What does metrics mean in a call center?
Call center metrics gauge the overall effectiveness of customer service teams. Many aspects of call centers use metrics to measure performance, agent productivity, and other activities that lead to increased customer satisfaction. Customer service managers monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) to track how effectively and efficiently a call center solution achieves business goals.
How is call center efficiency measured?
Top call center metrics and KPIs
Talk time and handle time are two factors that consistently impact customer satisfaction scores and indicate your call center's overall efficiency and productivity. Here are some popular call center performance metrics to track:
1. Average Call Abandonment Rate
2. Percentage of Calls Blocked
- Lack of available agents and no call queues configured (or the call queues are full), so callers get a busy signal or are routed directly to voicemail
- The call center software isn't prepared to handle the call volume
3. Average Time in Queue
4. Service Level
5. Average Speed of Answer
6. Average Handle Time
7. Average After Call Work Time
8. First Call Resolutions
9. Occupancy Rates
What are the industry standards for call centre metrics?
Using data and metrics in the workplace is helpful. They enable organizations to understand how day-to-day actions affect the rest of company operations and allow organizations to set and track goals.
While each call center has its way of measuring performance, there are common standards for metrics and KPIs in the call center industry. Generally, those metrics fall into particular focus areas and reveal key insights into the customer experience, emphasizing quality, and quantity equally.
Best practices suggest measuring these four key areas to maximize customer satisfaction and maintain an efficient, high-performance call center:
- Customer experience
- Agent productivity
- Call initiation
- Call center operations
Customer experience metrics and KPIs
Delivering customer satisfaction is what keeps businesses in business. But how do you know if you're meeting customer expectations? How customers rate their experience with your company’s products, services and other factors can determine whether a customer’s experience is positive, negative, or somewhere in between.
Surveys show that customers were less satisfied when they had to:
- Contact the organization again
- Re-explain their issue
- Be transferred
- Put out additional effort to gain contact resolution
First contact resolution
First contact resolution (FCR) tracks the number of times an agent successfully handled the customer's issue without needing a callback. FCR contributes to excellent customer experiences. In terms of call center solutions, FCR is often considered the cornerstone of call center KPIs.
Customers want their issues resolved during the first call, which is one of the best ways to satisfy them and mitigate customer defection. Measuring FCR allows you to know how you are performing and meeting your customer’s needs the first time around.
Customer Satisfaction Score
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) shows you how satisfied a customer is with your products, services, or even customer service. CSAT scores are usually about service satisfaction and measured by conducting a customer survey. It's a leading indicator of loyalty and long-term revenue from a customer.
This call center metric is one of the most commonly used to understand which factors negatively or positively impact the call center.
Often, companies ask for customer feedback to figure out which agents are adequately solving issues. Based on an agreed-upon scoring system, companies classify responses based on feelings such as:
- Very Satisfied
- Not Satisfied
- Very Unsatisfied
Customer Effort Score (CES)
CES indicates whether or not its products work to solve a customer's problem. Like CSAT, there's no standard measurement. The metrics could be tallied using a five-point scale; others use a seven-point scale.
Results are gathered based on a single question similar to: "On a scale of one to seven (seven stands for Strongly Agree and one for Strongly Disagree), did the service make it easier for you to solve your problem?" Higher CES scores mean better customer experiences.
Net promoter scores gauge loyalty and customer experience. Often, NPS is based on the response to a single question: "How likely is it that you would recommend this agent or company?”
Scoring is based on a sliding scale, with 9 and 10 being promoters, 7 to 8 are passive, and 0 to 6 are described as detractors. You get the NPS from subtracting the percentage of detractors from promoters. A score of over 50 is considered acceptable.
You can get valuable feedback NPS scores and strong NPS scores go hand-in-hand with positive revenue and business growth.
Agent productivity metrics and KPIs
Productivity metrics produce call records that track and measure how efficiently your team gets tasks done. These metrics help manage and improve performance, as well as highlight where you need to improve.
However, focusing on the right metrics is essential. So, what are the top metrics to assess a call center’s agent performance?
Here are the most critical call center metrics to track.
Average Handling Time
Average handling time (AHT) measures how long an agent spends completing a single interaction. Many contact center's agents are evaluated based on speed-to-resolution because contact centers want to reduce call wait times and increase retention rates. Agents with faster AHT rates and can resolve issues efficiently are considered more effective.
Agent Utilization Rate
The number of hours the agent worked divided by the agent’s work availability gives you the rate of agent utilization. Let’s say an agent is on customer calls for six out of an eight-hour shift, the utilization for that agent that day would be 75% (6 hours worked ÷ 8 available hours).
Average Speed of Answer
ASA is the average time an agent takes to answer inbound calls, including time while the agent's phone rings, but not time the caller spent in IVR systems or in the queue. The average speed of answer (ASA) in the industry is around 28 seconds. The longer ASA times, the greater the risk of customer dissatisfaction, increased agent absenteeism and agent turnover, and point to efficiency and accessibility issues.
Call initiation metrics and KPIs
Customers’ initial contact with a call center shows them whether you value their business. This metric offers a view into the critical period between initiation of contact and speaking to an agent.
Perceptions start before the customer even engages with an agent. The length of the hold time and how you communicate wait times can create loyal customers or defectors.
First Response Time (FRT)
FRT is a metric directly related to customer satisfaction, and it is easy to see why. It tracks the percentage of calls where the agent completely resolves the customer’s inquiry or issue without increasing the call transferred rate, escalating, or returning the call. Many believe the FRT is the most important call center KPIs that relate to a customer's satisfaction level partly because of the lower transfer rate.
Percentage of Calls Blocked
When callers reach a busy signal the call is essentially blocked. It’s helpful to know what percentage of customer callers are ‘blocked’. If the number is high, a lot of customers are unable to get their issues resolved, which leads to frustration and poor customer experience.
Receiving a busy tone is typically due to a lack of available agents (each agent's call queue is too full), or the automatic call center software can't handle the volume of incoming calls.
Average Call Abandonment Rate
In inbound call centers, the abandon rate is the percentage of abandoned calls before a customer speaks to an agent. The metric is determined by the number of abandoned calls divided by the total number of inbound calls. Retention rates have a direct relationship to waiting times.
Why is this important? Because many service level agreements include an abandon rate target. Although a low abandonment rate is a worthy objective, it generally does not necessarily lead to higher customer satisfaction scores.
Active Waiting Calls
An active waiting call metric is a measurement that shows how well teams cope with call volumes in real-time. It gives the contact center manager insight into the number of calls agents handle vs. those on hold. Too many calls on hold lead to poor customer experience, lower customer retention, and a high agent churn rate.
Call center operational metrics and KPIs
The call center manager needs to establish what is acceptable in terms of a call centers performance over time. These metrics and KPIs help organizations identify peak hours, assess shifting contact center trends, and forecast staffing needs. They can also understand the effect company initiatives have had, such as product launches and marketing campaigns, on call volumes.
This KPI illustrates all the calls touched by an agent during a specific duration. It usually doesn't include abandoned calls. You can break this metric into the following types of calls:
- The total number of calls handled by a particular call center agent
- The number of calls handled by interactive voice response (IVR) systems
Cost Per Call (CPC)
CPC tracks the average cost per contact for each call a contact center agent handles, which offers insights into how effective your operations are and can help drive resource allocation decisions. It also offers insight into whether a call center is operating cost-efficiently and allocating its resources well. The formula is calculated by taking the total cost of all calls divided by the total number of calls.
Call Arrival Rate
With this metric, organizations assess the total number of calls a contact center receives within a specific time. The time frame can be expressed by day, hour, or minute. Some operational managers watch this KPI daily, while executives may use this metric to identify trends over time.
Peak Hour Traffic
Every call center needs to monitor when agents experience the highest volume of incoming traffic, especially the specific dayparts with higher call volumes. This KPI is helpful to ensure workforce engagement and forecasting staffing needs.
Average Call Lengths
This metric enables you to gain insight into the average length of calls over a given period. It’s used it to set expectations with teams and help manage their workloads.
Average Age of Query
This metric measures the length of time unresolved queries stay open if not resolved on the first attempt. Reducing the average age of the query should be the goal. This metric relates to FCR, which exposes the issues, channels, or engagement approaches that lead to more extended resolution periods. The formula is the total time (in hours or days) current open queries remain open ÷ total number of open queries.
To avoid long wait times on hold, many companies now offer customers the option to receive a callback. The callback option requires businesses to track the number of callback requests during a specified time to determine how many customers chose this option. By using this KPI, it's easier to assess staffing requirements and improve overall efficiency. Because most customers want their issues resolved immediately, keeping this metric to a minimum is ideal.
Repeat call rate is closely related to FCR and helps companies understand how often specific issues or problems weren’t able to be resolved the first time around. Tracking repeat call rates and soliciting customers' feedback can help determine and resolve recurring issues that customers face. More self-service options could help mitigate customer frustration.
To summarize, here is a table containing a list of the common call center KPIs categorized according to the data they measure. Efficient call centers look at multiple data from different parts of their operations to gain a full understanding of the quality of their service.
|Common Call Center KPIs|
|First contact resolution|
|Customer Satisfaction Score|
|Customer Effort Score (CES)|
|Net Promoter Scores (NPS)|
|Average Handling Time|
|Agent Utilization Rate|
|Average Speed of Answer|
|First Response Time (FRT)|
|Percentage of Calls Blocked|
|Average Call Abandonment Rate|
|Active Waiting Calls|
|Call center Operations|
|Cost Per Call (CPC)|
|Call Arrival Rate|
|Peak Hour Traffic|
|Average Call Lengths|
|Average Age of Query|
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Our flexible reports show you how your call center is handling the overall customer experience and monitoring each agent's ongoing performance. Plus, you'll gain a better understanding of changing call trends.
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RingCentral benefits allow your team to:
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With highly visual real-time dashboards, RingCentral Live Reports lets you better control the customer experience and closely monitor the agents performing.
It's essential to establish a basic overview of metrics commonly used to measure call center effectiveness, understand how to best use training and technology to help agents be more successful, and reduce agent attrition. That’s why keeping track of call center statistics and metrics is key to improving call center productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction.
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