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11 Best Help Desk Metrics to Measure and Track in 2024
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Deliver faster support right from Gmail

11 Best Help Desk Metrics to Measure and Track in 2024

Apr 12, 2024
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11 min read
    |    
Hiver HQ
Aryan

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A help desk is made up of various moving parts, and each cog needs to function properly to provide quality customer support. 

But how do you know if your agents are sufficiently trained? Or if the support software you use is suitable for your agents? Or if your customers are actually satisfied by your service? 

This is where help desk metrics come in. 

These metrics give you clarity on your help desk’s performance, allowing you to spot where you’re going wrong and maximize the things you’re doing right. 

In this article, we’ll look at the science behind help desk metrics and how they distinguish a well-oiled help desk from one that’s confused and lost.

Track customer support quality with real-time analyticsSee how Hiver works

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What are Help Desk Metrics?

Help desk metrics can be defined as the numbers you measure and track to evaluate the effectiveness of your customer support team. These metrics provide answers to questions like “Are my customers happy with the level of service we’re providing?” or “What are some areas we can work on to improve our productivity?”. 

For example, your team’s First Response Time (FRT) tells you how quickly your agents respond to your customers. A high response time indicates problems such as agents not being clear about what they’re working on or not being able to manage their workload effectively.  

A good practice is to only keep an eye on metrics that are meaningful to your business and align with your specific goals. Trying to track too many irrelevant metrics just because others are doing it will only lead to confusion. 

If your goal is to improve customer satisfaction, metrics like First Contact Resolution (FCR) or Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) score will be important. Similarly you can map different metrics to different business objectives. 

Why it’s Important to Measure Help Desk Metrics

Measuring and tracking help desk metrics over time provides actionable insights that can help your business deliver better support to your customers. Here’s how:

  • Increased Accountability – By establishing and monitoring specific metrics, you create a system of accountability. Support agents and teams are aware of the metrics they are responsible for achieving (Average Resolution Time, First Response Time etc.). This accountability motivates them to perform at their best and take ownership of their roles.
  • Informed Decision-Making – Measuring metrics enables you to take informed decisions based on data. When you have access to accurate data, you can make better choices about resource allocation, staffing, and strategy. For example – a metric like ‘ticket volume’ gives you insight into whether you need additional staff during peak seasons so that your customers’ needs are met, without overstaffing during slow periods.
  • Process Improvement – Metrics help you identify any bottlenecks in support processes. A steady increase in ‘ticket backlogs’ might indicate problems with your staffing or ticket assignment. Further analysis of the metric will tell you whether your staff is insufficiently trained, overworked or if they’re unclear about what they’re working on. When these issues are identified, they can be addressed through process improvements, better training, or resource reallocation. This leads to more effective and efficient support operations.
  • Continuous Improvement – The regular tracking of metrics promotes a culture of continuous improvement within the help desk team. When everyone understands the metrics they are working toward and sees progress over time, it encourages them to try and do even better.
  • Greater transparency – Lastly, metrics help you create a transparent view of the entire support operation. All stakeholders, including management and support agents can easily access data that shows how the help desk is performing. This leads to better trust and collaboration across the team.

The Top 11 Help Desk Metrics to Measure in 2024

As mentioned earlier in the article, each organization must independently define the metrics that represent success for them. However, there are a few common metrics that every enterprise should track to start improving the quality of support they offer to their customers. 

Here are the top 11 help desk metrics you should start tracking in 2024 –

MetricDescriptionHow to Measure
First Response Time (FRT)Measures the elapsed time from when a customer initiates contact with a query/issue to when a support agent responds. A crucial metric for customer perception of brand attentiveness.Divide the total first response time for all tickets in a period by the total number of tickets in that period. Excludes automated responses.
Average Resolution TimeRefers to the average time taken to resolve a customer’s query or issue, indicating the efficiency of the customer service team.Divide the total resolution time of all closed tickets in a period by the total number of tickets closed in that period. Only includes resolved conversations.
Ticket VolumeThe total number of support requests received in a given period, indicating the frequency of issues requiring support intervention.The sum of the total incoming tickets over a specified period.
Volume of Tickets by ChannelThe number of customer inquiries received through each support channel (email, live chat, social media, etc.),highlighting customer preferences and helping allocate resources efficiently.Add the total incoming tickets for each channel over a specific period.
Tickets Opened vs Tickets ResolvedCompares the number of tickets resolved to those opened in a given period, tracking the efficiency of issue resolution and indicating potential gaps needing attention.Compare the total number of tickets resolved with the total opened in the same period.
First Contact Resolution RateThe percentage of customer requests resolved on the first interaction, aiming to increase for better customer experiences but avoiding quality compromise.Divide the number of tickets resolved on the first contact by the total number of tickets resolved, then multiply by 100 for the percentage.
Customer Effort Score (CES)Assesses how easy it is for customers to get their issues resolved or tasks completed with your business, influencing repeat interactions.Via a post-interaction survey asking customers to rate their effort on a scale of 1-7, with 1 being very difficult and 7 very easy. Calculate the average based on all responses.
Ticket BacklogThe count of unresolved customer tickets exceeds the normal resolution timeframe, indicating a need for operational adjustments to manage response times better.Determine the normal resolution timeframe, then sum all unresolved tickets open longer than this period.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) ScoreReflects how satisfied customers are with your service or product, which is critical for understanding and improving customer experiences.After an interaction, send a CSAT survey. Total the responses of 4 and 5 stars and divide by the total number of responses received.

1. First Response Time (FRT)

First Response Time measures the total time elapsed from the moment a customer reaches out with a query/issue, till the time a support agent responds to them. It plays a crucial role in shaping your customers’ opinion of your brand and establishes whether or not you’re a business that pays attention to what their customers have to say. 

A low response time lets your customers know you’ve heard them and are addressing their problems. Besides that, it tells you that your team of agents are aware of what they’re working on and are able to manage the workload effectively. 

How to measure it:

Take the total of the first response time for all tickets in a set period (say, a month) and divide it by the total number of tickets in that same time period. 

How to measure First Response Time

Note: Automated responses like “We’ve received your query and we’ll get back to you in 3-4 working days” are not relevant here. When companies measure First Response Time, they only consider the first response sent by a human customer support representative.

Recommended Read: 6 effective tips to reduce your First Response Time

2. Average Resolution Time (ART)

Average Resolution Time refers to the average amount of time it takes your team to resolve a query. You can visualize it as a stopwatch that starts the moment the customer reaches out to you with a query and stops when you’ve resolved the issue and the interaction is complete. Much like FRT, this metric speaks to your team’s efficiency. 

A high average resolution time might be indicative of several problems such as understaffing, inefficient workflows, or lack of proper training for support agents. Conversely, a low resolution time means things are going well – your customer service team and your systems are working effectively. 

How to measure it:

Divide the total resolution time of all the tickets you closed in a set period of time (say, a month) by the total number of tickets closed in that time period. 

Average Resolution Time calculation

Note: This calculation should only include resolved conversations. Tickets marked as resolved that are later reopened must be omitted.

3. Ticket Volume

Ticket Volume is the total number of support requests or ‘tickets’ received by a help desk over a specified period of time. Your ticket volume tells you how often your customers are running into issues that require the help of a support agent. 

A high volume of incoming tickets can be taken as a sign to amp up the self-service options you offer like a knowledge base or an FAQ section. 

Your ticket volume can also help you identify trends and figure out peak seasons where the incoming queries increase. This way you can adjust the staffing to ensure they’re not overworked in peak seasons and overstaffed in slower periods. 

Top 11 Help Desk Performance Metrics

How to measure it:

Simply add the total number of incoming tickets over a specific period of time – a day, a week, a month, a quarter, or a year. 

4. Volume of Tickets by Channel

This metric measures the number of customer inquiries that come in from each channel that you offer support on – email, live chat, social media etc. Understanding channel volume can be very insightful as it tells you which channel your customers prefer for communication when they’re seeking help. 

Based on this knowledge you can determine where to allocate the majority of your staff for faster responses and resolutions. Also, you can conduct channel-specific training to make sure your staff are well-equipped to handle queries coming into the particular channel. For example, if live chat is the most popular platform among your customers, then you can equip your staff with templates for quicker responses. 

Recommended Read: Live Chat Best Practices: The Ultimate List of Dos and Don’ts

How to measure it:

Similar to ticket volume, just add the total number of incoming tickets in a particular channel over a specific period of time. 

5. Tickets Opened vs Tickets Resolved

Another important help desk metric is comparing the number of incoming tickets that were resolved to the number of tickets that were opened. A help desk that’s performing well should have similar numbers for tickets that were opened and tickets that were resolved. 

By actively tracking this metric you can ensure that your team is keeping up with the demand of incoming tickets. If, however, your team is lagging in resolutions and a gap opens up between tickets opened and tickets closed, then you might need to pay closer attention. It could be that your team needs additional training, more staff to help out, or a better support software that’s easier to use. 

If your organization uses Google Workspace, then Hiver is a good option for you. Hiver works inside Gmail and the familiar interface makes it easy to use. You and your team don’t need to learn any new software or tool.

Hiver UI

How to measure it:

Add the total number of tickets that your team resolves in a given time period and compare it with the total number of tickets that your team opened in that same time period. 

6. First Contact Resolution (FCR) Rate

FCR Rate is the percentage of customer requests resolved by a support agent in the first interaction with the customer. Your goal should be to increase this metric as it generally indicates that your customers’ problems are getting solved quickly and painlessly, ensuring they have a good experience. 

Notice, I said ‘generally’ because sometimes what happens is agents try to resolve queries on the first call in a hurry and compromise on quality. It’s possible that they’re rushing to a solution and the customer is not completely satisfied. You should be careful that this does not happen. 

Recommended Read: 5 Commonly Misinterpreted Customer Service Metrics

How to measure it:

Divide the number of tickets resolved in the first contact between customer and agent by the total number of tickets resolved in a given time period. Multiply this number by 100 to get your percentage. 

First Contact Resolution Rate

7. Customer Effort Score (CES)

Customer Effort Score is a metric that determines how difficult or easy it was for customers to interact with your business. Another way of looking at it is how much effort did it take the customer to resolve an issue, get an answer, or complete a task. You may have seen these questions asked at the end of your shopping sessions on an eCommerce app. They may ask how easy it was to place an order or initiate an exchange. 

The easier it is to interact with a business, the likelier the customers are to keep doing it. 

How to measure it:

Calculating CES involves sending a survey to your customers, usually after an interaction with your business, asking them to rate their effort level on a specific task. The standard CES question is, “On a scale of 1-7, how easy was it to interact with our company?”

A CES of 1 indicates that they had a tough time interacting with your company. A score of 7 indicates that they had a very easy time interacting with the company. 

You can calculate the average number based on all the survey responses you receive.

8. Ticket Backlog

When the number of customer tickets that you open and resolve is less than the number of tickets coming in, you develop a backlog. You can visualize it as a queue of people waiting to speak with you and voice their queries. Needless to say, you must try and keep this number at a minimum. It can be challenging to catch up once a backlog starts to build and as a result of this, your response times suffer. 

A few good methods to manage your backlog are to increase the number of staff, strengthen your self-service offerings, and ensure tickets get routed to the most suited agent for faster resolution. 

How to measure it:

To calculate the backlog of issues, first, determine the normal timeframe for resolving tickets – it could be 24 hours or a couple of days. Then add up all unresolved tickets that have been open longer than this time period. 

9. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score

Your CSAT score is one of the most important metrics for your help desk to track. It is a direct reflection of how satisfied a customer is with your product, service, transaction, or interaction with the company. 

In fact, according to Hiver’s benchmark survey, the CSAT score is the most critical metric for 41% of customer support teams. 

How to measure it:

You can measure it by sending across CSAT surveys to your customers following an interaction. Since it’s a quick survey, you can use it across multiple interactions during the customer lifecycle and understand their level of satisfaction at various touchpoints.

CSAT questions are typically short and simple. The most common type of Customer Satisfaction Survey example is a rating scale question, where customers are asked to rate their satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.

CSAT surveys in Hiver

Once this is done, total the number of responses with 4 and 5 stars and divide that by the total number of survey responses you got. 

Recommended Read: 33 CSAT Survey Templates for Your Customer Support Team + Bonus Questions

10. Agent Satisfaction

Last on the list but very important is agent satisfaction. This is a metric that gauges the overall satisfaction of your support agents – their well-being and morale. Often overlooked, the satisfaction of your agents is extremely important in maintaining a healthy, efficient help desk. 

You must make sure your agents are not overworked, that they’re well-trained and comfortable navigating the support software you use. Happy, satisfied agents are much more likely to go the extra mile to assist customers and resolve queries properly. 

How to measure it:

You can measure and track agent satisfaction through internal surveys, one-on-one manager discussions, agent turnover rates, and regular monitoring. 

11. SLA Compliance Rate

The SLA Compliance Rate or the SLA Success Rate refers to the percentage of tickets resolved within the agreed-upon SLA criteria like time, priorities, or cost. Say for instance you’re a software company that promises your customers a resolution to their queries within 24 hours. The number of queries that you’re able to resolve within 24 hours divided by the total queries that came in is your SLA Compliance Rate. 

Measuring your SLA Compliance Rate is valuable because it directly impacts customer satisfaction and your organization’s reputation. As SLA’s are essentially commitments that you make to customers, breaching it makes your company look unreliable. 

Recommended Read: How to Leverage SLAs to Improve Customer Service

How to measure it:

To measure your SLA compliance Rate, divide the number of tickets resolved within the SLA criteria in a given period of time by the total number of tickets raised in that same time period. Multiply the number by 100 to get your percentage.

SLA Compliance Rate

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

1. How can Hiver help reduce First Response Time?

Hiver integrates with Gmail, streamlining response processes and reducing FRT through familiar interfaces and automation.

2. What does Average Resolution Time (ART) indicate?

ART indicates the average time taken to resolve customer queries, reflecting the efficiency of the support team.

3. Can ticket volume impact help desk performance?

Yes, high ticket volumes can strain resources. Managing this involves self-service options and efficient ticket distribution tools like Hiver.

4. How does Hiver enhance First Contact Resolution (FCR) Rate?

By providing collaboration tools and information access within Gmail, Hiver helps agents resolve issues on the first contact.

5. What is Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score?

CSAT Score measures customer satisfaction with a company’s service, which is important for gauging service quality.

6. How does Hiver ensure data-driven decision-making in help desk operations?

Hiver offers real-time analytics on key metrics, enabling informed improvements in customer support strategies.

The Bigger Picture

We’ve discussed the most common metrics that all organizations must consider. In addition, you can include metrics that you think are crucial for your business goals and track them. 

Remember that while these metrics are very insightful, it’s important to consider them in context. Instead of looking at these metrics individually, you might want to consider all of them together and find the bigger picture. Your First Response Time is a good indicator of speed of responses but is it also an indicator of how helpful the response was for your customer? 

Lastly, remember that striving to improve your metrics is a good goal to have but never at the cost of compromising the quality of support. What comes first is ensuring the customer is happy with the solution they’re being given.  

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I create helpful content on customer service. I'm an active member of customer experience communities. And I strongly believe that the world would be a better place with more Tiramisu.

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