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4 Must Have Call Center Metrics

Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - 10:15
Call Center Metrics Essentials

In an age where we have access to a plethora of data at the tip of our fingers, it can sometimes be a challenge to get to the call center metrics that actually matter. Call centers and contact centers must clarify what success means for their organization, which is typically a balancing act between quantitative and qualitative.

In the days of old, it was all about Average Handling Time (AHT) and calls handled per hour. Nowadays the landscape has changed. Due in part to social media and the increased voice of the customer, call center operations tend to favor customer satisfaction and customer influence metrics. While the impact on customer care has been significant, quality metrics must to be balanced with efficiency measurements in order to 1) allow for reporting and forecasting and to 2) piece together a holistic view of the contact center's performance.

Let’s examine four must have metrics in today’s modern contact center.

Call Center Metric 1: First Contact (or First Call) Resolution

First contact resolution (FCR) means that a customer's inquiry or issue has been successfully resolved in a single contact. Obviously if agents can successfully address the issue in a single point of contact, you'll have happier customers. So it’s not a surprise then that FCR is directly linked to customer satisfaction; however, there are other benefits that you can realize by increasing this metric. For instance, when repeated follow ups and continued escalations are required to resolve inquiries, the added operational costs due to this inefficiency can quickly add up. By improving your FCR, you’ll retain more customers and you'll have happier agents too (which means lower staff turnover rates!).

For some quick tips on how to improve First Call / Contact Resolution see this recent blog post.

Call Center Metric 2: Service Level

Service level and response times are classic call center metrics that show how accessible the contact center is to customers and reveal what percentage of calls are answered within a designated time, such as "X% of contacts answered in Y seconds" (e.g. 80% of calls answered in 20 seconds). Response time is typically for inquiries that don't need to be handled immediately, like 100% of contacts handled within X days/hours/minutes. Depending on your business and the channels you use, you may want to set up different response times for things like tweets or email inquiries (e.g. they will be responded to within three hours). 

In terms of the customer experience, these objectives are important to set and measure for overall numbers and consistency. They are also helpful in identifying any trends you should be aware of, like if service levels dips during certain periods. You can then use that information to plan and adapt your staffing requirements.


Call Center Metric 3: Dialer Metrics

For outbound dialing systems, productivity metrics will often include total talk time, wait time in between connections, and contact and conversion rates (closure/debt collected/appointment booked). Adjust the outbound dialer to get the most out of these metrics. If there's a high contact rate but a low conversion rate, you can drill down to look at stats across all agents and pinpoint trends. Perhaps one agent is skewing the overall numbers.

Wrap time can be measured also, though it’s not normally focused on much unless there are clear exceptions. That’s also true for average handling time. Looking at exceptions can actually be a good thing. You might learn that team members with a higher AHT are also delivering the best results.

Call Center Metric 4: Quality Score and Customer Feedback Surveys

Sometimes people miss the point with quality and customer service metrics, viewing them as less important than productivity metrics or as “nice to haves” rather than fundamental. Yet customer service has a major impact on the bottom line. Customers keep coming back if they experience good service, and it's typically harder and more costly to obtain new customers than it is to keep your existing ones. Striving to keep customers happy is a no brainer!

  • Examine the processes agents use, listen in on calls, and make sure they are always polite and following procedures.  
  • Agent scripting can be a good way to promote consistency in messaging.
  • Quality monitoring tools allow you to score and benchmark performance. 
  • Customer surveys can provide the missing link in the quality management chain. By having the customers provide real feedback after the call ends, organizations can validate their scoring and coaching methodology with the reality of the customer’s opinion.

Pro Tip:  Don't Go It Alone!

There is an abundance of metrics in call centers and contact centers, from service levels and quality scores, to contact and conversion rates and FCR. There’s even first social contact resolution. At West, we have dedicated Success Managers who work with each client to determine goals, outline which metrics matter, and set up a plan to track them. It’s a true contact center consultancy approach that’s offered at no additional cost.

Success Managers, all former contact center management professionals, work with customers not only at the go-live stage, but continue to visit them on a monthly basis throughout the duration of their contract. They are well versed in contact center metrics and help to design and implement campaigns accordingly, optimizing both the metrics and the use of the system features and functionality to the best advantage.

They can also design dashboards and create specific reports so that metrics can be tracked and reviewed in-depth during their monthly sessions. Additionally, on a quarterly basis, Success Managers will update senior management on progress against targets and evaluate whether the metrics they are following should be redesigned given any changes in the business or marketplace.

Contact center metrics need reviewing frequently. As they evolve, new performance metrics are developed in line with these changes and call center reporting must keep up. Consider those metrics that impact the bottom line, but don’t forget that good service ensures your customers come back!


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