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15 Best Help Desk Metrics and KPIs to Measure and Track in 2024

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15 Best Help Desk Metrics and KPIs to Measure and Track in 2024

May 29, 2024
14 min read

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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 and KPIs 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.

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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. 

Difference Between Help Desk Metrics and KPIs

Although both help desk metrics and KPIs are essential for evaluating the performance of a help desk system, they’re different in their focus and application. Help desk metrics are specific, quantifiable measurements used to track and assess the performance of your help desk. For example, first response time or average resolution time. But, KPIs on the other hand are broader high-level-indicators that measure the overall effectiveness and success of an organization in achieving its key objectives. Some examples would include – customer satisfaction or employee satisfaction. 

The Top 15 Help Desk Metrics and KPIs 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 15 help desk metrics you should start tracking in 2024 –

Help Desk Metric/KPIDescriptionHow to Measure
First Response Time (FRT)Time elapsed from a customer query to the first response by a support agent.Total first response time for all tickets divided by the number of tickets, excluding automated responses.
Average Resolution Time (ART)Average time taken to resolve a customer’s query.Total resolution time for all closed tickets divided by the number of closed tickets, only including resolved conversations.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)Assesses customer loyalty by measuring how likely customers are to recommend the company to others.Ask customers to rate their likelihood to recommend on a scale of 0-10, categorize responses into Promoters (9-10),Passives (7-8),and Detractors (0-6). NPS = %Promoters – %Detractors.
Ticket VolumeTotal number of support requests received in a given period.Sum of the total incoming tickets over a specified period.
Volume of Tickets by ChannelNumber of customer inquiries received through each support channel.Add the total incoming tickets for each channel over a specific period.
Tickets Opened vs Tickets ResolvedComparison of the number of tickets resolved to those opened in a given period.Compare the total number of tickets resolved with the total opened in the same period.
First Contact Resolution RatePercentage of customer requests resolved on the first interaction.Number of tickets resolved on first contact divided by the total number of tickets resolved, multiplied by 100.
Customer Effort Score (CES)Measures how easy it is for customers to get their issues resolved or tasks completed.Post-interaction survey asking customers to rate their effort on a scale of 1-7, then calculate the average based on all responses.
Ticket BacklogCount of unresolved customer tickets that exceed the normal resolution timeframe.Sum all unresolved tickets open longer than the normal resolution timeframe.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) ScoreReflects how satisfied customers are with the service or product.Post-interaction survey, total the responses of 4 and 5 stars, then divide by the total number of responses received.
Agent SatisfactionGauges the overall satisfaction of support agents with their work environment and roles.Internal surveys, one-on-one manager discussions, agent turnover rates, and regular monitoring.
SLA Compliance RatePercentage of tickets resolved within the agreed-upon Service Level Agreement (SLA) criteria.Number of tickets resolved within the SLA criteria divided by the total number of tickets raised, multiplied by 100.
Escalation RateMeasures the frequency at which tickets are escalated to higher levels of support due to unresolved issues by frontline agents.Divide the total number of escalated tickets by the total number of incoming tickets in a set period and multiply by 100.
Agent Utilization RateIndicates the percentage of time agents spend on support-related tasks compared to their total available working time.Divide the total time spent on support activities by the total working hours and multiply by 100.
Transfer RateIndicates the percentage of tickets that are transferred from one agent to another.Divide the total number of transferred tickets by the total number of tickets and multiply by 100.

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. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a key help desk KPI that measures how likely customers are to recommend your company to friends, family, and acquaintances. It assesses the overall sentiment of your customer base and identifies those who are enthusiastic advocates and those who may be detractors. This information is valuable for measuring customer loyalty and predicting future business growth.

How to measure:

Calculating NPS involves asking a simple question like – “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?”. 

Based on their responses, customers are categorized into three groups: Promoters (score 9-10),Passives (score 7-8),and Detractors (score 0-6).

  • Promoters – Customers who are highly likely to recommend your product.
  • Passives – Neutral customers who are neither too happy nor too frustrated with your business. They aren’t factored into the NPS calculation.
  • Detractors – Customers who are unhappy with your product and are highly unlikely to recommend it.

Your NPS = % of promoters – % of detractors

Net Promoter Score calculation

4. 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. 

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. 

5. 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. 

6. 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. 

7. 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

8. 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.

9. 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. 

10. 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

11. 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. 

12. 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

13. Escalation Rate

Escalation rate refers to the frequency at which issues or tickets are escalated to higher levels of support or management. Meaning, the customer was dissatisfied by the first level of support received from an agent and their issue wasn’t fully resolved. 

In such cases, the issue is escalated to a supervisor or manager who can use their discretion and expertise to help the customer. 

A high escalation rate might mean one of two things:

  • Your frontline support agents lack the necessary skills or knowledge to resolve issues at their level, pointing to a need for additional training or resources.
  • Or, that customers are having a lot of trouble with your company’s product/service leading to more serious issues that cannot be resolved quickly. 

This is a very important metric to keep tabs on because it gives you deep insights on how well your product is serving your customers as well as the skills and experience of your team of frontline agents. 

How to measure:

Divide the total number of tickets that were escalated in a set period of time (say, a month) by the total number of tickets that came in during that time period. 

Escalation Rate calculation

Recommended Read:Escalation Management: The Key to Handling Customer Service Requests More Effectively

14. Agent Utilization Rate

Agent Utilization Rate is an agent productivity metric. Simply put, it measures the time agents spend actively working on tickets or other support-related tasks compared to their total available working time. 

Low agent utilization rates reflect that your agents’ time isn’t being utilized effectively i.e. they’re not spending enough of their working hours on support-related activities. This could be because of a number of reasons like:

  • Operational bottlenecks such as agents not knowing which emails to work on.
  • Low volume of tickets coming in or overstaffing.

While a low utilization rate indicates idle agents and wasted payroll costs, a very high utilization rate is not great either. Because it means your agents are overworked. Over time, this could lead to decreased quality of work and even burnout. 

How to measure:

Divide the total time an agent works on resolving tickets or other support-related activities by the total amount of their working hours/shift. Multiply this number by 100 to get your percentage. 

Agent Utilization Rate calculation

15. Transfer Rate

Transfer Rate measures the percentage of tickets that were transferred from the initial support rep the ticket was assigned to, to another department or another rep. 

High transfer rates usually occur because of inaccurate routing of tickets i.e. tickets being assigned to the wrong person or department. In such cases, the resolution time of tickets go up and customers have to wait longer for help. 

How to measure:

Divide the total number of tickets that were transferred to another agent/department by the total number of tickets and multiply this number by 100. 

Transfer Rate calculation

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.

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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