Call centers are a vital part of your customer service and sales operations. Understanding your call center operations by looking at relevant data is vital to making your setup as efficient as possible. There are nine key call center metrics, or key performance indicators (KPIs), that are especially important.
Capable phone services like RingCentral include valuable tools for measuring the performance of your call center beyond what you can do with standard landline technology. They offer a complete contact center suite with plenty of reporting options as well as software integrations with third-party apps. Click the button below to get started today.
The following call center metrics can help you better understand your team’s efficiency:
1. Overall Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
Your customer satisfaction (CSAT) score is perhaps the most important call center metric, which is otherwise known as a key performance indicator (KPI). It refers to the numerical measure of how your customers feel about your service. According to a 2018 survey of 350 professionals, 93.1% of workers found that CSAT is the most important metric for understanding their overall department success.
CSAT can be determined in a number of ways. Perhaps the most popular way is via a follow-up survey that can be done either over the phone or through email. If you’ve ever had an experience with customer support and were then asked to rate your experience, that company was gathering CSAT information. There are many ways to calculate this score, but in most cases, it is the number of happy customers divided by the total number of customers surveyed.
If you have a high CSAT score, you can be reasonably sure that your service operations are effective. If it is middling or low, this information can tell you that you need to improve.
Pro tip: RingCentral offers the ability to send surveys to customers after each interaction. In fact, most contact center platforms will offer this feature. If you use a service without such capabilities, sites like SurveyMonkey let you create and deploy surveys for your customers.
2. Average Handle Time (AHT)
Average handle time (AHT) is a call center KPI related to the total span of time from the agent answering a call until all work on a ticket is completed. This includes housekeeping items, such as database updating, as well. This statistic is automatically tracked by many call center phone systems because it is an important gauge of how quickly your staff solves customer problems.
This metric can tell you a lot about different aspects of your contact center. On one hand, it can determine how efficient your agents are in closing customer tickets and moving on to the next issue. It could also provide some key insights into your staffing needs.
For example, if you find that all of your staff take a long time to close tickets, it could tell you that most customers call regarding complex, time-intensive issues. You may need to hire more staff to deal with the demand, or you might need to rethink part of your services if it seems to confuse or trouble customers.
There is something of a debate around AHT and its usefulness among call center metrics. An article from the Harvard Business Review argued that AHT is not a good measure of a call center’s success. This is due in part to the fact that fewer people are reaching out to companies by phone and instead using email, text, chat, and social media. They also find that it can incentivize agents to rush through customer conversations at the expense of quality service.
Despite this controversy, AHT is still a popular metric that can provide valuable insights to your organization. Looking at the data can give you an idea of how long customer interactions take. However, you will have to look at these metrics in proper context and encourage agents to focus on having quality interactions with clients, no matter how long it takes.
3. First Call Resolution (FCR)
In basic terms, first call resolution (FCR) refers to your contact center’s ability to resolve customer issues the first time they call. Generally, customers want their problems solved quickly and without much trouble. If they are able to have their issues solved the first time they contact you, they are likely to be more satisfied, and it is a better reflection of your contact center operations. This call center KPI is all about solving problems quickly.
You can gather FCR data in a number of ways. You can ask in a survey whether the customer’s issue was solved in one interaction. You can also look at tickets in dedicated customer support solutions. Once you have that information, you can divide the number of problems solved in the first interaction by the total number of calls to gauge your FCR.
FCR is directly tied to CSAT. A study done by Customer Relationship Metrics found that CSAT scores can drop as much as 45% when the customer makes a second call regarding an issue. In order to keep customers happy, you want to make sure that you are solving their problems the first time they reach out. If the issue is complicated and takes a few days to fix, be proactive in calling the customer; do not make them reach out to you again.
4. Average Speed to Answer (ASA)
As its name implies, the average speed to answer (ASA) call center metric refers to the length of time it takes for agents to answer calls. Customers don’t like waiting too long to get in touch with an agent, so it makes sense that you want to connect them to your staff as quickly as possible. This is usually calculated by dividing the total waiting time for answered calls by the total number of answered calls.
A low ASA can happen for a number of reasons. If your staff hasn’t been properly trained in handling calls, they may take longer to speak with customers, therefore increasing the length of the call queue. If ASA is a chronic issue, your department may also be short-staffed and you will want to consider hiring more agents. After all, waiting on the phone is stressful for customers and drives down CSAT.
5. Call Abandonment Rate
Call abandonment rate, which is the percentage of inbound calls dropped by the caller, is usually directly tied to ASA. This is because, in most cases, the customer was on hold for too long and got frustrated. A high call abandonment rate is a negative call center KPI because it is an indication of an inefficient contact center setup.
To calculate call abandonment rate, divide the number of abandoned calls by the total number of inbound calls. According to experts on the subject, anything higher than 5% can be seen as highly problematic. In fact, businesses want an abandonment rate of closer to 2% or lower, if possible.
6. Service Level
Service level is one of the most important call center metrics you can gauge. In basic terms, it refers to the accessibility of your company as well as your ability to plan for call volume fluctuations based on time, day, and season. Your service level is defined by the percentage of calls answered within a predefined period of time.
This period of time, which is configured by an administrator, could be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to a week. You can set it if you want to find out how your team is doing over an extended period of time, or if you want a more granular report that shows minute-by-minute activity.
This metric’s main goal is to gauge how large of a workload your staff can take at any given time. It is tied with call abandonment rate and average speed to answer, as all three can help paint a picture of how efficient your team is at connecting with customers.
7. Transfer Rate
Transfer rate refers to the total percentage of calls that are transferred by staff to another worker who possesses unique skills to address the caller’s concern. In some cases, this is phenomenal customer service—you are forwarding callers to a person who can provide the best possible help. However, if it happens often, it could be a sign that your team lacks proper training.
If your incoming calls are being transferred often, consider training your staff in addressing specific problems that seem to arise. Additionally, consider using better call routing features to connect callers directly with the most knowledgeable person. That way, your customers spend less time on hold and become more satisfied.
Pro tip: There are many business phone systems on the market, like RingCentral, that can automatically route calls based on a number of factors such as call volume, time, and agent availability. Implementing these features can help keep your call transfer rate to a minimum.
8. Call Volume Trends
Your total measure of daily, weekly, or monthly call volumes compared to your average speed to answer is a call center metric known as your call volume trend. You can use this information to identify specific times when incoming calls are at their highest. This can affect your hiring and scheduling.
For example, your call volume trends could tell you that Wednesdays and Thursdays deliver the highest incoming call volumes. You could then schedule your agents’ shifts to meet that demand accordingly. You can also use it to pinpoint your busiest months. An example of this would be determining that you need to hire seasonal help during the holiday months.
In the majority of cases, the more agents you have for your busy times, the lower your average response time. Customers become more satisfied. This, in turn, drives up your CSAT score.
9. Agent Turnover Rate
Turnover affects all sorts of teams, but it is especially harmful for contact centers. Call center jobs have a very high turnover rate. In fact, one study found that is roughly double the turnover rate of all occupations in the U.S. This hurts companies, as it costs a great deal of money to keep hiring and retaining new employees. Therefore, it is important to track this call center metric.
Your team’s turnover rate has a direct impact on customer experience. Even the most capable agents will still need time and practice before they are properly equipped to provide quality service. They will be forced to transfer calls to other people, which will likely have a negative effect on your CSAT score.
Bottom Line: Call Center Metrics
Your contact center is an important part of your business. Whether it’s making sales or helping existing customers, the effectiveness of your operations has a direct effect on how customers see you. These call center metrics can help you better understand your team and make better business decisions.
We recommend RingCentral to anyone looking for a contact center solution. The system is affordable, packed with features, and extremely easy to use. RingCentral gives you all the tools you need to make your call center the best it can be. Click the button below for more information.