All posts by Kate Parent

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.

Top 10 Ways To Thank Your Call Center Team

Looking for new ways to thank your call center team? Read on!

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It’s no secret that working in a call center is a thankless job. Employees have to deal with customers who are often mad at them before they even pick up the phone. No one likes to have a stranger yell at them, especially for something they had nothing to do with, but that’s exactly what call center employees have to deal with on a daily basis.

For this reason, it can be particularly difficult for employees to keep their cool and provide the excellent customer service you want to be associated with your company. That’s why it’s especially important to make sure you take the time and effort to let your call center employees know they are valued. Paying them fair wages is just the first step to motivating your employees to work their hardest for you and your customers.

THINK BEYOND THE MONEY

Regular paychecks will get your employee to work every day, but money alone is not enough to keep their spirits up throughout a long day of phone calls from frustrated customers, so although paying them well is vital, it’s just the first step.

People respond very well to verbal recognition. A simple “good job” or “you handled that really well” can boost employee morale for hours or even days, but eventually that fades, which is why you have to keep doing it.

PROVIDE CONTINUOUS POSITIVE FEEDBACK

This doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time thanking your employees, but you should be sure to recognize each employee’s achievements at least once per day, even if it’s just a pat on the back. Remember your recognition is vital, but its effects diminish with time. If you want consistent results from your call center team, you’re going to have to provide continuous feedback to let them know when they’re doing a good job and what areas you want them to improve on. Doing this consistently is the best way to keep your call center workers motivated every day they come in to work.

PROVIDE IMMEDIATE FEEDBACK

It’s not always possible to reward someone as soon as they do something, but taking advantage of the opportunities to do so is a powerful motivator for your employees. Getting recognized for something they did last week is better than never getting recognized for all the hard work they do, but it’s not nearly as effective as thanking them on the spot. The sooner you can follow up good actions with a reward, the more likely you’ll be to get those good actions again.

MAKE CLEAR, TANGIBLE GOALS

There’s nothing more frustrating than a supervisor who appears to be biased or inconsistent. When employees don’t know what they should be striving for or when they feel like their goals keep shifting, it ruins morale and performance will plummet. By defining clear goals for your team to achieve, you not only make it easy for your employees to know what you want, you also reduce the chances of any unconscious biases you may have.

MAKE THE GOALS PUBLIC

Posting these goals all around the office is the best way to make sure everyone is always aware of the results they’re expected to meet. They serve as a constant reminder both to them and to yourself of what’s expected, and any time an employee reaches a goal, they’ll have something tangible they can point to when backing up their claim.

Goals that are easy to define help keep employees motivated, not only when they achieve a goal, but as they get closer to reaching them. They’ll look forward to whatever reward you’ve promised them and that will keep them working hard until they’ve hit the goal and they start aiming for the next one.

RECRUIT THE HELP OF YOUR EMPLOYEES

You can’t be everywhere and see everything all the time, but your call center employees doubtless know which among them is consistently doing the best job. You can use their knowledge and experience to help you recognize the employees that are doing the best job. Give them opportunities to nominate each other for recognition. This will have the added benefit of boosting morale and teamwork among your employees as they recognize they can learn and get help from their coworkers.

CREATE GOALS FOR THE GROUP

You don’t have to limit your recognition to individual achievements. You can create goals you want the entire call center to achieve, and every time your team achieves one of these goals, you should celebrate as a group. Have a pizza party or bring in candy and/or soda to your next team meeting so they can all reap the benefits of what they achieved together.

GET EVERYONE INVOLVED

The call center manager or supervisor is in the ideal position to thank and reward call center employees for everything they do because that person is most likely to see all the hard work their employees are putting into their jobs every day, but a little recognition from someone higher up can go a long way. Let the district manager, or even the head of the company, know what a great job the call center team is doing and give them a chance to thank the team in person. It will make your call center employees feel like part of a bigger team – not just the call center team, but the team that is formed by all the employees of the entire company.

SHOW APPRECIATION FOR NO REASON

It’s important to recognize the achievements of your employees when they do well and to correct them when they err, but sometimes employees need a little something to keep them going, even if they haven’t done anything remarkable lately. Keep tokens of appreciation handy (candy, soda, gift cards, etc.) to hand out to employees, even if they look like they’re struggling. An employee going through a rough time for personal reasons might need a little extra motivation to keep them going through the work day and giving them just a small token of your appreciation could be the perfect way to do that.

DON’T REWARD THE SALES ALONE

Sales can be, but are not necessarily, an indication of good service. By all means, recognize the employee who hits all the highest sales numbers, but don’t forget to show your appreciation for the employee providing the best service. It might be someone whose sales numbers are down because they take their time to make sure each customer is satisfied before moving on to the next thing.

There are any number of ways you can show your appreciation for your call center team. We’ve listed just a few here, but the options are limited only by your imagination. Feel free to think outside the box and come up with creative ways to let your call center team know their contribution does not go unnoticed.

HOW TO IMPROVE CUSTOMER SERVICE IN A CALL CENTER

Do you want to improve customer service in your call center?

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Providing great customer service in a call center is vital for the success of your business, but it’s also challenging. The voices in your call center are the first voices your customers hear when they call your company and it’s true that the first impression is the most important. It is crucial that the first voice they hear be professional and well mannered. Chipper would be ideal, but it’s not necessary.

But your call center is made up of people and sometimes people make mistakes. We all have bad days and it can be particularly difficult to remain cordial, much less cheerful, when we’re stressed. Working in a call center is one of the most stressful jobs there is, but there are ways you can minimize the stress of your team and help them provide the best possible customer service.

SEGMENT CUSTOMERS SO THEY GO TO THE RIGHT DEPARTMENT

Rather than expecting all your call center employees to know everything about your business and your customers, it’s best to divide them up into groups. You can do this by customer or by area of your business if you operate in multiple industries. That way your call center employees don’t have to have all the answers for all your customers, they only need to know the ones that are relevant to their department.

There are a couple ways you could do this. You can assign a different phone number to each department and give your customers the phone number for their department. Or you can have your customers call one central line and use interactive voice response technology to have a computer direct them to the correct department.

KEEP YOUR CALL CENTER TEAM INFORMED

By segmenting your call center and your customers you reduce the amount of information each call center employee needs to know. This prevents them from becoming overwhelmed and allows them to stay on top of the changes they need to be aware of. As things get updated within your company and/or your customers, be sure to keep all the employees informed who might be affected. That means any time there’s a policy change in how to deal with a particular customer or issue, for example, or when a point of contact changes, let your call center workers know about it as soon as possible. Strong communication is the key to success in many things and it holds true for providing great customer service in a call center.

KEEP THINGS AS CONSISTENT AS POSSIBLE

Maintaining strong communication with your customer service team will also help achieve consistency so your customers get the same great experience every time they call. Be sure to communicate with your customer service team what you expect from them and react appropriately and consistently when they meet, exceed, or fall short of those expectations.

Stellar employees should not only be rewarded, they should be made examples for the rest of the customer service employees to follow. Let the whole team know when someone does a good job, both as a way to celebrate and as a way to set and publicize your expectations for the entire team. If someone handles a tough call particularly well, let the rest of the call center team listen in on the call so they’ll know how you want them to handle similar situations if they arise in the future.

LOOK FOR WAYS TO IMPROVE WORKFLOW

Bureaucracy is often maligned as a terrible invention that slows everything down, but there is a reason for it. It provides a record of past transactions and it holds people accountable for the things they said and did. That said, there are often a lot of useless steps employees need to take in order to get one simple thing done. Any time you can find a way to eliminate these steps and improve your employees’ workflow, you’ll make things easier for everyone, including your customer.

Communicating new information to your employees is key, but it’s even better if you can give them the tools to look up the information themselves. Whether this means providing them access to something on your server, setting up a folder with all the information they’ll need, or just sending out an email, they will be able to handle questions from customers much more quickly and efficiently if they can access the information they need on their own. Take a close look at your policies and practices and look for the steps that can be eliminated.

PROVIDE THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT

You wouldn’t send a soldier into battle with a pistol, so don’t give your call center employees old or subpar equipment and expect them to be able to provide great customer service. A lot of companies are so focused on their bottom line that forcing them to part with any money is like pulling teeth, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Spending money on quality equipment is a necessary business investment and you don’t want to skimp on it at the expense of the customer service in your call center.

Call center workers need quality computers and phones that can keep up with new technology so they can provide the best service to your customers. This might mean updating your software and training people to use it every few years. That can be time consuming and frustrating, but it’s well worth it if it improves the customer service in your call center.

Take headsets, for example. Make sure to provide your call center workers with headsets so they have both hands free to look things up on the computer while they’re talking to customers and make sure the headset will continue to work with emerging technology rather than becoming obsolete in a few years.

BE FLEXIBLE ABOUT HOW PEOPLE WORK

As technology continues to advance, it is constantly changing the way the world works, and that includes the office. Cubicles are still the standard for now, but many places have done away with them in favor of a more open office environment. Others have gone a step further by letting their employees work from home, which has been shown to lead to increased productivity and employee retention if done right.

There are many ways to improve customer service in a call center. Some of them require you to think outside the box and some might need some trial and error before you find what works best for your call center. At the heart of it all is your company’s individual culture, which will have the biggest impact on how your call center staff treat your customers.

Meet our call center agents!

Meet Our Agents – Robert

Name: Robert

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Title: Agent

Nickname: Rob

Motto:  ”Love, life, loyalty & living long like legends”

Hobbies: “My hobbies are: playing soccer/basketball, going to the gym, drawing, finding talented new music artist to listen to, spending quality time with family and friends.”

Why he likes to work for RolCall: “The diversity in the office, we’re all different but we all get along very well. Another reason is that you never know what your going to hear on the phone, no matter how many calls you’ve taken, there will always be one call that stands out from the rest and is never expected.”

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Meet Our Agents – Lauren

Meet Our Call Center Agents

Name: Lauren

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Title: Agent

Motto: “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”

Hobbies: Photography

Why she likes working at RolCall: ” The great people that I work with. Rolcall is an organization that has a bright future ahead of it. Professionalism and friendliness are two of the great characteristics of Rolcall.”

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Meet Our Agents – Antonio

Meet Our Call Center Agents

Name: Antonio

Nickname: Tony

Antonio

Motto: “ You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Hobbies: Basketball, Aviation

Why he likes to work at Rolcall: “I  like working for RolCall as an agent, because I transformed my coworkers into my best friends.  Everyday is a pleasure to be surrounded by wonderful people, it makes the work to be less stressful. We are also pushing each other to meet and exceed our goals.”

Tony is the scholar and the youngest member of the team. He has high aspirations: he wants to become a pilot.

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Meet Our Agents – Jo Ann

Meet Our Call Center Agents

Name: Jo Ann Belsky

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Nickname: Jo

Title: Agent

Motto:  Great things in all we do in life are completed by a series of small details brought together to culminate into an amazing result.

Hobbies:  Decorating and Upholstering,, Gardening, Cooking, Anything creative.

Favorite part of the job: The reason that I love working at rolcall is:  I love knowing that what we do is to help people pursue their dreams and that I may have been able to change someone’s life.

PS: Jo is the artist of Rolcall. Her handcrafting talent is conveyed in her magical creations.

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Meet Our Agents – Marcia

Meet Our Call Center Agents

Name: Marcia

Maria

Position: Agent

Nickname: Marcy

Motto: “Life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.”

Hobbies: Health and Nutrition. She also likes to dance!

Why she loves working at Rolcall: ” While working for RolCall I have discovered my passion for helping others. There is satisfaction in knowing that I may have played a small role in assisting someone towards positive changes in their life. RolCall is a family full of energy , enthusiasm and excitement……synergy pointed in the same direction.”

Meet Our Agents (main)

5 Reasons To Outsource Your Call Center

 

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WHY OUTSOURCE YOUR CALL CENTER?

There is an opportunity cost for every hour

consumed by tedious tasks such as inbound

call, outband calling services, email

respond, and social media management.

Outsourcing allows you to spend time on

more involved tasks in-house.

1. LOWER OPERATIONAL & LABOR COSTS

Outsourcing your call center converts fixed

costs into variable costs, releases capital

for investment elsewhere in your business,

and allows you to avoid large expenditures

in the early stages of your business.

2. INCREASE EFFICIENCY

Companies that do everything themselves have much higher

research, development, marketing and distribution expenses,

all of wich must be passed on to the customers.

An outsource call center provider’s cost structure and economy

of scale can give an important competitive advantage.

3. REDUCE LABOR COSTS

Hiring and training staff for short-term or

peripheral projects can be very expensive,

and temporary employees don’t always live

up to your expectations. Outsourcing your

call center allows you to have variable

expenses and lets you focus on your human

resources where you need them most.

4. STARTS NEW PROJECTS QUICKLY

A good call center outsourcing firm

has the resources to start a project right away.

Handling the same project in-house might

involve taking weeks or months to hire the

right people, train them, and provide the support they need.

5. REDUCE RISK

Every business investment carries a certain

amount of risk. Markets, competition, goverment

regulations, financial conditions and technologies

all change very quickly. Outsourced call center

providers assume and manage this risk for you.

For more information on hiring a call center, contact RolCall.

www.rolcall.com

866.616.3106