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Call center metrics you should be measuring right now

Andrej Csizmadia

Andrej Csizmadia

Last modified on July 28, 2021 at 11:40 am

Call centers are an essential component of customer service teams, so they should be routinely evaluated for quality assurance. Therefore, customer service managers should monitor the efficiency of their teams closely, and continuously look for vital information that will help them improve the customer experience.

Thankfully, those responsible for the overall performance of call centers have many useful metrics available at their fingertips. When analyzed together, these indicators not only help managers with optimizing the performance of call center agents but also enable companies to determine the effectiveness of their customer service as a whole. 

Let’s analyze the main metrics that every call center manager should be tracked continuously.

1. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

The Customer Satisfaction Score measures how satisfied a customer is with the overall experience with your company,  or a particular interaction, product, or service that you provide. This metric will provide valuable insights that will help you determine whether consumers are satisfied, unsatisfied, or completely in love with the service provided by your call center agents.

Call centers should use CSAT surveys to help them quantify customer satisfaction and receive feedback after each phone call with a service agent.

The average global customer satisfaction benchmark, which includes all industries worldwide, is 86%. Benchmarks may vary from industry to industry but, in general, your company should aim to score 80% or higher.

2. Quality of interaction

Call center metrics you should be measuring right now

Quality of interaction is a metric that is used by almost all call centers and is controlled by quality specialists who are responsible for analyzing random call recordings. They evaluate a representative’s performance based on things such as how helpful the assistance is, professionalism, courteousness, and the effectiveness with which they collect customer data.

An ongoing assessment of the quality of interaction will help your representatives adjust to customer needs and develop a consistent tone of voice when assisting them. Ideally, you should review at least 1 or 2 calls per week, although the global average is analyzing  4 calls per month.

3. Service level

The service level metric is the percentage of incoming calls that are answered within a stipulated time frame, which is measured in seconds. This metric indicates whether your agents are skilled enough to move from one call to another within the expected time range.

The service level metric also tells you whether your call center has enough resources to meet your customers’ needs. It showcases whether or not customers can contact service representatives quickly enough, and if problems are being resolved in a timely manner. If your service level is not optimal or you keep missing key performance indicators, then it’s time to implement a new call center solution or start recruiting more agents.

It’s commonly agreed that call centers must answer 80% of their calls in less than 20 seconds.

4. Average Speed to Answer (ASA)

Call center metrics you should be measuring right now

When measuring call center performance, the average (mean) speed to answer is one of the most vital metrics to monitor. This indicator measures the average time that it takes for incoming calls to be picked up by an agent. The time that a caller waits in a queue is included in the ASA, whereas the time that it takes them to navigate through an IVR system is not taken into account.

It’s worth noting that according to the State of Customer Experience report by Genesys, only slightly more than 10% of users are willing to stay on hold for over 5 minutes.

5. First-Call Resolution (FCR)

The first-call resolution metric refers to the percentage of inquiries that are resolved during the first conversation between a customer and a call center agent. This metric is crucial because it plays a vital role in reducing the rate of churn.

According to Esteban Kolsky, head of CX at SAP,  about 67% of customer churn can be avoided by resolving a customer’s problem during the first interaction with them.  Moreover, 85% of customer churn is caused by poor service that could have been prevented. Thus, the most effective way to provide excellent customer service is to resolve customer problems quickly —  and your first-call resolution rate will tell you precisely how well your team is doing that. The industry benchmark indicates that 70 – 75% of all issues should be resolved during the first call with a customer.

6. Average Handle Time (AHT)

This metric measures the average duration of one interaction, measured by the time it takes to finish a phone conversation with the customer. This means the total time from call initiation, through hold and talk time, all the way to completion of any tasks that follow the interaction, which a representative must perform after a call in order to resolve the inquiry. 

This metric should be taken into consideration when deciding on call center staffing levels.

7. Phone Availability

Call center metrics you should be measuring right now

Phone availability defines how often your representatives are available to answer calls and how long it takes them to resolve inquiries. This metric gives you a good indication of whether or not representatives are following their schedule effectively. If a representative’s availability is low, you can check their call records and see if it was a busy day or if the agent was absent.

Call availability also helps managers to identify the peak hours of call center operations. In this way, managers can see when representatives have low availability, and thus can adjust working hours and the schedule accordingly.

8. Average Call Transfer Rate

The average call transfer rate informs managers about how independent different service agents are and how often they solve issues without the help of others. It’s often a big dilemma for professionals who are responsible for leading call centers – on one hand, they want to encourage team collaboration, but on the other, doing so often leads to customer frustration. The latter is caused by the simple fact that the more call transfers your agent’s conduct, the more irritated the customer is. In fact, 89% of consumers who participated in an Accenture survey indicated that they are frustrated if they have to repeat their issue to multiple service representatives.

9. Abandonment Rate

The abandonment rate is the percentage of calls that a customer abandons or terminates. This number will tell you how satisfied your customers are with the average wait times and with their overall call experience.

It will also help a call center determine if their operating systems are reliable. If customer satisfaction is high, but so is the abandonment rate, then this could be caused by some calls going unnoticed. It’s important to resolve these types of problems quickly as missed calls impact the customer experience negatively. The best solution to this kind of problem would be to utilize a reliable call center system.

10. After-Call Work (ACW)

Call center metrics you should be measuring right now

After-Call-Work (ACW) is the average amount of time that an agent takes to wrap-up a call. This chore, often called post-call processing, refers to all of the tasks that a representative must complete after each conversation with a customer. ACW may include updating the customer relationship management system (logging the contact reason and the outcome, etc.), scheduling reminders about follow-ups, taking additional notes, updating coworkers, or seeking additional information that will be helpful for resolving the customer’s issue. 

It’s important to note that a call center agent is only available to take another call when they complete the after-call work of their previous call. That’s why it’s essential to minimize the number of tasks needed to be completed after each conversation. 

Key takeaways

Measuring the above-mentioned metrics can help your customer service team optimize your call center performance. However, the key to success is having a thorough understanding of the information that is being interpreted.

When analyzing your call center indicators, it’s vital to assess the metrics both collectively and individually. As you should now know, each metric can indicate a pattern of occurrence relating to some specific aspect. At the same time, if you compare relevant metrics, you will have a more detailed picture of the customer experience that your team is providing.

For example, you could compare the average handle time with the abandonment rate to see how satisfied (or unsatisfied) customers are with the length of calls. If the call time is high, and so is the abandonment rate, it probably means that customers are unhappy with the amount of time spent on calls. 

Quality assurance specialists can measure the quality of interactions for calls that note a long average handle time to see if there is a reason why these particular calls are so long.

Comparing phone availability with after-call work will help you determine if your agents spend enough time assisting your customers, or if they are rather overwhelmed with mundane, manual tasks after each call. If it turns out that they are spending more time taking notes after each conversation with a customer than on the actual call, then it’s worth considering automating some of the after-call processes. 

Combining these data insights will make it easier to find areas of opportunity for improvement in your call center.

It’s important that you are aware of these indicators and that they are monitored on a daily basis. If you analyze this data accurately, you will be able to help your call center meet industry benchmarks, continuously improve your performance, and grow customer satisfaction at the same time.

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Andrej Csizmadia

Andrej Csizmadia

Growth Marketer

Andy is Growth Marketer at LiveAgent. Previously, he studied International Relations and Business Diplomacy and was active as a volunteer in the world's largest student run organization, AIESEC. Running, music and reading books are his favourite free-time activities.

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