kpis customer support team performance measure
How to Find & Measure the Right KPIs“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” as Peter Drucker put it. Butthat approach doesn’t just apply to your supply chain management, revenue orchurn rates – most fundamentally, it also applies to people and ourperformance.People are all unique, and our performance can vary from hour to hour, nevermind from day to day. Measuring that is inherently messy and difficult, whichis why crafting effective KPIs for people’s performance is so challenging.## What are Customer Support KPIs?Customer support KPIs are a series of measurements which allow a company totrack the success of their operations in relation to achieving their goals orobjectives. Key Performance Indicators help managers evaluate how theiremployees are doing, the value they bring to a team and how their work (andthe customer experience) can be improved.But KPIs carry the risk of seeming impersonal. When I first started to work atIntercom as a Customer Support Representative (CSR), KPIs were completelyforeign to me. I had previously worked in the television and film industry,where there was an entirely different metric – either I delivered high qualitywork on time or I didn’t, and I was out. Now, as one of the managers of aglobal support team that is quickly scaling, I can completely understand notonly the necessity but the benefits of tracking KPIs.> “Measuring performance is inherently messy and difficult”Amid those benefits, however, it can be easy to lose sight of the biggerpicture, especially when you’re trying to offer personalized, conversationalsupport – how do you make sure your KPIs create the right incentives for yourCSRs, so that they don’t make the mistake of prioritizing their own KPIs aheadof the customer? How can you ensure that you don’t lose the human in thenumbers?## What customer support KPIs should you track?There are all kinds of metrics you can measure when it comes to assessing yourcustomer support, and while they will change from industry to industry andfrom business to business, they will usually seek to measure some blend ofquality, speed and customer satisfaction. Some examples that you might want toconsider include: * Total conversations * Customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores * First response time * First contact resolution rate * Average resolution time * Subsequent response time * Time to close conversation * Abandoned conversations * Employee engagement * Net Promoter Score (NPS)There are many more, and what works best for you will depend on the product orservice you offer and the customers you have.## Intercom’s process of setting customer support KPIsAt Intercom we strive to have a world class support team who do whatever theycan to help our customers and foster customer loyalty. In order to ensure thishigh standard across a global team, KPIs help us to identify areas forimprovement and to celebrate successes.We track many data points and are constantly evolving the right balance ofKPIs for our needs, which are necessarily changing. The three main KPIs thatwe have leaned on most to drive our team members’ workflows and performance,with the ultimate aim of improving customer retention, are the following: * CSAT * Conversations pulled per hour (CpH) * Reviews of teammates’ conversationsWe also have a set of team KPIs, which our global support team works towardsachieving. Not only does this help to align performance across multipleoffices, but it also unites the team in their efforts and means that repsaround the world very much feel part of the same team.We also apply a weighted KPI model, which applies different emphasis todifferent metrics. This means that if you have a bad week on one data point(say volume of conversations pulled), you can make up for this by exceeding inanother (100% customer satisfaction, perhaps).> “Mastery of the soft skills contributes to success in the conventional KPIs”In developing your own KPI model, we recommend getting feedback and guidancefrom your more tenured reps and engineers as they are the ones on the frontline day in and day out. They will know whether or not these KPIs areachievable.It’s vital to have a transparent process surrounding your choice of KPIs – thebest KPIs function as motivators, but they can only motivate effectively whenthere is clarity and understanding of their purpose.## Measuring performance beyond the numbersWhich leads us to an important point – as our co-founder Des Traynor puts it,“Numbers are selective with the truth.” They are one part of a much largerstory, but how well do they capture those key soft skills that great customersupport requires? If you can find a way to measure more than just the numbers,you will have a more holistic and smarter indication of performance.In our customer service team we haven’t placed a numerical value on softskills, rather we have built a series of support values that reflect theskills and attributes we strive to embody on a daily basis. Some of theseinclude “thriving under pressure,” “connecting personally with empathy,”“being an owner” and “being resourceful.”These values form the core part of a support rep or engineer’s performanceprofile, and KPIs form the other part. When it comes to assessing a teammate’sperformance, they must be succeeding in both areas. Crucially, though, weunderstand that while we consider them separately, they are not distinct butcomplementary – mastery of the soft skills contributes to success in theconventional KPIs.## Maintaining quality with customer support KPIs and feedbackWhile objective, measurable numbers are great for evaluating aspects ofperformance, they should not be relied on as the sole motivator. That’s why wealso try to incorporate a KPI based on conversation reviews – to ensurequality, our support reps and engineers hold each other accountable throughour custom built conversation review tool. Constructive feedback is extremelyimportant in our team and we encourage teammates to practice it with eachother daily.> “You have to find the balance and make a call on what you value”A combination of realistic yet motivating KPIs plus a strong set of culturalvalues has helped us to strike this balance. As a result we have a hardworking team who aspire to a very high standard and who care deeply abouttheir teammates and their customers.We set numbers as a necessary bar to ensure quality, but acknowledge theimportance of what can’t be measured, knowing that a more accurate, more humanmeasurement of performance relies on both. These measurements can live inharmony – you just have to find the balance and make a call on what you value.