If you’ve had many run-ins with the customer service department of a company from which you purchased a product, it's likely the company has poor customer service indicators or does not use them. Companies use customer service indicators to measure the quality of the service their employees provide to consumers. These indicators tell a company how satisfied consumers are with its products and services. Indicators vary depending on the type of business a company conducts.

Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is a measure of how satisfied customers are with their overall experience with a company. Customer satisfaction can also measure specific areas of business performance. For example, a shipping company might establish a customer satisfaction indicator for pickup performance, on-time delivery, claims-free service and invoicing accuracy.

Customer Retention

Customer retention is a customer service indicator that many companies would do well to add to their performance measurement indexes. Constantine Magavilla’s review of Standard Chartered Bank’s practices found that interpersonal communication, service performance and complaint handling were three indicators that the bank could measure and track to improve customer retention. Magavilla found a gap between management's perception of customer retention and the actual level of customer retention being achieved.


Another common customer service indicator is churn -- the number of cancellations and returns a company experiences. By measuring its churn level, a company gets a feel for how satisfied customers are with its products. Churn levels tell a company how much business it is losing and how much new business it needs to generate to stay profitable. By tracking churn level, a company can also develop strategies to reduce it.

Time With the Customer

The amount of time employees spend on the phone, over email or in face-to-face interactions with clients is another customer service indicator. Called "time with the customer," this indicator helps a company understand whether it is giving customers a positive experience. By measuring the length of customer service center calls and performing surveys, a company can develop a target time that its employees should aim to spend on the phone with each client. Companies should encourage employees to treat each customer individually, spending as much or as little time as the customer requires to have his needs met. However, having a target gives employees, particularly newer ones, a useful baseline.