We’ve known for quite some time that customer support and customer satisfaction has a substantial impact on a company’s revenue, customer retention, and reputation; Happy customers continue spending money and tell their colleagues and friends why; unhappy customers leave…and tell the Twitterspere why. As support folks, keeping customers in the spending money and telling colleagues category is one of our goals; and with the right metrics we can take the guesswork out of improving customer experiences.

Here’s just a few of the reasons your support team should care about metrics:

Caring About Metrics Means Caring About Customers

When you ask customers things like how happy they are with your product, how satisfied they are with the customer service you’ve provided, and whether they’d recommend your product to a friend, you’re empowering your customers while also collecting valuable insight into how happy your customers are. If you suddenly find that your customer satisfaction plummeting, that could be an indicator that your team needs to look to other metrics for possible causes. Things like hold times, transfer rates, first response times, abandonment rates and total resolution time could help pinpoint possible pain points and help your team make changes to better serve your customers.

Metrics Can Help Guide Strategy

How do you know it’s time to hire new support agents? How should you decide whether to implement a new support channel, or do away with one? Metrics, my friend, metrics. We’ve written before in great depth about scaling customer support and have outlined what channels to implement at each stage in our customer service scaling timeline, but it’s up to you to decide when you’ve reached the next stage. When it comes time to consider growing your team, you’ll want to assess metrics–is total support volume up? How long are customers waiting for responses? Dell, for example, uses three metrics to determine when it’s time to hire new support agents: how fast calls are answered, average call time, and minutes per resolution. For email support, these metrics could include the time it takes agents to respond to a ticket after it’s opened and the time between responses.

Metrics Can Help Track Your Team’s Progress

Captain obvious here: without baseline metrics, you have no way of knowing whether you’re making progress toward a goal…and setting goals without using metrics isn’t exactly easy. Setting a team goal, such as “Improve response time by 30% over the next month,” and tracking progress could be a great way to keep your team motivated. Alternatively, you can gamify support and reward team members who excel–a little healthy competition never hurt anyone.

The Customer Support Metrics that Matter Most

We know that caring about customers means caring about metrics, too, but with so many channels for support teams to manage; email, phone, live chat, social media etc., monitoring every metric on each channel isn’t always reasonable. So what metrics matter most? (And how the heck can you track them?) We’ll be discussing this at our Customer Service Happy Hour and Google Hangout on February 17th: Measuring Customer Satisfaction: Tools and Metrics for Keeping Customers Happy. Join us!