How Do You Measure Call Center Performance?

What metrics determine the performance of your contact center? Learn about the top seven KPIs you’ll need to measure call center performance and why.

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How Do You Measure Call Center Performance?

Just for fun, try this experiment: ask the next person you talk to about their most recent customer experience with a call center, also known as a contact center. Chances are high you’ll hear a story of a deep disappointment. And, frankly, chances are also high that the business responsible for that awful customer experience doesn’t even know about it.

If your business has a contact center, the only way to differentiate your enterprise from the competition is to provide consistently excellent service. While most contact centers collect data about their operations, the most successful ones actually use that data effectively to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.

Differentiating Your Call Center

What sets a good call center apart? Self-awareness.

Companies with great contact centers know when they’re keeping up with customer expectations and when they’re falling behind. They gather data in the morning and change their business's operations in the afternoon. They’re hungry for new data and discoveries.

If you run a contact center, measuring and evaluating the right metrics will allow you to:

  • Manage your workforce
  • Control costs effectively
  • Continuously improve customer experience
  • Increase the overall profitability of your organization

What follows is a guide to the seven key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter most. Measure these and you’ll gain insights into what’s working, what’s not, and what you need to do to amp up the success of your contact center.

1. Handling time, wrap up time, and experience time

Time is an important metric for any call center. The more time each customer interaction takes, the less time an agent has to serve other customers. To accurately measure time, it’s important to understand the difference between the various KPIs that relate to time.

Handling time is the term used to describe the total time an agent spends handling a customer, including after call work. Wrap up time is the amount of time an agent spends wrapping up call-related work once a call is disconnected before becoming available again. This is also known as after call work time.

You’ll measure time slightly differently depending on whether you’re making outbound calls or taking inbound calls. With outbound calls, such as cold or warm calling leads or reaching out to existing customers, handling time is a measurement that includes ring time, talk time, and wrap up time.

Conversation1

With inbound calls, handling time for your agents is a measurement that includes talk time, hold time, and wrap up time. It’s also important to see the conversation from the vantage point of your customers. You’ll want to measure experience time, or the total time your customer spends on the call including ring time, time in your IVR, time on hold, and time talking to an agent.

Conversation2

A few more terms to understand:

Queue time refers to the time it takes before a customer gets an answer from one of your agents. Ring time is a measurement of how long the phone rings before an agent answers the call. Waiting time includes both ring time and queue time. Hold time refers to the amount of time a customer spends on hold once the call has been answered. And talk time measures the length of a conversation between an agent and customer.

As you can see, there’s more to measuring call time than simply pressing “start” on a stopwatch. Knowing which measurements of time are important for your contact center will help you understand what’s working and fix what’s not.

2. Abandon rate

Do you know how many of your customers hang up before reaching an agent? Another important metric you should be paying attention to is the abandon rate.

When customers can’t reach you it doesn’t only lead to customer dissatisfaction, it’s also a missed opportunity to sell. Your abandon rate can help you determine why your customers leave while waiting. Is your contact center understaffed and are your wait times too long? Are your customers trying to reach you outside of business hours? Abandon rates can alert you to problems you may not have recognized before.

Abandon-rates

3. Agent productivity

Agent productivity measures the different activities happening in your contact center. These include productive activities, such as being on a call, conducting after call work, and taking part in training, as well as non-productive activities such as taking breaks and waiting for a call. Understanding how this ratio changes over time is an important indicator of how well you’re deploying your agents and how agents are spending their time. Additionally, the number of handled calls per hour is a good indication of who is taking calls and how well they’re doing it.

4. Customer satisfaction

Satisfied customers buy more, stay longer, and share their positive experiences. You can learn how your customers really feel about the service they’ve just experienced by conducting post-contact surveys (via SMS, email, IVR, star rating after a web chat, etc.).

Customer satisfaction surveys help you collect metrics such as:

  • CSAT, which is the percentage of customers who are satisfied with the service they receive.
  • Customer effort score, which reflects a customer’s perception of how easy it was to get their issue resolved.
  • Net promoter score, which reflects a customer’s willingness to recommend a company to others.

All of which help you answer the ultimate question: Did you move further or closer to your customers today?

Customer satisfaction surveys help you begin to understand your customer experience. However, it’s up to the customer if they want to communicate their satisfaction level—and this is beyond the contact center’s control. On the other hand, asking the agent to predict how the customer would rate the experience after the call—also known as the reflection—is something that the contact center can control. Agents who accurately predict customer satisfaction levels can be identified as having a high degree of empathy. However, if an agent is frequently misjudging the caller experience, they may need to undergo empathy training.

CSAT+Reflection

5. Quality

Of course, you hope that all of your calls will be handled according to the company’s policies and regulations. However, in a traditional manual quality assurance process, only about 1% of calls are randomly evaluated. So you can easily fail to uncover areas that need your attention or additional training and coaching.

Quality score is an evaluation of the standard at which an agent handled an individual conversation with a customer. With the use of speech analytics, 100% of calls can be automatically screened to understand customer objections, detect agent script adherence or compliance, and discover the language that’s most successful for closing your sales deals.

analytics

6. Detection of silence and cross-talk

Silence is not always golden.

During calls, you don’t want to have too much “dead air.” Silence costs you money and signals a problem such as agent knowledge gap, failure in processes, or systems that are too slow. Similarly, cross-talk detection raises a red flag when an agent is speaking over the customer or doesn’t let them finish a sentence. Both have an immediate impact on customer experience, and can kill customer rapport and thus the sale opportunity.

7. Revenue, costs, and profit

For outbound contact centers that focus on sales, measuring the profit and cost of the contact center can help you see its true impact on the whole organization. You can get full visibility into revenue, costs, and profit by integrating your contact center with your CRM and sales reports. With this type of transparency, you’ll be able to see the whole picture and assess your sales calls not only on how long they take, but also on their outcome.

Cost+Profit

For this KPI, the metrics you’ll want to measure are contact center profit, which is the amount of revenue attributed to contact center services, and cost per contact, which reflects the total of all costs associated with answering a call or handling a contact divided by the total number of calls or contacts.

Measure Your Call Center Performance

When you continually measure the success of your contact center, you see what's happening in real time so you know where your immediate focus needs to be. Understanding the unique metrics that apply to your business and exploring their interdependability will help you drill down to root causes of identified call center problems and take swift action to fix them. With the right tools, metrics, and informed interpretation, you have the power to provide a best-in-class customer experience and accelerate your growth.

Up next: Live Webinar with Q&A

Want to learn more about how data-driven contact centers work and thrive? Sign up for our free webinar, The Anatomy of a Data-Driven Contact Center.

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