Key KPI And Metrics For Call Centers

Key KPI And Metrics For Call Centers

By Lucas Brachet
Published: 3/28/23

The main goal of call centers is to provide meaningful service to customers who interact with their organization. Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, and other metrics provide a powerful way for them to set goals regarding customer service and track progress in meeting those goals.

In this article, we will explain how KPIs provide clarity into performance, help create feedback channels, and improve accountability to provide an outstanding customer experience that sets your business apart from competition. We will also explain what the most crucial call center metrics and KPIs are and how they can help your business.

What Are Contact Center KPIs?

Contact center key performance indicators are measurements used by contact center managers to set goals and determine the success of their operations. It is important to keep in mind that the primary goal of a contact center is to provide meaningful service to anyone who interacts with the organization. So these indicators reveal if they are meeting their goals such as efficiency and whether or not agents are solving customer issues via a high-quality customer service experience, independent of the channel used.

Considering how many moving parts and different personalities are involved in a customer service team, KPIs are crucial to make sure the service provided by your organization consistently exceeds customers’ expectations

There are a multitude of KPIs contact centers can use to holistically measure all aspects of their operations but formulating and choosing the right ones for each stakeholder can be quite challenging.

Main Challenges Of Picking The Right Contact Center KPIs

Ensure You Can Measure KPIs

It is extremely important to make sure the KPIs you pick for your call center are measurable and attainable. There would be no point in selecting a KPI you can’t measure with clear data or if collecting the necessary metrics is too costly for your business. Before you choose a KPI, make sure you consider the processes that need to be implemented in order to collect and access the needed data.

For example, instead of measuring call satisfaction, focus on data you can measure easily like call duration, average queue time, and abandonment rate that will give you an idea of overall customer satisfaction.

Aligning KPIs With Departments’ End Goals

One challenge in choosing the right set of KPIs for your call center is that each department may have different needs depending on their purpose. As a result, they might be interested in different metrics to achieve their end goals.

For example, both sales and customer service teams might want to focus on the entire customer journey and on metrics that show how customers’ needs are successfully addressed. On the other hand, the marketing team might prefer focusing on KPIs that show how many dollars are earned for each outbound call.

These differing purposes and end goals shouldn’t lead to misalignment in KPIs across teams.

Choosing KPIs For Specific Processes

Just as you need to think of departments’ end goals to choose your KPIs, it is important to keep in mind what progress you’re trying to make. You can choose to measure KPIs for your business as a whole, but it might also be very interesting and sometimes more productive to measure targeted units for specific processes in your call center.

For example, you might want to tackle your call abandonment rate specifically by choosing a set of KPIs that can help identify and address this issue for a period of time. Doing so, you can focus on precise and accurate data that can help you set goals for each sector, make decisions and improve your business.

Measuring Outdated KPIs

Whether organizations chose a set of KPIs to measure aspects of their business as a whole or to focus on specific processes in the past, it can be a challenge to know when a KPI has become outdated and less relevant to your customers or agents.

One way of overcoming this challenge is to regularly audit, review and update KPIs in order to keep up with business and customers’ needs.

Using The Right Tools To Locate And Collect Data

In order to measure KPIs effectively and accurately, businesses need the right tools and systems to locate and collect the needed data. Ideally, all this data is good enough quality to ensure accuracy and is stored in one database for easy access.

For example, using a system that doesn’t integrate with a business’ calling platform might make things difficult as it will require some effort and time to pull the data from many different sources and store it in a format that is easily accessible. On the other hand, good software will help businesses determine the total call volume per agent with accurate and helpful data such as call duration, number of calls for each number, queue time, abandonment rate…

Top Call Center Metrics And KPIs

Here are the metrics and KPIs that we have identified as being the most useful for call centers and the most widely used by the best call centers.

Average Speed of Answer

Average speed of answer (ASA) is a metric quantified in seconds that refers to the time it takes for an inbound call to be answered by an agent, from the second a customer is placed in a queue to the moment an agent picks up the call. It includes time spent on hold. This shows the ability of agents to answer calls in a timely manner and their efficiency. This KPI is also useful to define service level goals, which is the ability to answer a certain percentage of calls within a set time period and help lower the call abandonment rate.

Average Abandonment Rate

The average abandonment rate shows the number of callers who hang up or are disconnected before they can speak to an agent. This KPI is very useful to understand the performance of a call center as a whole and work on customer satisfaction. It is important to keep in mind that each client that hangs up is a missed opportunity

A high abandonment rate is a reflection of more frustrated customers. It may show that you are understaffed or that you don’t have enough agents on site during peak hours. Technical issues might also increase this rate.

First Call Resolution (FCR)

FCR could be a very good KPI to use for your call center as it is an important component of customer relationship management. It measures the call center’s ability to resolve customer issues on first contact, with no escalation, call back, or follow-up required. Solving customers’ issues on the first call is the best way to boost your reputation and ensure customer satisfaction.

Transfer Rate

On top of FCR, some call centers also measure the transfer rate. This KPI helps determine customer interaction success. Transfer rate shows the number of calls an agent has to transfer to a supervisor or another department in order to solve the issues. While the reason may be a specific request made by the caller or an incorrect routing of the initial call, it can also show an agent’s lack of training or skills. The transfer rate should always be lower than the FCR.

Average Handle Time

This KPI measures the total amount of time spent on a call, from the moment an agent picks it up until they are ready to take another call. Average handling time includes the time the caller spends in the queue and exchanging information with an agent, as well as all issue-related after-call tasks performed by the agent to complete the call (adding notes to a CRM, referring to a manager, etc). This is a great metric to assess agents’ efficiency and performance. A good balance between satisfactory average handling time and no pressure on agents leads to improved caller satisfaction, customer loyalty, and most importantly, customer retention.

Average Hold Time

Average hold time is a great indicator that shows a call center team or agent provides great service. This KPI corresponds to the amount of time an agent keeps a customer on hold during a call. This may happen for different legitimate reasons such as to look up information or to seek out needed answers from another department. Average hold time is calculated by the cumulative time callers wait on hold divided by the total number of calls answered by agents.

After Call Work Time (ACW)

After the call, an agent usually has additional tasks to handle. They can include :

  • Adding notes for future reference ;
  • Updating database ;
  • Scheduling a follow-up call ;
  • Completing forms or transaction reports ;
  • Consulting a manager or reporting issues ;
  • Informing team members about the call, etc.

Even though you don't want your agents to rush this part, your ACW metrics can show an agent’s lack of training or that they are overloaded with post-call tasks. Some call center systems can also help lower agents’ after-call workload by automatically adding or updating customer’s data.

Customer Satisfaction

Call centers use this metric to track how happy customers are with their service, and/or experience. The end goal is to determine factors affecting customer satisfaction in order to improve the customer’s journey and overall experience.

Quality Assurance Scoring

Call centers often use this KPI as a quality assurance scorecard measures the quality of service you provide to your customers. Thanks to a list of 10 to 20 questions that are weighted differently according to your priority, the QA scorecard helps your business identify its needs as well as the needs of customers.

Adherence To Schedule

Schedule adherence is one of the top 10 metrics contact centers measure. This KPI shows the degree to which agents stick to their schedules and are able to follow the tasks originally scheduled for them.

Call center schedule adherence can take into account the following activities:

  • Time spent on calls or availability to take calls ;
  • Time spent on breaks ;
  • Time spent doing other non-call-related work.

This metric can help managers improve workforce management, quickly evaluate which agents bring high value, and improve overall customer experience.

Maximum Occupancy

Occupancy in contact centers refers to the percentage of time agents are actively occupied handling customer calls and called-related activities. Call-related activities cover talk time, hold and after-call work.

Keeping track of occupancy helps managers balance three key elements in their call center:

  • Delivering speedy customer service ;
  • Preventing agent burnout ;
  • Optimizing costs, work time, and resourcing

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS is quite a popular KPI for call centers. It measures how likely customers are to recommend your services or company to a friend or family member via a customer survey on a scale of -100 to 100. This KPI helps measure customer satisfaction as the higher the score is, the more likely the customer is to recommend the company.

What Are The Industry Standards For Call Center Metrics?

Call centers can objectively examine how they stack up against the competition by comparing their metrics to industry standards. We have identified these standards to help you select your KPIs and improve your business results.

Service Level

Industry standard and common goal for service level - the percentage of calls answered within a specified time frame - is to have 80% of calls answered within 20 seconds. This is the general standard when it comes to connecting each customer to an agent in order to answer their query or resolve their issue.

Average Speed Of Answer

The average speed of answer changes depending on the time of day, the time of year, or the industry, but the global average amount of time call center agents take to answer a call is 28 seconds (it takes into account all calls that are answered in 20 seconds as well as all other calls). The higher this rate is in your call center, the higher your need for additional staff.

Average Abandonment Rate

The average percentage of calls that are dropped by customers before they can speak to an agent is between 5% and 8% and can reach up to 20% in some industries. The higher the ARR percentage, the more likely it is that customer satisfaction will decrease.

First Call Resolution

In the call center industry, the average percentage of calls that agents resolve on the first interaction without needing to escalate or follow up with the customer is 70%.

Average Handle Time

The average total amount of time an agent takes to handle an entire call in the call center industry is 6 minutes. This starts with the first second a customer initiates a call and includes hold time, time spent by the customer to explain their need to the agent, exchanges and questions that might occur, and all actions needed to solve the issue.

Average Hold Time

The average call center hold time is about 13 minutes. but most customers are only willing to wait up to 3 minutes before getting upset or even hanging up. It is important to keep average hold time low in order to enhance customer satisfaction.

After-Call Work

The average amount of time an agent spends doing follow-up tasks to wrap up and complete a call in the call center industry is 6 minutes. Once again, after-call work widely varies depending on your industry.

Customer Satisfaction

The average CSAT - customer satisfaction score - for contact centers is 90%. It indicates how satisfied customers are with a product, service, or interaction. It is usually measured on a percentage scale. Scores can differ widely based on the type of CSAT question asked.

Quality Assurance Scoring

The call center industry standard for the quality of calls based on a set of criteria that must be covered by the agent during the call is 75% to 90%, based on the scoring of 4 random calls per month.

Adherence To Schedule

The percentage of time agents are online compared to their scheduled hours is 95%. For call centers, this can take into account the time spent on breaks or other non-call related activities. The higher the percentage, the more cost-effective and productive the agents are.

Maximum occupancy

The global industry standard for the percentage of time agents are actively occupied on call-related activities is between 60-80%. A higher than 90% rate means little to no time between calls which negatively impacts agent satisfaction and performance.

KPI For Call Center: Your Key Takeaways

Key performance indicators - or KPIs - and metrics are crucial elements for your call center to provide outstanding and meaningful customer service and set yourself apart from competition.

Yes, there’s a wide variety of KPIs available to measure every single aspect of your call center. But selecting the right ones, as challenging as this is, will provide you with solid and powerful data to set goals, make decisions and improve overall activities and productivity within your teams.

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