Customer service reports: What they are and tips for building them

Customer service reports: What they are and tips for building them

As a brand, ensuring the satisfaction of your customers throughout the customer journey is crucial. However, gauging your support team’s performance without the proper tools for collecting and interpreting these metrics can be challenging. This is where customer service reports comes into play.

Customer service reports offer businesses comprehensive feedback on the performance of the customer support team based on customer data. By tracking these metrics, companies can identify pressing service-related issues and act on them to improve their customer experience.

In this blog, we will cover everything you need to know about customer service reports, including what they are, how to create them and how to use them to drive improvements to your overall customer care.

Table of contents:

What is a customer service report?

A customer service report is a comprehensive document that outlines the performance, outcomes, and activities of the customer service team. It shows how well your social media customer service team performs and how satisfied customers are.

In a customer service report, you’ll find an overview of various customer service metrics, trends, and patterns related to customer interactions, issue resolution, and customer satisfaction ratings. This information can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your support efforts, assess customer satisfaction levels, spot industry trends and uncover improvement areas.

How customer service reports improve customer satisfaction

Customer service reports provide vital customer service data for your brand. Here are six ways customer service reports can improve customer satisfaction.

Helps track the quality of customer service

Modern customers expect quality support from companies along with a great product. Companies that can’t deliver on both ends are bound to fail in a competitive market. The data collected in a customer service report is invaluable for assessing the performance, quality, and outcomes of support standards provided to recognize where the team is lacking and spot when there are slips so the support team can adjust accordingly.

Improves your understanding of customer sentiment

From a customer service report, it’s easy to understand how customers feel about your product. Numbers don’t lie. And data gathered in a customer service report can give valuable insights into customer sentiment to understand customer perception toward a feature, experience, or service your brand provides.

For instance, if your support team records more negative reviews, it indicates that users are unsatisfied with your product and may likely churn.

Discover trending issues to inform business decisions

One of the biggest benefits of a customer service report is its ability to uncover weaknesses in your customer support. It highlights your product’s blindspots and guides attention toward areas requiring improvements.

Find out what the issues are and expedite their resolution. This is vital to elevating customer satisfaction. Communicate these market trends to stakeholders to help them understand the key changes in trends. They can use this data to set policies and inform future decisions that align with their objectives.

Motivates support agents to improve

A robust customer service report highlights the customer support team’s performance relative to previous data. This will aid in determining whether the established goals are met and motivate them to work more effectively to hit next quarter’s targets.

Be sure to offer rewards to keep high-performing agents happy and make them feel appreciated. Establishing constructive measures to help less proficient team members enhance their skills is also essential.

Helps identify support content gaps

A customer service report can be an invaluable tool to discern the difference between the service customers expect and the actual service they get. Consistently generating customer service reports allows for identifying areas where your team may fall short and fail to meet customers’ expectations.

For instance, a substantial number of open tickets pertain to issues already covered in your knowledge base signifies how well customers are using it. This hints at a potential lack of content coverage or how the solution was explained.

Informs you of the most popular contact channels

Your report should provide information about the communication channels frequently used by your customers. Rather than spreading your resources thin across all channels simultaneously, you can allocate your resources effectively to channels with high interactions and cut out underperforming channels.

Types of customer service reports

Customer service reports are reliable and usable if they’re descriptive, specific, immediate, genuine and report on the appropriate customer service metrics. Collecting these metrics makes it easier to record, measure, analyze, and make the best decisions that directly influence customer satisfaction goals.

Here are some common customer metrics you should be keeping an eye on in your report.

Number of customer requests received per day

The “number of customer requests received per day” refers to the count of inquiries, issues, or queries that customers submit to the support team. This metric measures the exact number of unique interactions that require the attention of your support team in a given period.

Tracking this customer service metric gives you a sense of the customer load your team supports and whether you have the right staff and resources to manage the incoming volume. Moreover, it gives you insights into particular times when call volumes are high so that you can schedule your support team around them.

Screenshot of Sprout Social's Inbox Activity Report

In Sprout Social, the Inbox Activity Report provides a holistic view of your customer support team’s efforts by showcasing trends in the number of incoming messages and how effectively your team responds to these messages in the Smart Inbox.

Sprout Social Inbox Activity Report

Additionally, you can use the Task Performance Report to gauge your team’s productivity. This report compares the number of assigned tasks and the overall number of tasks completed successfully.

Sprout Social Task Performance Report

Agent evaluation

The performance of every agent on your team plays a crucial role in the success of your customer service. Agent self-evaluation enables customer support agents to rate and review their performance regarding the team’s output.

Evaluating agent performance gives you a wealth of knowledge about their strengths and limitations. This will assist you in appropriately assigning tasks to high-performers with great track records and providing more training for those who aren’t meeting expectations.

Sprout’s Customer Feedback Report allows you to evaluate your agents using metrics like their average first reply time, slowest reply time, number of messages and total replies.

Sprout Social Customer Feedback Report

Customer feedback on each team member can also be recorded to evaluate individuals based on their performance.

Sprout Social Feedback by Team Member Report

For more insights, you can dig further into an individual customer’s report in the Feedback Responses Section to view comments attached to the customer’s rating.

Sprout Social Feedback Responses Report

Average response time

The average response time (ART) is the average time a customer support team takes to respond to a customer’s complaint. For example, if your response time to a customer’s first message was six minutes and eight minutes for the second, then the average response time would be seven minutes.

ART provides insight into the maximum delay a customer might encounter before receiving an initial response, particularly during peak hours. A higher ART indicates a longer wait time for issue resolution, which, based on our findings in The Sprout Social Index™, can negatively impact customer conversion.

Data visual showing what happens when brands take too long to respond on social media.

To lower the average response time, brands like Grammarly use the Smart Inbox in Sprout to manage social posts and respond to DMs from multiple social media platforms. This way, the team can engage with the Grammarly audience, answer their questions and respond to mentions.

Screenshot of the Sprout Social Smart Inbox

You can also use Sprout’s Listening tools to track customer sentiment trends. This way, you’ll quickly respond to negative sentiments before they cause serious harm.

Screenshot of using Sprout's listening tools to track customer sentiment trends.

Average handle time (AHT)

Average handle time measures the average time it takes for a support agent to resolve a customer’s issue. Put simply, AHT measures the speed at which an individual agent resolves problems right from the beginning of the interaction and covers call time, hold time and after-call work.

Tracking AHT is essential to measuring the efficiency of your customer service team in handling customer inquiries, optimizing talk times, and minimizing hold times. You should aim to keep this metric on the low side to improve your customer’s satisfaction with the service they receive.

Features like like Sprout’s Asset Library can be used to create an internal knowledge base dedicated to solving common customer problems. This can act as a guide for inexperienced support agents.

Sprout Social Asset Library

Number of interactions per ticket

The total number of interactions per ticket is the total number of messages exchanged between a support agent and a customer before closing a ticket. Look for fewer interactions per ticket; this means the team is communicating clearly and doubling down to solve important questions.

Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)

Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) is a metric that measures the percentage of happy customers following their interactions with your customer service team. CSAT surveys are contextual, often sent after a customer interacts with the support team for the first time or upon resolution of a support ticket.

Screenshot of CSAT survey

CSAT surveys answer questions like “How satisfied are you with your experience today?” which respondents can answer using emojis or a number scale. Tracking CSAT as a standalone metric doesn’t tell the complete story; it only shows half of the picture. For example, an agent with a high CSAT score but a low handling rate communicates their inability to meet goals.

Tips for building customer service reports

While you learn to build a customer service report, you should also understand the essential factors that make a customer service report usable. Let’s look at some tips for building a robust customer service report.

Define your customer service objectives

Defining your business objectives allows you to zero in on specific goals you want to achieve for your customer service, for example, increasing customer retention rates. As a result, you clearly understand the intellectual initiatives to focus on and how to organize such work thematically to achieve a faster completion rate.

Your customer service efforts must align with your business goals. Ask questions like:

  • What are you trying to achieve with your customer service?
  • What metrics will you be measuring, and why?
  • At what frequency should you be generating your customer service report?
  • How will you measure the progress and success of your team?

Answering these questions will help you determine strategic priorities and create a strategy outlining the steps to achieve the goals. Remember to set milestones for achieving each goal and track your progress in execution.

Only report on credible data

After defining your objectives, select the right metrics that will guide your team and help you evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts. While tracking every metric is tempting, it’s best to focus on the ones directly aligned with your business goals.

As much as possible, avoid vanity metrics. These metrics look impressive but lack meaningful insights into the efforts of the customer service teams. To recognize vanity metrics, look for the following:

  • Metrics devoid of context and utility when viewed in isolation. For instance, tracking the Total Ticket count doesn’t indicate resolution quality or customer satisfaction levels.
  • Metrics with an unclear intent as to what to achieve. For example, counting the times a ticket is reassigned might indicate a lack of expertise among team members, but it doesn’t directly impact customer satisfaction.
  • Metrics that do not guide the customer’s action or influence customer satisfaction. Tracking average session length, for example, doesn’t reflect the service quality delivered to the customer.

Look for actionable metrics. Take insights from our guide on the customer service metrics that matter on social media to understand what metrics to look out for when evaluating quality service.

List the key drivers of customer requests

Customer service reports shouldn’t just include numbers. It should also break down the key issues customers call in with and the total number of customers with the same complaints. This will give you a first-hand perspective on the problems customers are encountering.

In your report, list the top issues raised during the specific period. You can represent this data as a bar chart so that readers may easily visualize each issue in its order of severity. Pick the top 5 requests and relate them to the necessary department to see into the issue immediately.

Horizontal bar chart showing break down of example customer issues.

You can further break down these reports to include more specific insights, such as the locations or features with the most complaints. These specific issues should be noted and reported back to the team.

Create data visualizations

Customer service reports are full of complex datasets that are hard to understand. Presenting such data in its raw form can be confusing and difficult to understand; hence, the need to have such data translated into a visual context that’s easier to pull insights from.

Customer service metrics can be charts, graphs, infographics, or heat maps. This is useful for identifying hidden trends, analyzing data faster, and drawing reasonable conclusions from complex data sets.

You will find datasets in Sprout Social translated into graphs and charts so that users can easily recognize patterns within chaotic databases. For instance, this Profile Performance Report is represented as an area chart to show the audience growth per day between 4 social platforms: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. Each social platform is emphasized with multiple colors to show the changes in audience over time.

Include comparison data from past reports

You can’t fully ascertain if your customer support team is performing as expected if there’s nothing to compare with. Comparing data allows you to track your current performance against previous records to gauge if you’re making progress, stagnant, or regressing.

Customer service managers use comparison data to track their team’s performance and identify patterns in customer behavior. This insight is valuable for making informed decisions and adjusting your strategies accordingly.

Sprout Inbox Volume Report

Regularly audit your reports

Auditing your customer service is a journey of continuous improvement. It requires an ongoing commitment to analyze, refine, and enhance your processes. Adopting a routine audit is necessary for some reasons, such as:

  • Catching and correcting errors that can lead to inaccurate insights.
  • Identifying trends that may not be apparent from the beginning.
  • Maintaining consistency in the quality of service provided to customers.
  • Allocating resources to channels that are performing and eliminating underperforming channels.
  • Keeping customer service agents accountable and providing training where necessary.

Before deciding on an appropriate audit frequency you should consider how complex the auditing process is and whether or not you have the proper tools to conduct an effective audit.

Leverage report summaries to boost efficiency

Conclude your customer service report with a summary stating the primary challenges customers encounter, an overview of the metrics recorded, an assessment of the performance of the customer service agents, and the outcomes. Next, create an action plan based on your analysis and allocate responsibilities among team members.

An action plan outlines the steps, tasks, timeline, and resources needed to achieve the goals and metrics. It should also include team members’ responsibilities in executing the plan and ensure everyone is accountable for their actions.

Start building customer service reports

While it’s good to collect customer service metrics, make sure you’re also analyzing and acting on them. Customers demand good customer support, and providing mediocre customer service would have an adverse effect on your retention rate.

Rather than manually tracking your customer service metrics, focus on optimizing your process. Take advantage of the features in Sprout Social to collect, analyze, and build a robust report. Try Sprout Social free for 30 days to get started today.