We read the most recent reports & studies to compile the most vital customer service statistics for 2023, so you don’t have to!
Facts over random guesses is one of our 5 values at Klaus. You must do your homework if you want to do a job right.
But it’s also time-consuming to find information that’s both significant and up-to-date. We sifted through the most important reports & studies of 2022 and 2023 to bring you the support facts.
Customer service was shaken up like a snow globe over the pandemic. And just when the flakes started to settle, global conflict struck. And now, in the ricochets of warfare, a fast-incoming recession plays its hand along with inflation.
This all affects how we move, work, and spend. Many customer service reports published in 2023 talk of evolving customer expectations and the challenges of keeping pace. Poor customer service will affect a company’s bottom line.
We hear a lot about data-driven decision making – it’s a core reason our customers use Klaus. Sometimes it can feel like the data at your fingertips is a little overwhelming, though. Worry not.
Customer expectations in 2023
To understand what shapes excellent customer service, we must first zoom in on what the customer is bringing to the table (or more what they’re expecting from the table). Support in 2023 looks very different to how it did only a few years ago.
The ripples of the pandemic are still being felt. But the following customer service statistics show that technological and digital trends also shape how customers want to interact with brands.
Zendesk’s CX Trends 2023 delves into how people’s attitudes toward service and brand experiences are evolving:
Firstly, a timely response is still a requirement: 72% of customers want immediate service. But just as important is fluid communication, with 71% of customers demanding natural, conversational experiences.
Using customer data for personalization
Customers are aware that brands have access to information like their history, past issues, preferences, etc. And they want brands to use this data:
- 59% of consumers want businesses to use the data collected about them to create personalized experiences.
- 70% of consumers expect anyone they interact with to have the full context.
As Intercom also concludes:
- 82% of leaders say expectations for personalized support grew in 2022.
- 89% of support leaders say that personalized support is a key differentiator.
- Personalized support leads to being 2x more likely to report an increase in retention, brand loyalty & customer satisfaction.
One thing is clear: poor customer service will cause companies to lose revenue.
Yet most companies’ customer service teams are often not equipped to fulfill this need, when 60% of consumers report interacting with agents who have little or no context.
Customer service statistics for omnichannel support
Omnichannel support refers to a customer service approach that allows customers to interact with a company across various channels seamlessly. This includes phone calls, email, chat, social media, and other online channels.
Excellent customer service cannot just exist on one platform. With omnichannel support, customer service interactions may start on one channel and fluidly move to another without having to start from scratch.
Phone and email are still the most popular modes of support, but video and social media are climbing in the ranks.
Businesses can improve customer satisfaction through personalization and ease of support use.
Zendesk found that 42% of businesses offer two or more support channels.
Most popular support channels
(according to Klaus survey)
- 28.1% of companies primarily use Email
- 22.9% of companies primarily use Phone
- 14.4% of companies primarily use Social Media
- 13.2% of companies primarily use Chat
- 11.3% of companies primarily use Video
- 10.2% of companies primarily use SMS
Generational customer preferences
Although many factors influence customer tendencies, when it comes to which customer service channels consumers prefer, statistics show that age is the most significant. While it’s reductive to declare strict age cut-offs on, millennials and Gen Z are driving the trend for omnichannel support.
Not giving customers enough avenues of contact equals poor customer service.
As Talkdesk’s study discovers:
- Gen Z are the generation most likely to opt for digital means of communication, in the form of social media, texting, video, and automated services.
- 60% of them engaged in video chat over the last year for support, compared to only 19% of boomers.
- While social media is increasingly a customer service channel for contact centers to reach customers, only 30% of boomers are engaging, compared to 55% of Gen X, 75% of millennials, and 76% of Gen Z.
- Gen Z and millennials are also the most likely to stop buying from companies due to their stance on social issues and sustainability.
Customer service 2023 KPIs & Benchmarks
Keeping up with these expectations is not easy. Customer service teams need to monitor and assess the appropriate customer service metrics to ensure that they are satisfying these expectations.
Scroll a little longer for a metrics explainer video featuring cats.
Klaus, partnering with Intercom, Aircall & Support Driven, surveyed 4,050 customer service professionals. We compiled the results into our Customer Service Quality Benchmark Report 2023.
Most popular metrics and their current benchmarks
CSAT (Customer satisfaction score) is tracked by 38% of teams.
- The CSAT benchmark for 2023 is 85%.
- 23% of customer service teams consider CSAT to be their most important KPI.
- CSAT is higher for chat and phone (86%) than email (82%). The response rate is also highest for chat (19%).
- Only 19% of CSAT ratings have a comment.
They’re probably not Klaus customers.
DSAT (Customer dissatisfaction score) is tracked by 43% of teams.
- 16% of teams consider DSAT to be their most important KPI.
IQS (Internal quality score) is tracked by 36% of customer service teams.
- The IQS benchmark for 2023 is 88%.
- 14% of teams consider IQS to be their most important KPI.
NPS (Net promoter score) is tracked by 28% of teams.
- The NPS benchmark for 2023 is +47.
- The average NPS response rate is 13%.
- 11% of customer service teams consider NPS to be their most important KPI.
FCR (First Contact Resolution rate) is tracked by 30% of teams.
- The FCR benchmark for 2023 is 70%.
- 11% of customer service teams consider FCR to be their most important KPI.
AHT (Average Handle Time) is tracked by 25% of teams.
The AHT benchmark for 2023 is
- 10 minutes for chat
- 12 minutes 39 seconds for email
- 6 minutes 33 seconds for phone
Customer service statistics on the support tech stack
Your tech stack serves as both your team’s workplace and weaponry. It’s the place where your agents, managers, QA specialists, etc all spend their working hours, and it’s also the collection of tools they rely on to provide excellent customer service.
But there’s a balance. Too many tools, and you’ll overburden your team, too few and they are ill-equipped – both lead to poor customer service.
This is the price we all pay when we are constantly switching tabs, from one tool to another. It’s not just a nuisance, it’s a time-waste: Harvard Business Review found that this can amount to 4 hours a week.
Current frustrations with support technologies*
*taken from Intercom’s Customer Service Trends Report 2023
- 31% of support leaders report ‘limited reporting capabilities’ with their current tech stack.
- Half of them also face issues with tool integrations not working seamlessly.
- 76& of support leaders believe their current tech stack holds them back from achieving goals.
- 54% of support teams still lack the tools they need to personalize their support at scale.
This year, many support leaders will look to update the technologies they use
- 73% of support leaders say they’ll need to make their tech stacks work harder in 2023.
- 73% will prioritize tech stack interoperability.
- 45% want to prioritize better value for money.
- 52% of support leaders are investing in tech that helps agents with workload.
Statistics for customer service quality
Quantitative data, like metrics, only tell part of the story. To truly understand how to turn every interaction into a positive customer service experience, teams also need qualitative data.
Essential for every support team in 2023 is an airtight quality assurance program. 90% of teams conduct conversation reviews (support QA).
Our survey found that 86% of organizations agree that conversation reviews improve the quality of customer service. And 82% of teams have hired a support quality specialist to help manage the process.
Customer service statistics that show the benefits of a QA program:
- 76% of organizations agree that conversation reviews help improve CSAT.
- 74% of support teams agree that conversation reviews help onboard new agents.
- 77% of teams agree that conversation reviews are useful for team members’ professional growth.
- 48% of teams use reviews to track IQS.
- 44% of teams use QA results in 1:1 feedback meetings.
- 42% of teams use QA to measure the performance of BPOs.
How can you choose which conversations to review?
- 37% of teams review conversations containing certain keywords or topics.
- 35% of teams review conversations with poor performance.
32% of teams use AI to help them select the most useful conversations to review. For example, Klaus’ Spotlight feature automatically picks out the more lengthy, complex conversations – as these are proven to contain the highest potential for learning.
Inspiration for categories to put on your scorecard
The average number of categories is 14 (although the median is a far more reasonable 8!).
Many teams use a binary rating scale (47%) to rate categories on a QA scorecard, although rating scales can be far more granular.
The biggest challenges for support teams
It is one thing to understand customer expectations and measure quality. But some teams find that external problems prove to be the heaviest burden.
Hubspot’s State of Service found that over 50% of support leaders cite lack of time as their greatest challenge. For customer service representatives, the most reported challenge was dealing with upset customers: 50% of agents struggle to manage difficult conversations with such customers.
These findings are corroborated by Stylo’s study into the State of Customer Emotions:
- Customers are over 255% more frustrated than in pre-pandemic times.
- Customers exhibit 310% more urgency than in pre-pandemic times.
- 67% of customer service reps felt customer tempers increased significantly in recent years.
Klaus’ 2023 survey broke down the most significant pain points by team size. Small teams (<50 agents) struggle most with increasing customer service agent productivity. Larger teams (>50 agents) struggle most with maintaining quality support while scaling.
Avoiding poor customer service starts with tackling these challenges
Customer service statistics for AI & automation
Most support teams are combating these challenges by investing more in artificial intelligence and automation. Automation aims to improve team efficiency, while AI aims to enhance how a team works.
Zendesk purports that the number 1 change businesses need to make in 2023 is investing in better automation – and our survey found that:
- 70% of organizations plan to invest in automation this year.
- Mid-size support teams (51-500 agents) are the most focused on improving their AI capabilities.
However, over a quarter of support teams struggle to reduce support volume when using bots or automation.
As chatbot use increases, however, customer opinion remains mixed. The jury’s out as to whether bots can truly provide a positive customer service experience.
Opinions on AI and Chatbots
Zendesk reports that:
- 77% of people agree that AI or bots are helpful for simple issues.
- 71% think they get faster replies with AI/bots.
- And 65% of customer service leaders believe the AI/bots they use are becoming more natural and human-like.
Automation is an excellent strategy for cutting costs. For example, David’s Bridal found that – since rolling out a bot – their contact center operating costs reduced by more than 30%.
On the other hand, Hubspot found that 60% are frequently disappointed with chatbot customer service experience.
Deloitte’s look at the State of AI shows that 94% of business leaders surveyed agree that artificial intelligence is critical to success over the next five years. However, 70% of companies are not making investments in human/machine collaboration, and 79% are not properly educating workers to apply and use AI effectively.
Proactive customer service stats
Proactive support is an approach in which businesses identify and address customer issues before they become problems. If help is hard to find, it makes for a poor customer service experience.
Klaus’ survey found that 77% of smaller teams (<50 agents) plan to invest more in proactive support this year.
How do companies support customers proactively?
Intercom found that proactively answering customer questions with FAQs is a top priority for 42% of support teams.
- Help Centers or Knowledge Bases
Hubspot found that nearly 50% of teams enable their service teams with a knowledge base.
- Social media
Cocoroco survey concluded that 90% of consumers use social media messaging to communicate with brands. When 40% of the population currently uses social media, this is a quick, easy way to tell customers that, for example, systems are down or updates will be made at a certain time.
Customer support teams still struggle to make their value resonate company-wide – with Hubspot reporting that 40% of customer service leaders say their company sees support as an expense, not a driver for growth. But that does leave a majority who feel otherwise.
And companies that are looking to support-led growth are going to gain ground in the long run.
Investing in customer retention is a lot easier than the uphill battle of recovering from churn.
Customer service today
Zendesk’s trends report finds:
- 81% of leaders see customer service experience and support as growing priorities over the next year.
- More than three-quarters of business leaders know that good customer service can make a company more resilient during economic downturns.
- 80% of leaders plan to increase their customer service budgets over the next year.
- Over 75% of companies seek to combine service data with sales, marketing, and product data for a holistically customer-centric business model.
However, the intention is not all it takes. Their customer service statistics also show:
- The majority (53%) of companies are not ensuring that their customer service agents have access to the data that makes revenue generation easier.
- 34% of business leaders do not have the opportunity to share customer insights across teams.
Support teams’ priorities in 2023
To grow the significance of customer service as a revenue driver, teams must seek ways to strategically meet their goals. Budgets being, for most, tighter than in previous years, prioritizing is crucial.
Gartner’s 2023 Top Priorities for Customer Service & Support Leaders shines a light on this.
By improving operations, companies can reduce costs, increase productivity, and enhance customer satisfaction. The following customer service stats break down the priorities of different teams:
- One-third say customer data & analytics
- One-third say knowledge management & insight
- 35% say digital channel effectiveness
- 37% a third say self-service adoption & containment
- Over 40% say multichannel, omnichannel & dynamic channel
Optimizing costs remains a high priority for nearly half of the respondents. Businesses must look for ways to grow while keeping their expenses under control.
What these customer service statistics tell us about 2023
We could pontificate at length about the short-term economic outlook and its effect on customer behavior. But the truth is, while customers’ purse strings are tighter and expectations of support even higher than before, service teams have the potential to succeed.
This comes down to:
- Measuring and understanding a company’s customer service – and using tools and training to improve with precision. This means analyzing customer feedback & QA reviews to give actionable feedback to agents.
- Leveraging technology in the form of an updated tech stack. AI and automation will continue flourishing to help customer service agents focus on complex queries and reduce repetitive ones.
- Companies understanding the potential of great customer service as a revenue driver. Giving voice to customers by sharing their support data among teams, using it to shape future plans for true customer-centricity.
Did you know quality assurance helps you take a proactive approach to customer happiness.
Read more: How QA improves Customer Satisfaction