Get better at customer support by benchmarking your performance

Metrics play a crucial role in customer support. By quantifying your team’s performance, you’ll be able to set realistic targets for your team and also increase individual accountability.

In order to draw insights from your metrics, you need to benchmark them against your competitors and industry. These insights can help you identify the opportunities where you can improve and weed out the inefficiencies in your support processes.

We have identified customer support benchmarks that will help you set context on the kind of metrics your company should target. These benchmarks are based on a variety of factors such as region, industry, and helpdesk adoption.

In this webinar, you will hear our Customer Success Lead, Yasasree, speak about:

Understanding benchmark-driven customer support: Webinar Transcript

Abid: Thank you so much for joining today's webinar on Understanding Benchmark-driven Customer Support. Before we get started, I just want to make sure that all of you can hear me clearly. I'm launching a poll right now and you must be able to see a soundcheck poll on your screen. Please take a couple of seconds to let us know if the audio is clear. All right, looks like everything is good to go. So let's get started with today's webinar.

Let me introduce myself first. I'm Abid and I'm a product marketer at Freshworks. I will be your host and moderator for today's webinar.

Let me now introduce you to our main speaker for the day; I would like to welcome Yasashree, our Global Customer Success Lead at Freshworks. Before we get started with the session, I’d like to speak a little bit about Yasashree’s background. Ever since she's been a part of Freshworks, she has been instrumental in redefining the post-sale customer engagement model. She has also helped scale and build the customer success team that we have today. Prior to being a part of the customer success function, Yasashree also worked as a Program Manager, where she defined and executed a lot of org level strategic initiatives.

In today's webinar, Yasashree will take you through a very interesting topic on how you can be more benchmark driven when it comes to setting your customer support goals. We also have Andy with us, who is a Freshdesk product expert and he will assist us in answering your questions.

Before we begin, I'd also like to let you know that there's a Q&A option at the bottom of your screen that you can use to post your queries and Andy will be answering them while the session is in progress. We also have a dedicated Q&A session where I'll pick up some interesting questions and Andy can answer them at the end of the webinar.

So without further ado, over to you Yasashree.

Yasashree: Hello, everybody!

Thank you so much, Abid, for the introduction. I am extremely delighted to be talking to all of you about benchmark-driven customer support. Before we get started, I'd like to give you some background about how and why we went about, first of all, thinking about benchmark-driven customer support and all about why we thought of actually putting together the customer happiness benchmark report, which, obviously, all of you are going to receive a copy of at the end of the webinar.

Three years ago, when we were setting up the customer success function in Freshworks, we talked to a lot of customers to figure out what our engagement model would be like. There was one customer problem that stood out. We were dealing with this online travel company, obviously I'm changing names here, and we were talking to the Support Manager, Mr. Smith of ABC firms, an online travel company.

Now Mr. Smith was noticing a downward trend in the first response time as a metric for the company and he was happy about it. He went to his leadership team and presented the information. And that was when Mr. Smith was in for a shock. The leadership team tells him that there's been a tremendous decline in repeat purchases and overall repeat business and they've been noticing a low CSAT and NPS for the company as well.

Now, Mr. Smith obviously reached out to us and his dedicated customer success manager and we happen to investigate deeper to find out what happened. Now, there were two things that stood out.

Mr. Smith was tracking first response time as a metric. When he set up goals for his support team it so happened that the goal that Mr. Smith set up for first response time was higher compared to his competitors and peers and obviously the customers expected a much quicker response than what ABC firm set up.

The second most important finding was that companies in the online travel sector mainly focus on first contact resolution as a metric. That would mean customers expect that the issue is resolved in the first contact rather than the response itself being much quicker.

When we found these out and communicated to Mr. Smith, we helped the company. At the same time, it struck us that we needed to be digging deep into understanding what metrics are more important to what kind of companies.

We did a deep research, we spoke to a lot of customers, we looked at a lot of data, and we finally came up with the Freshdesk’s Customer Happiness Benchmark Report.

Now, this report has a lot of detailed insights into what kind of metrics are important for various industries. We looked at a sample of 7000 companies that use Freshdesk. We essentially looked at companies that have at least a minimum ticket volume of 500 to 600 tickets coming in each month. We had a lot of customer testimonials too. We spoke to customers and put together this benchmark report.

Before we get into the findings in the report, I want to focus on three most important aspects that you need to keep in mind while you make your helpdesk more benchmark driven.

The first thing, as we were looking at in Mr. Smith's case, is are you tracking the metrics that matter to your industry. Have you done a research and analysis to figure out what metrics your customers care for? That's the first thing that you need to solve for and once you have the metrics figured out you need to answer, are you setting the right goals for your team based on industry benchmarks. So one point you need to note here is that taking up the benchmark and directly putting it on your team might sometimes be very aggressive and stress your team out and see a dip in their motivation levels which is definitely not good.

So you’d want to figure out what's more important to your business and set the right goals. To ensure that the team is not stressed out there comes a third point you need to check — whether or not your tools and processes are aligned to the goals that you've set up.

Now the helpdesk becomes a very important part of your support tools and processes and obviously, the more important part is to have implemented your helpdesk in the most aligned manner that ensures that you achieve your goals. So I want to just go through these three points again.

So these are three aspects that you need to keep in mind and without any delay, let’s start getting into some of the high-level findings that we have in the report that we've built. If you look at it, generally, companies could be split into B2B and B2C companies we learned that the helpdesk behavior of B2B companies is very different from that of B2C companies.

When you look at a B2B helpdesk. Typically the support team receives a smaller volume of tickets the ranges that we've seen are almost about 500 tickets, a month to all the way to, 30,000 tickets, a month.

But when you look at B2C. They have a larger customer base. They have a higher ticket volume. The tickets range anywhere from 100,000 tickets, a month to more than a million tickets, a month (that's the highest that we've seen). The issues of B2B companies happen to be more complex and happen to be more of service request and require a lot of collaboration between your internal teams to get resolution versus if you look at B2C companies issues generally tend to be more transactional and there is a defined process on how you resolve each of these issues and hence they could be handled by an individual person. Looking at more such differences, B2B companies have multiple stakeholders from the same customer who raises issues, whereas in B2C it's just one end customer.

What these differences mean is when you come to B2B companies acknowledgement or response becomes key. What that would mean is metrics like first response time become very important for B2B helpdesk because the customers surely know that resolution can take time, but they would expect an acknowledgment or response and they would want to be updated on when the issue is actually going to be resolved or the status of where it is at as opposed to when you look at B2C companies resolution in the first interaction is key.

Take this example of your pizza delivery getting delayed. When that's happening and you reach out to the support team you want them to just get that pizza delivered to you at that minute and you can't keep waiting. Because once it doesn't happen there. Your satisfaction takes a huge hit. So when you look at B2B companies bad interactions can lead to huge revenue impact because these are more contracts that you sign with your customers and these are larger deals. In the case of B2C, it's probably a huge brand impact for you because the revenue impact might not be much that this customer can go out on social media and vent out to a huge audience. So typically these at a high level are the kind of differences that we notice that companies have when we look at B2B and B2C helpdesks.

So those were some of the high-level findings.

I'd like to take you through top five customer service metrics that we've looked at. obviously there are a lot of metrics that a lot of our customers measure across different industries, but we've seen that these five are the most popular ones and most industries happen to care for. The five metrics that we're going to run you through right now will also tell you what the global averages for each of the metric that we're going to talk about and I request each of you to go through the benchmark very carefully because we have something interesting coming up for you.

So I'm going to be jumping into the top five customer service metrics.

The first one being first contact resolution.Now, these are the percentage of tickets resolved within the first response itself and based on the 7000 customers that we've looked at, the global average stands at 71% for the average first contact resolution. That would mean 71% of tickets are resolved within the first response itself. Which industries care for this metric? That's what we put that down for you. Fast food companies or quick service chain restaurants—those people care for this metric. Also customers in these industries care a lot for resolution in the first contact. Then you have e-commerce and you have travel and hospitality, we were just looking at. Mr. Smith's case. So these are industries that care for resolution in the first contact. Again, going back to the pizza delivery example I was talking. So, 71% for first contact resolution.

Going on to the second metric that's first response time. Now, this is again defined as the time taken by your agent to send out the first response and the global average stands at seven hours for us. 7 hours is more of an email benchmark. That's why we've kind of broken it down by channel for you. Typically, for email the average that we see is seven hours, for chat it's about four minutes, customers don't like waiting for more than four minutes when they reach out to you on chat. Third on phone. It's going to be about two minutes and finally on social media, it is about 30 minutes. This is what we see our customers generally set up and this metric is, more important for industries like telecom schools and education retail and consumer services. So typically, take the case of your mobile network not working or your WiFi not working. You would understand that resolution is going to take time. But you want the brand to come back and tell you that they've taken your issue, it's been recorded and update you on the status and let you know when your phone would be up again or when your network would be up again. So that's about the first response time and the global average standard seven hours.

Moving on to the third metric number of responses to resolution.

Again, this is the number of interactions back and forth that happens for the resolution of the issue to actually take place. The global average that we see is one.

This might sound a little surprising to you guys, but we've seen that most of our customers have started to use chat as one of the major support channels and hence, typically on the chat platform, the issue gets resolved in the first interaction itself.

So again, industries that care for this metric, this is again a speed to win metric. We have e-commerce, we have travel and hospitality, we have banks. Take the case of your payment failure. Right. You’d want the bank to resolve the issue right then and there. In the first contact itself. You don't want to have back and forth and you'd want to be updated of the status as early as possible and the issue to be resolved.

So that's about the number of responses to resolution.

The top customer service metric that we have in place is resolution SLA.

These are the percentage of tickets that typically are resolved within your service level agreements that you have set up. The global average stands at 86%, which means 86% of tickets are actually resolved within the set SLA and the industries that care for this metric are computer software, hardware, industrial manufacturing, hospitals, and healthcare. Typically in these cases, your company would have already signed a contract with a predefined SLA set up or agreed upon, and then, you need to adhere to the service level agreement that you set up. So this is the fourth top customer service metric that we see.

And finally, we come to the one and only most important metric that all our customers swear by—CSAT. We don't have to talk about any industries here. I think any company across any industry needs to care about customer satisfaction.

This is about how customers have rated their experience, with respect to a ticket or a response. It could be tracked at any level but typically this is the most important metric. The global average when we look at all the companies, it stands at 78%. So I’ll just maybe give you a brief of all the metrics that we've seen and I want you to take a look at the global average. So we have first contact resolution at 71%, we have the first response time seven hours, being the global average, we have the number of responses to resolution as one, we have the resolution SLA at 86% and finally customer satisfaction at 78%.

So, just to give you a snapshot of what you'd be seeing inside the report these metrics are literally drilled down by a lot of industries. You would see that, though, certain metrics are similar across industries you rarely see that the CSAT varies widely. Customer expectations are very different across industries as I said. When you look at computer software or hardware there are pre-set expectations and once you meet that customer is happy about it as opposed to, you look at something like retail or even electronics where the expectations of customers are much higher and you need to do a lot more than just resolving the issue, at the first contact or, looking at response things. So you’ll have a lot of details across industries in our report.

Now that I've walked you through the top customer service metrics and I've also shown you a snapshot of industry wise metrics, I'd like you guys to take a couple of seconds to actually do a quick poll and I’d want you to let us know how your support team fares against the global averages that we've just shown you. So do you think it's below benchmarks, across the top five customer service metrics. Do you think it's at par with the benchmarks, or do you consider yourself or the helpdesk above the benchmarks that are shown? so no matter what your responses we have some tips and tricks covered. We have some actionable, insights that you could take to move the needle on these metrics and if you're obviously already above the benchmarks, we look up to you to be the industry drivers to really, push these metrics.

Okay, I think we see some results here so we do see that almost 20% here are below the benchmarks with respect to helpdesk, we see that 56% are actually at par with the benchmarks. That's amazing. And we have 26% of them go above the benchmark so that's that's like a good distribution to look at.

So as I was saying, we have some actionable items coming up on how you can get closer to the benchmark or rather, perform much better than the global benchmarks that you've just seen. So I'm going to be talking about how you can be moving the needle on the metrics that we just saw starting off with again the speed driven metrics looking at —first contact resolution, we look at, a couple of things that you could be doing. First thing automation so that your tickets are routed to the right set of agents. So any helpdesk for that matter, Freshdesk has a lot of automation in place on the lights of the dispatcher observer supervisor even skill-based routing that ensures that there's zero delays in the ticket being assigned to the right agent who's going to work on the ticket.

So you don't have to have one person, as a supervisor in the team doing only assignment of tickets to the right agents. You could also use his time on a lot of other valuable things. And of course, what's come to the rescue here. A lot of times issues could be resolved purely through bots. I'll be talking about it a little more in detail a couple of slides later.

Moving on to the first response time, you could set up preset responses for FAQs or frequently asked questions. You could actually prepare the helpdesk for seasonal spikes. You could have occasional agents, planned in advance so even in peak traffic response time does not take a hit.

Moving to the number of responses to resolution—you could deflect ticket volume from email generally when customers write to you through email. They do not give you all the information that you need to resolve the ticket.

So, pushing them or diverting them to a portal that has clear forms to collect all the information that you need would help you to resolve the issue in the first response itself.

Having a single screen. helpdesk. Now, you don't want your agents to be switching screens between five different tools just to get information about the customer. Make sure that you integrate your help desk software with your logistics system, your billing system, your CRM or the likes of it just to ensure that the agent looks at customer 360 right there in front of him without switching screens and obviously having a content-rich self-service portal or knowledge base becomes extremely important both from the customer end and from the agents end in order to resolve or have fewer responses to resolve a ticket.

Moving on to the next set of metrics we have resolution SLA percentage. Resolution SLA is what you call out or publicly announce to your customers. What becomes important is to have SLAs. Personally for us, this has worked very well. And a lot of our customers swear by it. SLAs are nothing but org level agreements. So when you set up an SLA that you publicly call out make sure that your internal SLAs or your org level agreements are stringent compared to those that showcase outside, which will help you never breach the SLA. You can have different SLAs set for different channels. You could have reminders and escalation rules when a ticket is getting closer to an SLA. Make sure that you have reminders set up, make sure that you loop in your higher-ups when it's surely reaching a certain point in time.

The other thing that worked for us is once in any ticket, the number of back and forth or all the responses that a ticket has, if it reaches beyond a certain limit we ensure that a senior level person such as a Support Manager or anybody from the leadership is looped in. So the first step that we do is if any ticket crosses beyond eight responses we ensure somebody is looped in and if it goes all the way up to 15 we ensure that somebody from our senior leadership takes a look into it.

So this helps you ensure that you do not breach your SLA and you have a high-resolution SLA percentage. And finally coming to customer satisfaction. Obviously overachieving on all the other four goals are the metrics that matter to your industry helps you move the needle on CSAT.

Another interesting finding is that omnichannel support helps you move the CSAT upwards. So when we added more support channels, we saw that there was a spike in CSAT. So again just calling out at a very high level to give you a sample of what findings you could find inside the report.

You will see that extensive use of automation leads in to high agent productivity. We've seen our customers reduce assignment time by at least two times, increase resolution rate by at least three times.

Similarly, as I was saying omnichannel is the key to increase CSAT. We've seen that by introducing more channels customers have increased CSAT by at least 35% so you would have more such findings in the report.

Now that we’ve run you through the entire process of benchmark-driven customer support you’ve understood the four points that we need to look at. Mr. Smith has things now figured out you track relevant metrics you set the right support goals based on benchmarks you use the right tools and processes or the right helpdesk software. And finally, ensure that you have satisfied customers.

So we've covered the entire methodology, we've covered some facts from the report and obviously, at the end of the webinar, you’ll also be receiving a copy of this comprehensive report. So towards the end of this webinar I'd like to leave you with certain trends that you need to be watching out for when it comes to customer support.

So, the first one being proactive support. brands are increasingly getting proactive about support. a couple of examples are, we have one of this customer in the offline retail electronic space and what they essentially do is two things right one. They have NPS in place when somebody has a low NPS score given they make sure that they proactively call up and fix it for the customer make it right. So closing the loop on feedback. Secondly, because they're into electronics, let's say somebody purchases a mobile they typically know that within three months time customers reach out with certain issues when they purchase a mobile so they do not wait for customers to reach out rather when it's the third month they ensure that a support rep calls the customer to find out if everything's okay so this creates that customer wow and drives up see CSAT as well.

The second thing being smart AI capabilities or decision bots. While AI is still not yet there we think decision bots are key when you have a fixed flow identified I think bots can do wonders when your issue resolution has a fixed decision flow to it. Some large financial services firm with us has seen almost deflection about 50% of tickets. So literally, they do not have to have a person manually answer 2% of the tickets.

And the last one being collaboration in context. We do understand that today's support is not just your support team's headache, but it's the overall company's business as well. A lot of times you would want to collaborate with a lot of other teams in your company to resolve certain issues or to make your support best in class, which is where again your helpdesk having a lot of collaboration features would really, drive you in that direction.

So I think this is what I'd want to cover today. Hope you guys found insightful. Over to you, Abid.

Abid: Thank you so much, Yasashree, especially for that insightful session.

I'm sure the audience enjoyed the webinar and had a lot of takeaways which they can implement today in their support set up. We can see that there have been quite a few questions coming in and Andy’s been trying his best to answer most of them. So I'd also like to bring up a few interesting questions that we saw from some of our attendees.

I think one of them was, Andy, I think you I think you can answer this question. So one of the interesting questions that came up was, one of our attendees had asked that while CSAT is very important, oftentimes in customer support we have very poor response rates. So how do we deal with a situation like that?

Yasashree: So, this is something that we've personally seen ourselves. What happens is when you go with CSAT, multi-channel is the key. We've seen that once you implement more channels it can help you drive up CSAT much quicker. Can you just show the question again?

And in order to increase CSAT there are a couple of things that you could do. Moving to more live channels like adopting chat. What that helps you do is, typically send out the survey immediately after a question is posed so you get more responses. Secondly, you need not send a follow up email after your ticket is closed for customers to open another email and fill up your survey. what you would rather do is attach survey to the resolution update email so that you could close it out and the customer’s happy to see the resolution email and typically ends up filling up the survey. So these are two things that you could do to improve CSAT adoption.

Abid: Thank you for that answer Yasashree, There’s another interesting question that has come up. I think this is more related to the bots point that you had mentioned earlier about how bots can be used to deflect tickets. So one of our attendees wants to know does end customer experience take a hit because of bots and how can we prevent that from happening.

Yasashree: So I think this is something that we've debated for a lot of time before we implemented the bot ourselves. I don't think the end customer experience would take a hit. So a couple of things that you could do is be more upfront and transparent to ensure that your end customers know that it's a friendly bot who's trying to do the job. Customers would not appreciate it if you showcase it to them, saying that it's a live agent and actually put a bot at the back end because they can never do, they can never match the kind of responses that a human could provide.

So one call out would be be more upfront about calling out saying, ‘Hey, this is a friendly bot who could help you answer your questions’.

And secondly, I think, make sure that the customer always has an option to switch back to a live agent if he/she is not happy with the bot responses so that you could prevent the customer from getting frustrated. So these are two things you can do.

Abid: Thanks a lot, Yasashree, I'm sure that is like advice that all our attendees today can use and implement in their support.

So I think, we’d like to conclude the q&a session. So before closing this webinar. I’d like to remind you all that will be sharing a feedback survey so please bear a couple of minutes of your time to fill this up.

Thank you so much for filling up the feedback survey. You can always reach out to us at hello@freshdesk.com for suggestions on future webinars and activities that you would like us to do. We’ll also be sharing a recording of the session like Yasashree had mentioned earlier, along with a dedicated copy of the customer happiness benchmark report and we'll be sharing it with all the registrants.

So that brings us to the end of this webinar. Thank you so much for all your valuable points and inputs and thank you, everyone, for joining us today.

Hope to see you all in future webinars. Thank you.

Thank you so much, everybody.

Speakers in this webinar

Yasasree Nerayanuri
Yasasree Nerayanuri

Customer Success Lead, Freshworks

Yasasree leads the Customer Success team for Freshdesk at Freshworks. Before taking up this role, she was a program manager defining and executing organizational level strategic initiatives. She was instrumental in defining the post-sale customer engagement model and scaling the Customer Success team.

Abid Khan
Abid Khan

Product Marketing Manager, Freshworks

Abid is a Product Marketer for Freshdesk at Freshworks. He loves writing and promoting content around customer support. He actively takes care of marketing campaigns across geographies. He will act as a moderator during this webinar.

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