Call Center KPIs: Measuring the Right Metrics - Brightmetrics

Call Center KPIs: Measuring the Right Metrics

TL;DR: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) help call center managers to determine the success of their call center by measuring and tracking customer interactions. KPIs also help highlight agent performance goals and benchmarks, providing a look at the customer experience your call center is delivering. Three of the most common call center KPIs are Average Handle Time, First Call Resolution, and Net Promoter Score.

 

Anyone familiar with call center management knows that keeping a close watch on metrics is a must when running efficient operations. There are dozens of call center Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that can be tracked but ultimately, it comes down to measuring what is most important to your team and business goals. Having an understanding of your call center metrics and KPIs, and how to make them work for you will help your company strike the balance between operational efficiency and cultivating positive customer experiences.

 

This article covers a high-level overview of KPIs, metrics to keep an eye out for the future, and some best practices for measuring what matters most to your organization. 

 

What Are Call Center Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?

Call centers are designed with the objective of providing meaningful service to anyone who interacts with your organization. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) help call center managers determine the success of their call center by measuring and tracking these interactions. KPIs also help highlight agent performance goals and benchmarks, providing a look at the customer experience your call center is delivering. 

 

Why Measure Call Center KPIs?

Call center managers have volumes of customer data coming in from various platforms that are often focused on measuring call center performance. KPIs and general metrics provide a way to monitor this data. There are many different types of contact center metrics, and the ones you need to measure will likely depend on your role. For example, customer service leaders might need one set of KPIs, but front-line managers may prefer a different set. 

 

 

The old adage “What gets measured, gets managed” is another important element of KPIs. Being able to measure everything from how incoming calls are routed through the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to Average Speed of Answer to response times to resolution rates will provide stakeholders with the information they need to know to effectively manage teams and accurately predict outcomes.

 

Customer Experience

Being able to deliver a positive customer experience is what keeps businesses in business. But how do you know if you’re meeting customer expectations? How customers rate their experience with your company’s products, services, and other factors can determine whether a customer’s experience is positive, negative, or somewhere in between. Call center metrics and KPIs can help you ensure that your customer experience is delivering. Were your customer’s concerns resolved during their first interaction? Were your customers so pleased with their experience they would recommend your services to others without any qualms (Net Promoter Score or NPS)? How many times were they transferred? All of these metrics and having an understanding of them help with your customer’s experience.

 

Training Opportunities

Contact centers go hand in hand with customer service, product service, IT, and technical services. All of these teams working cohesively is important to the overall health of a contact center. Digging into the important metrics to help train, coach, and upskill your workforce is vital to your agent’s success no matter the team. Do you have an agent who is accumulating high Average Handle Times (AHT)? Metrics will help you identify that quickly and be able to provide timely feedback on how to improve call control. Have an agent who spends an absorbent amount of time unavailable in After Call Work (ACW)? Maybe they are unaware of tools that can help them do that work within the call and a simple recap of tools to use would turn that around. 

 

 

Cost Saving and Efficiency

Contact center managers need to be able to establish the baseline for the performance of their operation. These metrics and KPIs help organizations identify peak hours, assess shifting contact center trends, and forecast staffing needs. Metrics can spotlight areas of redundancy or repeated inefficiencies. They can also help contact center managers gauge the effect company initiatives have had, such as product launches and marketing campaigns on call volumes.

 

3 Popular Call Center KPI Examples Analyzed

The challenge becomes about formulating the right set of contact center KPIs for each group within your organization from executives and directors to supervisors, to agents, as well as trainers. If there’s one universal truth when it comes to running a call center, it’s this: the list of KPIs you could measure is almost endless. So below are 3 of the most important call center KPIs and a breakdown of the what, why, and how they impact the contact center space. 

 

1. Average Handle Time (AHT)

This is the bread and butter of a contact center KPIs. Average Handle Time or AHT, measures the average length of customer interaction. From start to finish from call initiation to hold time to talk time all the way through after call work and anything the agent does after customer contact including documentation. This is a broad metric because it covers so much of your customer’s journey, but AHT translates your customer’s journey directly to your organization’s bottom line.

 

 

Why It’s Important

Lowering your AHT can be seen as the equivalence to better utilizing your resources. Shorter calls imply more productive agents and more revenue for your organization. AHT is a useful starting metric to measure your service level opportunities, overall team efficiency, and to quickly identify opportunities for training. However, it is important to approach Average Handle Time bearing in mind that speedy service does not always equate to quality service. Rushing your callers off the phone can result in poor customer satisfaction rates (CSAT) and can have drastic negative impacts on your organization. 

 

How To Improve It

One of the reasons that AHT is such a popular and useful metric is that it is also “easy” to pinpoint how solutions can be implemented to immediately address areas of concern. 

 

  • Intelligent call routing: Having an IVR system that gets your customers to the right team to handle your customers’ needs reduces transfers and cuts back on hold times. You can use top-level auto attendants to route calls to the right teams and more granular IVRs with skills-based routing to send calls to the perfect individuals in your contact center.
  • Productive training: Having agents that have a deep understanding of their product is essential to their success. Having a training protocol developed that gives your agent’s foundational knowledge of the hard and soft skills they will need in their role will help AHT by equipping your agents with the info they need to provide fast, accurate, and cost-effective solutions is an investment worth making. AND providing follow-up opportunities for further knowledge development is a good way to retain the individuals you have worked so hard to recruit and train.
  • Unified teams use unified solutions: Obsolete, clunky, confusing platforms weigh your team down. Providing tech-forward, agile platforms and dashboards for your agents keep everyone on the same page making your solutions cohesive. 
  • Support portals and knowledge bases: A centralized, easy-to-access database that your agents (and customers, in some cases) can reference and find concise solutions will again have an impact on AHT so that people can find what they need when they need it. Is your agents’ AHT being clogged up with answering the same question 30 different times in a single shift? Is that a pattern across your team? Looking for ways to lead conversations by getting in front of the conversation so that your customers are not calling in because they cannot find a solution online will help support your agents and reduce the number of calls they have to field.

 

2. First Call Resolution (FCR)

First Call Resolution (sometimes referred to as First Contact Resolution or FCR) as a KPI explores customer relationship management, measuring a contact center’s ability to resolve issues on first contact, with no callback or follow-up required. FCR is all about agents being efficient whilst creating “wow” experiences for your customers. Similar to the caveat we mentioned earlier with AHT when you are measuring FCR you are going to want to keep in mind that depending on the nature of your industry or the scope of power you have given your agents sometimes follow up actions are absolutely vital and out of the control of your agents.  

 

Why It’s Important

This is a component of customer service that is really quite intuitive. We know as consumers that anything that demands a high level of effort or anything that is time-intensive in order for us to get help is automatically going to result in frustration. 

 

 

According to CEB, an industry analyst firm, these sorts of interactions result in seriously negative (and expensive) outcomes saying customers that did not have their issues resolved in one interaction – “62% had to re-contact the organization, 56% had to re-explain their issue, 59% were transferred, and 59% had to put forth moderate to high additional effort to resolve their issue(s)”. Sometimes, the second contact is unavoidable. Generally, we want to always aim for first call resolution because we recognize that convenience and time savings are on the whole better for everyone. 

 

How To Improve It

The good news is that everything that we spotlighted for you that could help improve your AHT can also help improve your FCR rates. We will elaborate on a few key points below.

 

  • Call routing matters: Having an IVR system that does not exhaust your customers forcing them to hang up to try to get a better result is the first step. With the proper call routing and understanding of your customer journeys, you should be able to accurately route your customers to the right agents with the right skill sets to resolve a call the first time your customer calls in. 
  • Call center software is important: Empower your agents with all the information they need about the context and the customer. And provide access to the tools they need whether it is routing functionalities, artificial intelligence integrations, and automation, anything that helps with call flow will help with FCR. 
  • Centralize your information: Flipping between multiple platforms to document or build transfers into your process leaves you open to putting up roadblocks for your team to work cohesively. 

 

3. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

This KPI is as direct as they come. Net Promoter Score or NPS asks customers to rate their experiences on a scale of 1-10. This metric can also take the form of “How likely would you be to recommend this product or service? “ You can ask this question via follow-up call, email, text, customer survey – the variances do not matter. This metric ultimately is used to measure satisfaction by harnessing the human behavior that is sharing our experiences. 

 

Why It’s Important

We know when someone has a negative experience they are likely to broadcast it to their networks, but we also know that exceptional experiences usually result in broadcasts as well. NPS helps us figure out what stories will be shared by our clients. You may be thinking that NPS is a “feel good” measurement but there are real correlations between strong NPS and revenue. In fact, the London School of Economics noted a trend that “an average NPS growth of 7% correlates with a 1% growth in revenue across industries”. The psychology behind rating an experience also reveals patterns of customer loyalty, business retention, brand trust, and perceptions of reliability. 

 

 

How To Improve It

We are here to tell anyone who did not get the memo that listening to your customers and their needs is the first step in improving your NPS. 

 

  • Visit your metrics: Look at FCR and AHT and look for ways to optimize processes so that your customers’ concerns are handled effectively and efficiently. Looking for trends like excessive wait times or call lengths (Is it time to hire more call center agents?) or opportunities to empower your agents to make calls within their control instead of relying on a contact back methodology.
  • Apply what you know: Learn from the feedback that is provided. Identify things that are detractors and map strong points of performances. 
  • Invest in your people: We touched on this in the trends we see developing in the landscape for 2022 but training that is relevant to your agents will help your agents apply their training “on the floor”. Highly trained employees behave like highly trained employees (Hello, reduced agent turnover rate) and your customers can tell the difference. 
  • Be where they are: Now is the perfect time to be accessible to your customers in an omnichannel approach. Facebook messenger, website chat, email, traditional phone calls, bat signals – having solutions for your customers no matter where they are interacting with you will keep your company relevant and improve your customers’ experiences. 

 

Other Common Call Center KPIs To Measure:

  1. Average Speed of Answer
  2. CSAT
  3. Service Level
  4. Avg Time in Queue/Avg Wait Time
  5. Transfer Rate
  6. Answer Rate (percentage of calls an Agent Answers)
  7. Agent Availability / Idle Time

 

How To Pick The Right Call Center KPIs 

Now that we have discussed common inbound call center efficiency metrics let’s talk about how to select indicators that can help you manage the full scope of your call center’s overall performance. With data, it is all about finding that balance between useful information and data overload and supplying the real-time and historical data that companies need to measure their impact and promote their success.

 

Align KPIs Between Your Departments

The classic example of KPIs having a different impact across different departments is the relationship between sales and customer success teams. Every stakeholder cares about the entire customer experience but the role of the sales team is to bring in revenue. Customer service agents have the goal to address customers’ needs and concerns whilst retaining loyalty. Figuring out what KPIs need to be aligned to make sense to the various teams across your organization is key.

 

Measure What Matters Most Now

If you have not audited your KPIs to be meeting your customers’ and team’s needs for the here and now then you are missing an opportunity to improve your processes. Regularly auditing, reviewing, and updating your call center KPI list and goals will help ensure your team is keeping up with the needs of your customers. Contact center managers should consider and identify KPIs for customer effort, satisfaction, revenue, effectiveness, engagement, and agent productivity. 

 

Ensure Your Benchmarks Are Actionable and Attainable

We love data here at Brightmetrics™, and we enjoy seeing our clients set goals for themselves and being able to help them on their journeys to accomplish those goals. However, there is merit in figuring out if the goals being set for your call center are even things within the control of your team(s) and are attainable. If you are setting the goal so far ahead on the horizon that it seems impossible or unachievable your team could struggle with motivation. If you are setting the bar so high that your teams have never even been in the neighborhood of achieving your goals then it may be an opportunity to reign it in and get realistic. 

 

Key Takeaways On Call Center Performance Metrics

Measuring contact center KPIs gives invaluable insight into customer service success, agent performance, and overall contact center operations. If you are a call center manager or leader and are looking to unlock the power of your customer interactions, then Brightmetrics is here to help. We enable organizations to uncover strategic business insights by analyzing and visualizing their call center’s data through customizable dashboards and reporting tools. The backbone of Brightmetrics business intelligence is deep call center analytics that provides information using both historical data as well as up-to-the-minute metrics and reporting about the call center’s performance with REAL TIME Analytics™. We also strive to empower agents with the Agent Balanced Scorecard™, allowing agents to not only self-manage their performance but also have clear set goals to work towards. Brightmetrics helps customer service teams strategize and make better data-driven decisions. 

 

Is Brightmetrics the right fit for your contact center? Learn More

 

VP of Sales, Brightmetrics

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