New tools to improve performance
on December 6, 2021 (last modified on March 8, 2023) • 29 minute read
There’s more to developing and running a business than simply providing a quality service or a good product. While these things are undoubtedly essential, customers will want more from you or they’ll need help engaging with whatever your business is offering.
Enter customer service.
This department is frequently neglected, but its operation is essential to the long-term health of any business. In fact, Customer Sucess performance is one of the 3 most frequently reported operations, according to Databox’s state of business reporting. The best way to ensure everything is up to code is to create comprehensive customer service reports that will cover important metrics and KPIs. The numbers aren’t everything, however, and you need to both understand them and act on the insights in order to get tangible benefits from a customer service report.
When made correctly, this report will allow you to see how your customers see your business, allowing you to respond to issues you’d have otherwise missed.
One of the biggest challenges with customer service reports is that gathering the data and then collating and synthesizing it can be incredibly time-consuming. Tracking countless metrics — that can change with report types — requires a lot more than a simple spreadsheet. It requires a clear methodology, adherence to best practices, and the use of reporting tools that will make the whole process much easier.
This article will cover:
A customer service report is a presentation that contains useful and actionable information extracted from customer service data. It allows you to better meet customer expectations by identifying pain points and friction in both customer experience and customer service agent methodology.
At the very least, it needs to contain at least the number of support tickets that entered the queue, the number of tickets that were responded to (per support rep and total), and the number of closed tickets in a given time period. You can track these metrics in an email ticketing system. Thanks to that information, businesses can keep track of trends, identify areas that need to be improved, plan schedules and organize the workload of the support teams, and improve the overall quality of the customer service.
Of course, when examined properly, they can have a broader impact than simply improving the efficacy of customer service. If you pay attention to which aspects of your business customers have the most trouble with, you can improve your products, services, or the business as a whole.
Related: You can track and assess the ability of your customer support agents to respond and resolve customer enquiries in a timely and efficient manner using this support tickets dashboard.
“A customer service report assists us in identifying metrics that help us improve our consumer experience,” says Alan Duncan, Solar Panels Network. “This report has given us more profound knowledge of how your customers see your business. By examining how our clients perceive us regularly, we can respond to any potential business difficulties via the customer service report.
Furthermore, it has aided us in keeping track of consumer complaints to categorize them and make strategic decisions in the future. This report has also taught us the value of improving our best response time. Lastly, this report has assisted us in understanding how to keep our clients by offering excellent customer service.”
Pretty much every business has to deal with increasingly digitally savvy and demanding customers. It’s an inevitable consequence of living in a rapidly growing and digitally connected world. Failing to satisfy customer needs and providing poor customer service will lead to them spreading the news and people turning to competition in droves. A comprehensive overview of customer experience across multiple touchpoints can help alleviate this problem and improve a business’ customer service offerings.
This is where customer service reports come in. They allow a business to make better-informed, data-driven decisions. A well-made and actionable customer service report contributes to overall customer satisfaction. In addition, it can help management better understand the customer service process, leading to higher effectiveness and increasing ROI.
We also asked 38 support pros, from a wide variety of industries (from SaaS and professional services to ecommerce and agencies), how they create their customer service reports. They shared that the top 3 benefits of customer service reports are:
As we mentioned, customer service reports provide relevant and actionable information that allows businesses to improve improves the overall quality of customer experience and satisfaction.
Here are the main benefits of using customer service reports:
Customer service reports can be used to provide quality feedback to customer service agents, allowing them to monitor their own progress. They can see if they’re falling short of goals and by how much, and identify ways to improve their performance.
They can also be a tool that will motivate the agents to provide a better service to customers and a way to show the results of their efforts, helping them in their career development.
No matter how friendly and helpful service agents are, if customers have to wait for a long time for their call to get picked up, or even days for a response to their email, their soft skills and expertise won’t be worth much. You need to set achievable goals for your staff that will hit the right speed-quality balance and keep your customers happy.
Customer service reports can help a business track how many tickets come in and how many get resolved. This allows management to determine if scaling the customer service team is necessary.
Net promoter score is a customer satisfaction metric that is focused on referrals. The increased number of promoters enables you to expand your business and improve your loyalty rates.
Loyal customers mean that your business has better and more consistent revenue and, since they act as brand ambassadors, that it will experience steady growth.
If you include the net promoter score into the reports, customer service managers will be able to determine how negative, neutral, and positive customers (aka detractors, neutrals, and promoters) affect your bottom line.
This is an important part of the customer service strategy. You need to be present at the right channels in order to ensure your customers are satisfied. If your call center is swamped with calls while your social media response team is twiddling their collective thumbs, you need to redistribute the workforce or customer satisfaction levels will drop.
Thanks to customer service reports, you can calculate the number of agents you need to cover each channel and when.
You can also make your customer service department more cost-efficient by reducing support costs, and by using efficient customer service software. Optimizing processes and improving the quality of the service with the lowest costs possible is important for the long-term success of any department, and customer support isn’t any different.
The agents need to be well trained and efficient while their schedules need to be optimized in accordance with the greatest need for customer service. A report can let you know exactly how the department is doing at a glance.
Related: From 3 Hours to 17 Minutes: How Databox Reduced Chat Response Time in One Week
If you receive a large number of customer support tickets regarding a particular product or a service (or a feature), that might be a sign that said product or service is lacking in some way.
Customer service reports with this type of information can help the product development department create better products or improve the existing ones; marketing can develop better messaging and sales can minimize or eliminate any miscommunication when it comes to the pitch.
Since customer support is probably the first department to learn about these kinds of issues, it can provide an early warning and invaluable insight that will benefit the rest of the company.
The information your agents can provide is dependent on the information in your knowledge base. They need content that will help them provide helpful answers to common customer queries.
But that content can be used to help customers help themselves. According to Harvard Business Review, 81% of customers want to try to solve the problem by themselves before contacting customer support. Publishing content that helps customers solve problems on their own allows you to both significantly offload your customer service team and improve customer satisfaction.
This benefit dovetails nicely with marketing and SEO strategies. Customer service reports identify opportunities for articles, FAQ sections, or video tutorials that explain how to solve common problems. In addition, if agents themselves don’t have access to relevant information or the information is hard to find, you can expand the knowledge base in order to help them do their jobs better.
Since customer service agents are usually the first point of contact with customers who are having issues, businesses need a way to track how well they’re meeting customer expectations and are they providing the right level of customer satisfaction.
Metrics in customer service reports show how are the agents performing as a unit and individually. This allows managers to identify which teams or individuals aren’t meeting their goals. Armed with that information, they can determine the best way to address any issues and improve the overall performance.
No matter your role in customer support – agent, manager, or VP – your core focus is to ensure that customers’ issues, complaints, and information requests are always dealt with promptly and efficiently. But to stay on track, you probably have to log into multiple tools and spend hours manually compiling data into a comprehensive report. Now you can quickly monitor and analyze your customer service performance data from HelpScout and Stripe in a single dashboard that monitors fundamental metrics, such as:
Now you can benefit from the experience of our customer support experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template that contains all the essential metrics for monitoring and analyzing your customer service performance and its correlation to churn rate. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in customer service reports, and best of all, it’s free!
You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.
To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Get the template
Step 2: Connect your accounts with Databox.
Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.
Depending on its exact purpose, there are many ways you can write a customer service report. By choosing to omit or highlight certain metrics, you tailor it to the audience bringing focus on issues that really matter.
50% of our respondents use a single type of customer service report, with a customer support KPI report or CSAT report being the most common type.
So, here are some of the best examples of customer service report types:
Customer satisfaction is directly correlated with the time it takes for them to receive a reply to a support ticket. First reply time is an important metric, and special attention needs to be paid to the difference in response time (if any) between different channels, agents, and types of issues.
This metric is sometimes called requester wait time and it’s a sum of the time a customer spends waiting on responses while their issue is being solved. Even if they get an initial reply quickly, waiting for a long time on the line with a support agent can significantly degrade the customer experience. Like first reply time, it can be divided by type of issue, agent, and channel.
This is one of the most important metrics when customer success is concerned. Even if agents respond quickly and provide answers immediately, but the customer still has to come back because their issue wasn’t solved, this will lead to a negative user experience. Prioritizing speed at the expense of accuracy and helpfulness can have a detrimental effect as that will draw out the overall resolution time.
If a customer has to follow up on an open ticket because their problem isn’t solved or provide additional information (above what’s needed to solve the problem and provide customer security) they’re the ones who have to do more work. Justified or not, customers often think that agents should do that work.
Tracking the average number of interactions per ticket allows you to see how many touchpoints are required to solve a customer’s problem. When you know what, you can start trying to minimize that number.
Asking customers directly what they think about is the best way to determine the quality of customer service. CSAT scores provide an overview of how the customer service team is performing, but they can sometimes be misleading if looked at in isolation.
It’s also a good idea to look at how frequently people respond to CSAT surveys. An agent with a good rating but a low number of responses might not be as good as it would appear at first glance.
Tracking this metric can help customer service managers determine how many agents they need to provide good customer service. Breaking this metric down allows you to get more information. Checking the number and percentage of tickets per channel helps the management identify who to hire while checking the busiest times allows them to optimize scheduling.
The number of incoming tickets can also serve as an advance warning about any issues with products, services, or features. A spike in new tickets after a major release can mean that either something isn’t working correctly, or that there’s something unintuitive about it.
This is a comprehensive report that covers multiple metrics and its exact scope will depend on your business and how you organize your operation.
Main KPIs that need to be tracked are service level, customer support vs revenue, and customer satisfaction. They will give you insight into how your customer support is performing overall and how cost-effective it is. There’s always room for improvement and being on top of these metrics will allow your customer service department to keep improving.
Retaining existing customers is much more cost-effective than attracting new ones. What makes existing customers even more important is the fact that they tend to spend 67% more than new ones.
Using a customer retention report will allow you to improve customer retention rates and improve long-term ROI. The main metrics that need to be included are customer churn, net retention rate, revenue churn, and MMR growth rate.
Tracking customer retention and churn, and comparing it to revenue information will allow you to benchmark your success in this area and identify potential strengths and weaknesses.
Regardless of the format and type of report(s) you use, the following metrics need to be included in the customer service report.
Cases by time created – By tracking the volume of new conversations in a specific timeframe, you can determine when your customers are most active and ensure that staffing and scheduling are set up to handle the workload.
Cases by topic – tagging conversations allows you to quickly spot changes in ticket volume that might indicate a flaw in a new feature, product, or service.
Cases by locale – Understanding where your customers come from allows you to tailor your customer service to serve them better. If you have a large number of customers in a single area, you can add localization features or provide support in different time zones.
Resolved cases – Knowing how many conversations did an agent close in a given time period, gives you a good insight into their performance. Averages can be misleading but if you identify trends, you can spot both top performers and underperformers who might need help achieving their goals.
Customer interactions – An agent can have excellent soft skills but might take a long time to resolve a ticket. If you measure individual interactions, you can compare workload and working style, and make adjustments accordingly.
First response time – Monitoring how quickly an agent responds to a received support ticket can tell you a lot about their performance. But this metric needs to be considered in the context of task complexity and overall workload. After dealing with a complex or difficult task, an agent might need a moment before moving on to the next one.
Customer satisfaction – Customers don’t always rate just their customer service experience when they leave feedback for agents. Sometimes they’re rating a product, a service, or a brand as a whole. This is why it’s important to look at long-term averages than individual scores that might be outliers.
Average handle time – Individual agents with a low average handle time may be comfortable with the work and have developed the right skills. They get through cases more quickly than unskilled agents. However, it’s also important to review this metric while keeping in mind the type and complexity of tickets they’re responding to.
Time to first response – How long do customers wait until they get their first reply? Since customer expectations tend to vary depending on the channel, it’s worth tracking separate metrics per channel, too.
Interactions per resolution – Customers don’t like having to get in touch with customer service repeatedly; the fewer interactions it takes to resolve a ticket, the happier they’ll be. An increasing number of interactions per resolution can be an indicator of issues with features, products, or services. Alternatively, a new type of customer may have become interested in your brand and they need a different approach.
Customer satisfaction – This metric is worth tracking on both individual agent and team levels. Team-wide satisfaction rates can be an indicator of problems or successes of products or services, or the quality of the customer support process itself.
Average handle time – This metric tracks how long a conversation remains open before the next action is taken by the team. Long gaps can indicate that there’s an issue with training, process, or tools. All of these can be improved to ensure customers get their answers quickly.
Customer contact rate – Measuring the percentage of active customers who request help in a given month can help you understand how to better serve them. Depending on your findings, you can fix bugs, implement self-service, improve product design, or almost anything else to improve customer satisfaction.
While it’s possible to track customer service data by entering it into a spreadsheet manually, the process is time-consuming and simply won’t work for larger businesses. In addition, it will be hard to pull useful information out of the data. And without useful (think actionable) information, the report is all but useless.
That’s why using reporting software has become much more common. This type of software can automate the creation of customer service reports and remove most of the work from the process of collecting customer service reports. It will put the data into a format that is easy to understand and enables you to identify trends more effectively.
While customer service reports can point out problems in the department, they can’t tell you how to fix them. You need to be able to understand the information in the report to properly diagnose the problem and find a solution.
Prioritize metrics that match your goals or answer specific questions you have. Keep in mind that even the best report won’t give you the whole picture. You need to combine quantitative and qualitative data by talking to agents, examining how tickets were handled, and soliciting feedback from customers. This will fill any gaps in the data and allow you to fully understand the current situation in your customer service department.
Customer service reports need to be made frequently — ideally on a weekly basis. The big benefit of this frequency is that you can see trends and spot patterns more easily and use that information to improve customer experience.
Here are our best tips on how to make the most out of customer service data analysis:
It doesn’t matter what survey method you use, like CSAT, NPS, or CES. This can tell you a lot about how happy your customers are, how likely they are to continue being customers, and/or refer their friends.
“CSATs are a key element of CX optimization,” says Stephan Baldwin of Assisted Living Center. “No matter how extensive or accurate your research and data are, you should always use customer satisfaction reports to gauge the success of your customer experience strategy.
However, you can find many pitfalls along the way when you try to interpret CSAT scores. The key is to implement them over every touchpoint you have with customers, so you have an accurate understanding of what’s working and ensure the score is accurate across channels, making sure you don’t miss any immediate issues.
Implementing and tracking these reports will also allow you to fill customer experience gaps and find solutions for other areas of your marketing strategy, such as content opportunities.”
Alex Uriarte of 1-800-Injured adds, “Analyzing our customer reports has constantly made us realize that we should always focus on creating an amazing customer experience every time. Many businesses are so concerned with their bottom line that they fail to consider how their policies affect the consumer experience. Take, for example, free shipping. When a higher-than-expected shipping price appears unexpectedly, some people abandon their buying cart. Despite this, many online shops still charge for shipping.”
Another valuable insight from these reports is you can understand how much it costs your company to provide quality support to your customers.
For example, if you have both a freemium and paid plans for your SaaS product, you might find that freemium users are contacting support 10x more than paid customers, and most of these freemium users are never upgrading to a paid plan. So, you might want to consider putting limits on your support for freemium users.
Or, James Leversha of Top Notch I.T. says, “For me, the most important thing is to cut support expenditures. This isn’t about slashing staffing or putting the smallest amount of money into your support team. It’s all about streamlining your procedures and achieving the best level of service quality at the lowest possible cost.
That means your agents are efficient, well-trained, and their schedules are aligned with the department’s needs.
Creating a customer support report will guarantee that you keep track of your spending regularly and efficiently, giving you an overview at a glance.
By analyzing customer service reports, I was able to understand my company better and make informed decisions based on correct information rather than making guesses and taking measures that were of little use to the organization or its customers.”
Related: 11 Tactics for Effectively Measuring Your Customer Service ROI
The old adage, “What gets measured gets managed” is true. You can use the support metrics that you are tracking to motivate your support team.
“The most important lesson we learned was to monitor the reports and use them as a way to help motivate the team to improve,” says Kyle Arnold of HyperWeb. “By having great data, we were able to ‘gamify’ the process and help encourage members to work on providing better customer service. We had a leaderboard for whichever metrics we were trying to work on for the month, and the team member that hit the best scores would get a bonus. This greatly improved customer satisfaction, while also helping the team with friendly competition.”
An added benefit of improving customer experience is that happy customers tend to stick around longer.
“I realized that getting a loyal base of customers is easier when your customers are satisfied with your customer service,” says Richard Lubicky of RealPeopleSearch. “Six months ago, we were receiving at least 2 support tickets from each user regarding different situations. We were losing customers for the same reason. However, we analyzed our customer service reports and improved our products. After that, we have seen a heavy fall in support queries from our customers. As a result, our customers are more loyal to our products, and we are actively getting some referrals from them.” Not sure how to monitor the health of your business based on client retention and churn rate? Check out this free customer success dashboard.
Most customers are reaching out to support because something is broken. These reports allow you to understand what isn’t working well so that you can fix it.
“Customer service is mostly concerned with failures, such as defective items, equipment flaws, delivery inefficiencies, miscommunication, human mistakes, faulty procedures, and unfulfilled promises,” says Brian Dean of Exploding Topics. “I understand that it may appear to be really difficult, but the more issues you face, the more answers you will discover. You learn to deal with difficulties and recover more quickly. You develop the practice of retrospectively assessing circumstances you’ve handled poorly to devise a better strategy for the future.”
Marilyn Gaskell of TruePeopleSearch adds, “The best thing about customer service reports is that they keep track of everything that our customers request, which means that we can analyze which problem areas we should focus on and where we can best improve. Every one of our customer service reports is filed under a certain topic and the more reports that topic has, the more work needs to be done on it. They provide a very simple mechanism for keeping track of what works and what doesn’t work in our customer service strategy and help us to optimize the experience we provide to our customers.”
However, you shouldn’t just wait until a problem happens to get feedback. Proactive customer support is all about asking for feedback and learning how customers are using your product so you can identify and fix issues before they have to contact support about it.
“A lot of times, people think of customer feedback as either positive or negative,” says Maegan Griffin of Skin Pharm. “However, sometimes customers can simply give you some good ideas for the future based upon insights that may have come to them from using your products. This is why inquiring for feedback and listening to your customers can be really beneficial. For example, our customers have helped us come up with new skincare product ideas. It’s not always about whether you’re pleasing your customers with what you’re offering; it’s also about listening to what they have to say and keeping their opinions and suggestions in mind for the future.”
While it is a best practice to make it as easy as possible for customers to reach out to you via phone, email, live chat, and social media, it is not always possible to staff each channel appropriately. Keeping track of what channels get the most inbound requests can help with resource planning and prioritization.
Alina Clark of Cocodoc explains, “Our customer management took a while to get sharp. This learning period was full of lessons, some of them painful in retrospect. Our customer service reports taught us lessons in optimization and how to handle customer queries.
For instance, we knew nothing about optimizing our customer service channels that give us more feedback. We were all about covering all the bases, but this means that while some of our customer service team members had a lot to handle, others were simply riding along because their channels had relatively low feedback.
The customer service helped us with figuring out the fact that most of our customers preferred reaching out to us through social media. We, therefore, redistributed our customer service workforce to reflect the growing needs in social media. That change has been working great for us so far.”
Analytics have to be analyzed on a regular basis. Even after customer service data has been collected, reported on, and used to shape strategy, it still needs to be updated, reassessed, and refined. One way to put this data into useful context is to create customer profiles.
A customer profile (or persona) represents an ideal version of your target customer. To build it, you need to aggregate information about their needs, wants, and pain points, as well as basic demographic information, including gender, age, occupation, interests, income, etc.
Having a set of customer profiles (and constantly updating them) will allow you to better understand customer service analysis data and ensure you’re tracking metrics that are still relevant for your CS strategy. They will also help you make more effective analytical decisions by humanizing your data.
If you segment your customers into groups, you’ll be able to better serve their needs and preferences. This will improve the quality of the entire customer-facing chain. Combining this practice with creating customer profiles and personas saves time and allows you better insight into what makes various customer groups tick.
For instance, you can segment based on their purchasing frequency, whether they’re new or repeat customers, the issue they tend to have, product or service, preferences, etc.
This way, you’ll better understand the most relevant data, which will allow you to create plans and initiatives that will improve the overall quality of customer service.
In the digital age, customer service needs to work with other departments in your business. Everything has become interconnected, and keeping a department siloed doesn’t make sense anymore. Digital businesses need to ensure their departments collaborate when it comes to strategic planning.
One such collaboration that can have a great impact on customer service is developing a map of the customer journey. This map outlines customer interactions with the brand from first contact until they make a purchase and customer service data is invaluable when it comes to creating one. It will allow you to better understand which channels have issues that need to be addressed or if any touchpoints have bottlenecks or issues that are affecting the customer’s experience.
First, you need to examine KPIs across marketing, sales, and customer service touchpoints. This will allow you to highlight pain points or discover where you need to focus your attention to make the customer experience smoother. Then, customer service, sales, and marketing executives can work together to develop a customer journey that will reward the user for their choices and ensure they enjoy the experience, improving brand loyalty and increasing long-term ROI.
Creating a customer service report doesn’t have to be a long and arduous task. By their nature, these kinds of reports need to be made frequently to identify specific trends and for businesses to be able to act on information quickly enough.
This is where Databox comes in.
You just need to sign up for Databox, pick a plan that works for you, connect data sources and you’re good to go. You can pick already existing dashboards optimized for customer service, or build your own with customized metrics and visuals.
Databox allows you to schedule reporting as you see fit, so aside from occasional metrics and KPI updates, you will be free to solve problems instead of spending precious time on reporting.
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