The best SMS metrics for customer service

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SMS is a new channel to many customer service teams. With this new channel comes new opportunities, new challenges, and of course, new metrics. The problem with switching to a channel as unique as text messaging is that when teams have been operating with the same customer service metrics for so long, it can be hard to understand what the best ways to measure SMS success are for your business.

Traditional call center metrics like average time in queue and abandonment rate are not applicable in the SMS world. So, what are the best metrics for SMS, and how do they drive customer service on the whole?

It’s critical to look at SMS separately from other customer service channels to determine what it is you want to achieve with this new way of reaching customers. Some possible objectives for customer service teams new to SMS include looking to achieve higher customer satisfaction with your new text channel. Teams can also aim to improve their response time and increase the overall efficiency of customer service at your company.

So what metrics can you look at for SMS that can help you measure customer satisfaction?

Unsubscribe rates

To get a handle on how your SMS channel impacts customer satisfaction (CSAT), teams are going to want to look at numbers from unsubscription lists to start. Measuring how many unsubscribes you have on your list tells you a little about how satisfied customers are with your SMS customer service

Unsubscriptions could tell you that your customer service approach via text could be improved or adapted to the way your customers want to hear from you. These numbers are a great jumping off point that tell you what your customers do not enjoy so you can learn more about what they do.

Agent response time

If your customer service team’s objective is to increase the speed of their response time through SMS, you should be measuring agent response time. Metrics like average handle time can often be longer for SMS conversations simply because it can take customers longer to respond. Numbers like these won’t reflect the success of a CS team’s success as well as response time.

Response time is typically a target for most call centers already, but paying close attention to them and to any changes that arise will give you an idea how your new SMS channel is performing. Teams can also pay close attention to their Net Promoter Score (NPS), which measures how likely your customers are to recommend your business to someone else.

Number of chats

Text messaging is a surefire way to increase the efficiency of your customer service teams. Because of the nature of SMS, agents can connect with more people at once and resolve more issues simultaneously. Some agents have been able to manage 10 customers at once using SMS. Compare that to the one-at-a-time approach that phone calls provide and you can already see the increase in efficiency this channel provides. 

To see this efficiency in action, you can measure the number of chats your team has — per agent, per day, per week — and you’ll likely find that the number of customers managed increases by a large margin. What does this tell you? It tells you that your customers are getting faster service, and your agents are getting more wins every day.

Cost per contact 

This traditional call center KPI has significant applications in SMS customer service. How? It can show you how much your customer service budget is paying to manage one contact. With increased efficiency from more chats managed at once and faster resolution speed thanks to more convenient customer communications, cost per contact is likely to go down when teams move to SMS. This metric can help customer service teams make the case for more efficiency in customer service and reduce per customer spend to make room for other expenditures to improve customer success.


Of course, customer satisfaction (CSAT) and your Net Promoter Score (NPS) should always be measured. One way to measure the success of your SMS customer service is to look at these numbers, particularly CSAT before and after you implement SMS to see the overall customer response. Through customer satisfaction surveys, you should be able to see whether your text messaging channel is making an impact in your customer service approach. When customer satisfaction increases, your NPS is likely to see a boost as well since more customers will be happier with their experience and more likely to recommend your brand to someone they know. 


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