The Customer Support Dictionary — Volume 1

Sep 30, 2022

The first step to solving your customer support problems is understanding the terms that make-up this whole department and what they all mean. The more you understand what each metric means – the better you can triage!

Let’s break it down by team performance and efficiency metrics:


First Response Time

The number of minutes, hours, or days passed from when a customer submits a ticket to when customer support responds.

Make sure you’re honest and communicate with your customers so they know someone’s dealing with their problem, even if it takes time to solve it. Customers expect different response times depending on the channel they contacted support through. 

Did they reach out through social media or email? Our guess is they’re expecting a much faster response if they reached out through social than email. 

Average Response Time

Total time taken to respond during the selected time period divided by the number of responses in the selected time period. 

Waiting too long significantly reduces the level of customer satisfaction, even if the problem is *eventually* solved. Analyze the average response for each category, feature, or rep to figure out what’s causing delays.

First Contact Resolution Rate (FCR)

The percentage of incoming service calls or requests that are resolved during the first interaction with the customer.

This metric’s seriously affected by the relevance and comprehensiveness of your internal knowledge base and how effectively tickets get routed. 

Average Resolution Time (ART)

Total time taken to resolve tickets during the selected time period divided by the number of tickets resolved in the chosen time period.

ART shows the average time taken to resolve an issue. If you want more visibility into support workload, try measuring ART split by channel, tag, or rep. 

Assignee Stations

An average number of reps a ticket has been assigned to.

This metric shows inefficiencies in the ticket routing mechanism. We’ve seen that 72% of customers say explaining their problems to multiple people is poor customer service. 

Issue Escalation Rate

The percentage of support tickets that have been escalated to a higher support tier.

Number of Interactions per Ticket

The total number of interactions divided by the number of support tickets.

The higher this metric is – the more likely the support process needs to be optimized and improved. If the response time is too long? 

The number of interactions may increase because customers have to ask for status updates.

Tickets Unresolved

The number of unresolved tickets over a specific period of time.

Number of Reopened Tickets

The number of tickets reopened over a specific period of time. 

Self-service Usage

For online customer communities, track total users, number of active users, number of users that perform specific actions (e.g., posts per month).

For a knowledge base: track page views and what content people are searching for. For chatbots: track the questions people ask by category and the percentage of people who speak to the customer support rep after interacting with a chatbot.

The Helpfulness of Knowledge-base Articles

The ratio of ‘yes/no’ answers for “Was it helpful?” questions at the end of a knowledge-base article. 

This is usually measured by a short survey at the bottom of a page. You can also count the number of customers who still want to contact support even after reading a knowledge-base article. 

Internal Quality Score (IQS)

This metric rates the conversations from the support team’s perspective.

IQS shows if your support reps follow their training and if their answers are aligned with internal quality standards. 

Top-performing Reps

Identifying top-performing support reps can help with knowledge-sharing and mentoring programs. Find them through the following metrics: 

  • High first-contact resolution rate

  • High volume of tickets resolved

  • Low escalation rates

  • High CSAT

Employee Satisfaction Score (ESAT)

Employee Satisfaction Score (ESAT) is generally measured via a survey. The survey includes a numeric question on the 1-to-5 scale and open-ended questions about what could be improved in your team.

Researching employee satisfaction can help prevent crises, retain talented employees, and implement effective bonus and motivation programs. 

One catch: the key to this metric? Survey anonymity!

Employee Turnover Rate (ETR) 

The total number of leavers in a month divided by your average number of employees in a month) x 100. The result’s your monthly employee turnover rate as a percentage.

The problem of employee turnover increases Customer Support costs as you spend resources on recruiting, onboarding, and training. What causes a high ETR and how to control it is complex – but measuring it’s vital in order to create a motivated and competent Customer Support team. 

Check out “The Customer Support Dictionary, Vol. 2” here to dive into definitions of Volume and Trends definitions :)