The Top 13 Call Center KPIs to Measure

The Top 13 Call Center KPIs to Measure

The Top 13 Call Center KPIs to Measure

A key performance indicator (KPI) is something tangible that you can measure as an indicator of overall performance. Of course there are always a variety of things you can measure to help you figure out how well you’re doing, but some of them are a better indicator of success than others. That’s why it’s important to keep track of more than one KPI while making sure the KPIs you’re measuring are adequate indicators of how well your call center is performing. To help you stay on target, we’ve compiled a list of the top call center KPIs you should be measuring.

1) Call Abandonment Rate

A call is abandoned when a customer hangs up without having spoken to a call center agent. You’re bound to get some of these, if only because customers call and get interrupted or realize they misdialed, but if you have a high call abandonment rate, that means something’s wrong. You may need to invest in more call center agents or meet with your call center team to discuss ways to bring down call times so agents can answer more calls.

2) Percentage of Calls Blocked

These are the calls that could not get through because all agents were on the phone and the queue was full or because the call center software was unable to handle that amount of traffic. Either way, you want this number to be as low as possible. If it starts creeping up, you might want to think about investing in more agents and/or better call center software.

3) Average Speed of Answer

This is how long it takes for a customer’s call to be answered, including how long they were waiting in the queue plus how long the agent’s phone was ringing before the customer got to talk to a real, live person. The shorter the average speed of answer, the more efficiently your call center is running. Ideally, you want to strike a balance between a fast answer rate without having agents sitting around waiting for the phone to ring.

4) Service Level/Response Time

This is defined as the percentage of calls answered within a certain number of seconds. This call center KPI is vital for determining how easily customers can contact your call center and how well they are handled when they do call.

5) Average Time Spent in Queue

The time spent in queue is the time customers are kept waiting on the phone before they can talk to a call center agent. The longer they have to wait, the more frustrated they get. Keeping this call center KPI small is a sure way to impress customers and increase the likelihood of a customer interaction.

6) Average Call Handling Time

This is the time from when the agent picks up the phone until they hang up with the customer and it acts as a general indicator of how long it takes your agents to solve customer problems. The average call handling time should be fairly short, as a quick resolution is likely to result in a happier customer, but keep in mind some issues take longer than others to resolve and the focus should always be on servicing the customer.

7) Average Call After Work Time

This goes along with #6 because it’s related to the amount of time it takes an agent to resolve an issue. If they hang up after spending a couple minutes talking to the customer, but then spend the better part of an hour on the phone with another company or department and/or sending emails to try to actually resolve the matter, that’s a lot of time they’re spending to on one problem. The more quickly and efficiently your agents can resolve customer issues and move onto the next customer, the more issues they’ll be able to solve and the greater your customer satisfaction will be.

8) First Call Resolution (FCR)

FCR refers to calls in which the customer’s issue is resolved on the first call, when they don’t have to call back to follow up or take care of a related issue. Experts estimate that FCR is the call center KPI that most directly impacts customer satisfaction, so you really want to closely monitor this one and do everything you can to get it as high as possible.

9) Average Age of Query

If your customers are generally calling about new issues that just cropped up earlier today or yesterday, then you’re probably on the right track. Now you just need to turn those calls into FCRs.

On the other hand, if your customers are calling about issues that are weeks or even months old, then chances are they’ve contacted you about it before, either through your call center, your contact form on your website, or some other form of communication. If this call center KPI is high, then you’re probably not getting a lot of FCRs, and that’s bad. You can’t make your customers call you as soon as a problem crops up, but chances are they will, especially if they trust you. From there, it’s up to your call center team and the rest of your employees to make sure the matter is resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible.

10) Agent Occupancy Rate

This refers to the amount of time your agents spend working relative to their down time. This includes the time they spend on the phone as well as time dedicated to other work-related tasks, such as answering emails, accessing and/or updating the database, etc.

Keep in mind occupancy doesn’t always mean productivity. Agents that don’t get regular breaks can become overworked and stressed, which leads to reduced levels of productivity, but you also don’t want agents abusing their breaks. Ideally, you want to strike the perfect balance that keeps agent productivity at its highest.

11) Contact Quality

This is the most labor-intensive call center KPI to measure, but it’s vital to making sure your call center agents are doing the best job they can. In order to measure contact quality, managers need to listen in on phone calls between agents and customers to make sure the agent is properly representing the company – from the proper greeting to giving and collecting the right information, to hopefully solving the customer’s problem and creating an FCR.

12) Customer Satisfaction

This call center KPI is another one that’s not easy to measure. The best way to determine customer satisfaction is by surveying customers (either by email or by having another agent call the customer back) after their call is completed. Some companies have started using IVR-based post-call surveys, in which a computer asks the customer a standard set of questions after their interaction with the call center has been completed.

Just be sure to keep in mind that customers are frequently short on time and may very well be annoyed by constant requests to fill out a survey. Surveys should always be optional and you should always be sure to thank customers for taking the time to fill them out. Try to strike the right balance so that you get a good representation of your customer satisfaction without bombarding them with surveys.

13) Agent Turnover Rate

Good call center agents are hard to find. You need ones with the right temperament so they won’t snap at your customers, and when you do find a good one, they require a fair amount of training in order to get them familiar with your software, database, business practices, etc. All that training is time that gets taken away from addressing pressing customer issues, so hiring new call service agents is not cheap. If your agent turnover rate is high, conduct an investigation to see what you could be doing differently in order to attract good agents and make sure they stick around – whether that means higher pay, free snacks, or just a more supportive work environment.

You don’t have to measure all these KPIs, but the more call center KPIs you can keep track of, the more you’ll know about how efficiently your call center is running. But getting the data is just the first step. You must also act on it if you’re going to make your call center as successful as possible.

Tips for the Call Center: Do’s & Don’ts for Call Center Agents

The job of a call center agent is much more important than most people realize, so we wanted to give some tips for the call center.

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Most call center agent positions are entry-level, which means those working in it don’t get much credit, but they provide a vital service to both their employer and the customers. They are the first people customers talk to, and as such, they are representatives of the company. How they treat the customers will influence how those customers perceive the entire company, which is why it is of the utmost importance for them to understand the best practices for call center agents.

DO

1) Be professional.

This is probably the most important best practice for call center agents. Agents are encouraged to build a rapport with customers, but always remember they are representing a business, and as such, maintaining a professional demeanor is imperative. There’s no way to please everyone, but by remaining calm and professional in all situations, you’ll be less likely to offend the customer and more likely to help them with their problem, which in turn will help them think favorably of both you as a person and the company as a whole.

This also means avoiding inflammatory topics, such as politics and religion. If the customer brings up one of these topics, remain neutral and try to steer the conversation back to the issue at hand.

2) Wait until you hear the customer hang up before you hang up.

It should be obvious that a call center agent should never, ever hang up on a customer, but sometimes it happens by accident. You might honestly think the conversation is over and hang up, but the customer still has one more question. That simple mistake can have dire consequences, depending on the customer, so in order to avoid it, wait until you hear the customer hang up the phone first.

3) Be empathetic of the customer’s situation.

Customers call the company’s call center because they have a problem. It may not be a life-or-death emergency, but try to put yourself in their shoes and understand that their problem is real. They are trying to run a business, and if something is interfering with their ability to do that, you need to be able to understand that and help them in any way you can.

4) Tell the customer where and why you’re transferring them.

It’s common for a customer to call with a question you don’t know the answer to or a problem you don’t have the ability to help them with. In that case you can either tell them you’ll look into it and take their information so you can call them back, or you can transfer them to someone who can help them, but you must be very careful when transferring calls. Customers can easily get very frustrated when they call with a problem and they just get bounced around.

In order to avoid this, you must first be certain you are transferring the customer to the right person/department. If you can check to make sure someone is on the other end to talk to your customer right away, even better. If no one is available at the moment, let the customer know this and either tell them you’re transferring them to someone’s voicemail or offer to take a message for them.

Most customers prefer you take a message because that way they know there’s a real, live person who’s aware of their problem, but your employer might prefer for you to use voicemail in order to eliminate the possibility of call center agents forgetting to pass on the message. Always default to your employer’s best practices for call center agents, as they will differ slightly between companies.

5) Ask questions of your supervisor.

Change is the one constant in life, and as your employer and customers grow and adapt to their markets, you’ll need to keep up with the changes that affect you and how you do your job. You will likely be briefed on any updates before they take effect, but your employer might not cover everything or your customer might have a problem your employer did not anticipate. If you don’t know what to do with a customer’s particular situation, never be afraid to ask your supervisor or a colleague for help. The most important thing is helping the customer get what they need and you’re there to do just that.

6) Take notes and study them in your spare time.

Learning as much as you can about each client will help you avoid trip ups, mistakes, and delays in helping them. Most call center agents have to undergo a fair amount of training before they can start taking live calls from customers. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to remember all that information right away, so be sure to take detailed notes throughout the course of your training and study them every chance you get. As things change and new problems arise, be sure to write them down, along with their solutions. Review all your notes as frequently as possible so you’ll be ready to help customers right away almost as soon as they call you about their problem.

DON’T

1) Lose your temper.

It’s frustrating to have to spend your time dealing with other people’s problems you had no hand in creating, but that’s exactly what a call center agent has to do all day every day. It’s even worse when customers are angry before they even pick up the phone, which is frequently the case. But no matter what the customer says or does, it is the call center agent’s responsibility to maintain professionalism at all times. Yelling at a customer who’s already angry won’t end well for anyone and the agent who maintains professionalism even when they’re getting yelled at for something they weren’t responsible for will stand a better chance of impressing the customer.

2) Laugh at the customer.

Laughing with the customer if they tell a joke or relate a funny story is perfectly acceptable, and even encouraged, but laughing at the customer is another matter entirely and should be avoided at all costs. Stuff your fist in your mouth if you have to. It may be tempting to laugh if you think the customer is overreacting to something or if they don’t speak English very well and they make a simple mistake. Many people are easily insulted and laughing at them when they’re not trying to be funny could put your job on the line.

3) Transfer them if their problem is something you can help them with.

The call center is a fast-paced, high-stress environment in which the focus is frequently on getting through as many calls as you can. When you’re on the clock and a customer is taking a long time to explain their problem, it can be tempting to shove them off onto someone else, but you should only ever do that if you cannot help them solve their problem and you’re redirecting them to someone who can. The first priority of a call center agent is to help the customer, no matter how long it takes. You can try to get the customer on track if they go off on a tangent, but never interrupt them and never transfer them unless it’s to someone who can help them in a way you can’t.

This is not a complete list of best practices for call center agents, but it’s a good start. Simply remembering the golden rule of maintaining a professional attitude at all times will help lead to happy customers.