While call centers play a vital role in your business’s customer experience, they can often be a complex part of operations. What can you do to balance operational efficiency with satisfying customer expectations? Although staying on track may not be easy, the right mix of metrics and KPIs can help.
Metrics for call centers provide information about customers’ satisfaction levels. Customer satisfaction can be increased through many aspects of a call center’s activities, including metric measurement of performance and agent productivity. In order to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of a call center solution, customer service managers monitor key performance indicators (KPIs).
Inbound call centers require data to operate successfully. There are so many calls received each day that it’s hard to know where things stand without meaningful metrics. It is important to choose the right metrics since when you select a KPI (key performance indicator) for your call center, you are essentially illustrating that this KPI represents a key objective. You want to make sure you’re focusing on the right metrics if you’re going to spend all of the time and effort quantifying and tracking that metric.
How is call center efficiency measured?
A call center manager has access to a huge amount of data coming from multiple platforms that are devoted to different processes. This data can be monitored using metrics. Metrics for contact centers vary widely, and the ones you should be measuring will likely depend on your role. Customer service leaders may need one set of KPIs, whereas front-line managers may require a different set.
Making a business case for good customer service requires strategic metrics and key performance indicators. To serve customers most effectively and effectively manage workforces, operational managers need better metrics.
Aligning your agents with your call center KPIs and metrics
A call center agent’s job is to know and understand their call center’s key performance indicators and metrics. This will make it easier for you to align your actions with those metrics and the organization’s goals for which you are taking calls.
However, how does it really look up close?
Call center managers need to understand that aligning agents with goals and KPIs is a critical part of their role. Before anything else, call centers should understand their metrics well. In the event that you have problems with those metrics, what can you do to train your team members to work more efficiently?
It is important to know exactly which parts of the call center need improvement and how to help your agents improve their performance so the metrics for the next month will be even better.
The task of managing many team members of different skill levels and experiences can be difficult for one manager.
Okay. Let’s talk about the metrics.
- Average Handling Time
The goal of this KPI is to determine how long your agents spend on average on each call. Having a short AHT means that your customer’s queries will be resolved more quickly.
The aim is not necessarily to lower the average call center response time to under a minute or anything along these lines.
The goal is not to make every individual foreman into something like Superman, who completes every call in 30 seconds and provides the perfect service for each customer with ease.
Instead, you should determine the minimum and maximum amount of time for pinning down, addressing, and resolving the average problem. It is important to encourage employees to aim for a midway point between these two extremes regarding customer call lengths.
Your Average Handling Time may fluctuate suddenly if agents are having difficulty resolving customers’ questions. It is necessary for these agents to receive more training, guidance, and support.
Additionally, you must keep in mind that, in some circumstances, longer handling times are needed – to ensure that your clients receive the best possible service.
- First Call Resolution
Customer service agents must be able to resolve a customer’s problem on the first call, so-called first call resolution (FCR). Customers want their issues resolved quickly, and they don’t want to wrestle with your call center agents all day (or all week). Ideally, your team should be able to resolve the issue after just one call without asking to be transferred or hanging up.
Using customer data, you can measure how frequently a customer called about a problem before it was marked resolved or ask how many calls were needed to fix the problem in the following follow-up questionnaire.
You should strive to achieve the highest FCR possible. It is impossible to set a golden standard for call centers, but you should always strive to resolve 100 percent of customer problems within one call.
- Abandon Rate
An abandoned call is one that hangs up before reaching an agent. In analyzing your abandonment rate, keep in mind that there is a small number of people who call the wrong number and hang up when they hear the automated message. Typically, the false abandonment rate is calculated within the first 10 seconds, and, in most centers, it can range from 1-2% of the total call volume. Toll-free numbers may see their number increase if it is similar to another number receiving high call volumes.
An agent’s response time often impacts abandonment rates. Abandon rates are lower when calls are answered faster. Customer service can be compromised and sales opportunities lost because of high abandonment rates. Those who could not reach a live agent on their first call eventually dial back until they do reach someone. This artificially inflates future call volumes.
- Average Speed of Answer
This is the amount of time it takes an agent to answer incoming calls, including the time the agent’s phone rings, but does not include any time the caller spends in the IVR queue or in IVR systems. Around 28 seconds is the average speed of answer (ASA) in the industry. When the ASA is longer, customer dissatisfaction increases, absenteeism and turnover of agents increase, and efficiency and accessibility problems develop.
Your agents could be underperforming if their score is excessively high. See what’s preventing them from answering the phone sooner. The ASA might be reduced by improving work tools.
- Overall Customer Satisfaction
The most important KPI for call centers is perhaps customer satisfaction (CSAT). This metric determines the satisfaction level of your customers. CSAT ranked as the most important overall metric for understanding a department’s success in a survey of 350 professionals.
Besides being easy to calculate, customer satisfaction is also a critical metric. Follow-up surveys can be sent by email or text to your customers to get their feedback. Using the number of happy customers divided by the number of total customers surveyed, you will calculate your score.
The CSAT score should not be based on some arbitrary number. You should ultimately use this number to track the progress of your team. It would be ideal if you always got a 100% customer satisfaction rating — if that’s not the case, then you need to think about how to improve it. Ask yourself: “Why did I only score 95 on my CSAT this month?” Is there anything I can do to improve it to a 96 or 97 next month? Then work to improve continuously from there.
- Average Time in Queue
It can be difficult to assess this KPI due to the varying call volumes per hour affecting queue times.
As they deal with more calls during peak hours, your agents will have to perform faster turnarounds and have more agents available to deal with more calls.
An issue with staffing is likely if your customers are consistently spending a long time in queue. If this is the case, hiring more agents (or improving the performance of current agents, a more difficult task) will take care of it.
It is usually easy to analyze customers’ average queue wait time. Longer wait times are always undesirable; nobody enjoys them.
- Transfer Rate
In cell centers, the transfer rate is one of the key performance indicators that shows how many calls an agent transfers to another employee highly capable of handling the caller’s concerns. There’s no clear way of determining whether high or low rates are better for this KPI.
The higher the transfer rate, the more likely you are to get callers to the right person, depending on your industry and transfer efficiency. Alternatively, they may indicate your initial response team does not possess the resources or expertise to deal with customer concerns.
The likelihood that your agents will be transferring incoming calls may lead you to consider training them to handle a wider range of scenarios. Using better call routing may also lead to connecting callers directly to the most knowledgeable employee.
- Cost Per Call
There is a certain cost per call for companies. A call center’s price varies depending upon the software the company uses, as well as the call length.
It is generally more expensive to make longer calls. On the other hand, a long call could decrease the likelihood of calling twice, thus saving time and money. There’s a balance to be struck.
In addition, you might not need to worry about this if your call center uses the right software, which includes unlimited calls for a fixed price. For example, Krispcall offers a fixed-price call plan that reduces the cost for any call center that uses the software.
Additionally, you should keep in mind the cost of messaging, which is different from telephone calls. Call centers aren’t built solely to handle phone calls.
- Agent Utilization Rate
The customer service function is labor-intensive, so companies need to ensure their employees are doing their work effectively. A call center’s agent utilization rate can help them measure their productivity.
Divide the amount of work performed by the work capacity to get an estimate of agent utilization. The agent’s utilization rate would be 75% if they worked six of eight hours per day.
Nonetheless, you might want to factor in variables such as break times, breaks during lunch, training, vacation days, and sick days for an accurate calculation.