Call Center Metrics: The Divining Rod of Performance and Quality
Some call center execs “know in their gut” whether or not their business is succeeding. For the rest of us, a mystical connection to the building and employees wasn’t in the cards. To close the gap from palm-reader to big-data guru, start with a foundation of metrics.
How do call center metrics help? The answer: key performance indicators (KPIs) and call center quality evaluation.
Best-in-class businesses set KPIs critical to business success. They then use those metrics during every call center quality evaluation. And as they perform those appraisals, they receive a huge advantage, actionable information that can be used to improve call center efficiency, productivity, employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and sales.
What Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Matter in Call Center Operations
While all KPIs matter, some can matter more than others – and the right KPIs aren’t always the first that come to mind. For instance, trying to reduce high turnover can be difficult. Small difference is in pay or hours might help, but far more likely indicators are absenteeism and engagement scores.
Whether it’s turnover, productivity or dollars and cents, a select group of metrics are gold standards in the industry. What follows are some of the most reliable metrics in the industry. They’ve helped businesses evaluate their call centers’ efforts objectively and holistically, and fall into that gold-standard bucket. They also assist with conducting in-depth call center quality evaluations.
Customer Satisfaction Metrics: These metrics tell a business how customers perceive the company and its call center.
• First-Contact Resolution. How many calls or contacts are required to solve a customer’s problem?
• Call Abandonment Rate. How many customers abandon their calls to the service center?
• Average Time to Answer. How long, on average, does it take agents to answer incoming calls?
Operational Efficiency Metrics: These three numbers demonstrate the productivity and efficiency of your agents.
• Agent Occupancy. How many agents are working during a particular shift?
• Average Handling Time. How long do agents interact with each customer?
• Cost Per Call. How much does a cost call in terms of dollars per hour?
• Average Call Volume. How closely does occupancy follow call volume?
Human Resources Metrics: HR metrics offer insight into how the workplace is performing.
• Attrition Rate. How many agents leave the call center every month? Quarter? Year?
• Absenteeism. How many days does an employee miss because they’re feeling unwell?
• Average handle time: How efficiently do they resolve calls?
• After-call work: How long does it take them to wrap up?
• First-call resolution rate: How many times does a customer have to call in to solve a problem when they reach the agent in question?
• Post-call Survey Score Average: How well do customers rate them in a post call survey? How do the ratings spread – are any agents with large groups at the bottom of the score? If so, is there a particular call type that they need help with?
• Average Dollars Intake per Call: How much, in dollars, are agents collecting, selling or upgrading each customer? How does this compare to the cost per call? Do certain agents manage higher dollar intake with lower handle times? GREAT! Those are your new shift leaders and trainers!
Business Metrics: These metrics assess how messaging converts to sales, and sales into repeat customers.
• Sales Conversions. How many outbound calls turn into paying customers or subscribers?
• Total Sales. How many sales are completed in a given amount of time?
• Customer Retention. How many customers remain with the company year-after-year?
Besides applying hard metrics in a call center quality evaluation, some businesses study softer ones like phone etiquette, compliance with processes, and knowledge. Most companies change their KPIs as they grow or encounter new needs, too.
Doing so is like training for a marathon. No runner laces their shoes and runs 26 miles for the first time on the race day—at least, not many do. Runners who come unprepared to the race may finish it, but they complete it with bloodied, blistered feet. Most runners work their way up to the 26 miles, starting with smaller numbers in the weeks and months preceding the race.
Those initial runs furnish you with data about their skills and habits. A business starts with two or three KPIs for their target agent or deparment. Once they can assess and use those numbers with ease, they add a few more indicators. The business eventually reaches a stage where KPIs not only inform call center quality evaluations but also impact customer satisfaction, agent happiness, and sales.
Businesses wanting to improve their call center communications ought to employ regular evaluations. To do so, they should begin monitoring and responding to some of the KPIs shared in this article. If they do, they will start to see a higher call center quality evaluation score.