Getting Started with Contact Center Metrics: What? Why? How?

There are many ways to oversee the performance of your agents. Typically, that’s not even a problem because you can intuitively feel whether they are doing a good job. Simply being around during the shift is enough to understand why some agents are more productive than others. However, things are not so easy with the performance of the entire call center.

There is more to the efficiency of a call center than the productivity of agents. Indeed, without putting the right metrics in place, it’s hard to achieve your goals. Measuring the performance of your call center gives you clarity. By seeing what’s working and what’s not, you can maximize the results in no time.

If you are just starting out with call centers and don’t know how to measure the performance yet, no worries. This article will help you find the direction and choose the right metrics to track. And if you’ve been running your call center for a while but still not sure whether you measure the right things, keep reading as well. You’ll find a couple of actionable tips on how to meet industry standards on your key KPIs.

What are the key KPIs of a call center?

KPIs, which stands for "key performance indicators", are the minimum and maximum performance standards that define how your call center works. They track performance in two major avenues ‒ agent’s work and overall business performance.

Some companies prioritize quantitative indicators ‒ the number of received calls, idle time and so on. Others place greater emphasis on qualitative ones ‒ ensuring that each customer request is processed in accordance with the first-class customer service standards.

So what call center KPIs you should measure?

Productivity

Each contact center approaches measuring productivity in its own way. Here are a few important indicators for monitoring this metric:

Call Volume ‒ the sum of calls that all agents have received ‒ the entire volume of incoming and/or outgoing calls that the agent has processed. This figure is usually compared to an individual plan of each agent for a week or month.

Abandon Call Rate ‒ all conversations that did not take place because customer ended the call before the agent answered. For example, if the number of lost calls is 10 out of 100, it turns out that 10% of calls did not result in a communication between the customer and the agent.

Call Completion Rate ‒ this is an important KPI of the call center, which shows how many repeated calls have been made due to the incompleteness of the conversation for any reason (for example, due to connection failures).

Service level

The Service Level is your ability to deliver the standard of service promised to your customers by Service Level Agreement (SLA). Your SLA holds you accountable for your promise. It typically looks at the % of calls answered in X seconds. The higher the SLA, the less time your customers spend waiting to speak with one of your agents.

One of the call center SLA benchmarks is 80/20 (in 80 cases out of 100 your agents answer the call within 20 seconds). Although this number is an industry standard, it can differ from organization to organization (for example, it can be 90/10 in banks). To check how close your contact center is to this rate, check SLA reports of each of your inbound lines. Important note: you need to look at it in dynamics. Namely, if SLA goes down at particular hours, you should re-organize agents’ shifts to achieve the desired number. Use Erlang calculator to determine how many inbound line agents you need per shift.

A few more indicators that are important for the service level:

  • Percent of repeated calls (% Repeat Calls) ‒ the number of repeated incoming calls for a certain period of time. It helps to assess how successfully operators solve customer calls during the first contact.
  • Percentage of redirected calls (% Call Transfers) ‒ the calls transferred by your agents to their more qualified colleagues. What to look for? When this figure is too high, it might mean that you’ve chosen the wrong call handling strategy and/or your agents might lack information for high-quality processing of requests on the first line.
  • The percentage of resolved issues from the first call (First Call Resolution) is a metric that tracks how many customer issues are resolved on the first call or first interaction. This KPI is very important for ensuring a high level of customer satisfaction. The sooner your agents resolve customer issues, the happier your clients become.

Call center performance quality

Each company has its own matrix for assessing KPIs of call center agents. These depend on the specifics of their work (for example, sales reps and their technical support colleagues have a different set of desired characteristics). Therefore, all departments make their own list of criteria by which they can assess the quality of work of contact center agents.

What Are the Industry Standards for Key Metrics?

Service Levels Across Different Channels

Individual % for each channel

Modern contact centers are becoming omnichannel because that’s what the customers want. Naturally, they need to measure the service level for each channel that they use, not just voice. Check out the industry standards for the most widespread contact center communication channels, as mentioned in Call Center Helper.

Email – 95% of emails answered within four hours (the better contact centers are aiming to respond to 80% of emails within 15 minutes)

Live Chat – 80% of chats answered within 40 seconds

Letters – 95% of letters answered within three days

Social Media – 80% of contacts answered within 20 minutes

SMS/Messaging Apps – 80% of messages responded to within 40 seconds

First Contact Resolution (FCR)

70–75%

The industry standard for this one is around 70-75%, but there are many different ways to measure FCR. Depending on the method you prefer, the result will be different, which is the reason why it’s extremely difficult to measure FCR accurately, especially if you use multiple channels.  

Maximum Occupancy

83.3% (based on 190,702 entries into Erlang Calculator)

Whereas it’s commonly stated that contact centers should aim at 85-90%, this percentage can be considered the norm in call centers that mostly process inbound calls with a very high value of the lost call. To protect your team from burnout, it’s better to slightly underachieve in this regard, and that’s what many call centers do. For example, agent occupancy of 70-80% is an optimal percentage for telemarketing call centers.

Quality Assurance (QA) Scoring

75-90 % (scoring of 4 random calls per month)

Most contact centers score up to 2 agent-customer interactions per week. However, researches show that many contact centers don’t meet this standard.

How to ensure that each standard is met?

It’s possible to improve the quality characteristics of the agents’ work through sales training, workshops, presentations, processing cold contacts, etc. Apart from that, there are also a couple of changes that you can implement in your call center workflow to start seeing better results faster.

Service levels across channels

Be proactive and plan in advance

There’s always a time of the day when call volumes are at their peak. Encourage your agents to balance their time and plan activities for the day ahead on the shift (for example, plan callbacks for the less busy hours). Also, consider implementing things like IVR, channel prioritization, and intelligent call routing. This will help your team be more efficient.

First Call Resolution

Take personalized approach

You’ll be better off if you find individual FCR for different call reasons. The more FCR reasons you determine, the more accurate insights you will get. You might have surprising findings. Like, for example, you might notice that some reasons are hard to deal with for your customers, whereas others are hard to resolve for your agents. Similarly, implementing skill-based routing can do wonders for your call center. By sending customers to the right agent from the get-go, you’ll significantly reduce the number of escalations.

Maximum Occupancy

Optimize workflow

Without a doubt, you need to have an efficient dialing system, but there are also many other activities that eat up a lot of your agents’ time. Hopefully, you don’t use Google spreadsheets anymore, and if you do, consider switching to a decent CRM system that will integrate smoothly with your dialing software, or purchase call center solution that has a built-in CRM already, like Voiptime Cloud. This will immediately minimize busy work and help your agents stay really productive. Also, make sure your agents have just enough work to deal with, that is, that they are not too occupied but not idle at the same time.

Quality Assurance (QA) scoring

Provide sufficient feedback

Most contact centers use random call scoring, and some of them make one common mistake – they don’t follow up with the analysis and feedback. If you want to improve your agents’ work, help them fix their weaknesses. You can dedicate some time to each agent individually or organize peer-review sessions. Test different approaches and see what works for your team.

Conclusion

The efficiency of your call center depends on the KPIs. So if you want to boost the performance of your call center, take your time to analyze what metrics are important for your business.

Not measuring these KPIs yet? No worries, you can get all these insights from a single software. Voiptime Cloud was designed to help you achieve maximum results with minimum effort. Contact us to learn more about the opportunities our solution can bring for your business.

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