13 Most Important Help Desk KPIs to Track and Measure Help Desk Performance

Author's avatar Sales Oct 31, 2023 15 minutes read

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    Peter Caputa

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    By now, you’ve probably heard the statistic that it is 5 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one.

    Any metric you can put in place to monitor and improve the customer experience can be beneficial.

    In this post, we’re taking a deep dive into help desk KPIs, including: 


    What is a Help Desk KPI?

    A help desk KPI is a metric you can use to evaluate how effective your customer support efforts are.  

    Why are help desk & service desk KPIs important?

    Measuring and monitoring these KPIs give you valuable insights into the health of your business. You can learn more about what your customers think about your products and services, what issues they are running into, if they are receiving prompt and helpful support, and how likely they are to keep sticking around and not churn out, etc. Luckily, a help desk dashboard makes it easy to do so.

    In fact, the three most important KPIs that customer support teams look at are customer retention rate, average resolution time, and average first response time. 

    most important help desk kpis

    How is Help Desk Performance Measured?

    Most teams monitor their help desk performance metrics on a monthly or quarterly basis.

    monitoring help desk performance metrics

    What Tools Would Your Recommend to Track Help Desk Metrics?

    help desk tools

    From help desk software that caters to small businesses to ones that cater to large corporations and enterprises, there is no shortage of options available on the market.

    Here are some of the most popular ones, including: 

    • Salesforce: Voted number one, a leading CRM platform offering customizable features and integrations for efficient customer relationship and sales management.
    • Zendesk: In second place is Zendesk, customer service software with ticketing, knowledge base, and messaging tools, catering to businesses of all sizes.
    • Freshdesk: Ranked third is Zendesk’s major competitor, Freshdesk. This is a user-friendly helpdesk solution with ticket management, automation, and reporting features for exceptional customer support.
    • HelpScout: Intuitive help desk software focused on email communication, collaboration, and knowledge base management.
    • HubSpot: Comprehensive CRM platform with marketing, sales, and customer service tools to attract, engage, and delight customers.
    • Intercom: Customer messaging platform enabling personalized chat, email, and bot interactions to foster meaningful customer relationships.
    • HelpDocs: Knowledge base software allowing businesses to create and maintain self-service help centers for customer support.
    • Stella: Customer service software streamlining communication and collaboration within support teams to enhance efficiency.
    • SpiceWorks: IT management software and community support tools simplifying IT operations and facilitating effective collaboration.
    • ProProfs Desk: Cloud-based help desk software with ticketing, knowledge base, and live chat features for centralized customer support management.
    • Agent.ai: AI-powered customer service platform automating support workflows, analyzing interactions, and providing real-time insights for personalized support.

    In addition to specialized help desk software, many small businesses turn to form and survey builders like SurveyMonkey or Typeform to collect customer feedback instead of integrating a full help desk solution. 

    Editor’s note: Want to track your help desk KPIs with ease? Set Databox Scorecards to receive updates on key performance indicators through email, mobile push notification, and/or Slack.

    13 Most Important Help Desk KPIs

    In this section, we’re sharing the top 13 help desk KPIs that service professionals use. 

    1. Average Resolution Time
    2. First Response Time
    3. First Contact Resolution Rate
    4. Overall Customer Satisfaction
    5. NPS
    6. CSAT
    7. User Feedback Score
    8. Happiness Score
    9. Customer Retention Rate
    10. Churn
    11. Jobs Logged Per Day Compared to Jobs Closed Per Day
    12. Helpdesk Agent Utilization
    13. Repeat Visits

    1. Average Resolution Time 

    “Understanding how long it is taking you to resolve a customers’ issue is critical to ensuring you are providing the level of service you think you are, as well as identifying potential opportunities to deliver faster, better service,” says Tony Rindsberg of Thankful.

    “According to HubSpot, 54% of customers expect a response within 10 minutes or less.. Monitoring time to first response and number of open tickets will give you a good idea of your capacity and whether you are keeping up. These metrics will provide you with a more detailed evaluation of your performance.” 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.

    Suzanne Pope of Whiterock Locators adds, “If you’re able to have a problem be resolved swiftly, it can make a huge difference in customer retention and satisfaction in my experience.

    Having customers with unresolved problems that can extend for too long can become infuriating and risks losing the loyalty and business of the said customer. I think tracking and finding ways to improve the average resolution time is one of the most important KPIs.” 

    Jay Lee of uAcademy agrees, “End-user satisfaction strongly correlates with the resolution rate, and a study by SQM Group found that each exchange in a ticket resolution process drops the user satisfaction by 15%. Everyone knows that no ticket should be unresolved, but it’s easy to forget that a TIMELY response is essential for user satisfaction.

    Resolution rate can be tracked by monitoring the number for tickets resolved in the first instance, the number of exchanges on a ticket, and the number of tickets reopened.” 

    Editor’s Note: Looking for an easy way to track average handling and resolution times and rates? If you use Help Scout as your help desk software, you can use this free Help Scout for Customer Support Dashboard template. 

    Help Scout Average Response Time Dashboard

    2. First Response Time 

    “This is a metric we have direct control over,” says Jeff Fields of SERVPRO. “We can make sure each customer is resolved if possible during their first contact or communicate the next steps if sent to another area for resolution.” 

    Jason Grills of ProProfsDesk adds, “A customer chooses a company to buy something only if they are available 24/7. So, when replying to any customer’s request, the time taken to give a resolution isn’t as important as replying to their request. The first response time needs to be minimum or nill to ensure all customers are delighted with their customer service.” 

    3. First Contact Resolution Rate 

    “The first contact resolution rate is directly proportional to customer satisfaction,” says Obaid Khan of Planet Content. “The greater your FCR rate, the greater your overall customer satisfaction. Therefore, if you continually work on your FCR rate, it will inadvertently increase customer satisfaction, which would give a boost to all other help desk KPIs.” 

    Noelle Fauver of Trust & Will says, “Customers ideally want as pain-free of an experience as possible and if you’re able to provide them with quick and easy resolutions, you’re bound to have a much higher satisfaction rate with your product/service. Which, as we know, can earn loyal customers.” 

    Hung Nguyen of Smallpdf adds, “This figure is the percentage of times that each support agent resolves customers’ queries with their first response (that is, of course, within the service level agreement). It doesn’t matter the form of communication; it could be via email, live chat, telephone, or in-person—as long as it’s standardized across your support operations (for a fair assessment).

    Continuous product updates and customers’ needs may fluctuate throughout the workweek, affecting specific metrics, such as the time it takes to first reply to customers or the average resolution time.

    However, if your support agents are well-trained and can naturally identify a solution based on the initial point of contact, it can have a long-lasting impact on customer retention. Nobody likes to spend needless time going back and forth with customer support. The customer’s feeling of satisfaction after the initial complaint is what all businesses should strive to produce.” 

    4. Overall Customer Satisfaction 

    Anh Trinh of GeekWithLaptop says, ”I’d recommend tracking the most important KPI, which is customer satisfaction. Why? Help desks are supposed to be helping customers if they aren’t satisfied with your performance, then your employees are doing something wrong.” 

    Kenny Trinh of netbooknews.com adds, “You need to give customers a way to rate your service, but to evaluate the overall value of this KPI, you’ll need to measure the ratio of surveys sent to the customer compared to the number of surveys completed.” 

    5. NPS 

    One way to measure customer satisfaction is through a Net Promoter Survey. 

    “The best way to monitor the help desk team’s success and performance is to send out a simple NPS survey after each task is done,” says Hakon Agustsson of MyTweetAlerts.com. “That way, you will see how likely it is that the user will recommend your business to his/her friends. You will also see NPS scores broken down by team member.” 

    6. CSAT 

    While KPIs like number of closed tickets or number of phone calls certainly are important measurements for employees of customer-facing departments, the real important one is how satisfied your customers are with the service provided,” says Philipp Wolf of Custify. “Was their problem solved? How was it solved? Fast? Was the experience pleasant? Was the person on the other end nice, polite, and tried her / his best? All this is basically answered in a CSAT / NPS score that is asked right after the touchpoint with your reps.” 

    Grant Aldrich of Online Degree says, “By measuring CSAT scores, you can assess how customers feel after every interaction with an agent. This can tell you their projected loyalty, which affects sales.

    It allows you to measure each agent individually, instead of an overarching measure. Sometimes, the specifics are what you need to make improvements.” 

    Mike Weimar of Iconic Displays adds, “To effectively monitor the performance of your help desk you absolutely need to randomly survey customers who’ve interacted with your Help Desk operations for their level of satisfaction with the support that they’ve received.” 

    7. User Feedback Score 

    “No one really likes to answer feedback scores and forms at the end of a call or chat, but the ones that do can provide you with a lot of information,” says Kristel Staci of BloggingTips.com.  “More than the rating, see what people write about their experiences.”

    8. Happiness Score

    “Many help desk tools offer a smiley face rating system for support tickets that show a customer’s Happiness Rating,” says Laura Roeder of Paperbell. “It doesn’t really matter how fast your response time was, or how many tickets were involved if the customer walks away unsatisfied.”

    Editor’s Note: If you use Help Scout, you can use this free Help Scout Mailbox Dashboard template to track your team’s happiness score. 

    Help Scout Happiness Score Dashboard

    9. Customer Retention Rate

    “Customer retention rate is critical in gauging the health of your business as a whole, so it’s the most important (and most comprehensive) metric in monitoring the success of your help desk,” says Meghan McEnry of Referral Rock.

    “You may think you’re maintaining a solid first response time and resolution time, but these metrics don’t mean much if your customers still aren’t satisfied enough to stick with your business.

    Increasing customer retention rate leads to a direct increase in revenue, as you won’t have to spend as much money on customer acquisition (according to the Harvard Business Review, it’s 5-25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain and satisfy an existing customer). Also, repeat purchasers are more likely to spend more or purchase an upgrade.

    Also, customer retention rate is directly linked to customer satisfaction; this impacts the number of your customers who are willing to refer peers to your business (and since referrals happen for little to no cost, they can lower your customer acquisition costs even further.)” 

    Easily monitor the health of your business based on client retention and churn rate with the help of this customer success dashboard.

    10. Churn 

    “In a day and age where canceling a subscription can happen with a click of a button, customer churn is essential to track,” says Siva Mahesh of Dreamshala. “You can find it by dividing the number of customers lost by the number of customers in the beginning. Since it’s much easier and cost-effective to retain customers rather than acquire new ones, you want to reduce churn as much as possible.” 

    Editor’s note: Would you like to make data a regular part of your team’s routine? Automate dashboard snapshots, performance alerts, and company scorecard performance in Slack with Databox’s Slack integration.

    Henrik Saetre of AdChina.io adds, “As a SaaS company, our churn rate has a tremendous impact on our bottom line. By having our focus on churn, we work to measure the most important metric. Although it is interesting to look at the number of cases handled, whether the user was happy with the interaction or not, and such, the most important aspect for us is that the customer stays. That is why our customer success teams are connected to our churn rate. This allows the team to exercise more judgment on which cases to spend their energy. As they are empowered to make decisions that are beneficial long-term, we get an even greater benefit from hiring brilliant people.

    This is versus hiring great people and then forcing them to focus on short-term metrics that look or sound fancy, but long term does not have a large scale positive impact on the success of our company.” 

    Related Article: 14 Proven Ways to Reduce Customer Churn in SaaS

    11. Jobs Logged Per Day Compared to Jobs Closed Per Day 

    “Jobs logged per day x Jobs closed per day,” says Nubia Coleman of LUCIDICA. “With this, we have the visibility to see how many of the jobs we have today are 1st 2nd or 3rd line support and age of the jobs.” 

    12. Helpdesk Agent Utilization  

    “Managing the help desk agent utilization KPI right has a huge impact on other KPIs, namely: first response, cost per ticket, and ultimately customer satisfaction, “says Sarah Petrova of Techtestreport. “If your agent utilization is too high, first response and ultimately customer satisfaction goes down. However, if agent utilization is too low, the cost per ticket can rise significantly, which means that you are overpaying for support.

    Therefore, finding the right balance of not paying too much and optimal user satisfaction is mostly influenced by agent utilization. The optimal value, in my experience, is around 70-85%.” 

    13. Repeat Visits 

    “The reason you want to monitor repeat visits is because if someone is constantly coming into the help desk, it shows that their questions aren’t being answered,” says Marcus Cook of The Success Bug. “This may mean we need better onboarding or that the help desk needs to be better trained to answer incoming questions and know exactly what the customer wants. We also encourage all help desk employees to ask if there is anything else the customer may need assistance with so they can kill two birds with one stone, and it stops the customer from opening up another chat.”


    Editor’s note: Having a hard time to track your KPIs? With Databox, you can automate performance alerts and make adjustments when they matter most.

    In sum, by tracking and analyzing these 13 help desk KPIs, it allows you to gain valuable insights into what your customers think about your business, your services and/or products, and how likely they are to keep buying from you. 

    Author's avatar
    Article by
    Jessica Malnik

    Jessica Malnik is a content strategist and copywriter for SaaS and productized service businesses. Her writing has appeared on The Next Web, Social Media Examiner, SEMRush, CMX, Help Scout, Convince & Convert, and many other sites.

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