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15 key call center metrics to measure outbound performance

With $2 trillion of commerce conducted over the phone annually, businesses have a lot riding on their ability to reach and connect with prospects and customers. And yet, consumers are being bombarded with rising fraud and robocalls, causing them to avoid answering their phones even when trustworthy brands like yours are trying to reach them.

Hiya’s current State of the Call research shows that a shocking 94% of unidentified calls aren’t even answered because of concerns about those spam and fraud calls. With it becoming so difficult to get through to your customers, it is essential to track variety of business metrics to know where your contact center operations can improve. Remaining on top of the most important metrics keeps your business agile and your bottom line rising.

Call center metrics are a great way to measure productivity during changing times. In the industry, these call metrics are known as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Especially with the modern tools we have access to, there is a wealth of data available that can be implemented into call center dashboards. So much so that both managers and agents can become overwhelmed. To make the most of these call metrics, it's best to focus on those KPIs that will shine a light on the efficacy of your outbound call program.

Keep reading to learn the 15 KPIs you must track to identify opportunities to improve your outbound call center performance, drive better agent productivity, improve call center customer service, and increase overall revenue from the voice channel.

What are call center metrics?

Metrics track the overall effectiveness of call center operations, agent productivity, and customer experience. Many sales team leaders use KPIs to motivate their teams and keep a strong sense of morale in the workplace. Small competitions to raise metrics or yearly performance-based bonuses are a few common ways these KPIs make a tangible difference in an agent's workflow.

None of this could be possible without call center statistics. Now more than ever, these data-based metrics are key. 

Analyzing calling metrics goes beyond just tracking how many phone calls each agent took. There are underlying issues and opportunities for improvement that can be uncovered by taking a closer look at each KPI.

Plus, tracking call center statistics keeps everyone on the same page. Those calls that go unanswered can otherwise get lost in the shuffle, leaving behind a target that could have been converted.

On the flip side, those who answer present a unique opportunity to connect on the first impression and drive business growth. It's essential for outbound call center managers to keep track of these KPIs in order to continue to improve on them.

Every contact center is unique, and as such the metrics you will focus on may vary. However, there are some essential core call metrics that every company should be aware of.

Consider these 15 call center-specific KPIs as a great place to start monitoring and improving your contact center operations. When you’re ready to go deeper, take a look through Hiya’s ebook written expressly for outbound contact centers, The Most Valuable Contact Center Metrics to Optimize.

Customer experience metrics

Delivering a quality experience is the focus of every interaction a contact center has with a customer. The metrics below are the most useful indicators of how well your companies perceive their interactions with your brand.

1. First Response Time (FRT)

FRT measures the duration of wait time for customers before they begin interaction with a human agent. A lower FRT value generally means a better customer experience.

With the rise of using AI in business, voicebots are becoming more popular in outbound call centers. Some companies make use of automated dialing systems to maximize efficiency. However, the increased use of AI can have mixed results. 

On one hand, these automated programs can be beneficial in making call centers more efficient. The AI systems locate and display customer information while beginning the initial communications.

It takes away some of the tedious and repetitive work from the sales agent, who thus has more time to prepare for each call. Using these programs helps to prevent burnout from agents, especially if they face dead ends.

On the other hand, these systems also mean customers will have to wait to talk to a human agent. The longer the wait time, the more likely the prospect will abandon the call. FRT should be kept as low as possible to avoid this outcome.

2. Answer Success Rate (ASR)

The answer success rate is also known as the "hit rate." It’s also often referred to as the answer rate or pickup rate. 

This metric is simple, referring to the number of phone calls actually answered overall. For outbound call operations to be successful, they must maintain a high ASR.

This number is also useful in calculating more complex metrics across the operation. While a low answer success rate may not be due to the actions of the agents themselves, it can underscore a need for changes to call center best practices. 

It also becomes a very important metric to track before and after you add an enhanced caller ID service to your calls to monitor the improvement in answer rates.

3. First Call Resolution (FCR)/First Call Close

First call resolution analyzes if the customers' problems are successfully resolved in the initial interaction. First call close is a similar metric but is more informative to the performance of sales-based outbound call centers.

This information provides some of the most important calling metrics. A greater rate of FCR means fewer transfers, holds, and callbacks for customers. When these are abundant, it often indicates the customer is more likely to be unsatisfied with their experience.

For outbound call centers, first call close is key to measuring return on investment (ROI). It measures the level of conversion for agents on the first interaction with customers.

Successful first-call close numbers indicate strong agents and call center best practices in use and indicate the audience is engaged.

Tracking FCR and first call close can also point to agent training. If the agent is not knowledgeable enough and ultimately has to pass calls off too often, this may point to training issues.

These numbers are some of the most valuable call center statistics and can also factor into other metrics including customer satisfaction.

4. Customer satisfaction

In addition to conversion, customer satisfaction really gets to the heart of the call center operation to determine efficacy.

Customer satisfaction is usually measured by conducting after-call surveys. While it can be difficult to collect these surveys successfully, they can be very informative.

One common customer satisfaction scoring method is the CSAT. To collect the information to calculate this metric, customers are asked to rate their satisfaction level from 1 to 5, with the latter being the highest rating. Then, the number of customers who answered with a 4 or 5 rating is divided by the number of survey responses and multiplied by 100.

Many companies also measure customer satisfaction by means of Net Promoter Score (NPS). An NPS survey question can be added to the after-call survey or may be asked of customers separately through an in-product survey or email follow-up. The rating scale ranges from 1 to 10, with scores less than 6 considered detractors, 7 or 8 labeled as passives, and 9 or 10 rated as promoters. To determine NPS you subtract the percentage of customers who are detractors from the percentage who are promoters and the final score can range from -100 to 100. 

The customer satisfaction team at Hiya just performed our first NPS survey of Hiya Connect customers and scored a very high rating of 79!

Agent productivity metrics

The experience your customers have often comes down to the type of service your agents are providing. These metrics help you monitor agent performance.

5. Average Handle Time (AHT)

AHT is one of the most popular call center metrics to track.

This figure refers to an agent's average time on each individual call. It begins when the agent's call is answered by the client and runs through until either party hangs up.

There are three main components of this metric:

  • Average talk time
  • Average hold time
  • After-call work time

The average handle time can vary based on many circumstances, so it should be measured as part of a range rather than against a single target number.

The ideal AHT range should be carefully balanced with the business goals of the call. For example, a low AHT may mean the agent is ineffective in one type of business call, such as a sales call, while a low AHT could at the same time be a positive indicator in other use cases, such as a notification call. The converse is also true; if the AHT is high, the agent may be struggling to locate information or navigate the customer database in a customer service call, but in the use case of a survey call, a high AHT might be a great indicator of survey completion. 

As such, these numbers can be very informative outbound call center statistics and the ideal range is unique to the types of calls your contact center makes.

6. Average after-call work time

This metric helps to measure agent productivity on a larger scale.

After completing the interaction, there is typically some paperwork for the agent to fill out. The duration of these tasks is known as the after-call work time. This metric tracks the average amount of time this after-call work takes.

To be successful in this metric requires a careful balance.

You want to be sure each agent completes the necessary work accurately and thoroughly. If it is too low, they may rush through these requirements and thus not provide adequate attention to the task.

If this metric is too high, there may be too much overhead going on with each call. You do not want agents to waste too much time with these processes. It should not take away large chunks of time that could otherwise be spent chasing prospects.

There are a few simple ways to reduce the average after-call work time if your agents are tied up for too long at this stage. Providing templates and reducing redundant paperwork are two easy examples of this.

7. Occupancy Rate

Occupancy rate refers to how productive agents are, considering all call-related work. This includes live calls as well as post-call work.

This metric is a direct measure of agent productivity compared to idle time. If these rates are low, the agents may spend excess time on non-work-related tasks. It may also point to other procedural issues within the organization that are holding up agent productivity.

Especially given COVID-19 circumstances, many Americans are working from home that would normally be in a traditional call center environment. This is certainly a major adjustment to the normal work routine.

There are more distractions, and falling out of a productive workflow is much easier. Plus, more people have taken up working in outbound call center positions for the first time. These people tend to be operating out of their homes as well.

These factors have made tracking the occupancy rate more important than ever. It is critical to ensure everyone across the company stays on track and productive, especially when working from home.

8. Schedule adherence

These call center statistics measure how well schedules were followed in the call center environment. This can inform a few areas of call center reporting.

On one hand, it ensures staffing requirements are met. This can be important when another company contracts third-party call centers. These service contracts often include schedule adherence requirements.

Furthermore, analyzing this information in an outbound call center context provides insight into how agents handle their working time. It tracks the match between the scheduled and actual calling time for employees.

This metric is often used in conjunction with other information to get an idea of the productivity and success of agents as compared to expectations, schedules, and forecasts.

9. Quality

This KPI is all-encompassing. It is an internal measure, and the scorecard will measure between companies—and sometimes between departments.

Tracking quality is usually done by recording live calls made by agents and reviewing them for various factors.

Some of the considerations that may be tracked to measure quality include:

  • Does the agent stick to the pitch?
  • Are they polite?
  • Are they engaging?
  • Are they knowledgeable?
  • Do they have proper call etiquette?
  • Were they successful/did they convert?

Measuring quality in this way can also shed light on individual agents and their success in the outbound call center environment. 

This is a good example of the importance of analyzing multiple call center metrics at one time. On paper, an employee with a high level of calls handled may look like a stellar salesperson. They may be successfully reaching prospects and speaking right in line with the given script.

But this agent may not have phone etiquette that lives up to your company's standards. As such, they may have a crazy high level of handling with a very low level of conversion. Plus, a negative phone call experience can do lasting damage to your company's image.

This is why it is so important to analyze multiple metrics in conjunction with each other—and quality is no different. By tracking and reviewing agent phone call quality, you can shed light on which agents are truly knocking it out of the park.

For those agents that don't, more training or possibly a shift to a new position could be beneficial for all involved. This ensures less burnout on the agent's end and better quality scores for the company. 

Operational metrics

Contact center managers need to understand what overall performance should look like and where there is room to improve. These metrics will help identify what initiatives will move the needle.

10. Service Level

This metric focuses on agent productivity as they take calls in real-time.

It measures whether agents are moving quickly enough from one call to the next.

This figure should maintain a balance. On one hand, agents should not be wasting time between prospects and should work to be as efficient as possible. At the same time, there is usually important after-call work that should not be ignored.

11. Call Abandonment Rate (CAR)

For outbound call centers, this number refers to a situation where the call connects but the other party ends the call prior to connection with an actual agent.

The more time customers spend on hold, the more likely will abandon the call and hang up. This is where the FRT figures come into play.

A high call abandonment rate points to a negative customer experience. Plus, it leads to the loss of both prospective and repeat customers.

Call abandonment rate can also point to bad call center practices, lagging technology, or glitches within the system. Individual agent productivity can hinder these call metrics, as well.

All things considered, it is important for call center reporting to keep track of this number and keep it as low as possible.

12. Calls handled

Although this is a simple figure to add to call center dashboards, it is powerful.

Calls handled measure the total number of interactions taken by individual agents. It does not include abandoned calls most of the time. This number can also be narrowed down to dials-per-hour when looking at calls-per-agent.

Tracking this KPI can help improve individual agent productivity — enhancing the effectiveness of the outbound call operation as a whole.

13. Call Forecast Accuracy (CFA)

This metric measures how accurate call volume forecasts were, during specific time intervals. As with schedule adherence, this information is key for staffing and scheduling purposes in call center reporting.

This is also especially helpful in analyzing the success of specific goals and the development of contact center best practices.

14. Cost per Call (CPC)

Cost per call measures exactly what it sounds like—the cost for each call made by all agents. On the flip side, managers may also choose to measure revenue per successful call to employ a full-picture approach.

CPC is used to develop more effective resource allocation, budgeting, and other similar tasks. This information also illuminates the overall cost of operations for the call center, divided by the calls taken.

Tracking CPC is great for a wide-ranging view of the call center operations as a whole.

15. Conversion

In the outbound call center environment, the conversion rate is everything.

Whether it be completing a survey, setting an appointment, or making a purchase—if some type of goal action is completed during a call, these would be considered converted customers.

As this is the purpose of the contact center in the first place, this metric is extremely important to keep track of.

Managers may also want to use these call center statistics for list closure rate, which looks at conversions compared to the number of prospects targeted. This information can indicate issues with the calling list, like if there are incorrect numbers or too many cold leads.

What call center statistics are you tracking?

There are dozens of contact center metrics stakeholders can track, but not all of these can help them improve their operations. Investing time into identifying the right metrics, identifying and authenticating outbound phone calls with solutions like Hiya Connect, and taking steps to improve customer experience can all boost the performance of contact center agents. 

Hiya Connect Branded Call helps create better connections with customers the first time, making it an invaluable first step for any customer-centric organization that wants to improve performance. Hiya Connect goes beyond caller ID with other powerful solutions that enable better agent and customer experiences. This robust SaaS tool helps contact centers spoof-proof their numbers and includes an invaluable analytics dashboard that helps drive organizational improvements and increase business performance. Learn more about  Hiya Connect on our website or go deeper into contact center metrics and how you can implement these changes in your workplace by clicking below.


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Author Laleh Hassibi

Hiya's Director of Content Marketing and Growth