21+ call center metrics and KPIs to track contact center performance

21+ call center metrics and KPIs to track contact center performance
August 21, 2023
Written by
Reviewed by
Karla Nussbaumer
Opinions expressed by Twilio contributors are their own

As our reliance on technology and digital solutions grows, it’s no surprise that businesses have adapted to connect with customers everywhere. Contact centers, like Twilio Flex, are innovative solutions to the rising demand for round-the-clock, omnichannel communications.

Implementing a contact center is only the first step toward optimizing your customer service strategy. Next, you’ll need to understand whether your contact center performs adequately or falls behind. So how do you do that?

With data, of course.

Call center metrics are a reliable way to measure your contact center's performance, but this data indicates very little if you don't know what the numbers mean. Plus, with so many metrics available to track, it can be hard to narrow down which ones you want or could benefit your business.

Let us help you out. Below, you'll find the most important contact center metrics for businesses to monitor. We'll explain what each call center key performance indicator (KPI) means, how to calculate it, and why it matters.

- [What are contact center performance metrics?](#what-are-contact-center-metrics) - [Customer experience metrics](#customer-experience-metrics) - [Agent performance and experience metrics](#agent-metrics) - [Contact center performance metrics](#contact-center-metrics) - [Track contact center metrics with Twilio Flex](#twilio-flex)

What are contact center performance metrics?

Contact center metrics are data points that help you effectively monitor performance. You decide how regularly you want to review them: weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

Equally important, you don't need to track all the call center KPIs outlined below—that would be overwhelming. Instead, focus on the ones you believe are most relevant to your business and industry.

For example, if agent attrition isn't an issue, then don't worry about monitoring that metric. And if your agents can handle all scenarios independently, you probably don't need to worry about call transfer rates, either.

Once you create a list of the critical metrics for your contact center, establish benchmarks, set regular goals, and make adjustments as you go to increase call center productivity and improve the customer experience.

Now, let’s look at the most important metrics for tracking customer experience, agent performance, and contact center performance.

Customer experience metrics

These metrics give you an idea of how your customers feel during and after an interaction with your contact center. The following metrics focus on contact center experience, but you can combine them with additional metrics to understand your customer experience.

1. Customer satisfaction score

Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) is the most direct metric to help you understand customers’ experiences with your contact center. CSAT isn’t quantitative like the other metrics on this list but provides invaluable qualitative understanding.

To measure CSAT, ask open-ended questions about the customer service process and the representative’s performance. Be sure to include a Likert scale asking customers to rank their experience from 1 through 5, 1 through 10, or unsatisfied through satisfied.

These measures can help your representatives understand how their skills and knowledge directly impact customers on a case-by-case basis.

While metrics and statistics help us understand efficacy in specific areas, customer service is about people. Numbers cannot define people and experiences. Thus, providing customers the opportunity to give more subjective, qualitative feedback allows us to understand the customer service experience better.

2. Customer retention rate

Customer retention rate (CRR) measures the number of customers that maintain their business relationship with a company during a given period.

Typically, a high CRR means that your customer service processes are helpful and practical, and a low CRR means there’s room for improvement.

To improve CRR, consider offering incentives to customers with service inquiries. This can alleviate frustration and stress for customers, especially when resolving an issue takes longer than expected.

3. Average call transfer rate

Average call transfer rate measures the number of times that representatives transfer contacts to one another, to another department, or to a manager or supervisor. To find the average call transfer rate, divide your total transferred contacts by the total number of handled contacts.

Knowing your average call transfer rate is key to understanding your customers’ experience. For example, if a customer gets bounced around from representative to representative, hold to hold, they’re likely to become frustrated with the experience.

To improve this experience (and this metric), consider implementing a comprehensive, cross-departmental training for representatives to better answer inquiries with fewer transfers.

4. Average waiting time

Average waiting time (AWT) refers to the time a customer spends in a queue waiting for the next available agent to attend their call. Long waiting times can frustrate customers, so aim to keep AWT low.

You can calculate your AWT by dividing the total seconds customers spend in queue by the total number of calls.

Agent performance and experience metrics

These metrics track agent performance, workload, and experience, which tell you how prepared agents are to handle customer inquiries and can help you identify ways to improve, such as additional training or resources.

5. First contact resolution

First contact resolution (FCR) is just what it sounds like: measuring how often a company’s contact center completes a customer’s request or inquiry upon their first contact with an agent. You can calculate this metric by dividing the number of inquiries resolved within the first contact by the total number of calls.

It’s crucial to keep tabs on your FCR because it’s an indication of how well equipped your agents are to resolve issues and how effective your standard operating processes are.

FCR illustrates precisely where your customer service strengths and weaknesses are. For example, if your FCR is low, it can indicate an issue with your customer service procedures. To improve this metric, you can examine the entire customer service process, from call center agent training to procedures and documentation.

6. Average speed of answer

Average speed of answer (ASA) is exactly what the name implies—it tracks the average time passed between the customer’s initial contact and when a service representative responds.

ASA can help you evaluate how well versed your agents are in your products or services and whether they need assistance, such as training or additional team support.

7. First response time

First response time (FRT) measures the average time it takes for an agent to provide an initial response to a customer. While similar to ASA, FRT also measures responses on channels outside of phone calls. This could be a response to a customer inquiry or support ticket via email, social media, chat, or text message.

8. Average handle time

Average handle time (AHT) encompasses the entire duration of an inquiry, from the initial contact, through any holds or waiting periods, to the final solution. AHT can indicate your service representatives' knowledge and the efficacy of your customer service processes.

To find your AHT, add the total time a service representative spent working with a customer, the total hold time during the contact, and the total work time after the contact. Divide that number by the total number of contacts.

9. Average hold time

Average hold time refers to when an agent places a caller on hold, whether to finish another call or research the caller’s issue. Ideally, you want to minimize average hold time to solve customer concerns faster.

You can calculate your average hold time by dividing the total seconds customers spend on hold by the total number of calls.

10. Agent attrition rate

Agent attrition rate measures how frequently service representatives resign from a contact center during a given period. This metric directly impacts the quality of your customer service. That’s because if you have high agent turnover, it can be challenging to provide consistent, thorough help to your customers. Plus, it can indicate that agents need better resources or support to do their job effectively.

You can find the agent attrition rate by dividing the number of service representatives that leave the contact center over a given period by the total number of representatives in that period. Multiply by 100 to get a percentage.

11. Agent utilization rate

Agent utilization rate measures the productivity of your workforce. Determine this ratio by dividing the number of hours an agent worked by the number of hours in the workday and multiplying by 100 to get a percentage.

For example, if an agent works four hours out of an eight-hour day, they have an agent utilization rate of 50%. This metric can help you identify peak performers and those who need a little extra motivation or training.

Remember to factor in time for breaks, lunches, and time off to get an accurate calculation.

12. Repeat calls

Repeat call metrics illustrate how many times the same customer calls to resolve a problem. This could be a call about the same issue or a new issue. Use this along with FCR to understand how well your agents and resources can solve customer concerns.

If repeat calls are too high, try improving your self-service solutions or providing your agents with additional issue-specific training. You could also consider improving your interactive voice response (IVR) system to better handle customer calls without human intervention.

Contact center performance metrics

These metrics give you an overview of your contact center performance and trends that help you understand where to allocate resources to improve customer experience and agent performance.

13. Cost per contact

Cost per contact (CPC) refers to the total cost of operations at a contact center, and it’s one of the most important metrics. You can calculate it by dividing the contact center’s total operational costs by the total number of inquiries processed. Plus, you can further refine this metric by communication channel.

Knowing your CPC can help narrow down which channels are most effective with your customers. Your CPC can also tell you which channels perform best, whether your contacts tend to come through traditional voice calls or a combination of email and SMS.

14. Call abandonment rate

Call abandonment rate measures the rate at which customers disconnect before speaking with a service representative. This metric shows the efficacy of your holding procedures. For example, if the rate is high, it can indicate delayed response times from customer service representatives.

To find your call abandonment rate, subtract the number of handled calls from the total calls received and convert it to a percentage. You can improve your call abandonment rate by streamlining your holding procedures, including removing superfluous IVR menus.

15. Service level agreement

Service level agreement (SLA) metrics refer to the service contract between customers and businesses, measuring whether the two parties meet their scope of work. This includes measuring agent availability and translates to how much time customers spend in queues and on hold. Often, each queue has an SLA.

Knowing your SLA metric allows you to step into your customers’ shoes and understand what day-to-day interactions with your contact center can look like for them.

Call volume trends look at call volumes across different periods compared to your average speed to answer. For example, you might look at your call volume trends for Wednesdays at lunchtime or for weekends during July. These insights can help you identify specific times when incoming calls start to challenge agent bandwidth.

You can use this KPI to inform scheduling and hiring. For example, if you find that call volume spikes during the holiday season, you may need to hire seasonal agents to fill in the gaps. Or you may need to schedule a few more agents during the evening hours (and fewer during the morning) to cover an influx of calls.

Scheduling more agents during busier periods leads to faster response times, which, in turn, leads to a better CSAT score.

17. Peak hour traffic

Peak hour traffic represents the time when you receive the highest number of calls. You can find it by diving deeper into your call volume trends. This metric helps you identify the hours of overburden on resources, which will help you allocate agents in advance to handle the higher traffic volume.

18. Active waiting calls

Active waiting calls is a real-time metric that tracks the number of callers waiting to connect with an agent. High active waiting calls often lead to slow ASAs. For example, if this metric is regularly high, you might consider hiring more agents, improving workflows, or adjusting your AHT.

19. Callback requests

Callback requests is a metric that tracks how often callers request a callback instead of sitting on hold. This can help customers get solutions to their problems without increasing their frustration.

However, if callback requests get too high, it's an indicator that you don't have enough agents or bandwidth to get to inbound calls. Hire more agents or improve your efficiency to decrease your callback requests and answer more calls when they come in.

20. Channel mix

Channel mix looks at the number of inbound requests on different channels, like SMS, chat, social media, or voice. This helps you understand which channels your customers prefer, enabling you to invest in the right technology, agents, and resources.

For example, if there's a growing number of social media requests, you might need to train more agents on these tools.

21. Call type mix

Call type mix measures the volume of different call types. These include:

  • Technical support
  • Billing assistance
  • Account help
  • Complaints or issues
  • Applications
  • Upgrades

Use this information to provide better agent training or self-service solutions for your customers. You can also use it to build better IVR tree menus to direct customers to the right extensions from the get-go, improving your FCR and reducing your call transfer rate.

22. Custom metrics

Custom metrics allow you to set your metrics based on what matters most to your business—instead of limiting your call center metrics to industry standards. Want to measure your agents’ happiness? Set up a survey and measure it. Curious how SMS response satisfaction compares to your call satisfaction? Measure both and compare them.

Track contact center metrics with Twilio Flex

Twilio Flex is a fully programmable, cloud-based contact center solution that allows you to add remote agents, new channels, chatbots, and self-service as you scale.

Flex enables developers to build and deploy a 100% cloud-based contact center in a week or less, using different channels, including voice, SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WebChat. Plus, you can change and iterate the contact center rules, integrations, or user experience as your business needs change.

Already have an on-premise contact center? With Flex, you can augment your current solution by adding new channels that integrate with your existing systems. Plus, it enables you to create a unified user interface, where agents can access all channels and integrations in one place.

Then, use Flex Insights to customize reports to track the call center performance metrics that matter most to your business. Contact center supervisors can also manage dashboards and track KPIs without using code. Request a demo today to see how you can improve your call center.