Call centers control your outbound calls and have a huge impact on an organization’s bottom line. As a needle-moving department, it’s important that you have a pulse on the performance of your call center. Are agents solving customer issues and providing a good experience? Are your agents making the most of their time? Tracking key call center metrics will help you make crucial decisions that will make your call center as efficient as possible.
Why are call center metrics important to track?
It’s difficult to know the areas your agents are excelling in and where they could use development. With the metrics below, you’ll be able to easily identify areas for improvement and issue training accordingly.
Having the data at hand also allows you to reward your top-performing agents. This extra incentive is a great motivator to encourage consistently high results.
Key agent performance metrics
When determining the most important metrics for your teams, there are two important questions you should consider:
- Is the metric something within the agent’s control?
Metrics like answer rate would be a poor indicator of performance since this is not something agents have influence over.
- Is the metric somehow harmful to customer experience?
Aiming for a low average talk time may be tempting since you are able to get connected with more customers, but brief conversations could actually be damaging to the customer experience.
While there are many valuable call center metrics to choose from, the selection below reveals key learnings about agent performance.
First contact resolution rate
This metric measures the rate at which agents are able to resolve a customer issue on their first contact. If a customer has to call back several times, is transferred often, or is handed over to a supervisor, this is a clear indicator that the agent needs more training on that type of interaction. When customers have to speak to multiple people or make repeated calls, this has a negative effect on customer experience.
Average handle time
Average handle time measures the average time from when a contact is initiated until the agent is complete. In an inbound call center, average handle time includes the amount of time a customer is waiting in the queue. Handle times that are too long can be an indicator of inefficiencies. Average handle time is a delicate balance that call center managers and agents must work together to strike.
Average hold time
A sub-metric of average handle time is average hold time or queue time. If customers are waiting in a queue or spending a lot of time on hold, this impacts the customer experience. If you’re finding agents with above-average hold times, examine their calls to see if you can train them on a process that seems to take them longer than is needed.
Average talk time
This is a component of average handle time that measures how long an agent is speaking with a caller. Be sure to examine calls from agents whose average talk time differs from the call center average.
Average after-call work time
Agents often have tasks to complete after a phone call. After-call work time can be reduced by taking notes while on the call and having efficient technology available.
Call abandonment rate
Abandonment rate is a contact center metric that tracks the percentage of callers who hang up before they are connected to an agent. Usually, abandoned calls occur because callers are on hold for too long. If your call center has a high abandonment rate, try to identify problems that stop all your agents from getting to customers quickly.
With customer satisfaction at the core of everything your business does, it only makes sense for agent performance to be measured against this metric. Customer satisfaction scores should focus on elements like agent politeness and effectiveness. After-call surveys and net promoter scores are good indicators of an agent’s customer satisfaction skills.
For even more specificity, track customer satisfaction by call type to identify specific calls with lower customer satisfaction scores.
This measures how well agents follow their schedules by arriving on time and taking breaks when appropriate. Agents sticking to the call center schedule is important for successful forecasting. You’ve already determined the appropriate number of agents to be on the phone at a given time, and an agent repeatedly showing up late could throw off that balance.
Ideally, agents should be able to assist customers without transferring them to a different individual. If you are finding an agent with an exceptionally high transfer rate, it may be an indication that this agent doesn’t know how to appropriately handle a certain type of interaction. Transferring calls too frequently impacts efficiency, so make sure agents are equipped to keep transfers at a minimum.
These metrics will help you optimize the performance of your call center and will help you communicate expectations to agents. Looking to improve your call center's performance by getting through to more customers? Download our ebook on improving answer rates.