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It Is All in the Numbers: Your Ultimate Guide to Call Center Metrics

No company can stay in business without analyzing performance data. However, useful data depends on using the right set of key performance indicators, or KPIs. There are a lot of ways to track results in a customer contact center. To ensure you are not missing something, here is our ultimate guide to call center metrics.

  • Contacts Offered = Volume of contacts received by the call center

Prospective clients with high volumes, and those that see noticeable spikes in volume, want to know their calls will be answered fast enough to keep customers from abandoning the call. If the call center is too small or cannot adjust staffing flexibly, that could spell trouble. For call centers, the ability to predict volume is critical.

  • Contacts Handled = Number of contacts handled by the call center

Ideally, this number would equal Contacts Offered because every contact would get a response and a resolution. Unfortunately, this number is always lower, thanks to...

  • Contacts Abandoned = Number of contacts that gave up while waiting for agent assistance

Make them wait too long, and they will abandon their attempt to resolve a problem or make a purchase from you. Abandoned calls represent lost potential sales, and they can cause serious brand damage, too.

  • Average Speed of Answer (ASA) = Average time a contact waits in the queue before an agent responds

Seconds seem like forever to someone on hold, and today’s customers have NO patience. Be quick, or they will go somewhere else.

  • Service Level = Percent of contacts answered within a target queue time

This is the companion metric to ASA. Zero wait time would be nice, but a more realistic goal might be 80% of calls answered within 20 seconds or less.

  • Average Handle Time (AHT) = average time it takes for an agent to handle a contact

This is an end-to-end metric, from the time the agent answers until the call wraps up.

  • First Call Resolution = Percent of customer issues resolved on the first contact

Increasingly, this is becoming a crucial issue with customers. It can be a problem for shoppers whose desired product is out of stock, for example, but customers who call with a problem really, really want a fix now. They do not want to call back, nor do they want to speak with four more agents to get the help they need.

  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

This is usually measured using after-call surveys, either via IVR or email. Of course, every contact who abandons their call never gets to take that survey. Nonetheless, we can probably assume they feel dissatisfied. This is one more reason to focus on reducing the abandonment rate.

  • Agent Quality Scores = Performance measurement for call center agents

Usually, call center supervisors or quality assurance team members listen to calls (live or after the fact using recorded calls), scoring agent performance against a variety of criteria.

  • Agent Utilization = Percent of time each agent is handling customer contacts

In a perfect world, agents are continuously busy, moving from contact to contact at a comfortable pace — not so overwhelmed they cannot take a break, but not sitting around doing nothing, either. Too busy causes burnout and mistakes. Sitting around costs money without return.

  • Cost Per Call = Cost for call center to handle each contact

Without call center metrics — especially this one — it would be impossible to price services to make a profit. Contact centers are, after all, in business. It takes revenue to make money as well as fund growth. And that takes planning, which is why the next metric is also bottom-line critical...

  • Forecast Accuracy

How close does actual volume into the contact center match the forecasted volume? Savvy call center managers look ahead at the expected big picture as well as the details, forecasting volume by the month and year but also by days of the week and even day parts within each day. Getting the annual number right will not be much help if forecasts do not also support day-to-day personnel scheduling.

By using all of these call center metrics, business performance can be accurately predicted and customer experiences can be as near-perfect as possible. Way to go!

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