.

the ultimate guide to customer support metrics cheat sheet

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About the author
Jamie Edwards

Working on helping our customers deliver customer service so good it becomes their competitive advantage.

  • Holger Tamm

    Hi Jamie,
    I love the summary. Thanks for this great compilation of the support metrics. I see opportunity to continue evolving the metrics especially around self-service and proactive support.
    Ultimately all support managers strive to make their customers successful and one of the best measures is the effort the customer has to invest to run their business. We can evaluate the effort for support interactions through the Customer Effort Score (CES), but this is not really covering the whole spectrum. From my perspective the best support is “no support”, where the product or service your company offers works as expected or the customer can at least solve issues self-sufficiently. There is a strong focus on investing into self-service, but I think that pure usage metrics do not reflect whether your team is improving.

    At Optimizely we are experimenting for a proactive measure called “customer contact rate”. It is the quotient of number of tickets received/number of customers. Our goal is to reduce the need of our customers to rely on support through knowledge base, process and product improvements. This is a proxy for the “number of tickets avoided” which is not measurable.

    I would love to hear whether you have other ways to measure proactive success.

  • Viktor Magic

    Great post Jamie!

    We focus on customer support quality metrics – CSAT, CES and NPS at Nicereply. Support teams have a great results especially from Customer Effort Score (CES) so far. People tend to leave a comment with a suggestion for an improvement.

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