The way to monitor performance and progress in every aspect of a call center setting is through call center metrics. These measurements are used by businesses to report on call center KPIs (key performance indicators) when aggregated and contrasted across time.

A few important questions can be addressed with the aid of call center performance metrics

  • How simple is it for a client to contact us?
  • How effectively and swiftly are their problems being handled?
  • How satisfied are they with the encounter?
  • What areas need work on our end?

Call center software, which can track and analyze both the quantitative side of things (such as the number of calls answered and active waiting calls) and more qualitative data, is typically used to measure call center performance indicators. (such as client sentiment and effort).

Without first assessing how things are currently doing and then comparing those results to past and future performance, it is impossible to improve any aspect of your company. There are pertinent metrics to monitor in every department of your company, and the call center is no exception.

This is because the call center, which serves as the hub of a conventional customer support system, is still a crucial component of the customer experience. This means that creating an exceptional customer experience requires monitoring performance across a variety of measures, from agent productivity to customer issue resolutions, and acting on the data that these indicators reveal. 

Key Takeaways

  • Comprehensive Coverage: The article thoroughly explores various KPIs across different facets of call center operations—customer experience, agent productivity, call initiation, and overall operations.
  • Importance of Metrics: It highlights the essential role of metrics in enhancing customer service effectiveness, indicating how these can lead to improved customer loyalty and operational efficiency.
  • Impact on Business: Discusses the potential negative impacts of poor metric management, like customer loss due to inadequate service response times.
  • Human Element: Emphasizes the irreplaceable value of human interaction in customer service, despite the rise of digital communication channels.
  • Economic Considerations: Stresses the importance of maintaining high-quality call center operations even during economic downturns, leveraging both digital and traditional methods.

Common Call Center KPIs

In the dynamic environment of call centers, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are crucial for monitoring and enhancing various aspects of operations. These KPIs are categorized into several groups, each reflecting critical areas of focus that contribute to the overall effectiveness and efficiency of call center services. 

Below, we delve into the essential KPIs categorized under Customer Experience, Agent Productivity, Call Initiation, and Call Center Operations, providing insights into how each metric directly influences the quality of service and operational success.

Infographic showing call center KPIs with the majority preference for phone conversations.

Customer Experience

Explore how KPIs such as First Contact Resolution (FCR), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), and Net Promoter Score (NPS) are instrumental in gauging and improving the customer experience in call centers. These metrics provide invaluable insights into customer satisfaction and service quality.

Diagram highlighting key components that contribute to customer experience, including CRM systems, market research, and innovation.
  • First Contact Resolution (FCR): Measures the ability of agents to resolve a customer’s issue during the first interaction.
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): Assesses the satisfaction level of customers after a call or interaction.
  • Customer Effort Score (CES): Evaluates how easy it is for a customer to get their issue resolved.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): Gauges customer loyalty based on their likelihood to recommend the service to others.

Agent Productivity

Focus on key performance indicators that measure agent efficiency and effectiveness, such as Average Handling Time (AHT) and Agent Utilization Rate. These metrics help manage performance and ensure agents are maximizing their impact on customer interactions.

Banner with 'Agent Productivity' text and an illustration of a customer service representative at a computer.
  • Average Handling Time (AHT): The average duration from the start to the end of a transaction, including hold time and after-call work.
  • Agent Utilization Rate: Measures the percentage of time agents spend in active calls compared to idle time.
  • Average Speed of Answer (ASA): The average time it takes for an agent to answer an incoming call.

Call Initiation

Examine the critical KPIs involved in the initial stages of customer interaction, including First Response Time (FRT) and Percentage of Calls Blocked. Understanding these metrics can help optimize how quickly and efficiently customers are connected to agents.

Flowchart depicting procedures for call setup including MOC, MTC, MMC, and MIC with handset icons.
  • First Response Time (FRT): The average time it takes for the first response to a customer inquiry.
  • Percentage of Calls Blocked: The percentage of incoming calls that cannot be connected due to capacity issues.
  • Average Call Abandonment Rate: The rate at which customers disconnect before reaching an agent.
  • Active Waiting Calls: The number of calls that are actively waiting to be connected to an agent.

Call Center Operations

Delve into the operational metrics that keep a call center running smoothly, such as Calls Handled, Cost Per Call (CPC), and Call Arrival Rate. These indicators are essential for managing the overall operational health and efficiency of call center services.

Line art illustration of a call center with agents, headsets, and service icons.
  • Calls Handled: The total number of calls received and managed by the call center.
  • Cost Per Call (CPC): The average cost incurred for each call handled.
  • Call Arrival Rate: The number of calls arriving at the call center within a given time frame.
  • Peak Hour Traffic: Measures call volume during the busiest hours.
  • Average Call Lengths: The average duration of calls within a specific period.
  • Average Age of Query: Indicates the average time unresolved customer queries remain open.
  • Callback Messaging: Tracks the number of customers opting for a callback option.
  • Repeat Calls: Measures the frequency of customers calling back regarding the same issue.
call-center metrics

As you see in the image above, Amazon and Zappos use an ‘online only/in-house supply,’ while IKEA, Walmart, and other retailers use brick-and-mortar stores as distribution channels. Small and medium-sized e-commerce businesses usually rely on sales when it comes to measuring success. 

And that’s a good thing if someone is monitoring the website’s performance by tracking key indicators such as conversion rate, cart abandonment rate, and revenue per visitor.

While tracking basic metrics like conversion rates and cart abandonment provides a snapshot of website performance, it’s imperative to dig deeper to fully understand customer behaviors and business outcomes. Advanced analytics such as customer lifetime value, return on advertising spend, and customer retention rates offer more detailed insights. 

These metrics allow businesses to fine-tune their strategies, better predict future trends, and allocate resources more effectively. Integrating call center data with these analytics can enrich understanding, enabling a more responsive and customer-focused strategy that drives repeat business and sustainable growth.

However, these are just the basic metrics that could give an overview of the website’s performance. The truth is that they do not help marketers predict repeat purchases, sales, profits, or churns. The measure of performance varies wildly from one industry or business model to another. Furniture, for example, is not as easy to sell online as shoes, electronics, books, and other similar products are. 

Thus, retailers have to consider call center services, and, more importantly, they should focus on recruiting experienced strategists or managers who will measure and monitor their team’s results.


The 5 Call Center Metrics That You Should Care About

Infographic showing key call center metrics, with customer satisfaction ranking highest.

The First Call Resolution Rate

It is the percentage of completed transactions within a single contact call from the total number of calls. This indicator is a measure of quality because it relies on the person’s skills to give all of the required information and to convince customers to complete the purchase.

The customer’s perception of the quality of a company’s services is highly influenced by his interaction with the call center. Regardless of the quality of the products and the website’s offers, the customer’s perception of the company’s brand is influenced by all of the factors that may appear during a completed purchase.

Thus, call center managers should always recruit experienced hands. The alternative is to train the recruits, but the opportunity cost is the one that will decide the most suitable approach for the company’s benefit.

Forecasted Average Handle Time vs. Actual Average Handle Time

Firstly, the average handle time is the total amount of work hours related to calls. It involves the Average Talk Time and the Average After Call Work Time. It is important to understand the need to include the after-call work time in calculating this indicator due to the well-known fact that time is the most precious resource. No matter how good your team is at closing a deal on the phone, you should know the after-call work time because it will determine the workforce required.

Comparing the forecast of the average handle time with the actual time is a measure of performance both for the call center team and the manager. The manager is the one responsible for his team’s motivation level and results. Thus, the comparison is the second most important to determine the appropriate workforce required.

Cost Per Contact

It is probably the most popular indicator within many industries. In pay-per-click campaigns, its equivalent is the Cost per Click, while lead generation marketers name it Cost per Lead. Therefore, do not confuse “contact” with “customer acquired within a phone call”. 

Calculating the cost per contact does not take into account whether the call ended up with a conversion or not. In this case, conversion is the successful attempt of the company’s employee to close up the deal.

Customer Satisfaction

It is the measure of the overall satisfaction with the customer’s interaction with the call center. Not only that measuring satisfaction involve getting feedback from the company’s customers, but it also gives insights on improving either the products, the offers, or other aspects that could determine or maintain a competitive advantage.

Measuring customer satisfaction is not an easy task, because of the difficulty of scaling and measuring attitudes, opinions, and behaviors in marketing research. The time invested into getting feedback from customers and analyzing their suggestions and complaints is more valuable than investing in online marketing campaigns meant to drive more traffic to the website. 

Keeping an existing customer satisfied counts for 7 newly acquired customers. It is clear now why this indicator plays a vital role in achieving success in the tough competitive retail market.

Service Level

It is the percentage of calls answered within a specific period(in seconds). It is often reported daily or weekly, due to its importance regarding the customer experience. The average value for this indicator is 80% of calls answered within 20 seconds.

Managing an e-commerce business is not an easy thing to do, and everyone involved in this industry knows it. Even though the focus should go on the 20% of the business resources that drive 80% of sales, the company’s brand is more valuable in the long run than sales. Thus, make sure to hire professional people for your call center and pay attention to every communication that your company is addressing to its target audience.

How is the effectiveness of call centers measured?

Diagram of call center benefits including reinforcing branding, increasing caller satisfaction, and reducing call abandonment.

The amount of calls handled at a call center has historically been used to gauge its efficiency. Your “Call Center Service Level” can be calculated by simply keeping note of the number of calls that are answered within a specified period.

It is simple to detect that performance is tracking below normal if, for example, you establish that, based on existing averages, your call center personnel should be answering 50 calls per hour, but they are only answering 30 at any given hour. And in that situation, you should increase your efficiency.

In addition to this, contact centers have consistently worked to meet several industry-standard benchmarks, such as making sure that ringing calls are returned within 20 seconds.

However, in the contemporary call center setting, customer experience and efficiency are inextricably linked since they influence each other constantly. In practical terms, this means that monitoring more than simply operational data in its raw form is essential.

As many indicators as you can track at the same time, and then pay close attention to any trends or related metrics that indicate areas of concern. Using call center software, which can automatically monitor everything from raw operational information to more experienced, human data, is the best method to accomplish this.

In light of this, let’s examine several ways that the appropriate software can help to optimize and enhance every call center measure.

Why Call Center Metrics Are Vital for Business Success

Infographic showing call center metrics statistics for 2024, highlighting customer satisfaction, service-level agreement usage, average queue time, customer effort score, public sector call abandonment rate, and video interaction for customer satisfaction.

The significance of call center metrics cannot be overstated; they are the backbone of understanding and improving your call center’s performance. With accurate tracking and analysis, you can make informed decisions that directly influence customer satisfaction and business outcomes.

Impact of Effective Metric Management

When call center metrics are managed effectively, they provide critical insights into how customers interact with your business, highlighting areas of strength and those needing improvement. An efficient call center translates to happy, loyal customers who are likely to share positive experiences, enhancing your brand’s reputation and customer loyalty.

Consequences of Poor Metric Management

Conversely, inadequate attention to these metrics can lead to customer dissatisfaction. Studies, such as those by Accenture, show that around 52% of customers in the US and UK will switch to a competitor following poor customer service experiences. Of these, 90% indicated that an immediate response from the call center is crucial to their satisfaction.

The Role of First Contact Resolution

The importance of resolving issues on the first call cannot be understated. Data shows that companies achieving this see nearly 99% of those customers remain loyal, whereas if follow-up calls are necessary, loyalty drops significantly to 85%. Ensuring that customer problems are resolved quickly and effectively not only maintains loyalty but also reduces the operational cost associated with multiple follow-ups.

The Enduring Value of Human Interaction

While digital channels continue to grow in popularity for customer service, the value of direct human interaction remains high. Many customers still prefer the clarity and immediacy of speaking to a person, especially for complex issues. Research indicates that 41% of Americans still use a landline to contact customer service, expecting the same level of service as digital channels.

Consistency Across Channels

Providing a consistent customer experience across all channels is now a baseline expectation, with Salesforce reporting that 75% of consumers expect uniformity across interactions. Failure to meet these expectations can lead to a 73% customer turnover rate. Thus, integrating digital solutions without compromising the quality of traditional call center interactions is essential.

Navigating Economic Challenges

In economically tight times, expanding digital offerings without sacrificing call center quality becomes even more crucial. Routine measurement of call center metrics allows businesses to identify and address gaps in customer experience proactively, ensuring that every interaction adds value to the customer journey.

Quote to Reflect On

Jim Rohn once remarked, “One customer well taken care of could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.” This underscores the intrinsic value of excellent customer service and the profound impact of effective call center management on a business’s success.

By focusing on these key points, you can ensure your call center continues to contribute positively to your overall customer service strategy, driving satisfaction and loyalty even in challenging economic times.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between First Call Resolution and First Contact Resolution?

First Call Resolution (FCR) and First Contact Resolution both measure the ability of a call center to resolve customer inquiries during the initial interaction. However, FCR typically refers to resolving issues within a single phone call, whereas First Contact Resolution can include any initial contact, whether by phone, email, chat, or social media.

How can call centers improve Customer Effort Score?

Improving the Customer Effort Score (CES) in call centers involves streamlining processes to make interactions easier for customers. This can include enhancing self-service options, reducing the complexity of information required from customers, and training agents to handle inquiries more efficiently.

What role does technology play in modern call center operations?

Technology plays a crucial role in modern call centers, enhancing efficiency and customer satisfaction through advanced software solutions like CRM systems, automated call distribution, interactive voice response (IVR), and artificial intelligence for predictive customer service and personalized interactions.

How do call centers handle peak call volumes?

Call centers manage peak call volumes by implementing strategies such as scaling workforce schedules to match high-demand periods, using call queuing and callback technology to manage customer wait times, and employing IVR systems to handle routine inquiries automatically.

What are the best practices for training call center agents?

Best practices for training call center agents include comprehensive onboarding processes, ongoing training and development programs, performance monitoring and feedback, and simulation of various customer interaction scenarios to build confidence and expertise.

How do call centers measure the success of their training programs?

The success of call center training programs is measured by monitoring key performance indicators such as improvements in average handle time, customer satisfaction scores, and reduction in call escalations. Feedback from agents and customers also provides valuable insights into training effectiveness.

What impact do call center operations have on overall business performance?

Call center operations significantly impact overall business performance by directly influencing customer retention and satisfaction. Efficient call centers enhance brand reputation, support sales growth through superior customer service, and contribute to the overall profitability by optimizing customer interaction processes.