Key Podcast Highlights

What Customer Service Metrics Should Your Small Business Use?

1. Net promoter score: This score is generally on a zero to 10 basis. You ask your customer how willing are they to recommend you going forward in the future. They can choose zero, meaning not likely at all, or 10 meaning very likely.

2. Customer satisfaction score: For this you want to ask people how satisfied they are with your company, with your product or with your service. You give them on a scale of one to five, or a scale of one to 10, and you can measure that as well.

3. The first response time metric: This applies if you have a call center. It’s how quickly it takes to get to an issue when it’s open and how many times an agent has touched that issue. And a resolution time, how long it takes to solve that issue.

Do You Need a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System?

CRM systems can be very important for measuring customer service when running your small business. For example, when a customer or client has a problem, issue, question or concern, you can configure your CRM system so that it opens up a ticket for that person. It’s beneficial to look at customer service issues as an opportunity not a problem. If you can fix it, you may be able to get a customer for life. As an owner, you can get reports on tickets that are opened every day for issues or problems with service.


The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are for informational purposes only, and solely those of the podcast participants, contributors, and guests, and do not constitute an endorsement by or necessarily represent the views of The Hartford or its affiliates.

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Gene (00:02):

Hey everybody, it’s Gene Marks, and welcome to this week’s edition of The Hartford Small Biz Ahead podcast. There was a really, really nice article written on It was written by a customer experience business reporter. Her name is Michelle Hawley. She did a great job. You can find her on LinkedIn as well. She listed out the top 11 customer service metrics to use in your business and it’s certainly helpful. I mean, I’m gonna give you some of the highlights of some of the ones that stuck out to me that I thought were important. But I really wanna make sure that I get my thought as to really what’s most important when you’re trying to measure your customers. But before I do that let’s talk about some of the big ones. Out of the 11…

Gene (00:48):

I do like the net promoter score. Now, the net promoter score is generally on a zero to 10 basis. And you ask your customer basically, how willing are they to recommend you, going forward in the future. Your product or your service, they can choose zero, meaning not likely at all, or 10 meaning very likely. Basically you look at all the people that said things under five or under six, basically they’re a detractor versus all the people that are in the nine and 10 range that are the biggest promoters of your service. And you get a score. I mean, you say like, “listen, we’ve got 300 customers and our net promoter score is 7.1.” Okay, that’s not bad, but to be really good, it should be 10…

Gene (01:36):

What do we have to do to improve ourselves? So it’s a pretty good overall way to look at the overall satisfaction of your customer base. So I do like that. Speaking of satisfaction, another metric that’s also popular, it’s just a straight out customer satisfaction score. And again, you’re not asking people, would they promote you as a business or a product or a service, but just how satisfied they are with your company, with your product, or with your service. You give them on a scale of one to five, or a scale of one to 10, and you can measure that as well. Now, both of these things require follow up, sending surveys to your customers, asking them. And I think that’s good. I have to say that net promoter scores, customer satisfaction scores, these things are very subjective.

Gene (02:24):

And first of all, do you really hear from all of your customers? Are you getting a representative sample? I myself, I never reply to surveys. It’s just me. Some people feel more passionate about doing it. How honest are they with the people? I mean, come on, when you’re at a restaurant and somebody goes, how was the meal folks? And you’re like, “oh, it was great.” I mean, unless it was something really terrible, what are you gonna say? So I don’t know if I’m like… I won’t put that much context into a net promoter score or customer satisfaction score. Now, there’s some other metrics that I think are also good and the metrics are…

Gene (02:59):

If you have like a call center, the first response time metric, which is how quickly it takes to get to an issue when it’s open, how many times an agent has touched that issue. And a resolution time, how long it takes to solve that issue. And that gets me to what I think is most important when you’re running a customer service organization. Okay, here is my advice… By the way, those metrics are fine as well, but they roll into something bigger. You need to have a CRM system, a customer relationship management system. Bottom line, most people think that CRM systems are for sales and marketing, and they are, but my best clients use them for service as well. When a customer calls in an existing customer or client and they have a problem, an issue, a question, a concern, you need to configure your CRM system so that it opens up a ticket for that person.

Gene (03:54):

They can do this by email, they can do this by text, or they can do it by just calling in. But you, as the owner of the business, you wanna know when customers are calling in with issues. My best clients, they don’t run away from these issues. They gravitate towards those issues because a customer service issue is an opportunity. It’s not a problem. It’s something that you can fix and maybe get a customer for life. My best clients, they configure their CRM systems so that any issue, any question, any concern, a ticket is opened up. You can call it a ticket, a case and action and issue. Different CRMs have different names for these things, but in the end, it’s an, it’s a ticket that’s opened up. Now, what do you do with that ticket once it’s opened up? Well, as an owner, you wanna be getting a report of open tickets every day. Alright…

Gene (04:46):

Maybe every other day, no less than once a week. You need to know the customers that are having problems. And if you have configured your CRM system well, you can easily run a report of your open tickets. This is a list of your customers that are having issues. You’re the owner of the business. You wanna know about these issues. Now, there is some good data to include in this report. The report itself should actually have, obviously the customer’s name and their company contact info, who’s working with the customer, what the issue is when the ticket was opened, and when it’s expected to be resolved. That report should be aged by open ticket date. You wanna see the tickets that have been opened the longest first, why? Because think about how you would feel if you’re a customer. You want your problem resolved. And if you’re seeing tickets that are open for more than a few hours or a couple of days, that is definitely a potential problem.

Gene (05:48):

So you wanna make sure all of that is on this report. And by the way, that incorporates at least three, if not more, of the metrics that I found in Michelle Hawley’s column. The agent responses, first response time, ticket volume, resolution time. These are all part of just one report. So here’s what you need to do. I don’t think you should be following customer metrics that closely. I don’t think you should be doing surveys of your customers. I mean, you can, and it’s fine and it’s good, but we all have limited time and resources. Here’s what I think you need to be doing. You need to have a good customer relationship management system, a CRM system. You should not be thinking of it as just a sales and marketing system, but as a service system itself, it’s a customer relationship management system relationship. You need to configure it to open tickets whenever any of your salespeople, customer service people, people of your employees have any interaction that’s a problem, an issue, a concern with a customer.

Gene (06:49):

A ticket should be opened and tracked. And every day or every other day, you should be getting a report of those open tickets aged by when they were open, and you should be addressing them. The one other final thing I can tell you is this, and I’m just telling you what some of my best clients do. When a ticket finally does get resolved and an automatic email goes out, because that’s what good CRM systems do, a lot of times, either the customer service manager or even the owner of the company might get blind copied or copied on that email. And I’ve seen some of my own clients use that as an opportunity to reach out to the customer and say, “Hey, I heard you had a problem with this issue. I saw that it was resolved. Are you okay? Is everything all right?” Those are the people that you want to hear from.

Gene (07:35):

The people with the problems, those are the people that you’ll generate the best relationship with and build your relationship because they know that you’re looking after ’em and you’re taking care of them. So again, that net promoter score, the customer satisfaction score, they’re good, they’re fine. You wanna do a survey, that’s okay. Focus on your CRM system guys. Have that open ticket report. Look at it every day or every other day. That’s the best type of customer service you can provide. And I promise you, based on the experience I’ve had with some really smart business owners and clients, this really works well. My name is Gene Marks and you have been listening to The Hartford Small Biz Ahead podcast. I’ve just been sharing you some my advice on measuring customer service metrics. And again, it’s all about your CRM system. If you need any other advice or help or tips and running your business, please visit us at or Thanks so much for listening. I’ll be back to you next week with another tip to help you run your business. Take care and talk to you then.

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