Call Center Metrics Your Business Needs To Understand!
There are so many metrics out there that it's become a next to impossible task to understand and remember each of them. For some, its probably got to the point where it's easier on the brain to just ignore them all!
It takes me back to trying to cram in all those math formula's the night before my GCSEs - impossible!
That's why we complied this call center metrics guide for you - a one-stop, quick, guide that you can always refer to.
Why do you even need all these formulas?
Well, when done correctly, measuring an area of your agents' performance can help with their progress, as well as the businesses. Call Center metrics provide management with the crucial information they need to give agents feedback and targeted coaching for their continuous development. Not only this, but extra data is always handy when you want to make a business related decision.
Be warned, though! If you do misuse them, or become obsessed with the results, they can dampen staff morale, and the company's efforts to trying to improve things can fall on deaf ears.
So, How Can it be Done Right?
When seeking to improve their quality of service, call center management should consider two things:
What they should look to measure.
What they should do with the results.
To help, here are nine of the most effective call center metrics, how to use them as key performance indicators, and the most common downfalls you should be aware of.
1: CSAT Score
The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT Score for short) shows how happy customers are with the service they are provided by a company. Out of all the metrics we're going to talk about, this is one of the most used and known.
How to Calculate Your CSAT Score
To measure customer satisfaction, organisations can use a follow-up e-mail survey. This will ask them how they found the experience, and gives a number scale to rate them.
The data collected from these are used in a formula that divides the number of satisfied customers by the number of survey responses, to get the average percentage of customer satisfaction.
Having a clear indication of what your clients think about the service you are providing is helpful for being able to develop improvement strategies.
When faced with a negative CSAT score, it's not uncommon for managers to focus on the agent, rather than the reason for the dissatisfaction.
If used by itself, CSAT scores can be misleading. The customer might have already had a negative opinion of the business, or be complaining about something other than the actual service an agent gave.
When agents are penalised for low CSAT scores, they're more likely to start avoiding the problematic callers and pass them on to other agents.
Your best and most experienced agents should be dealing with unhappy callers; these are also the ones who are also most likely to leave a low CSAT score. It is for this reason that CSAT should only be used as an indicator, not as an identifier that an agent could be doing something wrong.
2: Average Handle Time
Average Handle Time (or AHT) is a measurement that is best described as 'the time an agent spends on a call and is unavailable to serve the next caller.'
Contact centres want to have the lowest possible average handle time, so their agents can help more clients on the phone. The less time you spend on the phone (in theory), the more calls you can get through.
How to Measure Your AHT
While trying to reduce the AHT, contact centres risk falling behind in other areas.
Using the formula as mentioned earlier can put a large amount of pressure on the agent to finish a call faster. The problem comes from focusing on finishing the call, not resolving the reason for the call.
This would lower the average handle time, but it would also reduce the call handling quality and negatively affect client satisfaction (CSAT) rates.
Don't sacrifice quality for a quicker call; for yours and your agents sake!
3: First Contact Resolution
First Contact Resolution (FCR) is a metric that measures an employee's ability to solve customer's queries, problems or needs during the first call.
Resolving queries within a single call is a reliable indicator of excellent customer service, and this helps strengthen a companies' reputation.
Having customer queries resolved in the first call demands a well-thought-out strategy.
Once this strategy is outlined and the data is captured, managers would then know how to coach their employees properly to increase their FCR results.
Using an automation software like Cxceed makes this process easier by helping you send out benchmark surveys as well as feedback requests to customers?
How Do You Calculate FCR?
While customers appreciate their problem being resolved in the first call, having the issue resolved in a subsequent call is not a problem if initiated by the call center.
If you try to promote a culture that works around FCR, you risk agents taking shortcuts to put in a short-term fix. This will come back to bite you in the future.
FCR can be a good indicator, but only when other factors are also considered.
4: Net Promoter Score ®
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the willingness of the customer to recommend your service to other people. It uses a scale of 1 -10 (usually) that categorises customers as Detractors, Passives, or Promoters.
A company would use the NPS to find out their customers’ sentiment. Being able to understand how satisfied customers are with your service, and how likely they would be to spread a good word about your company.
How to Calculate Your NPS
This is another metric that is measured through customer surveys.
A simple question asking your clients to rate the likelihood of them recommending your service to someone is enough to calculate the NPS.
Setting a scale from 0 (Extremely Unlikely) to 10 (Extremely Likely) and putting clients in different categories:
- Detractors (People who scored between 0 to 6)
- Passives (People who scored between 7 and 8)
- Promoters (People who scored between 9 and 10)
The overall NPS can then be calculated by combining all the results in one formula.
You can get the Net Promoter Score by subtracting the percentage of Detractors away from the percentage of Promoters.
By focusing solely on the NPS, you can get a skewed perspective of how satisfied clients are with your company.
The ratings are subjective. A customer may consider a 6 as being poor, but this won't reflect on the NPS. Another may consider 8 as very good, but they'll be shown as a Passive on the scoring system.
Due to this, the ratings shouldn't always be taken at face value and solely depended on to understand the level of customer satisfaction.
5. Average Call Abandonment Rate
The Average Call Abandonment Rate measures the percentage of callers who hang up before they were spoken to by an agent.
This is a useful way to see how many people are left frustrated with waiting and hang up. Pursuing these abandoned calls can help understand why they weren't attended in time.
According to this Glace report, the average score for this KPI is 67%. This is not something companies should ignore; more than half of the people calling to customer service will be left frustrated that they have not been attended to. Not only can you lose current customers, but you can also lose potential ones.
The reason for abandonment is usually long waiting queues, unnecessary holding times, or the frustration of customers being passed between different agents with no solution in sight.
How to Measure
This metric won't measure individual agents, but rather the efficiency of the call center as a whole. An adequate abandoned call rate would be around 5%, so if your company is far from achieving this rate, you should take some measures such as;
- Checking if your Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system is working correctly. Maybe recheck the most common questions from your customers and add them to your IVR.
- Ensure that phone ring before going to IVR. Callers tend to wait longer when they hear the classical 'ringing tone' at the beginning, as opposed to when they are connected to the IVR straight away.
You could put on a training workshop to improve your agents, or simply increase the headcount during peak hours.
6. Service Level
Service level measures the percentage of calls that are answered within a given time.
Service level is a useful tool to know if you have enough resources to satisfy your customers' needs. It informs you if your agents are quickly connecting with the customers as well as resolving their problems promptly.
The most common rule used is 80/20; which means that 80% of the calls need to be answered in the first 20 seconds. But there could be other service level targets like 95/5 or 90/10; this will depend on your industry and your company goals. As with many metrics, it's all subjective to the individual company.
These targets need to be set realistically. Does your company get a lot of calls on a regular basis? If so, are there enough staff to allow you to achieve the goal realistically? It's always good to aim high, but being too ambitious can lead to demotivation when every one struggles.
How to Measure
If your service level is not performing good enough to achieve your goals, there are customer service tools available to help ease the process. This can help give you a greater insight into your companies performance.
Just keep in mind that pressuring advisors to rush calls is not the answer; your overall customer satisfaction will suffer.
7. Percentage of Calls Blocked
This metric measures the percentage of callers that received the tone of "busy line" when they call.
A blocked call is a missed opportunity to connect with a customer, and if the number of blocked calls is high, it's a good indicator that one of the following is happening:
- There are not enough agents to attend all the inbound calls.
- The call cue system is full, or this system doesn't exist at all so that the callers will listen to the busy tone.
- The call center software doesn't work appropriately and can't manage to handle a large number of incoming calls.
How to Measure
If your number of calls blocked is not minimized, your customer's experience will be poor. Customers want to be greeted by an agent, or at the least an IVR (interactive voice response), not the busy line tone.
Check the efficiency of your system to receive incoming calls, or if it is possible to reduce the agents AHT without impacting the customer service they provide.
Customers want to talk to agents, not the busy tone!
8. Average Speed of Answer (ASA)
This critical metric shows the average time it takes for the calls to be answered, including the time customers wait in the queue, and the time since the phone started ringing until answered. However, it doesn't include the time the customers give information on the IVR system.
This KPI measures the efficiency of the agents as a team typically is a way to analyse how well a team is being managed, and how quickly they can connect to customers.
The average for ASA is 28 seconds. If your customers need to wait longer than this to be attended, it may be because agents are on the call for too long, they take too much time between calls, or there are not enough agents to deal with the calls.
Most of the time, some motivation and coaching from the manager is the only thing needed to improve this metric.
How to Measure
Getting the average speed is not enough. Some calls will be answered much quicker than others, which gives a false reflection of the ASA.
When looking at ASA data, you should look for outliers as well. It may turn out that there are many calls that take a long time to be answered, but thanks to the odd speedy pick up, the time is reduced.
Even if the ASA is 'good', work out how you can reduce these outliers to improve every customers experience.
9. Call Efficiency
Call efficiency is another of the call metrics that you should have on your radar. This metric refers to the number of successes collected in an hour per agent.
The concept of success is relative. Every company will define what is a success for them depending on their area of industry and its goals. The definition could be the number of demo calls scheduled, appointments set, or the number of final sales.
This key performance is very useful to analyse how efficient every agent is, and it should be used to reward the most successful agent and help the ones getting aside. Often it is measured by the hour.
How to Measure
According to most of the call center's CEOs in Europe, a 0.4 call efficiency could be considered as efficient. This means that an agent takes, on average, two and a half hours to achieve success. Ask yourself, is this efficient enough for your company?
However, every company operates differently, so you shouldn't really compare your performance to another organization.
As we said, Call efficiency is measured by the hour. This can be done by the hours the agent is working or by the clock hour. The first option is more accurate as the second one will include breaks, meetings, and all other moments where the agents are not directly working.
Each metric should not be reviewed separately but should be used as indicators in conjunction with each other.
Your call center metrics all work together to build a big picture of how your business is perceived by customers and how good your service is.
If you have any suggestions about using multiple call center metrics, leave a comment down below!
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