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Best Practices/ Industry Standards

Measuring and analyzing call center key performance indicators (KPIs) is critical when accessing the effectiveness and efficiency of call center activities and operations. While most call center managers are aware of the need to constantly track call center KPIs, what is often not clear is which metrics should be measured and what the industry standards are. The following article lists and describes the top 12 call center KPIs to track for success along with the global best practices and industry standards. 

Top 12 Call Center Industry Standard Metrics

While call center metrics may vary in standards depending on the industry the call center belongs to, there are some global standards and best practices that can be used by businesses to help them set their team goals and measure their performance. Below is an overview of some global call center industry standards for key metrics that have been provided by Call Centre Helper and the International Finance Commission.

Service Level

Service level (SL) measures the percentage of calls answered within a specified time frame. The traditional service level is to answer 80% of the calls in 20 seconds – that is a common goal for many call centers. Service level indicates whether a business has enough resources to get customers connected to agents and resolve their issues in a timely manner. 

Average Speed of Answer

The average speed of answer (ASA) is defined as the average amount of time it takes call center agents to answer phone calls. This benchmark also takes into account all the calls that are not answered within 20 seconds, resulting in the global average of 28 seconds. The rate may vary depending on the time of day and the industry. If the metric is high, it makes sense to hire additional staff.

First Call Resolution

First call resolution (FCR) rate is the metric that measures the percentage of calls that are resolved on the first interaction, with no escalation or needing to follow up with the customer. Generally, the global industry benchmark for FCR is 70-75%, however, since there are different ways to measure FCR, the rate is likely to change based on the selected method.

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Average Handling Time

Average handling time (AHT) is the average time it takes to handle a call or a transaction from start to finish – starting from the customer’s initiation of the call, including hold time and talk time to any related tasks that may follow to resolve that call. The industry standard for AHT is around 6 minutes - yet this can significantly vary depending on the sector/ scale of business.

Call Duration

Call duration is the average amount of time that agents spend on the phone with callers. The global metric for call duration is 4 minutes per call. For inbound calls, call duration is calculated from the second the agent picks up the call to the moment the call is ended. For outbound calls – from the moment the called party answers the phone till the call is terminated by either party.

Call Wrap up Time

Call wrap up time – also referred to as after call work (ACW) – is the amount of time an agent spends doing follow-up tasks to complete a customer interaction. That may include activities like adding notes into a CRM, completing forms, consulting a manager in case of unresolved questions or anything else associated with the call. The global metric for call wrap up time is 6 minutes, but there is a wide variability between different industries.

Average Abandonment Rate

Average abandonment rate (AAR) is the percentage of calls that are dropped by customers before they are able to reach an agent. This percentage shows how satisfied customers are with wait times and call experiences. The global metric for call abandonment rate is between 5% and 8%, however, based on industry and time of day, rates can normally reach up to 20%. 

Net Promoter Score

Net promoter score (NPS) is a customer perception index that is measured with a single question using a 0-10 scale and reported with a number from -100 to +100. While the industry standard for NPS is better than 10, which is considered ‘good,’ ‘bad,’ or ‘neutral’ can greatly vary from business to business. NPS score below zero may indicate that a company needs to work on improving customer satisfaction levels.

Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction (CSAT) score indicates how satisfied a customer is with a product, service or interaction. A call center’s CSAT score is measured on a percentage scale, with 100% being complete customer satisfaction, and 0% with no customer satisfaction. The global metric for customer satisfaction is 90%, however, the scores can differ widely based on the type of CSAT question asked.


Best Practices/ Industry Standards

Quality Assurance Scoring

Quality assurance (QA) measures the quality of calls in order to ensure customer satisfaction and employee productivity and is based on a set of criteria that must be covered by the agent during the call. That may include how the agent answers and ends the call, how they navigate the caller to a resolution, etc. The industry standard is random scoring of 4 calls per month, with quality score originally falling between 75 and 90%.

Adherence to Schedule

The benchmark evaluates employee efficiency by measuring the percentage of time agents are clocked in compared to their scheduled hours. Call center schedule adherence can take into account time spent on breaks or other, non-call related activities. The global metric for adherence to schedule is 95%. High rates indicate that agents are cost-effective and provide responsive service, while low rates may result in failure to meet SLAs.

Maximum Occupancy

Occupancy is the percentage of time agents are actively occupied on call-related activities, including talk time, hold and wrap uptime. The global industry standard for maximum occupancy is between 60-80%. A higher than 90% rate means little or no time between calls, however, this is known to negatively impact agent satisfaction and performance, which can eventually result in higher absenteeism and agent burnout.

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