Call centers are an essential part of most companies’ overall operations. They serve as your customer service and sales operations and are usually the most customer-facing parts of an organization. Understanding your call center’s effectiveness by looking at relevant data is important when it comes to making your center work at its best. There are nine key call center metrics, or key performance indicators (KPIs), that are especially vital.Here are nine call center metrics to track for an improved customer experience:
1. Overall Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
Customer satisfaction (CSAT) is perhaps the single most important call center KPI that you can look at. In basic terms, it refers to the numerical measure of how your customers feel about your service. According to a survey of 350 professionals, 93.1% of workers believe that CSAT is the most important overall data point for understanding their department’s success.
CSAT is pretty easy to calculate and can be determined in a number of ways. Perhaps the most popular method is by sending your customers a follow-up survey, which is usually done by phone or email. If you’ve ever used customer support and were asked to rate your experience, that company was likely trying to gather data for their CSAT score. The score can be calculated in different ways, but the most popular method is dividing the number of happy customers by the total number of surveyed customers.
There’s no established “magic number” for how high your CSAT score should be. Ultimately, your team member should try to satisfy every customer they interact with, and any CSAT below 90 should be cause for concern. Instead of trying to reach a specific number, you should take a look at your current CSAT and look to improve it. Ask yourself: “Why is my CSAT only a 95 this month? What can I do to raise it to a 96 or 97 next time?” and try to continually improve.
Pro tip: If your phone system doesn’t offer the ability to send post-call surveys, you can use a site like SurveyMonkey, which lets you create and deploy surveys for your customers.
2. Average Handle Time
Average handle time (AHT) is one of the more popular call center KPIs because it measures the total span of time from the agent answering a call until all work on the ticket is completed. This involves everything from greeting to the customer to basic housekeeping items like updating the database. This metric is automatically tracked by mainstream call center phone systems because it is such an important gauge of how efficiently your staff handles their workload.
This metric is particularly useful for being able to better spot inefficiencies in your workflow. For example, you might discover that one agent takes a particularly long time to finish their tickets. However, if all of your agents find it difficult to handle their work in a timely manner, it can be indicative of a problem with your overall process. From there, you can retool your sales and customer service processes accordingly.
According to a report from Call Centre Helper magazine, the majority of organizations will want to do their best to reach an overall AHT of about six minutes. This ensures enough time to handle the customer’s problem effectively while also keeping it brief enough to get to a large number of customers over the course of a shift.
However, there is something of a controversy with AHT. In an article from Harvard Business Review, it is argued that AHT is not a good metric because fewer people are using phone calls to reach call centers in favor of email, text, chat, and social media. They also find that it unfairly incentivizes agents to rush through calls at the expense of providing quality service. While we find that AHT can be helpful to look at, it’s important to note that the information should be looked at in the context of what sort of issues your agents are solving and if their service quality is high.
3. First Call Resolution (FCR)
First call resolution (FCR) refers to your team’s ability to resolve customer’s problems the first time they call. As a rule, customers want their issues solved quickly and without much work on their part. If they are able to call your team once and have their problem fixed, that is a good reflection of your team’s effectiveness. This KPI is all about solving problems quickly.
You can gather FCR data in a number of ways. In your follow-up survey, you can ask the customer how many conversations it took to get the problem fixed. Once you have that information, you could divide the number of problems solved during the initial conversation by the total number of calls to get your FCR.
Like CSAT, there is no generally accepted number for what an “ideal” FCR is. Instead, you should focus on continual improvement. After all, you don’t want to leave any of your customers hanging when it comes to solving their problems.
FCR is useful because it is directly tied to CSAT. One study conducted by Customer Relationship Metrics found that CSAT scores can drop by as much as 45% when the customer needs to make more than one call regarding an issue. Therefore, you owe it to your customers to try to get their situation handled the first time they call.
4. Average Speed to Answer
As its name implies, the average speed to answer (ASA) is a metric that measures the length of time it takes for agents to answer calls. Customers don’t appreciate having to wait too long to get in touch with an agent, so it makes sense that you’d want to get them connected as soon as possible. This metric is usually gathered by dividing the total waiting time for answered calls by the total number of answered calls.
According to Call Centre Helper, the overall global average ASA is about 28 seconds. Furthermore, 80% of calls are answered within 20 seconds. While this is a helpful target, please note that you should not compromise quality when helping customers in favor of getting callers off the phone as quickly as possible.
5. Call Abandonment Rate
Call abandonment rate calculated the percentage of inbound calls dropped by the caller. This is usually tied to ASA. In most cases, the customer was on hold for too long, got frustrated, and abandoned their attempt to reach out to you. A high abandonment rate is a negative KPI, as it indicates an inefficient contact center setup.
To calculate your total call abandonment rate, divide the number of abandoned calls by the total number of inbound calls. According to Call Centre Helper, any rate higher than 5% indicates serious problems in your operations. In fact, you want to aim for a rate of 2% or lower.
6. Service Level
Service level is one of the most important call center metrics to look at when evaluating your call center. It refers to the accessibility of your company in addition to your ability to plan for call volume fluctuations based on time, day, and season. To calculate service level, simply look at the percentage of calls answered within a predefined period of time.
This period could be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to a full month. You can set it to find out how your team is doing over an extended period of time or if you want a more granular report with minute-by-minute data.
All told, the metric’s main goal is to gauge how large of a workload your staff can tolerate at any given time. It is tied with call abandonment rate and average speed to answer. All three together can help paint a picture of how efficient your team is in connecting with customers.
7. Transfer Rate
Transfer rate is a call center KPI that refers to the total percentage of calls that are transferred by an agent to another employee who has the unique skills to address the caller’s concern. On one hand, this can be considered good customer service because your agents are sending callers to the person most equipped to help them. On the other hand, if it happens on a regular basis, it could be a sign that your team is not trained properly.
If your incoming calls are getting transferred often, you may want to consider training your staff to handle situations that seem to arrive. On top of that, you can implement better call routing features to connect callers directly with the most knowledgeable person.
It is hard to determine an ideal transfer rate because there will always be times when the best course of action is to transfer a caller to a different department. When you fixate on lowering how many calls you transfer, you run the risk of compromising on service quality. It will be up to you to take note of your transfers and be aware of sudden upticks in your call center.
Pro tip: There are many business phone systems on the market, including RingCentral, that can automatically route all of your incoming calls based on time, day, call volume, and agent availability.
8. Call Volume Trends
The total measure of call volumes by day, week, or month compared to your average speed to answer is a KPI known as a call volume trend. This call center KPI is useful because it can help identify specific times when incoming calls are highest. You can use this information to make better hiring and scheduling decisions.
For example, you could look at your call volume trends to find out that Wednesdays and Thursdays are the busiest days at your call center. With this information, you could schedule your agents’ shifts to meet this demand. You could also use this on a monthly level. For example, many companies find themselves busiest around the holiday season and may need to hire seasonal help.
For the most part, the more agents you have during your busiest times, the lower your response time will be. Therefore, customers will become more satisfied and your CSAT score will go up.
9. Agent Turnover Rate
Turnover affects teams of all kinds. However, it is especially prevalent in contact center environments. One study even found that call centers have roughly double the turnover rate of all occupations in the United States. This is harmful to companies because it is very expensive to keep hiring and retraining new employees. As such, it is important to track this call center metric.
Your team’s turnover rate has a direct impact on customer satisfaction. Even the best agents will need time and practice before they can properly help your customers. Until then, they will be forced to take extra time talking to customers and also transfer callers over to other staff. This will likely affect your CSAT score in a negative way.
Your contact center is a crucial part of your business because it is where your team interacts with your customers the most. Whether it’s closing deals or helping existing customers, your call center has a direct effect on how your customers see you. These call center metrics can help you better understand your operations and make overall better business decisions.